Tuesday, April 7, 2009
When states legalize same-sex marriage they legislate sexuality, create possessive legal contracts structuring love, and assimilate queer identity into the capitalist order.
That said, I'm happy to see Vermont used its legislature to legalize same-sex marriage.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
TAMMS Supermax Prisoners are screwed by Illinois. Sign this petition in support of them. For more info, read below from Julie Hamos, State Rep for the 18th District in Illinois :
End Human Rights Abuses at Tamms Supermax Prison Today
Prisoners at Tamms supermax prison are held in permanent solitary confinement. There is no communal activity, no contact visits, and no phone calls. Men never leave their cell except to shower or go to solitary exercise in a concrete pen.
Suicide attempts, self-mutilation, and severe mental illness are common at Tamms—this is an expected consequence of the harsh punishment of long-term isolation.
Incarceration at the supermax was approved by the Illinois legislature as a short-term “shock-treatment” program for men already in prison who cause harm to guards or other inmates. Instead, Tamms has become a warehouse and a human rights disaster:
- - One-fourth of the population has lived in this extreme solitary confinement since the prison opened almost 11 years ago.
- - There are no clear procedures for being transferred to Tamms and there is no way to earn your way out.
- - Most prisoners in Tamms do not deserve to be there for this lengthy period. Many were not placed in Tamms for acts of violence, and have not had disciplinary problems at Tamms.
- - Long-term isolation creates barriers for successful reentry to society, or to other prisons, where these prisoners will return.
- - There is no correctional justification for placing seriously mentally ill men in a supermax for extra punishment.
Identical treatment at Guantanamo Bay has been judged by Attorney General Eric Holder to be too isolating for prisoner safety. All prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are now provided social interaction and phone calls, in compliance with the humane-treatment requirements of the Geneva Convention.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
The violent conflict between rich as poor is as obvious as it is infuriating. According to today's New York Times, The American International Group, beneficiary of a $170 billion bail-out, is preparing to dole out $100 million in bonuses to executives as thousands around the country lose their homes to foreclosure, struggle with their first days, weeks, and months of homelessness, and fail to find gainful work. Our economy is crashing, families are struggling to live, and the rich continue to steal from the poor, the people, those who pay taxes.
We cannot rely on the government to get us out of the mess. The government continues to allow the rich to steal from the poor: our labor, our homes, our lives. We cannot rely on the benevolence of foundations controlled by the ruling class to provide funds for us to get at the root issues that are worsening poverty in the United States.
We need to take power into our hands, take the land, take the resources we need, take the spaces consolidated and privatized by the wealthy. Through privatization, the rich have gained control over land, water, and air. The time to liberate these resources is now.
The contradictions between those who have and those who have nothing have rarely been as apparent within the United States. After a decade of murdering Arabs, bailing out corrupt bankers, imprisoning black and brown people, and destroying public health, education, and welfare, the ruling class is making a mockery out of the courage of good people.
The time to defy the rich, the ruling class, the government has rarely been as ripe as it is now. If we want to survive the cataclysmic environmental and economic collapse the ruling class is bringing on, we must take the wealth they have stolen from humans and the earth and put it to sustainable, healthy, and egalitarian use. We cannot surrender everything to the rich.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
OK, so after a year of failed reform, an attempt to democratize a hierarchical organization, aid in the Republican and Democratic National Convention Protests, and work fairly critically and aggressively, I'm taking the revolution outside, to my back yard. Over the years I've had many friends argue that gardening is an important piece of their spiritual and political practice. Turning lawns into food sources, they claim, helps with issues as vast as climate change, finding alternatives to capitalism, and preparing for a likely ecological and imminent economic collapse. I want to see for myself.
So, outside I go, with a hoe in my hand, to join my roomie Jessi in her gardening efforts.
Jessi started our first backyard garden last year. It produced zucchini, squash, and tomatoes. This year, I want a bigger garden that can provide sustenance for the summer and perhaps some fodder to can for next winter.
My Mom and Grandma have always canned food in the summer and have amazing salsa's, pickles, and soups for the whole next year. Their tradition, coupled with backyard gardening, makes sense for me.
Oh, and as I bring this up, I want to remind Denver CPR readers that Ashara Ekundayo has organized the Soul'd Roots Conference, March 13-15th. This event looks amazing.
"Soul'd Roots" is a 3-day intensive, March 13-15, 2009 where invited educators and youth will engage in activities aimed at fostering health, solidarity and green sustainability in Denver's Black and Brown communities through multi-media workshops and panels focusing on food traditions and security, social networking, and arts activism. We are excited about our cross-generational opportunity to learn from each other through traditional and contemporary methods of struggle. Our goals include a desire to shift our thinking from capitalism and immediate gratification, to a slower way of developing social, psychological, physical and spiritual health through interaction with the land and each other as we live in community together. We are planting the seeds in the winter, and looking forward to our crop at our public conference, "Soul'd Roots, Pt. 2," slated for August 5-8, 2009.
A few of the events are public and you should check these out:
Events Open to the Public include; Friday, March 13 – 600pm – 830pm,
at 2895 W. 8th Ave, Denver, 80204 “Take Back the Land” Community Gathering on Immigrant Rights &
Land Justice w/ Max Rameau (Miami, FL) Wine & Cheese Fundraiser for Sister of Color United for Education –
Saturday, March 14 – 700pm – 10pm, at Solar Café & Community Space, 2615 Welton St. Denver 80205, Reception & Panel: “Protest, Brutality & Ink” – Jordan T. Garcia w/ Cheyenne Hughes, Favianna Rodriguez, Terrance Roberts, Jesus Barraza, and Melanie Cervantes + Booksigning w/ Author: Favianna Rodriguez, “Reproduce & Revolt” – Suggested Donation $5 (no one turned away for lack of funds)
Sunday, March 15 - 200pm – 500pm, at New Hope Baptist Church, 37th & Colorado Blvd. Denver, 80205, “Community Eat-In & Food Politics Talkback” with Eco-Chefs; Bryant Terry, Shannon Francis, Faatma Mehrmanesh, Dylan Moore, Marilyn Meginity, and Others. – Tix $7 - $10 (sliding scale) RSVP Required – 303.446.8800 SOCUE has been building, supporting and sustaining health and healing with hard-to-reach populations and communities for 20 years through their “Art in Motion” and Promotor@ programs in which community artists, organizers, and health advocates are encouraged to draw from their own cultural wisdom, innate strength and comprehensive training to teach families, neighbors and co-workers about health promotion, risk reduction and health care access around topics such as; human sexuality; STD’s and HIV/AIDS; domestic violence; substance abuse; harm reduction; client advocacy; curanderismo and other culturally relevant practices.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Three Kick-Ass Cultural Spaces + 1 Badass Smarty Pants Video Lecture Series: Philoctetes Society, Mess Hall, and 16 Beaver
For those of you who are getting bored with the same-old same-old half-assed, pseudosmart crap on PBS (how many fucking times can you watch Charlie Rose), you've got to check out the lecture series broadcast online by The Philoctetes Society. From rambles about jazz with Bela Fleck to discussions about biography with the likes of Simon Winchester (The Madman and the Professor) and Judith Therman (The New Yorker), you will not be disappointed with the intellectual breadth and rigor of the panel participants!
The Philocetetes Societ describes itself as follows:
The Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of the Imagination was established to promote an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to the understanding of creativity and the imaginative process.
The Center creates and supports projects, public forums, research and information gathering which foster cooperation and dialogue among diverse disciplines, while seeking to create public awareness of these efforts.
To achieve its mission the Center holds roundtable discussions with participants from various fields (neuroscience, psychology, mathematics, psychoanalysis, humanities and art, philosophy and theology), offers a forum for presentation of works in progress, and is developing a data base on imagination with the aim of becoming a clearing house for all available literature on the subject.The Philoctetes Society reminds me of a high brow version of some of my other favorite cultural spaces in the U.S.
On Chicago's North-Side (Rogers Park), there is an incredible venue called Mess Hall, run by artists who bring in amazing folks to do lectures, performances, workshops, etc...
Mess Hall is an experimental cultural center. It is a place where visual art, radical politics, creative urban planning, applied ecological design and other things intersect and inform each other. We host exhibitions, discussions, film screenings, brunchlucks (brunch + potluck), workshops, concerts, campaigns, meetings (both closed and open) and more.
Another New York-based space I love is 16 Beaver.
16Beaver is the address of a space initiated/run by artists to create and maintain an ongoing platform for the presentation, production, and discussion of a variety of artistic/cultural/economic/political projects. It is the point of many departures/arrivals.
So many smart spaces in a country that prides itself on stupidity! I wish more of these spaces promoted their series via online video.
If you have an awesome cultural space near you, drop me a line!