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Tag: LGBTQIA

Seeking Justice In The Face Of Apocalypse & Tyranny (Gonzo Notes)

Posted in Gonzo Notes, and Journalism

In the face of tyranny and environmental apocalypse, does our activism still matter?

I felt my heart sink recently when I saw an old comrade, largely retired from activism, questioning the value of his work. As a passionate advocate for LGBTQIA rights, he was one of the most radical and outspoken, never willing to settle down and wait for the human rights he deserved. I don’t in any way judge my friend for stepping back from activism, which is often a valid and eminently sensible decision. I’ve done it myself, lately, for various reasons including a legal battle I just won.

The stakes are higher now, to be sure. While Trump’s administration constantly seems on the verge of collapse, his election seems to signify a new era in which old standards of political behavior are abandoned in favor of accelerated, unchecked avarice and unmasked bigotry. Simultaneously, even the most pessimistic of climate scientists seems shocked at the rate at which things are getting worse for our planet.

Black Rose Book Distro, St. Louis Radical Pop Up Bookstore, Attacked By White Supremacists

Posted in Creative Commons, Journalism, and Radical Media

Black Rose Book Distro, a network of radical “pop up” bookstores in St. Louis, was attacked by white supremacists in January.

I first heard about the incident via Twitter as the distro’s volunteers spread the word about the damage to their books, zines, and safer sex supplies.

Authors, publishers, and activists of all kinds quickly stepped up to replace almost everything, and all of the Black Rose Book Distro locations are open again. But I still think it’s important to spread word about what happened, because American nazis pose a growing risk to not just the physical safety of marginalized groups in the U.S., from LGBTQIA folks to immigrants and people of color, but also our culture and knowledge too. The members of Black Rose agreed when I approached them for an interview.

On Punching Nazis & Forbidden Knowledge In 2017 (#GonzoNotes)

Posted in Gonzo Notes, Journalism, and LGBTQIA

Almost a month ago, in broad daylight in a busy urban neighborhood in Houston, nazis tried to shut down a book fair.

If you follow me online, you’ve heard about this incident: a group of about two dozen nazis targeted the Houston Anarchist Bookfair while I taught a class on antifascism (called “Punching Nazis”) inside. The volunteer security team prevented them from entering the building, and they left after throwing a temper tantrum for their livestream viewers. The book fair, and my class, continued after a brief but terrifying interruption.

Master gaslighters, as always, the nazis began their livestream by declaring themselves to be “peaceful,” then stood outside a community center armed with tactical gloves demanding that I — they called for me by name — come out and fight them. The bookfair’s organizers pointed out the likely results if we’d been drawn into a fight:

Activists Beat Texas GOP With Social Media & Old-School Resistance Tactics

Posted in Austin, Creative Commons, Journalism, and Yes! Magazine

Who could resist images of smiling children gathered under an ancient oak tree on the grounds of the Texas Capitol, transfixed by Democrat and Republican lawmakers doing a tag-team recitation of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax?

Apparently not the good folks of Texas.

A broad coalition of environmental activists employed just such a strategy during a special session of the Texas Legislature this summer as a way of stealing the spotlight and defeating a bill meant to strip municipalities of their power to protect historic trees.

A Message From Texas: When The Left Fights Together, We Win!

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

With all the leftist bickering, in-fighting, both-siding, my anti-war prayers are bigger than yours bullshit, it seemed like a good time to highlight a leftist success story — particularly as it takes place in a bastion of right wingdom and frequent contributor and gonzo journalist Kit O’Connell was there to document it.

So yes — the Lone Star State is perhaps the last place where many of us would expect to see a broad coalition of left leaning groups successfully fight off the hateful Republican agenda. But that’s what just happened during a recent “special session” of the Texas legislature.

Special sessions are a loophole written into the Texas Constitution to allow the state government to conduct emergency business, but in this case the only emergency was that Gov. Greg Abbott had failed to oppress transgender people by passing a version of the so-called “bathroom bill” during the first part of the year. The Governor drew up a 20-point plan of hate for his month-long session, ranging from an attack on public workers’ unions, a pile of new restrictions on abortion, the bathroom bill, and even a bill that undermined the ability of cities to collect taxes to fund social services.

Then, to the surprise of even the people involved in the organizing to resist Abbott, activists working together across issues managed to fight off all but a handful of Abbott’s proposals, in an extraordinary display of the effectiveness of intersectional activism against seemingly insurmountable odds. At a time when some of our fundamental rights are under attack, the success of activists in one of the most politically conservative of states should give us all renewed faith in the power of movement building.

‘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.