Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sad, But Not Shocking: Gay-hating church plagiarizes

I'm interested in language. I'm also someone who recognizes Christianity in basically all its forms to be a cynical tax-evading pyramid scheme that preys on ignorance for profit, a pernicious cult propagating hatred, fear, and a doctrine of servility & obedience to authority.

Today I saw the adorable clip above in which this standard heartland church cheers itself hoarse because a couple toddlers have learned to sing "Ain't No Homos Gonna Make It To Heaven." Sad, but not shocking. Hating queers is par for the course, the course as demonstrated consistently and incontrovertibly throughout the brutal 2,000-year reich that has been Christianity's stain upon our planet.

The beaming complacent fake-tanned faces of morally righteous plagiarismI went to the gay-hating toddler Church's website, and beneath the frantic disclaimer I found a quite well-written little "About" paragraph with some commendably pretty language. This set off alarms immediately, since the overlapping subset of "Christians" and "good writers" in the 21st century is, not coincidentally, microscopic-- Annie Dillard was about it, and she finally renounced.

Ya hate to assume the worst, but one thing everyone who's ever had dealings with Bible freaks knows is that they're compulsively, fundamentally dishonest. The louder they holler about Jesus, the more treacherous they're sure to be. As usual, Bill Burroughs said it best:

"If you're doing business with a religious son-of-a-bitch, get it in writing. His word isn't worth shit, not with the good lord telling him to fuck you on the deal."

In short, we're too lazy to describe our own church in our own wordsMorality, in the sense of personal ethics, is meaningless to Christians; they have no personal virtues, which is why they embrace a mumbo-jumbo doctrine that tells them God's In Control. It's all of a piece. Since the Bible is a bunch of ridiculous garbage and they claim it's infallible, their endemic dishonesty, though sad, is not shocking. Like everything else in the massively hierarchical mind-slavery that is "Faith," the problems start at the top.

Anyway, I googled one felicitous phrase, "the kind of contagious Christianity," and, well, see for yourself. Click the link, go on!

Look at those results. Page through them: hundreds, literally hundreds of churches whose "about" pages use the same plagiarized boilerplate.

Sad. Sad that these people who are supposedly so moved by faith as to make it the center of their existence, who claim to be teachers, who ask others to come listen to them yammer on all morning long, are too lazy to even bother articulating the supposed faith that moves them.

Too lazy, too cynical, too dumb. Far easier to copy-and-paste someone else's sentiments. Why not? The sheep in the pews won't know. Read out your plagiarized sermon and pass the collection plate; another hard day's work for the Fishers of Men. Copy, Paste and Praise the lord!

Sad... but not shocking. People who think for themselves don't make very good Christians.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Your Goose Is Cooked, Sucka:" On The Long, Hot Summer To Come For The NOPD!

The police in New Orleans are rabid. Cops and the city are "circling their wagons" after multiple high-profile police murders, the conclusion of the Danziger Bridge and Henry Glover cases highlighting the code of silence and willingness of many cops to plant evidence and cover up crimes, and the recent scathing investigative series Louisiana Inc.arcerated detailing "how we became the world's prison capitol." Judging by the reactions of NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas, Sheriff Marlin Gusman and other elected officials, it would seem that the official response will be denial, procrastination, and attempting to evade any consequences and point the finger away from themselves.

At a modest home full of 5 small children in a quiet Gentilly neighborhood, an innocent 20 year old college-bound high school graduate emerges from his bedroom and is shot through the chest and bleeds to death, gasping for air, shirtless on the floor of his mother's home over a search warrant for weed that yielded only his brother's tiny personal stash; the Police Department and now the
District Attorney do everything they can to suppress the release of the details of the case in the name of a "pending investigation." His killer, Officer Joshua Colclough, continues to work for the NOPD despite admitting to murdering an innocent, unarmed, shirtless young man and the DA has so far refused to filed any charges. Wendell Allen's family members have been tirelessly protesting, often alone, on street corners demanding justice and Colclough's arrest. More rallies are planned.
Recently, the gory details from the multiple NOPD bloodbaths in the wake of Hurricane Katrina surfaced during the Danziger trial and other investigations. Henry Glover's body was burned, children were shot with automatic weapons and people were stomped to death while bleeding from gunshot wounds on the Danziger Bridge, Danny Brumfield Sr. was shot in the back, people were beaten, disappeared, their civil rights were violated, and they were intimidated and threatened by police. None of the Danziger Bridge officers were convicted of murder despite the obvious evidence of such, and they received the lightest sentences allowed by law from the judge. Now, some of the officers are demanding their convictions be overturned, while one is up for a re-trial in August. And a 2008 racist beating of RTA employees by off-duty cops at The Beachcorner Bar is just now getting federal scrutiny, 4 years later, after local officials completely ignored the incident, signaling that police have complete impunity to terrorize whomever they want, which has added to local anger against them.

Only a week before Wendell Allen's murder, Justin Sipp is stopped at 5am along with his brother Earl by 3 white officers for a "broken license plate light" in the midst of the current climate of complete distrust of NOPD, while both were on their way to work at Burger King. Somehow a gunfight ensues, 2 officers are wounded and Justin is dead at the scene, while his brother Earl was also shot by the police while in handcuffs, is later released from the hospital without any charges against him. Officer Jason Giroir, who pulled the Sipp brothers over that morning, resigned only a month later after making racist, violent comments in regards to the Trayvon Martin murder case. Earl is keeping quiet about the incident on the advice of his lawyer pending civil litigation.

It was only slightly more than a year ago that local anarchists, as well as many artists, young musicians, and other paraders were beaten, tasered, had their bones broken, were bloodied, pepper-sprayed and terrorized by an
NOPD riot against the Krewe of Eris annual Mardi Gras parade that was partially caught on video. An innocent man spent 45 days in OPP because of this police riot. Many of the other Eris defendants had to endure ridiculous court proceedings and blatantly lying NOPD officers until the circus finally wore them down enough to throw in the towel or be lucky enough to have their charges dropped, while one person still awaits a trial in open court on his trumped-up felony charges.

Anger against NOPD also continues to grow due to the fact that they don't seem to care that their plan for tackling the nation's highest murder rate, which overwhelmingly effects the poor,
isn't working (at anything other than fattening their paychecks, and adding to NOPD's local power), as people plead desperately for ways out of the cycle of violence that NOPD will never even consider. Considering other options would likely mean reducing their funding in favor of groups like CeaseFire that actually work, so they continue to let the poor die to maintain their payroll. Adding to that frustrating, exasperating issue are many other less dire, but equally stupid annoyances that make people hate the cops, such as the classist, and often racially biased, harassment of local bicyclists for merely trying to ride from point A to point B, as well as tons of arrests for minor drug possession and unpaid traffic ticket warrants, which overwhelmingly target poor and black people, and get them stuck in the ringer of the court system that squeezes every drop of money from their pockets or throws them in jail, exasperating the poverty of the city's poorest citizens.

The DOJ has at least seven more open investigations into New Orleans police killings and has indicated its plans for more formal oversight of the New Orleans Police Department, as well as the city jail. The almost weekly arrests of sheriffs, cops, or other LEOs for crimes ranging from bribery to domestic violence, drug dealing to rape, continue to erode public confidence and trust in the cops. The regular business of NOPD, who logged 33,100 arrests in a city of 300,000 while enforcing their class war against the poor, and especially against the black poor in New Orleans, also continues to create anger, resentment, distrust, and utter hatred and contempt for the police.

escapes from OPP by inmates over the last weeks are even serving to erode the faith in the cops and prisons by those who usually benefit from the way this city and this system is run. Even columnists from the corporate run media acknowledge that people cheer when cops from the police force responsible for so much terrorism and chaos are jailed.

Within the last year, local sentiment has turned more sharply against the police than the usual level of simmering discontent and mistrust that has always existed here. In
November and December noise demonstrations were organized at OPP by anti-prison activists. A protest organized by local anarchists in solidarity with Occupy Oakland's revolutionaries and against police brutality in February left participants "feeling pumped up, empowered and enthusiastic." Radical propaganda has been seen around Downtown, Mid-City, Gentilly, Uptown, and other neighborhoods of the city, some if it already deteriorating from people attempting to tear it down, some of it left alone by a largely sympathetic public to call for justice for police murder victims and criticize the police. Lots of anti-police graffiti has also appeared around town, as well as slogans remembering Justin Sipp and Wendell Allen. A video about Wendell Allen's murder was made by his family and has been posted to YouTube. A powerful video about Wendell Allen, Ramarley Graham, and Rekia Boyd was recently created for spreading awareness on YouTube. Local racist monuments were vandalized by people angry with police murders. The monthly "Slingshots, Anyone?" column in AntiGravity Magazine focuses on the ongoing struggle (on pg. 5).
Even the local corporate media seems to be dog-piling atop the stories, finally waking up to the rage about to boil over here. A few journalists seem to be asking honest questions at the vigils and rallies, following up on older stories and tying tales of brutality together, painting a portrait of a poisonous tree instead of a few bad apples.
People ask "wasn't the Danziger case supposed to fix this?" yet the victims of police murder continue to go without justice day after day and more people continue to get shot by NOPD. Most recently the anti-capitalist May Day march saw people vent their rage at the owners of this system by attacking banks and corporate property while chanting anti-police slogans, and there was a Mother's Day March where the list of demands was so long an all-out revolution sounds easier than getting the powers that be to make all those changes. Find out info on NOLA Anarcha about upcoming events.

The police did not learn from the Hurricane Katrina cases. No lawsuit pay-outs, jailing of a few officers, or amount of bad publicity is going to stop this rampage against the public. This an abusive relationship the citizens of New Orleans have with the New Orleans Police, and the only thing that stops the abusive behavior pattern is palpable and firm consequence. Firing the murderers of Justin Sipp or Wendell Allen isn't enough, more academy rejects from the NOPD will step in to take their place. Imagine if a citizen was suspected of being responsible for the death of a police officer, would they be eligible to return to work the next day? Or would they be held without bail indefinitely until the conclusion of the trial? This double-standard, this act of the State protecting the frothing, bloodthirsty dogs it sics on the public without a second thought, contributes to the growing trend of turning the public into just another complex form of livestock. Keep the line moving or get the prod.
In Oakland, CA, the public went wild when the police murdered Oscar Grant, causing the city, in an appeal for calm, to arrest the offending officer. In Greece, the popular insurrection sparked by the murder of a 15 year old in a radical neighborhood continues to help destabilize a country in the throes of the ugly side of capitalism -- austerity, scarcity, and poverty. Plenty of other examples can be found all over the world where the people fight back, take a stand against the State and its violence, and refuse to take this shit by setting a real precedent for resistance. These smatterings of rage provide a fiery consequence to police violence, helping blaze a path to where the policemen draw their weapons nervously out of fear of what sort of hellish storm could be brought down should they go too far or even do their "job" in a less-than-invisible fashion. A world where there is no machismo-caused "collateral damage" like 7 year old Aiyana Jones in Detroit, slain by pigs in a raid on the wrong house.

But those that seek to manage this anger, channel it politically or attempt to minimize the possibility of damage to the police and State tell folks that "there is a time and a place" for that kind of rage, that yearning for some real action. Well, New Orleans has 2 police murders the DA refuses to press charges on, there are several investigations into brutality by DOJ and a scathing report about the cops here, a murder epidemic that the cops refuse to do anything constructive about, and secretive internal investigations that no one is allowed to see. The cops don't show any signs of letting up, despite the system attempting to clean itself. The public is powerless, the police protect themselves and each other, and more people are beginning to realize this. The fight isn't in the courts, where consequences can be neutered and the public's anger defused, it's in the streets.

This isn't about what color you are, where you come from, your sexuality or politics. This is about being a human being. They abuse us all and they aren't going to read the picket signs and start changing their minds.

New Orleans, isn't now starting to look like "that time"? 
Isn't this city starting to look
like "that place"? 
Where you at?
How to get down with the struggle no matter who you are (and you will inspire others to fight back as well!):

Come to the marches. That's easy. Make a sign you feel proud to hold that expresses what you want to say. Advanced: bring drums, instruments, and other noisemakers to liven up the march. Bring wheatpaste to put up posters along the route during the march, or fliers to pass out to people the march goes by. Recent anti-police brutality marches have been met with enthusiastic responses from many people on the street. Seize the opportunity to engage with them.

--Organize a
Break Away March that leaves from the end of an anti-police brutality march like they did in Atlanta. Make a flier for it, hand it out to other radicals and spread the word, and make sure people know what level of militancy you are expecting people to be ready for at it. Of course you won't be able to control everyone's actions, but you can at least give those who may be confused, surprised, or frightened by the increased militancy it will take to pressure authorities into make substantial changes in policy some warning, and hopefully they'll still show up, but just be more prepared for it.

Hang a banner calling for justice for victims of police murder, the arrest of Officer Colclough, the arrests of Officers Asevedo, Giroir, and Mayfield, or any other anti-police, anti-system slogan you choose. Take a photo and send it to us. Easy to do, and inspires others to keep fighting. Advanced: do it like Seattle did.

--Athens, Greece style
"counter-informational" demos: If you think the mainstream press isn't doing a good job covering the anti-police rage in this city, get out there and let people know! In Athens 4 or 5 people "counter-informational" demos occur regularly. All you need is a few hours of time, a stack of fliers about the injustices going on for one person to pass to everyone walking by, a big banner that two people can hold up, and one person with a megaphone discussing the details of the issues and inviting anyone walking by who has their own complaints about the police to come speak out about it. These work wonders at engaging the local citizens and breaking through the mainstream media disinformation to get people to understand what is going on. When you go out, invite other radicals, too, and who knows, it could turn into a march, street blockade, or other action that goes beyond the bounds of education into disruption of business as usual like this action did.

--In Belgium people do these events called
"ballades" where a big group of anarchists (20-40 or more) get together to walk around town on the sidewalks wheatpasting up posters and spray-painting slogans. Some people have fliers to hand out to passers-by that explain the action and slogans--they also serve as look-outs by being at the corners of the block on either side of the main group. There are anarchist posters and graffiti all over Bruxelles, thanks in part to these ballades. If the atmosphere seems right, sometimes these ballades turn into "wild demos" and things get smashed, openly and defiantly.

--In the small, economically depressed California city of Modesto some anarchists have been known to engage in the
"prole stroll" which is more or less the American version of the Belgian "ballade." The tactic has spread around the world, and was recently seen in Montreal.

--A Chilean style
"salida" could work pretty well in the right, dimly-lit, narrow street location in New Orleans, of which we have plenty. From the link:  
"The pictures correspond to the clashes of Friday, January 6, outside the Usach university, where there was plenty of fire, including the burning of the offices of the Servicio de Impuestos Internos (Tax Office). The photos represent a "salida", that is to say a sortie where, as in Greece, the rioters use the university (or high schools since the movement of 2011 in Chile) to take the street, block, and attack the State vehicles that pass within Molotov range. The sortie last January corresponded to the fourth anniversary of the assassination of comrade Matías Catrileo by the cops. In the images, one sees the gathering and the attacks, respectively, against a van transporting money and one of the Prison Administration. The prison van burnt by molotovs belongs to the special services of the PA, that is to say the USEP (Unidad de Servicios Especiales Prisons). As recalled by the companions of Chile in the text accompanying the pictures, "a thought for the prisoners murdered following their attempted escape during the earthquake of 27 February 2010, the 81 prisoners who died in the San Miguel prison in December 8, 2011, the two injured and murdered for having attempted to escape from the prison of Talagante January 29, 2012, the 361 prisoners who died in the Comayagua jail in Honduras February 14, and that is only a few of the massacres produced by the prison society. A thought also for the comrades who are in the jails of the enemy, they are not alone."
--Think we are free with all this police murder going on? No? Then why not organize a "freedom graffiti week" in New Orleans like this martyred youth in Syria did? This idea comes from the uprising going on in Syria right now. The idea is pretty self-explanatory: make some fliers, challenge people to do as much anti-police graffiti as possible in a week, and maybe raise some funds to have free spray cans available all week for people to get from some accessible location. Maybe have some stencil designs available as well.

--Take Space: "Occupy Wall Street" wasn't called "General Assembly In A Park" for a reason: the innovation that made Occupy such a wildfire force for change was their willingness to take and attempt to hold a space and make it public and politicized 24/7. You can Occupy for any reason: in Oakland they named their occupied park Oscar Grant Plaza, clearly connecting the occupation to the struggle against police murder. It has been one of the most successful encampments in the country. In Atlanta anti-capitalists took over a building and used it for a dance party, politicizing partying and making it about the lack of spaces not controlled by capitalism and some rich fuck trying to make money off you. In Oakland they recently took over an intersection during a yuppie art walk to commemorate Brandy Martell and demand freedom for CeCe McDonald to great effect. Such occupied space can be held symbolically, with the intention of getting arrested there to make a point, or it can be with the intention of trying to keep it forever. Which makes more sense depends on the location and your objectives. Think: lunch counter sit-ins, Occupy NOLA, Oakland commune, Paris commune, squatted social centers, autonomous territories, stateless societies. 
Sticker from Oakland with the face of the cop who killed Oscar Grant on it behind bars.

New Orleans Where Y'at?  
We In For A Long Hot Summer!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Summer 2012 Free Skool Classes

DISCLAIMER: For more info on the actual New Orleans Free School Network, including their June class schedule, visit

The Greater New Orleans Disorganization of Anarchist Federated Affinity Conspiracy of Sellers of That Fire presents

SUMMER 2012 Free Skool Classes

What, y'all thought every pain-in-the-ass idealist had skipped town to beat the heat? Those days are over! We go HAM year-round; projects never falter not for a MINUTE. We keep it tight, tighter than the wind-up pocketwatch of an OCD steampunk.

Note: owing to inherent subjectivity of reality, everything may not be actual

Working With Dickheads

The true measure of an anarchist is not what she or he accomplishes, but the saintliness with which she or he can accommodate aggravating, ignorant dickheads in a group-planning situation. If there isn't room in your collective for every braying, unsocialized jerkoff with an (ill-informed) opinion and the desire to have his way, you're probably a terrible exclusionary snob and should join the nazi party. 

In this workshop we will use audiovisuals to strengthen our tolerance and patience, including multiple hours-long lectures delivered by unselfconsciously dickhead men on the topics of Rainbow Gatherings, Burning Man, the Anti-War Movement, The Battle in Seattle and the importance of abolishing the Federal Reserve.

Meeting times: 2-9pm on days you had other stuff planned
Location: Doesn't matter; they'll come find you

Making the Non-Profit Transition: A Workshop for Over-30s

Are you tired? No, I mean, really tired? You feel it in your bones, don't you? In your sinews. It hurts to sit on the floor. No-one you've met in the activist milieu has expressed sexual interest in you for years. You've worked so very, very hard. Perhaps it's time you made The Non-Profit Transition.

I mean, you've sacrificed so much of your life to this bullshit; why can't you maybe do something for yourself, as well? Is that so bad? Partnering with Shell just means you're hustling them for their money. You're being realistic; your critics are being naive/haters/too young to understand. This workshop is presented in a series of lectures, including:

-- Unlike You, I Deserve To Get Paid
-- Actually This Politician Is Basically On Our Side
-- You'll Want Health Insurance Too When You're My Age
-- I'm Going To Radicalize This Organization From The Inside
-- "Siri, How Do I Sell Out?" Embracing The Technology Fetish

Meeting Time/Location: All lectures are available as "TED Talk" Webinars to be viewed at your convenience on your iPad from the nursery room of your suburban ranch house.

Who Will Continue My Project?  Actionizing Third-party Follow-through in Townies

It can be frustrating that the year-rounders in New Orleans (to say nothing of the natives, who are as mythical and unapproachable as unicorns) don't appreciate your labor in setting up this "project" that's run for almost months. In this class we figure out ways to bribe, guilt or browbeat others into babysitting your useless vanity projects while you're off gallivanting around wherever-the-fuck, so that when/if you bother coming back to New Orleans your baby will be waiting-- and in the meantime, bragging rights will continue to accrue to you, the Founder!

BONUS Seminar: Please care for my dog while I go to Europe indefinitely.

Meeting Time: Really soon, because my flight leaves in two days!!!
Location: Flora's

When Collectives Disobey

Consensus works so well so much of the time, but occasions arise when no matter how old, how loud, how male and how much "scene cred" you have, even after you spend hours explaining the proper course of action, other members of your horizontal, leaderless collective simply refuse to do the right thing.

In this support group/skill share we work on techniques both to avoid such situations and how to cope when these crises occur. Makes a great complement to the "Talking Shit on the Internet" workshop-- why not stay for both?

Meeting Time: Wednesdays, after the Iron Rail meeting.
Location: A bar you used to like

I Heard She's A Cop: Calling Out Undercovers the Passive-Aggressive Way

Sometimes, you just kinda know somebody's a cop-- often, an undercover will coincidentally be someone you dislike personally, someone with whom you have a bad sexual history, someone who's calling you out for your own misbehavior, or someone whom your FBI handler has suggested you preemptively accuse as a way of keeping heat off yourself. We will study ways of getting your suspicions out into the community without ever having to stand behind them, in part via studying the medieval art of Witchfinding and its community-paranoia model of intuitive divination.

Meeting Time: The weekend, once everyone's had a few drinks
Location: Not sure I feel comfortable telling you.

Simple Goddamn Manners

Recent surveys have concluded, surprisingly, that the primary reason Anarchism has not flourished more in the United States is not because the populace are scared by it or unfamiliar with its tenets but simply because many anarchists are so intensely rude and unpleasant to deal with on an individual level.

Thus, this workshop will focus on diminishing the appearance of unwarranted adolescent arrogance by teaching skills such as Bothering to introduce oneself : Establishment of eye contact : Making small talk with people who aren't exactly like you : Expressing interest in other humans : Apologizing for mistakes : Smiling once in a fucking while : Reciprocating spoken greetings vs. reacting with silent suspicion and fear

Meeting Time: Never, because you already know everything
Location:  A "community space" that no-one from the community feels comfortable in

Accountability Processes Seminar

Part of life without hierarchical authority is accountability to one another. Accountability Processes are vital not only for community well-being, but to provide the proof that anarchism can function in practice. This seminar will cover how to convene, participate in and carry through long-term Accountability Processes.

Scheduling note: After the initial class, this seminar meets once more three weeks later and then never again.

Meeting Time: Participants will arrange via text message.
Location: Somewhere distant with no air-conditioning

Radical Feminism for Bros

Being able to pay lip-service to radical feminism has become a crucial skill for many CIS-gendered male anarchists in both their organizing work and their personal lives. This class will survey crucial works by radical feminist thinkers, enabling an accelerated amount of name-dropping for rapid establishment of radfem credentials. A portion of this class will be focused on how women fail to understand or practice feminism the correct way, so that participants in this workshop will later be able usefully to instruct the female-bodied persons in their lives, or at least bully them into compliance.

Meeting Time:  After the bike polo game
Location: A mixed-gender "feminist" household where women wash all the dishes

Life and Lyrics of the Vapo-Rats

Many locally know the inspiring story of this brave band's triumph over persecution and discrimination, but when all is said and done, far too little time has been spent getting to know and truly understand the band's deep lyrics or the profound personal perspectives informing them.

In this year-long immersion workshop, participants will study and analyze the lyrics, intentionality and opinions of this seminal local musical group. After a 12-month cycle of study and satisfactory completion of the final exam, students will be awarded a certificate signed by Bryan Funck permitting the bearer to make a single criticism of the band.

Meeting Time: TBD at the convenience of the Vapo-Rats
Location: a gated community in Old Metairie

Talking Shit On The Internet

Of course anything YOU weren't personally invited to help plan is fucked-- but how will people know that, unless you inform them? As New Orleans moves slowly into the 20th Century, radical organizing techniques from futuristic outside places become increasingly relevant. The most crucial of these, of course, is Talking Shit on The Internet.

While Facebook will be the focus of this workshop, we will cover a variety of topics including e-mail chains, strategic BCCing, Google Groups, quasi-anonymous blog posts and use of satire to conceal butthurt.

Meeting Time: After everyone else is asleep
Location: A lonely computer keyboard

Activism as Refuge

How can you possibly be expected to fulfill base-level social and interpersonal commitments in your private life? There's capitalism to be smashed! In this workshop, we explore activism as a means to avoid dealing with failing relationships, mental illness, unprocessed trauma and sundry other personal demons.

Meeting Time: The ongoing present moment
Location: Wherever you are, wherever you run to next