get involved and check out: sociocracyforall.org and or seedsforchange.org.uk/resources
Sometimes it can be hard to know if you’re crazy, or is it the world that’s crazy. Watching while our society destroys itself triggers despair and anxiety. Yet it is possible to summon the courage to stay engaged with the world, survive and fight back. When you’re suffering is often the hardest time to ask for help from others around you — and paradoxically when you need help the most. Feelings exist for reasons — if you repress them too hard, you can miss important lessons they may have for you. While it is impossible to have a list that will apply to everyone’s situation and often situations have to do with class/race/gender, here are some tips you can use when you’re in crisis or to help to care for others:
• Our brains are connected to our bodies so concentrating on physical health can help treat mental distress. Eating healthy food on a regular schedule and getting enough sleep are key. Exercise, dance, biking and physical movement can help. So can fresh air and having a stable, calming place to stay.
• It can help to focus off the crisis and onto what you find joyful until you can gather more resources.
• It is okay to ask for help and it may help to discuss disturbing mental states with others who you trust.
• An important component of mental health is the ability to know ourselves, understand our needs, and be able to talk about them to the other people in our lives. This can be really challenging and can often take guidance from others who have learned how to do it with one another. One tool for creating written documents for communication is called a T-MAP which stands for Transformative Mental Health Practices.
• It can help to have language for mental crisis that feels comfortable and makes more sense than the dominant medical language. Transmission of language often happens in groups.
• Joining a mutual support group of peers listening to and helping peers as equals can be validating, while not necessarily endorsing your feelings. You can form one yourself or join an ongoing group.
• Find a counselor who supports your self-determination. Ask about confidentiality if someone else — such as your parents, boss, or governmental program — is paying for your therapy.
• Drugs and alcohol often make mental health problems worse.
• Psychiatric drugs such as those for depression or bipolar disorder can help some people reduce distress and maintain stability. Other people experience distress and harm from psych drugs and even have trouble withdrawing from them. Figuring out what works for you can be a process because people differ. Check out “Harm Reduction Guide to Coming off Psychiatric Drugs.”
• Keep in mind that some current emotional crises may be caused by traumas from the past, which may need to be emotionally and consciously processed in order not to keep recurring.
• When you’re depressed, it may help to realize that the depressed feeling will eventually pass and your life will begin to seem meaningful again later. Depression inhibits your ability to perceive and understand the world correctly. Depression is often a lack of feelings and a lack of connection to feeling. Your perceptions of loneliness, un-lovability, and hopelessness are not accurate when you are depressed. Avoid making drastic decisions such as hurting yourself when you are unable to correctly perceive reality.
• Distracting yourself from depressed or anxious thoughts can help: listening to music, making art, washing dishes, or doing a project alone or with others.
• Many communities have 24 hour a day crisis hotlines or crisis centers. Call 800-SUICIDE if you’re thinking about killing yourself or 800 646-HOPE to reach a rape crisis line for survivors of sexual violence. Warning: if you call and say you want to kill yourself police may arrive at your door.
• For anxiety, try to remember to breathe. Practicing meditation may also help you relax.
• Acupuncture or massage can be ways for others to give your whole self some gentle attention.
• Ecopsychology is realizing nature and wilderness are our greatest healers. Spend some time outside the city to get centered and get away from pollution which is in itself mind-altering.
• If you have a loved one in crisis, the most helpful thing is to make it clear that you care and be there to listen. They may not be able to call or ask for help — it can be very helpful to keep calling them every day or two to check-in, even if they don’t answer the phone or seem to want help. Sometimes it is okay to want to be alone so don’t be too pushy. Just make it clear that you care. It’s also import to get support and advice for yourself. Caring about someone who is in crisis is in itself a big challenge.
• Social change: Actually address the stressful factors in your environment. Revolution can heal.
• If someone is having delusional thinking or expressing violence related to mental issues, these suggestions may not be enough and it is okay to reach out for professional help.
At a time when the global capitalist system is broken and is failing, regular people create their own structures based on different values, with different heroes, different priorities and using different tools. We offer you this organizer as our humble contribution to that process. Perhaps you’ll fill its pages with marches and assemblies — but we hope also bike rides, compost turns and dance parties. The struggle for liberation requires rage and hard work, but also slowing down and stepping out of the rat race. It requires a do-it-yourself, handmade approach, not the cold standardization of smartphones and robotic industrialism.
The alternatives we demand aren’t captured by any single movement, organization or slogan. We need them all. We don’t want things to go back to normal, normal wasn’t working! We can’t afford to retreat into our subcultures and our comfort zones. We gotta be brave and have the challenging discussions — and help those who are frozen to find courage to act. To the system’s death, greed, and endless heaps of plastic, let’s respond with rebellion, collectives, defending natural systems and love for human and non-human life in equal measure.
It is through joy and rage that we can lay foundations for a new world because rejecting the structures that are killing us goes beyond institutions — it also involves reworking what’s in our heads and hearts.
These pages recall those who fought before to inform and inspire our struggle now. We dedicate this year’s organizer to all of you on the front lines fighting for racial, climate and social justice! To get the knee off the world’s neck, here and everywhere.
This is the 27th time our collective has amused itself by publishing the Slingshot Organizer. Its sale raises funds to print the quarterly, radical, independent Slingshot Newspaper. We distribute the newspaper for free everywhere in the US, often at the places listed in the Radical Contact List. Let us know if you can be a local newspaper distributor in your area. Also please send us content for the paper. Thanks to the volunteers who created this year’s organizer: Alexis, Alina, Amy, Ana, Basson, Bernadette, Bernard, Breydon, Carolita, Clara, Cleo, Dov, elke, Fern, Francesca, HB, heri, Isabel, Isabella, Jacquelynn, Jenna, Jesse, Joanna, Jonathon, Kaino, Katie, Kei, Korvin, Kylie, Lew, Lydia, Mango, Marcela, Marie, Mark, Nadja, Rachelle, Rick, Robert, Sasha, Talia, Tula, & those we forgot.
A project of Long Haul
Physical office: 3124 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley, CA 94705
Mail: PO box 3051, Berkeley, CA 94703
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Who is at risk of being arrested by ICE?
•Anyone without lawful immigration status
•People with status (e.g., lawful permanent residents, refugees and visa holders) who have certain criminal convictions. Someone with legal status may be a target even if: Your conviction is from years ago; You didn’t serve time in jail; Your case was minor or a misdemeanor; You’ve been an LPR for a long time; and/or All the other members of your family are US citizens.
Are ICE agents approaching anyone they think they can deport?
ICE agents usually identify the person they want to arrest ahead of time. Then, they go to homes, courthouses, shelters and even workplaces to look for that person. Increasingly, they are waiting on the street to make the arrest.
If I know I’m at risk, what can I do?
•Make a plan with your loved ones in case you are picked up by ICE!
•Talk to a lawyer before you apply to change your immigration status, renew your greencard, or travel outside of the United States!
What should I do if ICE agents approach me on the street or in public?
When ICE agents arrest someone in public, it typically happens quickly. They may call your name out loud and ask you to confirm your name and then detain you.
•Before you say your name or anything else, ask, “AM I FREE TO GO?” If they say YES: Say, “I don’t want to answer your questions” or “I’d rather not speak with you right now.” Walk away.
•If they say NO: Use your right to remain silent! Say, “I want to use my right not to answer questions” and then “I want to speak to a lawyer.”
•If ICE starts to search inside your pockets or belongings, say, “I do not consent to a search.”
•DON’T LIE or show false documents. Don’t flee or resist arrest.
•Don’t answer questions about your immigration status or where you were born. They will use any information you provide against you. Do not hand over any foreign documents such as a passport, consular IDs, or expired visas.
If officers come to my home, will I know they are from ICE?
Not always! Beware: ICE agents often pretend to be police and say they want to talk to you about identity theft or an ongoing investigation.
Can ICE agents enter my home to arrest me?
No. If ICE agents do not have a warrant signed by a judge, they are not supposed to enter a home without permission from an adult. Opening the door when they knock does not give them permission to enter your home.
So, what do I do if officers are at my door?
•Find out if they are from DHS or ICE. Try to stay calm. Be polite. Don’t lie. Say “I don’t want to talk to you right now.” Politely ask to see a warrant signed by a judge and to slip it under the door. If they don’t have one, decline to let them in.
•If they are looking for someone else, ask them to leave contact information. You don’t have to tell them where to find the person and you should not lie.
What can I do if ICE is inside my home to make an arrest?
•Ask them to step outside unless they have a warrant signed by a judge.
•If they came inside without your permission, tell them “I do not consent to you being in my home. Please leave.” If they start to search items in your home, say “I do not consent to your search.”
What are my rights if I am being arrested by ICE?
•You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to speak to a lawyer.
•You do NOT have to share any information about where you were born, what your immigration status is, or your criminal record. Ask to speak to a lawyer instead of answering questions.
• You do NOT have to give them your consular documents or passport unless they have a warrant from ajudge.
• You do not have to sign anything. Thanks to immigrantdefenseproject.org
These suggestions from the National Lawyers Guild “Know Your Rights” guide summarize the rules to which the police are theoretically subject. However be careful: the police, the courts, and the government can and do ignore these rules when they feel like it. Sometimes, police retaliate against people for exercising their rights. These tips may help you later on in court, and sometimes they won’t. But even though the state can’t be counted on to follow its own laws, it still may be helpful to know what these laws are so you can shame particular state agents or deal with particular situations. Always use your best judgment — if you aren’t doing anything wrong, there may be no reason to be excessively paranoid or escalate a potentially innocent and brief encounter with a police officer who is just saying “hi” into an ugly situation by acting suspicious and refusing to say “hi” back. The point is to avoid giving information.
Providing this information isn’t intended to scare you into inactivity or make you paranoid. Even in the current context, the vast majority of radical projects proceed with no interference from the police. The police hassle and arrest people because they hope that such repression will frighten the population into submission. We can take reasonable precautions while continuing the fight for liberation.
Never Talk to the Police
Anything you say to an FBI agent or cop may be used against you and other people — even if the questions seem routine or harmless. You don’t have to talk to FBI agents, police or investigators on the street, if you’ve been arrested, or if you’re in jail. (Exceptions: Your name, date of birth and address are known as “Booking questions” which are not included in your right to remain silent. Also, in some states you can get an additional minor charge for refusing to identify yourself after a police stop based on reasonable suspicion). Only a judge has the authority to order you to answer questions. Many activists have refused to answer questions, even when ordered by a judge or grand jury, and subsequently served jail time to avoid implicating others. It is common for the FBI to threaten to serve you with a grand jury subpoena unless you talk to them. Don’t be intimidated. This is frequently an empty threat, and if they are going to subpoena you, they will do so anyway. If you do receive a subpoena, call a lawyer right away.
Once you’ve been stopped or arrested, don’t try to engage cops in a dialogue or respond to accusations. If you are nervous about simply refusing to talk, you may find it easier to tell them to contact your lawyer. Once a lawyer is involved, the police sometimes back off. Even if you have already answered some questions, you can refuse to answer other questions until you have a lawyer. Don’t lie to the police or give a false name— lying to the police is a crime. However, the police are allowed to lie to you — don’t believe what they say. If you’ve been arrested, don’t talk about anything sensitive in police cars, jail cells or to other inmates — you are probably being recorded.
What To Do About Police Harassment On The Street
If the police stop you on the street, ask, “Am I free to go?” If yes, walk away. If not, you are being detained but this does not necessarily mean you will be arrested. Ask, “Can you explain why you are detaining me?” To stop you, cops must have specific reasons to suspect you of involvement in a specific crime. Police are entitled to pat you down during a detention. If the police try to further search you, your car, or your home, say repeatedly that you do not consent to the search, but do not physically resist.
What To Do If Police Visit Your Home
You do not have to let the FBI or police into your home or office unless they have a search warrant. If they have an arrest warrant you may limit entry if the person surrenders outside. In either case, ask to inspect the warrant. It must specifically describe the place to be searched and the things to be seized. You do not have to tell them anything other than your name and address. Tell the police that you can not consent to the search unless it is also inspected by a lawyer. If the officers ask you to give them documents, your computer, do not consent to them taking it. However physically trying to block them from searching or seizing items may escalate the situation. You have a right to observe what they do. You should take written notes of their names and what they do. Have friends act as witnesses.
What To Do If Police Stop You In Your Car
If you are driving a car, you must show police your license, registration and proof of insurance, but you do not have to consent to a search or answer questions. Keep your hands where the police can see them and refuse to consent (agree) to a search. Police may separate passengers and drivers from each other to question them, but no one has to answer any questions.
What To Do If You Are Arrested
Repeatedly tell the police “I am going to remain silent, I would like to see my lawyer.” If you suffer police abuse while detained or arrested, try to remember the officer’s badge number and/or name. You have the right to ask the officer to identify himself. Write down everything as soon as you can and try to find witnesses. If you are injured, see a doctor and take pictures of the injuries as soon as possible.
Searches at International Borders
Your property (including data on laptops) can be searched and seized at border crossings without a warrant. Do not take any data you would like to keep private across the border. If you have to travel with electronic data encrypt it before crossing and make an encrypted back up of any data before crossing in case your computer or phone is seized.
Police Hassles: What If You Are Not A Citizen?
In most cases, you have the right to a hearing with an immigration judge before you can be deported. If you voluntarily give up this right or take voluntary departure, you could be deported without a hearing and you may never be able to enter the US legally again or ever get legal immigration status. Do not talk to the ICE, even on the phone, or sign any papers before talking to an immigration lawyer. Unless you are seeking entry into the country, you do not have to reveal your immigration status to any government official. If you are arrested in the US, you have the right to call your consulate or have the police inform the consulate of your arrest. Your consul may help you find a lawyer. You also have the right to refuse help from your consulate.
Police Hassles: What If You Are Under 18 Years Old?
Don’t talk to the police — minors also have the right to remain silent. You don’t have to talk to cops or school officials. Public school students have the right to politically organize at school by passing out leaflets, holding meetings and publishing independent newspapers as long as these activities do not disrupt classes. You have the right to a hearing with your parents and an attorney present before you are suspended or expelled. Students can have their backpacks and lockers searched by school officials without a warrant. Do not consent to any search, but do not physically resist.
Common Sense Activist Security Measures
Don’t speculate on or circulate rumors about protest actions or potentially illegal acts. Assume you are under surveillance if you are organizing mass direct action, anything illegal, or even legal stuff. Resist police disruption tactics by checking out the authenticity of any potentially disturbing letter, rumor, phone call, or other form of communication before acting on it. Ask the supposed source if she or he is responsible. Deal openly and honestly with the differences in our movements (race, gender, class, age religion, sexual orientation, etc.) before the police can exploit them. Don’t try to expose a suspected agent or informer without solid proof. Purges based on mere suspicion only help the police create distrust and paranoia. It generally works better to criticize what a disruptive person says and does without speculating as to why.
People who brag about, recklessly propose, or ask for unnecessary information about underground groups or illegal activities may be undercover police but even if they are not, they are a severe danger to the movement. The police may send infiltrators/provocateurs posing as activists to entrap people on conspiracy charges of planning illegal acts. You can be guilty of conspiracy just for agreeing with one other person to commit a crime even if you never go through with it — all that is required is an agreement to do something illegal and a single “overt act” in furtherance of the agreement, which can be a legal act like going to a store. It is reasonable to be suspicious of people in the scene who pressure us, manipulate us, offer to give us money or weapons, or make us feel like we aren’t cool if we don’t feel comfortable with a particular tactic, no matter why they do these things. Responsible activists considering risky actions will want to respect other people’s boundaries and limits and won’t want to pressure you into doing things you’re not ready for. Doing so is coercive and disrespectful — hardly a good basis on which to build a new society or an effective action.
Keep in mind that activists who spend all their time worrying about security measures and police surveillance will end up totally isolated and ineffective because they won’t be able to welcome new folks who want to join the struggle. We have to be aware of the possibility of police surveillance while maintaining our commitment to acting openlyand publicly. Smashing the system is going to require mass action as well as secretive covert actions by a tiny clique of your trusted friends.
More info contact the National Lawyers Guild: 415 285-5067 or 212 679-5100; read The War at Home by Brian Glick or Agents of Repressionby Ward Churchill
Good sex is an act of mutual aid. Every person, regardless of gender, is responsible for contributing to the well-being and pleasure of their partners and themselves. We must explore and know our own desires and learn to speak them. We must hear and respond to the desires of our partners (even if that means accepting refusal gracefully). This means finding the words to express how we like to be touched, spoken to, tied up, and cuddled. Getting explicit permission, however vulnerable and scary it may seem, is a great turn-on. What better than knowing your partner really likes it when you touch them that way, talk in that voice, or use that prop? What is better than knowing you can ask for anything, and it will at least be considered respectfully? There is no way that we or our relationships can grow if we don’t find safe spaces in which to explore.
If you have never spoken during sex, or asked permission, or blurted out your desires, feel free to start small. Most people hear compliments well, and appreciate encouraging suggestions. However, it’s equally important to discover the boundaries of your comfort (often situational) and speak them as well. Starting off with a “this feels so good” or “I love it when you…” or “I’d like you to spend the night if you’re interested” is fantastically brave. If you’re not there, work on moaning—just get yourself vocal. Steady yourself for disappointment (and delight), and enjoy the benefits of good communication. Often, people’s boundaries are related to past experience, and creating a safer “right now” can help some people open up closed doors. There is no implicit consent to touch someone’s genitals because you have kissed them, or to have intercourse because you’ve had oral sex. If your partner tenses up or cries or is unresponsive, it’s really important to stop, check in, and support what they need. Be honest about any risk factors you bring, such as sexually transmitted infections, whether you have unprotected sex with other people, and if you have allergies to glycerin or spermicide (in lube) or latex. Details make all the difference.
It’s also important that we take care of our community and help out our friends. At the very least, we should directly check in with them about what they want and expect, and possibly act to get them to a place of lower risk. It’s also important to confront people (in a supportive way) who act aggressively, because they may not understand that what they are doing is possibly assault. They are either okay with what they are doing, or don’t believe there’s anything wrong with it.
While being so direct about sex is outside of most norms, it transforms sexual experiences. When we are sure that we agree with our partners about expectation and desire, there is no fear to distract us—only pleasure and humor. It’s much less pressure to offer someone a choice (“Would you like to come home with me or would you rather hang out here?”) than a request (“Would you come home with me tonight?”). If we allow for slow and comfortable intimacy, we are likely to experience it more fully and joyfully.
So, if you are often the initiator of your sexual experiences, experiment with patience and let someone else take the lead. Even if it means being alone more often, you may find you enjoy yourself more when you have partners. If you are less likely to initiate sex, think of ways you could safely ask for intimacy. Having the support of friends could make it easier to approach that really great someone.
It’s our responsibility to create new sexual expectations based on good communication that not only reduce the likelihood of sexual assault, but affirm that sex is normal and necessary. This begins with teaching children healthy ideas about their bodies and believing people when they share stories of sexual assault. Consider it turning on the lights. There are endless ways for us to end our internal oppression and explore healthy, better sex.
February 29, 2020 is Leap Day — could we use our extra day for something extraordinary and powerful instead of the same old same old? The capitalist/industrial system wastes our time, strips life from the earth, centralizes power into a few hands, and extracts the meaning and pleasure from our lives.
While most of us yearn for a different world, it’s hard to know how to fight back or how to make a difference. You can’t revolt alone, and the structures of oppression and destruction are designedto feel inevitable, unavoidable and overwhelmingly powerful.
Nonetheless, the world is always changing. Empires alwayscrumble to dust eventually. And yet slavery and monarchy didn’t replace themselves. Someone or a small group of people have to take the first terrifying step off the sidewalk and into the streets to force change.
Rebels are just regular folks the day before an uprising — worried about the rent, full of contradictions, unsure what to do next. Revolt transforms the lives of those who make it. It clarifies the meaning of our lives while it heals and transform us. There is nothing like the electric experience in the streets when the crowds advance, the police flee, and anything is possible.
The right time to begin revolt is right now, but the precise day is arbitrary. The correct conditions already exist and have been present for some time.
We need to openly discuss and challenge power and refuse to be consumers, viewers and objects to be managed. This goes way beyond just the distribution of resources — instead, its time to question whether resources, alone, is what life is really about. We demand a world organized around being awake and engaged — where we pursue intimate knowledge of others, ourselves and the world around us rather than getting distracted by treats distributed to keep us obedient and on-task.
Shifting the focus from things and entertainment to DIY experiences is what the world needs now to prevent the technological system from destroying the earth. Life is too short and the world too beautiful to spend more time muddling through accepting the compromises of the corporate system and waiting for something better — far off in the future. We don’t have enough time left for that anymore.
Working in tiny collectives, nurturing gardens and bike coops and art spaces is vital to the struggle, but it just isn’t enough as the earth slides towards extinction. It’s time to attack and defeatthe structures of power. We’re not going to get burned out or tired once we start winning.
Leap day offers an extra day and invites us to shake off our routine, but any other day could work just as well. The global system — while vast — is fragile and vulnerable. Alternatives to the system of ecological devastation and economic inequality exist — cooperation, local control, sharing, living in harmony with the earth.
This year, consider February 29 as an experiment and an invitation. How do you really want to live? What would you do if you were living life like it really mattered? Would you go to work like normal, or can you think of something better? This leap day can be a universal general strike and uprising for a world worth living in, but its up to you, your friends and the whole world to take that first step. Leap for it.