On Aug. 1, 2002, I left behind the comfortably roomy semicircle marked "married-couple household" on the Census Bureau pie chart and slipped into an inconspicuous wedge labeled "two or more people, nonfamily." Having separated from my husband of 28 years the day before, I opened our three-bedroom 1927 Colonial Revival house to a group of men and women less than half my age. Overnight, the home I had lived in for 12 years became a seven-person anarchist collective, run by consensus and fueled by punk music, curse-studded conversation and food scavenged from Dumpsters.
Who’s watchin’ your kids, Mister?
Yeah, that’s what I said.
Before you hit on me,
Let’s get one thing clear
You got some woman stuck at home
Chained down by your kids somewhere?
You’re traveling coast to coast
You’re the jet set activist
With the most
But who’s watchin’ your kids, Mister?
The U.S. government excels at dropping down on people's lives like a ton of bricks, and of course that's what it has done with this witch hunt. In the last couple months, it has incarcerated or otherwise hammered many amazing radicals, thereby traumatizing them, their friends, families, and movements. Federal prosecutors have also set a new standard for potential sabotage penalties: life in jail plus, oh, say, about 300 years.
I was heading out my front door on a sunny April afternoon, thinking only of catching the next bus downtown, when an overwhelming sense of dread nearly stopped me in my tracks. The hair stood up on the back of my neck. I turned my head and slowly scanned the street. It took a few moments before I realized I was surrounded by plainclothes police officers, and they were watching me.
Three new SUVs with tinted windows were lurking outside my apartment in a quiet residential neighbourhood near Vancouver. Inside the nearest, a clean-cut man wearing dark glasses was in the driver's seat, staring at me. I turned to find a man in his early forties walking toward me on the sidewalk. Pasty face, navy blue suit, black shoes, black briefcase, dark glasses and a Tom Selleck moustache: all that was missing was the badge. The agent was carrying two cups of coffee from the McDonald's two blocks away. Glancing up, he caught my eye. His mouth dropped open and he flinched, almost spilling the hot coffee. Then he lowered his eyes, clenched his jaw, and strode briskly past. I stared after him.
Innocent people are often targeted by security agencies based solely on their political beliefs or association with other radicals. This report presents a snapshot of the tactics the police like to think of as "secret,” like spying on individuals and infiltrating groups. These tactics can be extremely dangerous and destructive, even for activists who have never committed a crime. By studying these incidents, we can start to dispel the mystery surrounding covert operations and begin to understand the big picture.
[Chief Terrance Nelson of Roseau River [Manitoba] has been targetted by the Asper Press for some time now, all in response to his rather mild observation that to attack anti-Jewish comments in the press while ignoring anti-indigenous comments would inevitably cause a backlash. He recently wrote a letter to the editor for the Winnipeg Free Press (owned independent of the Asper family) regarding what he sees as the hypocrisy of the Asper papers. they refused to run his letter. Here we reproduce it below.]
...When I was younger, I did not see the perks
It wasn’t until those privileges were pulled
That I saw how ageism turns friends to jerks...
...Beauty is skin deep
Ugly is profound
You cannot get ugly in a bottle downtown.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
I am sitting in an Internet cafe just beside Plaza San Francisco - in a capital city gripped by ¨Evo Mania¨. Evo being Evo Morales, who two hours ago was sworn in as Bolivia´s president.
It is ironic. Back in the days of ¨Oh my God, the sky will fall if Evo becomes president,¨ the fearful proclaimed that Bolivia would become isolated, a nation shunned. Tell that to a city so full of heads of state and luminaries that people like the literary giant Eduardo Galleano and former Mexico prsidential candidate Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas get barely noticed.
After these happenings, my sense of time was off. I thought that it must be around midnight, but it was only around 9pm. The police then began another round of chemical weapons (tear gas). Although we were somewhat far away from the hot zone, it was a nerve-racking scene. As soon as there were any indications, we would pick up our backpacks and use wet towels to cover our mouths and noses and fled to the rear.
We need to go to law school. Seriously. As activists, we are absolutely dependent on an industry of law that we know very little about and have very little influence in. Prison is serious stuff and to have so little available help within our own ranks is not acceptable or safe. Our friends and lovers are shuffled around in a system that leaves them wondering what they were actually charged with and/or convicted of and what exactly the evidence against them was. Our family are left in utter darkness about procedures and are reduced to begging for legal information from attorneys paid $200 an hour. I seriously believe we need more activist attorneys. NOW.
It is an established fact that we can grow enough food on Earth to eliminate hunger. The issue is distribution of food, not the production of food. The issue of distribution is undermined by capitalism and political power struggles that play out in the economics of the daily life of the poor via food. I have recently begun to realize that I had a lot of food issues growing up as a kid, and also as an adult. From institutional food in protective custody, to foster families’ food, to being told to diet as a girl, to dry milk at the end of the month, free lunches and food stamps, I have begun to realize my relationship with food has been different than most American middle class folks based on class.
There is a point where the soul has to disengage to endure. Jails are one of the places this occurs. Poverty is another. Rape is another. Once people have learned how to disengage their SOULS when being abused by the powers that be, the powers that be lose traction rapidly. Mix this lack of fear & righteous hatred of abusive authority, with some hopelessness & nothing left to lose, and you have raw power. This is the cocktail that Bush has brewed for the world.
All this talk about the U.S. government spying on Americans, secret CIA prisons abroad, FBI roundups of environmental activists in a sting last week, based on informants, rather than evidence, etc., has me thinking people need to know more about spying. Spying is actually a licensed industry in most, if not all, states. I did private detective work in the late 1990’s-2000, and it was an eye opening experience, most certainly. For instance, I learned if you feel you are being followed, SLOW DOWN. It is almost impossible to follow a car going noticeably slow without raising suspicion. I found out about “bumper beepers,” which are devices you can simply slap on someone’s car, under their bumper, and then GPS will track their every move for you. Somehow it seems these are legal for private detectives, not just police, to use.
People think you can buy kids off at Christmas with presents. I recently saw a Christmas episode of “Bewitched” where the people on Samantha’s street were taking in the kids at a local orphanage for Christmas eve and day. They took home kids as if this was so great for these kids. Do you know how freaking HUMILITATING this type of thing is for the kids involved? People with money take poor kids out for a day, treat them like kids people care about, then ship them back to the cold institutions with a new toy, whoopee...