Well, it's starting a little earlier than MAY have been expected by some, but Round 2 of this election cycle's Protest Pornography Theater is ramping up to full scream this morning in Minnesota. Many alt-media reports are coming in about various houses full of activists waking up to M-16s in their faces while the pigs ransack their houses and accuse of them of 'conspiracy to riot' and other crazy crap. What a great show!
Let me be perfectly clear: This is absolutely reprehensible on the part of law enforcement, but on the other hand: WTF did you expect, activists? After the RNC in New York 4 years ago, and the "Miami Model," did you really think it would be any different or better? The piles of civil liberties lawsuits against the NYPD are still in their early stages - is there anything to indicate that the Twin Cities popo, not to mention regional or national agencies, will have any incentive to act in a more gentle manner, other than some facile lies that have occasionally spewed from the mouths of local politicians about how this time it will be different?
If the same thing doesn't work, again and again, why not try something new? You'd think more people would think of other ways to improve the world than going to another mass mobilization, than organizing another mass mobilization.
But no, because everything looks like a nail when you're a hammer.
So, here we are once again all over, with an army of stormtroopers in armor occupying the city to meet the threat of a horde of raggedy peaceniks, blackblockers, traveller kids, and the privileged off-Broadway journalists whose hobby it is to "cover" the epic struggle. And so expect all week to see (if you bother to look at any non-mainstream news), from the cameras and pens of those reporters who aren't getting swept up now in the pre-raids, an endless stream of distracting descriptions of the mayhem that these poor freedom fighters are experiencing at the hands of the brutal shock troops of Amerikkan Fascism.
Jesus H. Christ. Oh, yeah, and what was it all for? I forget... why are these people sitting in the street waiting for the batons to split their skulls?
Oh, I think I remember, something about voicing our opposition to this old white-haired wrinkly dude who everyone already knows is full of shit, and his stupid-ass party and the corporations and jesus freaks that run it that we already know are full of shit, who happen to be having a big theater production called a "Convention" where they act like they're choosing the old wrinkly guy to be their candidate for Suppsedly Most Powerful Man in the World.
Who the fucks cares??! Go home. Go back to your own fucking cities and towns and work in your own fucked up communities to make them better. Because nothing you're doing in the Twin Cities this week is going to make a goddamned bit of difference, other than waste money, time, and add a couple entries to your FBI file. Oh and maybe you'll get laid at the big after-party in the park before the midnight peace vigil, and catch scabies or HPV.
At least for Allah's sake try something different. I'm so tired of this shit.
And if you're an indy-reporter and you insist on staying and trying to tell this story - just stop and remember to tell the story of WHY these protesters are there. What do they want? What do they REALLY want?
Oh and one more thing - remember your raincoat, and remember the 150 mile-an-hour winds that are making life total fucking hell for the residents of Havana right now, and the poor folks in New Orleans about to get totally screwed over again...
Two confirmations in the last few days that I'm not really that old: First, I just read (in the New Yorker's "Fashion Rocks" supplement, of all ridiculous things) that the guitarist from the band The Kills, Jamie Hince, is 39 as well. And he's dating Kate Moss. Second, I'm taking a Screen Acting class, believe it or not (I want to get better in front of the camera as I insert myself into my own films more and more, and I think knowing about acting will help me direct), and I was worried before my first day Friday that I was going to be the oldest person there, especially when I saw a gaggle of what looked like 19-year-olds entering the room ahead of me. I literally almost just chickened out and left, but luckily I didn't, and discovered that there were 4 or 5 others that were in my age range or older. It's actually a very diverse range of students and it looks like it will be a good class.
So, I should stop fretting. Still plenty of time to be a rock star or movie star. Hah.
Holy smokes, my friend Onto the Ontologist, activist, Indymedia comrade, and philosophy student, got detained after displaying a "free tibet" banner at the Olympics! OMG! He and his co-protesters are expected to be out soon. Fingers crossed.
Damn, I wish I could afford to go to China (I wouldn't go, I'd probably buy a new tripod and a shotgun microphone and pay next month's rent, but anyway, I wish I had the money)...
Excerpt of an email I just received for the 3rd time from an... indymedia-related video person in Denver:
Become the Media!
Get your very own Colorado Indymedia press badge,
plus a shocking array of information on events,
maps to find actions, indymedia projects, workspaces, and parties.
oh yeah. dude. especially those parties.
I've been working hard on Death and Taxes, including some stop-motion animation to help illustrate the connection between our money and war. Playing with toy soldiers, plastic tanks, stacks of dollar bills and piles of coins. The results so far are pretty cool. Tons of work to go though. Still trying to get the whole film done by early November, but we'll see.
A cowardly troll from Phoenix took exception to my characterization of the Tucson Weekly on my blog post the other day, indicating that I was a whore because I've availed myself (or more accurately my causes) of publicity thanks to the Weekly and yet I complain about that same publication.
I'm pretty much done sparring with this jerk but he/she sparked an interesting train of thought that I want to follow for a moment. What exactly is a whore? Besides the literal, sex-work definition, I assume that what was meant is a signification like this one from Wiktionary: "A person who is unscrupulous, especially one who compromises their principles for gain."
Well, as I've often observed, pretty much nobody is pure. In this un-free society where everyone is locked in a web of greed and fear and necessity, constructed by capitalism and fascism, pretty much the only people not compromising their principles for gain are those that have none. For instance, by that definition,
These are just a few examples. I could go on and on. Everyone makes compromises. But, so, yes, I'm a whore. We pretty much all are. Suck it up. The person I know who comes closest to being free of all compromises lives alone in an abandoned town off the grid, drinks from a rainfed lake, grows and shoots his own food - but he still drives to town occasionally to buy more bullets and other supplies.
Besides this compromise issue, there is the issue of tactics. If it's a crime to critique something but to also tactically exploit it as a resource or tool, then I'm guilty as charged. Lock me up. But many others who work for a better world (not to mention those who don't really work for one but rant about how one is possible) do this every day. How many freegans rail against consumer society waste yet benefit regularly from it by the dumpster-load? Primitivists who type their essays and fly to gatherings (and wear glasses and use clocks and language, etc etc) is one of the other more extreme examples. I myself think computers are evil, but I use one every day to do the work I do - that is the best way I have right now for my skills to help better the world.
So, if, to promote a screening of a film about brutally raped and murdered women, I utilize a piece-of-shit newspaper like the Tucson Weekly which I hate, well, I see no problem with that. Corporate media is a tool to be used judiciously and tactically to accomplish valuable things. Sticking my head in the sand and refusing to exploit such tools in the name of some sort of ethical purity is counterproductive and stupid.
And so is heckling and name-calling a blogger from behind the shield of anonymity.
Though it's now about a month old, there's an excellent article in the New Republic about what's wrong with the border wall. For a right-of-center magazine, they do a good job of laying out all the important points, and conclude that "Most experts on all sides of the immigration debate agree that the border fence is a political band-aid for a larger policy problem." Another great quote at the end that they cite, from Cecilia Muñoz, of the Hispanic advocacy group National Council of La Raza: a "monument to Congress's efforts to look like they're doing something."
A couple weeks ago I posted about a local struggle between the forces of grassroots human rights and the forces of corporate-media-backed racist/sexist/xenophobic hatred. This is just a quick update to mention a couple things: first, recall that hate-jock "Jon Justice" made some horrid little videos in which he molests a giant pinata/sexdoll of Garcia. The schmuck took down the videos after he realized how damning they were, then his employer got YouTube to remove the re-posts that Derechos re-uploaded to YouTube, on copyright grounds. Well, now they've reposted them again to a different site that apparently isn't caving in as easily to such specious legal threats. The 2 vids are here and here. They are also embedded on a post from local progressive blog, "Rum, Romanism and Rebellion." In fact they seem to be reposted so many places that Journal Broadcasting will probably have trouble censoring them all. There are also transcripts of the 2 videos and other information on the Derechos site.
I also wanted to point out a few other references to this conflict, like a recent post on Feministing that mentions the situation, and cites some great feminist bloggers' analyses of the DJ's hate acts, saying it better than I could. And the Phoenix New Times' Feathered Bastard, known for regularly frying Sheriff Arpaio and other local facists, blogged expertly about it. I like how he refers to the hate-jock as "Jon Just-An-Ass."
Also worth griping about is the regularly worthless (except for the comics and Savage Love column) Tucson Weekly's coverage of the story - they mentioned it twice the week it started (in the editor's first-page babblings, and longer blurb further in), and once again the next week, and in all 3 instances, 3 different writers all used the phrase "paraded around" to describe what Garcia did with the Arpaio pinata head. The Weekly's take on the story is somewhat neutral, not really taking sides too strongly, their point being that everyone involved was just being kinda silly (oh except that John Hoffman, another schmuck from the talk-radio world who apparently works with the Weekly's racist asshole-in-residence Tom Danehy, said in his "guest commentary" that Garcia was being "tyrannical." Huh?). Besides the use at all of the rather un-objective, connotative term "paraded" you have to wonder about the repeated use of that exact same wording. Was there a staff meeting at the Weekly where dumbshit editor Jimmy Boegle told everyone to always use "paraded"? Were other words like "walked," "marched" or "ambled" tried by the other 2 writers and discarded by the proofreaders as being not inflammatory enough (I've seen the video they keep mentioning and I think any of those other terms, amongst a host of others, would be accurate to describe Garcia's actions)?
Or maybe all the authors associated with the rag are just lazy? Well, at any rate that's 4 more pieces of evidence (3 for each instance and 1 for the repetition) in my ongoing case that the Tucson Weekly is a hopeless piece of trash.
Well, folks, in case anyone still doubted it, the new border wall planned for Texas is literally becoming a reality as of a couple weeks ago. The physical start of this sad and ludicrous atrocity (which, even more saddening, is already pretty much done here in Arizona) is in Mission, Texas. Tireless border activist Jay Castro has put up a bunch of photos from there, of a first protest against this first bit of Texas wall. He also has an impressive collection of shots from all over the rest of the border.
Apparently there's also construction started in Granjeno, Texas on the combination levee-wall project, the corrupt deal that Hidalgo county made with DHS.
Tucson author Charles Bowden, expert on the border, the drug war, and the southwest environment, has been busy lately - He's coming out with a new book called "Exodus," about the immigration situation, and an article in Orion magazine is a sort of abstract of it, apparently (the same title also graced an article he did for Mother Jones a couple of years ago that touched on a lot of similar points). His basic point, in a word, is that immigration is unstoppable (which reminds me of a quote from someone interviewed in yet another documentary about the border wall, the trailer of which I viewed yesterday: "imagine someone built a wall between you and your bank. You'd find a way to get to your money.").
He also appears in, of all places, the latest issue of GQ, where he summarizes the recent drastic upswing of violence, from horrible to hellish, in Ciudad Juarez, thanks to Presidente Calderon's new, bloody, but useless war on Mexico's narcos.
The killings have the cold feeling of butchery in a slaughterhouse, and they are everywhere: done in broad daylight, on streets, in markets, at homes, and even in Wal-Mart parking lots. Women, children, guilty, innocent—no one is safe.
These are red, endless days.