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Tag: Austin

Laughing Ourselves To Hell: Trolling As A Lifestyle (Gonzo Notes)

Posted in Austin, Creative Commons, and Gonzo Notes

I was a teenage (and young adult) troll.

In my early 20s especially, I hung out on SomethingAwful, a website with a lively associated forum that would often target groups we perceived to be low hanging fruit (furries, goths, and so on) for online attacks.

Our viciousness never rose to the level of today’s super-trolls, who send SWAT teams to their enemies’ houses or wage ongoing campaigns that drive vulnerable people to suicide, but I can see how I took part in the early days of this trend, and I’m not proud of it.

Part of maturing for me has been recognizing that I can’t eradicate this prankster side of myself, so I’ve instead learned to direct it against the corrupt systems that promote inequality and the powerful people who profit off modern day, extractive capitalism.

Pranking up, not punching down.

Unpacking The Fascist Rampage On May Day In Austin: What Happened, What Went Wrong

Posted in Austin, Creative Commons, and Journalism

On May Day, 2017 in Austin, Texas, a coalition of heavily armed Nazis shut down a radical activist march.

The international workers holiday brought a variety of activist events to the Texas capital, from workers’ protests organized by Fight For 15 to a sit-in at the Governor’s Office in opposition to SB4, the brutal and inhumane anti-Sanctuary Cities bill.

In the afternoon, a Communist organization in Austin had called for a radical (“red bloc”) march. While these kind of events are a fixture in cities like Portland and Seattle, but has only begun to appear in Austin in the last couple of years, and with far fewer numbers attending.

At 4pm, the designated start time, a couple dozen radicals dressed in black began to trickle into the meeting place, a downtown intersection near Republic Park. However, the fascists were already in the area and on the march, even as our people began to gather.

Although Republic Park is a historic meeting place in the city, it’s currently shut down for construction and surrounded by high fencing. In fact, the entire area around 4th and Guadalupe is full of construction, creating a boxed in atmosphere that the fascists used to their full advantage. Additionally a security camera operated by the local transit service, along with what was most likely an undercover cop disguised as a homeless man, were present at the site, further placing activists at risk.

What Is A Sanctuary City & How Can We Defend Immigrant Families?

Posted in Act Out!, Austin, and Journalism

The reports from the first wave of Trump’s ICE Raids are full of disturbing stories of jackbooted thugs oppressing the oppressed — and literally tearing families apart in the name of a fascist, xenophobic and factually inaccurate agenda.

Trump’s long-promised mass deportations have begun, ramping up from the Obama administration’s already disgusting record of nearly 3 million deportations. As more and more people find themselves in the crosshairs of fascism, it is quite clear that those of us lower on that checklist — because we are all on it — have an obligation to stand up — to demand our communities and cities be safe havens for all — sanctuary cities, if you will. And to be ready to put our bodies on the front lines for freedom, justice and human rights.

The concept of a “sanctuary city” actually dates back to the Old Testament, and early Christian rulers who designated certain cities as places of sanctuary for those accused of accidentally committing manslaughter.

Two thousand years later, and we’ve entered the bizarro world of 2017, where people who call themselves the followers of Christ have turned “sanctuary” into a dirty word and back a crackdown on the undocumented, literally among the most vulnerable people around.

Protests & Events In Austin For Donald Trump’s Inauguration

Posted in Austin, and Creative Commons

You don’t have to go to Washington, D.C. to resist Donald Trump. Here in Austin, we’ve got a full weekend of protest — and some fun events to round it out.

Heres’s a list of every protest, rally, or inauguration-related event I know of in Austin. You can jump in the comments with links if you know about anything else I’ve missed.

I’m not endorsing any of these events, but I’ll be covering them when I can. Keep an eye on my Twitter for updates and my Facebook for live coverage.

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?

Austin Anarchist Black Cross: Solidarity With National Prison Strike (Audio Interview)

Posted in Austin, Journalism, and MintPress News

On Friday, I attended a small Austin protest held in solidarity with the national prison strike. This historic event was expected to take place at dozens of facilities around the country and potentially involve hundreds of inmates, and was scheduled to coincide with the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison riots.

About 15 people protested in South Austin at the showroom of Texas Correctional Industries, a private corporation that sells products made through unpaid prison labor. Although prisoners are not paid for their work, which is mandatory, TCI brought in over $88 million in fiscal year 2014.

I interviewed an anonymous member of the Austin Anarchist Black Cross for my article in The Texas Observer on the protest but, as so often happens in journalism, great quotes get cut because you run out of space. Fortunately, I obtained permission to share the interview on SoundCloud.

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