“Gonzo Notes” is Kit’s newsletter of political analysis and direct action tips.
Fight for your community.
I wrote the last issue of Gonzo Notes, about creating resilience to both man-made and natural disasters, with a specific comrade in mind.
Just hours after the newsletter hit inboxes, I found out my comrade Liam Shea had died.
His death was devastating and unexpected to all his friends and allies, but most of all to his partner Luna. His loss robbed the world of a powerful activist; an old-school nazi-punching punk; someone who had, time and again, put himself at risk for the needs of others, to the point that he tattooed his knuckles with Y.N.W.A. (You’ll Never Walk Alone).
Infamously, during Hurricane Sandy, when the rising waters had destroyed his phone, he simply stepped out his second story window into the flood and spent the next two days cut off from the world, rescuing people, refusing evacuation.
In the aftermath, he became a key organizer in Occupy Sandy, which is why I spoke with him in 2014 for a MintPress News article on community resilience that in turn inspired my recent newsletter.
At the end of our conversation, I asked him if he thought he and his neighbors would someday be forced to abandon his community due to rising sea levels. I was surprised by how vehemently he denied that possibility.
Instead, Liam insisted that his community would not allow itself to be ‘gentrified’ with water. They would fight.
With Liam gone, and our political situation seeming darker by the minute, I’ve thought a lot about how hard we all have to fight, and where we should be fighting.
Whenever the Texas government does something terrible, which is every day, you can find people in the comments sections suggesting we abandon the state: let them secede and make everyone of a liberal persuasion move away.
To my surprise, you can still find these same arguments today. Even though the ruling regime makes it more clear than ever, to those of us with privilege who are only just realizing it, that the toxin of racism and nationalism knows no state boundaries.
The murderers are calling from inside the White House, and they’ve always been there.
So where can we run? I imagined moving to a state with legal marijuana (my favorite vice), only to witness our new attorney general insist on upholding the old, racist war on drugs with renewed fervor.
In a recent episode of Savage Lovecast, Dan Savage quoted a famous speech by gay activist and politician Harvey Milk, in which he imagines a gay Texas youth contemplating his grim options: suicide or a lifetime in the closet.
“Then one day,” Milk says, “that child might open the paper that says ‘Homosexual elected in San Francisco’ and there are two new options: the option is to go to California, or stay in San Antonio and fight.”
I don’t blame anyone fleeing across the border into Canada — their situation is that desperate. Yet Canada has problems of its own, and its economy is dependent on ours. We cannot expect Justin Trudeau, Trump’s brother by fossil fuel investment, to resist our fascist regime or protect our refugees.
I, for one, will stay and fight — in Texas, or wherever life takes me. I refuse to go back into the darkness. I’ll fight to keep expanding the possibilities of hope for everyone, documented or otherwise, trans or cisgendered, straight or queer, of all faiths and none.
Let’s stay, join hands, and fight for our neighbors and ourselves.
“Neighborhoods like mine they want us fucking out of here anyway. They’ll gladly gentrify us with water then they’ll do what they want. It’s up to people to fight for their shit.” — LIAM SHEA (REST IN POWER), FROM 2014 INTERVIEW ABOUT HURRICANE SANDY
Gonzo action tips
For the rest of 2017, I’m challenging myself and you to read more radical books.
It’s even better if they are written by authors who aren’t white dudes (we get to be the stars enough of the time).
If you’re looking for recommendations, the famous City Lights Bookstore published a resistance reading list last month. Haymarket Books also offered a Stop Trump Reading List after the election.
Over on my website, I recently reviewed Rebecca Solnit’s “Hope In The Dark,” an uplifting but critical look at the way the Left celebrates and remembers its victories (or fails to do so), and I think it makes a great starting point for radical reading after Trump.
If you’ve recently started a neighborhood or community group, like I recommended in issue 05, this would be a great opportunity to read, and discuss some radical literature as a group.
I’d love to hear your recommendations too — send me an email with your favorite radical reads.
Stay And Fight Fascism Where You Are (Gonzo Notes) by Kit O’Connell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://kitoconnell.com/2017/03/01/stay-fight-gonzo-notes/.