a11 – Revolutionary Soup for the soul

By jazz

We are human beings having human experiences, many of which are alive in beauty and pain. Yet overarching that we are spiritual beings, souls, having a human experience, all of which are alive in profound purposefulness. As a yoga practitioner and teacher, I am often faced with the notion of Karma. Karma is all about the soul and little about the human. That being said, it has everything to do with humanity. One’s soul is the main character of their Karmic purpose.

The cycles of Karma speak to living from a place of deeply rooted intention. If you as a human can’t grasp how to do that from a place of deep meaning, your soul will one day find its way back here on Earth, with another human, to have another go. So the goal of the gurus and of many contemporary practitioners who subscribe to the philosophy of yoga is to get to a place of oneness with themselves and those around them while they’re here, as this is one way we can get closer to achieving our purpose. This looks different to every person, but the intentionality behind it is the same. To achieve oneness as a human from a soul level is to free the soul from the bleakness of the Earth and promise its return home; to Nirvana, to the universe, to the freeing nothingness that comprises everything. 

The existence of our souls is one of neutrality. Souls are like everything else when in their states of equilibrium; they just are. They are not good or bad, not friendly or rude, not excellent or subpar, they just are. My soul and yours are made out of stardust, cloud vapor, the cool ocean breeze, snow from the caps of Patagonia. They are here to take up divine space, re-filling this universe with the natural pureness that it bestows on us. Our free will and individuality are supposed to enhance this beauty. 

Individuality is the art of the universe. It was gifted to us in the form of DNA, cells, neurotransmitters all situated at the brain stem and throughout the brain. Humanity carries the legacy of hyper-consciousness. We are the rebels, the uplifters, the creators, the ones capable of achieving a greatness that is so good only our brains can comprehend it holistically. If only our prefrontal cortexes, the part of the brain largely responsible for our individuality, led us to more of that beautiful, fulfilling creation and less to creative means of destruction. 

The thing is, the art of individuality is an easy thing to get caught up in. We alone are only one piece of the massive artwork that is life. The pieces of this mural are beautiful individually and deserve to know that, to feel that, but a mural is not complete in its beauty unless all parts are together, in oneness. So why do we stand alone in this magnificent and decaying piece of art we call Earth? Our souls’ intent may not be to return, but they and we are here to rain on the drought of unintentionality. While we are here, there is sacred space to reclaim, the very space being taken up by settler societies and failing systems, and we can only reclaim and reinvent this space with the oneness, the soulfulness, that comprises community. 

We are conditioned to leave our divine purposes out of our daily narratives and now more than ever that is an extreme harm. The consciousness of our souls is needed in our revolutionary lives. Our souls are ever present, and in a time where everyone from right-wingers to liberals are talking about ‘inclusion’, liberation-focused beings are still dropping the ball by forgetting to include the parts of us that are really here to run the show. I don’t expect mainstream media of any kind to group in our souls (or our humanity for that matter), but those of us who are committed to revolutionary labor, who are still here after the Occupy movement, after Standing Rock, after the 2020 uprisings, and during Fairy Creek, during several SCOTUS shit shows, and during late stage capitalism, cannot afford to not carry our souls on our sleeves. 

We need to ponder our purposes in community. We must talk about what our points of view are beyond the 2 dimensions of everyday life. A higher purpose is always present, so no longer can we fail to include it. Our prefrontal cortex needs to bear witness to our souls, which means you need to know from day to day that your soul is there and it knows you, human. It needs you to use your individuality to group together with other souls and aid in the deliverance of the good Karma that our world deserves.

Late stage capitalism exists in austerity. I’m sure it reaches you, revolutionary. I’m sure it touches your emotional body in a way that is oftentimes overwhelming. I know and I feel the way it affects our capacities to be present in this work daily, to keep it going, to feel hope. But we are not alone. What an annoying cliche to hear… but I do not say that because we have comrades or loved ones experiencing similar things, not because many of us are currently laying the framework for a widespread, sustainable anti-capitalist and anti-Empire movement; it is because we are supported by your soul, which is my soul, which is their soul, which is our soul. 

We are children of the constellations. In our very being we carry the vapor of cumulus clouds, the cool ocean breeze at dusk, the currents of the Pacific, the answers to all of the questions. I was born on Tycho’s crater, my neighbor in the darkness of the Mariana Trench, and you from a single droplet of rain. I was also born in Boulder, my neighbor in Vallejo, and maybe you in Kansas City. It’s all interconnected, beautiful, unimaginably real. We are all here together aching for existences that are easier and more worthwhile, coming to terms with the hard work involved in getting us there… and that’s okay. A huge part of the work is feeling into the spots that hurt. Next time you do so bear in mind that even though it may feel lonely, so many of us are also in that space. Often, it is our own personal experiences in that space which draw us to the work; so many of our purposes are born from that space. 

Everyone that ever existed has been here at a specific time for a specific reason. That reason is usually unknown, and usually not the first thing we investigate (matters of the world around us are more appealing to investigate because they concern the ego and not the soul, but that’s another article entirely). The reality is that this is a time where so much of our work MUST begin from investigating why we are here right now. Look around you; what is going on? Now feel inside of you; what do you find lingering there in that space? Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and do it again. Somewhere in what comes up for you as you examine the world around you and the one inside of you is a clue to where your soul is leading you. Let it lead. 

The town I’m from is ravaged by fires every year that burn houses, harm animals, and can take away days of sunlight. The sacred lands of my Mayan ancestors and relatives, the Q’eqchi, in El Estor, Guatemala are being desecrated by harmful U.S. backed mining practices. The lands I’m privileged enough to benefit from, whether culturally or materially, are center-fold to my soul-human experience. Rooted in my soul is a sacred connection to the land, and to the healing she and I can aid each other in. Time and time again, my purpose leads me back to our Mother Earth and the vulnerability inherent in us both. I wouldn’t connect with this inner knowing if I didn’t incorporate this spiritual and soul-full self study into my revolutionary labor.

While I research and experience some of these harms, I am also looking inward. I constantly investigate what is coming up for me, where and how it feels in my body, where I feel touched from a moral place, and I go deeper and deeper into those inquiries until something of value shows up in my being. I breathe into the discomfort of healing, knowing that the more I liberate my human body from trauma, the more my soul will take the wheel. It is in true grassroots movements that we find the power inherent within our communities, but to do so we must start from the root; ourselves. 

Our humanity as Westerners is codependently attached to our Earthly stimulation. We tornado our way through life, taking down everything in our path regardless of the soul that is offered. We create, destroy, repeat, not keeping in mind the Karmic connections inherent in our actions, not keeping in mind the implications to us on soul levels. 

When we embrace that our souls are suppressed bolts of lightning, we can learn how to invite their strike for our ultimate revolutionary benefit. I strike to save my Guatemalan homelands, I strike to return the land I reside on to the Patwin people. I strike to share my soul’s narrative, and reach folks who could use the perspective. I strike to liberate my body and yours through intuitive movement and breath. I strike for true freedom for all beings so that after my time here on Earth my soul, our soul, can return to the clouds, sunbathe at the top of Everest, and float amongst the countless universal orbits that become of us, all the while guiding the souls that will return back to Earth to finish the fight for good.

a10 – So-called Washington State

By Scott Smith #278891

Washington state is the only state in the USA named after a major slave owner, slave trader, slave hunter and slave killer: George Washington. He never once set foot on any land comprised of the state of Washington. 

George Washington’s legacy of being heavily engaged in human trafficking is celebrated daily with his clear and distinct facial image on the Washington state flag, the Washington state seal, and on countless other official accoutrements. 

As a slave owner, George Washington owned plantations where enslaved men, women and children were forced into labor against their will. Failure to comply resulted in beatings with a leather horse whip, or other forms of violence, including death. 

George Washington prohibited slaves from marrying each other, and if relationships were discovered between slaves, then one of them would be sold to a different plantation. Any children from illegal slave relationships became the property of George Washington. He would sell the young children at a premium to other plantations. More than 293 enslaved children were born and sold by George Washington’s plantations. Some slave children were given as gifts to other wealthy white plantation owners. The laws by George Washington as president of the United States made it so white men could rape black women and children, and other minority women and children, with impunity. Black women and children, and other minorities, were not considered human beings, but rather, animals, livestock and property.

Ona Maria Judge was a female slave born on George Washington’s plantation. At the age of nine (9) years old she was taken from her mother to live in Washington’s home to be a service maid for George Washington’s wife, Martha. When Ona Judge was about 20 years old she escaped from Washington’s home. President Washington hunted Ona, hired others to hunt her, deployed wanted posters, and installed advertisements in newspapers rewarding anyone who captured and returned her. Ona was never captured, nor freed, even after Washington’s death. Ona became the exclusive hunted slave property of Martha Washington.

George Washington never took responsibility for owning, trading, hunting and killing slaves. “Lost in that story is a cemetery of people enslaved by George Washington.” See: “The 1619 Project”, Nikole Hannah-Jones, at page 130.

It is a sad day when a state government glorifies the senseless pain, torture and murder of a multitude of minority slaves by the first president of the United States, who actively engaged in human trafficking by owning slaves, trading slaves, hunting slaves and killing slaves for personal gain, financial profit and political status. No valid reason exists to name the state of Washington after George Washington, except to intentionally inflict pain and suffering on minorities. It is time to change the name of the state of Washington.

If not you, who? If not now, when?

Write Scott Smith #278891 at 191 Constantine Way, Aberdeen, WA 98520

a10 – Woah, these trimmers are raving mad!

By Talia 

As an american who grew up in a hipster-y, politically correct college town in New England, I didn’t grow up a raver. Now that I’ve gotten out of my bubble, I’ve met lots of people who grew up in the rave scene. Austrians who went to their first psy-trance parties at fourteen. Van-life Italians who used to track down raves with gps coordinates like they were geo-caches. Germans who can ID different types of electronic music like I can ID vegetable seedlings. Bouncy house, dark psy, progressive, swamp, jungle…. Here I am, having to read Wikipedia articles with little audio samples attached to them like some old man who’s trying to get ‘hip with the times’. Americans who grew up in the bay area, sneaking out their parents’ windows to get rained on with human sweat. Returning home smelling like way-too-grown-up-body-odor. Tech kids from Chicago that found their first refuge from bullies in underground warehouse raves full of weirdos just like them. 

The first time I ever left home, I did find my way to a rave in LA. I had to eat a lot of molly to stop worrying about the fact that I was wearing farm boots and a T-shirt while everyone else was a half-naked furry animal. I paid twenty bucks for the experience, and it was pretty commercial.

I can’t say I’d thought much about raves in the following years. I’d always had an interest, but I wasn’t connected with any underground ravers, and I was pretty clear that the raves in clubs are lame.

When I moved to super rural Southern Oregon, I discovered a surprising rave scene. My introduction was, strangely enough, through my passion for writing. I was working at a recreational marijuana farm with this Italian guy who was a writing maniac. We started hanging out often, making dinner and working on a manifesto. We finished the manifesto, and started working on a book together, a timepiece of the weed work culture on the west coast. We were chugging steadily along, when suddenly he had a strict deadline for us. We have to get out half of this book, publish it as a zine, and bring it to this rave that’s like six hours away. It’s french. It’s gonna be good. I don’t think he expected me to come. But my curiosity was piqued. I was for sure going to this rave. 

We drove all the way down, basically to San Francisco, with a whole caravan. Five Italians, a German, a Spanish girl, a Mexican girl, some dude from South Africa, and me. It was awesome. Maybe two hundred people in a barn from every country imaginable. Everyone was a trimmer. Almost no one was american, and you could definitely spot the ones that were. Looking a little awkward, usually a pretty big guy who was probably a grower with a beer pressed against his chest. We were right at the front, and some of my friends were taking turns pressing their ear against the speaker. It was transcendent and silly. We were all passing beer, water, joints, and cigarettes around the room. Not just to our friends. To everyone. I felt like we were all taking care of each other. All smiling and sharing dance moves. Sunrise came and I crawled out of the barn to smoke a joint and lay in the sun. Some of my friends were snorting speed. I was confused. It was almost ten in the morning. I was ready to go to bed. But another stage was starting up. We had the most epic view of the valley below us. Partying on the edge of a mountain. The organizers had set up couches and rugs and tables all around and some people were lounging while others were still dancing. The music was still good. Fuck. 

That was my introduction to the European rave culture that has found its way to the west coast. The next one, I was more prepared. I might be parked in for over twenty four hours. I should take a nap at some point during the night or around sunrise so that I can be fresh for the morning sets. Bring earplugs. 

It was well organized anarchy at it’s best. I’ve since heard the term ‘institutionalization of revelry’. It’s a sad thought. I’ll never lose my love for seeing one of my favorite bands play, but this real freedom made me so happy. Plus, the production was basically… just as good. It was professional level, maybe even beyond professional, because there were no bureaucratic hoops to jump through. 

Now I am so curious, what is the history of European raves? How did they find their way to the west coast? Are they exclusively associated with the immigrant trim-scene, or is there a longer history? 

Is this a counterculture that will continue to grow and spread?

Raves became illegal in the UK in the 90s due to certain legislation. The Entertainments Act in 1990. Then there was the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994, which was specifically about shutting down raves. The US had similar legislation, the RAVE Act, appear in 2003. It doesn’t surprise me that rave culture and weed culture have become fast friends. Everyone in the weed industry is also living on the edge of society. Risks and parties go hand-in-hand. Partying is ruled by Dionysus. He is the harbinger of festivities, theater, ecstasy; but also ritual madness and insanity.

Who are these European ravers that found their way to the west coast? They are adventurous ones, for sure. Travelers, creative money-makers. They actually talk to each other. How else do you hear about raves and trim jobs? Word of mouth. They also are primarily Southern Europeans. I suppose the traits of Southern Europe that are most relevant to this essay are the higher focus on the collective and the family than the individual, as well as higher poverty. The people who the system is built to serve have no need to step outside of the system. 

I don’t think that many people in the United States know about this sub-culture of weed-trimming-immigrant-ravers. I don’t think that many people in the United States know that you could find one of these big raves somewhere in Northern California every couple of weeks. I think that most of us have a negative image of the types of people that party for 24-48 hours nonstop. That they are stupid, and boring to talk to. That they are draining society instead of contributing to it. That they are from rich families, wasting their potential. Experiencing this new kind of rave made me realize that I had a lot of these stereotypes. That I should think more on the subject. That these sorts of extended parties can actually be a thoughtful, intentional form of protest. Perhaps a more sustainable protest against society, since it’s one that connects us through joy and love. 

Member Rogue Writers Guild @roguexwriters

6 – Beet Manifesto

By moldyroot + uncle yam

I nstead of the beatniks of lore, the dirtbag heroin-and-sex addicts of the 50s that so many writers still adore– we are the beets. We have the same wandering feet as our forefathers, but we find ourselves in late-stage capitalism. We stand at the edge of society, both in love and infinitely upset with capitalism and technology. Unlike the beatniks, we care for our bodies and our minds, much like we care for our gardens. We are witnessing the end of the holocene, the only geological period stable enough to sustain agriculture. We are a burgeoning global community of writers and thinkers, beginning to find our voice. We are…

1. The surfers of the temporal stretch. We don’t want your expectations, at thirty or forty or fifty we can still be twenty. We can still work a job for two months, fly across the world. Give us a railroad gig and we will do it. We might quit two weeks later, work a migrant farm job, and circle back next year in constant motion. Like the beet, we only start to get wrinkles after ages in storage. What is storage if not the cubicle where a woman learns how to be a proper man? USO USO USO! United States Of… what?

2. After ten thousand years we see the end of a stable era, oh holocene! Not a big deal for us, the beet can grow anywhere in any condition, any season, any soil. We thrive on chaos, grow from messiness into… what manifestation of beauty? We are an idealistic produce.

3. We reject the binary political system, run away with our tail between our legs! Nuance is our love language. We grind up facts, roll them into philosophies, smoke them into questions. We don’t need big trucks, guns under our pillows. How many gallons of gasoline does a gun need? Beets are a gentle folk. Some of us are heirloom, saved from our grandfathers and grandmothers. Some are new eccentric roots. Come one come all, march in shamelessly, new beets!

4. In this era of infinite information, we adventure through the labyrinth of digital popcorn. The world is massive, yet small. Knowledge is infinite, but we can invite her over and talk all night. We can watch a movie, if we have a television. If not we can chop wood and read stories in tree rings. We can have a potluck with our astrobiogeodendrolocofolklorologist fellas. Just make a good argument and you can stay for dinner. We tend to our swelling heads, so our harvest can be bountiful. 

5. If you ask some old timers they will tell you that we are lucky because today it is so easy to travel. We don’t believe that. We are traveler souls and we would travel in any epoch. Histrionics of the middle age. Immigrants of colonialism. Beatniks of the fifties. Ravers of the nineties. Dimensional travelers of the future. We are all of that. Sometimes also more. We are seasonal workers. We are digital nomads. We can work in boats. We can be ski-teachers. We would still work in mines. For real. Where there is easy money there are beets. We can be everything. We can be everywhere. How to find us? You know that unique smell of soil that a beet has? Follow it!

6. Beets are not running up to the mountains to find a sacred place. Not yet. The beets know that society needs them. They can be urban hikers. They can live on the scraps of the city. Growing in pavement cracks and abandoned lots. Beets can last for months off of peanut butter or cheap white rice. Maybe mixed together. They want to eat local because they don’t trust organic. They’ve been working too much at the bottom to trust any industry. They know the way to happiness is the garden. But not yet. I told you, the beets are on a long mission. The Katastematic pleasure is our final chapter.

7. Beets are the travelers in Australia. Beets are the resistance in Greece. Beets are the trimmers in the Pacific Northwest. Beets are the grape picker in Champagne. Beets are the cherry pickers in the remote south of New Zealand. In the woods of British Columbia. Beets are the young generation of Mexico, of Morocco or Hong Kong. Not all of them. But some of them. Beets are growing among the normal people. Beets are not scared of the social network. They use it, as a tool. But not for living. Beets are activists in the oldest human form. The beets are the people that are acting to change the world. Slowly. No matter on which level of consciousness, they are doing it. Slowly yes, but constantly. 

8. The beet is underground, the beet is resilient. They love to be in groups yet they can stand alone. Beets are born beets, they can put down their roots as easily as they can tear them up.

9. Beets can adapt to technology, progress, or to Luddism. We can live in our leaking cabin with only a wood stove, or we can live as van life digital nomads. We can adapt to luxury, and adapt to hardship and austerity. We thrive in a mix. We want to live as many lives as possible. A cat has nine lives, how many does a beet have?

10. Beets can live anywhere, but we have a map marked in golden pen, x’s around the world. But Williams is the perfect soil for us. Sandy desert yet teeming with biodiversity. So many of us that we can catch water in the pockets where our roots touch.

11. We beets do not refuse the speed of globalization, of this global village. But we think that some things must slow, go back to the soil. Do you feel that is a paradox? Yes it is. Beets are a paradox and we are not ashamed of it. We are living in it and thriving in it because we know that we cannot escape it. Our world is a paradox, and to deny it would allow it to consume us. We have to work with it. Localize. Slow food, slow wandering. Barter, trade, understand where things come from. From our laptops to our ancestors, from our dinner to our cocaine.

12. Are you a beet? What’s your beet name? Oh you soil smeared friends, work for yourself and don’t call it work. Take time to talk, and really wake up. We will find each other. Anything for intellect and home cooking. No borders, no visas, no limits. If there are walls, we will take out our Persian rugs and float onwards. If the only way across is to crash through, we will fuck up the wall.

6 – When the ash settles

By Lola 

It’s unlikely that Mount Tamalpais is the remnant of an extinct volcano, but it’s possible. The eruption, if it ­ever happened, might have taken place 20 to 45 million years ago — this is according to the boy sitting ­next to me at the coffee shop; he advised me not to cite him in my essay — and it would have blanketed our currently ergonomic bay area with a suffocating layer of unforgiving black ash. I can see the sky obstructed with smoke for days, maybe weeks; the remaining redwoods and douglas-fir gray and unrecognizable; the tiny skeletons of moles, gophers, and hummingbirds scattered through the cinders. 

In time, patches of blue would return overhead. The wind would pick up debris and push it off toward the Pacific, alone undisturbed by the obliteration of a neighboring ecosphere, blue and welcoming as death in her effort to let the mountain be what it was always going to be: a mountain. But before the leaves turned green again and the soil regular brown, crawling with earthworms, before those still weeks of unbreathable air and black sky, before the few hours in which everything was destroyed, from invasive weeds to rare and endangered butterflies — before all of this, there was the fire, and before the fire, there was the longing to erupt. 

It’s commonly accepted that mount Tam was formed, not by an annihilating volcano, but instead by pressures formed at the San Andreas Fault. While the origin stories of volcanic eruption and tectonic plate movement both leave us with the same mountain, I wonder if some distinction is born out of which story we choose to tell. Was the mountain that I live on created out of fire-chaos-destruction-rebirth? Or was it formed through the slow, steady, and positive accumulation of mass between two moving fragments of the earth’s crust? In one story, there is no darkness in creation — no death, no fire, no unbearable longing to erupt. The world is built through apathetic progress, positivity, line graphs sloping up. No harm done. No rare butterflies obliterated, but no invasive weeds wiped out, either. 

Once-volcano or not, mount tam is now dormant — just like the rest of the bay area, sliding down into pristine mill valley, foggy san francisco, the practical east bay and the steel-blue water between the three bridges. Now I am sitting outside a coffee shop looking out over a nearby park. My hair is clean and the mountain’s green. I am so young. There’s dogs everywhere: they stick to the confines of the lawn, eyes empty, tails wagging. Hair as clean as mine. Everyone here is smiling, including the clear blue sky, including the cartoonish police officer waving hello to the old ladies on their morning walk to town. It’s a very pretty picture. Here I am in the center of it, a very pretty, very respectable-looking girl. A dormant girl. And while there’s something superficially nice in all of that, something nice in the steady linearity of tectonic plates taking years and years to make a mountain, there’s something else, too. A feeling I can’t deny. An ugly longing I can’t suppress. And I think I want it all to burn. 


On his cross-country drive, he took a few shrooms in the white sands desert. After sneaking into the park and setting up camp on the dunes, the sun had already begun to disappear behind the flat, unforgiving horizon. When the sky was dark he retreated into his tent, dimly aware of his original intention to lie under the stars but uneasy of the wind blowing through that reserve of strange, pearly sand.

The night passed both quickly and slowly. He made little drawings and tried to write but his mind was fastened to the creature roaming around outside the tent, which he never saw but obsessively imagined. Finally, at an unidentifiable hour and after putting it off as long as he could, he ventured outside to pee. The sight of his tent after returning hit him with a deep and indescribable dread. There were notebooks and pastels strewn across his crumpled-up sleeping bag; a bottle of water had been knocked over and a few loose pieces of paper in one corner were soaking in the mess; something smelled weird. It was colder than he remembered. All he wanted in that moment was for the sun to rise, and the second this thought entered his mind, he could think of little else. Darkness became the culprit for both the mess inside of his tent and his unknowable fears outside of it.

Eventually, he decided to start tidying up. When everything was almost back in order, he thought of something he wanted to write down. Rummaging for the right notebook in his backpack resulted in another small mess and panic began to set in again: would he keep organizing things and then fucking them up again, over and over and over until the end of time? When would he rest? He lay down on his back, eyes shut tight, imagining the excruciating cycle repeating and repeating and repeating and repeating…and lying there, he noticed that each heartbeat was followed immediately by another, and another, and there was nothing he could do to stop them from coming, nothing that could convince him each beat was not simply a preparation for the next…

Time passed in this way. Later, he would sit up, slowly, and write on his left arm in big, clear letters: I WILL REST… Switching the pen into his left hand, he wrote in much clumsier and more cramped-up print: …WHEN THE SUN COMES UP. Why must things start so whole, so clean, so clear, and then become so inevitably messy? Why must we witness and create so much beauty only to witness and create such ugly chaos? He compared the messages on his two arms, disappointed in his work but tired enough to accept it. And much later, when the sun came up, he did rest. But his heart never stopped beating.


I gravitate towards non-linear methods of protest that are an end in themselves as opposed to a means-to-an-end: instances in which disrespectful forms of defiance such as law-breaking, violence, harassment, vandalism, humor, or theft produce an immediate sense of pleasure, joy, self-preservation, or liberation in state victims. Defiance for the sake of defiance asks us to drop our conceptions of scarcity, to embrace heat and darkness, and to accept that however many times we clean the tent it will always become messy again. [This] is not always for [that]. Volcanoes don’t explode so that they can become mountains again; I don’t flip off a cop in the hopes that he will respect me more. 

This exists for this. 


The boys are like the sky — or the ocean. Vast and blue and beautiful and surging with energy. This now, then that. Light on their feet. If not graceful in their easy successes then full of laughter in their momentary defeats. Once I started to watch, I couldn’t stop. As they rolled a spliff I would fill up and then burst with jealousy. The jam begins — a pause in the steady stream of jokes until it becomes a centerpiece in itself — someone flipped over a crate and now there are drums and now there is singing and now I’m lying down in my spilled pool of envy and maybe this is okay? Maybe I can bliss out in this invisibility? Maybe I can melt into this scratchy boy-bedroom carpeting and maybe my formless rage will dissolve into the floorboards and maybe I can feel at peace with being nothing at all?

Solace comes in the form of one tiny yet indisputable fact: I’ll never be the sky or the sea. But I can maybe be a bird or a fish.

(Small creatures, maybe, but small creatures with eyes.)


On my 21st birthday I was a fish, but a content one, and I couldn’t believe the quantities of love that the blue house could hold in one night. I walked in with my sisters, soaking wet from walking along in the mission in the rain, and the boys were sitting at the piano or had picked up drums, guitars, and were playing a jazzified happy birthday to greet me. Justin made raspberry chocolate cake and in the kitchen they were already listening to Defiance Ohio and taking shots. I singed off most of my eyelashes on my crush’s spliff and drank too many beers and danced a lot and probably cried at one point. In the morning, on the balcony with Maddy, I confessed that I knew I didn’t deserve any of it.

“Lola.” She gave me this look. “Will you quit it with the scarcity narrative. There’s so much flowing out of everyone here, and we still all try to deny it of ourselves. It’s insane…” She gestured haphazardly at the sky and the street and the sun and the garden and our friends eating breakfast in the kitchen. I nodded, understanding her point. It all seemed so precious to me in that moment.

We slipped back into the kitchen and I was handed a burnt piece of toast with jam, and Wild Dog tried to grab a bite, and someone started playing Trees and Flowers on the speaker. Maddy raised her eyebrows at me, and suddenly I was thinking about how the ocean needs the fish as much as the fish needs the ocean, and inexplicably, as I smiled back at her, I felt I knew exactly what she was thinking without her having to say it —

Do you really think any of this beauty could exist without your eyes seeing it… your mouth tasting it…your skin feeling it… your heart racing with it…


Some ideas on exciting and pleasurable defiance:

– Kiss a cop

– Take a trip to the Aleutian mountain range, watch Paviot erupt

– Do the dishes

– Fall in love with one of your friends

– Write down a list of people you would do anything for, then do the things for the people

– Drop the scarcity narrative: instead of melting into the carpet, offer what you can offer

– Observe the flight of a beach bat at dusk


My friends are the long dry yellow grass on the mountain. Sometimes, just here for the season. Sometimes too easy to get lost in. When we are all together it’s usually guitar playing and ocean swimming and making fun of each other. But when conversation edges away from our immediate surroundings and tips into the wider world, I’m often asked about the whole burning it down thing — how is that supposed to work? How can we justify violent and destructive revolution with this sun that feels so good on this beach? With this peach that is so sweet with that cigarette that’s so perfectly rolled with Flo, standing there on the shoreline, looking so beautiful by the waves?

I’ll run sand through my fingers slowly, thinking about the shiny sliver of light we exist in — healthy and comfortable and Californian — compared to the dark struggle that is home to most of the world, everyone who suffers through life so that we can enjoy it. Thinking about how we have to burn it down for those who maybe don’t have the matches or the energy to strike them right now, but who badly need it burned. 

But instead of saying all this, maybe I get up and join Flo where the waves are breaking, deciding it’s all kind of bullshit anyways. You can’t split the world up into people living in sunlight and people living in darkness. Even if you could — there’s cloudy days to consider, nights lit up with stars, full moons over the ocean — eclipses. We all contribute to the system; we all hurt because of it. So while I know that my privilege is crafted out of the oppression of another girl on another beach, maybe a few thousand miles south or a few thousand miles east, and while I know that because I have been randomly placed into this position of privilege it would be beneficial for me to bring destruction, chaos, and violence into our space of naturalized calm and manufactured peace, I also know that I am never going to save anyone, nor do I want to. We have to do this for ourselves as much as we have to do it for anyone else. I shoplift and graffiti frat houses and harass cops because maybe it can help even the scales; because even the most immaculate houses can have mold under their floorboards — but I’m not doing it out of any sense of duty, out of any notion that my proximity to whiteness and to wealth and to resources makes me any more capable of change than the rest of the world. At the end of the day, my everyday attempts at “burning it down” come from a few simple motivators. One: I feel like I’d die if I didn’t. 

Two: it feels good. 

Three: the yellow grass on the mountain. On my dad’s 56th birthday we found out about the tumor in my grandma’s lung. Life is frenzied, complex, buzzing in your ears and whirling before your eyes — and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, life becomes jarringly simple. You live, you age, you die. Your life is not all of the things you might do. It’s not the image you cling to of yourself in a far-away future: backpacking through Argentina, settling down in a house with pink roses growing in the front yard — rest, a clean tent, a sunrise. Life is what you did today, and that feeling you get when autumn begins, and the people you have been loving for some time now. The night of my dad’s birthday, as I leaned against the railings on our deck and inhaled Tommy’s cigarette, I fixed my eyes on a blue star directly above me. Then I looked to the left, at Tommy and Elliot laughing with my mom in the doorway. Both images gave me the same feeling, which was that maybe this is the whole point — looking at stars and looking at you guys and then looking at stars again—little moments where all my layers of feeling take a concrete shape, like a burning blue sun or three people I love in casual conversation — witnessing my life in the split seconds in which it occurs rather than as a series of things I do to reach a specific outcome —

The purpose of “burning it down,” then, goes deeper than our ambition to start over, to create something new. We also have this very human need to warm up by the flames. Admire the ash. Kiss, laugh, and dance in the heat. Participate in that ancient, inexorable pendulum swing between dormancy and explosion; then peer closely at each other in the firelight, noticing what before, we might never have seen. 

And when the sun comes up, and when the ash settles, we will rest. 

5 – The elephant in the room

By Jesse D. Palmer

We need to talk about the elephant in the room — millions of people are being mobilized by fear and hate to support clown-like authoritarians who want more police, taller walls, stricter conformity and less freedom. It’s not just talking heads on Fox news and a few politicians — right-wingers are talking about starting a civil war and it’s no joke because these folks collect guns as a hobby. 

How did we get to the point where I’m looking up the dictionary definition of fascism: “a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.”

When I talk to other radicals one-on-one, they’re worried about a near-term descent into fascism — that MAGA types will seize power through another coup, armed conflict, or most likely by winning the next few elections and then rigging the system once they take it over to stay in power indefinitely. If that happens, it is not alarmist to think that a lot of us are going to end up in jail, disappeared, or dead — and that it will be impossible to continue any counter-culture or alternative projects, live free lives, or make any progress on social justice or environmental sustanability.

But so far as I can tell, the radical scene doesn’t want to talk about it — perhaps because it puts us in the awkward position of supporting the mainstream American electoral machine, which we all know is fundamentally unfair. How can we support a system responsible for genocide, slavery, Jim Crow, endless wars, corporate control? A lot of radicals I know would like to have their own insurrection — to smash the state, to seize power for workers, to make revolution. Engaging with MAGA means getting involved in the mainstream game, indirectly supporting democrats — too fucking impure. 

I don’t want to be the turd in the punchbowl, but sometimes history puts us in a situation where we only have bad choices and not choosing is itself a dangerous choice. In the 1930s, US radicals who opposed the US government and capitalism nonetheless joined WWII against fascism. Now is another time to do what we can to avoid fascism, because the present system with all its warts gives us room to oppose capitalism that fascism won’t. 

What does this mean? The liberals and the democrats are losing a popularity contest against MAGA because they represent the mainstream capitalist economic monster that is incapable of making things better for the vast majority of the population who work for a living vs. the 1% who make their money owning property, stock, and money itself.

We should not be in a situation in which regular folks in red states are whipped into a frenzy against regular people in blue states and vice versa — nor is this about rural vs. urban, white vs. multi-cultural, guns vs. tofu.

Everyone agrees that the economic and political systems aren’t working — we’re living through a period of unprecedented and disorienting change and its undeniable that life is getting harder each year for most people. Housing costs more, jobs pay less — everyone accepts and expects to live worse than their parents did. 

The question is who is to blame?

The radical scene has the most crucial role in opposing fascism, because we have the clearest answer: the 1%, the bosses, the landlords, the Corporations and capitalism itself which is a rigged game where creating inequality, misery, a dizzying pace of change and meaninglessness is a feature, not a bug. It’s simple and obvious — and even has facts behind it. 

The democrats can’t and won’t provide a credible answer because they are bought and paid for by the capitalists. When they try in some limited ways to offer solutions, their message is so mangled and guarded and inauthentic that everyone can see right through it and ignore it. 

Which has provided the perfect petri dish for MAGA, which offer scapegoats, confusion and misinformation to address very real problems we’re all feeling deeply. MAGA wants to blame everything on immigrants, crime (read black people), gays, trans people, woke people… But to do it, they have to contort facts and hatch spectacular conspiracy theories — stolen elections, QAnon, immigrant caravans, and similar gibberish. The problem is that when the only options on the TV are democrats who won’t offer a solution and MAGA solutions that touch on emotionally resonant issues, a lot of people are picking MAGA. 

OUR JOB is to point out that we don’t need scapegoats. To do so is much more about storytelling and our hearts than endless academic critiques, facts or policies. We need to stop being scared of talking to regular people who might not agree with us 100% — it’s not giving up our purity to deal with the real world as part of a longer-term process of building a world we want to see.

We need to tell better stories not only to expose the system, but to describe a future people will want to be part of. We have to stop just being against stuff all the time — that doesn’t organize anyone in a sustainable or long-term fashion. 

And I know many will disagree, but focusing on guilt isn’t working — it doesn’t motivate most people. It barely works within the radical scene — rather it just promotes burnout and makes all of us afraid to say anything lest we be the next one to be cancelled. I was talking about this with a friend at the park recently and she suggested maybe all the radicals who want to stop focusing on policing language so much and start trying to engage with a wider audience should all get cancelled at the same time so we can get it over with and move on.

We don’t have — nor do we want — anyone like Trump or his talking heads. The best way to oppose MAGA has to be grassroots and decentralized — lots of talks person-to-person that focus on things we share no matter whether we’re in a red state or a blue state or what color we are or how we were raised.

MAGA hates elites and that might be a good place to start — the billionaires’ extravagances keep getting more absurd. $500 million yachts? Starting your own rocket ship company? What the fuck. These are points I think most people — MAGA or Berkeley Hippie — can agree on. But there’s positive stuff I think we can agree on, too. Most people love their families, care about their friends and their communities, work hard at their jobs and love the land we share. 

The goal of these conversations is so we can stop dehumanizing each other — which at this moment is dangerous because it allows those in power to divide us based on made-up differences and also makes violence more likely. You can kill the “other”, but it’s harder to kill a neighbor, someone you’ve spoken with, someone whose family you know. 

I want to say to my red state brothers and sisters that even though I’m an urbanite hippie from Berkeley — I don’t look down on you or have anything against you. If you think me or people like me hate you, you’re being fed a lie by people who DO look down on working people. They want to divide us and turn us against each other. 

What we need is solidarity — we have more in common than divides us. We even need to love each other.

I’ve been a radical since I was 16 years old and I have plenty I would like to change about this country and the system but nevertheless I love America — not just the coast, not just people who are like me — the whole thing and the other people with whom I share this land. Indiana, Kentucky, North Dakota, Kansas — these are places I’ve lived or visited or places people I love are from. I love the people and I love the land — even if I still criticize the system and the history of injustice that brought us together.  So far as I can tell the MAGA people are against the system, too — we see it different but I think there are places to overlap. I myself don’t own a gun and I sure feel worried about the harm guns do, but I don’t want to take away anyone’s guns and I can’t think of many people I know here in Berkeley that want to take anyone’s guns.  Certainly no one wants to take anyone’s bible. 

A key value is tolerance — live and let live. I am okay if you want to think or believe or live differently than I do. I don’t want to crush you or force you to give up anything. I don’t know if that’s something MAGA people can agree on as a group but maybe on a person-to-person basis? 

And moving beyond just avoiding catastrophe, I wish radicals would spend more time telling stories about the world we want to create. Glimpses of a world where we cooperate with each other to create beautiful, pleasurable and meaningful lives are already around us — and even though it’s painful and unjust that so many people are still excluded, it’s a mistake to just focus on problems and ignore the joyful parts of the here and now. Sometimes I feel guilty that I’m getting away with my life here in Berkeley — but it’s real.  People treat each other with respect and caring. There’s a zillion projects people have created to make the world better and not for money — art gardens, free pinball, shared hot tubs, community centers, even the Slingshot. I’m still living in a commune with 8 people and when one of us gets sick, the others jump in to help so we can all feel supported and safe. My daughter goes to an excellent public school where the 5th grade puberty education seamlessly includes gays, trans people and body positivity. I just saw the Milky way on a moonless night standing in an off-the-grid, communal organic apple farm that hosts 3 generations of people living on unspoiled land with a pond for swimming, a sauna — where sheep wander amongst oaks and madrone trees.  People from diverse backgrounds speaking many languages mostly get along just fine in the East Bay — our diversity adds texture and excitement — with people pursuing many different passions that don’t hurt anyone — parties, concerts, dance, food, children, exercise — just regular living. 

The good parts of this world right now is the new world we’re trying to build — there’s no use waiting for the revolution or dreaming of some utopia. The question is how to expand the parts of our lives that are worth living? And how to avoid having the freedoms we enjoy not swept away by civil war, fascism, intolerance, hate and fear?

3 – Teacher Actions, students, and a radical critique of schools

By Jean Meeds

San Francisco Movement of Rank and File Educators have been doing demonstrations and walking picket lines at a public San Francisco High school to help stop the teacher Exodus from San Francisco. I work there as a volleyball coach for the Women’s volleyball team. The San Francisco Unified School District has offered teachers a tentative 6% increase, but that does not come close to covering the increased cost of living in San Francisco.

San Francisco is one of the wealthiest cities in the world and yet pays teachers at one of the lowest levels in the area. San Francisco is now known for its private schools. Funny, in my 5 seasons as coach, this is the first time I have worked as a coach in a public school, as all the other times I worked in several different privateschools. The students in public schools have more of a funky cool spirit as opposed to the bourgeois individualism vibe of private schools. 

There have also been unionizing events in private schools such as the Blue School in New York. Public schools teachers in Seattle and Columbus, Ohio have also gone on strike this fall and have won pay increases and other benefits. The CTU (Chicago Teachers Union) which is a militant union stated during their recent strike: “We are just not fighting for the interest of the teachers or the staff. We want a union that is fighting for the common interests of the teachers, the staff, the students, and the community.” The Union is an ally to the community!

Our schools may seem useful to turn children into doctors, sociologists, and lawyers, etc. but they are poisonous, as well. Both teachers and students are oppressed groups and exploited. For most of your school life, it doesn’t make that much difference what subject you are taught, the method is the real lesson. The form is the methodology. The structure of rules, punishments, and rewards trains us much more than the subject matter, which often has no relevance on one’s life. “Schools Not Jails” may be a cool slogan and there have been rallies held with that theme, however it is interesting to note that the architecture of many schools is similar to that of prisons.

It is also interesting to note that the National Labor Relations board has always blocked union efforts by students. The idea of students not being able to organize unions has its origins in the New Deal period. So much for progressive Capitalism! When we talk about reaching a deeper depth of democracy here in the US, one has to realize that political freedom is much more than what is in the legal statutes, but is rather a state of mind which can be either stunted or uplifted in schools. Whether one is in a public or private school, that is where one learns about submission to authoritarian agendas and how to follow orders mindlessly. 

While learning is important, the point is how we transmit this knowledge in a manner that is uplifting and meaningful. Organizing communities around educational justice issues is a good start, such as ending racially discriminatory discipline and policing practices and creating community-oriented schools with culturally-relevant curriculum for students.

I would like to thank Jerry Farber who Taught at San Diego State for some of the ideas and concepts in this article.

3 – The tale of Texas – toppling a colonial creation story

By Xinãchtli

2023 will mark the 200 year anniversary of one of the most horrific Holocausts of the Americas, buried in myths, lies: The Founding of the Texas Rangers Police-Army Militia, and the U.S. Yankee Colonization of Northern Mexico. 

The Rangers earned the nickname Los Diablos Tejanos, or The Texas Devils in the Mexican community, as blood-thirsty hires of lawless white supremacy, a colonial period known as La Hora de Sangre, or The Time of Blood: The Massacre of Mexicanos-Chicanos in the Occupied territories.

These colonial wars were for land, expansionist plantation slavery, inspired by the racist ideological doctrine of Manifest Destiny.

They set in motion a pattern of falsification of history, ongoing war crimes, the disenfranchisement of Chicanos in “Tejas” that have remained buried in lies.

Mexicans were hauled off in chains before “pseudo-judges” in mock kangaroo courts such as the infamous Law West of the Pecos saloon-court presided over by drunkard Judge Roy Bean at Langtry, Texas, convened by land-hungry swindlers to give “legality” to their war crimes, in stripping all native Mexicans of all social rights, stealing their properties, and criminalizing them as “bandits” declaring “open season war” against them as “personas non-grata” in their own native homeland.

This war has continued today, especially along the military-imposed U.S./Mexico border from Brownsville to San Diego, CA. A series of myths and stereotypes took hold in keeping with the sociological, geopolitical dialectics of the historical process of colonialism, as laid out by Dr. Frantz Fanon. This genocidal ethnic-cleansing was spearheaded by notorious Texas Rangersfounded in 1823, by the father of settler colonialism, Stephen F. Austin. Texas joined the Confederacy and many monuments and statues honoring these war criminals were erected in cities and at State Universities.

Many books, films andfolk song ballads were produced by the colonial class to justify this vile, ugly history, a history that critical race theory seeks the truth be told. However, Texas, the “Daughters of the Confederacy,” and proponents of plantation slavery, seek to have this false history buried in lies, living in utter hypocrisy, shame and infamy.

Visit the Texas Ranger’s Museum in Waco, Texasand see the lies with your own eyes. True books, new authors, historians and University professors are ostracized, black-listed, banned, threatened with termination or denied tenure for teaching true history.

During the last 200 years, law has been used as an instrument of tyranny in the hands of the oppressors, to rule over the powerless, voiceless, the poor, the oppressed.

The Rangers have always acted as Gestapo enforcers of colonial rule, destroying Chicano civil rights, anti-war, union, third political party movement organizations, keeping Chicanos in second-class citizenship, subservancy roles, by the Neo-colonial structures. Chicanos have always valiantly resisted colonialism though various forms of organized struggles, including guerrilla warfare for the return of their stolen lands, for freedom from such an evil system of oppression, exploitation.

Texas Prisons and Colonialism are connected through an Umbilical Cord, as the granite stones and its electric chair “Old Sparky,” were built by ‘Prisoner Slaves’ Labor of the infamous colonial “convict-lease” program,” all stained with prisoners’ blood.

Texas Prisons also glorifies this ugly history at its Texas Prison Museum in HuntsvilleIts prisons are disproportionately filled by Blacks, Chicanos, Asians, NativeAmericansand its proliferation of “control units” and its counterinsurgency programs, the brain-child of fascist former Prison Director DrGeorge Betodesigned to silence, repress dissent, such as the case of “Xinãchtli,” (s/n Alvaro Luna Hernandez)now going on 20+ years in Solitary Confinement, shows the true nature of the carceral totalitarian state under colonialism, capitalism, imperialism. 

As 2023 approaches, any “official apology” from the State would be grossly insufficient, and insulting. 

Chicanos are entitled to a real healing process from the crimes of Colonialism; for a Truth & Reconciliation Commission, A War-Crimes Tribunal, for reparations, for freedom from existing Neo-Colonial criminal structures still in place today.

Colonialism has been declared a crime against humanity, guaranteeing its subjects the inalienable right to free themselves from its stranglehold by any means necessary, including armed struggle and revolution. Stay tuned for further national discourse.…

Viva La Raza ! 

Tierra y Libertad !

2 – Message to Prisoner subscribers

What we do: We provide free subscriptions to incarcerated individuals in the US who request them. Recently we only publish 2 times a year, so there may be up to a 6 month delay between when you request a subscription and when you get a paper. We do accept submissions of art and articles from incarcerated subscribers but we only publish a very tiny fraction. We don’t publish poetry or fiction, and only run personal narratives or stories about your case if they are framed within radical analysis. 

What we don’t do: We are unable to provide penpals, legal aid/advice, financial assistance, literature besides Slingshot, or respond to requests for other kinds of help. Usually, we can’t write back. We can’t use JPay / other inmate email services. 

Comrades on the outside: We receive 5-10 letters from incarcerated folks every day. We welcome help reading them and processing subscription requests! — Love, Slingshot

2 – Comida Gratis Para Todo!

By StondeLobo

You might have seen operational refrigerators in your neighborhood or community center with signs that say “Free Food / Comida Gratis”, or “Take what you need, leave what you don’t”. Other pop-up resources you might have seen are Free Pantries, which are a type of cabinet with shelves to stack canned food or non perishables. These resources are not funded by government. It’s everyday people who crank the volume level up to 11 and voluntarily provide whatever food they can. Sometimes hygiene kits, or harm reduction kits are also provided to help the community that continues to struggle.

Free Fridges can be found in many cities around the US. There are even some in different countries where Free Fridges and Pantries are popping up to help their communities. According to the Freedge database there were 160 free fridges spread around 28 American states. There are three key points to Free Fridge programs, which are :

Give what you can, 

Take what you need, and 

Share by getting involved.

Sharing can mean a few different things that are not just related to food, such as knowledge, experiences and resources. 

Free Libraries are also a helpful resource for the community. Considering how many schools lack enough book funding, and how many neighborhoods lack bookstores and libraries with convenient open hours, such book exchanges are necessary for both children and adults. They are commonly found in some laundromats, community centers, and residential neighborhoods.

I think it’s pretty clear what the purpose of a Free Fridge program is. However, some will argue that it’s nothing but a disturbance in the community. These arguments are prevalent among some landlords and property owners who will not support it, claiming these resources attract groups of houseless individuals whom they do not want to see on their property. Others cite food health codes, or are simply apathetic because it doesn’t benefit them in any way. But just for the moment, picture this — Free Fridges and Pantries being placed where they are most convenient and accessible and where food is commonly found. Some examples of locations would be a food market center, laundromat, community center, public parks, — the list could go on. 

When I visit the nearest fridge or pantry in my community and I see children with their parents picking out food for the night, or when I see individuals picking up something to eat for their camp, it makes it obvious that this program works and has a resilient purpose in our neighborhoods. And when I see people dropping off food, kits, and other resources for people to be able to survive the night, I know community members have inspired one another to keep this going. I feel more inspired and motivated to keep supporting mutual aid programs.

Personally, I think every neighborhood should have a free fridge and pantry. You don’t have to be houseless to need access to food, clothes, books and hygiene products. Even individuals who have jobs or a home can struggle with hunger. We continue to make poverty wages as the cost of living goes up, and most struggle with feeding themselves and their families while trying to keep a roof over their heads at the same time, sometimes having to choose between one or the other. It’s a sad reality and I think we are way past the point of asking government officials for help. We don’t need government officials to do something that we can all come together and do ourselves. 

Check out some resources below for location information and guidelines on how to start your own free fridge.


International Database

freedge.org freedge.org/locations/

*Town Fridge maps (Oakland, CA)