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
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.
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.
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
do me a favor. Just stop driving.
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
seem to be getting orders for merch stuff so I'll keep doing it for
now. Here's what I've got:
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
orders made out to:
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.
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
noticing more parts of the constitution that aren't the same thing in
reality as they are in print.
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 .....".
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Land A complete cleaning and restoration of that Land.
work would be necessary to return their population levels to what they
were before we got here.
for permission to stay on this continent before one assumes she/he has
a right to be here.
to Live, Europe Must Die"
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.
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.
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.
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.")
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.]
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.
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.)
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]
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.