building alliances for social engagement
building alliances for social engagement volume 1.
letter from the editor In the spring of 2007, I took a road trip to New Orleans with a group of strangers in order to volunteer with Common Ground, a non-profit organization based in the 9th ward. Volunteers of Common Ground were working to rebuild neighborhoods in the city. Water in the 9th ward was still not drinkable. The school where we were housed was permeated with water stains and a musty smell, and they told us that a woman had died on the roof. “Help” was painted on many of the houses, as well as an X that denoted that the buildings had been checked after the storm, the date, and how many bodies had been found. A year and a half after Katrina, there were still houses on their sides, gigantic piles of rubble that had not been cleared, and the roads were devastated by huge holes. Very few families had returned to the uninhabitable homes, and the city was threatening to seize any property that was not being maintained. For six days, our group helped gut houses, mowed lawns, and restored community gardens, parks, and wildlife areas. We cooked, washed dishes, took up security posts at night, and cleaned floors. I volunteered to oversee a family homeless shelter in the 13th ward on our last day. The Common Ground employees left me to help one mother care for six children whose parents were at work. The children colored pictures for me with their broken crayons, and I read them storybooks. On the back porch, a small boy slept in my lap, and I leaned my chin against his head to rest and reflect on a long week. It was remarkable to think of all the things that could be done to help the displaced citizens of New Orleans, all of the people who could be involved in the restoration who weren’t. But even more incredible to me were the good things being done by the people who were there. Some of the volunteers were living in the school long-term and had dedicated themselves to rebuilding. Others were students on spring break or people just passing through. Our contributions to the community of New Orleans, however small, were impactful due to the extraordinary cooperation on the part of everyone involved. Without the help of several of the individuals who went to New Orleans that spring break, and the support of so many other remarkable people with whom I am honored to work, this journal would not be possible. I want to take this opportunity to thank them. It is in the same spirit of cooperation that I encountered in New Orleans, and with a deep need to help, that we have put together this publication, so that everyone on CU’s campus and in the greater Boulder community who are actively striving for equality, stability, and well-being in the world, can use this forum to educate the public, collaborate with each other, and celebrate what makes the activist experience vibrant and meaningful. With unending gratitude, Ashley McPhee
kevin crooks . editor sean daly . editor rebecca diaz . editor mickey ellenwood . design
nam fernandez . editor carlo j. garcia . web, editor andrew maples . editor ashley mcphee . editor-in-chief
jaime moore . design jack ringel . editor evan sandsmark . editor maggie zawalski . design
mission statement To c r e a t e a f r e e j o u r n a l r u n by s t u d e n t v o l u n t e e r s , a c t i n g a s a for um for those of like-mind with concer ns relating to cultural d i v e r s i t y, g e n d e r / s e x u a l i t y, h u m a n r i g h t s , a n d e n v i r o n m e n t a l issues, among other areas of interest, in order to explore and discuss these issues, while educating ourselves and a broader c o m m u n i t y - t h e c r e a t i o n o f w h i c h w e e n d e a v o r t o a c h i e v e . We wish to facilitate comm unication between groups of people who could one day be par tners in a common effor t. As a result we hope to promote the involvement and inclusion of new voices and p e r s p e c t i v e s o f p e o p l e w i t h p a s s i o n s t h a t w e m a y h e l p f o s t e r.
thank you to our supporters . aaron smith . artists . burnt toast . cu imaging services . danielle sena . jason van horn . justin carlton . lucy brothers . nathan frank . our funders . patrick kelsall . photographers . sarah cooke . writers
table of contents on the justice of â€œon the justice of roosting chickensâ€? reclaiming the ward churchill controversy . patrick kelsall in godâ€™s hands (painting) . jaime moore
define guilt (drawing) . joey strine
gender syntax . aimee herman
native/foreign . leah rubinsky
numbers of war . rebecca diaz
marxist morality? . s. wilson daly
as seen on television (drawing) . joey strine
a cambodian dream of death (painting) . jaime moore
honest john holds the cluster bomb . rebecca diaz
down in texas . tiph parrish
jungle green trucks in the middle of the desert . dan conerd
deep dark hands . claudia ebel
potted plants (photo) . theresa karsner
a moment (painting) . liz de bolt
uxo laos: the legacy of cluster bombs . jaime moore
tower 1-7 . david mann
how we contribute to a rape culture . dan galansky
country venus (painting) . lara schenck
city venus (painting) . lara schenck
diaspora . tiph parrish
what are sweatshop activists thinking? . s. wilson daly
whose fault is it anyway . daniella vinitski
children in the dominican republic (photo) . maggie zawalski
mi barrio (photo) . cari smith
sfa: press release . student/farmworker alliance
genuflect . sarah cooke
perspectives on recycling . anonymous
jamlia, have you passed the smoking stool? . rebecca diaz
the militant (painting) . liz de bolt
la violencia (photo) . kevin moran
imperial violence in the americas . kevin moran
day counters (drawing) . joey strine
the cu latrinalia project . keith batter . robin greenfield
holding hands with the future (photo) . liza hensleigh
this is what a police state looks like (photo) . jack ringel
the new insurgency: guerillas on the frontlines . carlo j. garcia
on the justice of ‘on the justice of roosting chickens’ . patrick kelsall
reclaiming the ward churchill controversy
On Thursday, April 2nd, 2009, a jury announced their verdict on Ward Churchill’s lawsuit against the University of Colorado, hopefully bringing closure to this modernday witch-hunt. Since the controversy around the former professor’s 9/11 essay, “On the Justice of Roosting Chickens,” exploded four years ago, much has been said about the public figure and his scholarship. Mainstream discourse, however, has been constructed in a way that co-opts Churchill’s work and decontextualizes the important academic contributions it makes. This essay is an attempt to reclaim the contributions of Churchill’s work and place it in its proper context. Upheavals caused by Churchill’s reflection on the 9/11 attacks are where discourse began to be constructed; erected in ways that erased the important issues brought up in the essay. Mainstream media misconstrued the essay, incorrectly concluding that “Ward Churchill compared 9/11 victims to Nazis and therefore the 9/11 victims deserved what they got.” Thus, discourse was constructed into a binary; Churchill’s supporters were heartless monsters and if one felt a morsel of sadness for the victims of 9/11 then one needed to condemn him, or be categorized as one of his heartless supporters. The tyranny in framing discourse about his 9/11 essay in this way is that it erases the most pertinent message of the essay; 9/11 was the inevitable product of the legacy of US imperialism and we cannot prevent future 9/11’s unless we address the deeper cause at work. Unfortunately public discourse did not meditate on all the blood spilt by the US military in North America, Central America, South America, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Middle East. Instead we were left with a superficial debate over who cared most about the victims of 9/11. As time progressed, discourse over the 9/11 essay transformed into a debate over freedom of speech. In an attempt to break the binary created for discourse on the 9/11 essay, this framing of the issue became a more seditious way of covering up the issue at hand. If I had a nickel for every time I have heard “I don’t agree with what he said but I support his right to say it” in regard to Ward Churchill, the economic crisis wouldn’t be a concern for me. What is problematic with viewing the 9/11 essay in this way is that, once again, the issue at hand is erased from discourse. The question asked by the public is “Does Ward Churchill have the right to compare 9/11 victims to Nazis?” Instead, the question asked needs to be “Is Ward Churchill right about the US having a primary role in creating the social conditions that ultimately gave birth to 9/11?” Even more perverse in framing the controversial essay around free speech is that it validates the very institutions that Churchill is critical of. By permitting Churchill his freedom of speech in defense of the Constitution, the US, as a beacon of freedom, remains sanctified. For the record, any words coming out of Churchill’s mouth, let alone anyone else’s mouth, originate from personal agency inherent in every individual no matter what society they live in. No one needs permission to practice freedom of speech. That being said, framing this issue around the protection of Churchill’s constitutional 1.
2. right buries the critical analysis of US foreign policy under a sea of nationalist rhetoric. Yet again public discourse is prevented from internally reflecting on the meaning of the 9/11 essay. Once the initial uproar over the essay subsided, the powers that be realized they could not silence Churchill solely because they were offended by his writing; a new framing of discourse was constructed. “Academic Freedom” became the terrain over which the American Indian Studies professor was analyzed. With this new framework, people could safely dismiss Churchill without violating the sacredness of their constitution. Instead of hearing “I don’t agree with what he said, but I support his right to say it,” I heard “he has the right to freedom of speech but he doesn’t have the right to plagiarize.” The Churchill problem shifted from “comparing 9/11 victims to Nazis” to an accusation concerning the contamination of academic integrity. The new framing of the problem was much more marketable to the public at large. To conclude, I want to direct discourse to the issue that originally should have been the focus of this great controversy. Not only do I support Churchill’s freedom of speech but also I unequivocally agree with what he said in the essay. The analysis presented in “On the Justice of Roosting Chickens” is superbly accurate and, sadly, is still not fully comprehended by mainstream America. What happened on September 11th, 2001, is utterly tragic. And likewise in Chile on September 11th, 1973, in Vietnam from 1960-1975, Nicaragua during the 1980’s, and Iraq from 1990 to present. Not to mention tragedies across North America, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Iran, Haiti, Laos, Indonesia, Grenada, Colombia, the list could go on and on. After coming to grips with the real history of this country, the explanation doesn’t quite fit anymore, I do not accept the 9/11 attackers as “soulless evildoers motivated by their hatred of freedom.” The construction of discourse around the 9/11 essay erases critical analysis of US imperialism. This occurred in regard to the rest of Churchill’s body of work during this controversy. Even with the exceptional amount of attention given to Churchill over the past few years, I still have yet to hear one of his critics honestly address the argument presented in A Little Matter of Genocide, that what the US has done--and continues to do-- to American Indians, is genocide in every sense of the word. I also have yet to hear a coherent rebuttal to the FBI’s history of domestic warfare, as thoroughly documented in Agents of Repression and The COINTELPRO Papers. Lastly, not once has someone explained how Churchill is wrong in Struggle for the Land, in which he claims the US has no legal right to the land it occupies. Ultimately one of the biggest tragedies of the Churchill controversy has been that mainstream propaganda, of both the conservative and liberal persuasion, created a smokescreen blinding the public from the reality of the situation. The consequence of this action is that we are no better equipped to intellectually understand the violence of 9/11 than we were on 9/10.
in godâ€™s hands
. jaime moore I painted this chick with its original color. A friend of mine had picked it up off the street in a marketplace in Morocco. It was so innocent, and yet so brutally tainted before it even had a chance to hatch. A microcosm.
. joey strine
gender syntax . aimee herman IV: trans/pire
measure my erection : construction site of regularly available seating ambidexterous with table manners unafraid of darkness interest rates or the current economic crisis dishwasher safe a meal texture of frown lines and physics scent of tongue sap and zippers smell of surgical steel and stitches a map of consultations sock sweat steroids inside house of cardboard footprints where heat struggles with windows pained by hysterical autosarcophagy as hand pretends to come with the voraciousness of a sexually deviant Catholic hunger screams for fingernail digestion and the mileage of highly trained ejaculate ( hide the symptoms the evidence ) airway traffic controller dialogues with weather vanes and windshield pressure hybrid of resonance and chewing capacity calculation of a bulge /eat de-clawed clitoris of latin origin antibacterial degreaser of intellect uniqueness derivative in/ability to all within the folded verbs of genitals she searches for the companion to force
may be used when
easy identification of see
rock-like stiff refusal
6. ARE YOU SURE? WAIT! I am not asking for an invitation after this or signature of authenticity just wrap your hands around my grammatical error and pull. pretend I am your father or, magnetic I thought if I pressed hard enoughâ€” pushed them down, away. omission of
go away now. this could be contagious. what if I forget how to fuck? or, become angry enough to use it in the wrong way are there manuals? digital recordings of measured poses? I can never remember formulas. or, how to pull off a band-aid without losing several cells
V: trans/literate ask me about moisture the rise of bones and spread of teeth what gathers down there ask me how I like it [when Iâ€™m the only one left] and I pretend it was always there
just like that
ask me to map out the positions the way my body curves how I scream out names that used to undress me the scars ghosts of my genitals dry remains of dairy inside indented breast tissue appraise the value of my abdomen how far can it stretch and why does it not calm down? ask me to describe the weight of my meals and why I forget to chew define impatience. discoloration. the impact of sterilization. ask me about static and the state of my alarm clock ask me about curdled hands holding me down the yelling WRONG ROOM!!! ask
you will inform me that I drank too much milk or was not breastfed long enough or that the direction of her nipple against the roof of my tongue was too slanted. you will blame my mother. I
will blame my mother.
I am trying to define memory. how long I have known why I am like this is it sickness or just
I am trying to define the way my bones become rotation of flashes / backing up from /
a slideshow to the rest of me white spackle
I cannot recall sequences. What. Does. It. Mean. To. Be. Non. Biological? Well, she looks like I mean, he looks she Itâ€™s a HE, right? HE. 7.
8. [FUCK] Beneath the tubing. Oxygen. Rib cage. Nipples. Slant of waist. Slope of sound. Elastic. Binding. Blood. Larynx. Lessons. Research. Practice. Fear. Don’t touch it. What is IT made of? How does IT go to the bathroom? Packing? It isn’t— Normal. This is not chemistry. Adrenal cortex. Reconstruction of. Removal of. Hysterectomy. Bilateral mastectomy. Sterilization. Congruency. Fixed. ARE. YOU. SURE. ? u wake up topless white fissures brown like language magnetic outlet of restlessness beauty
defined as removal of reminder of what hid
its been one hundred and sixty eight months, three weeks
YES. I AM.
native/foreign . leah rubinsky Some years ago I participated in a service-learning project on a Navajo reservation in Shiprock, New Mexico. … As I move south on I-25 the mountains move with me. They ride along like friends until their peaks fade away. As I continue south the land lies down and stretches itself out on all sides. Brown soil dries and bakes under the sun until it glows a dusty red. By the time I cross into New Mexico, the trees have all shrunk and become isolated tufts of dried grass and brush. The strange occasional jutting piece of land in the distance catches my eye. The cactus plants, tall and silent, watch me as I go. The red hues of the desert surround me. The silence whispers. … I think of my own displacement as I drive through the desert. My childhood as the daughter of foreigners was one of balance. Carefully, I negotiated between my mother’s Spanish and my environment’s English, my mother’s platanos and tight-knit family ethics and my environment’s frozen food, individualism and isolation. But I never quite knew which world I belonged to. I could move with ease in my native English world although there was always some piece of my soul that felt like an outsider. I could move tentatively in my accented Spanish world, filling my soul with familiar cultural pieces although I could not communicate with the fluency of my borrowed native English. I felt so divided between cultures and heritages that I became lost. I felt rootless. … Signs in English tell me that I am ten miles from Shiprock, New Mexico. Signs in Navajo with no English translation tell me that I have crossed into Navajo territory. Trailer homes and old tired trucks rest along the roads. Two older women come out of the grocery store carrying plastic bags, a glint of turquoise at the ears. Ripped-open chain link fences and flopping laundry on lines consider me disinterestedly. A man driving an exhausted truck slows down. His long dark hair moves as he turns toward me. “Aren’t you in the wrong part of town?” Yes, I am. For my whole life I’ve been in the wrong part 9.
10. of town. … The women’s shelter in Shiprock is a collection of houses enclosed by a chain link fence and a security-enabled gate. I join a group of college students who have come here to do a service-learning project at the women’s shelter and learn about Navajo culture and intimate partner violence. Our host opens the gate, and we cross into the compound. There is a collections space for donated clothing, toys, shoes and books. There is a main house with administrative offices where our hosts work tirelessly. There is a dormitory for residents including a small play space for the children. Behind the kitchen outside is a sweat lodge for the residents, all survivors of intimate partner violence. This is a sacred space, their own space, for them to hurt, to cry, to heal. There is a child in the kitchen looking for toys. We organize the stock room. We sort through plastic hand-medown toys. We clean out some of the rooms. We fold small, soft baby socks. … We cook dinner each night after our volunteer activities in the shelter. We go to the grocery store to buy food to cook. An old man with rich leather-colored skin and dusty jeans is buying a pack of cigarettes. As I look at him, I think about myself as a foreigner here in his native place. I realize that I don’t know how to be a respectful foreigner here. We buy a pound of chicken and green peppers to make fajitas. As I watch the young Navajo teenager bag our groceries I realize that I don’t know how to move or how to be in Shiprock carrying the intrusive history that I carry; my history symbolized by my olive skin that is itself nuanced by its own ambiguities about who is native, who is foreign, who belongs and who doesn’t. We pay for our groceries. … At the shelter, after we have spent the morning cleaning out the back room, our hosts invite us to a lunch that they’ve cooked. There is hot Indian fry bread and savory shredded meat. They eat with us. They laugh with us. They tell us which cousin lives in Denver. We ask about words in Navajo. They tell us. I ask about how best to be a respectful foreigner in Shiprock on this reservation. Barbara (who is part Cherokee and part Navajo) tells us that history is history; it’s the story of where we came from and how we came to where we are. It needs to be recognized and taught correctly and accurately in schools. Native American history and the darker parts of U.S.-Native relations need to be learned and remembered, she tells us. Christine, our other host, tells us how they preserve the Navajo language in schools. She tells us about intimate partner violence in her community. She tells us about traces of plutonium in the drinking water and about the U.S. government still owning the land they live on. I think about all of this with sadness. I think about how damaging the foreign invasion into native ways of life has been and is. I think about how each person negotiating their identity and culture must carry these cultural wounds with them. She tells us that observing and learning respectfully is what we can do to help. She asks us if we want to learn how to make fry bread. … We are in a large community building some miles away from the shelter. We have been invited to listen in on a support meeting of those native men who perpetrated violence against their partners. We go into a classroom with white boards and sit down. There is a circle of men. We are seated outside of the circle. There is a somber thickness in the
air. There is a man leading the group. His black hair, tied behind his back, is threaded with gray strands. A silver bracelet shines against the ochre of his skin. Each man tells his story: why he is here, how he got there, how he can get out of there. We all find each other here, suddenly. Native or foreign to this room, this situation, under fluorescent lights, listening to each other with a heavy burden dividing us, or divided amongst us. One man shares his story, describing the white-hot rage that boiled up in him and the result of his wife’s blood on the carpet. The fluorescent lights are unnaturally bright, and I feel sick to my stomach. The facilitator asks, “Why does this domestic violence happen? Where does this come from? When did we forget who we are and where we came from? This violence and disrespect to women is foreign to our culture.” … That night I can’t take part in the evening reflection with the group. I can’t sleep either. I go outside of the little house on the compound of the women’s shelter where we are staying. The dark sky is lit with stars, like shards of glass that watch over the silent desert night. I am thinking about the long history of violence, of borders and rigidly defined limits between Native and Foreign, Us and Them, You and I. … On one of our last nights, we are graciously invited into a sweat lodge. We drive in the cold night. We arrive at a spot in the desert. We change into loosely fitting clothes. The stars are close. The fresh night air stings. Quickly we file into the domed sweat lodge, following our hosts, two older Navajo men. The sweat lodge is as dark as the night sky outside. I find my place on the floor, a place that has been offered to me. At the center of the circle is a fire pit. The flap of the entrance is closed and we are enclosed in this shared space. It is as dark as the back of my eyelids. There are welcomes, prayers. I am with other people in this circular dome, with my colleagues, our hosts and two Navajo elders. This low-ceilinged dome embraces all of us. Yet the darkness also closes me off from the others, both isolating me and opening endlessly before me. One by one, simmering hot rocks are brought into the lodge and set on the fire pit. The heat unfolds itself in the darkness, closes the space even more, and makes the darkness hazy. Our hosts offer prayers and guidance for us. Their words appear to me like a voice out of the darkness as the drops of sweat gather on my skin and slide down to the earth. Moments slide into each other until they turn into a quiet perpetual being in this womb, in this closeness to others. I feel like I am remembering something that I had forgotten. I feel my eyes moisten over. Here, close to others who occupy their own universes within this hut, I feel the most curious sense of complete belonging. One of the Navajo men speaks and his voice floats out of the darkness like the lost voice of a beloved grandpa, familiar and gentle. … “For those who feel rootless, for those who wander and who don’t feel at home, it is important to reconnect with our ancestors and our cultural heritage. Only then do we recover the missing pieces of ourselves. Only then do we understand that we all have a place here; we all belong. Only then can we begin to heal.”
numbers of war or 9/11 x 3,652: an un-happy 6th anniversary to the occupation (formerly an un-happy 5th anniversary to the occupation) . rebecca diaz (2,189) two thousand one hundred and eighty-nine days of conflict more than one million (1,000,000) lives mark two thousand nine over one million (1,000,000) stories halted by gunfire one twenty sixth (1/26) of an entire race thirty (30) days of summer from June to July (592)five hundred and ninety two souls dumped and discarded onto streets of Baghdad, twenty(20) corpses per sunrise blindfolded and gagged, death in Ar Ramadi; all things dying in obscurity 1
with your finger, trace a line across combat zone Syrian Desert across Lockheed voyages of the Atlantic onto USian Empire of state-induced-panic one twenty sixth (1/26th) of three hundred million (300,000,000) would be eleven million and one half (11, 500, 000) three thousand (3,000) red white and blues every day for the next ten (10) years three thousand six hundred and fifty-two (3,652) days of hijacked planes flying into USian names plumes of smoke ascend from high-rise Miami tower of Sears collapses on windy city Boeing 747 plummets into Space Needle’s heart every day steel collides with building every day three thousand (3,000) lives every day less fixtures in the skyline every day a collapsing infrastructure every day we are crushed by the weight add another twelve years (12) and one million victims (1,000,000) pre- 9/11 cabinets of George Bush and Bill Clinton economic sanctions pilfered a nation’s growing reverie 1
Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, has stated the total costs of the Iraq War on the US economy
will be 3 trillion dollars in a moderate scenario, and possibly more in the most recent published study, published in March 2008. Stiglitz has stated: “The figure we arrive at is more than $3 trillion. Our calculations are based on conservative assumptions. They are conceptually simple, even if occasionally technically complicated. A $3 trillion figure for the total cost strikes us as judicious, and probably errs on the low side. Needless to say, this number represents the cost only to the United States. It does not reflect the enormous cost to the rest of the world, or to Iraq.” (“Studies: Iraq costs US $12B per month”, AP/Yahoo News, March 9, 2008. Retrieved on March 12, 2008)
where water remained poison for lack of chlorine where food could not reach five hundred thousand (500,000) screams where medication would have been as real as USian democracy seven hundred and twenty million dollars ($720,000,000) per day five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) a minute while veterans of combat are released from war into doctor visits at a three-hundred-fifty-day (350) chore twenty-six million (26,000,000) stories strapped onto the tongue, waiting for exits into the ears of un-recruited young, one hundred twenty-six (120) suicides per day lost in the administration of hush three trillion dollars (3,000,000,000,000) in the end will secure us /from them history /repeats: and why /are we not camping in the streets? remember the boots marching because of our enslavement remember tonight one hundred ninety-five thousand (195,872) veterans sleep on pavement three hundred thousand (300,000) brains in anguish haunted by flashes of engagement four thousand two hundred and fifty-seven (4,257) soldiers will never come home again these are the numbers of war the numbers of war numbers of war of war war
marxist morality? . s. wilson daly “It is very much harder than we sometimes realize to be radical or revolutionary in respect to ends, as opposed to means.” - Richard Wasserstrom1 Wood and Tucker claimed that Marx held only a non-moral normative view that, through the process of historical materialism, we can judge actions and events based on their role in the establishment of a classless, post-capitalist, proletarian communist society. Cohen, Husami, Young, and others persuasively argue against this interpretation and offer additional ethical, moral, or justice-based interpretations of Marx from objective post-capitalist or proletarian positions. However, natural-historical Marxism judgments were not discussed on their own grounds.2 Furthermore, a non-normative natural-historical scientific outlook is generally disregarded and dismissed. This paper alleges that normative claims are in jeapordy if one takes historical materialism too seriously and that even non-moral normative claims rely upon moral claims. Aristotle viewed life forms in two ways. Each has the potential form and the actual form, these are not necessarily different. If there is a potential for a given form of life, it is defined not necessarily by what it is now but by functions associated with it. This teleological function, or ergon, will be fulfilled ceteris paribus. There is a tendency for any such form to fulfill that function.3 Aristotle in turn, influenced Hegel’s notion of selfrealization and freedom as self-determination.4 Marx extrapolated this functional account to species-level analysis. For Marx, the function of the Human Species not only has animal-like aspects (eating, drinking, sleeping, and procreation) but also more uniquely human characteristics. This specifically human function involves appropriation of nature (production), social and communal relations, and free, conscious activity. These are functions, which currently are not fully actualized but would be fulfilled in a communist mode of production.5 Teleological accounts are natural-historical conceptions and do not by themselves suggest value. Only normative goods claim value. To speak of morality and ethics, one uses terms such as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in reference to a moral good. Moral goods must be foundational and self-justified, sometimes even appearing irrational. When speaking of goods that are non-moral, e.g. a good meal, then whatever it consists of and the actions an agent takes to attain the good meal, are referred to as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. But usually these are merely justified as steps towards some goal which is eventually justified on moral grounds. Marx seems to have used non-moral language. If he makes normative claims, do they have to have moral goods behind them? However, does he make normative claims at all? Does Historical Materialism even allow for non-moral normative claims? Historical Materialism alleges that the dominating force of history is determined by the mode of production of the economy. Morality, law, politics, and other social 1
“Lawyers and Revolution”, University of Pittsburg Law Review 30 (1969) qtd. in Young, Gary “Justice and Capitalist Production.” Canadian Journal of Philosophy
VIII-3, (1979): p. 455 2
For the non-moralist interpretation - Wood, Allen W. Karl Marx : Second Edition. New York: Routledge, 1981., and “The Marxian Critique of Justice”, Philosophy
and Public Affairs 1 (1972) 244-82, at p. 272. See also Robert C. Tucker, The Marxian Revolutionary Idea (New York, 1961), pp. 18-20, 222f. For the moralists, start with Cohen, G.A. Book Reviews, Mind – Oxford University Press, (July 1983) pp.440-445, Ziyad I. Husami. Marx on Distributive Justice, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 8, No. 1. (Autumn, 1978), pp. 27-64., and Young, Gary “Justice and Capitalist Production.” Canadian Journal of Philosophy VIII-3, (1979): p. 455. 3
Aristotle. De Anima. Trans. Hugh Lawson-Tancread. London: Penguin, 1986. P. 156-160.
Husami, Ziyad I. Marx on Distributive Justice, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 8, No. 1. (Autumn, 1978), p. 41.
Marx, Karl. “The 1844 Manuscripts”, The Marx-Engels Reader. Ed. Robert C. Tucker. New York : Norton, 1972. P.73-76
inventions are part of a super-structure, ultimately determined by the mode of production of a given society. The superstructure tends to assume the most efficient (productive) arrangement that corresponds to the mode of production. During the course of an epoch of a mode of production (e.g. feudalism), the means of production are developed enough to accommodate a more efficient mode of production. This becomes a revolutionary period. The mode of production and the superstructure with it, now has a tendency to change into the next logical mode of production. Eventually this new mode of production (e.g. capitalism) develops the means of production to accommodate yet another mode of production (e.g. communism). The final mode of production is communism. In a communist society there is no division of labor yet the means of production are advanced and enable all individuals to fulfill their humanity.6 However, with the teleological argument of historical materialism, describing society itself, there is no place for the individual actor. Communist society will develop eventually, ceteris paribus. “The good” will be achieved, whether or not a person works towards it or against it.7 The only thing that we as individuals might be able to change is when exactly the revolution occurs. If you accept Historical Materialism as the very foundation of your beliefs, then to perform an action that makes revolution come sooner than later is not more useful or good. Yes, more generations would live freely. But why is that good? The idea that more people are free to be fully human must be justified in its own terms. Yet this requires some other values to be added to Historical Materialism. Otherwise, there can be no normative claims, moral or otherwise, where Marxism is pure science, to be proven or disproven. To establish a non-moral good one must appeal to some reasons for why that good is important. Perhaps Marx leaves the question open to justification. However, with Marxism, a classless society enables humanity to be truly free and to fulfill its function according to a certain notion of humanity. Therefore, if human beings are defined in a certain way then there is enough reason to justify policies which allow them to fulfill that function. Those policies are good. There is some indication that Marx’s holds this view himself when he writes, “We set out from real, active men, and on the basis of their real life-process.”8 However, we can go deeper than that. Why is the fulfillment of that function, the full development of which I will also call human freedom, a good? Firstly, there are some issues which one might see as more important than human freedom, such as the planet’s survival from environmental catastrophes or nuclear war – issues with which Marx did not have to concern himself. Assuming that these are not so serious or that they in fact do not conflict with the goal of human freedom through communist revolution, even if you accept the Marxist notion of humanity, there are other proposals that some find more appealing to self-interest. For example, vulgar Social Darwinism suggests an opposing approach for improving the species and genetic engineering has the potential to serve our collective self-interest in similar ways. In light of competing anti-communist and non-communist grand species-level proposals, the establishment of communism can seem as a secondary or even an obscure goal. Perhaps the best way to justify human freedom is to realize the development of 6
Marx, Karl. “Preface to A Critique of Political Economy”, “Letter to Annenkov”, and “Speech on the Anniversary of the People’s Paper.” The Marx-Engels Reader. Ed.
Robert C. Tucker. New York : Norton, 1972. p. 3-6, 136-142, 577-78. 7
Marx, Karl. “Letter to Annenkov” The Marx-Engels Reader. Ed. Robert C. Tucker. New York : Norton, 1972. P.136-137.
Marx, Karl. “The German Ideology” The Marx-Engels Reader. Ed. Robert C. Tucker. New York : Norton, 1972. P.154.
16. reason and logic. We can get farther with the notion that human freedom is good because it implies the establishment of free individuals, who presumably can think more freely and objectively. In short, it allows humanity to be more rational and logical. This is similar to Aristotle’s notion that nothing is nobler than thinking for the sake of thinking. If our moral justification must be irrational, let it be that we become more rational. For all of Marx’s attacks on ideology and abstract principles, he still embraces empiricism and rational argument. Indeed Marx’s many persuasive writings are evidence enough of the value he placed on logic. An argument is valid or it is not. Deductive logic is thus a qualitative attainment; one which, on some level, most people can use in one circumstance or another, despite whatever mode of production they live with. Inductive logic is another matter. It relys upon objectivity and empirical data. The quality and quantity of evidence depend on many factors, including the freedom of science to discover the truth. Therefore, one can in fact be more rational, in the sense that one can be more objective and empirical, if one has more freedom to do so. This is important because it suggests that our beliefs and conscious activities are imperfect because they could be put into better perspective and always use more evidence. Therefore, to the extent that we are less free, many of them are imperfect. Any conscious activity, or in other words, our humanity itself, is validated if we value reason for its own sake and so human freedom too. We will, each and every living person, understand ourselves and the world around us better if we enable our human functions, after which time perhaps then we may or may not decide upon a more important goal. Marx asserts that there will be a real, “positive science” and that by altering our “material production” we can alter (and assumedly improve) “thinking and the products of [our] thinking.”9 This is more than just self-interest. Just as we determine what ‘the good’ is, based upon our reason, not to value the development of reason itself undermines those competing claims of appeal to self-interest, especially if they rely more on induction. Those who argue that Marx held, at least for all pre-communist epochs, classless society as a non-moral good and that he was non-normative in all other respects, are now faced with an embarrassing position. Marx’s words and deeds clearly show his normative opinions.10 Marx could still have believed that communism is good, that historical materialism is true, yet believe there are no good or bad steps on the road to communism just because communism is good if, in addition, he imagined it possible for there to be an objective post-capitalist proletarian justice or morality with which one could judge historical actions. Marxists get nervous about morality. Marx said that all previous morality was ideological and therefore irrational;11 part of the superstructure. Yet as many others have shown, this does not preclude all senses of post-capitalist justice. The justice, ethics, and morality that will exist for the future classless society can also be used to critique capitalist society today (especially from the point of view of the oppressed class). Yet, the discussion of such systems is beyond the scope of this paper. Practically speaking, for activists it is not very useful to speak about communism to the masses solely couched in teleological non-normative terms. Ironcially, it is much more appealing to revolutionaries and their audiences to employ moral terms of condemnation or approbation of human actions – with language apropriate to the condition of humanity today, and in past epochs. 9
For example, Marx, Karl. “Thesis on Feuerbach” The Marx-Engels Reader. Ed. Robert C. Tucker. New York : Norton, 1972. P.143-145. Especially XI.
Marx, Karl. “The German Ideology” The Marx-Engels Reader. Ed. Robert C. Tucker. New York : Norton, 1972. P.154-55.
as seen on television
a cambodian dream of death
. jaime moore
Too many days in a in a place made of dirt, and bombs, and desperation made it impossible to sleep in such a comfortable bed.
honest john holds the cluster bomb . rebecca diaz Honest John holds cylindrical shape, rounded over front end. Rounding the middle, America fills his belly with trinitrotoluene, napalm B & nitrogen compounds. Replacing lips of a post-war fat man, Honest John left shrapnel fins along Mekong, in the soil of a million elephants. Blasted & yielding 40 kilotons, thermite weldings still live in skins of Viet Nam. America introduced him to depleted uranium and unspecified heavy metals. Now Honest John carries cluster bombs, carries incendiary capabilities. Radiant yellow dust –hot on Afghanistan’s tongue. His end wings sparkle along banks of the Euphrates. Wandering off target, unexploded bomblets are Sahara’s new undergrowth. Your plutonium feet are horrendous, Honest John
down in texas .tiph parrish her car spray painted last week quit nigger ran white along both sides drove an hour home two children in the doorway Momma what’s that mean? didn’t want them to see thought she could keep them from this thas’ bad people baby and thasa bad word but what’s it mean momma?
jungle green trucks in the middle of a desert . dan conerd Hello. My name is Dan Conerd. I am 24 years old and I am an Iraq War veteran. People always ask me, “Why did you join?” You might as well be in jail and have your cellmate ask, “What are you in for?” It was as if I committed a crime and now I must pay for it by serving in the US military. In today’s world this seems to be the case. Judges are giving criminals the option to either go to jail or serve in the military. I sometimes wonder if jail would have been better.
I was just a kid living in Iowa with dreams and goals.
I wasn’t a criminal, nor was I on drugs. I wasn’t someone who swore my life to capture and kill the terrorist behind the 9/11 attacks. I was just a kid living in Iowa with dreams and goals. I knew three things: I knew I wanted to fly, I knew I wanted to make lots of money, and I knew I wanted to get out of Iowa. I was 17 and coming up on graduation when my friend asked me if I wanted to join the army with him. At the time, I was being lectured by my parents every day. They were always asking me, “What are you going to do with your life? You’re almost an adult! You better hurry up and figure it out!” I felt pressured by my parents to figure something out and it just seemed like there weren’t any other options. So next thing I knew, I was talking to a recruiter. Sergeant Smith told me that I could learn to fly in the army. He told me I could learn valuable job skills. He said he could get me the duty station of my choice. Sergeant Smith told me in order for me to fly, I had to sign up for something else first, and then after one year I could sign up to be a pilot. He also told me about the college money I would get for signing up. He didn’t mention that I would first have to pay $1200 of my own money—nonrefundable—and that it would be almost impossible to get that money for college. I then told Sergeant Smith that I wanted to go to Germany, thinking that if I’m going to leave Iowa I might as well leave the country too. That was the only promise he did keep. I then asked Sergeant Smith for his honest opinion: Would I be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan? Keep in mind that this was the year 2003, right before things really started to heat up in Iraq. Sergeant Smith told me “No, no you will not. By the time you get done with basic training and job training we will already be done over there.” Man, oh man, was he ever wrong! His reassurance kept me in high hopes. I’d get to learn a great job skill (I signed up to be a heavy construction operator), and in one year I’d get to be a pilot, and have a steady paycheck! Plus I would get leave Iowa and go see Europe! I wouldn’t have to go to Iraq and I wouldn’t have to kill anyone, and I’d get money for college! Sounds good to me! Sign me up! And that’s what he did. On January 20th, 2005, three days before my mom’s birthday, I was deployed to Mosul, Iraq. Happy birthday, Mom. Your 19-year-old son is going to war. I was given
what the army calls a SAW, an M-249. It’s basically the same machine gun you see Rambo caring around. At this point we still didn’t have new armor for our vehicles. Not only were we riding around a war zone in thin sheets of metal, but to top it off our trucks were still painted JUNGLE GREEN in the middle of a desert. Since I had the M-249, I was positioned as the turret gunner, which means that I was the guy poking my head up on the top of the Humvee with my rifle mounted. I was on the quick recovery team, so if bullets were flying, my Humvee would be the first one to lay down suppressive fire to cover the backs of my fellow soldiers. My unit was the 94th engineers. We were construction workers, and yet there I was, sitting in a turret with an M-249, constantly on the lookout for the bad guys, waiting and watching for any suspicious vehicles that could rush up on us to blow us up to kingdom come. After the third month, my left eye would not stop twitching; a common sign of stress I was told. My unit did not fly to Mosul, which would be our home for the next year. Instead, we first stopped in Kuwait and did a three-and-a-half day convoy to the northern most tip of Iraq. On this three-day convoy, approximately four different vehicles either caught fire or simply broke down. We were hit with several IEDs (improvised explosive devices). Thankfully, we had no deaths but it did leave some of us with concussions and hearing loss for awhile. My Humvee was three trucks away from one of the blasts. I used to think about all the video games I played as a kid – all the war games – and think how fun it was to go around shooting people. When my life meter was low I could grab a med pack and be healed, or if I died in the game I could simply press continue and pick up where I left off. Being in war definitely is nothing like the video games. You can’t feel the emotional stress or physical stress, day in and day out. You don’t know what it’s like carrying 100 pounds of equipment and gear on your body in 120 degree heat each day. You feel like you are on the verge of passing out. You learn to stay focused and concentrate on one thing and one thing only: staying alive. My best friend Jared taught me not to take life too serious because you’ll never make it out alive if you do. He taught me how to laugh again and that even if we are at war getting shot at, we are still human and there is always something to laugh about. That is what kept me alive. Yeah, I still deal with things every day. I’ve been back from Iraq for over three years now, but I still have trouble. When I first got back, I would freak out if I couldn’t find my M-249. I still fear crap in the middle of the road when I’m driving. If I see something as simple as a plastic bag, I’ll swerve out of the way to avoid it because in my mind, it could be a bomb. I still have nightmares about four or five times a month. It’s slowly getting better. I keep thinking it could have been worse. Being in war definitely is I could have come back with my arm or leg gone, nothing like the video games. or worse yet, I could have come home in a box. In Iraq we really didn’t do much. I did a lot of tower guard and I also was put into an office job since I was said to be good with computers. We did help rebuild the Baghdad International Airport. We also did a lot of repairing potholes so that the insurgents couldn’t place bombs in them. We made a base for a marine unit. My favorite project was rebuilding a police station – twice. Yeah, twice. It was blown up, we
22. rebuilt it, and then it was blown up a second time. Now you would think, “hmmmmmm,” maybe that’s just not a great spot for a police station, but they insisted on having it right there, so we built it again. Other than that, we spent a lot of time building our base and making it look perfect. It’s a good thing too, since later I learned my unit would go back again, to the same exact base in good ol’ Mosul, Iraq. I came back to Germany in January of 2006 and finally left active duty June 30th of 2007. But before June, I was told that I was scheduled to return to Iraq with the unit in July! And this time it would be for 15 months instead of the 12. All this, after I served four long faithful years, went to Iraq, and fought in a war that I did not support. This was after all the pain and worrying that my family had to endure back home. I kept clean and was a good little soldier the whole time and they were still trying to get more from me. I felt like I was in jail now and that I was coming up for parole and then being denied. I felt like I would never be allowed to return to the world. For anyone that doesn’t know what stop-loss is, I recommend watching the movie. This is what the army was trying to do to me: stop-loss, or involuntary extension. Basically, say your unit is set to deploy July 1st. You count three months back from that and if the date that you’re supposed to get out lands in this three- month window, then you are stop-lossed. You cannot leave the army until your unit gets back from Iraq, and even when you get back, you still have at least two more months of in-processing, outprocessing, and paperwork. I knew a guy who was on his vacation in Hawaii, using the rest of his vacation days and getting out of the army at the end of the month. He was laying on the beach and got the call that he was stop-lossed. Three months later he went back to Iraq and stepped on a land mine. One day I received a call from a friend that worked at headquarters. He told me that he had seen my ETS orders, which ends your enlistment. He told me they’d had them for weeks. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. That same day I went to see if it was true. Having those papers in my hand would I felt like I was in jail now, mean I could start the process of getting out and that I was coming up of the army. I asked the sergeant if he indeed had my orders, and he did. I was extremely for parole and then being happy. He pulled me into his office and told denied. me that my company was trying to hide them from me and to make me believe that I had no choice but to be stop-lossed. He made me some copies and told me, “Whatever you do, you can not, I repeat, DO NOT tell anyone that I gave you these.” I promised, and after some sneaking around and laying low I was able to out-process from active duty and escape stop-loss. Those last two months no one could touch me. If a sergeant told me to drop and do push-ups, I would look him in the eyes and laugh. I didn’t salute one single officer as I passed them. They all knew they were in the wrong, and I knew it too. They might not have been smart enough to get me, but unfortunately over half of my original crew were stop-lossed. My unit returned to Iraq in November of 2007. They were there for 15 months this time, still not doing anything. They didn’t even build any police stations; no repairs to the airport. They did nothing for 15 straight months. December 2008. My brothers were coming home! Four days and everyone would
be back home safe and sound. And then on December 5, 2008, I woke up to a phone call from my friend Jimmy. He told me Jared was killed the day before by an Iraqi pickup truck that was filled with 1,800 pounds of explosives. They said the blast was so big that they heard it five to ten miles away. My best friend, John Jared Savage was killed only four days before he was to return home. He was 26 years old with a two-year-old daughter back home. He had plans to move to the Fort Carson base in Colorado Springs for the rest of his time in the service, so we could once again be close. Today I wear a silver bullet around my neck with Jared’s ashes locked inside. I ask that if you know of anyone who wants to join the military or is thinking about it, you ask them to talk to a local IVAW member or any veteran and listen to what they have to say. Don’t just listen to what the recruiters say. Listen to those who have been there, those who have experienced what really goes on in the military and have seen the destruction of war.
Don’t just listen what the recruiters say. Listen to those who have been there.
deep dark hands . claudia ebel Those distanced hands caked with mud- carrying the folds of the seasons past those hands, who sow the earth, whose cultivation enriches the soil with each passing cycle Pushed out below the surface to the other side, the side of the â€œotherâ€? Now underneath empty plates of low wage restaurant jobs working beneath the heavy machinery of brand names pushed to the margins of recited one-sided textbooks between where they come from and where they end up divided by lines drawn in the sand of battlefields Below depleted topsoil, where rich nutrients once used to accumulate now uprooted now paycheck to paycheck calculating time cards- never adding up Those same hands, that stretch a dollar as far as it can go before breaking attached to bodies buried under blue collar uniforms along assembly lines carrying buckets of food we claim as ours carrying the weight of towers and mansions built by those hands Those hands carrying their childrens hands, holding on to anything they can blocking the barrel of a gun with hose hands, shotgun on the border grabbing train cars, put behind bars These hands I touch these hands and realize they are human uprooted from land and from family reaching above the surface I see your hands and hold them
. theresa karsner 25.
. liz de bolt There is so much war. There are so many served unjust. In the U.S. we glamorize war. There are snowboarding companies that have a grenade as their logo. We kill people in video game combat. We leap for a war before other options are exhausted. I collected nails that I fixed onto a ‘practice’ grenade to show the exact moment that it explodes. I feel that if maybe the viewer felt threatened, if only for a second, I would feel accomplished.
Activism NOT Apathy!
uxo laos: the legacy of cluster bombs . jaime moore Cluster Bombs Cluster bombs are currently recognized as weapons that openly violate international humanitarian law. These deadly munitions are commonly used in warfare by countries such as the U.S., Russia, Israel, and China, despite the fact that the victims are 85% civilian.1 Cluster bombs are hollow shells filled with anywhere between two and three thousand bomblets of various shapes and sizes. These shells are dropped by plane and in flight they open to release the bomblets over areas up to several hundred hectares.2 Each bomblet contains hundreds of metal shards. When it explodes the metal can cause fatal injuries up to twenty-five meters away.3 An estimated thirty percent of the bomblets fail to explode on impact and essentially turn into landmines. They have an average life span of one hundred years4, in which time it can explode, maim, and kill whoever comes into contact with it. Nearly 100 countries have come together and agreed to sign a treaty to ban cluster munitions, most currently in Oslo, Norway.5 As of December 3, 2008, the U.S., Russia, Israel and China, all large military powers, refuse to sign the ban.6 The Pentagon is adamantly against the U.S. signing the ban, citing the military utility as its reasoning.7 Tragically there are testaments to the devastation of cluster bombs that cannot be overlooked, and one can only hope that the new administration of the United States will take this ban into serious consideration. Legacy of Cluster Bombs Use of cluster bombs in modern warfare is far from rare. They are in use now in Afghanistan and Iraq, despite international pleas to ban their use. These countries are war torn, and because of the use of cluster bombs, they have a long hard road to recovery even after the end of the war. The legacy of cluster bombs cannot be seen yet in these countries, but due to the use of this for generations, it is not hard to see what is coming by taking a good look at a country that was treated with the same military tactics over thirty years ago: Laos. Case Study on Cluster Bombs in Laos I spent this past summer doing volunteer work and traveling in Laos, a small country bordering Vietnam in Southeast Asia. What I found was a country riddled with problems: a world of bombshells and amputees, orphaned children, and an overbearing sense of desperation. Large hollow bombshells were a common sight, 1
Cluster Bombs, (2008) Our fight against Landmines and Cluster Bombs, In Handicap International, retrieved December 7, 2008 from http://www.handicap-
Buse, J. (Ed.). (2008). Lao Peopleâ€™s Democratic Republic. In E-Mine, Electronic Mine Infromation Network. Retrieved October 10, 2008, from http://www.mineaction.
Cluster Bombs, (2008)
Mellgren, Doug, December 3, 2008, (2 nations sign cluster-bomb ban; US, Russia donâ€™t, In The Washington Post Retrieved December 4, 2008 from http://www.
28. used as flowerpots, fence posts, and even building boards on homes. I found myself asking difficult, perhaps impossible questions. Why doesn’t this country, in 2008, have decent hospitals?8 Whose bombs are these? I was witnessing the legacy of a war that was fought over thirty years ago still plaguing the lives of the people of Laos. UXO in Laos: Laos PDR (People’s Democratic Republic) is the most heavily bombed country per capita in world history9. The exact number of casualties due to UXO is unknown. Although approximately one hundred deaths are reported per year, it is estimated that this is much less than half the real number.10 Among the annual casualties, fortyfour percent are children.11 Children are particularly attracted to the “bombies.” They are often painted bright colors, so when the kids see them, they dig them up, and play with them. Currently there are projects to inform the kids of these dangers. This year, a course on UXO safety was added to many Laotian Schools.12 UXO affect all of the facets of economic development within the agrarian economy driven by Laos’ fertile climate. Today, the extreme poverty levels, short life expectancy, and high child mortality rates can all be linked back to the effect of the cluster bombs dropped by the United States during and before the Vietnam War. The Origin of the Cluster Bombs: During the Vietnam War, the United States spent nine million dollars per day from 1964 to 1973 covertly bombing Laos with cluster munitions.13 For nine years there was an average of one bomb raid in Laos every eight minutes, resulting in the equivalent to one half ton of bombs per person. * The bombing was so heavy that the Air Force working in Vietnam was brought in, with flight logs altered to cover up their presence there. Laos was referred to as the “the Other Theater” in official U.S. communications.14 Instead of deliberate bombing of the trail, the U.S. resorted to mass carpet-bombing. It is stated that instead of land semi-laden, U.S. pilots were instructed to empty their bomb bays on non-target areas before crossing back into Thailand.15 Due to the secrecy surrounding the true objectives in Laos, the war was fought almost entirely by cluster bomb. This choice is the reason Laos is still suffering the repercussions of the war thirty years after it ended. The UXO left by the cluster bombs are a source of fear and loathing for the average Lao citizen. Without fair trade (trade sanctions due to human rights violations), citizens must grow food to survive, but something as simple as working the rice fields 8
Lewis, Barbara and Bruinooge, Sarah (2008) Developing Medical Capacity to Improve Treatment for UXO Survivors in Lao PDR, In Journal for Mine Action Retrieved
November 30, 2008 from laos.worlded.org/Docs/Developing_Medical_Capacity_Laos.pdf 9
Winston, B. (2005, October). Forgotten Bombs of the Secret War. Geographical Magazine, 77, 50-62. Retrieved October 10, 2008, from the Boulder Public
Library Archive database. 10
Laos, Landmine Monitor Report. (2007, November 6). In Human Rights Watch. Retrieved September 25, 2008,
The Unexploded Ordnance Problem. (2008).
Buse, J. (Ed.). (2008). Lao People’s Democratic Republic. In E-Mine, Electronic Mine Infromation Network. Retrieved October 10, 2008, from http://www.mineaction.
Wiseman, P. (2003, November 12). 30-year-old bombs still very deadly in Laos. USA Today: World. Retrieved October 19, 2008, from http://www.usatoday.com/
*This number does not include the bombing in Laos from 1954-1964
can be compared to a game of Russian Roulette. As it stands, there is endless fertile soil for farming that can’t be used because it is not cleared.16 Meanwhile people are starving. Without first clearing the UXO, there cannot be new roads built, new schools, wells, or medical facilities. A country cannot lift itself out of poverty if it is unable to develop these fundamental building blocks of a strong economy. Out of necessity, people have resorted to the newest cash crop; metal scrapping. People are so desperate to eat and feed their families that they go out with rented metal detectors and look for scrap metal to sell to Vietnam.17 Many times they find what they are looking for, scrap metal from detonated bombs, but it’s not long till they find a “bombie.” Many people still pick it up and take it anyway hoping to detonate it safely and sell the parts. The metal scrappers are in a dangerous position, and this process causes many deaths. The casualties that result are rarely recorded because by law anyone that tampers with the “bombies” are not helped in the hospital.18 Laos today: U.S. Contributions to clean up of UXO: With respect to the nine million dollars per day for nine years, or almost thirty billion dollars that the U.S. spent on bombing Laos, we have spent on average only one million dollars per year in humanitarian aid for demining efforts, a number that does not begin to scratch the surface of the problem. Laos is a country in need, and regardless of this, the U.S. gives relatively little in humanitarian aid compared to other nations. Steps toward a brighter future: We are at a turning point in history as we speak. We need to act fast to show a new face of America. Every culture worldwide shares essential core values; honor, respect, responsibility, and charity. If we can show the world that we lament the past, and show them through action that we hold these same values, it will undoubtedly improve our global image. We must rebuild schools and businesses of countries we presently occupy militarily and immediately stop the use of internationally banned weapons such as the cluster bomb. The effects of this weapon are detrimental, and seem to be magnified in Laos due to the nature of the war that was carried out there. The United States must learn from the past use of cluster bombs that the negative effects of them greatly outweigh their military advantage. It is clear that a weapon whose victims are eighty-five percent civilian is one that should be banned. The U.S. must discontinue from negating this humanitarian cause.
Wiseman (USA Today)
Laos Landmine Monitor (2007)
tower 1-7 . david mann “Anaconda Main this is tower 1-7, over.” “Tower 1-7 this is Anaconda main.” Depending on the time of day, Anaconda Main was either women, or male I never really knew “Tower 1-7, this is Anaconda Main.” Aah, the woman, how sweet she sounds Anaconda Main- I am bored. Rod speaks few words, he’s making this guard tower hard The wind howls, and this creaky tower shakes An Iraqi child rides a bike by, “Fuck you, Fuck Bush!” he yells I throw my hands up, Man, I don’t want to be here. And yell “Fuck Bush!” If only he really knew… The canal, oh the nasty canal, water, dirty, disgusting Unfit for human consumption My brain though, was fryingI wanted to hurl myself into this poisonous water My gun, oh my gun- my effin’ large machine gun It was my burden, my albatross, my cross to bear As if my SGT's thought it was a joke-Shit, I convoyed to Iraq with two guns in 2003, This had to be a jokeSmallest guy, biggest gun? Come on, two guns? I must be Rambo. Yet, they were never loaded. I’m not sure why I was on guard without my machine gun loaded Was I being stupid? I was an America, in an American created war-zone, Was it being smart? My silent statement- I didn’t want to kill. “Anaconda Main this is tower 1-7” “Tower 1-7 - go ahead” Anaconda Main can you turn off the sun? The sweat drips from every pore. I feel like Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane But it’s not blood I shed, Just stinging, salty, dirty sweat, And isn’t the sins of the world I atone for, Just the sins of one man, one nation.
how we contribute to a rape culture . dan galansky It’s Friday night…time to release some stress. The social scripts we have internalized allow us no space to second-guess our party attire. As the women get ‘dolled up’ in skimpy skirts, make-up, and perfume, the men gather the troops and hold down the fort. Ample alcohol and dance music are provided to loosen up guests and silence inhibitions. While there may be a lack of sexual intentions, the situation surely incites such activities. One cannot deny the sexual desire that the exposure of cleavage and skin promotes. The lyrics of the commercialized hip-pop that has dominated the Boulder social scene are largely focused on women as objects, racial denigration, drugs and alcohol, as well as sexual promiscuity. It would be a great generalization to say that all who partake in this ritual are passive dupes, ignorant to the lifestyles and conditions promoted by such activities. However, to say that an overexposure to these conditions leads to immunity from influence is to ignore a larger issue. The more we give in to the conditions that constitute the dominant form of social gatherings, the more we perpetuate a rape culture. Because this situation is so common, instilled in our minds through the media’s portrayal of college life and our reenactments of those portrayals, we become blind to a situation void of true connection, pleasure and productivity. Following the script, we come to expect situations to play out the same way we have seen them play out in the past. One cannot hold a man fully accountable for the expectation of sexual activity when a silent connection is made on the dance floor that fully resembles our deepest fantasies. On the other hand, it is not the woman’s fault either. The Madonnawhore dichotomy is a pressure that men cannot understand. While women may be safer refraining from sexualizing their bodies through skimpy dress and make-up, the resulting societal ostracism may be perceived by some as more psychologically harmful than an occurrence of rape. Thus, by playing this game we become trapped. Legally, one cannot give consent to sexual activity while under the influence of alcohol. But let’s face it…drinking alcohol is often a great way to relieve stress and meet others. Even so, it must not be forgotten that connecting on a true level of intimacy is what makes sexual exploration with others a fulfilling experience. The trust that arises from seeing another in a state of vulnerability, where emotions are communicated equally between partners and boundaries are set that consider the limits of each participant, is what mutual sexual pleasure requires. Realistically then, can this connection occur in a loud environment where intoxicated party attendees are packed into houses like cattle? The point of this critique is to illustrate how our daily practices contribute to sexual violence and unequal gender relations. Perhaps it is time to separate sexual urges from the often self-destructive urge to blow off steam, drink alcohol and dance. Granted, parties are great places to meet people. However, they are horrible places to negotiate sexual activity. While women must consider their position in the global gender hierarchy and realize the importance of forcefully communicating their wishes 31.
32. not to partake in sexual activity when it is not welcomed, men have a larger role. As the rulers of the world (I am being realistic and not advocating the continuation of this social arrangement), men hold a lot of power. If men truly believe that their strength and dominance are biologically granted, then they should surely be able to exert that strength in the name of equality and greater pleasure for all. It is not enough to personally refrain from these behaviors; we must use our power to influence our peer groups no matter how difficult and uncomfortable that can be. The behavior of your peers will not change until your expectations of them, and yourself, are pushed to a higher standard. Pulling away from a reliance on drugs and alcohol to express our true feelings builds strength and character. We become stronger beings who truly understand our desires and the barriers that prohibit us from healthily reaching those desires. We can then communicate more fully and truthfully with one another. Once this happens, we can find partners that serve not as trophies to display our sexual superiority to peers, but as individuals who can fulfill our needs as sexual and emotional beings. As much as we like to pretend that the number of sexual partners we have had corresponds to our self-fulfillment in life, no one can deny the void that this leaves. The truth remains that sexual activity is never as fulfilling as it is when it takes place on a level playing field. Only when the individual idiosyncrasies of one’s fetishes and desires are expressed to a partner can we attain the highest levels of pleasure. Getting past the peer pressure that holds us within the bounds of gender inequality is not easy, but it must be done. We must collectively challenge language, beliefs and practices that leave women vulnerable to men’s violence and feelings of entitlement. I promise to all who are reading, this will lead to a greater happiness for all, better sex and more pleasure. Who can say no to that?
Only when the individual idiosyncrasies of one’s fetishes and desires are expressed to a partner, can we attain the highest levels of pleasure.
. lara schenck
. lara schenck
diaspora . tiph parrish Isapo Muxika: Crowfoot chief of the Siksika people: Blackfoot born c. 1836-died 25 April 1890 “A little while and I will be gone from among you, whither I cannot tell. From nowhere we came, into nowhere we go. What is life? In a flash of a firefly in the night. It is a breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is as the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” —Attributed farewell to his people, 24 April 1890 I. imagine you are Christian the cross is yr most holy symbol yr most prized possession all sacred Christian acts and rituals are not valid without the cross to own one you had to apply to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service four to ten years later you might be given a permit to carry one to use it in yr ceremonies to obtain a permit you need to be federally recognized as Christian at least one of yr grandparents had to be full blood Christian you have to prove this before a judge if you own a cross without a permit you are arrested thrown in jail and fined $25,000 to grow and burn incense you and other Christians must comply with federally regulated law submitting documentation to prove what you are doing is holy this is yr life, on land that was once yrs. II. yr people had been on this land for 20,000 years— well before the blood trails of waschichin came tumbling off the boats they would kill you kill children, women and men, babies still in the womb would die from the bayonets and the guns of the waschichin and when finally your people’s blood flowed out and turned the snow red those who were left would be taken to wastelands and those who ran would always be running the land would eventually give way to strip malls and eateries where north face means something different and slowly anything you believed in had to be ‘regulated’ watched and policed and without warning in 1972 & 73 the government sent people to sterilize 80% of the womyn where you live, womyn between the ages of 14 and 35 in reservations across the country 35.
36. it is the womyn you love, or yr daughter, or mother you are one of the womyn told that yr child would be a â€˜liabilityâ€™ federally stamped a burden before birth. this is someone you would love. III. you are a Cheyenne, a Lakota, Oglala, Itazipco, Hunkapapa, an Ute, a Blackfoot, an Abenaki, Miniconjou, Dakota, a Hopi dreaming the same dreams your people are dreaming in unison, you are an Innu, Shawnee, Tuscarora, Arikawa, an Odawa, Nanticoke, Onandaga, Oneida, Passamaquoddy, you are one of 200,000 Dine, Tinde or Inde once living in what is now called Boulder, Colorado yr backs pressed against the flatirons until you were forced to surrender or watch yr people burn, you are Tahltan, Tsalagi, Quapaw, you are Yavapai the people of the sun, Omaha, Yurok, or Powhatan, a Lumbee, Sauk, Munsee, Mohegan, or Chickasaw, or Navajo, Inuna-ina, Cree, Caddo, Mohawk, Choktaw, Comanche, Kiowa, Hualapai,
Kansa, Innuit, you are one of the 8,000 to die in Nunna dual Isunyi—the Trail Where We Cried, you are Eskimo, or Kainaiwa, the blood tribe, Miccosukee, you are one of 39 tribes living in the state of Oklahoma, you are a Zuni in New Mexico, you are lying in the earth at Wounded Knee, you are living on a reservation fed by the United States Commodity Supplemental Food Plan, you live in Arizona where half yr people have diabetes brought on by rations of engineered, bagged, bleached, fortified, modified, white sugared, white floured, high fructose corn syruped, preservative ridden, canned and overly processed, living on land the government relocated you to, which is generally infertile, making growing your own and becoming independent out of the question— type of food. and you are dying. from heart disease in numbers twice the national average and are three times as likely to need daily insulin IV. you are one of 200 tribes today applying for recognition by the United States government so you are able to practice your religion V. you sit in a jail cell for loving an eagle feather. VI. On the land now called Denver, Colorado The Sand Creek Massacre Capitan Soule to Major Wyncoop December 14, 1864: “I told him that I would not take part in their intended murder....I refused to fire, and swore that none but a coward would, for this time hundreds of women and children were coming toward us, and getting on their knees for mercy....The massacre lasted six or eight hours...it was hard to see little children on their knees, have their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized....One Squaw with her two children, were on their knees, begging for their lives, of a dozen soldiers, within ten feet of them all firing -- when one succeeded in hitting the Squaw in the thigh, she took a knife out and cut the throats of both children, and then killed herself....They were all scalped. One woman was cut open, and a child taken out of her, and scalped. White Antelope, War Bonnet, and a number of others had Ears and Privates cut off. Squaw snatches were cut out for trophies. You would think it impossible for white men to butcher and mutilate human beings as they did there, but every word I told you is the truth, which they do not deny.” 37.
what are sweatshop activists thinking? . s. wilson daly Earning press with some successes at University campuses across the United States and Canada, the anti-sweatshop movement has had remarkably little support from most economics departments. Mainstream economic thought is one of the greatest obstacles to this student movement in particular. The main issue confronting both sides surrounds the perception of free trade. Since David Ricardo described comparative advantage in the nineteenth century, and even before when Adam Smith railed against mercantilism, free trade has been one of the unquestioned tenants of political economy. However, the anti-sweatshop activists are in fact not directly challenging free trade. Their goal of utilizing Universities as large buyers to create market incentive for sweat free collegiate apparel actually is compatible with most capitalist thought. Where resistance occurs however, is that in the very insight that the global economy could be better, that massive sweatshop abuses are The very insight that the global both prevalent and preventable, questions economy could be better, that the justice of what many would like to see massive sweatshop abuses as the best available economic policies. are both prevalent and Yet the theory and reality of free-trade Globalization differ. Globalization exists preventable, questions the in an imperfect world. justice of what many would The theory of comparative like to see as the best available advantage for example, merely asserts economic policies. that resources, labor, and capital may enable a competitive market to minimize costs by diversifying production inputs by their respective local advantage, which is to say lower price. The beneficiary of free trade in a competitive market therefore, is the consumer. However, in a market where there are few major buyers and of them a select few set prices, the beneficiary is not necessarily the consumer, but usually the distributor. Fair Trade activists see this as a problem in the coffee supply chain for example, where the price of beans for producers has fallen below profitability for many, yet retail prices for a cup of java are almost completely inelastic. It is in the distributorsâ€™ interest to keep a competitive market for their suppliers, but it is not in their interest to keep one in retail and vending. Even with a perfectly competitive market, differences across borders due to labor costs reflect more than the willingness to work for less money. More and more often factories are moved to countries like China, where workers have few real rights, environmental laws are extremely weak or weakly enforced, democratic institutions are weak or nonexistent, and workers are very often victims to unthinkable abuses, including coercive and illegal repression. These conditions translate into lower costs for the production of apparel. Understanding this means understanding that free trade cannot be assumed to always be beneficial for every party involved. Some sweatshop advocates still resist any notion of sweatshop reform on the
grounds that sweatshop jobs are better than the alternative, and that increasing the price of labor decreases the number of jobs. The first argument is a straw man fallacy because anti-sweatshop activists are not arguing for elimination of factories, but rather improving them. The demand for collegiate licensed apparel is relatively inelastic (everyone that wants CU Buff gear has to have CU Buff gear). As a result, roughly the same amount of workers will be employed. If this means that some workers in authoritarian regimes will lose-out, it does not mean that those nations should have got the contract in the first place. In fact perhaps the need of the most impoverished areas for jobs is distorted when a nation like China, with a better economy, can cut corners by ignoring human rights to win the bidding war. This is likely when only a couple pennies on the dollar go into labor costs of collegiate apparel, but safe operations, labor protections, and environmental responsibility would be more significant costs. The countless workers in sweatshops who have fought against all odds for their rights to bargain collectively and receive a living wage would say that just because their job was better than none at all, it still is not good enough to work without receiving basic dignity and respect. Many northern economists debate the second argument that employment will decrease, when they discuss the issue of minimum wage. However, even if decreasing employment is true, it is only true to a degree. The inelasticity of demand for collegiate licensed apparel and the extremely insignificant costs of labor compared to the retail price of apparel (typically 1% to 2%) mean that better wages for many would probably mean only a slight change in employment. In other words, the cost implications to the retail price are relatively insignificant, and thus with roughly the same amount of sales, you’ll need roughly the same number of shirts sewn. Even if we assume that demand might slightly decrease when wages increase significantly, where before women and children worked in a sweatshop, perhaps there would only be enough jobs for the women. But now you have women working and earning a lot more then they used to. They may be able to actually get minimum health care or even send their children to school! Technically that would decrease the number of people looking for a job (the kids are now in school), decreasing unemployment. The reason that talking about sweatshops angers free-market ideologues is because it reveals the fact that in many cases, free trade is not doing what needs to be done about poverty, if not making it worse. Despite their claims to the contrary, free trade is certainly not sufficient to end poverty, environmental destruction, or human rights violation. However, if you’re interested in promoting greed and profit for those who are already in an economically advantageous position, it’s the only way to go.
If you’re interested in promoting greed and profit for those who are already in an economically advantageous position, it’s the only way to go.
whose fault is it anyway . daniella vinitski maybe i didn’t watch the evening news as often as i should, “stay afloat,” “with the times,” “in the loop;” maybe i wasted too many pennies, didn’t move my bag enough on the subway to give somebody else room. maybe i should have asked more strangers, how are you? maybe i burnt too much toast, didn’t recycle enough books, littered too much paper, littered and lost. maybe i imagined too many threats, maybe pretended too much courage, desired more beauty. Desired. or maybe it was because of too much foolishness, too many impulsive kisses, too many nights i didn’t always lock my apartment door. or maybe it was because i loved my young life too much, all that restless city walking, past expensive village restaurants, graffitied street musicians, and the nomadic blink of city traffic, awake all hours, watching the sunrise clouds drift over the delis and grates and tiny hidden city parks. or maybe it was because hope could not survive the melancholy of a sickness with no cure. after it happened, it was like the world forgot physics, the story of apples and gravity, the logical curvature of events. maybe after the fracture of what I thought I knew, simplicity became too painful and the singular jubilation of relief budded, thereby making a little, enough: coffee in the morning, heat in winter, the mystical path of lost things found, like old books and forgotten compliments, the melody of unexpected music wafting from the park, love.
children in the dominican republic
. maggie zawalski
. cari smith
student/farmworker alliance launches national “dine with dignity” campaign: urging aramark, compass, and sodexo to address human rights crisis in florida agriculture . student/farmworker alliance Students to food service provider industry: “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” IMMOKALEE, FL – The Student/Farmworker Alliance (SFA) has launched the “Dine with Dignity” campaign to educate and mobilize students across the U.S. about the role of food service provider industry leaders Aramark, Compass (and its subsidiary Chartwells) and Sodexo in perpetuating farmworker poverty and human rights abuses. The SFA is calling on these three corporations to follow the example of food industry leaders Yum Brands, McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway and Whole Foods in partnering with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) – an internationally recognized, awardwinning farmworker organization based in southern Florida – to directly improve wages and working conditions for Florida tomato pickers. The campaign’s initial phase, in conjunction with the National Student/Labor Week of Action and Farmworker Awareness Week – in which students on hundreds of campuses are holding actions and educational events – will include dozens of student meetings with campus dining directors to encourage university-level support for farmworker human rights and ethical university food contracting. The on-campus campaign will escalate in the weeks and months ahead with creative actions, awareness-building and mobilizations planned for various campuses currently under contract with Aramark, Compass (Chartwells) and Sodexo. According to Southern Illinois University student Kandace Vallejo, “After eight years of this campaign, seven high-profile cases of modern-day slavery involving farmworkers, and the implementation of five working agreements, what is the food service provider industry waiting for? Today, our message to Aramark, Compass and Sodexo is clear: If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” “Students remain committed to the principle of basic human rights for the workers harvesting the produce served on our campuses, and are demonstrating that commitment by taking a stand alongside farmworkers to demand change. It’s time for Aramark, Compass and Sodexo to align themselves with that same principle by coming to the table and working with the CIW. Until that happens, this campaign will continue to 43.
44. escalate,” said Meghan Cohorst of the Student/Farmworker Alliance. BACKGROUND: Farmworkers who pick tomatoes for the corporate food industry are among the country’s most exploited workers. Florida tomato pickers earn about 45 cents for every 32-lb. bucket of tomatoes they harvest – a rate that has not changed significantly in 30 years. Workers labor from dawn to dusk without the right to overtime pay, receive no benefits, and are excluded from the right to organize. In the most extreme cases, workers are held against their will by employers through the threat of or use of physical violence. In the past eleven years, the Department of Justice has prosecuted seven cases of modern-day slavery – involving over 1,000 workers – in the Florida agricultural industry. The low-cost, high-volume purchasing practices of the food service, supermarket, and fast-food industries help to create conditions in the fields where poverty wages and other human rights abuses flourish. Since 2001, the CIW, working in close alliance with the SFA in a national “Campaign for Fair Food,” has reached agreements with Yum Brands, McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway and Whole Foods that guarantee at least a penny more per pound to workers harvesting tomatoes for these companies, a human rights-based code of conduct, a collaborative effort to develop a third party mechanism for monitoring conditions in the fields, and farmworker participation in the development and implementation of these reforms. The Student/Farmworker Alliance is a national network comprised of thousands of young people on campuses and in communities across the country organizing in close alliance with the CIW. During the course of the four-year Taco Bell Boycott, which ended successfully in the CIW-Yum Brands agreement, SFA members organized to remove or prevent Taco Bell restaurants and contracts from 25 separate high schools, colleges and universities. The SFA’s work has been commended by the Business Ethics Network, American Rights at Work, and the National Latino/Latina Law Students Association. The SFA is also a founding member of the Alliance for Fair Food, a broad network of human rights, religious, student, sustainable food/agriculture, labor, and other organizations working in partnership with the CIW. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is an internationally recognized, award-winning farmworker organization based in southern Florida. It has assisted the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI in successfully investigating and prosecuting cases of modern-day slavery and it has been recognized with the 2007 Anti-Slavery International Award and the 2003 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.
Contact: Meghan Cohorst, Student/Farmworker Alliance, 239-503-1533, email@example.com Kandace Vallejo, student, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, 504-231-2545
genuflect . sarah cooke Bare-boned seething crowds stare up waiting for the final spectacle to land at the V where 42nd and 7th cross Broadway and change the ordinary so profoundly - rechristen and metamorphose until everything familiar becomes brilliant and we are all lovely, sinless lambs sucking ravenously at the generous teat of all that is Good and True. Genuflecting Christ-like cops hipsters artists pushers junkies yuppies hobos bankers actors writers CEO’s collapse into brown snow and blackened chewing gum with wet eyes overflowed because at last….The Implosion! Truth is, though (and we all know it) that’s never gonna happen. Because we’re carbon and the only ancient light to worship is that of stars they can’t see on Broadway even at night. And after all, starlight is only the hand-me-down of a more radiant vaudeville show played out on a frozen hunk of rock light-years ago which is now stranded somewhere and lifeless. I used to believe in stars like Santa. Had one of my own named Starshine and wished on her every night. The most beautiful Star -Of-Stars and always perfectly aligned with my vision. Grew up to learn Starshine was really Polaris, always in the same place because conveniently situated along Earth’s 23 ½ degree axis. So it goes with pink gossamer fantasies. Anyway. Starshine is the homeless guy with one glove who sleeps against the side door of Duane Reade pharmacy at Columbus Circle and makes me remember my white suburban liberal guilt. Which is justified, in the end. Or the M&M girl selling candy out of a cardboard box, pulpy from rain, between stops on the 1 train headed uptown and back to the Bronx where she should be in class today but is instead here hoping for enough spare change to buy food to take her through the weekend. Free lunch programs at school don’t account for Saturday and Sunday. But still, downtown at the Bowery Poetry Club and the 55 Bar and Nuyorican, they listen in a hemorrhage of consciousness and pent-up ecstasy believing that there is, despite everything, a corner to be turned.
perspectives on recycling . anonymous Recycling is all the rage among the environmentally-friendly. When visiting red-states, the eco-conscious Boulderite often expresses shock and consternation when faced with the landfill-clogging habits of the majority of Americans. Indigenous people and American farmers were America’s first recyclers. However, modern environmentalists have advocated for industrial-style recycling for decades. Yet recycling only took off when environmentalists realized that they could package their messaging in business-friendly terms of efficiency and profit. You can drink that can of bud, help save the environment, and get money back too! I didn’t think much about recycling when I was growing up. I lived in a suburb – Pleasanton California. The city’s recycling program was unique, as it had a full-time staff employed by the city that sorted all municipal garbage in a city-owned and operated dump facility. In school they made us memorize that recycling was about “The Three ‘R’s: ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle.’” This was taught to us despite the fact that there was already a city-run recycling program in place. I don’t know if they recycled everything, but they did recycle all metal containers. While it was nice not to have to sort your own garbage, something did not seem right about letting other people recycle your own waist for you. Some states have a five or ten-cent rebate on cans and bottles to encourage consumers to recycle. California does too. However, in California it doesn’t work that way, as only authorized sorting facilities could apply for these rebates. The program helped spur the construction of municipal recycling, but not encourage consumer responsibility. My father could never get the CA CRV, but he did take the aluminum cans to the dump for scrap cash at market value. In another town, Dublin, CA, rumor had it that the city paid someone to write fifty dollar checks to households that were found to be the best recyclers every week to encourage people to recycle. In Colorado Springs, some people drive their recyclables to the Waist Management facility and dump them in bins out of a sense of good-will. When I lived there in 2006, they were dumping aluminum into recycle bins when they could have gone around the door and got $0.79 a pound for it. I was sorely tempted to raid aluminum can bins myself and turn it in. On the other hand, Boulder has a very large city-run recycling center. Unlike Colorado Springs, they pick recyclables up from your curb, and even encourage recycling by providing smaller waist-bins than recycle bins. In addition, they recently bought a ten-million-dollar machine to do single-stream sorting. There are many recycling naysayers who claim that recycling is inefficient. Their arguments generally fall into two categories. On one side are the libertarians who criticize recycling because of the enormous government subsidies which are poured into the industry, and the corruption which surrounds it. They would have us only recycle metals because the rest are not profitable enough to be worth the cost. I have little sympathy for this argument, as it is precisely the profit-oriented drive that is destroying the world. We can’t save the environment by constraining ourselves to the ethos that is destroying it. Then there are others who say that recycling is bad for the environment. Their argument is that the use of gasoline for the sorting-trucks, and the pollution derived from the process of recycling is worse than harvesting more virgin materials, at least in regard to global warming. Fortunately, that argument tends to be based upon the environmental impact of older technology and only applies to some recyclable goods. For example, glass comes from one of the most commonly found substances on the surface of the planet – silicone, or sand. We will never run out, so it doesn’t make sense
to recycle it. Furthermore, while some recyclables are recast back into the same form, many recyclables cannot be converted back to their old use, and instead are used to fulfill other needs. Plastics, for example, are often made into textiles. They are not converted back into oil or the same form of plastic. Often, they are merely chopped up and shredded. Most grocery stores say that they recycle bags but almost always just throw them in the landfill. While the recycling industry employs 78,000 people and nets $70 billion world-wide, it is primarily from metals. However, since the economic downturn, things have changed. According to an Associated Press article from December 7th 2008, the price of recycling materials has dropped across the board, as people are consuming less and industry has cut back tremendously. “Cardboard that sold for about $135 a ton in September is now going for $35 a ton. Plastic bottles have fallen from 25 cents to 2 cents a pound. Aluminum cans dropped nearly half to about 40 cents a pound, and scrap metal tumbled from $525 a gross ton to about $100,” the A.P. reported1. As a result, most types of municipal recycling are merely dumped into landfills, as it is no longer profitable to ship and process the material. The recycling industry has its head down, trying to warehouse its goods. Some municipal recycling programs that were raking in millions of dollars are now losing money. Recycling is supposed to be the success story of environmental capitalism, but now it is in trouble. Its fate is tied to the economy. We see the limits of eco-capitalism in our landfills, forests, and mine-pits. How much of the infrastructure will be damaged by this down-turn? How much carbon dioxide will be released, how much land destroyed, and how many toxic chemicals leached into the water supply? Not as much as you might think. We see signs telling us to recycle, and we chastise our friends who fail to do so. We’ve focused so much on it that we’ve forgotten about reducing and reusing. Do you really need to wrap all of your vegetables in plastic before you put them into another plastic grocery bag? Do we really need to clean up the counter with paper towels instead of a sponge? Whoever complained to a roommate for not saving a plastic bag, water jug, or classico jar? Who holds their mouth agape at a dinner party when people simply throw them away? Who gets their tea and soda from the machine with their eco-mug on principle? To what degree is recycling an apology for rampant consumerism? The fact that we recycle our waist makes us less concerned about its origins. Modern recycling is an international industry, with most of the raw materials being shipped to Asia where they are re-processed away from the watchful gaze of most environmentalists and the EPA. But what would happen if instead of city-wide recycling programs, we had city-wide re-use programs? Why recycle glass bottles when we can re-use them? Industry is no newcomer to consumer re-use and trade-ins, such as crate boxes, propane and carbon dioxide tanks, and ½ barrel drums (kegs) of beer. Adapting to bulk markets and re-usable containers is great, but we also have to reduce. You can reduce your packaging waist by using larger containers or finding substitutes. It’s not just how much you recycle, but what you consume. Consumerism is the real culprit. With an inordinate distribution of wealth and freedom, Americans carry a disproportionate responsibility for the destruction of the planet. However, for most of us, changing our behavior comes with a modest sacrifice of time, money, and social acceptability. But even a change in behavior will go only so far. Most of the predominant institutions and industries must be modified or abolished if we really want to give life on this planet a decent chance at survival. 1
Recycling goes from boom to bust as economy stalls - By P.J. DICKERSCHEID, Associated Press Writer P.j. Dickerscheid, Associated Press Writer Sun Dec 7
jamlia, have you passed the smoking stool? . rebecca diaz Act 1, Scene 1: Confliction She looks for the roots of a Tuba Tree. A vague and constant pain, she holds her right side. The West Bank lives in her middle, renamed, Bank of Smoke. “If the tree is upside down, where are the roots,” she speaks. Landlocked, her mid-section is too concrete, she holds out open palms at the grave of Abraham. Unsuccessful in camouflage, Gaza paints over her navel. She doesn’t recall blue hues of the Mediterranean. In the center of it, crowds gather, removing her from artillery and mortars. there is no cure for stopping snow Setting: An Encroachment unaware of her living tissue --she moves in circles among flakes of white phosphorous A wall erected in her honor, the honor of many. It constricts the Fatah in her dance, because it follows along the length of her spine, around the back of her skull, separating her arms and legs by quarters, Daraj and Zaytoun. Hamas grew heavily inside her. In the Star of David, live bands of green, white, and black revolt. Jamlia weaved this opposition with her grandfather’s tallis. Sleeping now with swords of her father, she rocks at the grave of Abraham. Re-entering landscapes of fog she adds in layers a keffiyeh a kippah and a cross Act 1, Scene 2: The Departure Landing just outside of her, brilliant yellow flames. There are faces she can no longer see, odor of purple –disputed and renamed white, dissimilar to linens. The city holds its breath. Ingesting Jerusalem, she follows a string to her muscles, wants removal for things held in restraint. Striated in twisted threads of blue, flakes begin to burn through layers. The epidermis consumes time (outer layers corrode first). The oral cavity, an entrance to this holding cell –where certainty breaks into pieces by teeth and saliva– begins the assimilation. Hot, dense, white smoke. One milligram per kilogram of weight tours her body. Deep into layers this battle is much more than land Jamlia, have you passed the smoking stool?
. liz de bolt
. kevin moran
imperial violence in the americas . kevin moran On October 13, 1973, 14 year old Carlos Faria Oyarce was kidnapped from his home by soldiers and executed with three bullets to the head. He would be one of thousands murdered under a tyrannical Chilean dictatorship. On December 11, 1981, Salvadorian forces, trained by the US military, swept through the indigenous village of El Mozote killing men, women, and children, until a thousand were dead. Only one well-hidden survivor was left to tell the horrible tale. One day in 1982, six university students were kidnapped and taken to a secret prison in the home of a Honduran officer, where they were brutally beaten and tortured. They would be among the few lucky torture victims to escape with their lives. On August 14, 1985, 74 men, women, and children were herded into a house in a small indigenous village in the Peruvian Andes, where they were gunned down and attacked with grenades. Some were burned alive. In 1998, Bishop Juan Gerardi was preparing his testimony on the murders of over 100,000 Guatemalans at the hands of the government when he was assassinated. In July 2006, Colombian officers strategically placed bombs in the capital city of Bogotá, targeting civilians and military in a failed attempt to frame Colombian rebels.1 This is only a small sample of thousands of stories of mass murder, torture, rape, and execution by soldiers trained at the US Army School of the Americas. Finally expelled from Panama in 1984 after decades of training thugs, dictators, and tyrants, the School of the Americas was relocated to Fort Benning, GA. Aptly titled by critics as the “School of Assassins,” the school has been the target of great public outrage throughout Latin America, and increasingly within the United States. Since its opening in Panama over six decades ago, the school has trained soldiers and officers from most Latin American countries in modern warfare, counterinsurgency, and interrogation techniques. Despite the frequent boasting of excellent human rights standards by US leaders, graduates of the school are notorious for some of the worst human-rights abuses in the western hemisphere.2 Since its conception during the onset of the Cold War, graduates of the School of Assassins (SOA) have been linked to crimes of mass murder, rape, kidnapping, torture, and extrajudicial executions in countries throughout Latin America.3 Acting to stabilize US-economic interests in the region, they have historically targeted political organizations, student groups, labor unions, 1
School of the Americas Watch,http://www.soaw.org/print_article.php?id=205, http://www.soaw.org/newswire_detail.php?id=455,
http://www.soaw.org/article.php?id=343, http://www.soaw.org/article.php?id=218, http://www.soaw.org/article.php?id=205 2
Leslie Gill, School of the Americas, p. 11-12
52. indigenous movements, and any other voices dissenting the exploitation and oppression of the country. Often this is explained by US officials as “spreading democracy” and “creating stability.”4 I don’t see exacting frequent military violence on civilian populations as a stable approach, nor do I agree with this particular definition of democracy. This is what compelled me and several other impassioned individuals to travel 1,500 miles from Boulder to the gates of Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA, where confederate flags fly and all meals are served from behind a sneeze guard. Each November, in correlation with the anniversary of the murder of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador, thousands gather at Fort Benning in a nonviolent protest to demand the closure of the School of Assassins. Torture survivors, families of victims, oppressed citizens, human rights and anti-militarism activists all come together to honor the victims of international state terrorism. They demand the closing of the school, as well as the recognition of the wrongdoings on the part of our tyrannical economic empire. Despite 18 years of protest, little progress has been made other than a few initiatives to eliminate funding, many of which narrowly failed to pass through congress. Rather than close or reform SOA in response to this far-reaching scrutiny, it simply relocated once again (though only about a quarter mile) and changed its name to “Western Hemisphere Institute of Security Cooperation.” Persistently, 20,000 people return to Ft. Benning each year for the peace vigil and three days of teach-ins on Latin American affairs and the underlying oppressive politics that produced SOA. Widely unacknowledged in the world of US politics, those politicians who do publicly recognize SOA (with the exception of a brave few – thank you, Kucinich) are quick to deflect any blame or criticism. Not surprisingly, much of the US remains unaware of the history of the only facility on US soil that is widely regarded as a terrorist training facility. Most are also unaware that an unconscionable quantity of SOA graduates have been linked to undeniable acts of terrorism. Advocates of SOA maintain that these soldiers are trained to uphold peace and democracy throughout the hemisphere, but this is reflected only in rhetoric; the violent suppression of this political organization represents neither peace nor democracy, but domination. After years of demanding institutional transparency, protesters are now welcome inside the facility (under extremely ass-tight security) for a tour and informational panel with some of the administrative staff. I had long heard the neocolonial rationalizations in the empty ideological ejaculations of Reagan’s presidential speeches, in Bill Clinton’s neoliberal apologetics, and George W’s revival of Christian-right imperialism, but I’ve always been curious how regular individuals manage to legitimize working within such an unnatural monster of a military bureaucracy. I was hoping that this panel would provide me with these long-sought answers. We stood outside the gates of the base, one of the largest in the country in a group of approximately one hundred activists along chain link fences with razor wire and soldiers with automatic weapons. When the early tour was through, we were motioned in through retractable gates. There we were told to show identification and turn out our pockets, so we could be thoroughly searched, scanned, and patted down to confirm our legitimate intentions. As we were herded into white school busses with the gates closing behind, I couldn’t escape the feeling of being led into the ovens of 4
Greg Grandin, Empire’s Workshop, p. 221
the Nazi holocaust, despite the fort’s friendly pretences of transparency. Beyond the cookie-cutter suburban homes with pristine lawns that characterized the 1950’s allAmerican flavor of the compound, past the elementary school and playgrounds, the squads of soldiers running their afternoon PT, we were led to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation; a grandiose building much like one would picture a Colombian cartel’s villa. Past the plaques of SOA graduates and the sentimental stone-carved slogans of democratic ideals, we were led to a conference room with fluorescent lighting, presidential blue carpets, and no shortage of American flags. As panel members began to take their seats at the table at the front of the room, a tall, chiseled Colombian officer in full fatigues told us of all the hard work that is being done throughout Latin America by the graduates of the institute. His face showed undeniable tension as he declared the good deeds of the school’s graduates. He spoke loudly and authoritatively, commanding attention as he ensured us that WHINSEC was proud to work with governments from every country south of the US border to spread democracy and instill American values. Wait a minute? Every country? What about Bolivia, or Costa Rica? American values? Aren’t they American too? He began to speak of the glory of the schools legacy in spreading and securing democracy. Democracy? Familiarity with how these people do business makes me suspect that ‘democracy’ is not exactly a top priority of this institute, or even a minor concern. The last century of Latin American history has been riddled with corruption and oppressive dictatorships, many of which took power in a military coup with the support of US-government trained forces, i.e. Guatemala, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile… these nations possess a wealth of resources.5 Though rich with an abundance of resources – like petroleum, industrial metals, coffee, fruit, and lumber – overwhelming corporate influence backed by unspeakable violence has left the rightful beneficiaries of their historic land-bases some of the most impoverished people in the world. For the US government, the debilitated political climate south of the border has rendered the area a playground for experiments in neoliberal economic theory. Dominating our government’s foreign policy in Latin America is the idea of establishing strong economic ties with the wealthy ruling class of nations to exploit human and environmental resources.6 “Giving as little while taking as much as possible” is the mantra of corporate profit to which the stars and stripes have long stood for, as have the flags of many other rich government-corporate collusions. While incredibly lucrative, it also ensures the misery of the majority of the people on this planet. Today, countries that account for 14% of the world’s population hold 70% of its wealth, which is then confined to a small handful of corporations within those countries.7 If true democracy were attainable under these unequal conditions, one would assume that the power holders – a vast minority of the population – would not be interested in attaining it. This is where the School of the Americas comes in, quashing democracy not only in self determination, but in all its pesky manifestations. For decades, people on the short end of the colonial stick have been organizing 5
Ibid, p. 4
Ibid., p. 17, 219
World Institute for Development Economics Research, Wealth Distribution, the Financial Crisis and Entrepreneurship, http://www.wider.unu.edu/publications/newslet-
54. against slave wages, child labor, oppression, and ecological devastation. Seeking economic justice, self determination, and an end to poverty, these grassroots movements have consistently been written off by those in power as Marxists, communists, and terrorists. Accompanied by strategic CIA campaigns, movements for reform throughout these countries have been consistently suppressed with military and paramilitary violence. Some examples are Reagan’s terror campaign in Nicaragua; the civil wars in Peru, El Salvador and Guatemala; and Chilean and Argentinean dictatorships.8 These atrocities run parallel with the history of the US School of the Americas. Then, sitting across the table, a human rights expert from John’s Hopkins was telling us, after acknowledging only minor human suffering at the hand of the institute he works for, that not only was their work necessary, but that they were destined to keep going. This is what passes for expertise in human rights at one of the most prestigious universities in the United States; I suppose we now have an excuse for ignoring them altogether. After the distinguished professor, some pinstripe Washington bureaucrat started to spout off with true conviction about the institute’s crucial work in developing these tragically inferior countries. As a technologically and economically advanced society, it is the responsibility of ‘America’ to rescue these cultures from their simple, backwards lives. He continued in lauding the success of the school’s counternarcotics work, all of which simply couldn’t be done without the vital contribution of US trained troops. At this point, I was squirming in my seat with indignation. Highly trained individuals from SOA are still widely utilized today for neoliberal economic policy, such as combating unrest in response to exploitative ‘free trade’ policies and economic restructuring programs of the IMF and World Bank.9 Prying open markets of impoverished nations with the promise of aid for ‘development,’ these foreign investor-friendly policies ensure that local farmers and traders will have to compete with heavily subsidized foreign goods in their own markets. As businesses close and unemployment skyrockets, neoliberal theory mandates that social spending must be cut, as should all local economic subsidies, in order to somehow kick start the economy.10 Local farmers in many countries are faced with moving to the cities, where employment has all but dried up, or to take up a viable alternative to growing coca.11 Subsequently, US aid to Latin American countries is filtered into driving the indigenous off their land for corporate agro-business and resource extraction, and toward silencing all opposition to this supposedly natural process of “globalization,” i.e. labor organizers, indigenous rights groups, and student activists. 12 The same proponents of the School of Assassins who see these political massacres as a healthy dissemination of democracy, claim that these crimes are a mere thing of the past. A colonel on the panel board became red in the face as she explained that the human rights abuses and exploitative practices we are all complaining about are reminiscent of a more primitive time. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Just because the corporate media conglomerates have failed to report such occurrences does not indicate an absence of this same trend in the modern era. 8
William Blum, Killing Hope, p. 174, 169, 206, 229, 290, 352
Leslie Gill, School of the Americas, p. 3
Alejandro Portes and Bryan R. Roberts, Free Market City, p. 6-7
Latin American Solidarity Network, Talking Points Toward a New US-Latin America Foreign Policy, http://www.lasolidarity.org/index.shtml
Portland Independent Media Center, Plan Colombia: a Plan for War, http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2002/03/8238.shtml
Today, the campaign of violence is running strong, primarily in Colombia where it has persisted for decades against indigenous groups, workers unions, and students.13 Colombia currently sends more soldiers to be trained at Ft. Benning than any other Latin American country, sending thousands each year. As early as October 2008, some 25 Colombian military officers have been implicated in massacres of student activists and indigenous leaders in this ongoing crusade at the hands of US trained soldiers for the profit of US corporations.14 Despite the massive opposition of lethal force, the people of Colombia continue to organize and protest for their rights, following in the tragic tradition of the Salvadorians, Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, Chileans, and many more before them. While they continue to struggle in desperation, here in the US their struggle is a world away. I suppose I should’ve known better than to expect some sort of reconciliation or admittance of wrong doing from representatives of the US government. It should’ve been no surprise that the individuals who run this sort of institution simply don’t acknowledge the implications of their involvement in such destructive processes. It wasn’t that they were lying, or that they didn’t care; these people actually believed the bullshit that was streaming from their mouths, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Disillusioned, I returned to the convention center to attend teach-ins on Colombian labor organizers and US meddling in Venezuela. On Sunday morning we attended the peace vigil, an all-day ceremony honoring the victims of US imperialism. A truly eclectic mix of conscious individuals, the vigil exceeded the expected 20,000 activists from all over the world: Jesuits, Catholics, Buddhists, anarchists, hippies, labor activists, feminists, veterans, and academics all came together to demonstrate their disgust for US imperialism. Among the artificial palm trees, spectators and vendors set up shop on the front lawns of their suburban homes, grilling sausages and selling bottled water to protesters as the death march, a convoy of a hundred or so mourning souls in black robes carrying child-sized coffins, passed down their otherwise quiet Columbus street. Jesuits passed out white crosses, each inscribed with the name of a victim of SOA. After the death march and talks by the keynote speakers, the vigil commenced as victims’ families read an exhausting list of the fallen. After each name, between intermittent bouts of silence, the crowd of over twenty thousand raised their crosses and called out, “Presente!” At the end of the afternoon, we marched slowly to the gates of the facility, resting our crosses on the chain linked fence in hope of awakening deep contemplation in any soldier that would later have to clean them up: 20,000 crosses, many bearing the names and ages of children. Overall, the experience at Ft. Benning left me strangely ambivalent. I was optimistic that such a diverse collection of people could work together in the interest of peace, but cynical that 20,000 people can continue to do this every year with little progress. For the victims of this tragic history of the dark side of empire, opposition comes out of desperation, at the risk of one’s very existence, and too often in futility. Here in the United States, living in a society that causes unspeakable suffering the world over, we have the power to make a difference without being slaughtered, at a much more reasonable cost of merely our empathy and our commitment. As citizens of a 13
School of the Americas Watch, John Lindsay, Army officers fired for killings received US training and assistance
October 29, 2008 , http://www.soaw.org/article.php?id=1699
56. somewhat functioning representative democracy – while still an authoritative and elitist one – we have an obligation to make our representatives miserable until they cease the destruction driven by the machine of which we are a part. Write a letter to your representative every week until your voice is heard and true change is enacted. Fill your senators’ voice mailboxes every day until they are forced to acknowledge your outrage. Spread the word about this legacy of unfathomable violence and encourage others to do the same. But don’t stop there. The problems facing our society are not surmountable with mere electoral politics. Start a local movement of dedicated individuals to harass your local and federal politicians into concession, and most importantly, promote justice and self-administration in your own community. The changes we need to achieve are not so simple as to be conceded by some bird-dogged politician. No longer will we stand by a status quo of exploitation, mass murder, torture, oppression and true terrorism, carried out in our names, funded by our tax dollars. There is no way to alleviate injustice without removing the fundamental mechanisms that necessitate injustice. Closing the School of the Americas, however important, is entirely insignificant without tearing down the conditions that would result in the opening of another such training facility in some other state. Most of all, simply care about your fellow humans to the degree that acts of violence against one is an act of violence against all of us. Harass your representatives into action by calling 1-800-473-6711, (or 202224-3121). Ask to speak with the foreign affairs legislative assistant and tell them to close the SOA and put an end to neocolonial foreign policy, or visit www.soaw.org and click on Take Action! Works Cited: Blum, William. 1995. Killing Hope. Maine: Common Courage Press. Gill, Lesley. 2004. The School of the Americas. North Carolina: Duke University Press. Grandin, Greg. 2006. Empire’s Workshop. New York: Owl Books. Hylton, Forrest. Plan Colombia: a Plan for War. Portland Independent Media Center. Available online. http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2002/03/8238.shtml. Accessed 21 March 2009. Lindsay, John. Army Officers Fired for Killings. Retrieved 21 March 2009 from School of the Americas Watch. http://www.soaw.org/article.php?id=1699 Naudé, W. and MacGee, J. C. Wealth Distribution, the Financial Crisis and Entrepreneurship. World Institute for Development Economics Research. Angle newsletter, March 2009. Available online. http:// www.wider.unu.edu/publications/newsletter/articles/en_GB/10-03-2008-feature-article/. Accessed 13 April 2009. Portes, A. and Roberts, B. R.. Free Market City. Studies in Comparative International Development, Spring 2005, Vol. 40, No. 1, pp. 43-82. Reproduce and Distribute. Talking Points Toward a New US-Latin America Foreign Policy. Latin American Solidarity Network. Available online. http://www.lasolidarity.org/index.shtml. Accessed 21 March 2009. What is the SOA?. Retrieved 21 March 2009 from School of the Americas Watch. http://www.soaw.org/ type.php?type=8
. joey strine
the latrinalia project . keith batter . robin greenfield The CU Latrinalia Project Meta-poetics “Step 1: The Bathroom Walls Step 2: The World.”
Here I sit with style and grace wishing that this toilet was Bush’s face.
Here I sit knowledge of plenty waiting to smoke until 4:20.
This doesn’t even rhyme. You’re not exactly helping out stoners here. ABCB is a perfectly valid rhyme scheme. Everyone who writes on stall walls is a pussy.
Do you ever stop to think and forget to start again? It is the principle of the breath, not the breath that fills me.
Fema-Poetics Sometimes it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Chilly boxer shorts. Live not a life of imitation. I’ve never written on a bathroom stall before. You become what you most think. We are social animals… imitation is how we function. I’ve tried, but it felt like sex without orgasm… Couplets “I miss the days when a man could take a shit without people Writing about politics on the walls. Would you prefer pictures of genitals? (Insert drawing here.)”
Suck a lizard egg. Suck my dick.
I’m American. Good for you.
You’re Mom. Your grammatical error.
Your elitist bastardry. (Ha, dumb-ass.) Your unneeded contribution.
Cleaning is a fascist institution. Please no more scribbles on the bathroom walls—
Individuals anxiety of my possibilities I’m scared. What about mine? Or hers? Or his?
Jesus is the answer to everything. I fly like paper get high like plane.
And I’m stuck right in the middle.
I run my hands down your back sometimes when it snows. My soul Why do I have to reach up to your god? When will my heart know it has found something torn between fear and your hair? It always beat to that which it could? Arse Politico “Lack of technology kills, drop the damn bomb already—Jesus.”
The world is getting smaller because of radioactive decay. Relax, bitch. Have a Coke and smile. Go ahead. Just surrender.
Obama loves you. Everything will be okay. Obama is a socialist. Obama wasn’t born in America. (Neither was John McCain.) Why is he my president? Hitler was elected too! But I don’t think Bush has ever started a concentration camp. Dumbass. 59.
To receive anonymous gay sex from a republican assume a wide stance and tap your toes four times. The south will rise again.
Fuck the police. You’re a fucking moron. Osama ain’t been laid in a long time.
Arsenal Polis Your very flesh shall be a great poem.—Whitman Because ten billion years time is so fragile, so ephemoral, it arouses such bittersweet, almost heartbreaking fondness. Conversations with Ourselves “Remember we’re human. Remember you’re a dumb-ass.”
Remember gay men need love too. Sex? I’m bulimic, what’s your excuse? I don’t deserve a damn thing, and I certainly haven’t earned all I own. I never grew up. I was born grown and grew down. He’s grout, he’s grout, and nothing’s going to bring him back. The wise man picks his fruit in the evening. Drop the hate, be good to each other. Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge.
Conversations without Ourselves Is all we see or seem but a dream within a dream?—Poe Every sinner has a future. He wants to get engaged. The strangeness of this life cannot be measured, except in quarks. Reach down to help others up. Reach up to God for everything. We’ll chase monsters of our dreams. We’ll show our courage, make them scream. Every saint has a past. Why do we have to reach for God at all? Reach sideways to wipe your ass. Isn’t God everywhere?
holding hands with the future
. liza hensleigh
Rwanda has one of the highest percentages of orphans in the world. A young child, part of the orphanage nearby, grabbed the hands of two of our fellow students, and together they walked into the fading light of the afternoon. The photo serves as a reminder that we are all connected, and that we are all responsible for the well-being of others. Symbolically, the three of them walk into the future. It is my sincere hope that all children in Rwanda will have a more hopeful future.
this is what a police state looks like
. jack ringel
the new insurgency: guerillas on the frontlines . carlo j. garcia As I stood there in a 4x4 cell, spitting a mixture of blood and dirt onto the ground, my hands cuffed tightly behind my back, plastic cutting into my wrists…it hit me: this is REAL War. I spent half a year planning for what I believe to be a defining moment in my generation’s history only to be beaten and violated, imprisoned in a city that many of my comrades swore to defend. This couldn’t be how they would treat me, a patriot standing up for his beliefs. My brothers were fighting in a war to “spread democracy” in the Middle East, while the police fought to silence dissent in the streets of Denver, Colorado. I realized that I was the enemy, that my views and desire to freely express those beliefs struck REAL fear in the hearts of my fellow Americans. Before that day, I jokingly referred to activists as targets, but I didn’t consider myself a radical or an anarchist by any means and would never have considered myself a terrorist. Back in the cell with dirt covering my face and threats issuing from undercover police officers, I realized how far they were willing to go to silence our cries for justice, and I realized how hard we must be willing to fight to make our voices heard. Every man in my family before me has fought in Iraq and/or Afghanistan with the premise of spreading freedom and democracy. I was bred from a family of warriors, soldiers, raised to fight for what we believe. I chose a different path, developing a profound distrust for authority. More uncivilized than my brothers and father, I found that I had no place in the hierarchical power structure of the military. Time spent in the ranks of ROTC taught me that although I was built as a warrior, I could not enlist in an army functioning as an imperialistic occupational force. I found that I had more in common with the rebels and insurgents combating the occupation than I did with the mission of my own government. I knew that if the United States was invaded I would unite, organize, and fight alongside my countrymen to defeat the enemy and remove them from the land I love. At the time of the Democratic National Convention I had been involved in activism for more than a few years. My brother in arms and I developed a socially conscious production company and achieved a measure of success in raising awareness about issues that are better-left-underground to certain factions of society. Our vision was to open the minds of our peers using the infiltration and manipulation of any and every media outlet possible. We wanted to spark the fire of revolution and rattle the cage of change through dissemination of knowledge—the experience of the past combined with modern issues to influence those to come. When Denver was announced as host city for the DNC, we jumped at the opportunity to plan for the demonstrations that would take place around this historic event. We saw this as our golden opportunity to show the world how inspired we were to make a difference and to inspire those around us to join our struggle for a better day. We decided to do all within our power to assure the success of these demonstrations and push the truth-seeking agenda of the movement. With all of this background, we worked hard and learned from our older, wiser comrades. Planning for the DNC consumed us. Day in and day out we organized, 63.
64. connected, and shared ideas with people of similar vision. We planned events larger than we ever had before. We met people from hip-hop artists and musicians, to acclaimed authors, to long-time revolutionaries and activists. We were high on our success. We were the peaceful insurgency in our own country. We realized that revolutions aren’t always fought with AK-47s and RPGs. Rather, our struggle was a Revolution of Thought, a War of Wisdom. Instead of traditional weapons we utilized computers and the Internet, pamphlets, books, poetry, and music; we used the rapid diffusion of undeniable truth in the population to expand the movement. We were blazing a trail for the future of the revolution. We didn’t realize the severity of the situation, as we were consumed with the mythical reality and glory of activist work. We were not yet privy to how ugly and volatile peaceful demonstrations could get, and the potential for escalation into riots and excessive displays of force by a militarized police state. The older and wiser activists in our community knew and informed us and we developed systems to aid us in mass arrest situations (business cards We were not yet privy to how with prepaid calling card minutes and the number to the safe house, ugly and volatile peaceful dispersal of markers to key members demonstrations could get for writing the safe house number on and the potential for... our arms in case we were arrested). excessive displays of force We were an organized force of by a militarized police state. concerned citizens willing to make our stand, knowing full well that the City of Denver spent millions of dollars on security and new “less-than-lethal” toys ready to be tested for effectiveness. We were prepared, all of us easily recognizable wearing the same t-shirts with golden AK-47s and R-68 logos, with official lanyards to indicate we were lead organizers and media spokespeople. We had completed a variety of trainings having to do with street medic first aide, independent media creation and distribution, projecting our message to the media, and non-violent street action/protest techniques. Bystanders would ask, “Why are you protesting the Democrats? Don’t you want Barrack elected?” The response was simple. If we attempted to influence and inspire anyone with our actions, it should be the elected officials from “the people’s” party. Barack was once an organizer too and hopefully a mass lobby would inspire him to advocate for the country’s best interests. With this goal in mind, I marched with pride, chanting and singing loudly for my political leaders and fellow Americans to hear. The days passed quickly but not without incident. The police were hyped and high with power, equipped to suppress a mob exercising the rights to freedom of speech and assembly. Sunday passed with dope live music. Dead Prez and Blue Scholars performed on the west steps of the capital building, while demonstrators looked on with reverence. I gave media interviews until I sounded like a broken record gone hoarse, repeating the tenants of our movement like a prayer memorized for salvation. Then I went onto the anarchist reclamations of the streets, a very tense but peaceful demonstration in the form of a street dance party parade gone crazy, gumming up traffic and rousting the storm troopers from their bunkers to prevent people power from disrupting official activities. It was beautiful.
Monday’s tension level climbed higher than the previous day. We took to marching for human rights causes, carrying banners for Mumia Abdul Jamal, Leonard Peltier, and other wrongfully accused political prisoners. We marched to the federal building and listened to speeches against torture and illegal arrests. Filled with purpose, we People wearing black bags watched a reenactment of water board over their heads and orange horror while a blindfolded man choked jump suits knelt in front of on water, while he was screamed at by combat-ready robocops lining interrogators probing for information. the building’s entrance. People wearing black bags over their heads and orange jump suits knelt in front of combat-ready Robocops lining the building’s entrance. The day ended early for me due to responsibilities in my other life, leaving before a near riot standoff between demonstrators and police. On Tuesday morning, before any actions started, an ultra-conservative hate group put a hitch in our plans, using religion as a shield to justify their backward ideologies. We were preparing for the Future Procession of America, a demonstration with floats, banners, and puppets depicting what the future of America might be if leaders started making forward-thinking decisions in the present. Ruben Israel stood stumpy and arrogant, brimming with the hatred of his lifetime, projecting his views as staunchly as I believe in mine. He preached blasphemy with every breath, vaulted by the hate he inspired in others. His rhetoric was homophobic and oppressive soon gathering a crowd around him chanting, “Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Christian fascists, go away!” This was exactly the intention of Ruben’s flock, with their anti-gay signage and Jesus Wants War propaganda. We decided something needed to be done to disperse the crowd and save the parade, which was to march from the park within an hour. We flew a banner reading, “SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE,” and stood with the banner directly in front of them, shielding the crowd from their destructive words. Of course our gesture was unappreciated and they attempted to remove the banner by violently thrusting it away from their faces. With that, the storm troopers struck. One officer tapped me on the shoulder and barked, “If you don’t move, I’m going to arrest you.” I turned to him and responded that I had a permit to be in this park, that I was legally allowed to be there. “That’s it, you’re under arrest!” He proceeded to choke slam me while more of the other clones rapidly mounted and detained me. I was escorted out of the park by a large number of police officers: foot cops, horse cops, dirt bike cops. My fellow activists did not let me go easily. A riot almost erupted and other activists were pummeled for questioning my arrest. They dragged me to the buggy and sped off to jail. I watched as indie-media cameras chased the vehicle. Thankfully, my peaceful warrior ethos kept me from reacting violently to the unfair treatment by my arresting officers. This was much easier said than done. I bumped into some anarchist political prisoners being released who gave me one of the business cards we printed, which allowed me to contact friends to inform them of my status. Before I knew it, a pride of my people came to bail me out and hold a press conference in front of the jail. The police shut down the complex, pushed all the inmates back into their cells, and geared up for a riot. I was released after spending 6 hours jailed for an illegal arrest; my return to the
66. park was celebrated, and media interviews ensued. My message to the filming cameras was one of disappointment and frustration; there I was protesting a war my family has fought since the initial invasion, crying out to the world to end this war that There I was protesting a nearly took the life of my brother, war...that nearly took the life when I was beaten and detained by of my brother, when I was the same people who took an oath to serve and protect me. beaten and detained by the The next day started early, same people who took an and I still wore bruises and scrapes oath to serve and protect me. from my arrest. I joined my fellow organizers for a massive day of demonstrations. We started at the Denver Coliseum and watched The Coup, The Flobots, and Rage Against the Machine, who inspired us to stay strong and continue the demonstrations. The speakers at this event were from IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War), REAL soldiers calling to bring their brothers and sisters home from an unjust war. We marched to the Pepsi Center, thousands of us, gaining supporters along the way. The sight was spectacular, soldiers marching in formation, demanding an end to the war. I was evermore fearless since my arrest and we chose to march on, fighting to have our voices heard. Later that same evening our biggest event took place—a free concert in Boulder, featuring Public Enemy and other Hip-Hop groups. We had a filled the venue with one of the founding groups of militant conscious Hip-Hop to spread our message and kick the truth too. I took the stage as inspired as I’d ever been to rally my peers and inform them about the movement. I said that the future belongs to us, a generation consumed by technology that was sleeping but ready to be awoken. It is our time to change the way the world perceives our generation, to show them that we really do care about what our government is doing here and abroad. It is our time to take responsibility for our country and our actions. With privilege and wealth comes a responsibility to use our resources to create a better world. Those who seek truth and wisdom must stand up against the oppression that is so deeply ingrained in our current system. The struggle is not a new idea. We are warriors, descended from warriors, descended from warriors. We are the next generation of Revolutionaries, birthed from previous generations that experienced and conquered far worse forms of oppression. We are the product of School Integration, the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights Movements, the product of Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. We are modern day guerrillas on the frontlines of this War to end all Wars, attempting to transform our world and leave it a better place. NOW is our time to continue this struggle.
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staff note to our contributors Dear Reader, Though the staff is concerned with a common set of issues, we are a group of individuals all the same. Our opinions regarding activist issues differ, and our aesthetic taste is similarly varied. The views expressed in the essays, poems, paintings, and photographs in this journal are not necessarily representative of the opinions of every staff member or contributor. Given the heterogeneous nature of the BASE staff, the pieces included in this publication were selected by majority vote. Staff members were assigned to read every submission, and our selection meetings consisted of long discussions concerning the merits and relevance of all the submissions. Arguments for the inclusion of a given piece were encouraged and common. Votes were rarely unanimous, and many strong pieces were left out of the final product due to space. When the discussion turned to a submission by a staff member, that person was asked to leave the room in the interest of preserving honest commentary. With this in mind, we hope you enjoy the journal; the published submissions are as assorted and unique as the opinions of BASE staff members and our contributors. Thank you to everyone who submitted work for our consideration. We encourage everyone to contribute again, even if your submission was not selected for this edition.
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how to submit: If you would like to have your work featured in BASE this fall, send your activist essays, poems and art to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Velvet Revolution in Prague, Nov - Dec 1989 With the collapse of other communist governments, the people of former Czechoslovakia called out against the government for violations of human rights and other issues with peaceful demonstrations. The government responded with brutality but ultimately stepped down on December 29, 1989.
december 1989 (painting) . liz de bolt