We need legislation at the local, state, and national level that would make violence against sex workers and perceived sex workers a hate crime.
I believe my 4th Amendment Constitutional Rights were violated and that I was subject to psychological torture (a form of assault) due not only to some drug use, but due to suspected prostitution as well. I believe what happened to me was a hate crime, and the murder of the Asian female sex workers was not only a hate crime against Asians and women, but a hate crime against sex workers as well. I am working on a report which I will be releasing soon and am hoping to be interviewed by the media so that I can talk about my own experience and urge action, as well as gain support from agencies that are working for the rights of sex workers.
I urge you to please contact your representatives at the city, state, and national level, urging them to work on legislation in this matter.
Six years ago, someone wanted to know if I was civil rights minded. I didn’t understand why she was asking that. But now I get it! I finally made the mental connection. And YES, actually, I AM civil rights minded, and that should TERRIFY her to death. In fact, I hope she loses sleep at night over it! I’m civil rights minded to the CORE. She and others put the wrong person to the test! I WILL speak out. I WILL sue! I WON’T cower to any intimidation tactics. I am STRONG. I may be suffering from anxiety-related pain, but that’s not going to stop me! I learned about some strong people in my classes at Eastern Washington University and I KNEW people who were strong and proud. I absorbed their strength. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, but I wanted to do something to help create a better world. I focused on the environment for a while. I focused on antiwar protesting for a while. But it wasn’t until this THING happened to me, that my true colors really shined. THIS was it, my big test, to see if I could stand my ground and to see if I would resist or follow the path of least resistance. This inner battle continued on after the event, as well as the question remained: how would I share my experience without sounding like I’d totally checked out of reality for a long minute? Or trying to explain the “why” of why they did this to me. They had their reasons. They had legitimate reasons, but that’s not an excuse for what they did. I won’t say at this point what their reasons were. But trust me, they had their reasons.
When I learned about triggers in a Frontier Behavioral Health group, I thought the point of us learning about triggers is so that we could AVOID triggers, but apparently, it’s so we can be better equipped to handle our triggers. I want to go into public speaking but am imagining bad-case scenarios and of course the worst-case scenario imaginable. There is not much I can do to prepare for the worst case, which would involve receiving negative publicity and being tortured and burned to death by some crazy white supremacist, except perhaps to prepare to approach it through meditation and guided imagery. I once read about someone who was able to undergo surgery without anesthesia or pain medication because he was THAT effective at meditation. That’s some MAD skillz! I know in anxiety group they warn against “catastrophizing”, but I have good reason to believe that I could be further targeted and become a victim of a hate crime a second time around. I don’t want to back down, though. I SHOULDN’T back down. Others out there that have come before me have braved some insanely serious potential threats but did what they believed was the RIGHT thing to do for the betterment of society, despite the risks. Some have died for what they believed in but didn’t let death threats get the best of them and refused to back down. They died, but they died for a CAUSE. I survived through psychological torture, but physical torture is another beast, and hopefully I won’t have to come face to face with it. Torture should NEVER happen, psychological OR physical. What happened at Abu Ghraib was UNTHINKABLE, regardless of whether any of the suspects were or weren’t terrorists. It was sick and morally repulsive. My alleged spies didn’t use the same exact psychological torture techniques, but it was torture, nonetheless. Torture is against international law. Does that include psychological torture? And what if the torture is done by outlaws and not by the government, as I believe was the case with me? Is it still against international law THEN? Remember, it was in Spokane, WA where there existed the psychologists who were behind the psychological torture interrogation practices experimented with at Abu Ghraib. THEY invented those techniques. Spokane is the city I call home, and it is the very same city I believe I was spied on by a vigilante “justice mob” consisting of primarily neighbors and family who thought up some “lovely” torture techniques of their own to try out on me.
So now we’re calling drug addiction a “mental illness” and forcing people on it to go to rehab. Fuck you, I’m not mentally ill for being a recovering addict. I mean I guess calling it mental illness is better than throwing us all in prison to rot for years; call it whatever you want. Not that being a person with a mental illness is a bad thing, but it should be noted that homosexuality was once considered a “mental illness” and that’s an insult to the LGBTQA+ community. Now, I’m not equating addiction with being a member of the queer community. They’re completely two different things, and addictions can definitely cause problem, but the list of addictions out there are endless, and some are legal but equally or even more destructive (such as consumer madness that’s totally wiping out our planet). But no one calls shopaholics “mentally ill” unless they sometimes suffer from mania. I don’t have schizophrenia either. My siblings and some neighbors and a few others just thought I was some malingering druggie radical with ambitions to be in a leftist militia. Well, I wasn’t malingering actually, but I did do drugs for a while because that treated the chronic fatigue and pain, and I just might have had enough energy to achieve my big dreams of joining a leftist militia and helping to abolish capitalism. But I WASN’T malingering. I couldn’t work due to pain and fatigue. I was forced to face my limitations. And I fucking HATE facing my limitations. I’m a dreamer; there’s millions of things I’d like to do. Like founding a nonprofit that does D.I.Y. video work, D.I.Y. desktop publishing, D.I.Y. acting, D.I.Y. management, D.I.Y. EVERYTHING. But I was backing off from making any commitments out of fear of taking on too much and overdoing things, especially after reading some of the literature on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia. But doing nothing was boring and it was totally depressing, so I tried drugs. Call my condition before drugs and sometime later post-drug use depression or somatoform disorder if you want, but don’t call it a fucking MENTAL HEALTH disorder. Don’t call it a behavioral health problem either. I find that equally offensive. It’s like saying there’s a problem with my behavior while at the same time telling me we live in a free fucking country! No, you’re only allowed to misbehave if you’re wealthy and get slaps on the wrist for your workers dying from unsafe conditions and oil leaks that destroy the environment, or for being a white supremacist that terrorizes the Black, LatinX, and Native communities. Fuck you!
Anyway, I’m not doing drugs now. Believe it or not, drug use isn’t allowed in my building or in my state (unless you call marijuana a drug, which still isn’t allowed in federally subsidized low-income housing due to federal law conflicting with state law (but don’t get started on state’s rights because that argument was once used by former slave-owners in the South bemoaning their “right” to enslave others).
Someday I’ll live in a housing unit and a state that allows drug use. And they won’t force us into treatment either and call us fucking “mentally ill.” So long as we’re not cooking meth in an apartment building and aren’t hurting anyone or guilty of gross abuse or negligence, including that of negligent abuse of babies in unchanged diapers, what’s the problem? Oh, and most of the violence that comes with the drug scene, is due to drugs being criminalized in the first place. Drug dealers are afraid of going to prison, so some of them murder narcs and rats, and anyone they’re suspicious of.
As far as most other drug-related crimes go, such as stealing and robbing to get money to pay for drugs, those problems would all go away if drugs were legal and free. And if you want to get treatment, that should be free too! Yeah, obviously if you’re not changing your babies diapers you should have your child taken away from you. If you’re beating up a partner because of your drug use, they should abandon you. I’m telling you though, that a lot of “behavioral issues” related to drug use is due to it being criminalized with a punishment of imprisonment, which by the way, due to an unfair criminal justice system targets ESPECIALLY Black, LatinX, and Native men!
I don’t plan on kink-shaming in this article as BDSM can be fine between 2 consenting paired adults, so long as the agreement as followed and so long as there’s no major injuries such as limbs being broken, hands being cut off, and eyes being poked out. I don’t know if anyone has ever consented to major injuries anyway.
However, I did read in the Merck manual of mental disorders that less than 10% of rapists are sadistic. I would argue though that ALL rapists are NONCONSENTUALY sadistic. The reasons cited for rape is the desire to be powerful, and I would argue here that ALL rapists get off on the idea of causing PSYCHOLOGICAL pain to the victim, perhaps even excited at the idea that their emotionally traumatizing someone for life. While this isn’t physical torture per say (aside from the violence of the rape) it is definitely psychological torture.
The research hasn’t been done on this, though, so I can only speculate. This would, however, make for a good area of research, so if you know a psychologist who is interested in the psychology of rape, you may want to suggest this to them.
It really irritates me that some people who seek positions in Social Work, whether as actual social workers or as AmeriCorps volunteers and/or other volunteers FROWN on the people they serve. A fellowette AmeriCorps Vista, who was doing her service at the Hope House women’s shelter, believed that there SHOULD be a religious mandate there, because some of the women “really needed God.” As a Godless person, this really annoyed me. I don’t think it’s right to shove God’s dick down ANYONE’S throat. Neither do I think it’s okay for the workers to judge homeless people as “inferior.” The Union Gospel for Mission also is judgmental towards drug & alcohol addiction and won’t give them a place to stay warm if they don’t pass a UA. People DIE from being stuck out in the cold at night! And an addiction is NOT a character flaw! One guy who helps out at City Gate makes negative comments, like “If you were REALLY hungry, you’d eat that!” Which he said to me because I didn’t want a bologna sandwich because I’m fucking VEGETARIAN! If you’re going to go into service to “help” other people, make sure you unlearn your ignorance first. Which reminds me…in Service-Learning our goal was to get students to volunteer and learn from their volunteering. Well, first they need to be educated to not fucking judge people. And unlearning ignorance is a time-consuming process. There’s no guarantees they will EVER unlearn their ignorance, so maybe we shouldn’t be trying to throw them into service like that! Unfortunately, a lot of social service work is left in the hands of the religious, who place a lot of moral judgements on others. Some of them are NEVER going to unlearn their ignorance! We need adequate government-funded shelter for ALL!
Motivated by race, gender, a fixation on sex workers, and perhaps by a fixation on so-called “Communist China.” I read some time ago that white supremacists were planning to start targeting sex workers. This was before the pandemic, when right wingers & right wing media personalities were blaming the virus on China. Add that to the fact that Epoch Times did a mass marketing campaign for awhile about their paper and the “threat” of “Communist China” and white supremacists also tend to hate communists and socialists. Keep in mind Joe Biden is also a right-wing nutjob spreading disinformation & misinformed of China, as well as much of the so-called liberal media. Anyway…so there was a lot of fuel on the fire already when this hate-filled white supremacist murderer shot eight people focusing especially on Asian female sex workers.
I realize that a lot of Asian women and women in general are against the hypersexualization of Asian women & other women. Understandably so. But the fact is, women of Asian descent, and other races as well, need income. If we want to discourage sex work, we need to provide for all our citizens and noncitizens. Everyone needs housing, food, and clean water, for themselves and their families. Some women (& men) can provide well for their families with sex work. Yes, they’re exploited, but so are Amazon workers and millions of other workers in the U.S. alone, thanks to a capitalist system that feeds off keeping us all desperate for jobs and overworked and underpaid. The vast majority of workers are exploited. We need to stop stigmatizing the jobs performed by others, including sex work. Of course, many women do sex work by force, which needs to be addressed. Some women and men due it due to drug addiction, which is an illness that needs to stop being criminalized. Some are “groomed” to be sex workers by others who want to get them hooked on drugs so they’ll perform sex work in exchange for drugs. That needs to be addressed. We should provide safely administered drugs for free to people suffering from addiction so they won’t feel forced to turn to the street to get their fix, and so they won’t use dirty needles either. Plus of course offer them free ongoing treatment that won’t interfere with their jobs and won’t put them at risk of homelessness. And lastly, all sex work should be decriminalized because it puts sex workers at risk for imprisonment and losing housing, and sex workers are disproportionately nonwhite due to our racist, capitalist system. The only thing that should be criminal is forcing people into sex work and grooming them to be sex workers.
In the weeks ahead we’ll examine in depth the local elements and public figures of right-wing movements that have become prominent in the region and nationally. While many of these organizations and causes have roots as deep as the initial European colonization of the Americas, the past decade has been fertile ground for the explosive growth of ideologies built upon religious fanaticism, paranoia, authoritarianism, and white supremacy. The election of the nation’s first Black president and subsequent antidemocratic backlash provoked the public emergence of virulent strains of hatred masquerading as “liberty”. As with any serious disease of the body politic it is important to understand the causes and symptoms alike, and we hope this series helps illuminate for our readers the parasitic growth of these ideologies upon the margins of our communities.
Four essential threads run through contemporary American far right movements, and these are interwoven to the extent that it’s increasingly unlikely to see an individual group or protest in which one of these threads is absent. I’ll introduce each in the sequence they’ll appear over the course of this series:
Christian Nationalism, also referred to as Dominionism, is an increasingly ubiquitous feature of American far right movements, and is a common indicator of participation in movement causes without specific religious aspects. Dominionists operate on the notion that Christ has commanded them to seize the organs of government, law, education, popular culture, and more with the aim of imposing what they view as God’s law upon the United States and ultimately on the entirety of human civilization. This fringe approach to Christianity is generally inconsistent with that of mainstream believers, just as much as the extremist elements of other religious traditions are unrepresentative of those faiths. Dominionist thought and strategy is found among Evangelicals and Roman Catholics alike, and has spread insidiously among low-information believers who often have little understanding of the tenets of their own faith. The corrupt focus on domination, subjugation, confrontation, and even violence appeals to adherents and nonbelievers alike who are attracted to these approaches, and is the primary interconnection with our remaining threads.
Conspiracy Theorism, once called the paranoid style in American politics by Richard Hofstadter, is a burgeoning element of many far right groups. The phenomenal growth of the Trump-centric Qanon (“Q”) movement is effectively exponential, mirroring the development of any number of religions, past or present. The general public climate of the past decade has fostered the growth and popularity of conspiracy theories, loosely defined as (irrational) beliefs in hidden but powerful organizations and individuals which supposedly control and shape the course of human events outside of public view. Declining education, anti-intellectualism, white supremacist backlash to the Obama era, widespread use of social media platforms, the reality-warping presidency of Trump, and ever widening socioeconomic inequality are but a few factors that have helped propagate a new dark age of unreason. Within each of the movements we’ll consider here, at least one significant conspiratorial claim can be found.
In recent years, and especially recent weeks, Americans have witnessed their own government very publicly take on the very attributes and policies of the fascist regimes the nation once ostensibly opposed. While authoritarianism has been present in US society for centuries in quite real and pernicious forms, it is now embraced wholeheartedly by American far right leaders and movements (and the roughly one third of the population supporting them). Numerous quasi-military operations have sprung up in law enforcement and civilian spheres alike, and at the fringes a genuinely seditious movement which hopes to spark a new civil war. The worship of firearms in US society binds these disparate groups as well. Even among the rank-and-file of American police departments, it is all too common to witness open, abhorrent favoritism toward right wing protesters and paramilitaries during public demonstrations. Naturally, these public and institutional authoritarian leanings lead us to the final thread this series will explore.
The vastly overdue conflagration ignited by the brutal murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and so many other Black citizens has cast a harsh light on the white supremacy that is root and branch of the American right (and much of America itself). Far right movements in the US attempt to disavow their own evident racism on occasion, but of all the ties that bind them this is the oldest and the key. Fear and hatred of others galvanizes and unifies these movements, and behind those raw emotions is the terror that the dominance, power, and privilege conferred by white supremacy will be lost. We hope to in some small way add to the spotlight glare being thrown on racism in this country by examining regional expressions of these behaviors, ideologies, and movements.
Misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia are far from beyond the scope of a thorough examination of far right movement attitudes and ideology. The upcoming article focusing on religious aspects of these groups covers these poisonous hatreds in considerable detail. It is worth noting that much like systemic racism, these issues are so prevalent in broader society that they’re very much worth reflecting upon independently.
I want to believe that Joe Biden will be measurably better than Donald Trump; I sincerely do. It’s just, history and his voting record have already told me it isn’t too likely. Sure, he could sound more professional in speeches, and would make less errors or gaffes in, said speeches (only less though, cause he seems to love shoving his foot in his mouth, fairly often, as well,). It would pretty much stop at speech though.
The best example of this is his utter refusal to defund the police. I understand why he won’t, and no, it ain’t got a damn thing to do with public safety or crime. It has everything to do with him being the co-author of the 1986 crime bill, which further militarized police departments, and ramped up the racist and classist “War on Drugs,” to a fever pitch.
This bill was nothing more than a bridge to build a new industrial complex in America for corporations and the rich to benefit off of, as the Cold War, was, at this point; fairly clearly, coming to an end. Out with the Military Industrial Complex and in with the Prison Industrial Complex, instead. I say it was nothing more than that because all data and research of that era show massive declines, nationally, in violent crime; while politicians like Biden were more inclined to believe Reagan era propaganda, and make the safe political move, as opposed to the one that’s fact based and helps a larger demographic of the population.
Of course this is just one of many, corporatist, one could even argue, vaguely racist and classist political decisions Biden has made through the years; however, given the climate we are currently in, certainly the most striking and pertinent example. How exactly is the man that helped ensure it would be us (the poor and minorities,) versus them (the police,)? It’s funny, in this article I started out with the intention of, begrudgingly, endorsing Joe Biden; given Trump’s recent descent into literal and outright fascism with his militaristic responses, and now secret federal policing of the protests.
As it turns out, though; I am not okay with utter hypocrisy, which is exactly what I’d be endorsing, by endorsing Joe Biden for the presidency. Fascism is fascism, no matter how friendly the face delivering it may be. Jerry Garcia once said; “Choosing the lesser of two evils, is still choosing evil.”
In this video, we discuss Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech, our so-called free country with the highest per capita of prisoners in the world & animals in cages and on factory farms, that was founded on slavery and genocide of the indigenous population, ICE detention centers, the so-called freedom to “not wear masks” and consume, and the state of the upcoming election.
Featuring Orion Moon & Myra Sue St. Clair Baldwin of The Deep End Northwest.
Learn to Swim Episode 5 & Drunkcast Show Episode 3
We couldn’t decide if we were recording an episode for the “Learn to Swim Show” or the “Drunkcast Show”, so this will be filed as both. In this episode we discuss criminal justice, racial justice, revolution, our authoritarian leader, mask-less Trump supporters, the supreme court, flag burning, and artificial insemination. Rated R for “Roasted!”
I don’t understand why many from USM (Uhuru Solidarity Movement) find it harder to recruit people identifying as “leftist” to their movement, which is to take a revolutionary stance against colonialism and capitalism, and for white people to work under the leadership of African leadership to demand reparations for the African community (currently being used for economic independence projects of The Black Power Blueprint). I know that some U.S. liberals are referred to as leftists, such as Bernie Sanders and AOC – who focus on reform projects such as increasing minimum wage and the Green New Deal – but leftists and especially leftists – include anarchists and socialists who are against colonialism, neocolonialism, racism, capitalism, environmental degradation, state violence, occupation of indigenous lands such as the Americas and Palestine, and imperialist wars. I know that some anarchists are into the idea of “no leadership” and thus no hierarchy, but I don’t understand why a lot of leftist socialists and leftist communists would be opposed to the idea of working under African leadership to eradicate the oppression of all people – especially that of indigenous peoples and Africans – who have been robbed of their labor and land.
I personally identify as a leftist and have joined USM. I still have lots to learn about the organization, but I find it perfectly logical for leftists to unite under African leadership – which, by the way, also fights for the rights of the world’s indigenous including the Indians of the Americas. I personally do support some reforms though, such as defunding the military and police, and decriminalizing drugs. And many in the USM believe that reforms just make it easier for people to accept western (and especially U.S.) imperialism. I will have to give that some serious thought, because I think it’s possible some reforms might actually empower liberals like Sanders and AOC and leftists to push for further reforms. Apparently though, Sanders and AOC still represent the establishment. And defunding the police is yet just another reform.
If we wear and eat clothing & food produced at low wages, then we’re living off of laborers who receive slave wages. However, if we can afford to wear and eat goods that are union-made & union-grown that reflect the true value of the goods, then we’re among the privileged in our capitalist society.
What we REALLY need to do, short of a socialist revolution, is subsidize (through increased taxation of the wealthy) union-made and union-grown organic sustainably-sourced goods. And we also need to purchase more used items, though that’s hard to do right now with a lot of second-hand stores closed due to the Coronavirus COVID-19. We also need to consume LESS and focus more on QUALITY goods produced & grown by union labor.
A friend doesn’t think I should “waste” all my stimulus check on my business, but it’s totally NOT a waste, even if I never make a buck from it. This website has become a real passion for me. It gives me purpose in life, helps me contribute to society, and is creatively fulfilling. It also gives me an opportunity to build a case against some people that I believe really may have spied on me. While I’m no fan of mass imprisonment, I have come to view spies as being on the same level as snitches, and snitches are bitches! I’m willing to put away some spies and let all my many many junkie friends out jail! Including junkie friends I haven’t ever met; not yet! On the day I put some people behind bars, it’s also going to be widely known as the “Get Out of Jail” Holiday for most prisoners and it will be a national holiday to be celebrated forever more! We’ll be celebrating the holiday with organic, non-gmo, union grown, sustainably grown & transported (by bicycle! haha!) government subsidized cocaine (not funded by the CIA as a cash cow, but rather funded primarily by taxing the rich)! Because someday all drugs will be decriminalized and the violent war on drugs will come to a screeching halt! It will be the celebration of our lifetime! We’ll need government PSA’s of course to remind us not to take too much and overdose and not to give any to our dogs or our children (yes, U.S. Americans can be THAT dumb sometimes).
The Deep End Northwest… is a blog covering life, politics, and social issues such as anti-theism vs. religious supremacy, disease, hunger, global climate change & the environment, peace & war, capitalism vs. socialism, big business & worker’s rights, homelessness, mental illness & privacy issues, drug addiction, art, racism, reparations. LBTQA+ issues, gun rights & responsible ownership, legalization & decriminalization of recreational drugs , and more from a leftist perspective.
Update: We were going to go ahead and sell logo t-shirts as “essential products” but I changed my mind, and told my business partners that I just couldn’t do it. It just feels so wrong. I’m really frustrated with out was-going-to-be supplier. They had blank t-shirts available that were made in the U.S., however t-shirts printed with our logo would be printed outside of the U.S. with probably cheap labor. Even if clothing is made in the U.S. one has to do their research to make sure they’re not made with super-cheap prison labor, which is essentially slave wages. I also am frustrated with the supplier because they offer so-called eco-friendly products that are manufactured abroad using cheap labor and are shipped miles and miles around the globe, from the farming & picking of fibers and/or extraction & production of synthetic fibers to the weaving of fabrics, to the shipment abroad to where they are printed, then to where they are held in a warehouse for delivery, to the customer’s home to where they are finally shipped. If one considers all the gas & pollution that goes into shipping these products, then one can’t really consider them eco-friendly. I’m also frustrated with mass production and think people need to buy less new shit and more used items. The would-be supplier makes some items in the U.S. but not utilizing eco-friendly materials, so we’re stuck with a choice between the two. Another thing – they don’t have the option of Union-made & union-printed clothing. Additionally, if you manage to get clothes that are made from truly eco-friendly materials sourced locally using union-made labor & printing and are sold in a brick & mortar store (because shopping to individual addresses is bad for the environment), then you end up with a product that only a rich person can afford. Of course, the masses really need to be buying mostly used. We really need to transition to a primarily resale-based economy. The system we have is totally unsustainable and it leaves it up to the free market and free market consumers to make their own individual choices about what to produce and what to buy, when we’re faced with detrimental resource depletion and climate change that are an imminent danger to humans and other life on earth.
by Myra Sue St. Clair Baldwin
There are general considerations that sellers are supposedly supposed to make when deciding how to price stuff. Competition is supposed to be a biggie, that or going after a niche market. I say to hell with competitive pricing! How cheap SHOULD clothes be? Charging less just leads to more mass production, shipment of goods around the world, mass consumerism, and poor working conditions – including wage slavery, debt slavery, and downright slavery.
I grew up poor, so really I know what it’s like to not be able to afford something that others can. I blame society for this – for teaching us to want so much.
People should be encouraged to wear their clothes until they’re worn out, and to have their clothes patched and hemmed. The price for mending seems expensive because we’re so conditioned to cheap, sweatshop labor & underpaid cotton pickers. But poor people like me can buy a lot of our clothes used (which is more sustainable). Or we can save up for high quality clothes and wear them longer. We need of course to wear undergarments, and our undergarments should be sustainable too, and most of us don’t want to wear used underwear! Rich people should pay for our high-quality organic undergarments. We can call it “The Sustainable Underwear Bill”! Really, we should abolish poverty and wealth all together and work towards everyone having sustainable clothes, from head to toe. We need to produce, ship, and consume on a much lesser scale. But in the meantime, let’s make do with what we’ve got and scrap mass consumerism!
I’m trying to decide how much to charge for our promotional shirts, and I think $21 plus tax and shipping for t-shirts made & printed in the USA will be a good deal, and will let us make some money without selling lots and lots of t-shirts. I’d rather us think small and sell small and stand up tall!
I’m waiting to hear back from my business partners on this matter. We won’t be selling any of our nonessential products at all until this COVID-19 crisis is over because delivering packages puts the lives of others at risk and for the most part people can live with the clothes they already have. Unless they’re gaining weight, like me, or losing weight. I guess when I have to get clothes that fit then I’ll absolutely do that. But I think there’s plenty of clothing dealers out there, that the world isn’t in absolute need of our logo t-shirts. The world can wait!
I heard back from my co-founders and they agreed that $21 was a good base-line price for a t-shirt made in the U.S.A. and that we shouldn’t go any lower than that. Unfortunately our supplier doesn’t sell clothes that are BOTH sustainable and made in the U.S.A. (or preferably union-made). We’re just starting out, so the supplier we’re using makes good business sense because we don’t have to buy a whole inventory of products, our supplier will do the shipping for us, and there are no up-front costs.
If you want to shop sustainably, you might want to consider buying at least half of your clothes from a brick & mortar thrift store in your area. Other than that, be choosy who you shop from; make sure that the branded clothing you wear represents what you really believe in and want to support, and wear your clothes till they’re rags & use the rags for cleaning. I hope you will wear our t-shirts with pride, knowing that we stand with leftists worldwide for a better future tomorrow.
To even point out anything that even remotely challenges, our dominance or supposed “good doings”, is labeled as “Un-American.”
By Sean P. McKelvey
As the celebration of our cold, calculated, violent, racist, sexist, xenophobic, entitled, ethnocentric, arrogant, privileged, genocidal, and disgustingly imperialistic leaders quickly approaches (President’s Day, as it’s commonly referred to); I find it a moral imperative and obligation to write this. There will be plenty of celebration of our country’s accomplishments and a sickening amount of gushing about our past presidents’ “greatness,” honorable ideals and accomplishments in the next day or so. I believe, however; in keeping with the American attitude and ideal (that sets us apart and makes us, truly; something to aspire to, given the nobility of our true purpose; which welcomed and celebrated, dissenting opinion and viewpoints, and the free exercise, thereof), the more dark and sad truths of our history, must also be shared. Our society must never forget that although we have, very much indeed, come an incredibly long and very honorable way; we still, and will always have much room for improvement to realize, the true promise of our great nation. That we all, regardless of our individual circumstances, or literally, anything else, at all, are equal, as Americans, and are all on an equal footing to start out. That we, and only we create our own futures and destiny: not, our class, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender or any other factor beyond our own control.
Since that is simply not the reality, at all, in our country; I have trouble blindly celebrating the absolutely broken promises that President’s Day represents. I will always have a big fat bone to pick with anything that feels like bullshit patriotic propaganda. Indeed, we ALL should take issue with any narrative being spoon fed to us, as if it’s the only way we are really allowed to view or understand something, without being ostracized and told we’re “splitting hairs,” and only looking for the negative. “This is a day, time, month, week, hour; what the fuck ever, for us; as Americans, to celebrate, the actual good, we, or our nation, has done. To even point out anything that even remotely challenges, our dominance or supposed “good doings”, is labeled as “Un-American.” This attitude and lack of analyzing complex thought is precisely the overall issue, the world at large, has with our country. And here we are; proving we ain’t learned a damn thing and are still clinging to incredibly antiquated ideals, that chain us to an unsavory and honestly, awful past. That which we maniacally defend, for no real reason and, even further; no quantifiably good reason, at all. Our country has willfully and very purposefully left well over half of us so far behind. It is tragically pathetic that we still hold onto the delusion that we matter, at all, to the corporate juggernaut we call America. Needless to say; in “honor of,” President’s Day, I present you with just a very small taste of the really awful things, our presidents have done, on our dime, and in our name, too…
We all know that plenty of our past presidents were incredibly racist, sexist, and so on. We know plenty of them owned slaves and fought to keep slavery going. We know they carried out the genocide of the Native Americans. Since, these are the well-known points in shameful presidential history, I’d like to focus on a few examples of shameful presidential policy from more modern presidents. We will start with Ronald Reagan. There are many, many things I could use to illustrate a much darker picture of Reagan, than the one we commonly think of, but, I’ve decided to focus on one, truly abhorrent part of his presidential legacy. The Iran Contra Affair, where Reagan gave the CIA the go ahead, to sell cocaine to the ghettos of especially Los Angeles, and use the drug money to buy weapons to exchange for hostages taken by Iran. It was basically a right-wing social engineering, wet dream, come true. It helped create one of the worst drug epidemics the inner city has ever seen and helped arm and train the folks in Iran that would later become members of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network. The negative effects of this horrible ordeal are still lasting today. They can be seen in the despair and desperation of inner-city crack addicts, or in the grief of those who lost someone on September 11. 2001. The Iran Contra Affair, alone, is reason enough to at least think twice before blindly celebrating this presidency.
Now let’s focus on everyone’s favorite “liberal” president, Bill Clinton. There are, as with all American presidents, many policies and actions one could use to paint a very dark picture of his presidency, so I’ve chosen to focus on a few points of policy that were terribly ill advised and their negative effects still last, to this day. The Three Strikes Law was one of the most racist pieces of legislation in modern history and led to the creation of what can be referred to as the “prison-industrial complex” that we have today. The law has been found to unfairly incarcerate minorities and has strengthened the shift to the privatization of our prison system. People were getting 25 to life sentences for crimes as petty as shoplifting small amounts of food, when this policy first passed. This policy was bad enough; but apparently that wasn’t enough, because Clinton also brought us Welfare Reform. His reform was cruel and unfairly targeted especially single mothers. (Ironic for a man raised by a single mother, himself, who was on welfare). Welfare Reform kicked tons of people off welfare and forced many more into below poverty level wage jobs, that were not full time, offered no benefits and offered no upward mobility whatsoever. People were forced to work these low level, crappy jobs, in order to collect welfare; however, the minute these people made even one dollar above the cutoff amount, they were ineligible to collect welfare, at all. Basically, it forced them to work low level, crappy jobs to collect welfare, but took it away as soon as they were working. That is just plain cruel. There are many other examples from Clinton’s presidency that show he was not this champion of the people he’s regarded as. I simply don’t have the time or space to delve into them, here.
Finally, we get to Barrack Obama. I fear that, since our current president, Donald Trump is so bad; so far beyond the pale, that Obama will basically get a free pass from history on anything, not so great, is his presidency and that bothers me greatly. There are examples from his presidency that show that he is just as much a part of our political establishment as any other member of it. He promised to shut down Guantanamo Bay; it is still open. He signed the Whistleblower Act, then exiled Edward Snowden, arrested Julian Assange and kept Chelsea Manning in Guantanamo Bay for years. Then there were the drone strikes. He authorized and carried out countless drone strikes over the course of his presidency, that killed thousands of innocent people along with the one target they had. He was very much a defender of the surveillance state, that is rapidly eroding our reasonable expectation of and right to privacy. Finally, he didn’t have the backbone to insist upon a public option in the Affordable Care Act. Had he done so; it would have taken care of a lot of the problems with healthcare.
Last week I wrote about Bayard Rustin; an essential figure in the civil rights movement, who seems basically left behind and forgotten by our history books. Unfortunately, there are a whole slew of activists that were instrumental in ushering necessary change into American society – when it needed it most – that are strangely (and suspiciously, may I add) left out of our history books. This week, I want to place a special spotlight on Kwame Ture aka Stokely Carmichael; another shining example of someone incredibly important yet seemingly left out of history, altogether.
Kwame Ture was born Stokely Carmichael in Trinidad in 1941. He moved and resided in the United States of America from the age of 11 until his eventual exile from the states, which came later in his life. He was exiled after years of activism and academic critique of the U.S. American system that still greatly oppressed himself and basically, any and all other members of his race, at the time, anyway. Stokely Carmichael, was a very passionate and intelligent civil rights activist, who took a more controversial stance than other groups. He was certainly more in line with the Black Panthers and Malcolm X, when he said; “By any means necessary…” than others touting the idea of complete nonviolence, and simply turning the other cheek, so to speak. He was also instrumental in popularizing the Black Power movement, domestically, here in the United States. He was a vehement anti-imperialist who was also a prominent figure globally in the Pan-African movement.
He began developing the Black Power movement, and while he led the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), he continued developing and spreading the ideals of the Black Power movement as “Honorary Prime Minister,” of the Black Panther Party. He also led the All African People’s Revolutionary Party. Ture was involved with and in the Freedom Rides – working tirelessly with the aforementioned organizations – spending countless hours organizing, lecturing, writing, and protesting for civil rights over the course of his life.
All of that activism, unsurprisingly, made him a great target for J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI at the time; whom had also targeted Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and countless others in the movement, in this period of time. The COINTELPRO program was one the FBI had developed, at that time, to specifically target what they (typically, wrongfully) considered potentially “problematic” public figures, especially in the civil rights movement. One of the techniques used by COINTELPRO was called “bad-jacketing;” which was spreading disinformation campaigns amongst an organization, about an individual within the organization; specifically to falsely turn that organization against that individual. The FBI spread a disinformation campaign amongst the Black Panther Party that painted Ture as an FBI informant or snitch. This was shortly after he had been named the party’s “Honorary Prime Minister.” Hoover and the FBI targeted especially him, because they believed after Malcolm X’s assassination, he would be the next “black Messiah.” He ended up fleeing to Ghana to escape the FBI’s persecution of him; so he was really, de facto, exiled. He was also placed under CIA surveillance for years after leaving the States as a 2007, a declassified document stated.
After fleeing the US, he became the aide to the Guinean president Ahmed Sekou Toure, and was a student of Ghana’s exiled president Kwame Nkrumah (this is where he took the name Kwame Ture, as a way to honor the two African leaders). He continued writing, lecturing and traveling for years. He remained very active in activism in Africa and throughout the world, until his death in 1998. This is just a quick overview of the man’s life and achievements; there is so much more. I could spend pages writing about it; definitely worth looking up, if this article has interested you at all.
Have you ever been evicted? No? You are missing out! Imagine someone telling you that you must move in the next three weeks. Wait! You only have 20 days; one day less than three weeks. Not quite three weekly paychecks! Or maybe you have to wait until the 3rd of the month for your $800 check to come in. That’s in 23 days because you got your notice out of blue on the 10th and there are 31 days in October. That means 24 days to payday. The landlord says you have been late with rent four times, but you have always paid the rent by the 5th and they never complained before. Why did they change this?
Nothing changed and now your whole life is being turned upside down and you just don’t know why you have to move. You are told that if you don’t move out in 20 days, you will be evicted! Your stuff, your belongings, your LIFE will be put on the sidewalk where anyone can grab it and any critter can dig through and ruin what is left of your life. You have lived there three, or five, or maybe even ten years and your landlord thinks you can just pick up your whole life and move it somewhere else in less than three weeks.
Who will help? You are disabled; that’s why you get a check on the 3rd. Why is your rent suddenly late on the 3rd? What did you do wrong? How can you fix it? You called the landlord, but they won’t answer the phone. You want/NEED to work something out cuz you can’t find another place to move to. There are no places to rent where your disability will fit. If you can’t find a place by the 30th, you will have to live on the streets – with your disability – without your stuff, your belongings, your life! The landlord is not negotiating, at all. Your comfortable, orderly life as you have known it will become chaos; freezing and dangerous. Your life will be hell! Why? Why is the landlord doing this? It makes no sense! They have gotten thousands of dollars from you over these last several years, doesn’t that mean something?
You have been a good tenant, quiet – haven’t made one complaint – but, they are telling you that you have to move. Why, why are they turning your life upside down? What gives them the right to make a human being homeless? What gives them the moral authority to ruin a person’s life? Why?
With February comes Black History Month. While I personally believe that “Black History” is indeed merely American history and am appalled that it seems to only get one out of twelve months to not only be focused on but acknowledged at all, since that’s how it is understood and presented in our cultural lexicon. Here is my (makes me uncomfortable to even say this) contribution. I will be writing a short series of articles, throughout the month that each cover a different leader of the black community. That is what I consider, more obscure or tragically unheard of black leaders, for their considerable and great contributions to the struggle for equality in America.
My first profile is of Bayard Rustin; arguably just as important as MLK in regards to the Civil Rights movement, yet suspiciously absent from history. There is a reason we don’t know Rustin’s name as we know MLK’s or Malcolm X’s. Rustin was an advocate for socialist democracy, and was also openly gay; at a time when just one of those could literally land you in jail. In fact, Rustin had actually been arrested and convicted of “sex perversion,” in Pasadena, CA in 1953 (“sex perversion,” was what California called, even consensual, same-sex relations). He served 60 days in jail for the conviction. This conviction would haunt him throughout his life, and was used by the racist opposition to his causes in an attempt to discredit him and his work.
Rustin was an incredibly accomplished Civil Rights leader, that operated mainly in the shadows for fear of his sexuality and political affiliations being used to discredit him and distract and detract from his causes. He helped organize and form the Journey of Reconciliation in 1947, which was the first of the Freedom Rides. He was arrested and served 22 days on a chain-gang in North Carolina for his participation in that. In 1948, he traveled to India to learn techniques of non-violent civil resistance, directly from the Gandhian movement that basically created those concepts and practices. In 1951 he formed the Committee to Support South African Resistance (which later, became the American Committee on Africa). Rustin would later use what he’d learned in India, to teach Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the ways of non-violent resistance, which as we all know was one of the central tenets of King’s movement.
He served as an unidentified member of the American Friends Service Committee’s task force to write “Speak Truth to Power: A Quaker Search for an Alternative to Violence” in 1955. That essay was one of the most influential and commented upon expressions of pacifism in the United States. He remained anonymous for fear that his sexuality would be used by critics to invalidate the essay. Although he was open about his sexuality; he knew it would be something critics and opponents could latch onto and use to their advantage to discredit and demonize him and anything he lent his name to so, he often put the cause ahead of himself. That is incredibly admirable, and makes him a real American hero as far as I’m concerned.
His list of accomplishments is staggering; too long to even list here in all honesty, so I will close out my highlights of that list with what I believe to be his most recognizable and grandest achievement: he was the main organizer of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August, 1963. He was credited as the deputy to A. Philip Randolph for the March, but he did most of the planning for it. Other civil rights leaders didn’t want Rustin to be publicly recognized, so the skeletons in his closet that were always dug out and used against him by opposition leaders could not be used to discredit the movement because it was too important. Although, he wasn’t credited as he should have been by his fellow civil rights leaders; he still received credit as a “leader of the march,” because he was featured with A. Philip Randolph on the cover of Life Magazine, and in the story was given the credit he was due.
One last accomplishment I nearly forgot to mention that is crucial to acknowledge: he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest honor one can receive in our country, and clearly well deserved in his case. I only briefly summarized his life, career and achievements. Rustin did, much, much more over the course of his life; if this story has interested you, definitely look him up and witness the broad legacy of this often forgotten national treasure.
Bayard Rustin is one of many unsung American heroes. There are far too many men and women throughout American history that are either left out of or even erased from the history books, merely because something about who they are could be viewed as problematic. I believe it’s our patriotic duty to give these people the credit and acknowledgement they so deserved yet never widely received when it was certainly due.
I am so damn sick and tired of the supposed “opposition,” party in my country; telling me that centrism and moderacy will win, and root out the social and political evils, happening today. There is quite literally no logical, intellectual, or historical basis to support this, flawed, disingenuous and outdated philosophy. We all remember when those incredibly moderate, political activists, effected real change; in regards to race, class, gender, sexuality or belief system, right? Yeah, that was quite literally; never in our collective, or any other society’s, for that matter, entire god damned history.
Political radicals brought you Civil Rights, Gay Rights, an end to slavery, workers rights, women’s rights, religious freedom, representative democracy instead of monarchy, ended European fascism (the French Resistance, Spanish Revolution, an end to German and Italian fascism, the New Deal, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Federal Housing Programs and low interest loans, Roe v Wade, an end to Segregation here and Apartheid in South Africa, the abolition of slavery, the decriminalization/legalization of marijuana, equal employment opportunity, equal lending and housing legislation, child labor laws, gay marriage equality, trans rights, federally protected public lands, food and drug safety legislation, non-nuclear aggression pacts, and far too many incredibly beneficial to humanity at large, programs and laws to list.) Moderates, historically speaking; would’ve allowed the proliferation of fascism to continue at its most crucial historic moment; would have allowed segregation to continue on, would have crushed women’s, gay and minority rights, would have allowed fascism and imperialism to spread like incurable cancers, would have, quite literally handed the entire fucking world over to Adolph Hitler, would have (if given the opportunity,) ensured that minorities, women, gays, and anyone belonging to a “problematic,” group, were categorically; not only denied their god given rights; but also used as an example to any and everyone else that recognized these “attitudes and beliefs,” as problematic, exclusive, hypocritical, disingenuous lies, the ruling class repeat over and over to convince us we are wrong.
I say, absofuckinglutely not! It is high time, we the damn people, stand up and flat out fucking refuse to let “them,” tell us a damn thing. As evidenced by over two decades of failed, do nothing, bullshit “policy,” that merely toes the corporatist line that couldn’t be more overtly against the average working American, their system does not, will not, and is designed not only not to work for you or me; it exists to work against us.
In conclusion; if you are still even capable of riding the fence or going with a “safe and moderate,” choice: you are not part of the cure, but part of the rotten, cancerous, ugly, appalling, offensive and completely morally bankrupt, disease…
On this particular day (Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to be exact) I feel that focusing, not only on his vision of racial equality to be prudent; but, especially given the newfound support for socialist leaning economic policy (the successful, thus far anyway, candidacies of Bernie Sanders and even Elizabeth Warren , to some extent): attention must be paid to King’s own ideals and words on economic equality and socialism, as well.
“I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic…[Capitalism] started out with a noble and high motive… but like most human systems it fell victim to the very thing it was revolting against. So today capitalism has outlived its usefulness.” (Letter to Coretta Scott, July 18, 1952) This is just one of many of the great man’s anti-capitalist quotes, and leanings. King knew that there could be no reasonable expectation of any kind of equality without economic equality. Further, he also understood that said, economic equality could never and would never be ushered in by a capitalist system that profits obscenely off of inequality.
Of course we all revere and deeply respect his work and accomplishments, in regards to racial equality, in our country. I feel, though; his push for income equality and economic justice was just as important and goes very unsung and unnoticed, largely due to the vilification of socialism, or really, anything that challenges the capitalist status quo, driven by unbridled greed, income inequality, and higher and higher profit, at whatever cost, no matter how great or grave, said cost is. I also fear his untimely end had just as much to do with his unpopular with the ruling elite, opinions (and willingness to proclaim them publicly and loudly) on economic justice and equality, as it did with his ideals and words on racial equality. I can’t be certain, of this; but stranger things have certainly happened in the sordid history of our country, is really all I’m saying.
Today is a day for all Americans to reflect on the legacy King left us, and we would be very remiss, as a society to continue to ignore the big part socialism and being very critical of the inequalities of capitalism, King left us as actually a fairly large part, of his wonderful legacy. He knew, and wasn’t afraid to say, that our capitalist system was and still is one of the largest creators and sources of absolute societal inequality; at a time when it was incredibly dangerous to not only hold these views, but a possible literal target on your back to share these views publicly. And, this man, didn’t care and shared what he knew to be a fundamental truth, in regard to true equality, anyway. That is real courage, and is one of the reasons I celebrate today.
“The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and the evils of racism.” (Speech to SCLC Board March 30, 1967) Please take some time to truly consider and think about what this great American hero had to say about the largest source of modern inequality, capitalism has become, on this day.