Feeling anxious about life in a broken economy on a strained planet? Turn despair into action.
In December 2008, Tim DeChristopher attended a protest at a federal auction of drilling rights to Utah wilderness lands. He found a better way to disrupt the auction when he picked up a paddle and began bidding on the leases as “Bidder 70.” He won $1.8 million worth of parcels and inflated the price of many others. When it was discovered that he had no money to back his bids, the auction had to be shut down.
Joe Sacco and I spent two years reporting from the poorest pockets of the United States for our book “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.” We went into our nation’s impoverished “sacrifice zones”—the first areas forced to kneel before the dictates of the marketplace—to show what happens when unfettered corporate capitalism and ceaseless economic expansion no longer have external impediments. We wanted to illustrate what unrestrained corporate exploitation does to families, communities and the natural world.
In the 1989 film, Roadhouse, Patrick Swayze plays James Dalton, head bouncer at a seedy establishment called the Double Deuce Club. Dalton is armed with a PhD in philosophy from New York University and his three rules of bouncing:
1. Never underestimate your opponent.
2. Take it outside.
3. Be nice until it's time to not be nice.
When Ohio National Guardsmen fired sixty-seven gun shots in thirteen seconds at Kent State University (KSU) on May 4, 1970, they murdered four unarmed, protesting college students and wounded nine others. For forty-two years, the United States government has held the position that Kent State was a tragic and unfortunate incident occurring at a noontime antiwar rally on an American college campus. In 2010, compelling forensic evidence emerged showing that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) were the lead agencies in managing Kent State government operations, including the cover-up. At Kent State, lawful protest was pushed into the realm of massacre as the US federal government, the state of Ohio, and the Ohio National Guard (ONG) executed their plans to silence antiwar protest in America.
I have been ruminating lately on how much I am looking forward to school starting up again for Ob, my six year old son, because of how deeply I enjoy my time with other parents picking up their kids after school; how meaningful, powerful, and frankly, political, much of that time is.
Over the years I have often been asked how I became an activist. The question of how individuals as individuals become involved in social change movements, fascinating as it may seem, can carry equally fascinating assumptions about activism itself. It may imply a voluntary and self-selecting enterprise, an extracurricular activity, a realm of subculture, and a differentiating label; that an activistis a particular kind of person. When people refer to me as an activist, I have taken to correcting them: “I dislike the label activist,” I politely explain, “because it lets everyone else off the hook. We all have civic responsibilities. Social change happens when whole communities are in motion.”
In early April, President Obama derided a budget proposal favored by Mitt Romney as “thinly veiled Social Darwinism,” referring to ideas usually associated with such men as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. During his campaign to secure the Republican nomination, Newt Gingrich derided child-labor laws as “truly stupid,” and his suggestion that poor students should be put to work as school janitors was widely understood to be a Gilded Age notion reemerging in our contemporary political debates. In media outlets from Left to Right — including Fox News, the New York Times, and the Nation magazine — the nineteenth century is constantly being cited as a precedent for today’s experience.
Despite the humidity the southeast can feel like a bit of a desert sometimes. Numerous small towns populate our region and most of them won't be observing May Day. We would love it if all the friends we don't yet know from the southeast and beyond would come join us in Atlanta for May Day. You and your affinity group are cordially invited. Housing will be provided May Day night as well as the night before.
We the people of Salt Lake City invite all those opposed to the tyranny of the 1% to join us from July 23-28th 2012 in providing a warm welcome for the 39th Annual Meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council. This annual meeting by ALEC is paid for and attended by corporate sponsors who sit behind closed doors with our elected state legislators. At these meetings laws are created without the voice of the people that will later benefit those same corporate sponsors at the expense of our communities.
After SDS committed political suicide, and after the Jackson and Kent State shootings, one of the largest mass direct actions in US history took place under the slogan "If the Government won't stop the war, we'll stop the Government."
For those of you who haven’t heard, the people of Greece rose up for one night in a display of rage and anger against the global capitalist system and the misery it brings to their lives. They provided us here in Seattle with a glimpse of what our future is probably going to look like.
Before this place was called Guelph, this was the home of the Huron and Neutral Nations. Dozens of villages were home to tens of thousands of people, with the Hurons to the north and the Neutrals around the Grand River, Hamilton, and Niagara areas.The invasion of European society into what’s known as Southwestern Ontario began with French fur traders and Jesuit missionaries. The ultimate goal of these groups was to enrich the French, and later British empires by exploiting the land and killing and assimilating Indigenous people.
In the context of the national occupy movement which has wisely rejected both the corporate-Democrats and the corporate-Republicans, it isn't too early to begin thinking about how folks might converge to disrupt the national political conventions this summer. The Republican National Convention (RNC) is scheduled for August 27-30 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, FL, while the Democratic National Convention (DNC) will be in September 3-7 at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.
People all over the world are taking their protest to the streets fighting for their rights and freedom to overturn the current conditions. But why not here? The German reality is marked by social exclusion and cuts in the supply of basic essentials. Simultaneously, the media is brainwashing people’s mind against every existing resistance that criticises this inhuman oppression by the state and capital. It isn’t just the police who beat us up or arrest us and it isn’t just the political legislative which establishes laws to enslave us. Also responsible are those people who are not offering resistance to this situation and those who are making it possible through their ever-so-important (wage-) labour so that the “machinery of administration” runs smoothly.
Before struggles evolve into open warfare, they often manifests themselves in the form of protests and riots. People who feel that the political system is not responding to their grievances sometimes take to the streets to demonstrate to the establishment and public at large they are unhappy with the current situation. The objective of a protest is to bring about change through a symbolic show of force.
Dr. King understood what it meant to commit to a movement. He comprehended and accepted the risks involved. He was fully aware of the urgency. He never wavered in his efforts to create radical changes in human culture and society and he left behind enough words to help us realistically imagine what he might say and do today (Hint: #Occupy).
We periodically ask our readers and supporters to support us with a financial donation. We are hoping to raise $500 this Spring for our ongoing operations. We've been busy lately fixing technical problems, planning improvements for our tech infrastructure, and talking about how we can bring more original content in the future to our readers.
Checks and cash are accepted, but contact us to make special arrangements.
What we've been up to lately:
Server improvements and optimization: You may have noticed that the website hasn't been down very much in the past month. Dave and Chuck have been busy cleaning up the server, slaying evil spambots and otherwise optimizing the server and websites. This is necessary so we can make further tech improvements and have a stable environment to publish more original content.
Infoshop News: We recently started a project which will upgrade Infoshop News to the latest version of Drupal, a popular content management system. This will allow us to do more interesting things with Infoshop News, from multimedia to subject tagging. This new software will also help us prevent downtime problems. We expect this project to be finished by the end of Summer 2013.
Infoshop Library: This week we will resume adding content to the Infoshop Library (http://www.infoshop.org/Library), which has been relocated to new software on our site. Content from the old library will be re-added to the library in the next couple of months. We will also be planning ways for more volunteers to get involved with this project.
Infoshop OpenWiki: The wiki is currently offline, but the old wiki content will be migrated to the website in the next couple of months.
Infoshop Forums: The Infoshop Forums will be migrated to our Drupal website this summer. We haven't decided yet if old content and user accounts will be migrated.
If you'd like to help with any of this, please get in touch!