activism, Black Lives Matter, Photos

Black Lives Matter – Photos of George Floyd Protests in Bay Area

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Outstanding photos from the East Bay Times:

Oakland = Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group

SF = Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group

San Jose = Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area NewsGroup

Walnut Creek = Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group

 

activism, Culture

Solidarity Means Face Masks

Guest blog from Norman Solomon, longtime grassroots organizer and 2016 Bernie Sanders delegate. Visit RootsAction.org and NormanSolomon.com

Solidarity Includes Wearing a Mask at Protests

By Norman Solomon

The nationwide outpouring of protests during the last 10 days has provided a historic moral response to the murder of George Floyd. In one city after another, people braved tear gas, pepper spray, clubs and other weaponry — as well as mass arrests — to nonviolently challenge racist police violence. Those same people were also risking infection with the coronavirus.

Photos from around the country show that a large majority of protesters have been wearing masks, often under very difficult conditions. By doing so, they aren’t only protecting themselves to some extent — they’re also protecting people nearby. As the New York Times just noted, “most experts now agree that if everyone wears a mask, individuals protect one another.”

In other words, wearing a mask is about solidarity.

Unfortunately, some protesters have not worn masks, perhaps unaware that they were putting others at risk. Meanwhile, some police officers have disregarded orders to wear masks.

With latest research indicating that about 35 percent of infected people have no symptoms at all, unwillingness to wear a mask jeopardizes the health of others. That jeopardy is far from evenly distributed. Older people and those with underlying health problems are at higher risk of dying from the coronavirus. African Americans and other people of color are also dying at much higher rates, due to structural racism.

“UC San Francisco epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford described the protests as a kind of uncontrolled experiment, one that will test what happens when people are wearing masks in an outdoor setting, but yelling and not maintaining their distance,” the Los Angeles Times reported this week. Said Rutherford: “If you have breakdowns in social distancing and don’t have masks on, then you’re deeply in trouble.”

Addressing the chances of exposure to the virus while protesting, California’s Department of Health is urging caution: “Even with adherence to physical distancing, bringing members of different households together to engage in in-person protest carries a higher risk of widespread transmission of COVID-19. . . . In particular, activities like chanting, shouting, singing, and group recitation negate the risk-reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing. For this reason, people engaging in these activities should wear face coverings at all times.”

Also, if you’re headed to a protest, you might want to consider giving away some masks.

“The virus seems to spread the most when people yell (such as to chant a slogan), sneeze (to expel pepper spray), or cough (after inhaling tear gas),” The Atlantic reported as this week began. “It is transmitted most efficiently in crowds and large gatherings, and research has found that just a few contagious people can infect hundreds of susceptible people around them. The virus can spread especially easily in small, cramped places, such as police vans and jails.”

In Minnesota, the Star Tribune reported, “state health officials will be encouraging people protesting the death of George Floyd to seek COVID-19 testing — regardless of whether they feel sick — due to the increased risk of the disease spreading at mass gatherings.” The newspaper added that “a key recommendation will be when asymptomatic protesters should seek testing, because the incubation period of the virus following infection is around five days — with a range of two to 14 days.” Testing too early could miss the virus.

Protesting is crucial at a moment like this. But protesting must be done without ignoring the pandemic.

While some hazards probably can’t be avoided at demonstrations, wearing a mask remains vital. The reality that it’s difficult if not impossible to maintain six-foot social distancing at a protest makes wearing a mask all the more important. The life you save may not be your own.

At campaign rallies last fall and winter, Bernie Sanders struck a chord when he asked: “Are you willing to fight for that person who you don’t even know as much as you’re willing to fight for yourself?” It was a powerful statement that resonated deeply and became a viral rallying cry. The ethical core remains. And by speaking out and protesting in the wake of George Floyd’s death, large numbers of people have been answering that question with a resounding Yes.

At the same time, those who wear a mask at protests are making clear that they’re willing to undergo some discomfort to protect people they don’t even know.

There are many things we have no control over as we keep pushing to change the political direction of the United States. Whether we wear a mask isn’t one of them.

Norman Solomon is co-founder and national director of RootsAction.org. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Solomon is the author of a dozen books including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He is the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

Source: https://www.normansolomon.com/norman_solomon/2020/06/solidarity-includes-wearing-a-mask-at-protests.html

activism, Resources & Downloads

Classic Direct Action Rags – new downloads!

We just posted several new issues of the original Direct Action newspapers – namesake of Luke Hauser’s novel and source of many of the stories contained therein.

Free downloads of a dozen original issues as PDFs, along with activist handbooks and a PDF of the book.

Click here!

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Culture, Satires

I’ve Been Ingesting Chlorine

Sodium chloride (rock salt, halite, table salt), crystal structu

I admit it – I’ve been ingesting chlorine. On a daily basis. So far, there are no ill effects except I’m often thirsty.

I’ve heard from many people, some of whom are actually on TV, that chlorine is good for you, so I decided to double my intake during shelter-in-place.

According to what I hear, it isn’t just good for curing pandemics. It may actually turn out to be an essential health supplement!

Cashews vs Popcorn: Crumbs in the Mask

My favorite ingestion system is potato chips and popcorn. But lately cashews have hit the spot – protein and chlorine at the same time. Plus fewer crumbs in my mask.

It’s gotten to where I’ve found myself adding chlorine to vegetables, boiled potatoes, even a dash in my oatmeal. Yum!

Really, once you get the taste for it, everything tastes better with chlorine! Luckily, it’s cheap and easily accessible.

You can buy crystalized chlorine here

Make Your Own Chlorine Crystals!

Or make your own edible chlorine crystals by adding 39.34 grams of sodium (Na) to 60.66 gram of chlorine (Cl). Shake, don’t stir. Let stand for a few minutes – and voila! Ingestible chlorine!

Illustration: Sodium Chloride – the miracle molecule.

activism, Climate Justice, Culture, Photos, Resources & Downloads, Video

Youtube – A Brief History of Nonviolent Direct Action!

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Direct action has a long and honored place in American history – from the revolution itself through abolitionists, suffragists, union organizers, civil rights advocates, feminist and gay rights activists, and on to today’s vibrant climate and social justice organizing.

Click here for A Brief History of Nonviolent Direct Action

Join author Luke Hauser for a profusely illustrated 25-minute journey through our past. We’ll focus especially on nonviolent organizing from 1980 to the present, with sections on the 1980s anti-nuke movement and 2011’s Occupy actions.

Originally created around 2000, the show has been updated with a revised text and many new images.

So make a big bowl of popcorn, pull up your beanbag chair, and get ready for a journey through our history!

Photo by Janet Delaney.

 

 

 

Book Review, Culture

Brilliant Materialist Interpretation of Modern European History

Eric Hobsbawm’s four-volume survey of European history from the French Revolution to the Fall of the Eastern Bloc is the premier materialist text of its generation. While giving solid notice to culture and politics, Hobsbawm’s first interest is in the movements of economics and production, and how these tides shaped the broader history of the period.

Readable, engaging, fast-paced – an indispensable survey of the past two centuries.

Just released in audio format – click here 

Plenty of used paperbacks – click here

Kermode’s reading is solid – but the audio quality is poor. Tantor usually does better – how about a remix?

Still – five stars for this extraordinary book!

Painting: Eugene Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People

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activism, Culture

Why Are Only Honkies Protesting?

Senators vote to approve the extension of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's emergency declaration in Lansing

Take a close look at the Covid protest photos – notice anything missing? Like a little color?

The photo of a recent Michigan march above, courtesy of PBS,  shows hundreds of people marching – generally something I support! – but I blew it up, and could not spot a single person of color. Not one.

Michigan’s population is 25% POC.

Last time this happened was around 1981, when the anti-nuclear movement noticed it was overwhelmingly white. Here’s what POCs said at that time:

“Figures honkies would get out in the streets when it’s their own asses on the line!”

*****

For more on the evolution of progressive activism, see our new youtube video:

A Brief History of Direct Action

Culture, Resources & Downloads, Workshop

Magical Writing Class – Begins Sat May 23

Online Magical Writing class (via zoom) – next class Fall 2020.

Spring 2020 class with Irisanya & George (aka Luke Hauser) – full
Join us for a magical writing class via zoom, Saturdays from 12-2pm PDT, six weeks beginning Saturday May 23.
Using the tools of Reclaiming-style magic, we’ll create sacred writing space and magically invoke inspirations, allies, characters, ideas, voices – and words!.
Each week we’ll share writing exercises and games, as well as taking a close-up look at various aspects of our craft.  Tools and skills are useful for fiction, non-fiction, poetry, scripts, dissertations, blogging, sidewalk-chalking, and more.
Here’s a downloadable booklet that shows some of the things we’ll be doing. Every circle is different – let us know if you see things you’d like us to cover.
Timing/Tech:  Six sessions, Saturdays 12-2pm PDT, beginning May 23. Via zoom.
Cost: Requested donation $99-299 sliding scale – please place yourself generously on the scale to support our diverse group. Some scholarship assistance available.
Contact: George <georgefranklin1982@gmail.com>, or Irisanya <irisanya.moon@gmail.com>
Teachers: Irisanya and George are Reclaiming teachers active in various NorCal camps and communities. Last time we co-taught, it was Newts Path (ages 4-8) at Witchlets family camp.
Irisanya (she/her) is an international teacher, blogger, and author of several non-fiction books. Details at www.irisanya.com
George (he/they – aka Luke Hauser) is a community organizer and author of several fiction and nonfiction works – visit DirectAction.org
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Culture

Kent State Killings – 50 Years On

2020 marks 50 years since the murders at Kent State. Four protesting students were gunned down by National Guard troops who were basically on campus to force students back to their classes.

The killings appalled many previously “neutral” Americans, including religious congregations and previously-unengaged young people.

1970 was the peak on the Vietnam-era protests. The direct actions of these years compelled the United States to begin disengagement, eventually resulting in the inglorious end of the long war in the early 1970s.

Here’s Michael Winship’s reflections on Kent State.

Neil Young’s song Ohio catches the urgent tone of that period.

Kent State photo by John Paul Filo / Library of Congress

KentState-JohnPaulFilo-LOC