Archive - Oct 2006 - Blog entry


Demonstration for Oaxaca at Consulate Yesterday

We, an ad-hoc group we're called Tucson Coalition for Justice in Oaxaca, held a demonstration yesterday at the Mexican consulate, but people showed up there who hadn't even seen our call out. There ended up being about 100 people at the peak of the action. We were peaceful and had a really good dialogue with the Consul.
There's a full report with photos on arizona indymedia. This is the more personal report.

Jessica, Walt, and 5 others received citations from the police for obstructing traffice after 50 or so blocked all but 1 lane of traffic for an hour or so. Jessica and I were both doing the indymedia thing, covering what was happening, her with a still cam and me with video. The cops repeatedly told us politely to get off the street and shoot from the curb, but we sort of politely kept going back on the street to get better shots. Eventually Jessica wore out the main cop's patience and he detained her and ticketed her with the others. I sort of feel like he went for her first, perhaps hesitated with me, because I had my press pass and she did not. But maybe it was just luck. Anyway, all 7 have a court date of November 9. The charge is a class 3 misdemeanor. At least they weren't arrested.

One amazing moment was when Ethan, one of the others that got cited, who knew Brad and has been particularly upset, refused to give his real name and said his name was Brad Will. So the cop started calling him Brad. "Ok, Brad, do you have ID, Brad, you need to know that in the state of Arizona you're required to have identification or else you can be charged with obstructing an investigation. Brad please cooperate with me."

I shot a lot of footage and I plan to put some of it up soon if I can get the time.

More About what's Happening in Oaxaca

The federal police are apparently moving into the areas of Oaxaca City that have been controlled by the protesters. They have small tanks and lots of riot troops.
Apparently people are putting their bodies in front of the tanks. calling it "human rugs" in front of the tanks.
This is according to the live APPO radio stream coming from the University radio station there, which has been operated by protestors for some weeks.

The names of all 4 dead from Friday: Emilio Alonso Fabi

Murder of a Media Activist

vigil for brad willBrad Will, an indymedia videographer based in New York, was shot dead in Oaxaca, apparently by paramilitary PRI party supporters. The best story on the event I have seen is in Narco News. It's all over mainstream media too, which is horribly spinning it, saying it was a shoot out, gunfire coming also from the side of the APPO barricade (APPO being the teacher's union organization leading the strikes against Oaxaca governor Ruiz that have been going on for months and have shutdown the city).

I didn't know Brad but I knew of him. I can't reminisce about him. In fact the first I heard of him was not a positive anecdote at all. But he apparently did a lot of good work, and a lot of people knew him and are grieving. And I'm sad, even if just in principle. This I fear is a watershed moment for media activism and the indymedia movement. This has never happened before, not quite this way - it's really just incredible, like a nightmare. we all think, those of us priveleged with whiteness and 1st-worldness and with expensive cameras to hold up to our faces, that we have a shelter from being beat up or killed by thugs in corrupt "third world" lands. This has always been an illusion, and it's been proven an illusion before in small ways, but this does it in a big way.

I guess my hope is that this at least has some positive impact in the struggle, and serves to bring to light the horrible things going down in Oaxaca right now, and in larger sense, more of Mexico, and maybe the U.S. will do something, condemn this somehow.

Well, I'll stop there. I can't say anything else useful. There's a page on nyc imc where people are paying their respects.


I have a new favorite song, "Parentheses," by the Portland band The Blow. alert: that link is to a myspace page. again, let me say one more time, myspace fucking sucks. i've tried firefox and explorer and with both, clicking on the 'lyrics' links for songs doesn't do anything. do i have to use a windoze box just to read the lyrics to my new favorite song? goddammit. would someone else try it and if it works for you, cut and paste the lyrics into a comment here, or email them to me?

"When you're holding me, we make a pair of parentheses" is the key line. what an incredible lyric.

National Novel Writing Month

I'm going to write a novel next month. Every year when it comes around I want to do it. This time I'm going to. I was just reminded of it about 36 hours ago and decided pretty soon after that I'm going to go for it.

As soon as I decided, a flood of ideas have been bursting through my brain of what to write and how. I'm really excited.

You may think, wait, Steev, you're crazy, you keep complaining about how busy you are and you're going insane with stress from all the different things you're trying to do! What the hell?! Stop!

Well, yeah, but I've made an informal pledge to do semi-crazy things that I wouldn't normally do. Plus, I need some creative project that I'm excited about to get myself out of a hole I'm in, a hole named "only one thing makes me happy these days and that thing is getting scarcer and scarcer." Plus, I figure, if I spend about the same amount of time every day writing the novel that I spend blogging and journalling, that would probably be enough words to get it done. It shouldn't be that hard. 50,000 words in 30 days = about 1700 words a day. Piece of cake. It won't be a good novel, but as my friend mykle said, you have to commit yourself to finishing, not writing the best thing ever, and that's how to have fun with it.

I may post excerpts here or just links to excerpts on my page on the NaNoWriMo site, which is really a great, well-done site with cool functionality.

Wish me luck.

Zapatistas, Little Desert Towns, DJing

La Otra en Magdalena - 3Last weekend I went, along with 70 or so other Tucson gringos, to a stop on the Zapatista Other Campaign's tour, the closest point to Tucson that they will be, just outside of Magdalena, Sonora, Mexico, about an hour south of the border. It was an amazing time. It felt like a historic moment, and also a bit like a Beatles concert. The photo on the right is the car that Subcommandante Marcos rides in. When he got out, he was immediately surrounded by a cloud of photographers and videographers and other media people.

I don't have the energy to write a whole lot about it. But there is plenty of journalism out there about it.

I met a really cool woman from Australia who's travelling with La Otra and who does pirate radio with Radio Pacheco in D.F. I saw them selling pirated activist DVDs and I gave them a copy of my DVD and told her she could copy and burn and sell it at will. I hope my label doesn't get mad about that. hah... I also gave her another copy to give to Marcos, along with a note that I wrote in completely crappy spanish (I realized later). oh well. Anyway she gave me a copy of her zine and it's an amazing piece of writing, relating her experiences being a white anglo woman radical activist in Mexico. It's called Fire with Fire.

Life has been personally very trying again but definite progress is being made by me, and I'm handling stuff a lot better than before because the response to the badness is something chosen mutually by me and her. I feel like things are going to work out. When I think about it I realise over and over that my life has been so much better, so deliriously better than I ever dreamed previously, over the last 7 months, only punctuated by a few days or a week here and there of sadness, but mostly just so awesome, that to be bummed and expect stuff is just stupid and arrogant and spoiled. How can one demand more when you've been given a gift like that? If it all goes away this second i'm still so much richer for the last 7 months.

I'm in the tiny ex-mining town of Bisbee tonite, because this stuff going on had me feeling the need to do something different and semi-impulsive and just get out of Tucson, even if for just a night and even if just alone. And there's a totally suitable cafe with wireless where i can work from just as well as if i was in Tucson. It's a cool little town. I've been here twice before. Kind of this weird bohemian pocket in the midst of desert mountains, tucked into a little canyon, the remnants of copper mining riches decorating the place - glorious old hotels and mansions and other public displays of wealth, now reduced to tourist attractions.

Tonite in my room I plan to do one more session of DJing practice, preparing for a dance party at Dry River I'm "spinning" for tommorrow night (I put that in quotes because i'll be all on laptop, nothing is spinning but the harddrives, i guess). It should be pretty fun. I'm going by the moniker of DJ Altermundista - literally "DJ Otherworlder"....

Why doesn't anyone know how to make a freaking cappuccino around here? Godammit. Even more annoying is nobody seems to think there's any difference between one and a latte around here. they give you the same thing, a substandard latte, whether you order a latte or a cappuccino. WTF?

Okay, on that note, I need to stop. good night.

Border Social Forum

march against border wall at Border Social Forum in Juarez - 64here are my photos from the Border Social Forum, which was 2 weekends ago, October 13-15.

I'm finally getting around to writing about this. I wish I had time to write in more detail about it but i will say that the forum's official existence was largely a waste, and very frustrating, in my opinion, but it was great as an opportunity to meet people and build connections. For that it was worth being there. The organising of the forum was inept at best. They also, in my opinion totally dissed me and indirectly anyone who does work around femicide, regarding the showing of my film, such that the Juarez premiere of the only film about the Juarez femicides to be shown at the Forum ended up being shown in a small classroom with a tiny portable speaker system rather than in a real theater or lecture hall with proper equipment and space.

I was happy to show it there anyway, especially because some mothers of victims were able to be there and see the film. But it really should have been given more priority - or they should have at least properly screened some other, better film about the subject. It's not like I'm just saying this because it's my film. It's a matter of prinicple.

Miscellaneous Personal Stuff

For some reason i'm blogging a lot today. hmm.

anyway, a list of random stuff that has happened this week:

  • I bought a bed. It was muy caro, but it's muy confortable. This is great becuz i've been sleeping on futons most of my adult life. I think my back will benefit soon.
  • I fasted for 3 days this week. Last night was the end of that. It went pretty well. Got easier each day. feel healthier.
  • My blog, personal stuff on it, got me in trouble again. I have already curtailed the amount of writing i do about other people here, but past entries are there tripping me up occasionally. Maybe it prompted some progress in some healing processes, though.
  • I feel lately like I'm really liking living in Tucson. Like, suddenly i realized things were at a new level for my enjoyment of being here. that's cool, even tho i don't rationally understand why this has happened. there's lots of stuff to complain about, actually. maybe i was lightheaded cuz of the fasting.
  • heading down to Madalena for the Zapatista Otra Campana gathering tommorrow. It's mostly so Marcos can meet with the Yaqui people there, I hear, but all us borachos are welcome too, to hang out and party, so i guess that's what we're going to do. does that sound cynical? sorry. i just am wondering if all these gringos should really go. why are we going, just to watch Marcos chew his pipe while some Yaqui tribespeople tell him what they're up to in Sonora and Arizona? I hope it turns out to be more meaningful and particpatory than that.
  • WSF critique

    In response to a callout for help from Indymedia Centers to fund an IMC in Nairobi for the upcoming World Social Forum, I wrote this:

    I have very mixed feelings about the Social Forum model, especially
    after going to my first one last weekend, the Border Social Forum.

    I think Indymedia should only be heavily involved (in terms of time
    and/or finances) if it is actively engaged in (constructively)
    critiquing the social forums. I see them as fundamentally instruments
    of liberal NGOs now, tho they may be rescueable. Therefore indymedia
    MUST have a more critical and nuanced view of them than previous

    Also if there will be an Alternative Social Forum in Nairobi similiar
    to the one in Caracas, I would urge very strongly that imcistas get
    involved with that and that more coverage is done of it.

    Regardless, personally I have way too many things going on in this
    hemisphere, especially in january, to go to the WSF or to do
    fundraising or other activity around it.

    my 2 cents

    Saving The Sandhill Cranes on YouTube

    I'm getting more into You Tube. I like it. I hate Myspace (tho i have an account), but I love Flickr and I like You Tube. I think it's a function of 2 things: interface and intention. Myspace's interface just sucks, and also the purpse is nebulous. It's a sort of trendy friendster substitute with no requirement for sharing any creative material. Flickr and YouTube are social sites that involve the sharing of what I think a friend recently called 'tokens of value.' There's a reason you're there besides the networking, schmoozing, macking. Myspace, tho it originally was about bands, is now mostly people just macking. Plus it's owned by Rupert Murdoch.

    Anyway, here's my 2nd upload to YouTube, a video I just finished about Arizona Earthfirst!'s response to the hunting of sandhill cranes.