Thursday, December 16, 2010

Radical Caroling!

The Holiday Season is upon us once again and Eugene’s Anarchist Black Tea Society is full of the holiday spirit. As anarchists we cherish the seasonal values of gift giving and cooperation as much as that red-clad communist Santa Claus does. In fact we are so devoted to the promotion of relationships based on the spirit of generosity rather than cutthroat competition that an entire school of anarchist thought is based in the notion of “gift economics”. A gift economy is a society where goods and services are provided free of charge without expectation of immediate compensation.

Sadly we, like many Americans, are not able to give as generously as previous years due the parasitism of the bankers and the immiserating effects of capitalism. We are however determined to not allow modern material scarcity to dampen our festivities. We are pleased to announce our first ever anarchist holiday caroling troupe. On December Tuesday 21st at 2:00pm we will gather at the holiday market to sing songs of joy, rebellion, and subversion.

Let the ruling class tremble in their Christmas stockings!

Let the sound of our collective voices batter the eardrums of Kitty Piercy and the Eugene City Council!

Together lets decorate the Christmas tree of equality with the ornaments of class consciousness!

Yours in anarchy,

Black Tea Society

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rioting is a healthy site for sore eyes.

‘Standing Ground’ is a phrase with two meanings. First it means to stand one’s ground-to have a defiant spirit. Second it means to have a physical space around which a community unites. The University seldom has either and needs both. The streets of Eugene become a physical place and the unruliness is an embodiment of a resistance to oppression. If you were at the riot, you were yelled at by authority figures who had neither respect for you nor your friends. They gassed you, they arrested nine of you and they would not have hesitated from killing you. In a drunken revelry you may have realized what many politically savvy folks already know, that we live in a horribly cruel and violent society, that cruelty and violence was unleashed upon you. You made a Standing Ground and you defied the police- if only for a short time. Well done.
One University head-shed- Sheryl Eyster is quoted as saying the situation was a “disappointment…we would have certainly liked to have been trying to prevent”. Right, Ms. Eyster, lets placate students and calm them into living submissive lives. To hell with that, lets hope everyone learned that the state, at all levels is oppressive- officers were called out from Lane County Sheriff’s Office, the Springfield Police Department and the Oregon State Police (in addition to EPD). One police agent – Lt. Scott Fellman is quoted as saying “It shouldn’t be happening because it’s illegal and dangerous”. I got news for you Fellman- your organization a greater danger to any student than any other organization and if your laws weren’t so repressive, this wouldn’t be an issue in the first place. One student is quoted as saying “It was like a war zone”. Who made that war zone? Who fired tear gas and dove a car into the crowd- the police. So let’s question who was doing the more serious damage, the gang running around with guns like a snatch-squad, or the people drinking and having fun?
Students did throw bottles, rocks and even eggs. But come on, who had the majority of force- the Police, so who’s ethical responsibility is it to let people go free- the Police. When students get together in a public space, that is challenging to authority figures, because control of space is power. People aren’t allowed to have power. That is why students will take Standing Ground, as they should, because the police oppress us all and that is just plain wrong. Let us all stand in solidarity with the students the next time they stand their ground.

Global Corporate Empire strikes back against resistance.

Green foliage above, the call of wildlife around, surrounded by Green stalks and brown boughs. The Jungle looms with an ever-present buzz. Burried in the Jungle is the concrete bunker, inside the bunker you sit. Then you hear the planes overhead and hide, knowing they could fire-bomb you or launch rockets. Having seen bodies flying and blood spray you want to avoid that at all costs. No bombs explode.
You wait quietly, perfectly still, there have already been bombs exploding dangerously nearby, you sit listening for attacks elsewhere. There are many camps like yours throughout the jungle. For forty years you have been slowly fighting against tyranny of a US backed dictatorship. The US pays the government to fight against so-called communism, but if their alternative is to spray herbicides over farmer’s fields and have interrogation squads throughout the country, how can we sit back? The Drug Lords pay the government to leave them alone, the government takes their money and the US money to fight the drug lords, occasionally spraying a cocoa field or making a raid. But most of the money is to live in luxury while the people are harassed, tortured and taxed to death. So you and your friends got together to stand against this injustice. For some Forty years you have defended freedom through a gorilla war. But the government is not content, because your very existence is a threat.
You hear the roar of vans and the march of boots. You look to your companions, having been committed for decades against the tyranny, you aim your guns scanning the foliage for signs of military. They knew where you were, there has been a snitch. They have come to impose a constitution that the people had no say in and which is only enforced when the corrupt leaders decide to enforce it, for their benefit. For so long you and your companions didn’t give a damb about the Constitution and the Laws, because we were outside that realm.
Sudden and frantic they rush, you fire, letting off small sprays bringing down person after person. They continue rushing in, a bomb goes off, you ears ring, bullets fly and you think that you have nearly four tons of food that the other regiments need to sustain themselves against the oppressors. You fire more bullets, emptying your clip and replacing it. Just as you snap it in, the sharp impact spins you sideways and you are gasping for air. Bombs have fallen around the bunker and the shock alone would be terrifying to anyone less stalwart than yourself. More bullets fly, some of your companions have gone down, you fire more, they fire and in a final spray of bullets you feint. In a few hours you have died.
Your name was Mono Jojoy and you were the second in the command of FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia. Your death is a crippling blow to the resistance. The forces of tyranny, who are in power only by creating fear, can they be overcome? Jojoy’s death meant the capture of food and loss of free land. The stakes of this and other wars of resistance are literally the difference between military dictatorships and personal human sovereignty. Will you join the resistance?

Diversity at the University of Oregon- A controversy.

You are in class or on break and a strange man in a business suit comes to you offering a high prestige, high pay job. Of course, you take it. The man tells you, this job happens to be Director of the University of Oregon’s Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED). The problem- you can’t do your job, well it’s not that YOU can’t it’s that you are in a system that devalues non-white administration, faculty and students. Your job was created after a lawsuit and tremendous public humiliation- where local schools even said they would not hire your school’s graduates, because they are culturally incompetent. You are hired so that the University can say they care about diversity, but they want you to tow the company line and smother dissent.
So you step into this role as head of OIED and find that the Central administration -Johnson Hall- doesn’t really care about you, your department’s mission- in fact, your job only exists because they were forced to create it. Now you are stuck between, being told to shut up and squelch dissent, or fulfill your mission to build a support network in the University. If this was you, your name would be Charles Martinez. That is where Charles Martinez picked up his job, which he announced he intends lay down at the end of the year (big surprise, right).
Martinez said in an interview that “So often when you hear diversity, you tend to think about just a couple of things. You might think about Race and Ethnicity or you might think about gender and while those things are important aspects of diversity. We really mean diversity in a much broader sense. So we’re talking about a much broader set of variables in which we vary and in which we are similar…”. The support OIED seeks to provide to the breadth of diverse communities is tremendously difficult. Charles Martinez acknowledges this ‘On the ground it’s hard to translate that’. Tasked with a problem too big and given ‘authority’ by people who don’t care if your alive, OIED is effectively powerless- although valuable in spirit and goal- like so many faculty, administration and students, completely disempowered.
Left to sort out how to support diversity efforts and held in check by central administration of good-ol’-boys. Martinez says ‘Its unlikely to have… folks to feel like they’re equally included’. When your director of diversity says that peers wont feel equally included, that’s a problem. It is in the hands of University President Lariviere to empower OIED and whomever it’s new director is; but likely as not, he will choose a do-nothing person who can be tokenized for claims that the University supports diversity.
This is just a continuation of the University acting like a corrupt body. The central administration cares only for the smooth transition of money from students tuition into their six figure salaries. Meanwhile faculty gets the lowest of competitive wages in the nation and athletes gallivant around getting in fights and stealing from fellow students. This seems like a scene from a medieval play- corrupt king lording over serfs, with high taxes and low services, crooks paid by the king ravage the land- they even have a granite palace (Go into Johnson Hall, Seriously). Tuition is robbery; Depose the theives.

Grant me Freedom

Riding a train, you think ‘I am just on my way home’. It happens to be in San Francisco, you think ‘this is progressive city & I am in a safe neighborhood’. Then one evening you step off the train, to find a gunman shouting in your face. You get back on the train and think ‘damb I almost got shot or died’. Then the gunman gets on the train, grabs your friend and tells you to come along. Fearing for your life you go, you watch your friend get tied to a hand rail then the gunman knocks you to the ground and with two of his friends ties your hands behind your back. While you are on the ground and the gunman and his friends stand over you, they shoot you in the back, the bullet bounces back and punctures your lung and you die. Your name is Oscar Grant and you were killed on New Years day, 2009. The gunmen were the Bay Area Rapid Transit Authority (BART). They killed you and they would have gotten away with it, but for a number of cell phone and video cameras which captured your murder.
On July Ninth, 2010- the Gunman, Johannes Mehserle, was convicted of ‘involuntary manslaughter’ and was sentenced to the minimum possible punishment. A maximum of 14 years, for shooting and killing an unarmed, faced-down in-the-cement, handcuffed man, in the back. If Oscar Grant were a business professional, White or otherwise privileged would the officer have gotten a minimum sentence? No.
The people of Oakland rioted, because this was murder. A similar situation happened in Eugene in 2008, to Ian VanOrnum, a college student who was not shot, but tazed in the back, while faced-down on the ground with multiple officers standing over him. The murder of Oscar Grant could happen to any of us and unless we record it very well, the officers will get away. The assumed innocence and protective role of the police grants them immunity for assault, murder and the privilage to violate the laws they are theoretically enforcing. Meaning that they are the single most significant violent threat to citizens. It may well be that there are more shootings by police than robbers in the United States. This is difficult to tell however, since “No comprehensive accounting for all of the nation's 17,000 police department exists” says Common Dreams, which makes is difficult to determine if, for instance- the Police kill more people than so-called ‘criminals’.

PS: The Insurgent strongly recommends the reading of ‘Our Enemies in Blue- Police and Power in America’ by Kristian Williams, printed by South End Press-2007 as an examination of the police’s role in society. At least google the book and read it’s bio. Seriously.