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What Are The Antifa Doing After Harvey? (#GonzoNotes)

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

Recently I heard from a reporter writing an article for a major mainstream newspaper who wanted to talk with antifascists. After checking out his Twitter, I decided to give him a shot. 

We spent about an hour talking about my work with Oh Shit! What Now? an antifascist anticapitalist educational collective that’s hosted everything from computer security classes to discussions of education reform. I stressed the everyday nature of real antifascist organizing, and emphasized that all of us are involved in other social justice causes. 

When the article came out — actually an opinion piece, it turned out — it was a horrorshow of predictable hot takes about antifa that ignored nearly everything I told him, and most of the other constructive work being done by antifascists around the country. 

‘Beyond Movement Silos’: How Advocates Are Showing Up For Those In The Texas Legislature’s Crosshairs

Posted in Austin, Journalism, and Rewire

The halls of the Texas State Capitol are no strangers to protests, but for organizers witnessing a resurgence of grassroots advocacy and activism, it’s a heartening sign after a series of discouraging years.

Thousands joined the 2013 “people’s filibuster” against HB 2, the omnibus anti-choice bill that eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but then momentum faltered with the defeat of Wendy Davis (and other Democratic candidates) in the 2014 election, followed by more setbacks in the intervening years of elections and Republican-led legislative sessions.

After the 2017 legislative session, Texas Republicans ensured that crucial funding bills remained unpassed, forcing lawmakers to return for a special session that costs taxpayers thousands of dollars per day. The Republicans hope to use this opportunity to build on new restrictions on abortion and a “Show Us Your Papers” anti-immigrants’ rights law, both subject to ongoing lawsuits, while forcing through unpopular and discriminatory legislation that failed to pass during the regular term.

Colorado Hemp Farmers Look To Congress For Access To Federal Water Rights

Posted in Journalism, and Ministry of Hemp

Though it’s legal to grow industrial hemp in Colorado, many farmers are breaking the law if they try to water their crops.

In western states, water rights are governed by complex laws that determine how farmers irrigate their crops. Even rainwater that falls on land owned by a farmer may be affected by federal water rights laws, and the federal government still essentially considers hemp illegal.

“That has been an issue almost from the onset that has stopped people from growing industrial hemp unless they had wells of their own or were using city water, which is difficult when you move into real agricultural areas,” said Duane Sinning, seed coordinator at the Colorado Department of Agriculture, in an interview with Ministry of Hemp.

Do We Owe Politicians Our Respect? (Respect Is Earned #GonzoNotes)

Posted in Creative Commons, Gonzo Notes, and Journalism

If they won’t let us dream, we won’t let them sleep

Time and again, one of the resounding criticisms of activist movements from the right and from the center-left is our lack of decorum.

While we sometimes acknowledge that acts of resistance can be effective, we’ve sanded all the rough edges off of our memories of these moments. Frequently cited are the successes of the Black Civil Rights movement, but in the popular imagination their victories were won by respectful, soft-spoken men and women dressed in suits, calmly advocating for their rights.

Using Able-Bodied Privilege To Defend Healthcare & Human Rights

Posted in Act Out!, Creative Commons, Journalism, and Video

They’re loud, they’re fierce, and they’d rather risk death than see their — and your — health care get cut.

You’ve probably seen stories about protesters torn from their wheelchairs as they shut down Senators’ offices, resisting the devastating new Republican “health care” plan that would push even more people into ill health, bankruptcy and death.

To give you a rough idea of how many — there are currently about 29 million people uninsured under the ACA — although many who are insured still suffer from the economic burdens of trying to stay alive. That number may drop a bit by 2026 but under the proposed AHCA, revised or not, more than 50 million people would be uninsured. And we’ll get to what third option would leave no one insured but first, let’s circle back to these protests.

Organized under the hashtag #ADAPTandResist, they have spread across the U.S., from Capitol Hill to legislator’s offices around the country. We’ve all been justifiably horrified to see people defending their right to health care literally dragged to jail, and sometimes bloodied in the process. But as with anyone who places their body squarely in the path of the powers that be, these protesters don’t want our pity, they want our solidarity — because this is a struggle we should all take part in.

They also aren’t new to this struggle either — actually, disability rights advocates from groups like ADAPT are some of the fiercest, and most effective activists around, and they’ve literally transformed the world you live in, to everyone’s benefit.

Diversity Of Tactics Keeps Your Enemies Off Balance (Gonzo Notes)

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

September 17, 2012: the financial district was in chaos.

On the morning of the one year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, marking the day that tents first went up in Zuccotti Park, activists flooded Wall Street for hours.

Some held birthday parties in bank lobbies until the police came. Others took the furniture out of buildings and threw it in the street. One group I knew blocked traffic with a makeshift donut stand, offering dumpster-dived pastries and coffee to the NYPD.

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