Gestapo Watch: I.C.E. disappears someone on Parker Street in Berkeley

By Wendy M.A.D.

Well, shit, my darlings. We’re there.

On March 18th, armed agents of HSI, a branch of ICE, arrested someone from the 2200 block of Parker Street in South Berkeley. Folks have been trying to figure out where the fuck they took the guy, but here’s the crazy thing: since immigration is considered a matter of civil law, there isn’t a public disclosure of where ICE detainees are. When someone is arrested, usually there’s this mandatory thing of everyone being able to look their name up on a public website so we can figure out where they are, but WHOA! For immigration detainees, they have no such requirements. Several folks I spoke with connected with media watchdog organizations in town are looking to know where this guy went, but no one can find him. He was literally disappeared. We really need to have more discussion of how we might change immigration law in such a way that still protects the privacy of immigrants (like, most immigration stuff really should be kept as civil law), but there seriously needs to be a requirement that when individuals are detained, their whereabouts are publicly reported. This whole thing of disappearing people is really goddamn scary! I unfortunately have no way of backing this up, but what we can assume happened to the guy they took is this:

He was probably taken to Contra Costa prison, which is the only local prison with the proper federal contracts to hold those who have been taken by ICE. From there, we can assume he was deported. At least that is what we hope: that he was merely deported and didn’t suffer a worse fate.

Speaking of freakyass immigration stuff that not enough people are taking about, on Feb 27th, the Supreme Court pulled the Nazi move of making it so ICE detainees can be held indefinitely without bail, and I’d say we’re in trouble. The for-profit prison industry has a huge incentive to keep people in jail as long as possible, cuz for each day they house a human, that’s like $500 of taxpayer money that goes to funding the prison industry. Well, that’s an exaggeration. It’s more like $459.53. At least that’s based on a 2013 study of how much it costs to house and guard inmates in New York ( – the number may have gone up since then, may be different from state to state, or may be different, even higher, for immigrants, especially if it means little kids are being incarcerated with them.

The fact that immigrant detainees can be held indefinitely is a huge boon for the capitalists who are invested in private prisons. Due to the way capitalism works, these investors are going have been selectively filling the prison industry with business leaders who are willing to put the investor bottom-line before all else: to have more people in prison next quarter than this quarter. That is the only way to make prisons profitable, and by allowing prisons to be for-profit, we’ve opened our society up to this horrible logic.

Right now, hundreds of our neighbors and colleagues are at risk of being taken by ICE. Among those who have citizenship, there is talk of “when will we have to start hiding our friends in our basements?” It is a stupid question to have to be asking. Aren’t we over this sort of thing? Didn’t we figure it out in the Second World War?

Those of us who remember the stories from the Second World War grow increasingly nervous about having denationalized people disappeared from their homes by gun-toting thugs with badges and uniforms. It was through the over-policing of the German border—and the over-policing of the concept of “who’s a real German?”—that the S.S. rose to power in Nazi Germany, and gradually, more and more groups became denationalized, or lost their legal status as citizens. As the Nazis worked to denationalize more and more groups—immigrants, Jews, gypsies, gay people, Jehovah’s witnesses, communists, and others—the legal and social apparatuses were set up to allow those groups of people to be swiftly jailed, murdered and disposed of in a way that was so fluid the German populace didn’t notice. According to historical accounts, the vast majority of Germans didn’t learn about the gas chambers until after the war – they just kept about business as usual as their neighbors were being disappeared and gassed.

As we see a rise to power in the United States of a new type of police force, ICE, and as we see them breaking our local laws about Sanctuary Cities, and as we see them flaunting their ability to murder by walking our streets with submachine guns strapped to their chests (seriously, have you noticed the creepy-ass ICE agents with submachine guns at the entrance to A’s games now?! Some of my friends have stopped taking their kids to baseball games cuz they don’t want them exposed to people flaunting guns like that!), as we see all this starting to happen, we simply must push back. Not just by protesting, but fighting like crazy for better laws, getting money out of prisons (or how about abolishing them!), and robbing these people of any social, legal, financial and political tools that enable them to have these levels of absolute power over individuals and our society. And we have to keep our eyes on our neighbors. If someone gets taken by ICE, we simply have to follow up and make sure they are okay. Our compliance is being tested. If we sit idly by in these times, we will open up the floodgates for greater levels of abuse.



* If you were to happen to have someone who could be undocumented hidden in your basement and ICE shows up, remember your rights. They may not enter your premises w/o a warrant. You can ask them to show the warrant to you before they enter your home. If they don’t have one to show you, you can say, “I do not forfeit my rights to have my home searched without a warrant.”

* Be sure to have a livestreaming app on your phone so if you spot ICE doing anything illegal or abusive, you can make it immediately public.

Plugging into the 2019 Slingshot Organizer

Since 1994, volunteers have come together to make the Slingshot Organizer, a zine-style day planner full of handdrawn art and radical history. Selling the Slingshot Organizer raises all the money it takes to publish and distribute this paper for free. Right now we’re looking for artists to draw the pages of the 2019 organizer. You can help from any part of the planet. We’d love to hear from you as soon as possible. We’ll send you a 4-week section to work on. Slingshot also is seeking help right now updating the Organizer’s historical date list, and also we’ll be editing the Radical Contact List before the end of July. Join us in late July/early August for our annual 24/7 art party where we’ll put together the organizer while listening to records and eating vegetarian food!

We still have copies of the 2018 Organizer for sale, and can also send free boxes to projects giving them to prisoners, immigrants, homeless or other folks who cannot purchase. If you have an Andriod phone, you can support us by downloading the Slingshot organizer app–please help us spread the word about it!

The Soldier & the  Poet

By the Reverend Eggking

This is the story of two men who are now deeply entrenched in the Bay Area. One became a Soldier along the way, while the other became a Poet. Each of them have experienced misery and suffering that they would not wish upon their worst enemies, and yet, right now, they are both thriving. Perhaps this was achieved through the divine favor of the gods. Maybe it’s a random variable found within an experiment conducted by the big bang theory. It could have been a pre-emptive payout from karma itself. Who knows? I like to think that it’s some delightful combination of all three. The reason that this tale is being told is simple and can be summed up in two words:


The United States of America has now officially been at war with the Middle East for two years more than we were involved in both World Wars and the Vietnam “Conflict” combined. When it comes to fathoming the unprecedented savagery that is found within our country’s merciless assault upon this blessed planet, the Soldier and the Poet agree on EVERYTHING. How in the hell did that happen?

The Soldier was born on December 4th, 1974 in Fresno, California. He was named Christopher. His parents were Christian missionaries in China during the eighties, so you know they don’t fuck around. They risked constant threat of imprisonment, torture and death for themselves and those who listened.

The Poet was born on November 13th, 1975 in Denver, Colorado. He was named Christopher. His mother was raised Mormon, but had gotten over it. She knowingly became pregnant from a booty call in hopes of motivating an abusive and alcoholic ex-boyfriend to rekindle their “love”.

The Soldier grew up in a family with deep roots surrounding their happy home. His first “paying” job was in the picking fields of California’s brutal summer heat infused Central Valley. At the terribly young age of ten, until well after his 16th birthday, he roasted in the boiling heat, 5 days a week, during the summer “break”. He worked from sunrise to sunset, picking all manner of crops that were grown in the pesticide soaked earth. Cherry tomatoes were the worst. The reward for a full day of picking those would be about six fraking dollars. With tax and tip, that barely covers a goddamn latte in this town.


The Poet grew up in a family with fierce histories of love and separation. His mother met her future ex-husband a year after the Poet’s birth. She moved heaven and earth to help him graduate medical school. The Poet didn’t have to work until he started showing no real aptitude for school. Once that stark fact was clearly established, his father made sure that the Poet had real world skills in order to make his way. Even while working throughout most of his teenage years, the Poet never thought that he would ever have to really learn how to take care of himself.

The Soldier met his incredible wife in a Department store in Fresno, California. She was a lovely example of just how perfect the multiverse could be. The Soldier had been looking for her his whole damn life, and she found him to be worthy of her attention. They soon got married and had three daughters and one son.

Our country’s caste system does not willingly offer healthcare to the lower economic class, so he joined the U.S. Air Force in May of 1998. The Soldier survived boot camp in Hotasfuck, Texas, and was then stationed in Damnitshumid, Louisiana, for three and a half years. It was NOT near as fun as it sounds. Then 9/11 happened.

The Poet was thrown out of his family’s castle a little over a month after he had turned 18 years old. The Poet didn’t skip a beat. Fortuitously, he had been working since he was 13 years old, so he had some money saved and was able to find a place to live. Smoking weed, dropping acid, and trying to fathom what the fuck the Beatles were actually singing about became his highest priorities. He knew for a fact that the walrus was Paul. Then 9/11 happened.

After 9/11, the Soldier was stationed on Diego Garcia Island in the Indian Ocean for the pre-deployment of long range bombers. Next was Afghanistan. Since this was right after the towers fell, he was part of the initial mass deployment of fuckery that remains in place to this very day. He was promoted in March of 2003 at the Air Marshall School for U.S Air Force Special Operations. His career would last over 12 years. During his time in the most sadistic military the world has ever known, the Soldier received a myriad of recognition for his efforts, including Iraq & Afghanistan campaign medals, a Combat Action Medal, a Bronze Star, a Kosovo Service medal and a National Defense medal. The Soldier also received the Humanitarian Service medal twice, once for earthquake relief in Iran and once for Tsunami relief in Thailand, as well as a Good Conduct medal, an Air Force Achievement Medal and finally, a Global War on Terror medal. He took lives, he saved lives, and he fucking survived. He had goddamn boots all over the Middle East, and, you guessed it, they were absolutely caked with blood. For all of this, and a multitude of other reasons, he was beginning to lose his sanity. So it goes…

The Poet came into his own in Buffalo, NY. He began writing shit like “bottom slice of a virgin hide, where the sharp objects like to play, marks reflect violated pride, evil shown off in her own way” and other such nonsense. To this day, he is still a little cloudy on whether he actually writes the poems, or the poems write him. After a variety of shenanigans, the Poet started paying attention to politics. He recalls the inception of this focus occurring once George W. Bush was “elected”. The Poet realized that our “democracy” was doing a fair impersonation of a monarchy at that point. He soon came to realize that he lived in a


plu·toc·ra·cy plo͞oˈtäkrəsē/ noun

noun: plutocracy

1. government by the wealthy.

a country or society governed by the wealthy.plural noun: plutocracies

an elite or ruling class of people whose power derives from their wealth.


For all of this, and a multitude of other reasons, he was beginning to lose his sanity. So it goes…..

The Soldier returned home to a land that was unable to offer true reciprocity for all that he had done to defend it. At least that’s what he thought he was doing at the time. Defending us from all the terrorists. He soon realized that all he was actually doing was protecting and expanding the business interests of the Bastards of War who will stop at nothing to make sure that their blood soaked campaigns in the Middle East never run dry. The best way to explain what the Soldier experienced upon his return can be summed up by George Carlin. The Master has this fantastic bit about how what was originally referred to as “Shell Shock” during the first World War eventually become known as “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”. I suggest you look it up, it’s absolutely brilliant. After watching that, you just might be able to begin comprehending what the Soldier was going through once he came back to this country.

The Poet got deep into Ultra-Conspiracy Land. It was NOT near as fun as it sounds. At one point, he threw away his birth certificate, social security card, state I.D., and everything else in his apartment, except for the drugs of course. He even had to get rid of his cherished Calvin and Hobbes books, because Dick Cheney and George W. Bush were speaking to him directly through them. FUCKERS. By this time he had already been diagnosed as bipolar, manic depressive with psychotic episodes. Truth be told, that wasn’t the half of it.

After a veritable litany of trials and tribulations, one fine day, the Poet started dating the Soldier’s incredible little sister. She was a lovely example of just how perfect the multiverse could be. The Poet had been looking for her his whole damn life, and she found him to be worthy of her attention. About two months into their courtship, the Butterfly introduced the Poet to the Soldier. It was not long into their initial conversation before these two men who now lived in the Bay Area realized that they had the same basic outlook on the way that our country had so viciously orchestrated it’s worldwide slow burning genocide. How crazy is that? The soldier had seen firsthand what patriotism, greed, and gluttony was responsible for in actual blood, guts, and fears. The Poet was merely a student of these savage times as well as a seeker of any spiritual path that tickled his fancy. And they agreed on EVERYTHING.

After a while, the Soldier settled into a career which has led to him currently being a Sergeant for the San Francisco Park Ranger Department. Fishing out dead bodies from Golden Gate Park is just one of the myriad of ways that the Soldier serves the city of dreams. Pray that he is the one who catches you fucking around, because an effortless kindness and empathy are the very foundation of his existence. He is a true hero, treating folks with respect, especially when they don’t deserve it. San Francisco is a war zone onto itself, and the fact that he is out there, allows many to sleep soundly at night.

The Poet eventually married the Butterfly, and now has a thriving career as an event coordinator for both a Soto Zen Japanese Buddhist organization and an anarchist collective bookstore in the Haight. He is also deeply involved in the Bay Area’s artistic community.

Both men know that war is an unnatural act that must be propped up by trillions of dollars of utter bullshit, just to survive. Both men are sickened by the way that this never ending “war on terror” has insidiously embedded itself within the very air that we breathe, while the talking head fucksticks offer their latest force feeding of rationalization as they distract us with the freshest of atrocities.

Please do me a favor and think of a world in which our country is not the most accomplished serial killer that our planet has ever seen. Hold onto that feeling, damn it!


Cherish it. Nourish it.




In the immortal words of John Lennon:


“All we are saying, is give peace a chance.”


How did he die again?

Worst Infoshop Ever turns 25!

By Jesse D. Palmer

The Long Haul Infoshop in Berkeley will celebrate its 25th birthday Sunday, August 12 7-9 pm at 3124 Shattuck in Berkeley — it opened August 13, 1993. Slingshot has had an office at Long Haul the whole 25 years. The mission in 1993 was to provide a public space for radical events, projects and community building, and the goals remain the same, but what a long strange trip the last 25 years have been.

The Long Haul is simultaneously an inspiring rebellion/escape from the soulless mainstream capitalist nightmare — and a creepy crusty-punk zombie that refuses to die — depending on when you happen to stumble in. Like any loosely-organized, all-volunteer collective project, it has always fallen tragically short from its potential. Along with the mountains of library books, zines and historical archives are piles of dust and a filthy bathroom. Along with a rotating crew of interesting radicals and long-running events like the Anarchist Study Group and Slingshot, there’s always plenty of annoying and dysfunctional people demanding your attention when you’re just trying to mind your own damn business or get something done.

It can be hard to tell who is who — sometimes the same person is both amazing and fundamentally frustrating. An event may start well, and then suddenly erupt into a screaming match or a fist-fight. People talk during the fucking movies, or the power fails during a concert!

The Long Haul has a 99-year lease, so the nightmare doesn’t look like its going to end anytime soon — we’ll have to make the best of it and create as many good events, projects and moments as possible to make up for all the bullshit.

Abusive and sexist people have over and over ruined the space before being banned, burning out and frustrating successive crews of volunteers and allies. But the funny thing is that new people and projects keep wandering in to build the next phase and face the next round of drain-bows.

So while the space has possibly the worst reputation of any radical space in the Bay Area — if not the entire universe — against all odds it is still fresh and new after 25 long years. The name “Long Haul” is no joke.

There’s real possibility within these walls — a big meeting room, relatively affordable rent, an established non-profit structure, lots of supplies and resources right on the Berkeley / Oakland border, towns that still have a lot of fight left in ’em despite so much gentrification.

What the Long Haul needs — which is what it has needed for the whole 25 years — is people to create events, start projects, do stuff, and bring people in to use the space. If you have ideas or energy, the Long Haul wants you.

For the 25th birthday the Infoshop is gonna publish a 25th anniversary zine. If you’ve ever come through or been a volunteer, send your memories, comments, stories, complaints, photos or art to slingshotcollective@ There might also be a crowdfunding campaign because the Infoshop runs about $1000 a year short on funds. Long live Long Haul! … Oh and did I forget to mention that everyone is welcome to use the toilet?

Growing in the Rubble:  Radical space update

Compiled by Jesse D. Palmer

Just when I was starting to get discouraged that we’re all going to get fried in an accidental nuclear war, or wiped out by an ecological collapse, or thrown in jail by a fascist coup, or squished by gentrification and economic collapse — I’m awoken from my stupor by a whole slew of inspirational radical spaces that seem to be popping up fucking everywhere! The mainstream world is finished — it is in full-on collapse. The only thing to trust is our love, our freedom, our creativity and most of all our community with others as we create radical spaces that can thrive and grow in the rubble. Visit and support these spaces and form your own before it’s too late. Here are updates to the Radical Contact List published in the 2018 Slingshot Organizer. An outdated version (that we can’t update because of tech hassles – duh!) is on-line at so the paper version is much more accurate and up to date. Take your computer and shove it.

Blood Fruit – Chicago, IL

They have a library with books in English, Spanish and Catalan as well as a cafe that hosts events such as radical kids storytime, movies and poetry. They also have a printing press and publish a zine and other materials. 3084 S. Lock St. Chicago IL, 60608

AS220 – Providence, RI

A community arts organization. Holy shit – they have 4 gallery spaces, a performance stage, a black box theater, a print shop, a darkroom and media arts lab, a fabrication and electronics lab, a dance studio, a youth program focusing on youth under state care and in the Rhode Island juvenile detention facility, 47 affordable live/work studios for artists, and a bar and restaurant. They envision “a just world where all people can realize their full creative potential.” Amen. 115 Empire St, Providence, Rhode Island 02903 401-831-9327

Black and Red coop – Los Angeles

A new coop space with a motto of “autonomous economic self sufficiency, thru arts, commerce and services.” 4530 E Cesar Chavez Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90022

Recycle-A-Bike – Providence, RI

A community bike shop with access to tools, used parts and refurbished bicycles that educates and empowers people to fix their own bikes. 1911 Westminster St, Providence RI 02909 401-525-1822

Fiddlehead Food Co-op – New London, CT

They are a democratically governed food coop. Okay – I’m biased because my daughter is named Fern and she and I are both obsessed with fiddleheads – the curly parts on new fern leaves. 13 Broad St, New London, CT 06320 860-701-9123

Dirt Palace – Providence, RI

An art space that offers artists residencies to people historically marginalized within the arts. They also have a zine/book library and host events. 14 Olneyville Sq., Providence, RI 02909

Elisabeth Jones Art Center – Portland, OR

They are a new art gallery and they’re featuring some interesting projects on radical topics like Standing Rock, climate change and trees. Yup – trees are “radical” now. There isn’t much on-line info so if someone reading this wants to visit and report back, that would be great. 516 NW 14th St., Portland, Oregon 97209. 503-286-4959

New Urban Arts – Providence, RI

A community arts studio for high school students and emerging artists that emphasizes youth leadership and risk taking: “We find beauty in mistakes or failure. It is hard to dare when fear of screwing up, letting down, or reprisal looms.” Thanks, Rhode Island. 705 Westminster St, Providence, RI 02903 401-751-4556

Farmacy Herbs – Providence, RI

A store that sells farmed and wildcrafted herbal products. They seek to “create accessible community health care and wellness through environmental awareness and holistic practices” and “do-it-yourself methods of natural health-promoting practices.” They do work trade and sliding scale. They also have a 5 acre farm. 28 Cemetery St, Providence, RI 02904 401-270-5223

[Um – we don’t know the name of this space] – Guadalajara, Mexico

A meeting point for travelers interested in sharing knowledge and expanding the community. Calle Garibaldi 556, Colonia Centro, Guadalajara, Jalisco CP44100, Mexico.

Faith House – Ottawa, Canada

A long-running, multi-faith group house that hosts and facilitates social justice events like meals, discussions, direct actions and movies. They also run a community garden at another location. 18 Blackburn Ave, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 8A3, Canada. 613-656-9322 faithhouseottawa.

G-Spot – Ottawa, Canada

Short for “Garden Spot” – an autonomous social centre with a commercial kitchen, a garden and zines that hosts events. 329 Bell Street S. Ottawa, ON K1S 4J9, Canada.

L’Achoppe – Montreal, Canada

An “Anarcho-punk stronghold” with a library, brewery, bar, show and music jam space, bike shop, gardens, wood shop – even circus training space. 1800 Letourneux Montreal, QC, H1V 2N1 Canada

Collectif Le Recif – Trois-Pistoles, Canada

An eco-anarcha-feminist social centre that does artist residencies. 1 Rue de la Grève, Rivière-Trois-Pistoles, QC G0L 2E0 Canada

Calgary School of Informal Education – Calgary, Canada

They are a volunteer collective that offers classes and runs a Queer Zine Night and skill sharing workshops. #101 223 12th Ave. SW Calgary, Alberta 403-903-4316

Aliran – Penang, Malaysia

Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara (literally, ‘society for the flow of national consciousness’) is a national multi-ethnic reform movement on political, economic and social issues with a monthly magazine and a permanent office. A Malaysian organizer-user suggested we add them to the contact list. 103 Medan Penaga, 11600 Jelutong, Penang, Malaysia +60 4 6585251

Imbala – Jerusalem, Israel

A feminist, queer, anti-racist, multi-lingual, multi-generational, vegan collective. They have a library, cafe and art gallery and welcome activists and people who don’t feel safe in Jerusalem (radicals, Palestinians, LGBTQ+). They host events, exhibitions, parties, lectures and shows. Imbala means “actually, yes” in Arabic. Yanay Street 3

Corrections to the 2018 Organizer and updates

• Last issue Slingshot published a report that Backspace in Fayetteville, Arkansas wasn’t a safe space. Since we have a hard time verifying such reports and are concerned about the possibility of factional fights or sabotage, we indicated we were unsure about the report. We heard back from a number of sources who said the report was incorrect. These sources confirmed that Backspace is a safe space for women, people of color, LGBTQ and other marginalized communities. Backspace has systems and safe space trainings in place to handle predators. Slingshot apologizes for the confusion.

• Wheatsville Food Co-op wants to be listed in the 2019 organizer. They are at 3101 Guadalupe St., Austin TX 78705 512-478-2667

• Emergence in Washington, DC contacted us and asked to be removed from the list. If anyone is in DC, let us know what you think.















Calendar:  Endless Summer

May 26 – 27 • 10-5 pm FREE ALL AGES

Montreal Anarchist Bookfair –


May 27 • 11-6 pm FREE ALL AGES

Los Angeles Zine Fest. Pasadena Convention Center


June 1 – 3

Left Forum. John Jay College for Criminal Justice 540 West 59 Street, NYC


June 1 – 6

North American Anarchist Studies Network. Montreal, Canada


June 2 • 12-6 pm

London Radical Book Fair


June 7 • 7:30 pm

KPFA Event: The Real History & Events of the Islamic Republic Of Iran, Medea Benjamin, 2286 Cedar Berkeley


June 8 • 8 pm FREE ALL AGES

East Bay Bike Party – 2nd Friday of each month


June 8-12

Railroad Days Dunsmire, CA


June 9 • 5 pm

Peace punk fest, 924 Gilman Street, Berkeley



International Day of Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoners – events many places


June 12 • 7:30 pm

KPFA Event Darnell L’Moore talk on Coming of Age Black & Free in America First Congregational Church Oakland 2501 Harrison St, Oakland


June 14 • 7:30 pm

KPFA Event Michael Eric Dyson on Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America – First Congregational Church 2501 Harrison, Oakland


June 14-17

Allied Media Conference Detroit MI.



Trans March Dolores Park, San Francisco


June 29 • 6 pm FREE ALL AGES

San Francisco Critical Mass bike ride – last Friday of each month, Justin Herman Plaza,


Late June – early July

Earth First! Round River Rendezvous


July 4 • 1:30 pm FREE ALL AGES

Opening weekend of SF Mime Troupe play “Solidarity Forever”, Dolores Park, San Francisco


July 4th-ish FREE ALL AGES

Rainbow Gathering – ask a hippie for location this year.


July 14

Mad Pride. Everywhere!


July 26-28

Speak for Wolves conference – West Yellowstone, MT


Late July / early August

Join Slingshot to publish the 2018 Organizer. 3124 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley


August 12 7-9pm FREE ALL AGES

Long Haul Infoshop’s 25th birthday party, 3124 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley


August 26 • 7 pm FREE ALL AGES

Slingshot new volunteer meeting / article brainstorm

for issue #128. 3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley


September 15 • 10-6 pm FREE

23rd annual Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair. Omni Commons 4799 Shattuck, Oakland.


September 15

Twin Cities zine festival. Minneapolis Central Library


September 22 • 3 pm FREE ALL AGES

Slingshot article deadline for issue #128


October 5-7 FREE ALL AGES

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

People’s Monday: A weekly celebration of the lives of people murdered by police

By Crow

In February of this year, Black Lives Matter activists in NYC marked the third anniversary of weekly march called the People’s Monday. It is organized by a multiracial POC-led group called NYC Shut It Down. Formed out of a desire to maintain movement energy generated by the 2014 unrest following the police murder of Eric Garner, each march memorializes a different victim of police murder. The first one was held on February 9th, 2015, and I’m told there has been one every single Monday ever since, without fail, no matter the weather. Initially, every People’s Monday march began at Grand Central Station, but over time organizers chose to start holding it in different parts of the city. Sometimes they will go to Brooklyn, Harlem, Queens, etc… and bring street demos with a militant vibe to neighborhoods where protests are rarely held. Part of the thinking behind this is to bring people from the neighborhood into the streets, which apparently has been successful.

I visited NYC last winter, and attended the People’s Monday march on March 13th, 2017. At 7 p.m. A group of around 30 people gathered in Washington Square park in the middle of Manhattan. The march was unpermitted and the route was not pre-announced, but that didn’t stop the group from immediately seizing the busy streets. Throughout the march, NYC Shut It Down showed their courage and confidence in their own power by not only disobeying police orders, but also antagonizing the police by yelling insults at them from close range. Keep in mind there wasn’t a large crowd to melt back into if a juiced-up pig started ‘roid-raging. These folks know the power of the people, and how to assert it.

The real reason that I’m taking the time to write this reportback, though, is because this group did something that I haven’t participated in before, which I think could be a useful tactic in many instances. The group invaded first a bar, then a fancy restaurant, then a Whole Foods grocery store with a huge check-out line.

The purpose of going into these places was to force a captive audience to listen to a political message. For this, they used the Occupy Mic-Check tactic. One spokesperson would speak at the top of their voice, and then everyone else would repeat their words as loudly as possible. In this case, the message was as follows (almost verbatim):

“We are here today because Black Lives Matter! We are here today because Black Women Matter! We are here today to remember Denise Hawkins, murdered by police!

Fact 1: Denise Hawkins was an 18-year old black woman from Rochester, New York. Her high school principal said “they never saw her not smiling.” Denise had an 18-month son with her husband, Lewis Hawkins, at the time of her murder.

Fact 2: Her father forced Denise to marry Lewis after she became pregnant. Lewis was abusive and she tried to leave Lewis three times before she was killed. Police had been called before, but they never helped Denise.

Fact 3: On November 11, 1975, Denise and her family were at her cousin’s house for dinner when she and Lewis started arguing. Her cousin called the police.

Fact 4: Denise was holding a knife when Lewis chased her out of the apartment with a chair, threatening to kill her. Seconds after she fled the apartment Officer Michael Leach, who was standing outside, shot her in the chest, killing her.

Fact 5: Officer Leach claimed he was trapped in a corner unable to move away from Denise and feared for his life, a story disproven by forensic evidence. Officer Leach made a similar claim in 2012 when he murdered his own son. No officer was charged with any crime in the murder of Denise Hawkins.

This is not an isolated incident. In the past 15 years, the NYPD has murdered over 300 people. Of these, over 80% has been black or brown. Of these murders, there have been four indictments, resulting in a total of two convictions, with an end result of ZERO JAIL TIME. If you believe that BLACK LIVES MATTER, we ask that you raise your fist in solidarity.”

In each location, quite a few people present did raise their fists, and the protesters exited the premises, chanting, in one case to applause. It felt validating for more than one reason – on one hand, it felt nice to be supported by members of the public, and on the other hand, it felt good to get in the faces of people who aren’t sympathizers… to force them to listen. In the age of the echo chamber, where social media algorithms allow people to insulate themselves within bubbles filled with like-minded voices, we gotta find creative ways of rupturing them bubbles. Nowadays, when it feels like many liberals believe that the media portrayal of reality is more important than reality itself, it was intensely satisfying to participate in something where the desired result did not happen in the digital landscape but on a human level.

So mad respect to the People’s Monday organizers NYC Shut It Down, for showing me what consistency looks like. And let’s be real, if we can’t be consistent, what can we hope to accomplish?Since 2014, every single Monday, rain or shine, they’ve been holding it the fuck down. What can we learn from them? Be bold. Be defiant. Have a specific message. Be loud. Be proud. Have fun. Say it like you mean it. And make it social – after People’s Monday, comrades gather to socialize in a neighborhood restaurant.

I’m told that in the past, the People’s Monday march has occasionally led to clashes with police, but apparently property destruction is not part of the culture. Perhaps smashing windows and slashing tires is viewed as counterproductive, because I’m sure that’s it neither due to moral objection or lack of courage. If the point of militant protest is to deliver a message in a way that can’t and won’t be ignored, they achieve that in their own way.

The People’s March does very much have a ritualistic element to it… which I mean in a good way. As such, every march ends with Assata’s prayer, with all participants joining hands and chanting together: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and protect each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

I think a weekly ritual could serve the purpose of movement-building well. Public events give people an opportunity to meet each other, but we all know that activists are slow to bestow trust. People need to get familiar with each other before they can work together. A smaller group makes it easier for folks to get to know each other.

Also, I really like actions that are demanding justice on autonomous terms rather than reacting to an injustice. I think it’s a mistake to view outlying incidents such as police murders as the actual problem, rather than symptomatic of a more deeply oppressive normalcy (i.e. self-policing, surveillance, prison slavery, wage slavery, patriarchy, and the list goes on). Rage at the abuse of power can conceal the heart’s true rage, the rage born of the heart’s desire for freedom – the rage against oppressive power itself.

So, whether you live in New York City or whether you just happen to find yourself there on a Monday, I encourage you to check the People’s Monday march. Folks are friendly and you don’t have to conceal your politics. Maybe you’ll make some new friends.

And if you live in place where there is enough of a movement to turn out 15-30 people on a weekly basis, maybe this is an tactic that could be adopted into the protest culture of your town or city. Maybe a weekly anti-gentrification march makes sense in your city. Think about it. Or why not a weekly Anti-fascist demo? The thoughts start coming quick, don’t they?

Slingshot issue #127 Introduction

Slingshot is an independent radical newspaper published in Berkeley since 1988.

On March 9, Slingshot turned 30 years old. One of our members dropped a tab of acid to celebrate and then was riding on BART and noticed everyone was on their cellphones — and that BART is fucking weird while you’re on acid — so they decided to blend in by looking at their phone. The first thing they saw was an email from Eggplant who said, “Today I imagined a Slingshot box that would joke about not trusting it because it’s over 30 — realizing how tiresome that joke is now in some way.” But some of us who put the issue together had never heard that joke, “Don’t trust anyone over 30,” a joke from the Yippie movement of the 1960s. Some of our collective members weren’t even born 30 years ago! Some of our members are straightedge, so they don’t do any drugs of any form, so they made weird faces as the story was told. It was really nice acid, though — it was super visual but didn’t make them anxious or paranoid.

As we were laying out the paper on Saturday, the anti-birthers and breeder-sympathizers had a debate over whether it’s irresponsible for activists to have children. Should we boycott reproducing and devote all our energy to rescuing the planet? The next day, a group of children between the ages of 5 and 7 took over our building and declared it an “adult-free zone.” As part of their communiqué, they declared that any child who allows an adult to come in will be put on a rocket and sent to the moon. But then there was a lot of confusion over who the adults actually were…. So the kids settled down and painted watercolor pictures next to us while we finished up layout, which was pretty fun for everyone.

We are really excited that in this issue of Slingshot we got separate articles on sex positivity, sexual labor relations, and building consent-based communities, along with articles on and fights for racial equality, the ecology, and worker’s rights. This issue of Slingshot truly is an attack on reality from every angle. We even included an article that explicitly attacks reality.

If the number and quality of the articles we received at the deadline is any kind of barometer, it’s going to be a long hot summer. Perhaps we’re finally shaking off recent jarring events. Like after a big bomb goes off everyone’s ears are ringing and you’re momentarily paralyzed, but then the smoke clears and it’s time to jump up and run forward again.

Some collective members are eager to tear it all down. Others are eager to see people’s attention directed towards those who are most vulnerable. Perhaps these two stances can swirl together into a perfect storm, as we reconfigure our social relations from the ground up and create a human modality that isn’t constantly at war with itself and the environment.

Slingshot is always looking for new writers, artists, editors, photographers, translators, distributors, etc. to make this paper. If you send an article, please be open to editing.

We’re a collective but not all the articles reflect the opinions of all collective members. We welcome debate and constructive criticism.

Thanks to the people who made this: Adam, Caylly, Daniel, Eggking, Erica, Fern, Gerald, Hannah, H-Cat, Indiana Joe, Isabel, Jesse, Joey B., Kristi, Korvin, Lew, Mirocat, Talia, Starpuncher Kai, and all the authors and artists! Cover art by Elayne Ryder.

Slingshot New Volunteer Meeting

Volunteers interested in getting involved with Slingshot can come to the new volunteer meeting on Sunday, August 26, 2018 at 7 pm at the Long Haul in Berkeley (see below.)

Article Deadline & Next Issue Date

Submit your articles for issue 128 by September 22, 2018 at 3 pm.

Volume 1, Number 127, Circulation 22,000

Printed April 27, 2018

Slingshot Newspaper

A publication of Long Haul

Office: 3124 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley CA 94705

Mailing: PO Box 3051, Berkeley, CA 94703

510-540-0751 • twitter @slingshotnews

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Circulation information

Subscriptions to Slingshot are free to prisoners, low income, or anyone in the USA with a Slingshot Organizer, or $1 per issue. International $3 per issue. Outside the Bay Area we’ll mail you a free stack of copies if you give them out for free. Say how many copies and how long you’ll be at your address. In the Bay Area pick up copies at Long Haul and Bound Together books, SF.

We are all West Virginia

By Dana Blanchard

If people had told me a year ago that I would be driving back for the second time in a month to West Virginia — the state that voted more lopsidedly for Donald Trump in 2016 than any other — to talk with people about union organizing and socialist politics, I would have thought the idea was absurd.

But here we are — my partner came along for the second trip — driving along a mist-filled mountain highway in a cold rain to visit a group of people who have quickly turned everything the media has told us about “red states” on its head.

Looking back on the caricature that the media and sensationally awful books like Hillbilly Elegy have created of the poor, white, backward Trump voters in this part of the country, it’s obvious that they didn’t do any real research on working-class people in West Virginia.

They talk about working-class people, especially those who voted for Trump, like they’re an alien species, rather than a group of people who are frankly just sick and tired of being sick and tired — like the rest of us.

Yes, this is a state that voted overwhelmingly for Trump. But it’s also a state that went for Bernie Sanders, an open socialist, in the Democratic primaries.

There are good reasons that many voters who typically vote Democrat didn’t support Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. West Virginia was essentially run by the Democratic Party for almost the entirety of the last century, so the Democrats are responsible in large part for the economic and social conditions people live under today.

Out of all the 121 terms of statewide office that have been regularly elected since 1932, all but seven were won by a Democrat. From 1930 to 2014, Democrats held majorities in both chambers of the West Virginia legislature.

West Virginia has had a Democratic governor for 64 of the last 85 years–including the current governor, Jim Justice, who was elected as a Democrat before switching back to a Republican in 2017.

Many West Virginians thought they could get change through voting for a different party. But some are starting to realize that they have to be the changemakers. That sentiment is what led to the teachers’ revolt.

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It’s clear from talking to people that they are looking for politics beyond what is offered through the ballot box.

West Virginia is much more than just a story about two-party political jockeying at the top of the state. It’s a state that broke away from Virginia during the Civil War over the issue of slavery — the people were opposed to slavery, and Virginia remained in the Confederacy.

It’s a state that saw militant, violent battles between Black, white and immigrant miners on one side and company coal bosses on the other. These workers battled for decades in the early 1900s to win basic union rights and freedom from control of the mining corporations in all aspects of their lives.

Striking miners and their families lived in tents when they were evicted from company housing in the dead of winter, rather than give in and go back to work.

In 1990, teachers went on strike for 11 days and mounted militant pickets at schools and bus yards across the state to win a raise. This history of struggle and radical politics has shaped generations of workers in West Virginia, and most certainly had an impact on the teachers’ strike of 2018.

While workers in West Virginia are shaped by the struggles of the past, they have also been impacted in an immediate way by the current teachers’ strike. Just like people talk reverently of family members who held the line against Big Coal, the striking teachers have inspired ordinary people across the state.

Walking around Charleston in the days after the strike victory, everyone was talking about how proud they were of the teachers and education workers.

“They deserve it” and “I’m glad they stood up for what is right” were common phrases in the coffee shop and hotel. It was like people felt that they had finally gained some ground on the crooks in the statehouse and won something for regular people who have been getting stepped on for far too long.

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In talking to some of the teachers who helped lead the strike, they were simultaneously energized and a little exhausted by the struggle, but also very cognizant that they still have major battles ahead.

The teachers we met with were proud of the way ordinary people came together across 55 counties to stand up and demand more. They were excited when teachers stood in solidarity with other state workers and refused to take a tiered wage increase.

These same teachers also said that until the billionaire oil and gas barons, many of whom hold positions in the state government, begin to pay their fair share, the fight for public services and well-funded classrooms must continue.

The ongoing struggle for funding public employee health care is just beginning in West Virginia. The state has created a task force and will be holding meetings across the state about the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) and how to fund it moving forward. This will most certainly be another space for struggle in the months to come.

For those of us who have worked in public schools, the politicians are raising a familiar narrative about the PEIA: “We have no money, how can we fund it?” They tell teachers and state workers that there’s no money for raises, health care or pensions while continuing to cut corporate taxes and give tax breaks to the very wealthy.

West Virginia is the very heart of the extraction industry — driving across the state, one sees not only coal tipples, but also fields of oil derricks, natural gas pipelines and chemical processing plants. Yet instead of raising taxes on the extraction industry, state legislators voted in 2016 to cut the oil and gas severance tax from an already meager 5 percent down to 3 percent by 2019.

This is one of the fights teachers and state workers are gearing up for next: Making those who profit off the state’s resources pay more to help fund social services and make up for the environmental degradation these industries continue to inflict.

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It’s also inspiring that most of the strikers who were on the front lines in West Virginia were women. In the era of #MeToo, this shows another layer to the struggle against sexism — that women deserve decent, well-paying jobs in addition to workplaces free from harassment.

As the coal jobs dried up in the last decade in West Virginia, women workers often became the sole wage earner in households across the state. Women workers aren’t exempt from raising families and being primary caregivers just because they work one or even two jobs outside the house.

The stories of mothers who made tremendous sacrifices to find childcare for their own kids in order to drive hours to the capital to stand up for the children in their classrooms as well showed the tremendous tenacity of the women strikers.

The women we met in West Virginia are leaders, union militants and organizers, and many of them are also mothers and wives. They refuse to be typecast. They are juggling all the things that capitalism throws at working families while managing to be part of the most exciting act of workers’ resistance in decades.

Perhaps the biggest lesson from my visit to West Virginia is that while we may live in different states and have different life experiences, we have so much in common in our struggle as workers.

One of the teachers we met with spoke candidly of having to choose between paying for a medical procedure for their infant son and buying food and diapers that month.

They spoke of generational poverty and what it’s like to inherit nothing but debt and live paycheck to paycheck despite having advanced degrees and working for nearly a decade in education.

They talked about how some of their students live in housing conditions like those in the shantytowns of apartheid South Africa, and how it’s understandable in these conditions that schools have become places not just for teaching skills, but for building communities of support that provide meals and comprehensive social services for people who have no other options.

Pictures of broken chairs, tattered textbooks, mold and pest infestations in classrooms, stories of working multiple jobs to make ends meet — this is the narrative playing out on people’s Facebook feeds and in the stories from teachers in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona.

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It’s horrifying, but it’s not completely unfamiliar. In some ways, what we are beginning to see is that we are all West Virginia. For decades, education workers have existed in conditions that continue to deteriorate due to long-term neglect.

Whether it’s no heat in schools in Baltimore or lead in the water in Detroit and Flint public schools, teachers have been trying to make it work and doing their best in situations that are completely unacceptable.

However, education workers are also beginning to take a page from West Virginia in other ways, too. We are starting to believe we’re worthy of better — that we deserve more, that the children we teach deserve better, and to get it, we have to be willing to fight for it. And if we fight for it together, we can win.

Driving home from West Virginia to Chicago, past the signs for Cabin Creek and Paint Creek, sites of the infamous mine wars from decades past, I couldn’t help but feel hopeful.

Not the kind of blind hopefulness that means putting faith in politicians to do something for us, but hope in what West Virginia teachers showed us–that we can do it for ourselves.

I am grateful to have been able to spend a few days talking to people who are now both my heroes and friends — to be able to learn from them and be a small part of knitting together this rich narrative of worker resistance that is, hopefully, just a beginning of larger fightback for the schools and working conditions we know we deserve.

Anthony Cappetta contributed to this article.

Frontlines in the Forest

By Olea

My boots sink a few inches into soft snow with each step as I make my way along a narrow path behind my comrade. We try to avoid leaving prints by walking on the bare patches of soil, but in this spot, the snow has blanketed the ground. On our left the hillside falls steeply beneath towering old growth Douglas fir, tanoak, madrone, and bay trees. The forest floor is cloaked in moss and ferns and dotted with fallen branches and logs. Above us is a gravel road, and on either side there are rows of close-planted tree farm fir. Suddenly, my comrade whips around, motioning to me silently and pointing up the hill. A truck is passing just 20 feet above us on the road. We freeze, silent until it passes, exchanging sighs of relief that we were not spotted. We are deep in timberlands owned by Humboldt Redwood Company on Northern California’s lost coast – behind enemy lines in a battle that many thought ended years ago.

I had come to Humboldt county with only a pedestrian grasp of the history of California’s timber wars. I had, completely on accident, walked into a meeting of activists defending old growth forest in the Mattole watershed. I had always assumed direct action campaigns were completely underground affairs carried out by experienced activists in tight knit affinity groups. But they needed hands in the woods, and I just happened to be there. That’s how I found myself in the backseat of a sedan rushing south on Highway 101 with tinny Grateful Dead in my ears and pot smoke wafting past my nose.

We were dropped off and began the several-hours-long hike up logging roads to reach our destination: Rainbow Ridge, the 3000-foot spine separating the Bear River watershed to the northeast from the Mattole River watershed to the southwest. Beyond the Mattole’s verdant ravines, only the forested King Range lay between us and the Pacific ocean, 10 miles west as the crow flies. That first night, trekking in the darkness up a steep gravel road, I wasn’t entirely sure I’d make it. After a month of hiking Rainbow Ridge, though, I came to know each turn and landmark. I felt the comfort of homecoming when I reached the familiar meadow marking the summit of the hike. I called out to the cows grazing in the ranchers’ meadows; I imagined that their responding moos were proclamations of solidarity with our forest defense efforts. I could look across the valley and distinguish the uniform green blocks of planted Doug fir from the old-growth mixed stands with their rich, heterogenous colors and textures.

The history of forest defense in Humboldt County is long and rich. The seeds were planted in the late 70s when activists first used non violent direct action tactics to resist logging near the Sinkyone wilderness, but forest defense efforts didn’t garner widespread attention until the late 80s. In 1985, Texan venture capitalist Charles Hurwitz orchestrated a hostile takeover of the Humboldt county timber company Pacific Lumber (PL) and began liquidating their assets – clearcutting at a breakneck speed forests that PL had been cutting slowly for over a century. Resistance mounted all over the county against the timber harvest plans of PL and other logging companies. One campaign coalesced around the headwaters of the Elk River, a 20,000-acre forest southeast of Eureka owned by PL that included several pristine groves of old growth mixed forest.

The battle over the Headwaters wore on for over a decade – in the forest with blockades and tree sits, in the community with demonstrations and public actions, and in the courts with suits over PL’s destruction of endangered species habitat and blatant disregard for forestry regulations. In 1999, the Headwaters Deal was signed, in which 7500 acres of timberland in the Elk River watershed, including 3000 acres of old growth, were bought out from PL in exchange for $480 million in taxpayer money and the green light to log other PL holdings.

The Mattole is often referred to as the orphan of the Headwaters Deal because activists proposed that protections for the Mattole be included in the Deal, but none were granted, leaving the area vulnerable to continued logging. In 2007 PL declared bankruptcy, an inevitable conclusion after two decades of mismanagement which prioritized immediate gains over environmental and fiscal sustainability. PL’s assets, including over 200,000 acres of timberlands and the company mill in Scotia, were reorganized into Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC) with general support from the community, largely because HRC promised not to log old growth. The majority shareholders in HRC and its sister company, Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC), are the Fisher family, San Francisco real estate giants and owners of the Gap clothing brand and the Oakland A’s. Between HRC and MRC, the Fishers possess 440,000 acres of forest, which makes them the single largest landholder of coastal Redwood forest. If you suspect that the 1% have their nasty fingers in literally everything evil, and then wonder if thinking that makes you a conspiracy theorist, you’re not tripping – it’s fucking real!

The Headwaters Reserve and most of the other former timberlands that have been granted protection as a result of the timber wars are low elevation, mixed forest dominated by coast Redwood. 97% of California’s old growth coast Redwood forest were logged, and most of the remaining groves are now protected. The Mattole is unique in that it is dominated by Douglas fir and tanoak rather than Redwood. Coast Redwoods only grow up to about 2,000 ft above sea level, and being at about 3,000 ft, Rainbow Ridge’s only Redwood trees are a short row of young saplings planted as an experiment by the company.

Douglas fir is the only “marketable” species on the ridge, and HRC has been intent on converting the diverse mixed forest into a monocropped Doug fir plantation for maximum board foot output. To this end, HRC and MRC both employ a barbaric herbicide technique known as “hack and squirt” to kill “unmarketable” hardwood trees (which on Rainbow includes tanoak, live oak, madrone, and bay laurel), which they have the audacity to call restoration. Notches are cut into the trunks of the hardwoods, and then injected with Imazapyr, an herbicide that is an ingredient in Roundup and that is water soluble and can travel to parts of the landscape where it wasn’t sprayed. We walked through a unit on Rainbow Ridge that had been treated with herbicides, and it gave me the chills. The hardwoods are left standing dead, and the remaining forests feel like spooky, dry brown graveyards with lonely surviving Doug fir mingled throughout. There is a severe fire risk posed by forests filled with standing dead fuel, and in 2016 Mendocino county voters passed a measure, aimed specifically at MRC, to limit hack and squirt on the basis of fire safety. But enforcement has been lax, and MRC continues to herbicide hardwoods. HRC faces no such limitations.

There was frequent resistance to PL timber operations in the Mattole prior to HRC’s acquisition of the land. In 1997 Mattole valley residents sued PL over destruction of habitat for endangered coho salmon and staged demonstrations. In 2001 forest defenders blockaded a narrow section of road just above the Upper North Fork of the Mattole River. The spot they chose is strategic — blockading this single point prevents access to 18,000 acres of forest. This gravelly section of road has seen a lot of action since then. In 2014 HRC filed 2 timber harvest plans (THPs) for Rainbow Ridge and activists responded with a four month blockade, which halted logging on that side of the ridge.

In 2016, in response to community pressure, HRC cancelled their plans for helicopter logging on Rainbow, but retained 2 cable yarding THPs. In 2017 company officials told the community they wouldn’t log until summertime, but activists discovered company contractors had herbicided over 180 acres in the spring. Again, a blockade was set up, and HRC was unable to log all season. HRC renewed their two active THPs in the area in September of 2017, claiming there were no significant changes in the units. In fact, a massive landslide had occurred directly adjacent to a unit, a clear indication of the instability of the steep, rocky hillsides that characterize the ridge — and a certainly a reason not to risk additional logging the area. Activists dismantled the blockade at the end of the logging season in the fall but have maintained a close eye on HRC’s movements on the ridge over the winter.

The newest development is that HRC has filed a road proposal for a completely redundant road which would serve the sole purpose of circumventing the bottleneck spot that activists have successfully blockaded for nearly 2 decades. Constructing the road would require destroying a sensitive marsh area, removing a beautiful grove of old growth bay laurel trees, and quarrying a huge rock outcrop. California Department of Forestry (CDF), the regulatory body responsible for the final stamp of approval, is notorious for approving virtually every timber company scheme that lands on their desks, but this road proposal has faced half a dozen delays as HRC struggles to comply with CDF’s meager requirements for new logging roads. Forest defenders are poised and ready to make sure this pointless and destructive road is not built. At the same time, the logging season is upon us, and with two active THPs on the ridge HRC could start work in the units any day. There is also a second road proposal, already approved, farther down the ridge that would open up access to unentered old growth.

Nonviolent direct action tactics like blockades and tree sits cannot protect the forest forever, but in the past 35 years they have proven to be a crucial stalling technique, slowing or stopping logging during the long months or years it takes for aboveground routes to be navigated – which often ultimately looks like buying the land and designating it a preserve, but can include legal strategies such as suing the timber companies over noncompliance and legislating tighter restrictions on timber operations. Forest defenders hope for full protection in perpetuity for the remaining 1,100 acres of unentered old growth on Rainbow Ridge.

There are a multitude of tangible, locally relevant reasons to oppose logging in this region – protecting habitat for native endangered species, including salmon; preserving wildlands for the next generation to enjoy; and preventing direct impacts on local residents, such as exposure to toxic herbicides, or the landslides and floods that come after heavy logging, just to name a few.

But what makes the Mattole worth fighting for if these issues don’t affect you personally? The temperate rainforest of the Pacific Northwest is actually the most efficient carbon sink of any ecosystem on Spaceship Earth – more effective at sequestering carbon per acre than the Amazon. With climate change quickly surpassing conservative estimates, the importance of the carbon sequestration value of forests, as well as their role as climactic regulators in the water cycle, increases every day. Scientists are scrambling to design carbon sinks – it is ludicrous to destroy the natural carbon sinks Earth herself has gifted us with. Forests the world over will go through major changes in the coming centuries as climate change progresses. Karen Coulter of the Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project says that it is imperative that we create protected areas where ecosystems can have the freedom to adapt to climate change without human intervention. We must realize that examples of ecocide such as the logging and herbiciding of Rainbow Ridge are not merely little individual tragedies. They are appendages, small in appearance, but connected to a many-limbed beast of industrial destruction that is fueled by consumption and piloted by the cold logic of capital. To resist this, our struggles for ecology cannot manifest as isolated efforts to address a single issue. Our campaigns must be rooted in a broad intention to address ecological devastation on all fronts across the globe.

The forest defense movement is wide-ranging and is made up of people of many walks of life participating in different ways. There are lawyers and nonprofit directors who work behind the scenes to file suits and get the land permanently protected. There are rascals on the ground building blockades and climbing trees. And there are a multitude of things to be done to support a forest defense campaign – supplies to be hiked in, food to be dumpstered, calls to be made, big trees to be measured, articles to be written, benefit shows to be played, collective dysfunctions to be addressed. This work is never easy, but it is unequivocally important, and deeply meaningful.

Climate chaos is fully upon us now, and working to address it and adapt to it requires all of our attention and focus. We can no longer afford to carry on focusing on jobs, school, or family as if things are as they’ve always been. We are facing something unprecedented, and protecting forests is crucial in mitigating ecological collapse.

All my respect and love goes out to those engaged in eco-defense around the world. I call on those who are not engaged yet to reach out to your local campaigns against ecological devastation. Organize in your community, or come to Humboldt County and join us here. The forest is waiting for you to call it home.

Upcoming action camp will be held May 24th – May 27th near the Mattole River watershed in Southern Humboldt county. Trainings and hands on workshops will be held on nonviolent direct action, tripod blockade rigging, tree climbing, herbal first aid, backwoods medic skills, logging monitoring, groundtruthing and more! Come prepared and self-sufficient for all weather conditions, and for those interested, come ready to play in the woods after camp! For further details and directions contact or 707-336-2231