2 – Introduction to issue #136

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

Making this paper is as much about building community as the publication itself. There’s a lot of meetings where we exchange ideas — but also socialize, tell stories, hear about parties and feel seen and heard. The Long Haul community center feels alive and exciting when we make an issue. The process is very loose — there’s no official “staff” — so it is always a surprise and a treat seeing who will come in. People from a lot of different backgrounds and different ages come through our cluttered loft. So it can be a little more interesting than a punk show or a party where everyone is kinda in your scene already or a friend of a friend. Also folks come in who’ve been reading the paper for years but we’ve never met before — so it confirms that someone actually reads this thing. 

It is humbling making a paper and casting it out into the world like a message in a bottle. We have no idea who might end up reading it but it seems like at least some copies filter out to new readers who’ve never been in touch with our scene before. Which is of course the point — to get outside the internet echo-chamber algorithms that increasing separate people into homogenous marketing lists. We’re hoping that our volunteer distributors can put some of the papers into places no would would expect to see an underground rag from Berkeley — truck stops, dentist offices, rodeos, weddings, military bases. If you’ve never seen the paper before — howdy, happy to meet you. Stay in touch. 

The Long Haul where we have our office sorely needs to start doing more events, so if you’re in the East Bay, please schedule something — DIY workshops, sing-alongs, sign making, seed swaps, poetry readings — be creative. 

A new project at the Long Haul is a risograph print room. It’s still very new and the structure and purpose behind it are a bit vague. We look forward to the new zines and paper revolutionaries coming up from it. reprographixed.com.

But jeez note to self: we really need to spend some time between issues cleaning the office and doing other background stuff like fixing the broken website.  Even more crucial is spending some time decentralizing and spreading out the work load so making a paper doesn’t vacuum up so many weeks.

We know a lot of subjects are missing from this paper like the Parker School struggle, the recent homeless camp clearances on Wood Street, refugee abuse, drones being sold to Turkey for genocide, gentrification, the rise of far right-wing governments in Europe … the list feels endless. Next issue send us articles about any of the topics you see missing. 

The free, word-of-mouth, 24-hour hot tub behind an unmarked gate on Essex Street in Berkeley is no more after its operator died. The tub brought relief and wonder to Slingshot staffers over the last 35+ years – what a gift to give to strangers – what a magical experience to dip into scalding hot water and then wander in an altered state of consciousness in silence through redwoods, even though you’re right in the middle of the city. Feeling tiny explosions on your naked skin and realizing with a chuckle— this is what rain feels like.  It’s frustrating and sad that the operator never moved past his trans-exclusionary attitude, yet the space itself was a unique fixture of the Berkeley roller coaster.

Slingshot is always looking for new writers, artists, editors, photographers and distributors.  Even if you feel you are not an essayist, illustrator, whistleblower you may know someone who is.  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: Andy, Dor, eggplant, Elke, Finn, Hannah, Jennifer, Jesse, Josette, Josh, Lydia, Lola, Marley, Mello, Mimi, Patrick, Rachelle, Riley, Robin, Ryan, Sean, Sebastian, Silver, Stuart, Sylvia, Thelonius, Tess & all the authors and artists! 

Slingshot New Volunteer Meeting

Volunteers interested in getting involved with Slingshot can come to the new volunteer meeting on January 8 at 7 pm at the Long Haul in Berkeley (see below.)

Article Deadline & Next Issue Date

Submit your articles for issue 137 by January 28, 2023. 

Volume 1, Number 136, Circulation 22,000

Printed October 28, 2022

Slingshot Newspaper

A publication of Long Haul

Office: 3124 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley CA 94705

Mailing: PO Box 3051, Berkeley, CA 94703

510-540-0751 slingshotcollective@protonmail.com 

slingshotcollective.org • twitter @slingshotnews

instagram/ facebook @slingshotcollective

About the Cover artist:

Salvatore Giommarresi is a comics author, illustrator, He’s a former member and editor of many editorials projects (magazine about illustration and comic).

His work draws inspiration from a variety of different sources and especially from what he experiences first-hand during his travels around the world. He likes experimenting new ways to apply traditional techniques such as origami to his art.

He is particularly interested in exploring the potential of comics in education. Currently, he organizes workshops and cooperates with schools, institutions, and NGOs at international level.

His pieces have been exhibited in Italy, Spain, Mozambique, France, Vietnam, U.S.A., and Albania.


Circulation information

Subscriptions to Slingshot are free to prisoners, low income, or anyone in the USA with a Slingshot Organizer, or $1 per issue donation. 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.

Slingshot free stuff

We’ll send you a random assortment of back issues for the cost of postage. Send $4 for 2 lbs. Free if you’re an infoshop or library. slingshotcollective.org

1 – Defend, revive People’s Park

By P. Wingnut

People’s Park in Berkeley is still liberated territory — despite the University of California sending in 100 police for a sneak attack in the middle of the night on August 3 to steal it from us. Workers were up all night building a strong, 8 foot tall “unclimbable” fence that was spiked into the concrete so UC could start building a 12 story, $312 million dorm at the 2.8 acre site the next morning. Around 9 am, Expert Tree Service arrived and began cutting 47 trees.

But the UC’s efforts were always doomed. There’s a spell protecting the Park — a curse against the University cast by generations of people who’ve met and woven community there that extends outwards and continues through our lives. Almost everyone I’ve met over the last 35 years somehow relates to the community surrounding People’s Park.

The ugliness and violence of the UC’s predawn raid and attempted clearcut was met with determined, dignified people power. When we heard the roar of chainsaws and the thud of tree trunks hitting the ground, the fence was torn down — and the police and workers fled. They left millions of dollars of fencing and construction equipment — which was promptly disabled and now sits on the lawn near the free speech stage decorated like a post apocalyptic sculpture. 

I have to confess that I missed the physical defense of People’s Park on August 3. I got the bulldozer alert on my phone when I woke up at 7 am, looked on-line and saw photos of police and a fence … but I didn’t jump on my bike. I’d dropped by a rave in the Park the previous Saturday night sort of to say my goodbyes — I just couldn’t see how the Park could survive the momentum and city/corporate coalition that the university had built on their path towards development. 

I had a pre-existing plan to take LSD with my girlfriend August 3 that I’d already had to cancel twice — when I got covid and when the Supreme Court overturned Roe…. So I said “fuck it — let’s take the acid”. We discussed set and setting, and my set was “transformation.” I remarked that maybe us taking acid could be like the butterfly effect where a seemingly minor act triggers a hurricane across the world. I was thinking about climate change, inequality and my own personal struggles to work less and live more freely…. 

The University’s attack has ended up invigorating and expanding the numbers of Park defenders so that any future UC attack will be met with far greater resistance. Before August 3, a lot of Park activists (perhaps secretly) had a creeping suspicion that this time, the UC might finally get their way. I was feeling like that too. The City and the University have spent years trying to isolate and marginalize the Park by framing it as an outdated vestige of the 1960s or just another homeless encampment that should be “cleaned up” to make way for progress. Some of us felt tired and felt there were more pressing issues demanding our time. The numbers of participants at events dwindled…

The acid was amazing with strong visuals — probably because a comrade gave it out for free last time we were making Slingshot. We hiked up to the redwoods above campus and after we peaked, I noticed the constant sound of helicopters circling above. So I turned on my phone and wondered if I was still hallucinating because … the fence was down! We were still tripping pretty hard but I said “we gotta go to the Park to see what’s going on” and when we got there, it was filled with people — the fence had been smashed. 

Since the foiled police raid, there’s daily events and plenty of new folks of all ages and backgrounds being drawn to the thriving energy at the Park. A recent week’s schedule featured Garden Tours, Nonviolent Direct Action prep/training, a Spokescouncil meeting, Fire Mitigation Hügelkultur gardening, Open Air Temple — even an art opening. There’s an info table with literature and Food Not Bombs still serves 5 days a week.  While most of the trees were cut down, a few remain. The free speech stage, basketball court, bathroom, and some other structures remain. With so much less shade, a big priority has been re-planting and re-greening so there’s plenty to do — everyone gets a blister. 

The only way to protect the Park long-term is to make it a wonderful Park full of life and beauty — not just a tattered nostalgia trip. If it’s getting cold in your part of the country, now might be a good time to head west to Berkeley where it’s sunny almost all year and it never freezes. 

The Park right after a police raid wasn’t a great place to be on acid, so we biked down to the Marina to watch the sunset and I read out loud what I’d written in the last issue of Slingshot — it seemed right on: “Slingshot does not know and therefore cannot disclose the specifics but People’s Park is magic — it is not governed by the standard laws of physics or social norms. So don’t believe the hype: There will be a mass mobilization to defend the Park the minute the UC moves to install a fence. Or maybe dragons will emerge from volcanos — who the fuck knows but the UC should be careful stirring up the demons that inhabit the Park.”

In my acid haze, I realized how profoundly the Park proved that no matter how hopeless things look, anything is possible. Unexpected or unexplainable things can happen so long as you try. We need this awareness not only about People’s Park, but about everything in the world that horrifies and frightens us — plastics in the oceans, hatred, racism, the rich getting richer, fascism rising, soulless corporations ruining everything. 

The future of People’s Park is up for grabs. The University claims they intend to start construction as soon as a court injunction is lifted in November — maybe by the time you read this. But UC is unlikely to attack until its 40,000 students are safely out of town — even if only 40 percent of them support the Park, it’s too risky. Late December or early January in the middle of the night is when they’ll raid. 

We’ll always have the upper hand at the Park because it’s in our blood — it’s about freedom, an absurdly diverse counter-community of freaks and misfits, art, music, and the land.  Love is more powerful than brutality and money. The police officers and UC employees don’t really care what happens — its just more real estate, more money, more numbers in a computer to them. The contractors have plenty of job sites where they won’t be constantly yelled at — where it won’t take a 24 -hour a day occupying army of police to protect a quarter mile of fence. 

The butterfly effect can work. So just like I had to play my part by tripping and missing the protest, defending People’s Park and other seemingly doomed free spaces is crucial towards defending the earth, defeating those in power, and building a world worth living in. See you at the Park. 

Text SAVETHEPARK to 74121 to join the bulldozer alarm text alert. For more info check peoplespark.org for events.

1 – Don’t check out just yet – who wants Roe v. Wade, anyways?

By Lola

You wake up, make the bed. Wing your eyeliner and clean the kitchen before leaving for work. Eyebrows slightly raised in anticipatory defiance as you walk to the bus stop—they call it resting bitch face. You don’t call it anything. It’s just an old piece of armor, now invisible, even to you.

You move through the day with your emails to send, your essays to write, your plans to confirm or cancel, your friends to laugh with or to console. Or maybe the day moves through you, with its hurts for you to confront, authorities to appease or to challenge, headlines to internalize or ignore. And although the year may be sprinkled with escapades on glittery Friday nights, poignant sunset drives and serendipitous first dates—this day-to-day can get pretty tiring. Tiring and busy. If you’re walking around in a certain kind of body (a body that is not white, male, and abled) it can be pretty draining at times, too. So much so that sometimes, we have to pick and choose which emotions we want to feel and which we will have to ignore. And in this state which is so inundated with infuriating abuses of power and hollowing tragedies, I think that anger is often the first to go. Who has the time?

In other words—I am so used to this wearisome anger that I worry I have lost my ability to feel it acutely, and in the right moments.

When Roe v. Wade was overturned, I was asked how I felt about it a lot. As a young woman… It seemed like everyone wanted me to scream and yell or something, make a big show of my outrage. But I couldn’t. Sometimes I would lean into the anger a little bit just to end the conversation. My aunts, parents, my boss, politically correct men—somehow they all seemed more upset about it than me: the only one of the group who might need an abortion at some point in the future.

I guess it is hard to feel a sense of shock or outrage when I am deeply aware of the loss of bodily autonomy I have experienced, as a girl and a woman in the US, throughout my entire life.

There are the better moments, when my hair is soft and my boots are leather and I’m dancing around my sister’s kitchen, eating vegan curry with her roommates. I know I am free to move and laugh, and I know how beautiful I look, and I know the effect that it has.

But things are often not so good. Other times I am lying on the ground at the skatepark early in the morning, in the fog, before anyone’s there. With my hood pulled up around my face. Or I’m having a silent moment of horror because these jeans don’t fit me the way they did last year. Maybe I’m having sex with a lovely, respectful boy but crying for a reason I can’t seem to explain to him. And if I had to articulate a common thread between the seemingly irrational meltdowns, I guess that thread would be my having to exist in this female body. The hips, the cheekbones, the eyelashes, the thighs, the wrists, the stomach, the shoulder blades, the butt, the waist—I should be looking in the mirror and seeing the infinite beauty in all of that, in this powerful femininity—but it’s hard to get past seeing all the ways it has held me back, and brought me down, and made me afraid.

It is this huge heavy weight. Which is crazy. Because I know that I got out pretty lucky, as far as being a girl goes. But even with the privileges I possess, I am perpetually aware that as I walk around in this body I will always be holding, high above my head, an invisible invitation: Say something! Do something! Touch me! Scold me! Project your discomforts onto me! Take a picture of me! Validate me! Intimidate me! Make an example out of me! Free of charge! 🙂

So it is hard to feel shocked that Roe v. Wade was overturned, because I never felt much of a right to my body in this place. Maybe that comes from the first birth control pill I took freshman year of high school, which would alter my hormones for ever-after, all so I could have sex with a confused 16-year-old boy who watched too much porn, or maybe it started a long time before that, with the detentions I received at the age of 11 for having and showing “cleavage,” or maybe it started even before that, in third grade, when my two best friends and I decided to go on our first diet, to lose weight. At the age of seven. Maybe it even goes back to infancy, when my mother’s friends would meet me for the first time and guess whether or not I would be beautiful and, based on this, what kind of life I might lead.

I don’t know where the lack of autonomy starts. I just know that I can’t remember a time when I really had it. But that’s the thing about a heavy weight—it becomes familiar. At some point, it is no longer the foreign object you carry. It’s just the hand that used to carry it.

Roe v. Wade was overturned and I didn’t bat an eye—but The Washington Post did…my Instagram feed did. The mainstream left was all up in arms (haha, if compulsively reposting is our new armed resistance) for their standard 48 hours; liberal media outlets ran their obligatory ~unprecedented times~ cover stories; teenage girls and their moms dressed in green and were safely ushered down blocked-off city streets, cardboard signs in hand.

Then: we washed our hands of the tragedy. The edges dulled, if you had any to start with (I didn’t)—and life continued as it was. Only this time, without safe access to abortion.

What the fuuuuck…? The left co-opted our rage before we had two seconds to process it.

The problem with mainstream liberal resistance tactics (or one of them, at least) is that they are not sustainable. Anger is anticipated and quickly molded into catchphrases and petitions; negotiations are promised; a couple of dinner conversations become slightly awkward; maybe we pencil in a different bubble on our ballots a few months down the road. Our lives are our lives and a couple of months ago the supreme court did something really bad and I got upset about it. By which I mean, there isn’t a shred of congruence between the fleeting anger we felt and the half-hearted things we might have done about it and the rest of our existence. To protest, then, becomes a duty—a place we might go or a thing we might do to check a box rather than an extension of our life itself and the ways we create meaning within it.

For the right, overturning Roe v. Wade was always a project with ambitions far deeper and wider than banning abortion. It was about perpetuating the fungibility of the female body, dehumanizing women of color, stripping oppressed communities of their right to eroticism, to agency, to their futures, and to the futures of their children. The overturn was born out of a long winding road of oppressive tactics geared toward controlling the female body and our conception of what it means to be a woman. And likewise, our anarchist response must be rooted in a fight much bigger than reproductive rights. It must be rooted in reproductive justice.

The reproductive rights framework—almost entirely focused on pro-choice—alienates many women of color in its assumption that women do not face reproductive threats outside of anti-abortion laws. Kimala Price’s article “What is Reproductive Justice? How Women of Color are Redefining the Pro-Choice Paradigm” articulates the ways that women of color are at risk for a slew of reproductive threats that white women might never have to think about—such as the fact that their children will face the constant risk of death or injury by police brutality. Reproductive rights, or pro-choice politics, are comparable to gay marriage legislation and affirmative action: the left wants us to see these efforts as progress, small wins within a corrupt system. But what happens to our collective sense of agency when we ask for such small allowances from the state and choose to ignore deeper, more foundational issues in order to gain them?

We need a framework for sustainable, anarcha-feminist protest—protest that starts at the roots and sticks to the roots. I think that this kind of protest has to be grounded in our emotions, and I also think that our emotions must be expressed in the collective in order for them to move us where we need to be moved. For me, and maybe for you too, the first step will be to get in touch with my anger. I mentioned the jeans not fitting, the hormones getting fucked by Loestrin, the early-morning skatepark meltdowns and the frequently teary sexual encounters—tips of the iceberg, and I don’t list them here so that you will feel bad for me, or so that I can feel bad for myself about being a girl. I list them here because they help me remember my rage. And remember that it all comes from the same source. I fucking hate that source.

Maybe if I’m angry enough about the whole operation (ya know, the whole Amerika thing) then it will make it easier for us to be angry together. For some people, lack of access to abortion is the most pressing issue. For others it’s rape culture, or police brutality, or fatphobia, or domestic abuse—the list goes on. Our struggles against each of these issues are made stronger through our ability to forge connections between them, and through that process, between ourselves. 

To remember this rage every day—that is not going to be easy. No one is going to pay us to do it. But rage and resistance are two sides of the same coin, as are resistance and love, love and purpose… Going out to “protest” shouldn’t feel like going out at all. It should feel like coming home. At home, you are allowed to feel everything that you feel. You are allowed to cry about those feelings or laugh about them or shout about them or write about them or organize about them. And as we embrace these feelings, as we react to them honestly, as we speak to each other about them and witness the uniqueness of each of our experiences, and then the overwhelming similarity—it is in these spaces that genuine protest evolves.

Fighting back against the Roe v. Wade reversal is so much deeper than an isolated response to a specific fuck up. Who wants Roe v. Wade, anyways? What is it—a decree signed by some Very Important Men saying I get to have an abortion? I could do without that. I want autonomous reproductive health collectives, anarchist women’s circles, access to DIY abortion information, education on my natural cycle, self-defense classes, male allies and male birth control options, healthy sex, a village to raise my future baby, and the respect that I deserve for existing every day in this body. I want to catcall attractive men as I walk down the street, let them know that whatever they think they can do to me, I can do to them. But I won’t. I won’t. I want us all to be better.


You come home, take off your shoes. Peel off your jacket and close the door. But instead of stepping into the living room and leaving the day firmly behind you, maybe pause there for a moment, with your hand still on the doorknob. Turn it slowly. Step back outside into the cold sun. Do you feel your feet on the dirty sidewalk? Do you see the crows on the power line? What’s for dinner? Your manager said something icky to you today. Maybe after you eat, your roommates will be in a snuggly mood, and you will all share a bottle of wine. Everything hurts, everything heals. Don’t check out just yet. This is it—your life. This is the whole thing. It is important that you do not forget it is yours.