Sunday, December 20, 2009

Abortion Access and the Military

There Are No Coat Hangers in Iraq

via ouyandan
The ACLU is interested in hearing from servicewomen, military dependants, and their health care providers about difficulties accessing abortion due to military policies. If you have any information, or would like to share your story with us, please contact us at or 212-549-2633, or write to us at Reproductive Freedom Project, 125 Broad St, 18th Fl., New York, NY, 10004. Any information you provide will be treated as confidential.
Also, anyone who knows me personally may contact me if they feel more comfortable, and I will contact the ACLU on their behalf. Also, if you are pregnant active duty, and have been told that you have no rights or choices about how and when you give birth, and that you are not allowed to decline any medical procedures or services during your childbirth procedure, and would like to talk to the ACLU, I am willing to also contact them on your behalf. Your name can be kept confidential.
Active Duty does not mean you have to give up your reproductive autonomy. I want to help.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Occupation Info

In Response to Criticisms Over Our Inclusion of an Antiwar Demand

First of all, we’d like to reiterate that our demands as they appear on this blog, in their entirety, were and are a political statement, and/or indictment of the capitalist system, and are representative of our belief that no issue can be truly isolated from any other.

Despite this fact, we HAD actually given President Corrigan a list of our campus-specific demands, which he ignored anyway. The campus specific demands were as follows:

1. That the 93 million dollar recreation center not be built. We see the recreation center as a move to gentrify and privatize campus, since it would require another mandatory fee hike.

2. That union painters be rehired.

3. That the Ethnic Studies Resource Center be reopened.

4. That we are given full disclosure of the budget. We need transparency to understand how the cuts have been implemented and how they will be implemented in the future.

5. We demanded that President Corrigan attend the General Assembly and have an open discussion with students to address these grievances, among others.

To read their FAQ regarding this issue click to read on.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Update on the Occupation

Just a really quick update since I am still doing some finals work (BUT THE END IS IN SIGHT OMG).

So at 3am that morning the police basically arrested everyone who was barricaded inside and dispersed the protesters outside.  Then this afternoon we (the students) all got a letter from the President of the Uni telling us what irresponsible people the protesters were and how he really really is invested in "free speech" but that he still couldn't let that go on.


And that's the last I've heard. :)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Occupation of San Francisco State

This morning I got a call from the SF emergency line telling me that classes normally held in the Business building were canceled.  "Odd," I thought.

It wasn't until this evening that the word spread and I happened to see it, the Business building is being occupied by some radical left wing nutcase students (aka, my kind of people)!

So, I am spreading the word.  This is becoming more and more common as the budget crisis here gets worse.  When this was tried at UC Berkeley the police did not take too kindly to it.  Please keep your thoughts focused on the safety of these students.  I'll bring updates on what I see tomorrow when I am on campus, though it will already be a busy day for me.

The occupiers also have a Wordpress blog up, so check it out! we are still here.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Patrick Stewart on violence against women

Patrick Stewart here is talking to Amnesty International about his childhood experiences with domestic violence. It might be triggering for some, as he is quite candid. It was a bit triggering for me. But I love that he is speaking out about this, because, well, he was Picard, and so I have that weird feeling of some sort of relationship to him through growing up watching him. So, anyway, I'm sharing.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

21 Guns with American Idiot Cast!!!


So, if you aren't as awesome as me and haven't gotten to see American Idiot the musical yet, check out this new version of 21 Guns that Green Day recorded with the cast!

It's fabulous, and I'm pretty sure that's Rebecca Naomi Jones (aka WHATSERNAME w00t!) on lead vocals.

Click HERE to launch the music player!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I almost never write poetry...

I was having an argument about this story about Alma Chacon and was musing on the pure absurdity of national borders and who is "legal" and "illegal" within those artificial boundaries and my brain just started getting all poetical, so....thought why not share... (If it's not clear, I was thinking about these things from Alma's and other mestizas and indigenous folks' perspective.)


How can I be
On the land my people come from?

You declare me
As you pave over the bones of my ancestors.

A line drawn
Treaties signed
By people who were visitors to our country.

Now you declare me the visitor
Me the intruder
Me the unwanted guest.

But your economy thrives
on my bent back

And the ones in charge,
they know it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Abuse of an Asylum Seeker

Via Questioning Transphobia and VivirLatino I found the story of Esmeralda:

Courage comes in many different forms. For Esmeralda, a transgender asylum seeker from Mexico who faced horrific circumstances in immigration detention, it came in the form of seeking justice. Kept in a segregated cell with other transgender detainees, Esmeralda never realized that her experience in detention would match the trauma of discrimination she had faced back home. But her story is also one of hope for change.
While the Obama administration has pledged to reform the detention system, its promises do not go far enough. Spread over a patchwork of more than 500 county jails, privately run prisons and federal facilities, immigration detention is a $1.8 billion business estimated to hold 442,941 detainees in custody in 2009 alone.
Transferred far away from their homes and families, stories are rife of how detainees are denied visitation, access to lawyers, medical care, and are subject to physical and verbal abuse. Many vulnerable people, including asylum seekers, pregnant women, children, lawful permanent residents and even U.S. citizens are among those detained.
Listen to Esmeralda’s voice of courage and take action now to fix a broken detention system.

Restore Fairness

Friday, November 27, 2009

Electronic Civil Disobedience - the Transborder Immigrant Tool

Via my tumblr blog Rags 'n' Bones:

From a group calling themselves Electronic Civil Disobedience comes the Transborder Immigrant Tool, a simple mobile application intended to aid and abet border-crossers from Mexico to the United States by mapping the safest routes to take.
the application uses Spatial Data Systems and GPS “for simulation, surveillance, resource allocation, management of cooperative networks and pre-movement pattern modeling (such as the Virtual Hiker Algorithm) an algorithm that maps out a potential or suggested trail for real a hiker/or hikers to follow.” In addition to allowing would-be illegal immigrants quick and simple access to map information, the application’s creators hope it will “add an intelligent agent algorithm that would parse out the best routes and trails on that day and hour for immigrants to cross this vertiginous landscape as safely as possible.”
On startup, the app finds GPS satellites. Once the user begins moving, the app acts as a compass that shows the direction the user is heading and also shows the direction a user must travel to reach a “safety site.”
The app seems to originate from a hacktivist group out of UCSD - hardly a historical hotbed of technological innovation, but close enough to the US-Mexican border to have a significant impact on the politics of technology in that area.
the app’s creator, Ricardo Dominguez, said, “We looked at the Motorola i455 cell phone, which is under $30, available even cheaper on eBay, and includes a free GPS applet. We were able to crack it and create a simple compass-like navigation system. We were also able to add other information, like where to find water left by the Border Angels, where to find Quaker help centers that will wrap your feet, how far you are from the highway - things to make the application really benefit individuals who are crossing the border.”
Brilliant idea. How long until the U.S. government finds some way to shut it down?
Hopefully no time soon...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving/Day of Mourning

Thanksgiving in my family has always been a time, some years the only time, when most of us come together and spend time with each other. This, and that this all revolves around food, has made it my favorite holiday for a very long time.

The Thanksgiving Mythology has never played a big role in this family celebration.

Though elementary school was a different matter...

These days I still love my family holiday but I also feel more and more that there is a political element to the very fact that the holiday exists that I do not want to ignore. That I can't ignore.

I haven't figured out, yet, what this means for me, or what practical steps I want to take to reconcile the two meanings of the day. The last few years it has meant a engaging in purposeful mindfulness of these two meanings. And so to that end I thought I would post this link, "illuminating Native heritage through photography," which I got via Cecelia. And my political spirit is with those at Plymouth in their Day of Mourning.

This year I will be focusing my energy both in looking to the truth of the past, being grateful for my present and on hope for a better future; where we do not deny or hide our past but acknowledge it and do everything we can to make sure we correct things so that tomorrow is better than today.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lou Dobbs and a Mariachi Band

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Lou Dobbs Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

The interview is a bit, meh, but, the opening, and his uncomfy face, is, great. The end.

Vigil TODAY in Lake Merritt

TIME: Sunday, November 22, 3:30pm
LOCATION: Mac Arthur and Grand Ave. at Lake Merritt
CONTACT: Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Liz Latty
PHONE: (510) 282-5223

Though it happened a week ago, I just caught up with this story, so here's what happened.

A queer and/or trans teenager in Puerto Rico, Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, was killed after she was picked up by a man for sex and he discovered her "male genitalia". She has also been reported predominantly to be a "gay male", though as Helen G notes in the link provided that she was dressed as a woman and that her killer seemingly believed her to be one when he picked her up.
Links and more information found here.

Also of note in this case is the way the local police have been commenting on the victim. The former officer in charge of the case had this to say:
“When these type of people get into this and go out into the streets like this, they know this can happen to them.”
Thankfully THAT asshole was taken off the case. We'll see if it gets better on that front from here on.

The same week, in Baltimore, Maryland, queer fifteen-year-old Jason Mattison, Jr., was raped and stabbed to death in his aunt’s home by an adult male, a family friend with whom, according to a Baltimore police spokesperson, Mattison allegedly had a “forced sexual relationship.”

(From the press release of this vigil) More information on this case can be found here.

There are other events and vigils that have been popping up all over the country. Events for Jorge can be found here For Jason, here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New "End of Time" Preview


And if you haven't seen Waters of Mars yet, do, it was great.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Oscar Grant News - New City Picked!

Via the East Bay Express

In a victory for prosecutors and the family of Oscar Grant, a judge has sent the murder trial of ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle to downtown Los Angeles, according to the Trib and the Chron. Mehserle’s defense team had wanted the case moved to conservative San Diego County, where the jury pool likely would have been more sympathetic to police officers.

I am quite relieved by this decision, even if it does appear it was made for monetary and not fairness reasons.

And I will continue to follow this story and bring you updates. :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2009 - California

Tomorrow, November 20th, 2009 is the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. This is when we remember all the trans women and men who have died this year as a result of transphobia/hatred and violence. Below you will find the listings for all the events happening in California, if you don't live here, please see THIS LINK for events happening in your area!

Alhambra, California
Thursday, November 19, 2009
6:15pm - 8:15pm, Room 7002
California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University
1000 S. Freemont Ave., Alhambra, CA 91803
For more information email,
Johanna Malaret at,
Chico, California
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
5:30 PM
California State University Chico
Meet at trinity commons for march.
After the march meet at room 210 at the BMU.
In case of rain, meet at 5:30, Rm 21 at BMU.
Eureka, California
Friday November 20, 2009
6:30pm - 7:30pm
Humboldt County Courthouse Lawn,
corner of 5th & I STREETS in Eureka, CA
Fresno, California
Friday, Nov. 20, 2009
6:00 - 10:00 PM
at the Big White House
1095 N. Van Ness Ave. and Alhambra (South of Olive), Fresno
Haywood, California
Details TBA
Long Beach, California
Friday, November 20, 2009
6:00 PM
on the four corners of Broadway and Junipero
Oakland, California
Friday, November 20, 2009
at Preservation Park, Nile Hall
Doors will open at 7PM and the ceremony will start at 7:30 and we will end by 9:30.
Contact: Tiffany Woods at
Orange County, California
Friday, November 20, 2009
6:30pm - 8:00pm
The Center OC
1605 N Spurgeon St, Santa Ana, CA 92701
For more information, please contact Daniel Shad at
Or visit:
Sacramento, California
Saturday, November 21 2009
6:30 PM
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
2620 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95816
San Diego, California
Friday, November 20, 2009
Beginning at 6:00 PM
LGBT Community Center
3909 Centre St, San Diego, CA 92103
for more information email:
San Jose, California
Friday, November 20, 2009
7:00 PM
Billy DeFrank LGBTQQI Community Center
938 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126.
Santa Barbara, California
Friday, November 20, 2009
Beginning at 6:00 PM
at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden
Corner of Anacapa And Anapamu Streets Santa Barbara, CA.
Santa Cruz County, California
Friday, November 20, 2009
6:30PM - 8:30
Watsonville Plaza, 358 Main St, Watsonville, CA
San Francisco, California
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
7:00 - 9:00 PM
CIIS California Institute for Integral Studies
3rd Floor - Namaste Hall
San Francisco, California
Thursday, November 19, 2009
11:00 - 1:00
San Francisco City College
San Francisco, California
Friday, November 20, 2009
6:00 - 8:00 PM
API Wellness Center
730 Polk Street (corner of Ellis)
For more info: Leeza Edwards, Co-chair of SF TEAM
415. 724.1680 or
San Francisco, California
Transgender Day of Remembrance Shabbat
Friday, November 20, 2009
7:30 PM
Congregation Sha’ar Zahav
290 Dolores Street (corner of 16th Street)
San Francisco, CA 94103
For more info:
Stockton, California
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Central United Methodist Church
Beginning at 6:00 PM
West Covina, California
Saturday, November 21, 2009
2:00 PM
Safe haven Community Christian Church
Contact: Eva-Genevieve Scarborough at
West Hollywood, California
Friday, November 20, 2009
6:00 PM
The event begins at Matthew Shepard Human Rights Triangle
(Santa Monica Blvd. at Crescent Heights)
where there will be an unveiling of the first Transgender Memorial Plaque, commemorating those who have been murdered due to anti-transgender violence and hatred.
For more information, please contact Karina Samala at 213-999-0456.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Didn't we already work through that?

This is something I see alot, A LOT.

It's that whole linear historical trajectory thing that "Western" people love. That "progressive view of history", right?

Don't know what I'm talking about? For instance, this:
Whenever I tell my mom (who was a women studies professor and general all-around ass-kicking feminist when I was growing up – 70s and 80s) about all of the fighting in online feminist communities about intersections and such – she just shakes her head and is all “I thought we worked through all of that years ago! I can’t believe people still aren’t getting it!”
I've seen this sentiment a lot. Like "the feminist movement" already covered this, why do people still not know (only one out of many movements this sentiment is applicable to)?

And as long as I've been hearing it, I've been wondering a) what to do about it and b) why it happens (in that order, because doing something about it is, to me, very important).

At first I thought, "well, there's always new people coming into the movement, they're n00bs, they have to learn the ropes and they're making mistakes because they're n00bs and that's what n00bs do". *Dusts off hands* Done!

But when I saw the quoted comment above today and that thought went through my head but another thought followed it: "But WHY DON'T the n00bs of today start off with more information? HASN'T all this good work been done and useful knowledge produced? WHY isn't it sticking?"

I mean, us, the generation of knowing how to use computers, and our younger siblings or children, growing up in a world that never didn't have computers and video games. They know how to use these things. They learn very, very early on how to use this stuff because it's all around them, it has saturated their daily lives.

So, why are the n00bs of today as seemingly woefully ignorant as the n00bs of forty years ago?

That comes to my head as I puzzle about this? Because we don't have that saturation of info, not at all.

What are we saturated in, growing up? For the most part? The same old shit. That's what. For as long as we (womanists, feminists, anti-racists, socialists, LGBTQ activists, dis/ability activists etc. etc.) have been doing this work, something is preventing our hard work from becoming part of the social fabric.

Fuck, that is a depressing thought.

So now, the next thought (to rattle around in my brain for another year or so) how the fuck do we change that? Because it seems like every generation thinks they've done it, but clearly we keep coming back to this place.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Art Sharing

Every once in a while I like to share here some of the really good stuff I've been sharing on my random shit blog Rags'n'Bones. And, I swear, I put up a lot of randomly good stuff!

What I'd like to share today is this artist, who draws on Styrofoam cups:

Cuz that's just cool.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Michigan Wants to Make a Doctor's Note Mandatory for Acupuncture

bfp brought this to my attention:

I found out from my acupuncturist that the state of Michigan is considering requiring it’s citizens to get a doctor’s referral to go to an acupuncturists. So, in other words, rather than hearing from a friend that she went to acupuncture and that person deciding to give it a try too–Michigan wants to make it so that you have to go to a doctor first, and then, if the doctor is willing to actually give you the referral, you can go to the acupuncturist.
Many people who know about the history of midwives in the U.S. know why this is such an extraordinarily bad idea. But for those who don’t know that history–what this particular requirement would do is first and foremost, place an incredibly unfair burden on those people who don’t have health insurance. Those who are unable to afford a doctor would simply have yet another health alternative option removed from their already limited health arsenal.

As some of you know, I'm a big fan of the working class (or community) acupuncture model.  My husband was able to take advantage of it for about six weeks while we were living in Oakland, and though we have had to eliminate all such expenditures since our move, we plan to go back to weekly appointments at our local shop when we can.

And let me make this very clear: that was the first regular health care of any kind that my husband had gotten for well over a decade.  If we had needed to get a doctor's note first, he never would have been able to do it at all (and that's assuming the first doctor we went to would even refer us at all, because you know how some Western Medicine practitioners respond to "alternative" medicine).

If this goes through in Michigan, it will only be a matter of time before it gets picked up somewhere else, because you know how states like to feed off of these issues of "public health" that demonize the poor.  So please, if you support this health model and its goals, don't just sit back and be glad it's not your state considering making it inaccessible to the very people it was created to help, at least sign this petition and let them know why what they're doing is such a very bad idea.

For more info, please follow the link to bfp's post!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Muñoz and Halberstam

Did you see my tweet a few days ago that read: "Oh dear, Jose Muñoz and Judith Halberstam getting my critical eye today! I'm sure they'd be devastated if they knew, devastated! #yeahright"?  Well, this is what I was writing...

So last weekend I read the first chapter from Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics by Jose Muñoz and “Mackdaddy, Superfly, Rapper: Gender, Race, Masculinity in the Drag King Scene” by Judith Halberstam.

Basically and in brief, they both center on visual and performance art with a focus on gender, race, class and sexuality. Muñoz’ piece is an examination of the paintings of Jean-Michel Basquiat, concentrating on what these works tell us about Black male gender roles and self-identity. Halberstam’s essay focuses on drag king performances, primarily in London and New York, with special regard for the history and unique aspects of male impersonation within Black lesbian communities. While each essay covers a number of potentially overlapping issues in practices of art, to me the topic they are especially speaking to each other about is Black masculinity. And while they both have some compelling points, they both also frustrated me in parts, which is, shockingly, what I'm writing about.

In the opening of his chapter, Muñoz talks about the “strategies and rituals that allow survival in such hostile cultural waters” and his “compulsion to try and articulate…these practices of survival” (37).  He acknowledges a hostile cultural environment, in which Black men (as the later discussion is about) must take on strategies to survive. Yet later on he brings up bell hooks’ analysis of Basquiat's paintings, seems to become quite defensive at her articulation of Basquiat’s work illustrating a “lack” for/in the Black cis male body. Now, I only have the quotes he provided to go by, however, in my view, hooks is saying pretty much what Muñoz himself is saying: a hostile culture creates a situation where survival is the paramount thing for Black men.


And survival often prevents self-actualization, does it not?  To me, this is the “lack” hooks is talking about regarding the half-formed lines of Black male bodies in Basquiat’s work. It is a lack of a wholistic identity.  A consquence of a kyriarchal belief system suspicious (when not down right afraid) of Black masculinity (embodied by men, or women).

Given this base misunderstanding, it is perhaps understandable that Muñoz then continues to misunderstand hooks' analysis, specifically revolving around the lack of the feminine in Basquiat’s paintings. The world of the female is that which must be rejected for masculinity to assert itself (so the kyriarchal narrative goes), sons must “cut the apron strings” and become independent, eradicating the devalued feminine traits which might label them as anything but "truly" masculine.

What I think hooks is trying to call attention to through pointing to the lack of “a world of blackness that is female or a world of influences and inspirations that are female” (55) is not, as Muñoz suggests, “the very same logic that Moynihan Report disseminated” (56), but instead a side-effect of survival in a culture which actively devalues blackness and femaleness. For Muñoz to acknowledge at the start of the chapter how in awe he is that (queer) children of color learn to survive in a world specifically hostile to them and at the end of the same deny that perhaps that survival comes at a personal cost seems naïve.

Similarly, I had some reservations about Halberstam’s analysis and theorizing, primarily around what I read as an almost outright dismissal of the resistance of many of her interviewees to her theorizing of their drag king performances (109). I find it extremely problematic that her response to the “frustration” of her interviewees at her questions is to defend her approach and not to consider the possibility that she might be doing something wrong. I do not think it is ok to take people’s lives out of their subjectivity and use them for one’s own purposes (as is a pattern in some feminist/gender theory, especially queer and trans gender theory), and sadly I read some of that in this article.

I was especially concerned with her assertion that “theory does not have to be beholden to subjective experience in any linear way” (109).  I interpret this to mean that she believe theory is, in the end, independent of subjective experience, thus she can feel ok making theory from the lives of others (in this case, from drag kings, both white and of color) and yet is not beholden to their opinions of her theorizing.  This especially rubbed me the wrong way as she characterized her interviewees blanketly as "lesbians" and "women."  Are we really to believe there was not one trans man in attendence?  If there wasn't, why not?  This seems a rather important issue to choose to leave entirely out of the discussion.

In another vein, questions like this one: “how do we explain the predominance of white drag kinds in urban scenes?” seemed naïve at best. That the answer “racism” does not explicitly follow at any point in the piece, but only vague and unexamined references to “social stratification” (128) or “complicated relations” between white drag kings and drag kings of color (107), earned her no cookies from me.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I'm feeling really shiny right now and I just want to take a moment to thank some people, because fuckin A you lot have made me smarter over the past months or years as the case may be. Like, seriously. I have been really, really, conscious especially over the past month how much I owe you all, for so many reasons.

I see other students in some of my classes struggling with concepts that I'm like, oh man, I totally get that (NOT ALWAYS THOUGH, I'm not THAT arrogant), and SO MUCH of that is thanks to all of you, who have already challenged me to think about things from so many different angles and introduced me to new ways of thinking about gender and sexuality and race and just being in the world.

And really, I have to take a second to just thank you for it. And to let you know that these words you're throwing out into the internets, yes, they are impacting people. Fuck the trolls and fuck the assholes who refuse to get it. I can tell you for sure, for absolute sure, that your words and stories and thoughts have impacted me. And I love you all for it.

Renee, Brandann, Cara, Voz, Bint, bfp, Monica, mamita mala, Cecelia, Lisa, Black Amazon, Slyvia... There are many this is addressed to, so many, but especially to you. Thank you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Possible Serial Killer in North Carolina and the MSM Doesn't Care

I will admit I am woefully out of touch with what's going on in the blogosphere. I've not been under 500+ articles in my Google Reader for over a month and when I do have time to read I rarely feel the pull to write. I guess that's just the life of a student. But when I was emailed this story recently, and was able to read it, I knew it was something I wanted to highlight, so while I'm not going to add much commentary... do I need to? What's happening here seems pretty clear, and it's been commented on many times before (especially by blogs like What About Our Daughters?), but I'll say it again just in case it's new to you, dear reader: the media only jumps on stories of missing white women. If you're a woman of color, you are apparently not missed. The continued media silence on the possible serial killer(s) in Cuidad Juarez show this all too clearly; hundreds of woman disappearing or dead and almost nothing said. And here it is again, multiple murders, clearly connected, and not a peep.

Read the full story here, excerpts below.

Ten women have been found slain or have been declared missing in Rocky Mount, N.C., in recent years. But the rest of the country hasn't heard about a possible serial killer stalking the young women in this Southern town of 60,000. The latest victim, Elizabeth Jane Smallwood, was identified on Oct. 12. Why have the Rocky Mount homicides been largely ignored?

"When you think about the famous missing-person cases over the last few years it's Chandra Levy, Natalee Holloway, and Laci Peterson," notes Sam Sommers, associate professor of psychology at Tufts University. All these women had a few things in common—they were white, educated, and came from middle-class families. The victims in Rocky Mount—which residents describe as a "typical Southern town," and is about 40 percent white and more than 50 percent black—were different. They were all African-American, many were poor, and some had criminal histories including drug abuse and prostitution.

"If it was someone of a different race, things would have been dealt with the first time around; it wouldn't have taken the fifth or sixth person to be murdered," says Andre Knight, a city-council member and president of the local NAACP chapter. "All these women knew each other and lived in the same neighborhood; this is the sign of a potential serial killer. When it didn't get the kind of attention it needed, it made the African-American community frustrated."
But the national media did show some interest in the story after it was revealed that five women were murdered in or around the town. "Nancy Grace called and wanted to have some of us on her show, but before it aired there was a white woman from Georgia that went missing. The Nancy Grace show was canceled," Knight says. HLN network, which broadcasts Nancy Grace, confirmed that Knight was booked for the show, which was ultimately canceled to profile the disappearance of Kristi Cornwell, a white woman from Blairsville, Ga., who went missing during an evening walk.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mangos With Chili!

Mangos With Chili: the floating cabaret of QTPOC bliss, dreams, sweat, sweets & nightmares
proudly presents the premiere of:
BELOVED: A Requiem for Our Dead
because we refuse to forget you
Nalo Hopkinson
Charleston Chu
E. Rose Sims
Nico Dacumos
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Ms. Cherry Galette
and more
With video by Storm Florez, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Kortney Ryan Ziegler, and more
November 6th and 7th, 8PM
The Lab
2948 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
$12-16, no one turned away for lack of funds
November 15th, 8PM
Hechos en Califas Festival
La Pena
3105 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA
$12-16, no one turned away for lack of funds
In this highly anticipated premiere of the newest Mangos With Chili production, we invite you to join us at the crossroads for a night of conjuring, memory, mourning and celebration. Through elegies of story, song, dance, drag and more, the Bay Area’s noted and notorious queer and trans people of color performance crew will honor our erased, fallen and slain queer and trans people of color family lost to hate crimes, war, colonization, and genocide. We will celebrate our queer legacies and the ways we’ve found to survive through the beautiful resistance of memory, and whisper stories about grief, loss, healing, sweet darkness, and walking between worlds towards rebirth.
Beloved: A Requiem for Our Dead will feature the brilliance and blaze of renowned Caribbean speculative fiction storycrafter Nalo Hopkinson; multimedia invocation performance art heart wrench by playwright and poet Nico Dacumos; In Memoriam, a new collaborative dance theater work by Charlston Chu and Cherry Galette; ancestral prayer/spoken love letter by writer and theater artist Rose E. Sims; a mixed media jazz dance cabaret extravaganza by Charleston Chu, an autobiographical musical journey traversing the Middle East and African Diaspora by virtuoso trio SoliRose; the powerful truth renderings of queer Sri Lankan writer and performer Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha; and the premiere of Moorish Salt a burlesque-dance theater/ritual performance art piece by fusion dance artist and theater-maker Cherry Galette.
Mangos With Chili is a Bay Area based arts organization committed to showcasing high quality performance of life saving importance by queer and trans artists of color to audiences in the Bay Area and beyond. Founded in 2006 by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Ms Cherry Galette, Mangos With Chili has performed to sold out houses across North America, wowing audiences in world class theaters, underground performance spaces, bars, and campus halls, with their high intensity, breathtaking performance, politics, and storytelling craft, reflecting the lives and stories of queer and trans people of color, while making art that speaks out in resistance to the daily struggles around silence, isolation, homophobia, and violence that QTPOC face. Mangos With Chili is a fiscally sponsored project of the San Francisco based arts organization CounterPULSE, which provides space and resources for emerging artists and cultural innovators: Mangos With Chili is supported by the Horizons Foundation, the Astraea Foundation, and the generous support of our community of donors.
Both venues are wheelchair accessible. The show contains material of adult nature. Parental discretion advised. Please refrain from wearing scented products to ensure that audience members and performers with multiple chemical sensitivity can attend.
For more information:

Thanks to: bfp

Friday, October 16, 2009

Change of Venue Allowed For Oscar Grant Murder Trial

San Francisco Chronicle
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson ruled Friday the murder trial of Johannes Mehserle will be moved out of Oakland.

The 27-year-old Mehserle is charged with the shooting of 22-year-old Oscar Grant at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station on New Year's Day.

Mehserle's attorney, Michael Rains, had argued for a change of venue in the case because of what he described as excessive media coverage and racial tensions.

This is not good news. Anyone who knows the history of this sort of thing knows what the defense team is now going to try and do is find a city more likely to view Oscar Grant as a criminal and more likely to believe Mehserle's testimony (to be blunt; a way more racist city than Oakland). "Racial tensions" as Medserle's attorney calls them basically means "holy fuck they think he's guilty here!"

Hopefully shooting a restrained and unarmed man in the back won't fool anyone into honestly thinking it's an accident, but you know, weirder things have happened in United States courts.

I'm sure the judge justified it to himself by taking into account the violence that erupted in the wake of the shooting, but honestly? Where the trial takes place won't determine that, the verdict will.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Columbus Day

So, Columbus Day was on Monday. Almost missed it, as SFSU does not celebrate it and so I was going to school like usual, until my dad reminded me. If you're curious how I (and my dad) feel about this particular holiday, I though I'd share this picture care of Cara):

Friday, October 09, 2009

American Idiot: The Review

So I finally got to go and see this production a couple weeks ago and overall it just made me so happy, I can't even tell you. Michael Mayer really managed to pull out a fairly coherent storyline to pull the songs of American Idiot together, and I was truly impressed. The first number (of course, the song American Idiot) I was a little stunned by the whole thing and not sure if I was going to cheer or laugh because it was just so ODD hearing the familiar music but in such a different context. But that feeling basically subsided and I got into the story after that, wondering how it would all come together. And come together it did.

I don't want to give too much away, as they are talking about the show traveling, so hopefully you'll all get a chance to see it! But there are a couple things I want to talk about. One, "my" portrayal (aka the character "Whatsername") was absolutely fabulous. A take no shit punk rock chick who I felt proud to share a chosen name with (and I was SO GLAD that she kicked Johnny to the curb after he acted a complete self-centered violent asshole). Honestly everyone had a great voice on stage but I was blown away by her (Rebecca Naomi Jones). St. Jimmy (Tony Vincent), Tunny (Matt Caplan) and Heather (Mary Faber) were especially amazing as well.

The more in depth thing I wanted to discuss was this really interesting sequence with totally Orientalist themes. The play follows three men as the protagonists, and one goes off to war. He is injured and while he is in the hospital he has a dream sequence featuring an "Extraordinary Girl" (live version of the song below).

This Extraordinary Girl is lowered from the ceiling in a full Afghan style blue burqa and is then revealed to be in an "I Dream of Jeannie" sort of outfit. Naturally, right there I was going, "um, what's going on here?" But as the scene evolved and I realized this was a dream the soldier was having I actually rather liked it's inclusion. It just seemed to SO ACCURATELY capture the fantasy that men are presented with to justify our being in Afghanistan, and to entice them to go. Those poor helpless women, "so sick of crying" who are perfect and beautiful if only their repressive men would let them take off their veils. And those manly American men, must rescue them! It was a REALLY interesting sequence, with so much going on with race and religion and gender and nationalism that I think I'd want to see it a couple more times and really dissect it in the context of the rest of the play.

This isn't the only time race and gender are present in the story, there is a lot that goes on with Whatsername and Johnny, as I already mentioned, as well. And there is sort of an over-arching theme of the alienation of white youth in suburbia, I think. Because all three of the protagonists are cast as white men, by the way. But there was a real sense to me that, conscious or not, there is a lot being discussed, both in the album and the play, about the cultural loneliness that many white teens feel. I know I felt that way for a long time, that I had "no culture", because all the markers of "culture" seemed to be retained by specific ethnic communities (both white ethnics and people of color) and I was "just white".

Well, that "just white" is not some crazy random happenstance. The first thing demanded of white ethnic peoples when they landed in this country is to try and destroy anything that made them different from the normative. If you couldn't "fit in" you were exploited and marginalized. And anyone with the right features (that is: Anglo features) had the potential to avoid this, if they conformed. And so our ancestors did. And I think white youth have been rather lost without that ever since. I saw a lot of this in the subtext of the play as well.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Oh my!

I have a home all to myself again!

If you know by "myself" I mean with my husband and cat. But hey.

I'm currently sitting on the floor sort of propped up by some pillows with half unpacked boxes all around.

In the coming weeks I plan to get back into some sort of a routine, and hope to be blogging regularly again. Though just how much I do might very well stay reduced.

One post I definitely have in mind regards the American Idiot musical, which I saw on Sunday. It was fabulous and there were some very interesting things with race and gender going on that I want to discuss.

Hope everyone else is well, I start trying to catch up on my Google Reader tonight, but I will most likely be skimming, everyone's been so busy while I was gone! :P

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Long Line of Vendidas

“This myth of the inherent unreliability of women, our natural propensity for treachery, has been carved into the very bone of [Chican@] collective psychology” ("A Long Line of Vendidas," Cherrie Moraga, 93).

There is much I could write about this piece, as it is so multi-layered. But my thoughts have been unable to turn away from considering the relationships between women in the Mexican-American side of my own family through the lens Cherrie Moraga provided. The distrust inherent in the relationships between women she described especially resonated with me, as I had a difficult relationship with my mother growing up, my aunt had a difficult relationship with her mother who also had a difficult relationship with her own mother (and so on, to the best of my knowledge). Not only that, but myself, my aunt, my grandmother and great-grandmother had distrustful relationships with other women in general. Reading about Moraga’s own experiences, this family history has been put into a new light.

“The daughter must constantly earn the mother’s love, prove her fidelity to her. The son – he gets her love for free” (94).

I recalled vividly when my grandmother was on her deathbed and I showed up with my younger brother (younger, but an adult). I can still picture the way she greeted him with open arms, wanting him to get on her bed and hug her, sit with her. Not like she greeted me. Her face lit up when she saw him with me, her face lit up when her sons walked in the door. She was always happy to see my aunt and I, as well, but was more reserved, in a way she never was with the men of the family.

This was my favorite grandmother.

I liked everything about her for as long as I can remember. The magazines she always had, dealing with psychics or UFOs or the Chupacabra. The breakfast we’d sometimes get, of chorizo and eggs and freshly made tortillas. The mariachi music that I liked but mostly sounded all the same, whereas she knew each individual song and had favorites. The smell of her house.

My favorite grandmother.

Even when I was depressed and feeling so totally self conscious and wanting to hide from everyone, including my family, I felt comfort in her house. And yet, as she was in the weeks leading up to her death, saying her goodbyes to her loved ones, I learned that she thought our relationship had “hard times”. And so stunned was I by this revelation that I never did get back to her to ask what she meant. At the time it seemed unimportant to have my own curiosities sated, as she prepared to die.

“Traitor begets traitor” (93).

Suddenly the difficulties of these relationships, unresolved at the time of both the deaths of my grandmother and my aunt, make significantly more sense. We Anglos (the other half of my family) have Eve, whose story tells us women are untrustworthy. Chicanas have that story as well as that of Malinche. Two powerful religious, cultural, narratives which show us why we cannot trust each other, two stories that teach us to value men, to trust our men, to identify with masculinity; over each other.

How can a feminist politics take root with so much of how you understand the world working against trust and solidarity between women? How can one be a lesbian, or a queer woman, in such a context? I understand more deeply now why “Chicana Feminism” is its own category. And I wonder where I fit in to that.

Friday, September 18, 2009

East Jesus Nowhere

All the white boys: sit down. And the Black girls: stand up. You're the soldiers of the new world. STAND UP.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New places

Hey all,

Just a note to let you know that I am in the process of moving. Therefore posting is going to be VERY sporadic!! But I still love you all and hope to see you again regularly soon. :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

An email from Vanessa

via raven's eye


On Monday a new friend and I went to the doctor together. At the end of both of our appointments, we ventured to the gas station that neighbored the clinic in search of an ATM as the clinic did not accept cards.

As we walked in I noticed, to our left, a white woman and a Latino man standing very close to each other. With intense eyes, they acted like cats readying to pounce on each other. I couldn’t tell if their glare, their dance almost, was playful or serious. Either way, I noted it and we continued inside. Once we had retrieved our money and a bottle of water we left the gas station.

By the time we got outside the woman and the man were fighting. Screaming. Hitting each other. The man, most importantly, was beating this woman. Beating her. In public. At 12 pm on a Monday. In a gas station parking lot.

Fifteen men, all clumped together at the periphery of the parking lot, just watched. Like it was a television show. They did nothing. They watched him beat her. We panicked, looked at each and immediately decided not to call the police. We also noted that we were the only other women there and ran inside to tell the people working the store. Even though we didn’t call the police, we still told an “authority” aka someone we thought could intervene. Their response was a non-response. They peered outside from behind the counter and decided to do nothing. I was stunned, unsure what to do but also really terrified to put myself in the middle of this man beating this woman. We then ran next door and told the people at the clinic and one woman
ran outside. By that time it was “over” and she was in a big red truck, with this white man, trembling, holding back tears, with blood and red marks on her face and neck.

But her person, this white guy, the one who she drove off with, didn’t do a god damn thing. Watched her get beat, like the rest of those men. Once it was “over” we asked her if she was ok, gave her some water, squeezed her hand, asked her if she needed to go to the clinic. After
she drove off, we both sat in the car not really knowing what to say to each other. I shook my head vigorously. Almost trying to shake it out. Shake out the noise of him beating her. The noise. Shake it out of my ears. My mouth. Wherever. It gushed out of my eyes, in the–form
of tears–later in the day. Among many other questions one or both of us asked “How could we have better responded?” Did we react as best we could?” “How can we be better prepared for situations like these in the future?”

(When I retold this story to my parents, holding back tears of my own, my father said, “if this had happened in Iraq they would have killed him right there in the street.” I do not know how accurate his statement is and of course murdering the man is not the only alternative but to me this is a far more acceptable response than just watching a woman get beat.)

The aforemtioned story brings me to this:

I have noticed a marked difference in how I move throughout the world ever since Kate and I got held up and ever since I went to Palestine. I’m more scared at night. I haven’t gone back to EAV at night since then. I’m more jumpy. I just feel more vulnerable (which for me means more scared)—as a woman, as a queer, as an Arab. I never felt vulnerable in Atlanta. For me, not feeling vulnerable meant not falling for the racist myth that I am always in danger of sexually
voracious, inherently violent Black men. I still refuse to believe this deeply racist, White Supremacist lie. However, I now realize it was also because my own lived experiences (not my family’s but of course trauma gets passed down in the blood and bones) and my reality as a middle class person with a certain extent of white passing privilege hadn’t warranted that much fear. (Am I making sense?) But between seeing a shot gun pointed at my love and me, witnessing and hearing story after story after story of omnipresent Israeli state violence and the threat of said violence in Palestine, and then seeing this woman get beat I feel different.

More anxious. And just plain scared.

But what is to be done? ;) Yes I could go to therapy and work on this as an individual but rather, how do we, together, work toward living in a world where we don’t always feel unsafe but also don’t always have to call the police if something does happen? I don’t have any answers. I just know that I’m committed to creating a world (shit, a city!) I want to live in that doesn’t ignore how insidious state violence is but that also recognizes our individual and collective vulnerability (as differently-abled people, as queers, as trans people, as women, as people of color, as allies, as poor people, as immigrants, as survivors) and most importantly our incredible power in looking out for each other while not further criminalizing entire groups of people. And I know there are some amazing people doing work in Atlanta around safety, how to respond to violence and
transformative justice. But what do we do in the meantime, like now? Like tomorrow? When we are in dangerous situations, when we witness others in dangerous situations or when people we love and/or are in community in have their safety jeopordized.

What do y’all feel about this? How do y’all feel about your own safety? Other people’s safety? What do you need to feel safe? What does safety even mean for each of us and how can we compile our needs and formulate something. What exactly I have no fucking clue. Maybe safety plans? Shit, what in the hell is a safety plan?

Are there models in other cities we can work from that anyone knows of? Or are there models in this city that other people are already working on?

If others would be open to having a conversation around this and so much more sometime within the next several months, I would be so so so into it. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

In Community,

PS– Of course, if you’d like, pass this on to whomever.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This sounds incredible

Celebrate with CASA – The Launching of ACHÉ!
The First Alternative Womyn’s Health & Wellness Cooperative in the South Bronx

Casa is launching the first Womyn’s Alternative Health and Wellness Cooperative – ACHÉ (Alternative Cooperative for Healing & Empowerment) for young and adult womyn this Fall. Inspired by the womyn in the Zapatista community and their organizing & movement building for autonomy, we are creating our model for sustainable and accessible healthcare for community, activist & organizers. The cooperative will support the health and wellness needs of womyn while being a respite to integrate self care into their daily practice and heal from internalized oppression.

ACHE will have spirituality, culture & human rights at the core of its sustainability. We use earth based spirituality to create sacred space to align ourselves with the healing elements of the season for the healing of our mind, body and spirit. Join our monthly healing circles(a monthly healing women’s group to break the silence of issues affecting community women including trauma of DV, violence, sexual assault, self mutilation, low self esteem, disordered eating etc.)We also offer complementary workshops such as: yoga, reiki, alternative fitness, afro-Caribbean rhythms, healing remedies, acupressure, meditation, and more.


We are looking for health practitioners, curanderas, folk healers, midwives, organizers, artist, etc. to join our Womyn of Color Healers Network, which will regularly provide free or low cost health care and wellness classes and trainings that include self gyn examinations, childbirth, STD/HIV prevention and alternative care, herbal medicine, nutrition, healthy meal preparation, holistic therapies, natural medicine treatment of weak immune systems, and trauma.

h/t Vivir Latino

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Pagan Census

via The Wild Hunt
Pagan scholar Helen Berger, co-author of “Voices from the Pagan Census: A National Survey of Witches and Neo-Pagans in the United States”, has announced that she and fellow researchers James R. Lewis and Henrik Bogdan are revisiting the Pagan Census project. The Pagan Census was first initiated nearly twenty years ago, and compiled data from thousands of modern Pagans to give a fascinating snapshot of our communities during Paganism’s meteoric rise in the 1990s. Now, in an age of blogs and instant communications, an update is underway to compare and contrast just how much we’ve changed.
So, to all my pagan readers: go and make your voices heard! :)

Monday, September 07, 2009

Help a Sister Out!

Hey everyone,

I am teaching a class referred to as “abnormal psychology” I hate the term and have already discussed why with my class but I want to make sure that my class is as progressive as possible and involves the opinions of those who are dealing with the symptoms of mental illness. I have read pieces from those that talk about their PTSD symptoms or other such things and I generated a discussion about the recent clusterfuck that was the Salon article but I was wondering about any more resources or advice, whether it be blogs or just things to remember and look out for. I also want to make sure that the reality of mental health treatment is discussed in this class and I have a decent enough concept of how frustrating it is from my end of being a provider and trying to get people services but would love input on how it can be on the other side.

Please spread this along

from mzbitca

Sunday, September 06, 2009

GV Indie Erotic Film Fest!

via Ess'in Em

Good Vibrations is gearing up for our fourth Independent Erotic Film Festival (IXFF), and we would love your help in getting the word out! For over thirty years Good Vibrations has pioneered a tasteful and inclusive approach to sex toys and sex education for women and couples. For the last four we have been celebrating indie filmmakers making sexy shorts. Please check out our website and see a week of parties and screenings!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Kaleidoscope, The Third Annual National People of Color Cabaret

Contact: Xandra Ibarra, 915.252.9252

Kaleidoscope, The Third Annual National People of Color Cabaret
“The first of its kind in burlesque”

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Baby Makes Me

via Mamita Mala

PLEASE POST ON YOUR BLOGS, SITES, LISTS etc. Help us reach the folks we need.

Many of you have already heard about our film, Baby Makes me. For you, this is an update. But for the folks who have not heard Tiona and I are making a documentary together.

For years, I have wanted to become a mother. But the timing has never been quite right. Either my partners weren’t ready, or I was scared, or I couldn’t find a donor or something. There was always something. By the time I rolled into 35, I was tired of being afraid, tired of waiting for the right woman with whom it would be the right time, tired of watching every Christmas roll over another Birthday, tired of watching my peers get knocked up and months later appear with the most amazing little bundle of potential—I was tired of waiting and ready to make the leap, and I was ready to make it alone.

I began the research with great heart—only to discover that there were little no resources for women who either wanted to, or had to embark on the journey of motherhood in the solo. There were one or two essays and a few books on artificial insemination, and some were even directed at lesbians—but most, if not all assumed that the mother would be operating from inside of a partnership, be that partnership heterosexual or homosexual.

The idea for the film came out of a conversation with Tiona to film the pregnancy/labor, assuming that there would be one—because no one, least of all me, knows if my body will cooperate in doing such a thing as conceiving. I envisioned Tiona asking a couple of heartfelt questions and spinning the light to create a high-end home-movie I could show my child at eighteen. She agreed and we began to flesh out some ideas. That conversation, coupled with the lack of resource material out there spurred the project now known as Baby Makes Me.

Baby Makes Me, a feature-length documentary, will explore the challenges and triumphs of Single Motherhood, particularly in the lives of women of color, lesbians and women who make a conscious choice to be mothers in the absence of intimate/romantic partnerships with men.

The film will use as its narrative skeleton, the journey of activist/writer/performer, Staceyann Chin, as she navigates her personal choices with reference to motherhood. Author of the memoir, The Other Side of Paradise, Chin now brings her talents to the medium of film as writer and Executive Producer.

The Director, Tiona McClodden, is a champion of promoting positive images of women in media. Her last film, “Black./womyn.:conversations…”, garnered much respect in both accolades and awards. She now brings her attention to the issue of women and motherhood.

It is our intent to interview a series of women from all the demographic cross-sections. Issues of financial, ethical, medical, cultural, and political relevance will be fore-grounded. We hope that clinics, hospitals, families, children of Black lesbians, straight Black women who want children, mothers of gay women who lament the loss of grandchildren when they discover their daughters are gay, and anybody who seeks to have a clearer picture of the family that includes gay women will see that our lives go on, that women who are single, be they lesbian, or Black or poor, can and do have babies, and that we are simply another group of people who live and laugh and grow. We hope to paint the subjects in the film as human and likable characters who, though they are dealing with slightly different challenges than the women we traditionally see as mothers, are not very different from any other group of people considering parenthood.

We are going to need all the help we can get. We need help in reaching out to folks who would like to be interviewed; other single mothers, women who have been inseminated, women who are thinking about it, women who work in the medical field, women who work in the administrative world of policy etc. We are on the hunt for the all the voices that could represent our story in the film.

We have recently been awarded a grant from ASTREA Lesbian Foundation for Justice and are set to move forward. We write to you now, in the hope that you will want to be involved in this groundbreaking project in whatever capacity you choose: we need space to host fundraisers and screening and other events connected to the film. We need people to fundraise, to promote the film, to host community talks, to suggest topics for discussion in the film—we need to secure additional investors, we need the help of people who are experts in the business of making films, and we need the counter-perspective of people who have never made a film. We are hoping to make this a community effort; from start to finish we want the ideas to be representative of the various factions in our diverse village of the women who mother our children. If you are sure you are unable to do any of the above, we only ask that you make room for our fliers, questionnaires, invitations, and other promotional materials for the film.

We would be honored if you would join us as we attempt to break more ceilings, level more walls to make room those of us who are too frequently left out of the history and imagination of the world we live in. We look forward to a spirited journey with you, from the opening shot to the ending credits—complete with your name listed among the most stalwart of our supporters.

Thanks again to the women who have already offered assistance. We look forward to your being a part of our process.

Staceyann Chin
Executive Producer/Writer, “Baby Makes Me”
Tiona McClodden
Director/Producer, “Baby Makes Me”

Please send all inquiries and requests to:

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Links of Note

Headline Fiesta! Mucho Calór!

Andrea Dworkin On Transgender

This Patriarchal Town

Pondering the compassionate release story…

Cult web series tops iTunes chart

stuff white people do: miss "their" america

Reaction: Part 2

Black Female Athlete Dominates Competition-Gets Gender Identity Questioned

Peltier Denied Parole

Sure, there’s nothing creepy about Twilight

On Health Care

Germaine Greer Paints a Portrait of Transphobic Feminism

One woman takes on King Coal. And wins.

Let me fix that for you, E. Jean

Defense Attorneys Want Victim to Act Out Alleged Rape in Court

I’ve been collecting information about u.s. led genocide for years now–and I’ve been particularly obsessed with the massacre at My Lai. My Lai has been on my radar since I was a tiny little kid, actually.

Oh, one more thing
Sure, A Woman Shouldn’t Be Raped For Wearing a Short Skirt, But If I Leave My Door Unlocked, It’s Only Reasonable To Expect I Will Be Robbed

In Minneapolis, hundreds sit-in to stop an eviction

Remembering Hurricane Katrina

What’s Accessible To You?

Of Tea Parties and Patriots

We demand an explanation!

Hate Crime Survivors Victimized Again by Racist Immigration System


It’s Not About Me

the right of return

Fighting Back


the divine survivors clinic

Eudy Simelane: Corrective Rape, Corrective Death

Shotgun Adoption

Tennessee’s Infant Mortality Rate and the Lie of “Pro-Life”

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

What those guns signify

Thursday, August 20, 2009
Published Aug 19, 2009 3:13 PM

When a man dropped his gun at a town hall forum in Arizona, it was a sign that the town hall disruptions around the country were about much more than health care reform.

Just a few days after the Arizona incident, a man bearing a sidearm appeared outside President Barack Obama’s Aug. 11 town hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H. He was holding a sign stating, “It is time to water the tree of liberty.” It was a reference to Thomas Jefferson’s famous statement, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” It represented a clear threat to the life of President Obama.

Most recently about a dozen armed right-wingers were seen carrying guns outside the Phoenix Convention Center, where Obama spoke to veterans on Aug. 17.

It is now safe to say what most observers already know in their heart—the town hall disruptions have little to do with health reform.

Yes, the topic of discussion at many of these forums is health care. And yes, there is a severe health care crisis in the United States that the Democratic health care plan does far too little to address.

That, however, is not why right-wingers are bringing their guns to town.

Health care is not the reason conservative radio host Mike Levin stated that Obama is “literally at war with the American people.” Anger over health care does not explain Fox News host Glenn Beck’s comment that Obama “has a deep-seated hatred for white people.” It is insufficient to explain former Republican vice presidential candidate Sara Palin’s lie that Obama was planning “death panels” for the elderly and the disabled.

No, what these words and actions expose is an orchestrated campaign by the extreme right to whip up the most backward whites into a racist frenzy by using President Obama as a fall guy for the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

It is an attempt to channel the legitimate anger over joblessness and lack of health care into a racist backlash that divides the multinational working class, separates white workers from their Black and Latino/a brothers and sisters, and prevents a unified class struggle capable of taking on the ruling class, from Washington to Wall Street.

In this respect health care is being used as a wedge issue much the same as abortion, same-sex marriage and immigration are used by the ruling class to divide workers.

Why aren’t the leaders of organized labor mobilizing the rank and file against racism and for jobs as well as health care?

Where are the mass marches of workers demanding a jobs program at a living wage? Where are the caravans of uninsured and unemployed workers traveling the country in a dramatic call for jobs and health care for all?

With more than 16 million workers organized at the points of production and service delivery and hundreds of millions of dollars in union dues at their disposal, the only thing stopping the labor unions from mobilizing a mass movement around these issues is the will to do so.

In the absence of a sizeable left movement in this country, the most reactionary elements of the right wing have been emboldened.

A highly significant step in building a working-class response to the economic crisis is the September 20 National March for Jobs in Pittsburgh. The jobs march is scheduled just days before government leaders and finance ministers from some of the world’s richest countries meet there as part of the G-20 Summit to figure out how to save themselves in the midst of the global economic crisis.

Some brave local union leaders, including the San Francisco Labor Council, the International Longshore and Warehouse Local 10 and the Letter Carriers Local 214, have endorsed the call for a jobs march. Where will you be on Sept. 20?

For information on the National March for Jobs, see

Articles copyright 1995-2009 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.