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Category: Gonzo Notes

Fascism & The Harsh Lessons Of Failure (Gonzo Notes)

Posted in Austin, Creative Commons, and Gonzo Notes

I’m in a strange position this month as a gonzo journalist, because I can’t really write about the major action I attended last month.

The short version is that I attended a counterprotest against the Austin version of the national “March 4 Trump.” We were badly outnumbered, surrounded and attacked by fascist Trump supporters. I survived a serious assault and was hospitalized overnight. I now face a misdemeanor assault charge even though I was the victim, along with hospital bills, and this charge prevents me from writing much more.

Still, here’s the main lesson I learned — at least the one that’s safe to share:

We are not ready. …

Resistance, Self-Care And Threat Modeling After Vault 7 With Katie Klabusich

Posted in Act Out!, Audio, Gonzo Notes, and Journalism

Katie and I talked about the difficulty of building a resistance against odds that can seem insurmountable using “How to survive Hurricane Donald,” the February 10 issue of Gonzo Notes, as a jumping off point. I also mentioned activist Liam Shea, the community activist who inspired me to write both “Hurricane Donald” and the following issue of Gonzo Notes, “Stay and fight fascism where you are.” Shea died tragically and unexpectedly in early February.

Local organizing is a theme I’ve been returning to frequently recently, and will probably keep talking about, because it seems so vital. Until there is another Occupy-style moment of national “rupture” — which, so far, hasn’t materialized via the Trump regime — the best we can do is strengthen our local communities and share the skills we have with each other.

Inspired by my script on “Vault 7” for Act Out! we closed with a discussion of what WikiLeaks’ latest release means for activists, and I explained why threat modeling means we can still fight back even when the government has access to terrifying mass surveillance tools.…

Stay And Fight Where You Are (Gonzo Notes)

Posted in Creative Commons, Gonzo Notes, Journalism, MintPress News, and Occupy Wall Street

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).…

How To Survive Hurricane Donald (Gonzo Notes 05)

Posted in Austin, Creative Commons, Gonzo Notes, Journalism, and Occupy Wall Street

Resilient communities are more resistant.

Strong communities survive and strong communities resist.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, radical activists and community organizers created Common Ground Relief to step in where the government and traditional NGOs like the Red Cross failed. They organized both the immediate needs of the community, like food and rebuilding, while also enabling long term political organizing. Today, the Common Ground Health Clinic still remains in New Orleans, offering “solidarity not charity.”

Occupy Sandy was a more recent, well known response to disaster. With their skills honed by Occupy Wall Street, activists created an ambitious network of neighborhood relief centers offering supplies of all kinds and connecting people with builders and other volunteers after Hurricane Sandy.…

Don’t Let Unity Erase Your Struggle (Gonzo Notes 04)

Posted in Austin, Creative Commons, Gonzo Notes, and Journalism

A vital part of preparing for the next 4 years is building broad coalitions, but lately I’ve been reminded that coalition building has a dark side too.

This is work we need to do, without a doubt. A coalition can mobilize thousands of people from diverse backgrounds, and illuminate the intersection between our struggles.

The trouble is that with every group you bring to the table, you have to accommodate not just another political agenda but differing tactics for achieving those goals.

Questions quickly arise: How far are you willing to go to resist the government? Will your coalition collaborate with the police and in what ways? Are all organizations committed to nonviolence and, if so, do they have compatible definitions of what nonviolence means?…

How To Break Rules In 2017 (Gonzo Notes 03)

Posted in Creative Commons, Gonzo Notes, and Journalism

Here in Austin, Texas, activists love to hold rallies at the state capitol building.

It’s a magnificent edifice of pink granite and the symbolic center of our state, so I can understand the impulse. Yet the grounds are so massive that all but the biggest crowds become visually lost among the monuments, and for about 18 months out of every 24 the building is empty (“a big pink tourist trap”).

I’m tired of attending protests outside an empty building. The bigger issue is that strongly worded speeches alone won’t solve the immense problems we face. Neither will petitions or angry letters.…

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