Archive - Apr 2006 - Blog entry

National Day of Action for Immigrant Rights

This has been a crazy day. Huge marches and rallies here in Tucson that I was at from 8:30 am to now. I'm too fried to write an indymedia article with any pretension of journalistic rigor so i'm blogging about it first.

I started with 200 students who'd walked out of Tucson High School. Marched with them downtown to the federal building. Met other students from other schools. about 600 in total, we then marched to Armory Park to meet the main march coming from South Tucson. The rally started before the main march had reached the park and there were about 2000 already there by the time the main march arrived, and it was HUGE. it's hard to estimate, some were saying 5,000, some 10, some 20,000. it went on for blocks and blocks and blocks, taking up all lanes of 6th ave.

People packed into the little park and the whole time while the rally went on, off to one side was a little knot of about 6-8 anti-immigrant protesters and vigilanted types, holding offensive signs and just standing there trying to provoke a reaction and ruin things. And it ended up that they did.

For 3 hours, peacekeepers ringed these assholes with arms locked, making sure no one fucked with them and started a full-fledged riot. The cops SHOULD have done something, should have removed them, because the park had actually been RENTED by the Immigrant Rights groups. But the cops just stood there and let whatever happen.

At the end of the rally, a teenage girl finally had had enough and she tried to splash some water on the anti-immigrants. She didn't even succeed, she ended up splashing the peacekeepers. but the cops swooped in and arrested her, things went crazy, pepperspray started flying. it sucked, and i'm sure the mainstream media will latch onto that as the one thing to report about the day.


Here Comes Summer

It's only early April and it's already super hot. Must be like 85-90 today. Wow. Really an omen for this summer. Everybody's been warning me, every time I say how I like Tucson, about the summer. Hmm.

In other news, last night was a super awesome art auction at the Dry River space, to benefit a political prisoner, Harold Thompson, an anarchist organizer who was jailed 26 ago for life+, for killing a guy who was going to kill his son. We had Patrick do the auctioneering and he was great. I guess he learned it from his Aunt who worked in a carnival in Texas or something. He was really entertaining.

My friend Lenara who was visiting from Brazil then took me over to this party, the closing night party for the Towards a Science of Conciousness Conference. That's why she was in town. It was a nice little party and I got a taste of the diversity of people in the field. Everyone from really starched neurobiologists to wacky extropians and new age freakazoids. Today Lenara headed off to the airport to catch her flight back to Sao Paulo and then Porto Alegre, and now I have another guest rolling in from San Diego, a member of the Organic Collective who is on a little Southwest roadtrip.

Tommorrow is what looks to be a massive student walkout and march here in Tucson, part of a national day of action against the anti-immigration legislation in congress. I'll be there shooting video, I think.

Anarcho-Love Dance Party

Last night at the Dry River space we had a dance party and I DJed. It was pretty fun. I've never really actually DJed at a party before - I've been a radio DJ, and obviously I've manned the stereo at parties, but its never been DJing in the sense of like mixing and beat-matching and stuff. I used a cool piece of software called Traktor, by Native Instruments, which auto-calculates BPMs and lets you sync 2 tracks by adjusting BPM of one or both, and you can loop, skip around, scratch, filter. I didn't do too much fancy stuff, just tried to keep the beat going and stick to a few conceptual themes, not paying much attention to genre. The latter made for a pretty weird set, lots of stylistic variety. It was fun. So below is the playlist, roughly, but at some point during the set I hit the button that sorts the list by beats per minute, so this isn't chronological, its roughly in order of fastest to slowest.

Awe by League of Infinite Justice
Vamos Con San Pedro (Son Times) by Los Sampler's
Rockstar by Z-Trip
Virus by Deltron
Life In The Greenhouse Effect by Steroid Maximus
Skelechairs (Venetian Snares Remix) by Doormouse
Evil by Paris
DJ Peron by Tango Crash
Give The Anarchist A Cigarette by Chumbawamba
Electrolatino by Se

...And Will We Still Remember Them In 10 More....

Believe it or not I woke up basically at sunrise again. Not because anyone txted me, unfortunately. Just because I did. Taoists say one should rise with the sun. I've always kind of liked that idea. Though they say one should retire with the sun too and that seems pretty unrealistic.

Anyway, I laid there thinking for a while, then wrote in my journal. made tea. Then I checked my email, checked some blogs i read, checked Flickr - I'm sort of a Flickr addict - and decided to take someone off my contacts list there. He's someone I know from a long time ago, from an old circle of friends and aquaintances that I no longer keep in touch with, and he posts photos constantly but they're never interesting to me. They're just in a completely different plane of existence than where I'm at now, dabbling with video games, technology for its own sake, and disposable income lifestyle porn, what I just called in my journal the "digital dilletante" world.

But then, clicking onward from his contact list, I started trying to find other people from that social circle, way back when. It's now been 9 and a half years since I first started getting to know them. All caught up in the internet boom in San Francisco, a clique of cyber-hipsters bent on changing the world with HTML and chemicals. As one old friend from that time said "They watched way too many movies, took way too many drugs, and they made way too much money."

I dipped into that scene for a few years, really only because of work, when you get down to it. (I fell out with that wise friend who said the above quote - ironically because of a copyright/cash dispute - and never saw him again. I wish we were still friends.)

After a few years I climbed back out of that pool, shedding bad vibes and bad karma but also with some really valuable wisdom gained, lessons learned, and a few really great, wise people known. Perhaps it should be no surprise that some of the neatest and wisest of those people are the hardest to locate and learn about using the new digital socialising tools like Flickr, and blogs and stuff.

One of the top 5 songs to be stuck in my head for the last 5 or so years is a song by Death Cab For Cutie. Literally at least once a week since I heard it first, I find myself singing it to myself. Jay still never lets me sing it when I'm around her. It's a really sad song. The core of this sadness comes in the second stanza:

And this is the chance I never got
To make a move
But we just talk about
The people we've met in the last 5 years
And will we still remember them in 10 more?

For some reason some people like sad songs. I like sad songs. Someone newly very special to me likes sad songs. But others don't. Jay doesn't. She always said it was because some people have had sad, troubled, hard lives, and so don't need or want sad songs, and others have happy, priveleged lives and so sad songs are just sort of like slumming, dipping into an exotic world you never had to live yourself. I'm actually putting words into her mouth, but the concept is hers. I don't know if I totally agree. But I have had a pretty easy life, so I'm not one who should say.

Pues si, I'm meandering. But that song popped into my head when I was looking at all those bland photos by all those old digerati from a past time. A swirl of brief and mostly superficial friendships fluttering around a bright light of hope and money, like moths.

I'm getting so personal. I guess because there's been important personal stuff happening lately for me. Nothing bad. really good, actually. I better stop now.

I let you bum a smoke,
you quit, this winter past.
I tried twice before
But like this, it just would not last.

Colliding With The Sunrise

I just woke up to sound of my cellphone vibrating in silent mode. I reached over and there was a new text message from a friend. It said

Good Morning! a thunderstorm is colliding with the sunrise! You should go look from your deck! the storm is coming in from the north!

And in indeed it was a pretty spectacular sight. It was worth being woken up for, por cierto.

Amazing Screening

Well, the screening of my film in Albuquerque went incredibly well. The owners of the theater, the Guild Cinema, were very impressed with the turnout: 102. Apparently this is highly unusual, especially for a monday night and for an activist documentary. They want to show it again in a few months. The Peace and Justice Center here in town wants to show it, too.

I sold all the copies of the DVD as well.

Afterward a bunch of us went out for drinks and I received some very good comments, including some really helpful, filmschool-style critique from another filmmaker, who in fact is in grad school for film in Ohio and was back here in abq to shoot some final pickup scenes for a student piece he's finishing up. He was especially interested because for his next project he wants to make a narrative feature film about the border that touches on the Juarez situation, the Minutemen, drug and human trafficking, etc. He said my film has made him realize he has to totally rewrite the script.

Anyway. I head back to Tucson this morning in a few hours.

Voter Reward

Wow. there's actually someone trying to get this initiative on the ballot in Arizona for this fall:

This law will establish a voter reward random drawing every two years with a first prize of one million dollars or more. The purpose is to increase voter participation. Voters who cast ballots in primary or general elections will be eligible to win. The money will come from the Arizona Lottery and private donations.

What a good idea. Maybe it would even get some of my misguided anarchistoid friends to vote.

(thanx José)

New Juárez Flickr Group

Last night I set up a new Flickr group for photos relating to the murdered women in Juárez and Chihuahua. It's located at

If you have photos that are relevant and you use or want to use Flickr, I invite you to join.

Into CJ Again

Hello from Albuquerque. I arrived here last night after a day spent with my Tucson homies over in Ciudad Juárez. We lucked out and had a really productive day. We'd been wanting to meet with some community activists in Rancho Anapra called Las Hormigas. But it was proving difficult to arrange something for Saturday and we had sort of resigned ourselves to not being able to see them. las hormigas
However, as we wandered around Anapra we just stumbled onto their community center. Although it was closed, we had even more good luck. As we stood there reading their posters on the outside of the building, a volunteer drove up after finishing their daily cheap lunch program for the day. She gave us a bunch of literature and we talked a bit about what they were doing, including the resistance to a new highway that is slated to be built through the community and displace thousands of already poor residents of this neighborhood of shacks.

We said we'd follow up with the organizers later, and then drove into el centro. I showed my friends just a taste of what downtown Juarez is like and then we headed for the border bridge. We felt pretty happy with our visit. At the border, the guard gave me, the driver, the full round of questions about where i was from, why we were there, ran my license, etc. I explained we had been in Juarez for the day after being at a conference in Las Cruces for 3 days. He asked what hotel we stayed at and then what was the conference about. I told him the truth, it was about the murdered women of Juarez. I consider it a subtle form of activist information-spreading. It's not illegal to be interested in the femicide, so why not bring it up, keep it on people's minds as much as possible? I'm sure everyone in El Paso knows about it, but many choose to keep it tucked under the rug of their brains.
who's next?
The conference, for me, was really about people coming together to help each other and help each other work on this cause. Almost everyone who was there already knew most of the facts about the situation, other than a few updates and perhaps some obscure numbers. It was in the form of an academic conference, but it was important not for imparting facts and figures, theories or findings, but for updating our emotional batteries. It gets so easy to work on these kinds of things and become almost desensitized, to work on it and know what it's about but disconnect from the real emotional reality. But by seeing and hearing the mothers one gets an inspirational recharge. One gets sad but then filled with renewed determination to try to make a difference and help. The mothers are the constant reminder, the reality check, the coming-down-to-earth connection.

This is not another academic topic to just write papers on and then go home. This is a real, constant, continuing, horrific situation that needs real action in response to it. Seeing the mothers speak, returning to the city and seeing the pink and black crosses still painted on poles, you know it's still there, that these women are still waiting. In fact, it was announced during one panel that a new body had been found just this week, the first day of the conference, right near the International Bridge. Was this a message, one of the many apparent messages sent using mutilated bodies in Juarez? Was someone trying to say, using "un lenguaje que no entendemos todavía" (as Marisela Ortiz said in my film), that you can have your little conference and give your little speeches and show your little films but the killings will continue? Was someone taunting us from the border while we sat in Las Cruces watching powerpoint presentations?

It's chilling to think like that but it may be true. I hope not, but it may be so, and it may also be so that there's no force on earth that can stop this. But judging by the growing tide of people working to fight it, I'm actually optimistic. It will be stopped. The final measure of the horror will only be determined by the time it will take to finish it, but it is a matter of time now. Eventually enough people will know, about this injustice as with many others, and it will not be able to stand.

lomas de poleo