A bit of practical advice for these interesting times.
A year ago today our community was devastated by the death of our beloved Caine. The team here at Affinity struggled with how to honor Caine on this day and we finally decided to carry forward her message to love and honor the planet. Caine stood with the tribe at Standing Rock in their struggle against the DAPL and today we’re passing on a few stories about the continuing struggle of Indigenous communities to protect the land and water. We are in no way qualified to speak about Indigenous culture or history, but we do so today with great respect.
First, a few reminders of the meaning of Mni Wiconi – Water is Life.
Mni Wiconi – The Stand at Standing Rock
Hear the message of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Honor tribal sovereignty and the Earth we inhabit by telling President Obama to deny the easement by calling 202-456-1111. We need every person to call Obama this week before Dec. 5th. Please share. For more information visit standwithstandingrock.net#NoDAPL#StandwithStandingRock#standingrock#bankexit
Posted by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on Tuesday, November 15, 2016
In an article on Indian Country Today, Woonspe—Education Gives Meaning to Mni Wiconi—Water Is Life they tell of the origin story behind the meaning of Mni Wiconi.
An origin story of the Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires, which make up the Lakota, Nakoda, and Dakota people, tells us that the blood of First Creation, Inyan, covers Unci Maka, our grandmother earth, and this blood, which is blue is mni, water, and mahpiya, the sky. Mni Wiconi, water is life.
The entire article is worth reading and the above link will take you right there.
Many Standing Rocks: Three Years and Still Fighting, by Tracy L. Barnett – The Esperanza Project)
So water is in danger, globally. Right now Indigenous communities are still at risk, and they are standing up, because they have to stand up. When you finally realize — WATER IS LIFE — you understand why you can’t sit back down.
People keep saying “after” Standing Rock – but I’m still of the same state of mind, I still have the same passion for the water, it has to be protected. It was when I was at Sicangu Wicoti Iyuksa that I learned about the aquifers that were in danger and when I was at Standing Rock I learned about the rivers that were in danger.
We encourage you to read the article. Cheryl Angel passes on wisdom from a lifetime spent in activism for the planet. Her reflections on the movement at Standing Rock are insightful, as is her take on the ongoing struggle to protect water and land resources.
Next, we’re providing links to 2 reports on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s website.
SRST – No DAPL Remand Report Final, from February 5, 2019.
This first story is a damning and infuriating report on the deficient Corps of Engineers Analysis of the environmental impacts of the DAPL. The courts finally sided with the Standing Rock Tribe, but then decided that since the pipeline is already built they will let the oil flow.
IEN is an alliance of Indigenous peoples whose mission it is to protect the sacredness of Earth Mother from contamination and exploitation by strengthening, maintaining and respecting Indigenous teachings and natural laws. Adopted in 1994 by the IEN National Council, Denver, Colorado
The #StandingRock Sioux Tribe proves once again why they're one of the most resilient, powerful, and innovative communities. They didn’t let the Dakota Access Pipeline defeat them. Instead, they turned their anger into action 🔆♻️ pic.twitter.com/8rjYFLTKfS
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) August 5, 2019
Every couple of months it seems a certain debate flares up on my Twitter and it keeps annoying me. It keeps being brought up by people whom I generally highly respect, who are usually kick ass feminists and right in so many things, except this one that drives me up the wall: The great debate of titles.
It usually goes like this: If somebody has a title like “Dr.” or “Prof.”, you must use them.The arguments brought forward are sound at first glance: too often women and people of colour are denied their credentials. While a (white) man is introduced as “Dr. So and So”, a woman is much more likely to be introduced as “Ms. This and That” or even by her first name. We’ve all seen this play out with the Clintons, who are “Clinton” and “Hillary”. This portrays these people as less competent, their voice having less value and them being less worthy of respect.
Another one is that marginalised people who hold these positions have overcome significant obstacles to reach them. They’ve fought an uphill battle against sexism and racism all the way and had to work much harder than the white guy who then gets paid respect by being addressed as “Dr.” while they’re not.
While both points are true on the surface, they both rely on the very premise that people with a PhD are indeed worthy of more respect than others and leaves a hierarchy that has racism and sexism and especially classism built into its very foundation intact because now those people are at the top of said hierarchy and would like to stay there, thank you very much.
Academic titles have been historically part of the self understanding of the bourgeoisie. Look, they said, we have titles as well, and ours are earned. For a long time, in many places, a PhD was a requisite for becoming someone in politics. They were supposed to show that this person was really fit to rule, a title that belonged to the new ruling class, and much like noble titles, they are inherited. Congratulations if you are the first in the family, if you are a minority that used to be cut off such opportunities, yet the overwhelming majority of people in that group come from homes where usually the father holds a PhD as well. the further up you go, the more they become. By insisting on the great importance of your title, you’re staking an allegiance and it’s not one with the communities that brought you forth.
Academic titles do grant people privileges. They, and only they (plus priests), are usually allowed to use their titles as part of their name and they demand and are awarded special respect. My brother in law has a PhD. From his own experience, waiting times for medical appointments and in the waiting room have become drastically shorter since he introduces himself as “Dr.”, but then he gets to spend more time with the actual doctor. The peons can wait. Many of the privileges will be more subtle and as usually the privileged don’t actually see them.
Academic titles are the only ones that become names. Many other people also work hard for their qualifications, often for similar lengths of time. In Germany, where professions are highly regulated everybody who finished successful training has a professional title. Mine is “Assessorin des Lehramtes” and yes, I have a document that shows it and specifically grants permission to use that title. Craftspeople have titles, especially the masters. Yet only a small minority of people are granted the right to use their titles in their names and daily lives. Insisting on them further perpetuates the idea that those other professions, teaching, crafts, nursing, etc. are of lesser value and the people who do them less worthy of respect, which leads me to my next point:
Academic titles do not make you worthy of more respect and the only reason why people can disrespect you by not using them is because you think you deserve some extra special respect. Names and naming are tools of power. We’ve probably all had the teacher who decided to use something different for our name, yet we couldn’t get away with some nickname. When transphobes refuse to use somebody’s real name and pronouns, they’re showing power. This isn’t about respect and decency, it’s about demonstrating power. Scandinavia doesn’t crumble down because most people there just use first name (always somewhat confusing for people from more uptight places when the doctor introduces himself as “Sven” and the calls the patient “Lina”). Using your partner or children’s first name doesn’t show you don’t respect them. At least it shouldn’t.
Academic titles also don’t make you an expert, except in very narrow areas. Remember my BIL, the one with the PhD? He’s a biologist. He once famously claimed that leopards and cheetahs are the same animals. Also caribous roam the African Savannah. Family joke is that if you present him with a horse, a donkey and a zebra he’ll have to do a gene test to identify them. In short, he knows the general stuff every graduate learned and then he learned a great bunch of stuff in a very narrow field. I don’t have to take his opinion more seriously on any other subject than Hepatitis, yet somehow a PhD is supposed to grant him exactly that authority. He also believed in crystals on the top of the monitor preventing headaches…
To finally sum it up, academic titles are a tool of the ruling class to strengthen their position and further the idea that they are simply better people, more worths of respect and better treatment whose opinion should be taken as authority. They are used to exclude marginalised people and their voices from discourse, since they’re lacking “proper qualifications”. While I understand the great personal satisfaction of having gained such a title despite all odds, and the frustration of people then still excluding them from their special club, you cannot dismantle those systems by insisting that you’re really part of the club now and be awarded the privileges that come with it.
As a final note, I’d still recommend you always use those titles if you are a student because apparently those people are very touchy about it and can fuck up your academic career. So much for Foucault’s production of docile bodies…
That poor Gillette ad got a lot of comments of all kinds. This morning I read another commentary, mostly due to the title – Why The Gillette Ad Isn’t Just About Boys and Men – It’s About My Three Daughters, Too:
When it comes to female characters, our daughters (three of them: ages 7, 5 and 2) have much more choice than when I was growing up in the ’80s. They are fans of Merida from Brave and Moana from, well, Moana, both girls who push back on what their societies expect of them. They just discovered the newly re-launched Carmen Sandiego with its kick-ass female lead, and Doc McStuffins is always a solid choice.
But when it comes to male characters, most of them consist of lightly camouflaged stereotypes of the “strong man” trope. Both Moana and Merida’s fathers are large, physically strong and are chiefs of their tribe. They only reluctantly give up their conservative views about their daughters by the end of the movies. Merida’s brothers (triplets) are always portrayed as fighting or eating, a classic example of the “boys will be boys” trope called out in the Gillette spot.
And good luck with anything from the past. Our daughters recently watched the Christmas classic Home Alone, where Kevin McCallister takes his queues from the male characters he sees on TV in gangster and western movies. “It’s my house and I have to defend it,” he concludes, setting the stage for the violence to come.
I know this is something that our very own Giliell has been saying from time to time, and I can only agree, so it was nice to see it in writing: choices for girls have broadened into the traditionally ‘masculine’, but boys have not seen that same expansion into the traditionally ‘feminine’ space.
But that article pointed me towards another mencare (I did, I really did!) product company out there, with a much better ad: Harry’s.
Harry’s, another razor company, has an ad I really like but hasn’t seen nearly as much fanfare as the Gillette ad. In fact, I believe it works better in actually changing our views of men.
… Says Joseph Wilson at the CBC.
Is he right? Well, the ad features Ludacris (of Fast and Furious fame, there he is in the back!):
A very masculine set of movies, I’ll tell you, and I’ve seen them all. But Ludacris, one among the manly men, does things a little differently in the short video. I think I like it:
Whether you prefer Harry’s method or Gillette’s, both are much-needed in the dialogue about masculinity. One for calling out the bad behaviour, the other for just plain showing the better example. More, please.
(No song today. I had some ideas, but I think this time I will leave it at that.)
These are my recollections of a life behind the iron curtain. I do not aim to give perfect and objective evaluation of anything, but to share my personal experiences and memories. It will explain why I just cannot get misty eyed over some ideas on the political left and why I loathe many ideas on the right.
It can be argued that the regime in former Soviet bloc was never communist. I would agree with that and so did the regime itself. However to argue that it was not socialist or leftist would be false. The regime did try to provide for people and take care of them. And whilst it was agreed that the ideal of communism was not achieved yet, the means of production did belong to the people. Sort of.
The argument presented to us at school was a simple syllogism: Means of production belong to the state. The state consists of the people. Therefore the means of production belong to the people.
As it often is, it never is that simple and it did not work out. And the experience convinced me that ownership of the means of production by the people cannot work on grand scale. I think it might work on small-scale, on a scale of up to a few dozen or perhaps a few hundred people, not more. This is about the maximum where people can function as internally cohesive society (commune, if you wish), because at this small-scale people can manage to keep internal tabs of tits for tats. So cheaters and slackers can feel the negative consequences of their actions quickly either by being shunned by those they wronged, or by not getting their share of the produce etc. Thus people keep connection to each other and to the consequences of their actions, because those consequences – both social and economical – are nearby both in time and space.
I have already mentioned slacking at work, because nobody was motivated to work too much. What has thrived on the other hand was black market for labor. So for example if you wanted a house repaired, via official means it might take years and not be done properly. The only way to get things done was often to have “friends” help you to repair it in their free time. Such helps were paid cash without paper trail and artisans like plumbers, electricians etc. were highly sought after – and such illegal work was for them the only means to get extra money. So they skived off of work and often even stole materials from the state in order to make untaxed money on the side (immediate and personal reward – and also immediate and personal punishment if the word got around that one does a sloppy job).
Rarely anyone ever felt this is wrong. There was a great emotional disconnect between the State and its people. The above mentioned syllogism was not convincing enough. I mentioned the saying “who does not steal from the state, steals from their own family”. It was perceived by many people that since everything belongs to the state, it also belongs to ME and therefore I am entitled to help myself when the opportunity presents itself. One teacher tried to explain to us that such is not the case, that by stealing for example a sack of cement from the state of ten million people means one is only taking one tenth of one millionth of said sack that is their own, and the rest is stolen from the remaining 9.999.999 people, but I have noticed that none of my schoolmates was affected much by this logic. Those 9.999.999 people are a faceless crowd, an abstract concept too big to fit into human mind.
The problem here, as Terry Pratchett once brilliantly stated in Night Watch, was not the wrong kind of government, but the wrong kind of people. People on average are not kind-hearted, altruistic and rational. They are petty, selfish and short-sighted. Trying to make them connect with something as grand as a “state” or “nation” only works as long as they are personally and immediately affected. It cannot keep them motivated for long and for a reward that might only affect their grandchildren when the communism finally arrives and money is not needed anymore.
We’re going to go back in time a bit, to an article Simon Moya-Smith wrote in January this year. He’ll help you out with Columbus apologists. Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!
Glaring contradictions. Stupid fucking lies, and good ol’ American bullshit.
Yes, folks today we are talking U.S. history, and there’s nothing more politically correct than American History. It’s RIFE with soft language to spare the feelings of fuckers who desperately want to believe their homesteading great-grand-pappy wasn’t a murdering, raping, thief.
OK. So today let’s hit on the numbskullery surrounding Columbus Day. “Why in January?” you ask. Well because Colorado State House Representative Joseph Salazar, a democrat, is currently working to repeal the foul thing from the state’s list of recognized holidays. And lately he has received an onslaught of hate mail from dipshits who don’t seem to understand the seemingly elusive concept of logic and facts.
Recently, Rep. Salazar has been forwarding me these messages, and they range from fucking hilarious to seriously fucking delusional. They’re more on the seriously fucking delusional side, though.
So, I thought I’d share with you some responses you can use against the common, hackneyed pro-Columbus Day arguments you will surely continue to encounter for as long as you engage the willfully blind. Feel free to share the following with your friends or family, or maybe just that fucker who sits at the end of the bar incessantly defending the bullshit American narrative as written. (Remember: The American narrative HATES to be fact-checked. So fact-check that goddamn thing any time you can.)
Okey dokey, here’s what you can say to those dullards spewing trite claims and arguments about Columbus and Columbus Day, and let us start with the most common and least accurate:
Leave it to lawyers to figure out a brilliant troll, which will help to fight hate and bigotry.
A group of Jewish lawyers in San Francisco has discovered a clever new way to fight white supremacy: adoption.
Of course, the Jewish Bar Association isn’t actually encouraging anyone to adopt or sponsor white supremacists. Instead, the group is asking the public to donate to its “Adopt-a-Nazi (Not Really)” GoFundMe campaign, which is being used to raise funds for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit legal advocacy organization that monitors hate groups across the country and litigates on behalf of marginalized groups. So far, the campaign has raised more than $92,000—far beyond its original goal of $10,000.
The strategy is simple: according to the GoFundMe page, donors are encouraged to give some amount of money for each of the 300 expected attendees at an upcoming “free speech” rally put on by the right-wing Patriot Prayer group at Crissy Field on August 26. Many of the attendees will likely be white nationalists or members of similar hate groups.
According to the Adopt-a-Nazi campaign, no donation is too small.
“Two cents per attendee is a $6 donation,” organizers wrote. “A dime is $30. Why not a quarter? That’s only $75.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the law in its fast-tracked approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a U.S. District Court Judge in Washington D.C. has ruled. Judge James Boasberg said the Corps did not consider key components of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in granting the Lake Oahe easement under the Missouri River when directed to do so by President Donald Trump shortly after his swearing-in.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, with the Cheyenne River Sioux as interveners, had challenged the approval on the grounds that adequate environmental study had not been conducted. Boasberg agreed on many points, though he did not rule on whether the pipeline should remain operational. It has been carrying oil since June 1.
“Although the Corps substantially complied with NEPA in many areas, the Court agrees that it did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial,” Boasberg said in his 91-page decision. “To remedy those violations, the Corps will have to reconsider those sections of its environmental analysis upon remand by the Court. Whether Dakota Access must cease pipeline operations during that remand presents a separate question of the appropriate remedy, which will be the subject of further briefing.”
A status conference will be held next week, according to the environmental law firm EarthJustice, which is representing the tribes in this case. Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline’s builders, did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
“This is a major victory for the Tribe and we commend the courts for upholding the law and doing the right thing,” said Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II in a statement. “The previous administration painstakingly considered the impacts of this pipeline and
PresidentTrump hastily dismissed these careful environmental considerations in favor of political and personal interests. We applaud the courts for protecting our laws and regulations from undue political influence, and will ask the Court to shut down pipeline operations immediately. ”
Where there’s the smallest good news, there’s always bad news, and in this case, it comes in the form of Zinke:
“I think, talking to tribes, they’re very happy,” Zinke said of his proposal, adding that he “talked to all parties, and they’re pretty happy and willing to work with us.”
But this is not so, according to tribal representatives. In a June 12 press call hosted by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), the vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Navajo Nation Attorney General Ethel Branch said the tribe’s leaders have “maintained a consistent position that they support the monument designation.
“If there is any happiness,” Branch said,” it’s probably that the monument remains intact as of now.
“I think [the ‘happy’ characterization] is probably just a characterization coming from Trump,” Branch added.
Natalie Landreth, a lawyer with the Native American Rights Fund who represents the Hopi, Zuni and Ute Mountain Ute Tribes on Bears Ears issues, said during the Udall call that the proclamation that set up Bears Ears as a national monument had already formed a structure in which five tribes, known as the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, work together to co-manage the monument.
“It’s unclear exactly what the secretary is suggesting, so until we know more details about what he’s talking about, it’s difficult to have a view on it,” Landreth said. “Our initial reaction on behalf of the three tribes we represent is that this was really a cynical effort to distract Indian country from the devastating blow of reducing the size of the monument.”
Landreth said that some of her impacted tribal clients told her as of June 12 that Zinke had not been in touch with them on this matter.
“We don’t know who he’s talking to and what they may have said,” Landreth said.
This is nice, I get to say Hey, that’s my hometown! Go Santa Ana! Any native SoCalian can tell you the wonder and pure mmmmmffff oh gods so good, can I have more of Mexican run food trucks. Some of the best food in the world, that. Back when I worked in Costa Mesa, the only time you took your life in your hands was the rush to the food trucks at lunch.
Good food has a way of bringing people together around a table. You could say food trucks do the same thing, but on the street and sidewalk.
That’s part of the idea behind an ongoing campaign in Southern California called Taco Trucks at Every Mosque, timed to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. And it has caught on fast in the parking lot outside the Islamic Center of Santa Ana, California, which largely serves the area’s Indo-Chinese community (Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim populations).
“It was so exciting to see people that have that have fasted … break their fast — many of them for the first time in our lives — to tacos,” says community activist Rida Hamida. She co-organized the campaign with Ben Vazquez, a history teacher in Santa Ana, and Resilience Orange County, a community non-profit. The campaign launched on Twitter as #TacoTrucksAtEveryMosque.
With fasting during daylight hours being one of the demands of the celebration of Ramadan, they arranged for the community’s iftar meal to arrive in a brightly painted, green taco truck.
This is wonderful and warm story, full of wonderful and warm people. A lot of Americans might want to note that it’s those brown peoples who are making inroads at community, peace, acceptance, and togetherness. Lots of pasty types could take a lesson. Full story here.
Oceti Sakowin Camp. © C. Ford, all rights reserved.
There’s a petition, and yes, I know people get petition tired, but please click on over and sign this one, to remove the murder-minded and incompetent Kirchmeier from his position as Sheriff of Morton County. Kirchmeier took a brutal stance from the beginning, and as some of you will recall from the Standing Rock posts, he spread misinformation and outright lies from the beginning, and never stopped telling lies, either. He used all the climate justice warriors as an excuse to spend outrageous amounts of money on military equipment, so he could play a latter day Custer, obviously hoping for better results. In the end, his unholy alliance with the oil companies worked out just fine for him, giving him equipment to oppress and harm, all while lining his pockets. Please help out by adding your name to the petition.
Remove Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, of the Morton County Sheriff’s Office.
Ricks Steves, author, and well known television travel guru, has his own idea of investing, and that investment hasn’t just grown over the years, it’s helped a tremendous amount of people.
Travel guide guru Rick Steves just gave a $4 million apartment complex to homeless women and kids who need housing.
Steves realized, early on, the importance of affordable housing, during his travel adventures (how else?) as a young man in Europe.
Twenty years ago, he devised a scheme where he could put my retirement savings not into a bank to get interest, but into cheap apartments that could house struggling neighbors.
“I would retain my capital, my equity would grow as the apartment complex appreciated,” Steves explained on his travel blog. “Rather than collecting rent, my “income” would be the joy of housing otherwise desperate people. I found this a creative, compassionate and more enlightened way to “invest” while retaining my long-term security.”
The 24-unit apartment complex became began housing single moms who were recovering from drug addiction and were now ready to get custody of their children back.
“Imagine the joy of knowing that I could provide a simple two-bedroom apartment for a mom and her kids as she fought to get her life back on track.”
There’s a nice little glow. Steves has now given the complex over to the Y.
Via Raw Story.