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Tag: Activism

‘We Must Act & Care For Each Other’: An Interview With Mutual Aid Disaster Relief

Posted in Creative Commons, Journalism, and Occupy Wall Street

Inspired by Common Ground in New Orleans and Occupy Sandy and numerous other community-led relief efforts, Mutual Aid Disaster Relief cultivate “autonomous, decentralized, and liberatory disaster relief.”

I’ve featured multiple Mutual Aid Disaster Relief publications in my Virtual Gonzo Zine Library. Most recently, I put “Lessons Learned” in the “Winter 2020” edition of the VGZL. I reached out to MADR by email, and they answered collectively. I found their answers so eloquent, I wanted to present them here in Q&A format rather than editing them into a formal interview-style article. I’ve only lightly edited the responses for clarity and brevity.

Kit O’Connell: Any advice for handling armed fascists or right wingers that show up in disaster areas trying to “patrol” “prevent looting” guard against “antifa” etc?

Taking Space Feels Like A Drug: Reflections On A Coup Attempt

Posted in Creative Commons, Journalism, and Occupy Wall Street

After watching the coup, I keep imagining the feeling of breaking through. The rush. The giddy high of taking space.

Like so many antifascists, I saw something like this coming. I wasn’t surprised, but I was still shocked at the sight of a war-helmeted christofascist raising his fist in the air as he stood atop the heart of American political power.

And I keep coming back to how good they must feel. These nasty fucking fascists, white supremacists, and Qsuckers are riding one of the biggest highs of their lives. And that makes them even more dangerous.

Yes Magazine: Documenting Protests While Protecting Protesters

Posted in Journalism, and Yes! Magazine

Often working with just their phones, community journalists can shine light on movements, expose police brutality, and help protect activists from getting “disappeared” by an authoritarian government. At the same time, the wrong tweet—or especially livestream—can leave people in the street exposed to increased police surveillance.

From “snatch and grab” arrests in unmarked vans, to raids on the homes of perceived organizers, activists have good reason to be concerned. From Portland, Oregon, to Philadelphia, law enforcement acknowledge using livestreams and other social media to gather evidence.

As activists begin to face serious charges from the most recent wave of protests, there’s also more attention on the risks posed by inexperienced or unethical community journalists. Meanwhile, more people are protesting for the first time, with some newly taking up the role of community journalist. As such, a debate that’s been bubbling beneath the surface since at least the Occupy movement and Arab Spring is bursting to the forefront: the question of whether, and how, protests should be documented in real time online.

Zines For Surviving Under Rising Fascism

Posted in Journalism

It’s becoming very obvious that we face a dangerous fight against fascism in the U.S. (and elsewhere).

Even though I’ve been sounding the alarm for a while, I’m still alarmed at the speed with which things are progressing towards a full blown authoritarian state, the rate of escalating fascist political violence, and the general feeling that we’re all less prepared than we should be.

This is just a brief post to say that what you are seeing happen in front of you is real and scary to me too. Don’t believe anybody who tries to tell you that you’re over-reacting.

Beyond The Concrete Milkshake: Tactics For Defeating Media Trolls & Grifters (Zine)

Posted in Creative Commons, Journalism, and Zines

A free zine by Kit O’Connell with nonviolent tactics for protecting your movement from media trolls and grifters that seek to harm activists.

During the Occupy movement, the smartphone allowed anyone to broadcast live or instantly report on protests or police action using social media. Some of these citizen journalists started to bring in donations from their viewers, usually just enough to keep them supplied with Megabus tickets to the next protest. Most of them either broadly supported the movement, or subscribed to “journalistic neutrality.”

Then, some of them figured out you can make way more money working for the dark side. So they tucked their beanie caps down a little lower and got to work making the Left look bad. A trickle of donations turned into a flood of money.

Dishonestly edit a video, and you could land a job with Infowars. Get roughed up while harassing antifascists, and you earn a 6-figure paycheck. All you have to do is give up a piece of your soul.

Virtual Gonzo Zine Library, Spring 2020: Resistance Under A Pandemic

Posted in Creative Commons, and Zines

Welcome to the Virtual Gonzo Zine Library. The VGZL is a quarterly zine reading list and miniature zine distro. A few times per year, I curate some of my favorite zines — zines that I think everyone should be reading, including myself.

This is the very first edition. I tried to pick zines which felt topical to this moment of pandemic, and could help inspire, comfort, and give us new perspectives. I selected a mixture of the very practical and the theoretical, but I tried to focus on zines written in an accessible way that wasn’t overly academic.

I’m dividing this edition of the Zine Library into a main selection and bonus content. The main selection is my reading list for the quarter, while the rest are other zines I think you might find interesting.