The Christopher Street Liberation Day Rally started in 1970 with the express purpose of asserting the visibility of gays and lesbians demanding rights and respect. It also commemorated The Stonewall Riots, a series of violent clashes with police attempting to raid The Stonewall Inn, a New York gay club commonly targeted for police harassment and brutality. Here we see Latina trans activist Sylvia Rivera, homeless from the age of ten and brutalized by the police ever since, fighting for the mic in Washington Square Park to demand gay and lesbian activists recognize more than white, middle-class, cisgendered folks in the struggle.
You can hear the boos and heckles as she denounces the burgeoning transphobic, bourgeois queer culture, in spite of the fact that she herself was a Stonewall Rioter at the age of 18. Sylvia would not be intimidated, shouting, “You all tell me go and hide my tail between my legs! I will not any longer put up with this shit!” Rivera continued her radical activism up until her death in 2002, criticizing assimilationist gay initiatives up until the very end.
With today’s Supreme Court to ruling on DOMA, I’d like to keep her in mind. There’s still so much work to be done. Sylvia Rivera didn’t shout through a crowd of her own community for nothing.
The cuts to the Chicago public school system are as egregious as they are politically transparent. Aside from the 50 schools that are closing outright, many are simply being gutted to ensure failure. John F Eberhart Elementary School, for example, serves 1648 students and will be losing $1.5 million. Gee, I wonder if the fact that the student body is comprised of 97.6% low income kids, 8.5% Special Education students, and 31.9% non-native English speakers has anything to do with that? (Almost 90% of kids of the kids from the 50 schools to be closed are black, by the way. JUST FYI.) And I wonder if it has anything to do with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s push for privatization through charter schools?
Emanuel’s total lack of compunction in absolutely eviscerating an already severely underfunded public school system resulted in a strike last year, which obviously didn’t resolve or secure much of anything. Many teachers, however, aren’t taking it lying down. CPS Teacher Michelle Gunderson, for example, is asking that you help her students wipe their asses.
While much is made of the lay-offs and job losses that school closings cause, Gunderson decided to draw attention to the absolute dearth of even basic resources that already exists, and will only be exacerbated by the mayor’s cuts. One of the more dire examples is lack of toilet paper.
Two weeks ago school-based budgets were released, and over the past week principals and Local School Councils rolled out their plans. The cuts are drastic. Our school had to empty out all reserves, pink slip two teachers’ aides, and eliminate a school secretary position. We are mercifully able to keep all of our teaching positions this year, but with drained reserves this will not be sustainable for another cycle.
This is when we get back to the toilet paper issue. In many schools, including mine, there are no funds left for janitorial supplies – and this includes toilet paper.
This Tuesday, Chicago activists will gather toilet paper donations outside of an event where Barbara Byrd-Bennett, our schools chief, is proclaiming the benefits of her five year plan. What might seem juvenile to some is in fact a perfect metaphor for the disregard of human dignity – the Chicago Public Schools care so little about children that their basic needs are being neglected.
There’s even this awesome tongue-in-cheek PSA—a brilliant combination of footage from a Chicago Student Union bathroom tour and that completely brutal ASPCA video on animal cruelty. The video is quick to point out the Mayor’s priorities.
“ Chicago’s budget is tight, and it’s hard to afford a new arena for DePaul, a new Hyatt Hotel, and still adequately fund the city’s public schools. If you send a roll of two-ply, or even one-ply to the Mayor’s Office, I’m sure they will get it out to the schools that need it most.”
Students at the Cambridge University, in England, were asked ‘Why they need Feminism?’ The question was asked by ARU Feminist Society and CUSU Women’s Campaign, who together photographed and collated the answers.
The students’ responses ranged from:
I need Feminism because I used to think calling my brother a “GIRL” was a legit insult.
I need Feminism because People still ask what the victim was wearing.
I need Feminism because LESS than 1% of the world’s property is owned by Women
While most of the heroes of early AIDS activism are unsung (even now we’re more likely to associate celebrities with the fight), none get brushed under the rug quite so quickly as prostitutes.
In 1988, the panic surrounding the growing HIV epidemic produced some incredibly Orwellian “solutions,” including California Bill 2319, which would require the mandatory HIV testing for prostitutes and associated felony charges for prostitution. Aside from a gross violation of human rights, the bill would have produced all kinds of terrifying legal precedents to test anyone even suspected of prostitution.
At the forefront of the fight against the bill was Carol Leigh (also known as “Scarlot Harlot”), a member the sex workers’ rights group, COYOTE (Call Off Your Tired Old Ethics). Leigh and COYOTE were early participants in the formation of AIDS activist group, ACT UP. In addition to coining the term “sex worker” in 1978, Leigh still fights for prostitutes’ rights to this day. (Her book, Unrepentant Whore: The Collected Works of Scarlot Harlot is a treat, by the way.)
Even more heartening than seeing folks like Leigh fight the good fight, you can see all the support they get from other communities.The best part is when Leigh quotes COYOTE founder, Margo St. James, who said, “If they want to know if prostitutes are positive, they should test the Vice cops.” Learn your history, boys and girls!
What was Bradley Manning’s real crime? His real crime was in trusting Adrian Lamo and in not using the TOR network and other anonymity services to leak the information he had extracted from the military network he had access to in Iraq.
Had he, however, dumped his data to something like New Yorker’s Strong Box—a new feature on their website that was developed for sending in anonymous tips by the late web activist Aaron Swartz—he wouldn’t be getting the Gitmo treatment in solitary now. Instead, a sanctioned news agency would be taking the heat and leveraging their plethora of lawyers and spin doctors to fight off government officials embarrassed by the real secret that had been revealed: That our foreign policy and war strategies were foisted upon the US (and the rest of the world, natch) by a small cabal FUCKTOCRACY of arrogant white men who simply refused to believe how stupid they are. (I mean, what else did the Collateral Murder prove but that our GUN-ho soldiers hadn’t been trained to properly identify and select military targets?)
Don’t make the same mistake! By using Strong Box which, in turn, can only be accessed through the TOR network, aspiring leaker, your chances of being tortured or held indefinitely in solitary are greatly reduced, as TOR (properly used!) eliminates the possibility of tracing the origin and destination of traffic sent through the TOR network. Basically, each TOR node collects up lots of traffic, encrypts it, and then sends this whole wad to another TOR node (or “Onion Router”), where it gathers up traffic originating from a bunch of nodes and then encrypts the whole ball again. If anyone has the ability to crack TOR, it is only a handful of governments in the world, and they won’t risk revealing what they can do unless it’s something really important. Go on over to TOR and download a TOR browser and poke around a bit. If you are going to access, say, Dangerous Minds without leaving a trail, make sure the browser is showing https, because TOR doesn’t automatically encrypt your traffic as it enters and exits the TOR network.
TOR itself is fascinating as the basic ideas were developed by Cypherpunks and other anarchically inclined people in the 1990s, and most nodes are run by private individuals on their own time and dime. Through TOR you can also check out Silk Road, an illicit substance marketplace that functions a lot like eBay. Of course, you can’t actually buy anything on Silk Road unless you have learned how to handle Bitcoins (and have an account), but it is fascinating (is it not?) to see a “TOR hidden service” like Silk Road, the physical location of which can’t really be determined (and I mean to tell you, it would be hard for even top-secret government agencies to determine the location of the Silk Road servers).
This, my friend, is freedom, though it’s not what you might have thought freedom was going to look like. But it’s a freedom that was taken through the sheer force of mathematics, and there is probably no government on earth that has the power to stop it.
On the Passage of a few People through a Rather Brief Moment in Time: The Situationist International 1956-1972 is an interesting short film by Branka Bogdanov primarily documenting the work of ultra-leftist French philosopher Guy Debord, author of the influential post Marxist study of 20th capitalism Society of the Spectacle. The film explores Debord’s influence on the Paris riots of May 1968 and the nihilistic aesthetics of the punk rock era.
Interviewees include Greil Marcus, Malcolm McLaren and Sex Pistols graphic designer Jamie Reid.
WOW this film looks AMAZING! And NOT in the way that the creators intended!
Fuck For Forest is a new documentary following the titular eco-activist group FFF, who have a simple modus operandi: convince strangers on the streets of Berlin to film gonzo porn with them, which is then sold with all profits going to help save the Amazon rainforests. The movie makers travel with FFF to the wilds of South America to meet the people they aim to ‘help’, only to discover, unsurprisingly, that the locals are not enamored with their unique brand of spirituality (which seems to entail a lot of nudity.)
It sounds like it came from the mind of Sacha Baron Cohen, but alas, it’s real. Here is the Fuck For Forest group’s Wikipedia page, which states that they are the world’s first ‘eco-porn’ org.
In its first year of existence,[when?] the organisation’s website netted over $100,000 for rain forest protection through the sale of paid memberships. In their first six months of existence the group received seed funding from the government of Norway. They are the world’s first eco-porn organization.However, the organisation’s unorthodox methods have made it difficult to distribute the money it makes. The Norwegian chapter of the Rainforest Foundation Fund as well as the WWF both in the Netherlands and in Norway have refused to accept donations from FFF. As a result, Fuck for Forest is working on a project to work directly with indigenous communities in Costa Rica and the Brazilian Amazon rainforest.
The film has just gotten a very limited cinema release in the UK, and the reviews have not been good. In fact, it was a damning review by the Guardian that seemed to imply unintentional hilarity that really piqued my interest, making me seek out the trailer and to place it immediately on my “to see” list.
Seriously, check out the additional footage in that Guardian video review after you watch the trailer, it has me wondering if Fuck For Forest is the damning, hilarious portait that this “eco-punk” (or neo-hippy, crusty, whatever you want to call it) scene has always needed?