Punk Politics # 15

Let’s talk about Turkey and genocide, ya know the 2 things that make up Thanksgiving. What you may have missed during the impeachment noise. Lindsey Graham on behalf of America stated that America is not recognizing the Armenian genocide. Wait, what the fuck? You heard right. So after we have cleared the way for Turkey to commit a Kurdish genocide; Erdogan’s goon squad beat down American citizens on our own fucking soil 18 months ago for protesting his visit and Trump calls him a “very good friend” they get a pass on their previous genocide. Honesty I’m not the least bit surprised. It’s not like America has owned up to the indigenous genocide. Well that “good friend” has been invited back to the white house for a press conference in which he showed a “surreal” propaganda video painting the Kurds as terrorists. Also Erdogan said that he is keeping the S400 missile system whoch will likely be deployed against the Kurds. I’m guessing that after all this the 2 leaders went to make out and compare genocides and systematic racism.

– C Fish

My World 7

Welcome to My World #7. The big news is that I have Moved from Berkeley to Santa Rosa. It’s about 60 miles north. There’s a lot less pollution here. The population is about the same a Berkeley but it’s not surrounded by 5.5 million other people in surrounding towns. It’s quiet here. The air smells good and the water out of the tap doesn’t taste like rust or chlorine.

Also, I’m getting married to my partner Cynthia. She has written things in this and the last two issues. We’re going to get married on spring solstice in Berkeley. In addition to losing my friend David Nadel to a drunk with a gun, I have had to deal with two dog accidents in the last month.

The first one was a dog that got hit and then drug under a car. Myself and my partner had to pull the dog out from under the car, deal with the owner of the dog who had a heart condition, and get the dog to a 24 hour vet.

The second one happened yesterday. There is a Denny’s next to the freeway near my house. Me and Cynthia were having breakfast there. She saw a part huskie, part wolf walking down the entrance to the freeway. I ran out of the denny’s and jumped the fence and ran after him. When I caught up to him a woman had pulled over to try to grab him. It was pretty early so the freeway was packed and going about 65mph. Somehow the dog ran away from us across the three lanes on our side and started running down the middle divider. The woman with the car pulled out on the freeway and slowed down to where the other cars had to slow down. I ran across and followed the dog down the divider. Another woman drove past him and pulled over and got out to grab him but he ran around her car. She and I ran after him and a man in a truck stopped in front of him and jumped out to grab him and the dog jumped the divider into the other lanes in front of a 18 wheeler. He was instantly torn into unrecognizable pieces.

Please do me a favor. Just stop driving.

If you don’t care about animals try considering the 110 people who will die and the 2,700 people who will be injured today and every day on American roads.

I still seem to be getting orders for merch stuff so I’ll keep doing it for now. Here’s what I’ve got:

Two sided Fifteen T-Shirt 12$ ppd
Video of last 15 Show(2hrs.) 15$ ppd
My worlds #0-7 1$ + a stamp each
Well concealed cash is ok

Checks/Money orders made out to:
Jeff Ott
48 Shattuck Square #6
Berkeley CA 94704


“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” How many times have I heard punx or activists speak within the context of the first amendment being not just the “supreme law of the land” but also the guide by which to find if something is right or not. Things like, “they can’t do that, it violates the 1st amendment” or “they have the right to do/be/say whatever they want just like we do”. It seems like one of the fundamental assumptions is that law is the only way to protect oneself from governmental intrusions on our lives. We usually think that the bill of rights is there to protect us. A government is nothing more than a book full of laws and a group of people with enough guns to force the majority into obedience. It took me a long time to realize that if government(which I define as the enforcers of law) is the institution that we are are in fear of in the first place, then why would we think that a law/government would protect us. It is the law and the people who enforce it who violate us. I was hammered with the constitution = protection shit for so long. Everybody echoed it. The cops, the activists, my parents, my teachers and all the people that seemed rebellious. It took a lot of life experience to figure out that what they talk about and what happens are two completely different things.

First of all, I found out pretty young that a person under 18 has no guaranteed rights at all. Next I found out that I could be scolded, detained, and even jailed on the basis of what I might happen to say or write. Next I found out that it was very easy to be put in jail for exercising my “right to peaceably assemble” with my fellows in order to “petition the government for a redress of grievances”. It seemed to happen all the time.

I started noticing more parts of the constitution that aren’t the same thing in reality as they are in print.

In the second amendment it states very clearly, “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” This one was thrown away specifically because they government was in fear of the black panthers, who had started armed self policing. It is currently illegal to carry a gun if you are a felon, if it is concealed, if it is automatic, in public without a permit, etc. This clearly violates the second amendment, nowhere does it say “except when …..”.

The fifth amendment states, “…nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation”. Today all you have to do is be in possession of one molecule of any illegal drug and the government has the right to take everything you own and never pay you anything for it. Another clear violation.

In the seventh amendment says, “…the right of trial by jury shall be preserved,”. Today if I were on trial and I asked for my peers(homeless, poor) to be on the jury they would laugh at me. Along those same lines if a black man asked for a jury of only blacks, so as to insure that he would not get a biased, racist verdict against him, he would not be allowed it.

In the eighth amendment it says, “..nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” What would you call death by electrocution, lethal injection, hanging and firing squad(the current “legal” methods)? After being alive and observing this government thing for awhile I noticed that they aim all attention and point all fingers at the protection the constitution gives us common people. They don’t really mention that all the words in the constitution are open to INTERPRETATION. The real issue to me is, who is in charge of interpreting it? It happens to be this thing we call the supreme court. Who is the supreme court? Wouldn’t you know it, it is nine people appointed by the president of the US. And who is the president? He is some mother fucker who is rich, powerful and connected enough to be elected. So to summarize the process: Some rich, white men make a constitution, Another rich, white man gets elected and appoints his rich, white buddies to interpret the constitution. Does that really protect you?

I didn’t really understand why they (founding fathers) would go through all the trouble of making all these documents and laws declaring men free an so forth until I read The People’s History of the United States. They were under pressure from both sides, on one side they needed to rid themselves of the British so they could be the new ruling class, on the other hand, they had to give enough concessions to the “regular” people so that they would agree to be used as soldiers by the “founding fathers”. Anyway if you haven’t read The People’s History you really should.

I have come to understand that the constitution was written by rich, white, slave-owning, large-scale land owning men. It was written to protect their interests far into the future. It was written to maintain their control. I came to this understanding just lately when I read a book called Refusing to be A Man, by John Stoltenberg. One of the chapters in the book was about pornography and a group of women who tried to enact a law that would declare pornography a violation against the civil rights of all women. Obviously the issue of the first amendment came up, because these women were trying to make the manufacture, sale and distribution of pornography illegal. At first I had the same reaction that anyone whose been thoroughly indoctrinated by the constitution = protection bullshit, I said to myself “they can’t do that, they are violating other people’s rights. And then I realized that I was working off of someone else’s definition of “violation” and “rights”. The people who wrote the first amendment were sexist, racist, classist, genocidal, ecocidal and greedy. They constructed a legal document to preserve the right to be a racist, to speak racist things, to print racist things, to be a misogynist, to print misogynist things, to say misogynist things, to print matter encouraging genocide; irregardless of whether the community affected by these things wants them or not. They have written a document to protect the rights and speech of the Klu Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party and the multi-national corporations and every other fascist capitalist pig there is. And until the end of time they will point to that “fact” that those same rights are extended to everybody else and they’ll say it’s fair. Even though they are the only one’s with the resources to print or broadcast ideas on a large scale.

So in conclusion I know today that if your speech, press, broadcast, t-shirt, billboard, etc. is harmful to myself or my fellows or life on the earth I am entirely within my rights to stop you, by whatever means I deem appropriate. Such actions are usually those of an individual protecting his/her own rights, not violating someone else’s.

Two days after Rosebud Denevo was killed on UC campus I went to a gathering in People’s Park. I heard an Ohlone (original inhabitants of the bay area, of which there are a few left) man speak. He said something about the white landlord’s karma crashing down on him. I thought that made a lot of sense at the time. I was living in a squat. The idea of land and housing being a commodity, that some people had the right to and other didn’t, a thing that could be left vacant while people went without, was clearly wrong to me.

It was very easy for me to then point the finger and property owners and absolve myself of any responsibility. The reality of it is that in the 1800’s there was no mad dash of rich land owners coming out west to get more. The clear majority of the people who came out west and settled were common folk. People like you and me. When they got here they found only a few obstacles to their settlement. Predators, geography, and Native Americans. The predator one scares the shit out of me but I think everybody was used to that sort of thing at the time. So the only real thing in the way were the Indians.

Depending on the geographical area, the natives were removed in a few different ways. I am going to list them one at a time and show their relation to our lives today. I believe that since a large part of the removal was done by ordinary poor white folks, that karmicaly we still have this shit coming back to haunt us.

1. Guns. Huge amounts of native populations were killed with guns. Sometimes by settlers, sometimes by the army in the name of clearing the land for the settlers. Today we have a huge problem with guns, about 40-50,000 people are killed by a firearm in the U.S. each year. Also the mentality that justifies killing whole peoples in order to take their shit has evolved to the point where we can at any minute annihilate all life on planet earth with nuclear weapons. Also we’re are all robbed in the form of taxes to pay for the unnecessary weapons.

2. Disease. Sometimes intentional, sometimes not. The lack of immunity to European diseases wiped out whole tribes of people. Today we are coming to the end of penicillin’s effectiveness. Each year we are encountering new strains, and new germs altogether that we can’t beat. This will continue to be a bigger and bigger problem, since penicillin resistance is only rising.

3. Alcohol. The introduction of alcohol to the native Americans with no prior history with alcohol, and therefore no prior darwinistic weeding out of the those who are alcoholic, took out many and started the process of destroying the family unit, that is so necessary in defeating a people. Today alcohol and drugs (which I’m including because I find them to be basically the same thing) kills about 50,000 people a year and ruins probably millions of family’s and individual lives each year.

4. Relocation. The continual process of signing treaties, moving a people to an unfamiliar place, over and over broke their spiritual connection to the land and made it easy to wipe them out. It also caused a great number of suicides. Today property as an ideal has justified the poisoning of the land, air and water, which in turn poisons us. Also today thousands of people die from exposure in the wealthiest nation on earth. Also most people in America are working for their landlords benefit and not their own.

5. Destruction/removal of the food supply. The main example of this is the killing of buffalo for fur in the plains. Also in a lot of places where Indians had been moved they were put in places without much natural game or land suitable for farming. In these situations the agents who were supposed to oversee the reservations were supposed to give out rations. Often these rations were never sent to the reservation or the agents would sell them to somebody else. Today we are paving some of the best farmland ( in the valley in California) on earth in order to build more condo’s and strip malls. The government pays farmers every year to not grow food in order to keep prices stable, meanwhile people die from starvation in America.

6. Trains. Trains were used to wipe out the buffalo, send in the army, send in the supplies, send out the settlers (the wealthier ones anyway). The train was the lifeblood of the removal of the Native American. Today trains/cars (which I consider the same thing in different time periods) produce enormous amounts of pollution which poisons us, removes exercise which makes us weak and sick, transports hazardous things everywhere. Not to mention the 40-50,000 people who are killed by cars per year and the 1 million people injured by car accidents yearly. So what I’m thinking is that we (as a race), have committed a huge error. It will come back to us one way or the other. I think it is a good time, right now, to figure out what would it mean to make amends for our actions. It’s pretty easy to say “I wasn’t even alive then ….”. That’s the same reasoning they are using to try to dismantle Affirmative Action. I figure we owe at lea

All the Land A complete cleaning and restoration of that Land.

Whatever work would be necessary to return their population levels to what they were before we got here.

A request for permission to stay on this continent before one assumes she/he has a right to be here.

“For America to Live, Europe Must Die”

The following speech was given by Russell Means in July 1980, before several thousand people who had assembled from all over the world for the Black Hills International Survival Gathering, in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The only possible opening for a statement of this kind is that I detest writing. The process itself epitomizes the European concept of “legitimate” thinking; what is written has an importance that is denied the spoken. My culture, the Lakota culture, has an oral tradition, so I ordinarily reject writing. It is one of the white world’s ways of destroying the cultures of non-European peoples, the imposing of an abstraction over the spoken relationship of a people.

So what you read here is not what I have written. It is what I have said and someone else has written down. I will allow this because it seems that the only way to communicate with the white world is through the dead, dry leaves of a book. I don’t really care whether my words reach whites or not. They have already demonstrated through their history that they cannot hear, cannot see; they can only read (of course, there are exceptions, but the exceptions only prove the rule). I’m more concerned with the American Indian people, students and others, who have begun to be absorbed into the white world through universities and other institutions. But even then it’s a marginal sort of concern. It’s very possible to grow into a red face with a white mind; and if that’s a person’s individual choice, so be it, but I have no use for them. This is part of the process of cultural genocide being waged by Europeans against American Indian peoples’ today. My concern is with those American Indians who choose to resist this genocide, but may be confused as to how to proceed.

(You notice I use the term American Indian rather than Native American or Native indigenous people or Amerindian when referring to my people.) There has been some controversy about such terms, and frankly, at this point, I find it absurd. Primarily it seems that American Indian is being rejected as European in origin – which is true. But all the above terms are European in origin; the only non-European way is to speak of Lakota – or, more precisely, of Oglala, Brule, et. – and of the Dineh, the Miccousukee, and all the rest of the several hundred correct tribal names. (There is also some confusion about the word Indian , a mistaken belief that it refers somehow to the country, India. When Columbus washed up on the beach in the Caribbean, he was not looking for a country called India. Europeans were calling that country Hindustan in 1492. Look it up on the old maps. Columbus called the tribal people he met “Indio,” from the Italian in dio , meaning “in God.”)

It takes a strong effort on the part of each American Indian not to become Europeanized. The strength for this effort can only come from the traditional ways, the traditional values that our elders retain. It must come from the hoop, the four directions, the relations: it cannot come from the pages of a book or a thousand books. No European can ever teach a Lakota to be Lakota, a Hopi to be Hopi. A master’s degree in “Indian Studies” or in “education” or in anything else cannot make a person into a human being or provide knowledge into the traditional ways. It can only make you into a mental European, an outsider.

I should be clear about something here, because there seems to be some confusion about it. When I speak of Europeans or mental Europeans, I’m not allowing for false distinctions. I’m not saying that on the one hand there are the by-products of a few thousand years of genocidal, reactionary European intellectual development which is bad; and on the other hand there is some new revolutionary intellectual development which is good. I’m referring here to the so-called theories of Marxism and anarchism and “leftism” in general. I don’t believe these theories can be separated from the rest of the European intellectual tradition. It’s really just the same old song. The process began much earlier. Newton, for example, “revolutionized” physics and the so-called natural science by reducing the physical universe to a linear mathematical equation.

Descartes did the same thing with culture. John Locke did it with politics, and Adam Smith did it with economics. Each one of these “thinkers” took a piece of the spirituality of human existence and converted it into a code, an abstraction. They picked up where Christianity ended: they “secularized” Christian religion, as the “scholars” like to say – and in doing so they made Europe more able and ready to act as an expansionist culture. Each of these intellectual revolutions served to abstract the European mentality even further, to remove the wonderful complexity and spirituality from the universe and replace it with a logical sequence: one, two, three. Answer!. This is what has come to be termed “efficiency” in the European mind Whatever is mechanical is perfect; whatever seems to work at the moment – that is, proves the mechanical model to be the right one – is considered correct, even when it is clearly untrue. This is why “truth” changes so fast in the European mind; the answers which result from such a process are only stopgaps, only temporary, and must be continuously discarded in favor of new stopgaps which support the mechanical models and keep them (the models) alive.

Hegel and Marx were heirs to the thinking of Newton, Descartes, Locke and Smith. Hegel finished the process of secularizing theology – and that is put in his own terms – he secularized the religious thinking through which Europe understood the universe. Then Marx put Hegel’s philosophy in terms of “materialism,” which is to say that Marx despiritualized Hegel’s work altogether. Again, this is in Marx’ own terms. And this is now seen as the future revolutionary potential of Europe. Europeans may see this as revolutionary, But American Indians see it simply as still more of that same old European conflict between being and gaining . The intellectual roots of a new Marxist form of European imperialism lie in Marx’ – and his followers’ – links to the tradition of Newton, Hegel, and the others. Being is a spiritual proposition. Gaining is a material act.Traditionally, American Indians have always attempted to be the best people they could. Part of that spiritual process was and is to give away wealth, to discard wealth in order not to gain. Material gain is an indicator of false status among traditional people, while it is “proof that the system works” to Europeans. Clearly, there are two completely opposing views at issue here, and Marxism is very far over to the other side from the American Indian view. But lets look at a major implication of this; it is not merely an intellectual debate.

The European materialist tradition of despiritualizing the universe is very similar to the mental process which goes into dehumanizing another person. And who seems most expert at dehumanizing other people? And why? Soldiers who have seen a lot of combat learn to do this to the enemy before going back into combat. Murderers do it before going out to commit murder. Nazi SS guards did it to concentration camp inmates. Cops do it. Corporation leaders do it to the workers they send into uranium mines and steel mills. Politicians do it to everyone in sight. And what the process has in common for each group doing the dehumanizing is that it makes it all right to kill and otherwise destroy other people. One of the Christian commandments says, “Thou shalt not kill,” at least not humans, so the trick is to mentally convert the victims into nonhumans. Then you can proclaim violation of your own commandment as a virtue. In terms of the despiritualization of the universe, the mental process works so that it become virtuous to destroy the planet. Terms like progress and development are used as cover words here, the way victory and freedom are used to justify butchery in the dehumanization process. For example, a real-estate speculator may refer to “developing” a parcel of ground by opening a gravel quarry; development here means total, permanent destruction, with the earth itself removed. But European logic has gained a few tons of gravel with which more land can be “developed” through the construction of road beds. Ultimately, the whole universe is open – in the European view – to this sort of insanity.

Most important here, perhaps, is the fact that Europeans feel no sense of loss in this. After all, their philosophers have despiritualized reality, so there is no satisfaction (for them) to be gained in simply observing the wonder of a mountain or a lake or a people in being . No, satisfaction is measured in terms of gaining material. So the mountain becomes gravel, and the lake becomes coolant for a factory, and the people are rounded up for processing through the indoctrination mills Europeans like to call schools.

But each new piece of that “progress” ups the ante out in the real world. Take fuel for the industrial machine as an example. Little more than two centuries ago, nearly everyone used wood -a replenishable, natural item- as fuel for the very human needs of cooking and staying warm. Along came the Industrial Revolution and coal became the dominant fuel, as production became the social imperative for Europe. Pollution began to become a problem in the cities, and the earth was ripped open to provide coal whereas wood had simply been gathered or harvested at no great expense to the environment. Later, oil became the major fuel, as the technology of production was perfected through a series of scientific “revolutions.”

Pollution increased dramatically, and nobody yet knows what the environmental costs of pumping all that oil out of the ground will really be in the long run. Now there’s an “energy crisis,” and uranium is becoming the dominant fuel. Capitalists, at least, can be relied upon to develop uranium as fuel only at the rate at which they can show a good profit. That’s their ethic, and maybe that will buy some time. Marxists, on the other hand, can be relied upon to develop uranium fuel as rapidly as possible simply because it’s the most “efficient” production fuel available. That’s their ethic, and I fail to see where it’s preferable. Like I said, Marxism is right smack in the middle of the European tradition. It’s the same old song.

There’s a rule of thumb that can be applied here. You cannot judge the real nature of a revolutionary doctrine on the basis of the changes it proposed to make within the European power structure and society. You can only judge it by the effect it will have on non-European peoples. This is because every revolution in European history has served to reinforce Europe’s tendencies and abilities to export destruction to other peoples, other cultures and the environment itself. I defy anyone to point out an example where this is not true.

So now we, as American Indian people, are asked to believe that a “new” European revolutionary doctrine such as Marxism will reverse the negative effect of European history on us. European power relations are to be adjusted once again, and that’s supposed to make things better for all of us. But what does this really mean?

Right now, today, we who live on the Pine Ridge Reservation are living in what white society has designated a “National Sacrifice Area.” What this means is that we have a lot of uranium deposits here, and white culture (not us) needs this uranium as energy production material. The cheapest, most efficient way for industry to extract and deal with the processing of this uranium is to dump the waste by-products right here at the digging sites.

Right here where we live. This waste is radioactive and will make the entire region uninhabitable forever. This is considered by industry, and by the white society that created this industry, to be an “acceptable” price to pay for energy resource development. Along the way they also plan to drain the water table under this part of South Dakota as part of the industrial process, so the region becomes doubly uninhabitable. The same sort of thing is happening down in the land of the Navajo and Hopi, up in the land of the Northern Cheyenne and Crow, and elsewhere. Thirty percent of the coal in the West and half of the uranium deposits in the United States have been found to lie under reservation land, so there is no way this can be called a minor issue. We are resisting being turned into a National Sacrifice Area. We are resisting being turned into a national sacrifice people. The costs of this industrial process are not acceptable to us. It is genocide to dig uranium here and draw the water table – no more, no less.

Now let’s suppose that in our resistance to extermination we begin to seek allies (we have). Let’s suppose further that we were to take revolutionary Marxism at its word: that it intends nothing less than the complete overthrow of the European capitalist order which has presented this threat to our very existence. This would seem to be a natural alliance for American Indian people to enter into. After all, as the Marxists say, it is the capitalists who set us up to be a national sacrifice. This is true as far as it goes.

But, as I’ve tried to point out, this very “truth” is deceptive. Revolutionary Marxism is committed to even further perpetuation and perfection of the very industrial process which is destroying us all. It offers only to “redistribute” the results – the money, maybe – of this industrialization to a wider section of the population. It offers to take wealth from the capitalists and pass it around; but in order to do so, Marxism must maintain the industrial system. Once again, the power relations with European society will have to be altered, but once again the effects upon American Indian peoples here and non-Europeans elsewhere will remain the same. This much the same as when power was redistributed from the church to private business during the so-called bourgeois revolution. European society changed a bit, at least superficially, but its conduct toward non-Europeans continued as before. You can see what the American Revolution of 1776 did for American Indians. It’s the same old song.

Revolutionary Marxism, like industrial society in other forms, seeks to “rationalize” all people in relation to industry – maximum industry, maximum production. It is a materialist doctrine that despises the American Indian spiritual tradition, out cultures, our lifeways. Marx himself called us “precapitalists” and “primitive.” Precapitalist simply means that, in his view, we would eventually discover capitalism and become capitalists; we have always been economically retarded in Marxist terms. The only manner in which American Indian people could participate in a Marxist revolution would be to join the industrial system, to become factory workers, or “proletarians,” as Marx called them. The man was very clear about the fact that his revolution could occur only through the struggle of the proletariat, that the existence of a massive industrial system is a precondition of a successful Marxist society.

I think there is a problem with language here. Christians, capitalists, Marxists. All of them have been revolutionary in their own minds, but none of them really means revolution. What they really mean is a continuation. They do what they do in order that European culture can continue to exist and develop according to its needs. So, in order for us to really join forces with Marxism, we American Indians would have to accept the national sacrifice of our homeland; we would have to commit cultural suicide and become industrialized and Europeanized.

At this point, I’ve got to stop and ask myself whether I’m being too harsh. Marxism has something of a history. Does this history bear out my observations? I look to the process of industrialization in the Soviet Union since 1920 and I see that these Marxists have done what it took the English Industrial Revolution 300 years to do; and the Marxists did it in 60 years. I see that the territory of the USSR used to contain a number of tribal peoples and they have been crushed to make way for the factories. The Soviets refer to this as “the National Question,” the question of whether the tribal peoples had a right to exist as people; and they decided the tribal peoples were an acceptable sacrifice to industrial needs. I look to China and I see the same thing. I look to Vietnam and I see Marxists imposing an industrial order and rooting out the indigenous tribal mountain people.

I hear a leading Soviet scientist saying that when the uranium is exhausted, then alternatives will be found. I see the Vietnamese taking over a nuclear power plant abandoned by the U.S. military. Have they dismantled and destroyed it? No, they are using it. I see China exploding nuclear bombs, developing nuclear reactors, and preparing a space program in order to colonize and exploit the planets the same as the Europeans colonized and exploited this hemisphere. It’s the same old song, but maybe with a faster tempo this time. The statement of the Soviet scientists is very interesting. Does he know what this alternative energy source will be? No, he simply has faith. Science will find a way. I hear revolutionary Marxists saying that the destruction of the environment, pollution, and radiation will be controlled.

And I see them act on their words. Do they know how these things will be controlled? No, they simply have faith. Science will find a way. Industrialization is fine and necessary. How do they know this? Faith. Science will find a way. Faith of this sort has always been known in Europe as religion. Science has become the new European religion for both capitalists and Marxists; they are truly inseparable; they are part and parcel of the same culture. So, in both theory and practice, Marxism demands that non-European peoples give up their values, their traditions, their cultural experience altogether. We will all be industrialized science addicts in a Marxist society.

I do not believe that capitalism itself is really responsible for the situation in which American Indians have been declared a national sacrifice. No, it is the European tradition; European culture itself is responsible. Marxism is just the latest continuation of this tradition, not a solution to it. To ally with Marxism is to ally with the very same forces that declare us an acceptable cost.

There is another way. There is the traditional Lakota way and the ways of the other American Indian peoples. It is the way that knows that humans do not have the right to degrade Mother Earth, that there are forces beyond anything the European mind has conceived, that humans must be in harmony with all relations or the relations will eventually eliminate the disharmony. A lopsided emphasis on humans by humans – the European’s arrogance of acting as though they were beyond the nature of all related things – can only result in a total disharmony and a readjustment which cuts arrogant humans down to size, gives them a taste of that reality beyond their grasp or control and restores the harmony. There is no need for a revolutionary theory to bring this about; it’s beyond human control. The nature peoples of this planet know this and so they do not theorize about it. Theory is an abstract; our knowledge is real.

Distilled to it’s basic terms, European faith – including the new faith in science – equals a belief that man is God. Europe has always sought a Messiah, whether that be the man Jesus Christ or the man Karl Marx or the man Albert Einstein. American Indians know this to be truly absurd. Humans are the weakest of all creatures, so weak that other creatures are willing to give up their flesh that we may live. Humans are able to survive only though the exercise of rationality since they lack the abilities of other creatures to gain food through the use of fang and claw. But rationality is a curse since it can cause human beings to forget the natural order of things in ways other creatures do not. A wolf never forgets his or her place in the natural order. American Indians can. Europeans almost always do. We pray our thanks to the deer, our relations, for allowing us their flesh to eat; Europeans simply take the flesh for granted and consider the deer inferior. After all, Europeans consider themselves godlike in their rationalism and science. God is the Supreme Being; all else must be inferior.

All European tradition, Marxism included, has conspired to defy the natural order of things. Mother Earth has been abused, the powers have been abused, and this cannot go on forever. No theory can alter that simple fact. Mother Earth will retaliate, the whole environment will retaliate, and the abusers will be eliminated. Things will come full circle, back to where they started. That’s revolution. And that’s a prophecy of my people, of the Hopi people and of other correct peoples.

American Indians have been trying to explain this to Europeans for centuries. But, as I said earlier, Europeans have proven themselves unable to hear. The natural order will win out, and the offenders will die out, the way deer die when they offend the harmony by over populating a given region. It’s only a matter of time until what Europeans call “a major catastrophe of global proportions” will occur. It is the role of American Indian peoples, the role of all natural beings, to survive. A part of our survival is to resist. We resist not to overthrow a government or to take political power, but because it is natural to resist extermination, to survive. We don’t want power over white institutions; we want white institutions to disappear.

That’s revolution.

American Indians are still in touch with these realities – the prophecies, the traditions of our ancestors. We learn from the elders, from nature, from the powers. And when the catastrophe is over, we American Indian people will survive; harmony will be reestablished. That’s revolution.

At this point, perhaps I should be very clear about another matter, one which should already be clear as a result of what I’ve said. But confusion breeds easily these days, so I want to hammer home this point. When I use the term European , I’m not referring to a skin color or a particular genetic structure. What I’m referring to is a mind-set, a world view that is a product of the development of European culture. Peoples are not genetically encoded to hold this outlook, they are acculturated to hold it. The same is true for American Indians or for the members of any other culture.

It is possible for an American Indian to share European values, A European world view. We have a term for these people; we call them “apples” – red on the outside (genetics) and white on the inside (their values). Other groups have similar terms: Black have their “oreos;” Hispanos have “coconuts” and so on. And, as I said before, there are exceptions to the white norm: people who are white on the outside, but not white inside. I’m not sure what term should be applied to them other than “human beings.”

What I’m putting out here is not a racial proposition but a cultural proposition. Those who ultimately advocate and defend the realities of European culture and its industrialism are my enemies. Those who resist it, who struggle against it, are my allies, the allies of American Indian people. And I don’t give a damn what their skin color happens to be. Caucasian is the white term for the white race: European is an outlook I oppose.

The Vietnamese Communists are not exactly what you might consider genetic Caucasians, but they are now functioning as mental Europeans. The same holds true for the Chinese Communists, for Japanese capitalists or Bantu Catholics or Peter “MacDollar” down at the Navajo reservation or Dickie Wilson up here at Pine Ridge. There is no racism involved in this, just an acknowledgment of the mind and spirit that make up culture.

In Marxist terms I suppose I’m a “cultural nationalist.” I work first with my people, the traditional Lakota people, because we hold a common world view and share an immediate struggle. Beyond this, I work with other traditional American Indian peoples, again because of a certain commonality in world view and form of struggle. Beyond that, I work with anyone who has experienced the colonial oppression of Europe and who resists its cultural and industrial totality. Obviously, this includes genetic Caucasians who struggle to resist the dominant norms of European culture. The Irish and the Basques come immediately to mind, but there are many others. I work primarily with my own people, with my own community. Other people who hold non-European perspectives should do the same. I believe in the slogan, “Trust your brother’s vision,” although I’d like to add sisters in the bargain. I trust the community and the culturally based vision of all the races that naturally resist industrialization and human extinction. Clearly, individual whites can share in this, given only that they have reached the awareness that continuation of the industrial imperatives of Europe is not a vision, but species suicide. White is one of the sacred colors of the Lakota people – red, yellow, white and black. The four directions. The four seasons. The four period of life and aging. The four races of humanity. Mix red, yellow, white and black together and you get brown, the color of the fifth race. This is the natural order of things. It therefore seems natural to me to work with all races, each with it’s own special meaning, identity and message. But there is a peculiar behavior among most Caucasians. As soon as I become critical of Europe and its impact on other cultures, they become defensive. They begin to defend themselves. But I am not attacking them personally; I’m attacking Europe. In personalizing my observations on Europe they are personalizing European culture, identifying themselves with it.By defending themselves in this context, they are ultimately defending the death culture. This is a confusion which must be overcome, and it must be overcome in a hurry. None of us has energy to waste in such false struggles.

Caucasians have a more positive vision to offer humanity than European culture. I believe this. But in order to attain this vision it is necessary for Caucasians to step outside European culture – alongside the rest of humanity – to see Europe for what it is and what it does. To cling to capitalism and Marxism and all the other “isms” is simply to remain within European culture. There is no avoiding this basic fact. As a fact, this constitutes a choice. Understand that the choice is based on culture, not race. Understand that to choose European culture and industrialism is to choose to be my enemy. And understand that the choice is yours, not mine. This leads me back to address those American Indians who are drifting through the universities, the city slums, and other European institutions. If you are there to learn to resist the oppressor in accordance with your traditional ways, so be it. I don’t know how you manage to combine the two, but perhaps you will succeed. But retain your sense of reality. Beware of coming to believe the white world now offers solutions to the problems it confronts us with. Beware, too, of allowing the words of native people to be twisted to the advantage of our enemies. Europe invented the practice of turning words around on themselves. You need only look to the treaties between American Indian peoples and various European governments to know that this is true. Draw your strength from who you are.

A culture which regularly confuses revolution with continuation, which confuses science and religion, which confuses revolt with resistance, has nothing helpful to teach you and nothing to offer you as a way of life. Europeans have long since lost all touch with reality, if they ever were in touch with it. Feel sorry for them if you need to, but be comfortable with who you are as American Indians.

So, I suppose to conclude this, I would state clearly that leading anyone toward Marxism is the last thing on my mind. Marxism is as alien to my culture as capitalism and Christianity are. In fact, I can say I don’t think I’m trying to lead anyone toward anything. To some extent I tried to be a “leader,” in the sense that white media like to use that term, when the American Indian Movement was a young organization. This was a result of a confusion that I no longer have. You cannot be everything to everyone. I do not propose to be used in such a fashion by my enemies. I am not a leader. I am an Oglala Lakota patriot. This is all I want and all I need to be. And I am very comfortable with who I am.

The Covert War Against Native Americans
by Ward Churchill
There is a little considered aspect of the covert means through which the United States maintains its perpetual drive to exert control over the territory and resources of others. It concerns, however, matters internal rather than external to the geographical corpus of the U.S. itself. It seems appropriate to quote a man deeply involved in the struggle for African liberation, Kwame Toure’ (formerly known as Stokley Carmichael). In a speech delivered at the Yellow Thunder demonstrations in Rapid City, South Dakota, on October 1, 1982, he said:

We are engaged in a struggle for the liberation of ourselves as a people. In this, there can be neither success nor even meaning unless the struggle is directed toward the liberation of our land, for a people without land cannot be liberated. We must reclaim the land, and our struggle is for the land-first, foremost, and always. We are people of the land.

So in Africa, when you speak of “freeing the land,” you are at the same time speaking about the liberation of the African people. Conversely, when you speak of liberating the people, you are necessarily calling for the freeing of the land.

But, in America, when we speak of liberation, what can it mean? We must ask ourselves, in America, who are the people of the land? And the answer is-and can only be-the first Americans, the Native Americans, the American Indian. In the United States of America, when you speak of liberation, or when you speak of freeing the land, you are automatically speaking of the American Indians, whether you realize it or not. Of this, there can be no doubt.

Those in power in the United States understand these principles very well. They know that even under their own laws aboriginal title precedes and preempts other claims, unless transfer of title to the land was is or agreed to by the original inhabitants. They know that the only such agreements to which they can make even a pretense are those deriving from some 371 treaties entered into by the U.S. with various Indian nations indigenous to North America.

Those in power in America know very well that, in consolidating its own national landbase, the United States has not only violated every single one of those treaties, but that it remains in a state of perpetual violation to this day. Thus, they know they have no legal title-whether legality be taken to imply U.S. law, international law, Indian law, natural law, or all of these combined-to much of what they now wish to view as the territoriality of the United States proper. Finally, they are aware that to acquire even a semblance of legal title, title which stands a chance of passing the informed scrutiny of both the international community and much of its own citizenry, the U.S. must honor its internal treaty commitments, at the very least. Herein lies the dilemma: In order to do this, the U.S. would have to return much of its present geography to the various indigenous nations holding treaty-defined and reserved title to it (and sovereignty over it). The only alternative is to continue the violation of the most fundamental rights of Native Americans while pretending the issues do not exist. Of course, this is the option selected-both historically and currently-by U.S. policy-makers.

It is precisely from the dynamics of this situation that overt liberation organizations such as the American Indian Movement (AIM), the International Indian Treaty Council, and Women of All Red Nations were born. Insofar as their struggles are based in the reaffirmation of the treaty rights of North America’s indigenous nations, theirs is a struggle for the land. In essence, their positions imply nothing less than the literal dismantlement of the modern American empire from the inside out.

The stakes involved are tremendous. The “Great Sioux” of Lakota Nation alone holds clear treaty rights over some 5% of the area within the present 48 contiguous states. The Anishinabe (Chippewa) are entitled to at least another 4%. The Dine’ (Navajo) already hold between 3% and 4%. Most of California has been demonstrated to have been taken illegally from nations such as the Pomo and Luisano. Peoples such as the Wampanoag, Narragansett, and Pasamadoquoddi-long believed to have been exterminated-have suddenly rematerialized to press treaty-based and aboriginal claims to much of New England. The list is well over 300 names long. It affects every quarter of the contemporary United States.

Vast Natural Resources At Stake
Today, more than 60% of all known U.S. uranium reserves are under reservation lands, and another 10-15% lies under contested treaty areas. Similarly, approximately one-third of all minable low-sulphur coal lies under reservations, while the figure easily exceeds 50% when treaty areas are lumped in. With natural gas, the data are about 15% under reservations, 15% under contested lands. The same holds true for oil. Almost all American deposits of minable zeolites are under reservation land. Very significant strategic reserves of bauxite, copper, iron, and other crucial minerals are also at issue.

Giving all this up-or even losing a modicum of control over it-is an obviously unacceptable proposition to U.S. policy makers and corporate leaders. In order to remain a superpower (in both the military and economic senses of the term), the U.S. must tighten rather than relax its grip upon its “assets.” Hence, given its priorities, America has had little choice but to conduct what amounts to a clandestine war against American Indians, especially of the AIM variety.

The Propaganda War
In pursuing such a policy the U.S. power elite has replicated the tactics and conditions more typically imposed on its colonies abroad. First, there is the matter of “grey and black propaganda” through which U.S. covert agencies, working hand in glove with the mainstream media, distort or fabricate information concerning the groups they have targeted. The function of such a campaign is always to deny with plausibility public sympathy or support to the groups in question, to isolate them and render them vulnerable to physical repression or liquidation. As concerns AIM, grey propaganda efforts have often centered upon contentions (utterly unsubstantiated) that the “Indian agenda” is to dispossess non-Indians of the home-owner, small farmer or rancher type living within the various treaty areas.

[This flies directly in the face of the formal positions advanced by the AIM and associated groups working on treaty land issues. AIM has consistently held that it seeks lands held by the U.S. and various state governments (such as National and State Parks, National Forests and Grasslands, Bureau of Land Management areas, etc.) as well as major corporate holdings within the treaty areas.

Small landholders would be allowed to remain and retain their property under “landed immigrant provisions” or, in some cases, naturalization.] In terms of black propaganda, there have been a number of highly publicized allegations of violence which, once disproven, were allowed to die without further fanfare. This has been coupled to “leaks” from official government sources that AIM is a “terrorist” organization.

[This is based on testimony of a single informer at a hearing at which the AIM leadership was denied the right to cross-examine or to testify.]

The propaganda efforts have, in large part, yielded the desired effect, souring not only the average American citizen’s perception of AIM, but-remarkably-that of the broader U.S. internal opposition as well. The latter have been so taken in upon occasion as to parrot the government/corporate line that Indian land claims are “unrealistic,” “not feasible,” and ultimately a “gross unfairness to everyone else.” Repression and Liquidation With the isolation of Native American freedom fighters effectively in hand, the government’s clandestine organizations have been free to pursue programs of physical repression within America’s internal colonies of exactly the same sort practiced abroad. At one level, this has meant the wholesale jailing of the movement’s leadership. Virtually every known AIM leader in the United States has been incarcerated in either state or federal prisons since (or even before) the organization’s formal emergence in 1968, some repeatedly. This, in combination with accompanying time spent in local jails awaiting trial, the high costs of bail and legal defense, and the time spent undergoing a seemingly endless succession of trials, is calculated both to drain the movement’s limited resources and to cripple its cadre strength.

[To cite but one example of this principle at work: Despite a ceasefire agreement assuring non-prosecution of AIM and traditional Indian people relative to the 1973 Wounded Knee occupation, the FBI proceeded to amass more than 300,000 separate file entries for judicial use against the people in question. Russell Means, an occupation leader, was charged with more than 140 separate offenses as a result; his trials encumbered the next three years of his life, before he went to prison for a year. There are many such cases.] Even more directly parallel to the performance of U.S. covert agencies abroad is physical repression conducted at another level, that of outright cadre liquidation. For example, in the post-Wounded Knee context of South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation, independent researcher Candy Hamilton established that at least 342 AIM members and supporters were killed by roving death squads aligned with and supported by the FBI. (The death squads called themselves GOONs, “Guardians of the Oglala Nation.”) This was between 1973 and 1976 alone. In proportion to the population of the reservation, this is a rate of violent death some 12 or 14 times greater than that prevailing in Detroit, the so-called “murder capital of America.” In a more political sense, it is greater than the violent death rate experienced in Uruguay during the anti-Tupamaro repression there, in Argentina under the worst of its succession of juntas, or in El Salvador today. The statistics are entirely comparable to what happened in Chile in the immediate aftermath of Pinochet’s coup. As is currently the case in El Salvador, where the Reagan administration contends that the police are understaffed and underequipped to identify and apprehend death squad members, the FBI-which is charged with major crimes in reservation areas-pleaded “lack of manpower” in solving the long list of murders involving AIM people. (The FBI saturation of the Pine Ridge area was greater on a per capita basis than anywhere else in the country during this period.)

[To date, of the murders documented by Hamilton, *none* has been solved. On the other hand, the FBI experienced no such personnel problems in identifying and “bringing to justice” AIM people accused of murder. The most famous example is Leonard Peltier, accused of killing two FBI agents on Pine Ridge in 1975; pursued in what the Bureau itself termed “the biggest manhunt in history,” and convicted in what turned out to be a sham trial, Peltier is currently serving a double life sentence. See, “The Ordeal of Leonard Peltier,” by William M. Kunstler]

More to the point than this transparent rationale for inaction is the case of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash. A young Micmac woman working with AIM on Pine Ridge, Aquash was told outright during the fall of 1975 by federal agent David Price (who was involved in the assassinations of Mark Clark and Fred Hampton [Black Panther leaders] in Chicago in 1969, and who has been involved more recently in paramilitary operations against the Republic of New Afrika) that “You’ll be dead within a year.” Aquash’s body was found less than six months later, dumped in a ravine in the northeast quadrant of the reservation. A pathologist hired by the government determined her death as being due to “exposure.” An independent pathologist readily discovered she had died as a result of a .38 calibre slug entering the back of her head at a pointblank range.

Nor is Pine Ridge the only locale in which this clandestine war has been conducted. Richard Oaks, leader of the 1970 occupation of Alcatraz Island by “Indians of All Tribes,” was gunned down in California the following year. Shortly thereafter, Hank Adams, a fishing rights leader in Washington state, was shot in the stomach. Larray Cacuse, a Navajo AIM leader, was shot to death in Arizona in 1972. In 1979, AIM leader John Trudell was preparing to make a speech in Washington, DC. He was told by FBI personnel that, if he gave his speech, there would be “consequences.” Trudell not only made his speech, calling for the U.S. to get out of North America and detailing the nature of federal repression in Indian country, he burned a U.S. flag as well. That night, his wife, mother-in-law, and three children were “mysteriously” burned to death at their home on the Duck Valley Reservation in Nevada.

What has been related here is but a tiny fraction of the full range of events-facts intended only to illustrate the much broader pattern of covert activities directed against the American Indian Movement for well over a decade. It is hoped that the reader will attain a greater appreciation for the similarities between the nature of U.S. clandestine operations abroad and those conducted at home; the parallels are not always as figurative as is commonly supposed.

Further, it is hoped that the reader might become more attuned to the “why” of such seemingly aberrant circumstances: that the liberation of Native Americans fits well within the more global anti-imperialist struggles waged elsewhere, as the quotation from Kwame Toure’ indicates. AIM presents the same sort of threat to the U.S. status quo as do land-based movements in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. This situation, so little known in America, has been recognized in locations as diverse as Nicaragua, Vietnam, Libya, Iran, Cuba, Mozambique, Ireland, Palestine, and Switzerland, through the work of the International Indian Treaty Council. It is high time that it was fully realized by those among the broad progressive opposition within the United States itself.

African-Americans account for:
12% of the US population
13% of drug users in US
35% of arrests for drug possession in US
55% of conviction for drug possession in US
74% of prison sentences for drug possession in US
What does this drug policy do to the black community?
At the present time, one fourth of all of the young black men in America are either in prison or on parole. Most of them were arrested on non-violent drug charges.
In Washington DC, half of all black men in the city are currently in jail or on parole. More than ninety percent have arrest records. The same is true of inner city black men in Baltimore, New York, New Jersey and Florida.

Two thirds of all of today’s black male high school students will be dead, disabled, or in prison before their thirtieth birthday. The majority will go to prison because of non-violent drug charges. For every black man who goes to college three will go to prison. By the year 2000 about half of all black men in America will have gone to prison. Most of them will go to prison for non-violent drug charges. Most of those who go to prison will be released into society again. Because they are black men with a prison record they will be permanently unemployable.

So what does it all mean? Well first of all it means that the family unit is being destroyed, no Dad’s anywhere. It means that every one in my neighborhood has accepted jails as an unavoidable part of their lives. It means that the biggest political lobby is the prison workers lobby. It means the politicians are bought by the prison workers lobbies more than anyone else. It means that the politicians will keep building prisons and bankrupt the state. It means we will continually ignore the fact that it costs less to put a black man through the University of California than it does to keep him in prison. It means that every felony offender who gets out and can’t get work because of his prior convictions has to make a living somehow. It means that when he commits another crime to make a living and is caught, he will be working for 35 cents per hour rather than the current minimum wage. For an eight hour day that means he makes $2.80. The relative worth of the food and shelter he would have received as a slave 300 years ago is probably a lot more than $2.80 per day. It means that the people who used to make the products (and get paid union wages ) that he now makes are out of work.

If you pay state taxes then you are paying to lock up all these men. Wouldn’t you rather have a choice? Wouldn’t you rather send them to college instead? It would cost you less.

David Nadel was a man who ran a club in Berkeley. It was about three blocks away from 924 Gilman. When Gilman opened ten years ago David helped us get the permit. He had about a billion benefits for all sorts of people and things. He put a lot of time and energy into making sure the volleyball courts in people’s park were never used. He was a friend of mine.

This December he was shot in the head and killed. I was at a bart station waiting to meet my Aunt Jackie, she’s always late so I dug a newspaper out of the trash can. On the front page when I got to the bottom of the front page I saw a headline that said something like “Berkeley club owner shot.” I thought about 924 for a second and realized that there is no owner. So I read on.

Apparently a guy was drunk and was bothering people. David talked to him and he calmed down. Then he started doing it again, David escorted him out of the club. He then called the police. The police came and hassled some guy down the street and left. They never walked into the address that the call was made from and they never talked to the person who made the call. Losers. Anyway the guy came back and shot David in the head. He was in a coma for awhile and then he died. David is the eighth person I have known who has died in the last three and a half years from totally unnatural causes. One suicide, two od’s, one stabbing, two gun murders, one alcohol induced seizure and one kidney failure due to prior drug use.

The thing that was different this time was that it was in the paper and on the news. It got me to thinking about how many times I’ve read a paper about some disgruntled employee shooting everyone at his/her work, and me laughing cuz I thought it was so hilarious. Every day there are probably thousands of groups in America getting together to deal with their pain and grief over losing someone unnecessarily. Whether it be by the gun or the car or the cops or suicide or accident, it’s all pretty much the same if you are the person’s relation.

I was wondering what could bring me to the place where I could be cut off entirely from the pain present in someone else’s grief.

I thought it probably has something to do with the word apart. Apartment, compartment(car), compartment(job), compartment(self-interest), compartment(punk, rocker, mod, etc.). We don’t just objectify women. We objectify everything and everyone.

For one brief moment I got a glimpse of what would happen if we weren’t totally cut apart from each other. Every day we would all mourn the murders and other premature deaths that happen in our respective towns and cities. Everything would just stop. No one would be able to go to work or do anything else except grieve. It would be pretty disruptive, but it is how I have come to understand taking care of myself today. It sure beats the hell out of taking the stance of the macho idiot who can’t have his feelings and who uses his friends deaths as just one more notch on his “rough life, I’m so tough” belt.

I started working when I was about 13 1/2 years old. My first job was a volunteer job where I ran up this big hill from the box office of a music venue, to the back stage. My job was to deliver messages to some average working people and to some very famous people. When I turned 14 I started to work for pay, in a print shop. We used to goof around most of the time, serving customers, sniffing the chemicals, and trying to figure out how we could print money. Both of these first jobs had the element of having to serve other people. Unfortunately, these jobs laid the idea in my head that it was o.k. to earn money serving other people and it lead to the next 18 years, day after day, of serving people one way or one thing after another. I rented cars, sold typewriters, served food, served alcohol, served coffee, sold jewelry, sold clothes and I sat at a couple of desks, trying to give people directions to here and there.

I made the most money serving alcohol, basically because me and some other people gave most of it away and the customers tipped us a lot for the free drinks. Serving food for money is one of my least favorite jobs because you actually see what goes on in the kitchen. One time in New York in a fancy place I was working, a mouse fell down from the ceiling, right into the salad dressing, one of the cooks pulled the mouse out and we kept on serving the dressing. I have seen countless pieces of meat dropped on the floor just to be put back on the grill and then served to the customer with a smile (often mine).

About five years ago I got sober, and I couldn’t continue serving alcohol like I had been. I took a job serving the next best legal drugs…coffee and tea. Being newly sober I thought it was o.k. for me to consume gallons of coffee, which was now free, I never thought about the fact that it was so addictive. After about a year passed, I came out of my detox fog and I realized that I had been serving the same 500 customers every day, some times 3 times a day (the place I worked is very well known for their high octane brew). I started to face the fact that once again I could classify myself as the dope dealer, just like when I was selling booze. The customers would be mostly in a foul mood before they got their first cup, the second time around you could totally feel their fake energy, by the third cup they are usually already burnt out, it’s really sickening. I have had customers bang on the door after we were closed, begging for one more cup, as well as banging on the door at 6 a.m. trying to get us to open the doors according to their schedule. Shortly after my first year, I pretty much quit drinking coffee and switched to tea.

The thing that happened to me at this company could happen to most anyone at almost any company today. When I started, they had 11 stores after being in business for 25 years. All of the stores were very local to the bay area and there was the general feeling that they (the company) would never expand more than how long it would take to drive the fresh coffee within a day. Well the years have gone by ( a total of 4 1/2 ) and the company is now 31 stores and planning to expand another 14 in the L.A. area in 1997. The reason I had stayed working with them for so long was something referred to as “Golden Handcuffs”–medical and dental benefits, holiday and sick time paid, not to forget the free caffinated drugs. I was making an o.k. hourly wage for serving coffee but then I started to realize that I wasn’t just serving coffee, there was a lot more going on.

I started to put the pieces together. My partner was reading a book called The Managed Heart, Commercialization of Human Feeling by A. Hochschild. It talked about how we in the service industry are required to smile, act phony, and when a male customer would try to make a pass at me I was supposed to politely ignore it, even though I was trapped behind the counter, totally on display. I have seen customers take advantage of the fact that we are on display, both men and women. I have had to endure abusive language, have been touched by strangers, have been threatened by customers and most recently it was requested that I clean a customer’s house because I did such a good job dusting at work. When I would come home from a day at work I would have already served about 500 people by 11:30 a.m., emotionally this left me drained and very difficult to fully participate in activities the rest of the day. My physical health really began to become affected by this work, tendinitis, sore back, burns, aches and pains on a regular basis, working is just not worth giving up my physical self. I really started to hear the word service in customer service and it made me feel rotten. I also had to take a look at the fact that over the summer I quit drinking caffeine entirely and here I was serving it. I was also becoming more angry at the fact that the company I was working for was making millions of dollars, while the people who were picking the coffee and tea were not even making living wages off their brutal labor and I was supporting that by selling coffee and tea. And because I was willing to share my opinion with any customer who asked, my boss at work decided to infringe on my First Amendment right and told me what I could and could not say. This was the final straw. One morning I WOKE UP…and decided they could have their “Golden Handcuffs”. I QUIT. That morning I WOKE UP I had this overwhelming feeling that I should be serving people in a realistic capacity. I want to help people, not help them feed their addictions. I have the most respect for people who work in the service industry, it is an intense way to spend a day.

Last issue I wrote about some stuff that had happened at the gilman street project. Someone accused another person of getting them drunk until they passed out and trying to rape them. The club formed a committee to investigate and try and figure out what to do. After about 5 weeks it became apparent that the committee members were to afraid of what might happen if they actually did something, so they just stalled and stalled. Eventually I found out that the person in question had tried to molest a kid who I have come to love as my brother.

I quit the committee and wrote a few paragraphs that basically explained what I found and asked for a boycott of the perpetrators business. I e-mailed it to anyone I could find on the internet who had anything to do with punk.

I knew that this would be construed as a conflict of interest because of my involvement on the committee. I didn’t really care. People are obviously more important than petty politics.

So the long and the short of it is that our scene decided that, the real problem was my actions and that conflict of interest is a horrible travesty and RAPE and PEDOPHILIA are no big deal.

Oh well.

Work by Cynthia.
For America to Live, Europe Must Die spoken by Russel Means.
The Covert War Against Native Americans by Ward Churchill
The rest by Jeff.