Sunday, June 10, 2012
The next day started off with chuckles. Daniel introduced me to the most ridic spoof of Jem (remember? From the 80s?) on YouTube that could ever be made.
This, in fact, turned out to be the highlight of my day. After spending all day going to panels and trying to find fellow revolutionaries (and Tweeting an insane amount of Tweets about the Radicals' Caucus the next day) I headed out to a couple receptions (one of which was about marriage equality. I, while welcome, definitely drew some curious looks. Why was I there again? Oh yeah. Free booze) and then joined Joe Jervis and co. for the Providence JoeMyGod meetup. Hilarity and more drunkenness ensued.
The next day was definitely far more action-packed. We started off with the LGBT caucus, which invited a politician (no, I don't remember who, politicians kind of bore me) to speak. Note: "He has a 100% equality rating with the HRC!!!" isn't exactly a shining endorsement. We also received official White House copies of Barack Obama's pride proclamation.
Also, Zach Wahls, famed for his impassioned speech to the Iowa legislature on behalf of his two moms (and the most Tweeted about, swooned-over member of the LGBT caucus) called me a cutie pie.
We had our unofficial, unsponsored Radicals' Caucus, and I'm happy to report it went well. We started by identifying our key issues (police oppression, decolonization, anti-capitalist organizing) and then brainstormed how we would support each other in our blogging efforts. We agreed that we would push for more politically challenging content at the next Netroots conference, shook hands, exchanged information, and promised to keep in touch.
The highlight: I was not, surprisingly, the only out-and-proud anarchist at the conference. Neat.
After the Caucus I stepped out for a smoke and a chat with FarmerChuck of the Daily Kos. This was cut short, as a member of Occupy Providence ran up to me, breathless. Her comrades, she explained, had been marching through the nearby mall. Arrests were happening. I was needed. I took off at a run, ducking into the hotel and sprinting through the skyway bridge connecting the mall to the Westin.
As I hurtled through the doors, sweating, panting Occupiers were running the other way. "Don't go in!" they warned me. "Is shit going down?" I responded. "Yeah. They're arresting everyone."
So of course I went in.
The arrests, it appeared, had been completed, and all I had left to do was take pictures as Occupiers were being dragged into the mall security office. This wasn't appreciated by Providence Police Department. One large cop, who probably thought he was intimidating, immediately started shouting.
"Leave the area immediately."
"No sir, I don't think I will be."
"Leave the premises at once or you will be arrested."
"I have as much right to be here as you."
"You have been given two warnings. If you don't leave immediately, you will be spending the night in jail."
I left. It galled, but I had no intention of missing my evening's plans. Grrr.
So, thank you Netroots. I'll see you next year in San Jose. Brace yourself.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
By now we all know that Shah Walker of Wisconsistan has not been unseated and will be renaming the governor's mansion to "Scott's Pleasure Casbah" where he will be executing one civil right a day just because he can.
Sarah is taking this opportunity to get her Bumpit on national television, as she is relating Walker's victory to Barry O's inevitable defeat. Also, something about his goose being cooked. Or something.
As she denounced Obama’s “hopey changey stuff”, the former Alaska governor continued: “More and more Americans realize that what Wisconsin has just manifested via this vote … is the complete opposite of what president Obama and the White House represents today.”
Palin predicted that the Obama administration will try to downplay Walker’s victory and distance itself from the GOP’s win in Wisconsin.
“Jay Carney — can’t wait to see how he spins all this and ignores it, and President Obama himself,” she said. “They’re going to really try to distance themselves from this despite the fact that they, leading their lapdogs in the leftist media, made this a front page story for how many months? Months and months.”Mama Bear-- or is it Bulldog with Lipstick?-- is going to cook a goose for some lapdogs. Or something. You heard it here first.
Of course, my politics have definitely changed since last time in the last year. Not only have I done a crazy amount of IRL organizing, my politics have (like my hair) gotten a lot more radical. I have a feeling that there are some people in this room that I love and respect... who I might be yelling at a bunch later on in the conference.
Anyway. I'll post a few things on OAQ, sometimes about Netroots and sometimes about other shit. Yay! A week where I get to do nothin' but blog!
Oh, and drink. And flirt. And annoy people.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
However! I'm still writing. You can catch me periodically over at the New City Collegian, Seattle Central Community College's guerilla student blog. ALSO! Brad Crelia at Hivster.com has invited me to return (he's paying me this time so why not) in order to continue posting my column there as well as promoting me to editor.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
The Knights of Columbus, whose ability to help raise $1M along with the Catholic Church and other anti-marriage organizations during the 2008 California Proposition 8 battle, seem to be in a bit of a bind themselves these days with most of their money and donations going to anti-gay marriage as opposed to relief work right on the heels of their 130th anniversary, as Nicole Sotelo reports in the National Catholic Reporter:
“On the surface this sounds benign, but “family life” is the Knights’ terminology for predominantly anti-gay initiatives, whereas “community projects” represents soup kitchens and food pantries… Additionally, in 2009 and 2010, Knights officials contributed $200,000 as noted in annual reports to Vox Clara, the bishops’ committee responsible for turning back the clock on the liturgy and implementing the recent controversial language changes in the Mass. They have been a significant funder of the committee since 2006. Over the same time period, the Knights donated almost $1.2 million to fund the bishops’ newly created committee that works against equal protection for gays and lesbians and dubbed it “charity” in their annual report.”
Although Washington has historically been considered one of the most non-religious states, the Catholic Church represents the largest religious organization in this state with 1,058,721 members, inclusive of the Archdiocese of Seattle and the Diocese of Spokane. While many Washington Catholics such as Governor Christine Gregoire (D) - who helped to endorse this bill – are split on the issue of same-sex marriage, they can also be great allies in the fight for greater civil rights.
As same-sex marriage becomes a closer reality for residents of Washington State, it will be increasingly important for members of equal rights groups to garner increasing support religious communities in raising money and awareness about the facts of marriage equality and help to assuage concerns about the negative impact of allowing gay marriage and in speaking out, as I have in my own personal blog, about addressing the fundamental dissonance in fighting against marriage when monies raised could be going toward more constructive ends.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Starbucks is proud to join other leading Northwest employers in support of Washington State legislation recognizing marriage equality for same-sex couples. Starbucks strives to create a company culture that puts our partners first, and our company has a lengthy history of leading and supporting policies that promote equality and inclusion.
This important legislation is aligned with Starbucks business practices and upholds our belief in the equal treatment of partners. It is core to who we are and what we value as a company. We are proud of our Pride Alliance Partner Network group, which is one of the largest Employer Resource Groups for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) employees in the U.S., helping to raise awareness about issues in the communities where we live and work.
While I'm not a HUGE fan of corporations, I DO get a tickle when they (whatever their other practices) get their heads out of their collective asses and fall on the right side of history regarding LGBT rights. One organization (which seems to have forgotten it was effing broke recently) has weighed in heavily against the measure, specifically targeting Starbucks for their support. Who is it? Our old friends over at National Organization for Marriage:
Today, Brian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), sharply criticized Starbucks' decision to wade into the gay marriage fight in Washington State. That decision comes on top of an earlier decision by Starbucks to ask the Supreme Court to strike down the federal definition of marriage as one man and one woman as well.
"Americans should be able to drink a peaceful cup of coffee without worrying that a portion of the company's profits is going to be used to push gay marriage without a vote from the people," said Brown. "This is a gratuitous leap into a hot button culture war issue; respect for diversity touted by Starbucks ought to include respecting the diverse views of all its customers and employees."
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Ian Awesome: You were chief of police during one of the most notorious stateside clashes between police and protester in recent decades. What are you doing now and how has your tenure as chief of police in Seattle affected your current affairs?
Norm Stamper: It was during that event that I made the worst decision of my career, which was to permit the use of chemical agents on a non-violent, non-threatening crowd on 6th. We made that decision because we felt it was a necessity, but there was NO necessity for that decision, and I will regret that forever. That week is unfortunately considered my legacy.
I’m a writer, I do some public speaking, and I am mostly involved in drug policy reform and work for the abolition of the death penalty.
So what’s happened of course is that every time there is an anniversary for the Battle of Seattle, I’ll get a call asking me for my reflections on what happened in ‘99 and what I would have done differently. Of course, Occupy has really taken hold in this country and captured the imagination of so many people so I’ve been doing a lot of interviews on that as well.
IA: Occupy Seattle has frequently been the victim of heavy-handed tactics even though the recipients of those attacks were peaceably demonstrating or, in many cases, just sleeping. Do you think the current level of force (such as indiscriminate pepper-spray use, riding horses into crowds, punching, flashbang grenades, and use of SWAT teams) is appropriate to the actions of these demonstrators?
NS: There are times and circumstances when use of force is justified but, generally, there appears to be no justification of the use of chemical weapons and other methods of force. The iconic UC Davis video is a perfect example. These non-violent demonstrators were causing no harm to anyone, to include the police, and were sprayed in a manner that was almost cavalier. It was as if that officer was watering his roses!
In short, I think that there has been a massive overreaction across the country. My overarching opinion is that it is too much too soon and that it is exacerbating tensions between Occupy and police departments.
IA: You recently said on The Nation that the paramilitary bureaucracy today is worse than it was in the 1990s. Would you view incidents such as the use of SWAT teams to evict unarmed and peaceful Occupiers from buildings as a symptom of that increased sense of “protesters are the enemy?”
NS: You know, I do believe that in general there has been a major increase in the militarization of American law enforcement. We are seeing SWAT teams used for things that were not part of the designed purpose of SWAT teams. They were established to deal with hostages, bank robberies, heavily armed individuals, and often times domestic violence situations where someone is holding their partner at gunpoint. SWAT is a smart response to these problems. What’s happened is SWAT is now being employed for very low level drug offenses, on political protests and other situations.
SWAT operations can get people killed when used improperly, even though the purpose is to protect lives, to include the lives of alleged perpetrators. There is a problem in law enforcement today and that is scared cops! They have been erroneously conditioned to believe that the next person who answers a door they knock on is going to kill them. If that’s your mindset and orientation and your tools are SWAT, tragic outcomes are all but inevitable.
IA: Recently the Department of Justice soundly chastised the Seattle Police Department with Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez characterizing SPD’s practices to ensure trust with the community as “broken,” which Police Chief Diaz hotly denies. What would your response be were you in his position? Do you have a word of advice you would give to Chief of Police Diaz?
NS: Well, without being presumptuous, I would offer this view to any chief including Diaz. If you do not conceive of your police department as belonging to the community, then you have the wrong conception of policing a free and democratic society. I think it’s very important the police take the view that they are the junior partners of the communities they serve. If there’s a senior partner in that relationship it is the community by at least a ratio of 51/49, and that isn’t just the business community or blind supporters of the police department, but also critics and those who have been on the receiving end of oppressive police action.