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Tag: Gonzo Notes

You’re Never ‘Just’ A Journalist: Reporting From The Left & The Far Right (Gonzo Notes)

Posted in Creative Commons, Gonzo Notes, and Journalism

It’s a gift to be a journalist in this moment.

Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves. It’s the only way to get through.

Freelancers (like I am right now) spend every month counting our pennies, making sure we’ll make rent and have a little left over for food and coffee and the other vices of our profession. For those lucky few with a steady job, they’re wondering how long until downsizing and budget cuts will put them out on the street.

In addition to journalism’s grim financial picture, we’re finding ourselves targeted by the government and by far-right fascists for violence and repression in a way we haven’t faced in decades.

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.

Gonzo Notes 02: Celebrate Every Victory

Posted in Creative Commons, Gonzo Notes, and Journalism

During the first meeting of Occupy Austin, the general assembly agreed that the movement would “celebrate every victory.”

It’s an idea that I’ve often returned to in the years since OWS ended, and I was thinking about it when the water protectors of Standing Rock won an unexpected but hard-fought victory last weekend.

On Sunday, the Army Corps Of Engineers refused to grant a permit for the pipeline to continue under a river that passes through sacred lands in Sioux territory, temporarily preventing completion.

As thousands of veterans streamed into Standing Rock, promising to put their bodies in between cops and Native Americans, “the power structure itself blinked in the face of our unity,” Kelly Hayes wrote, eloquently, on Monday.

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