Monday, July 21, 2008
My deep commitment to our furred, feathered and fined sisters and brothers is rooted in many things.
For one, I am a Jew. In Ashkenazi culture, we are taught to think about WHO we are eating or wearing. For example, we are meant not to eat the body of an animal along with her secretions. For me, being vegan is what kosher principles are all about: just because something is available to me to eat does not justify uncritical consumption. And my privilege as a human in this world does not justify my using other animals’ bodies at my whim.
I am a feminist. I believe in looking critically at the way female people are treated in society. I want to tease out misogynistic saturation in my life. When I think about the consumption of bodily secretions I know that these are female bodies from which milk and eggs are sucked. I know how raw, bloody and full of pus my own nipples would be if I had metal suction cups forcing liquid from them for hours on end. My own menstrual cycles let me feel the pain of those whose bodies are starved so they will be shocked into an unnatural egg cycle. I am left horrified. I wonder if this abuse of female bodies would be appropriate in a feminist, non-patriarchal society.
I am human. I know that no person can kill animal after animal on an assembly line without suffering irreversible psychological damage.
Pure logic. If we were not stuffing non-human animals full of grain and corn, those foods could be fed to the millions of people who are hungry around the world. I refuse to exercise my first-world privilege by eating flesh because I know that a cow or chicken has a relatively small body compared with the amount of grain s/he must eat.
I have been criticized before that I am exerting my privilege as a first-worlder by being vegan. This weak argument often sounds like “Some people don’t GET to eat meat” or “it’s so white to be vegetarian, people with culture eat meat”. Just because endless consumption is available to me as an american DOES NOT mean that I must participate and more importantly, to participate creates a world of suffering from humans to non-human animals to the environment as a whole. There are cultures throughout history and across the world that encourage their people to think critically about what they use, take and eat. Jewish, Rasta, Buddist, Hindu and Muslim cultures all ask you to think about what you are eating.
Please do not censor your comments. I want to have a space where we can speak openly about each others’ thoughts and beliefs.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I have added more links under "sites we dig" and I recommend that you check out:
I think their names speak for themselves- I am loving this blog thing- please add more links to "sites we dig" or put them in the comments here and I'll put them up for you.
Monday, May 5, 2008
poet, novelist, womanist, embracer of true matriarchal African relgion
Emma Goldman ---->
anarchist, healer, began revolutionary work in her LATE TEENS!!, inspiration, founded the ACLU **BISEXUAL JEW**
Look these womyn up, read their works and about them. They are our sisters and ancestors we shall continue and support their work!
The Anarchist Jew ;)
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
This looks like a lot of fun- it is a celebration of Purim. It's hosted by Jews for Racial and Economic Justice: http://www.jfrej.org/. Please lemme know if you want to go because I do!!
Join us as we return to our roots:
Ancient Egypt & the Lower East Side
A raucous event tying together the struggle for Domestic Workers Rights & Housing Justice, Lower East Side Jewish history, & the holiday of Passover.
What: Music! Food! Justice! Fun for all ages!
Performance & Passover Sing-Along with Chana Rothman! check her out: http://www.chanarothman.com/bio.html
When: April 6, 2008 2-4pm
Where: Seward Park, entrance located at East Broadway and Canal St. [F train to East Broadway]
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org 212.647.8966 x 11 or click here
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Comrades and prospective lovers-
This will be why I find, when arguing, the word and concept of "natural", a thoroughly unconvincing and useless argument. When discussing the habits of human culture, or, more specifically, to explain the way things "ought" to be and why; people often invoke this absolutely indefinable thing called "nature".
Many times I have been told that human consumption of flesh is “natural thing” that us people do because we have "evolved" this way. Along the very same lines, a perfectly convinced person will tell me that hetero sex, and the way we are meant to do it is also, "natural." People become quite offended if I suggest that a womon is not “naturally” nurturing or, that the category of “womon” is not a naturally-explainable concept.
Let us try to define "natural"--> is it how we interpret the way animals live and behave? Is it what the people who paid the scientists would like us to believe so that they can make monetary and branding profit? Science is the stuuu-dddy of nature, right? Well, from the beginning, this religion of science is skewed in its own favor. If you believe that humans engage in friendships, but other animals are incapable of friendship based on some pre-conceived prejudices, will a scientist be able to see other animals’ relationships with any clarity?? If one believes that there are (only) two sexes in all species, can one find a third?
So often, though, the descrepincies are painfully obvious. I am told that one bunny humps another bunny because he wants to mate and make bunnies with his own sperms. When the bunny doing the humping has a vagina, we say that she is asserting dominance. Convienently different explainations of the same behavior made on the basis of gender, to support the patriarchy.
We construct the definition of intellect based on our very own bodies and lives. We prove human habits and cultures scientifically to give give the power structures more power. These power structures are the systems that we are brainwashed into the systems habit and fear called religion, science, the state, and other human cultural traditions/habits.
Ah, the convenient self-affirming system of money. Long live the free market!!
Firstly, how dare we as human beings with our own awingly varied cultures, even begin to imagine that we could understand something as alien to us as another species’ culture? How could we begin to define the relationships that animals have?
Because they are not like us and by some cruelty, their lives are in our control? This gives us the right to enslave, experiment on, murder and eat the bodies of other animals?
(Too often, when "natural" proves to be an unusable argument, the dear debater will turn to an argument involving a "god" that they themselves never worshiped.)
Comrade Anarchist Jew
Monday, March 10, 2008
It may be sorta true. But I'm tired of hearing this.
People should have kids when they deem themselves ready, should be the replacement.
If people "waited until they had money" to have kids the third world would be extinct. And people of color would've made up like .5% of the American population by 1960. Because when people say "overpopulation" they don't mean whites or the elite, do they?
So only wealthy people should have kids then? Very similar to Margaret Sanger's approach, but just the newer version.
Abortion is an undeniable right that is necessary whether in capitalism or not. But what would make it MORE necessary in capitalism?
-The fact that undesirable candidates should not produce offspring. Kids need two parents, one male one female to be "stable". Yet, patriarchy produces shitty fathers for very logical reasons whom even if they are in the home are not "really there". (most of you know what I mean). While most children whether they are rich or poor never spend any reasonable amount of time with their fathers, then what difference does it make in the first place? Even married mom's are single mom's when it comes to raising children.
-Being "married" before having kids is certainly an easier solution but it is designed to of course leave black women and non-straight people in general out of the suitable "parent" category.
-Wait until you have a "house" to have kids. Newsflash. Most people whom are low income, rent their homes.
-In order to "plan" to have kids you have to be suburban, married, parents must be stabilly employed, you must have a mini-van etc., is this the new way of saying "whites are more fit to have children"? And that poor women "cannot afford them" so should not have them until they "can"? And if people are born into their class, doesn't this mean NEVER?
-With all the crazy fucked up and mentally unstable people across the board, it is clear that your social status has nothing to do with your effectiveness as a parent.
I am confused/torn on this issue of . But me and peeps discussed it at dinner and I thought this was worth bringing up.
On an unconnected note:
Not only are black women naturally "stronger" and built for sexual exploitation and labor, but science has now confirmed that our vagina's/reproductive organs are "naturally" stronger too. What other conclusion could POSSIBLY come from this article (It is meant for doctors, not patients whom now have internalized this idea making it alllll the more dangerous).
Thursday, March 6, 2008
I have a stomach ache out of this world and a sore throat. I must have caught wind of some form of extraterrestrial bacteria. I am leaving work early. I hope I can come, I really do, but I think the best thing to do is go home and rest.
k. gonna go wallow in germs
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
No one identifies as white. Whiteness is the absence of culture, the bleaching a person’s lineage. Whiteness is privilege – the reward bestowed upon Americans for discarding the language and customs of our ancestors. To be white is to be assimilated. But assimilated into what? It could easily be argued that American culture is pop culture; branded, copywriten, marketed and sold to us. So what does it mean to be white? It means to be void of any roots, to be distinguished from those with a sense of ethnic history and, to have privilege over those with history.
When my ancestors came to this country, they believed it was important to discard the old world and embrace the new. Unhappily there was no new culture and unfortunately I cannot go back to the dolers-out of whiteness and say “actually, I’d really like my peoples’ culture and language back. I would rather have a sense of history than have white privilege”. Because, as much as I think of myself as a Jew and non-white, it is peoples’ perception and the way that I am treated in the world that matters.
I feel that when a person does identify as white, it becomes very dangerous. This is because of the definition that I have given above. A white-identified person will define themselves in terms of what they are NOT as well as claim a right to privilege. Therefore, a person who identifies with an empty non-culture is inherently problematic.
Another symptom of whiteness is acculturation. Various people raised in this white non-culture often acculturate other cultures. White people who lock their hair are one obvious example. A person with no sense of history is hungry for what people with a sense of ethnicity have and so they seek it in superficial ways.
There was an uncomfortable moment in the debate where Obama was asked about receiving an endorsement by Rev. Louis Farrakhan. In Clinton's response she went for the jugular. She painted a portrait when she received the support of the Independent party in NY, which she said was an anti-semitic organization. In her effort to paint herself as a champion against discrimination, she said she rejected any support from them and refused to be associated with any organization with anti-semetic ties.
However, the truth often takes a different shape then with the past is rewritten.
I found this post on a message board:
HILLARY'S BIG LIE, ANTI-SEMITISM, AND INDEPENDENTS
Most of America has discovered and reassessed the little-known ugly truths about Hillary Clinton. Nevertheless, Mrs. Clinton's passive-aggressive campaign tactics seems to know no bounds despite the electorate's growing rejection of her integrity.
Tuesday night's debate in Ohio revealed another big lie spoken by Mrs. Clinton in clever tones. Regarding the topic of U.S. support for Israel, the conversation spilled over into allegations and issues of anti-Semitism in Senator Barack Obama's campaign via Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan's past and recent statements.
Though Mr. Obama credibly and concisely refuted any association with anti-Semitism, and minister Farrakhan's verbal support for him, Mrs. Clinton used the issue as an opportunity to rewrite and distort history with a straight-out lie. The full backstory reveals the facts.
The U.S. Senator for New York is no genuine friend of democracy, inclusion, and Independents. Mrs. Clinton's record of blocking and bashing Independent activists in New York City is well documented. Though she spins her campaign and rhetoric across America to have the appearance of being a proponent of populist and democratic values, New York City's Black Independent voters know the real deal better than most.
Ask members of the New York City Independence Party, Independence Party of New York (IPNY), the Committee for a Unified Independent Party (CUIP), and especially 1992 presidential candidate and Independent activist Lenora Fulani. In 2005, Clinton engineered a bogus bigot-bating campaign to have Dr. Fulani eliminated as an executive member of the IPNY State Executive Committee. Though never substantially confirmed or affirmed by anyone, especially Fulani's many Jewish friends and supporters, Senator Clinton hyped the claim that the New York City Independent activist was an anti-Semite to the state's Jewish voters. Fulani's longtime political mentor and CUIP's veteran political strategist Fred Newman, also Jewish, knew better.
As one of New York State's leading national representatives, including her network of state and national political resources, Senator Clinton forced IPNY chairman Frank MacKay and vice chairman Thomas Connolly to dump Dr. Fulani from her executive post before the state IPNY organization was allowed to endorse Clinton's senatorial campaign. The demonization and attempted termination of Fulani, including the effort to disband New York City's five-county Independent organizations, effectively was designed to disenfranchise the thousands of very active and mostly Black New York City Independents Fulani represents. Divide, conquer, and win election was Mrs. Clinton's mission then, as it is now in 2008.
Lenora Fulani and several complainants filed a Voting Rights Act violation case with the New York State Supreme Court and the U.S. Justice Department. Senator Hillary Clinton and former New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, now governor, were also named in the complaint. New York State's Supreme Court decided in Fulani's favor, and upheld New York City Independents' right to fair and equal representation as voters within the state. New York State Supreme Court Judge Emily Jane Goodman stated, "While the Court is not going to speculate on the motive for bringing this Petition now...it appears to be more political than philosophical."
The Big Apple's Independents now have more empowered representation within local and state governance. Lenora Fulani's potential run for New York City mayor in 2009 will strategically enhance that empowerment. The memory of history and facts, no matter how hidden for present day campaign purposes, have a way of focusing avid and aware voters. New York City's Independents remember all too well. The once likeable First Lady Clinton of the 1990s is definitely not a truly democratic or electable presidential candidate for 2008.
Another fact, Independents are under no illusion that real change doesn't mean adding a new flavor to the same recipe of political campaign lies, or sustaining a deceptive political dynasty. Change also means having had enough of Clintonian and Bush politics, and politricks. Voters in most states and New York City are affirming a political paradigm shift that can't be delayed by more lies.
Most have discovered, as of February 2008, this newest deception from a passive-aggressive liar is another reason that justifies the much deserved demise of presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign.
Dennis Moore, Chairperson, District of Columbia Independents for Citizen Control Party dennis@DCIndependents.org www.DCIndependents.org Washington, D.C. RELATED TEXT AND
Long post, but there are plenty of sides to every story. I don't take one post at face value. However hearing the side of the Independents raises in interesting issue. More so, because we are New Yorkers and I don't even remember hearing about this story.
Monday, February 25, 2008
PEPFAR has been renamed "The Global HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008" in order to make the "Emergency Plan" one about long-term support. We're just going to call it PEPFAR II from now on.
Now, I'm no expert, this is all independent research, so I hope I characterize the Act right. I know for certain the vote is this Wednesday and the listed Reps are involved, but the status of the draft bill (sex worker inclusion, needle exchange inclusion, and abstinence earmarks) changes everyday.
The House Committee on Foreign Affairs is meeting THIS WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27th. PLEASE HELP WRITE LETTERS TO NEW YORK REPS ON THE COMMITTEE. If the policy is not changed, then FIVE MORE YEARS of funding will be cut off from sex worker organizations supporting legalization and decrim!
All the hub-bub is about the abstinence-only earmark of 1/3 of the HIV/AIDS prevention funding. The removal of this, of course, is something I imagine sex workers want to support (there is controversy, I have to say, about whether funding would be permitted for abortions). The important thing, I think, is NOT to let them forget about removing the anti-prostitution pledge from PEPFAR I. I'm afraid the draft bill will compromise this concern (although it's been discussed by the Democrats behind the Act), in order to remove the abstinence-only earmark and keep restrictions against needle exchanges and sex worker organizations.
Gregory W. Meeks - New York, 6th District (Queens, Far Rockaway) Phone: (202) 225-3461
Gary L. Ackerman - New York, 5th District (N. Queens and Long Island) Phone: (202) 225-2601
Eliot L. Engel - New York, 17th District (Bronx, Westchester, and Rockland) Phone: (202) 225-2464
Joseph Crowley - New York, 7th District (Queens and the Bronx) (202)225-3965
So, please use the "Write your Representative" feature (https://forms.house.gov/wyr
Sunday, February 24, 2008
We began by discussing whether institutionalized education is worth it and the usefulness of a degree once a person has graduated. The fact that education is set up in an assembly line manner and is only set up to produce worker bees. Schooling vs. education --> we acquire both inside institutionalized education systems and perhaps schooling is most worthwhile. Higher education preserves class and the SATs are class-based. After Brown vs. the Board of Education, the government began school zoning thereby setting up a new way of segregating public schools. American children do not learn multiple languages in school which makes us comparatively dumb. Working 9-5 provides insurance but it is no way to live for the rest of a person's life.
Everyone, please add thoughts on these topics and things that we discussed that I unintentionally omitted.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
But right, tomorrow's meeting topic!
The Real World!
People's perception of reality. The 9-5 job, the world society created (especially in the US), the school system, the goals we're "supposed" to aim for (money, fame, the rat race, etc), the world on tv vs real life vs natural life. Pro's and con's of the system! The pro's n con's of the alternatives (survival, or hiding in the woods).
I know it's a random abstract issue and I'm not writing a lot on it to prep for the meeting, but its been on my mind a lot lately (as I write this blog instead of doing my homework), and I think it'd be fun to discuss.
Over 'n out
The Agents of Change are in need of donations of any sort for charitable causes. I am facilitating a pick up of a bunch of donatable things from my church. I need you guys to please bring anything you'd like to give away so I can donate when they come with the truck on Monday. Please bring unwanted items such as coats, blankets, and sheets, sweaters, etc., especially but all unwanted items to the ALIENS meeting so I can cab it back to my place. Love you guys! Call me also all though I'll probably call you! See you soon!
Monday, February 11, 2008
In an article* at MSNBC, Hillary Clinton downplayed her last 5 losses.
She said she never expected to do well in any of those contests, even though she had been favored to win Maine. Clinton repeated her criticism that the caucus system is undemocratic and caters mostly to party activists .
As for Louisiana, "You had a very strong and very proud African-American electorate, which I totally respect and understand," Clinton said.
I am extremely offended by her remarks.
Wikipedia has great definition:
"Race baiting" is the term for an act of using racially derisive language, actions or other forms of communication, to anger, intimidate or incite a person or groups of people, or to make those persons behave in ways that are inimical to their personal or group interests. This can also be accomplished by implying that there is an underlying race based motive in the actions of others towards the group baited, where none in fact exists.
With their decreasing of African American support and tough loss in South Carolina, the Clinton campaign have been playing the spin game. In states where the AA population is more than 20% the Clintons will say, "Because its a Black state, of course it will go to Obama".
A few problems with that assumption.
First, how did states with Black populations above 20% suddenly become classified as "black" states? Second, the undertone that Blacks will vote for Obama because he's black is a racist assumption. In fact, in an October 2007 CNN poll, Black Democrats supported Clinton as the nominee over Obama: 57% to 33%**. Yet Clinton's campaign dismisses the reason for their current support as race related. The facts show otherwise. The possibility that a large number of Blacks are voting for Obama because they feel he's the best candidate seems more likely. Third, the assumption renders the votes of Whites, Asians, Latinos, and Native Americans invisible since the election results are attributed to Black voters alone.
It's clear with race baiting, everyone losses. The aggressor attempts to discredit their opponent. In turn, it divides the electorate on race-- those who see the comment as racist and those who do not. It a blatant tactic used to smear in "win at all cost politics".
As I mentioned in Part 1, "50+1" is desired result of politicians who run "win at all cost" campaigns. It doesn't matter who you divide, the more splits the better. Just make sure you have over 50%, even if only by one vote.
In Politics, we see candidates using identity to get ahead. On the Republican side, we're seeing Ideologies -- Conservatives ("values" votes; Evangelicals) versus Moderates and Independents.
On the Democratic side, along with the fierce fighting, group have broken down to more basic and volatile categories:
Asian, Black, Latino, White voting blocks; Women voters; Old vs. Young voters.
In the media we're seeing the Latino votes "competing with" the Black vote.
Women voters "going head to head" with Young voters.
Ridiculous, oversimplifying? YES. It serves the purpose of the establishment. Divide and conquer.
Well, we have lots to discuss on Thursday. I'm *very much* looking foward to it!
I am enjoying all the posts on this blog. (I love seeing the events. There really is so much going on everyday in nyc. It's awesome =)
* Clinton insists campaign is strong
** CNN Poll
If you haven't seen this...
Wednesday, February 13th @ 7PM - Free
Reading: Ken Dolan-Del Vecchio "Making Love, Playing Power"
In "Making Love, Playing Power: Men, Women and the Rewards of Intimate Justice," Vecchio argues that gender, race, sexual orientation, and money set the foundation for personal power, and that misuse of power drives most conflicts. A family therapist, Ken Dolan-Del Vecchio thinks challenging sexism, racism, and homophobia is best approach to securing love.
Date: Friday, 22 February 2008
Location: Pope Auditorium, 113 West 60th Street
Contact Name: Box Office
Contact Phone: (212) 636-6340
Contact Email: email@example.com
Fordham Theatre Department Presents: Twenty-One Positions: A Cartographic Dream of the Middle East
Thursday, 21 February to Saturday, 23 February 2008 | 8 p.m.
Thursday, 28 February 2008 | Noon
Thursday, 28 February to Saturday, 1 March 2008 | 8 p.m.
General Admission: $12
Students and Seniors: $5
Recent Alumni: "pay what you can"
By Naomi Wallace, Lisa Schlesinger and
Abdel Fattah Abu-Srour
Directed by Lisa Peterson
This play explores the issues of the Wall separating Israelis and Palestinians through dialogue and song. A young Palestinian-American man, Fawaz, returns from Cincinnati to Israel to find his missing brother and encounters many people trying to live with the crisis, including the Israeli who is the Wall’s master architect.
For more information please call the Box Office at (212) 636-6340
After this there is a Forum discussing the play and the issues surounding Palestinians and Israel, on February 26th @ Fordham U. I will post more informatino soon....
Price:donation of two books
Times: Tomorrow 7pm.
Address: 208 W 13th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves West Village
Travel: Subway: A, C, E, 1, 2, 3 to 14th St; L to Eighth Ave
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project and LeGal present a panel featuring a not-oft-heard-from population. Learn how queer folks survive, both legally and emotionally, behind bars.
Something to do...
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Each of us talked about Shekinah's blog, here are some questions and comments that came up as we went around the table:
-its important to remember we are always learning
-when is it time to actually say something?
-we all have our prejudices and play a part racism, sexism, and we're all products of this society--we need to acknowledge all of these in our own lives
-feeling like the super PC police "overreacting" ("ballsy" used in poertry class)
-when do you draw the line?
-when is "reclaiming the word" OK (dyke)-- sometimes it is not
-if it hurts every time you say it, then it is offensive
-we are sometimes afraid of coming across as too sensitive and of always analyzing everything--is it too much?
-everything should be up for discussion
Key points that came up in the meeting:
COMEDY is Dangerous
Ironic? - no, not in front of the mainstream who doesn't see the problem and when it's only repeating rather than analyzing-- how is that challenging anything?
Examples that were used are Minstrel Shows, Family Guy, South Park and Will and Grace (Gregory Heins episode)
"LANGUAGE colors the way we think"
using "guys" to talk about a group of people
cracker cannot compare to the n word
Poet at Spread opening using the n word in a quote was unnecessary.
History and Context are not the same thing
LIVING the Experience
"What if that happened to me or was regarding my heritage?"
-when a man hugs you at work and for some reason maybe its where he placed his hands, how hard he squeezed you, what he said, it made you uncomfortable, and YOU LIVED the experience so it is not "irrational"
-poet at Spread opening using the n word in her story
POWER Structure and PRIVELEGE
People exercise a privilege they don't even think about
-straight couple making out in the subway when "every time I wanted to hold a girlfriends hand I had to think about it"
-culture shock situation- "what if we get all white power" their privelege was being threatened
Why are black people always expected to smile all the time? So that they are not threatening?
Why in the media are we always helping or serving othes, "why are we never in the drivers seat"(HITCH and QUEER EYE)
ASSIMILATION, SEGREGATION and a nonexhsiting INTERGRATION
Are we beter off being segregated?
If we want representation, go to the people who have it?
Have your own or take their privelege
SOCIALIZATION a determing factor
white american are socialized to feel what? when black americans are socializd to feel self hatred. How do people know exactly what to say?
LABORING at home
Black people the permanant lower class.
"We built this country for free"
We concluded with...
They say we are bias, when in fact we need to have a dual viewpoint, while still absorbing the mainstream.
We need to live close to these ideals as best we can while still living in this world.
In writing this blog. I changed the title four times. The runner up was "Spin, Spin, Spin" but I feel the shifting role of power in this election season is worth exploring in itself.
According to dictionary.com power is:
1 a (1): ability to act or produce an effect b: legal or official authority, capacity, or right
2 a: possession of control, authority, or influence over others
This has been the longest presidential election season in history. What we're seeing is how undemocratic our election process really is. It's not only the electoral college screwing us over. Right from jump the political parties anoint their pick for the nomination. "We" don't get to choose anything. These candidates make they're deals, solidifying their in-party support with future 'favors' and slip into the white house. Usually the process goes on without a hitch.
This year has proven anything but usual.
On January 4th a democratic senator from Illinois beat the established candidate in the Iowa caucus. On the red side, a 72 year old "maverick" beat the slick, party-favored candidate. By all means, this was not supposed to happen. It was troubling to some because of what it meant. It meant their inherent right to choose the next president at been challenged. Challenged by the very people who they work for... their constituents!
Super Women and Men
Most of my venom is reserved for the elites of the Democratic party. However, the phenomenon this year effects both parties, and all of America. People are getting sick of the status quo. The same politicians making empty promises. Promising the moon and stars in exchange for one vote, but each years things get worse. The economy. The never ending war. The backroom deals that favor corporations , the connected and the wealthy. Negative job growth, etc.
People also getting sick of being told what to do.
Since George W. Bush's first election into office, the Karl Roves of America have won every election by putting divisive issues (i.e. issues where there can be no middle ground. One is either "for" or "against") like abortion and gay marriage on the ballot. The idea was to energize their base of Evangelicals to come out and vote against these issues to uphold their religious beliefs. Democrats and Independents uninspired by the candidates showed up in dismal numbers, which allowed Republicans to claim "50+1" victories. Basically, in politics you don't have to win. You just have to not lose. If you can get over 50% of the vote, you'll have enough votes/delegates to win the election. It's not a landslide by any means. But its enough to get you sworn in. Even it half of the electorate despises you.
In early 2006 the Republicans had a majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives. Along with a Republican president, who appointed Conservative judges to the Supreme Court (i.e, John Roberts), the Right had control of the three branches of government. Over the past six years it allowed them to authorize an unjust war and give out tax breaks to the wealthy. However, by November 2006 there would be a reversal of power in Congress. The election switched to majority in both houses to the democratic party.
The message of the people to the Democrats to was clear: get us out of Iraq!
Did it happen?
Last time I checked we are still there. One presidential candidate said he'd be up for staying in Iraq for 100 years!*
They were voted into power to end the Iraq war, but the Democratic party betrayed the country's trust. Why? It was too lucrative to get out. There are millions being made on government contracts in Iraq. Contracts to "built" schools and hospitals. Contracts for private security firms. Backroom deals with Lobbyists yield money for supporting certain bills, and voting against others.
Spin, Spin, Spin
In this election people are more passionate than ever about the presidential election. We had an abundance of interesting candidates bringing new ideas. Viewing it from that lens, why would people want more of the same?
With such a beneficial arrangement, why would the establishment of both parties want to change it?
That is why Barack Obama and John McCain scare their respective parties. Obama is break from tradition, organizing his campaign from the bottom up, instead of top down. Furthermore, he hasn't taken a dime for Lobbyists AND he stated many times he wants to throw them out of Washington. That means, the Lobbyists for a Nuclear Plant that wants to soften the safety requirements for their plants won't be free to woo congressmen to support their position.
With McCain, he's not "liberal" enough for the conservatives and he's had plenty of disagreements with members of his own party. The Republican elite wanted Romney to win, but due to his ever changing positions on a variety of issues, he did not receive votes to continue with his campaign. After few cutthroat skirmishes, Romney dropped out and McCain is emerged as the frontrunner.
With the democrats, in 2006 the suggestion that anyone other than Hillary Clinton would be the nominee was laughable. As of today, it seems like a real possibility. Well, that depends on who you ask.
ABCNews.com says: Clinton, 1127; Obama, 1110.
CNN.com says : Clinton, 1148; Obama, 1121.
MSNBC.com says: Clinton, 895; Obama, 943.
Obama won 4 more states this weekend and CNN says:
"Those contests gave him a lead over Clinton in pledged delegates to the convention, but Clinton still held a narrow edge over Obama when "superdelegates" -- elected officials and party leaders -- are included in the tally."
Obama, largely supported by the people is in a dead heat with Clinton, the establishment candidate of the Democrats. Yet, many sources are attempting to brand her in "the lead".
The biggest buzz word of the year in the political arena is "change". It's ubiquitous, yet it sums up the feelings of voters, both blue and red.
People want a government that will work with them to fix some of the problems we all face. Healthcare for all Americans. A stronger economy. An end to an abhorrent war. Real justice. Equal rights.
On the right, as well as the left, people are sick of their leaders speaking rhetoric yet failing to address they problems of their reality: home foreclosures, family members shipped over to Iraq, factories closing, and people working 2-3 jobs to support their family.
And on the right, the establishment candidate failed to capture votes. The new candidate embraced by the establishment is also struggling to gain support of the base. While, as a liberal I'm quite happy that Republicans are so fractured, I can clearly see the "rebellion" of the base to support the established candidate shows that they too have lost faith in their party and the leaders anointed by their elite.
Next Up: Identity Politics and Media Bias
*John McCain: 100 Years
Saturday, February 9, 2008
So, over in Sudan in a lil' place called Darfur there's a lot of bad shit going on (as you probably know). And it feels really hard to make much of a difference from waayyy over here.
But here are a few, super easy, fast ways you can make a difference!
1. Educate yourself on Darfur and have conversations about the genocide with people around you! For info on Darfur check out:
Darfur, Never Again (Again) Short, kinda gimmicky cartoon that shows the basics of what's up
Even Wikipedia! (but shit, what isn't on Wikipedia?)
2. Call 1-800-Genocide every day. Go to http://www.1800genocide.com/ for information on what to say. Basically, it's calling the local gov and beyond to show that people in the USA give a shit about what's going on, call every day if you can! The more support the louder the message! Encourage friends to call too!
3. Learn Divestment! Learn what companies to avoid that send money to support this genocide. http://www.sudandivestment.org/docs/Tutorial_PowerPoint.pdf Has an easy powerpoint that explains divestment.
4. Sign the BeAWitness.org petition, it sends a letter out to all the head hauncho news guys (CNN, NBC, Fox, etc) saying that you want to see Darfur in the news more than celebrity gossip.
5. Boycott the Olympics in Beijing! China has a lot of power to help end this genocide, and instead they're financially helping out. Total bullshit.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Last night, despite starting late, we all had a spirited and productive discussion about when and why it is important to call people out on ignorance and hate. We compared two awful cartoons, family guy and south park. We discussed becoming militant and how to best live up to our ideals.
This is all I can remember right now. Tiff took notes so hopefully someone will type them up. Please feel free to either comment here or put up a new post with your thoughts on the second meeting etc.
Also, welcome to Mo, who attended last night and was a valuable addition to the discussion.
ps can i just say that the TOTALLY OBVIOUS hierarchy in the work place makes me barf
In addition AJ, the part of the meeting that stuck out to me was how we personally learn to empathize with other people's struggles: and how empathy as activists is so important. I wll write more later, now, must...leave the house... Dexter was an entirely excellent addition to the existing group as well as Mo. Look forward to both of them comments. The convo if we are sensitive, or are just being human and it's totally expected also rang a bell. <3 Alienation! ~S
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Love it, ALIENS!
The independent magazine I work at is having its 3.4 issue launch this Wednesday at Bluestockings. It's $pread Magazine, "a magazine by and for sex workers and those who support their rights."
P.s. we just finished a tug-of-war over our Wikipedia page, it's pretty upfront now. You can view it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
On Wednesday February 6th, join $pread staff, writers, and artists for a reading event to celebrate the launch of issue 3.4 at Bluestockings bookstore. Featured readers include $pread contributors Gerry Visco, Chelsea O'Neill, Troia Johnson, and 2006 $pread cover boy Rich Merritt, author of Secrets of a Gay Marine Porn Star and Code of Conduct.
Wednesday February 6th, 7-9pm
172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington, New York City.
Tiff, Shekinah and I (AJ) will be at 55 Bank st from 6-8 getting voters aware of GENDA. GENDA is "The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act" that would add the category of gender identity and expression to the already exisiting New York State human rights laws. The current law makes it illegal in New York State to discriminate on the basis of age, race, c reed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, sex maritial status and other categories.
This is important work, please join us and don't forget to vote in the primaries!!
Friday, February 1, 2008
tomorrow at the gay center in manhattan:
***AJ, Tiff and Shekinah will be at the 2:30 training session, please join us- we will also be checking out the center as a potential future meeting spot and looking into other groups, such as FIERCE, where we can find cousin comrades***
A.L.I.E.N.S Meets on Thursday at 6:30pm-8:30pm until further notice at a disclosed on a "need to know" basis location.
The seven starters of the group will write a blog at this address by the proceeding Sunday. The details of that blog will be discussed at that Thursday's meeting. People may blog about whatever they like, issue, idea, etc., and that will be the main topic of the week. The blogs written by author's are on a weekly rotation. So people can view the person's blog on the Sunday before the meeting at this address, and by Thursday have questions/comments for the meeting. The bloggers are not put under pressure to discuss a subject they do not wish to do, as the blog on their given date is entirely their choice. Each blog criteria is that there is a section on what we can do about the subject (activism) contained in the blog regardless of content matter or political research.
Monthly (twice monthly during warmer months) lectures, political events, and meetings are to be scheduled and brought to the attention of members during the meeting.
"No Subject is Taboo"
This section is not structured into the meeting yet, however, is going to focus on taboo subjects in terms of things such as sexuality, vulgarity, use of language, and controversial subjects that even friends do not know about each other. This is to bring closeness to the group, and so we as individuals do not feel "weird" and alone. We all have thoughts that we think make us abnormal, and when we feel this way we often face feelings of isolation as opposed to inclusion.
"No One Listens"
An Important part of our agenda, the "No One Listens" Section is extremely important to radicals whom are socialized into inaccessibility and loneliness. Therefore we are defensive, have trust issues, are paranoid, sensitive, occasionally unstable and almost always skeptical of those around us. This section seeks to correct that and make people feel more interconnected with one another, and to plainly emphasize that you are not alone. "No one listens" will be the focus of the meeting once a month.
Sometimes we take ourselves entirely too seriously. We plan to (in the future) have parties catered towards politically minded individuals, analyze pop culture through movies, etc., and just have fun on occasion.
Our Mission Statement is posted on the previous blog entry
Please email us with further suggestions at NerdsEvolving@gmail.com
We will also update with changes.
On July 4th 2007, four women burned in Effigy of the American Flag. Standing in a circle we went around the group with specific reasons for why we were doing so. We then vowed to do something about our lack of activity and dissatisfaction with the state of the world. We decided that we would not allow apathy to ruin our lives, and never to become desensitized or complacent. A.L.I.E.N.S is created in response to the feelings we felt that day.
A.L.I.E.N.S firmly believes that no subject should/will be taboo. We refuse to, either mentally or politically discourage ideas or agenda's out of conformity and/or status quo preservation. We are limitless because we are original. We realize that fear drives 95% of our behavior, and therefore things become impossible to change. We will not be afraid to explore, discuss, analyze, or act upon any detail of our existence.
We are looking forward to becoming a group filled with intelligent individuals. We do ALIENate individuals who will not be good for our group dynamic. The only criteria is that we seek people who are in a constant state of learning for participation in group discussion. School, textbooks, and the media did not make us this way. We made the conscious effort. We seek out other individuals who have taken it upon themselves to learn about the world we live in, out of selflessness and the desire to make it better.
We believe in order to support the unpopular notion that change is necessary to humanity, we must all change. Some people are change resistant and this filters to every aspect of their lives; including their personality and beliefs. A.L.I.E.N.S does not want to be that way. We always want to grow, change, develop and adapt. How else will we learn as people and groups if we do not dare to challenge our existing ideas? A.L.I.E.N.S wants to be in a constant state of mental/political evolution.
From Science Fiction to Socialism, from every subject to every barrier, we are nerds. We are nerds and in being so, we are already isolated from the status quo. Many of our members self identify as nerds in addition to our proclaimed self-identities. The personal is political.
We stand firmly and united on the issues that Sexism, Racism, Classism, Homophobia, etc., are to be challenged. They are not just wrong. Because the statement that things are wrong is nothing more than an acknowledgement. It does not change things, people, events or circumstances. We believe that unlearning is as important as learning. You cannot do these things without unity.
In addition, we want to offer solidarity in action to those who need it. A group cannot function if the members are not looking out for each other. People may not agree on issues but that does not make us any less united. One of the most important aspects of this Organization is to give other politically minded people a place to grow and build. We like to refer to this solidarity as ALIENation: Separate from others, but united in ourselves.
We are the Action of Limitless Intelligent and Evolving Nerds in Solidarity. Please join us.