gordonzola: (Rainbow Ultras)
You know, I was pretty isolated in Seattle during CheeseCon. There just wasn't much time to check the news, and keeping track of the new fascism is never my start-of-the-day routine. In fact, truth be told, I let you folks follow that stuff, then I follow your links.

But I do have something to say. Glen Beck leading a rally at the Lincoln Monument trying to "reclaim" the Civil Rights movement for the (white) right? This is a Mein Kampf-level attempt at re-writing history. Tactically its probably best if the response to this is counter-protest, organizing, and writing; but morally... those folks should have been met with baseball bats and boots, just like when the Nazi skins try to march.

There's been an inevitable, historical line to this, with the Right trying to "reclaim" Lincoln and MLK, but this really is a moral (and political) outrage, something that opens a new frontier in the cultural war, something that all good people need to speak out against.

Right wing white people did not make the civil rights movement. I mean, duh. They opposed it every step of the way. Black people made the Civil Rights Movement -- with the help of many other folks, to be sure -- but black people did the main organizing, theorizing, and dying for the cause. The fact that I feel the need to type this in 2010 makes me wanna puke.

Some white folks can't understand why some black people get upset when progressive white-dominated movements take the mantle of "Civil Rights Movement" as their own. From gay marriage to raw milk... and now to neo-fascism, folks want to take that mantle because the decades of bravery, strategy, martyrdom, and, in the end, tangible victories, are a still-pure example of organizing, well-regarded, (if not necessarily fully understood) by almost everyone. While it's easy to join a chorus of condemnation against Glen Beck on this, one should also ask whether it would be possible for Beck to take this step without "progressive" white-led groups setting the table for him by doing it themselves.

It's understandable that people, naively or cynically, want to be associated with the Civil Rights Movement. But if your group is mostly white people, you can't take it. It is just not yours to take.

( Here is a good Leonard Pitts column if you need background.)


Mar. 9th, 2009 11:57 am
gordonzola: (Default)
If this is true, it may be Obama's best move yet. Van Jones appointed Green Jobs Czar
gordonzola: (Default)
Well, I guess the right wing press was correct this time. My apologies to Fox News and all the other wingnuts. It seems as though a very important poll was suppressed. A poll which might have swung the tide over to McCain had The People been able to see it in time.

Was this poll seen in the NY Times?

The San Francisco Chronicle?

Daily Kos?


Only the folks at “Gourmet News” had the guts to get the true feelings of people in the gourmet food industry and get the straight facts on what is truly the most important issue to Americans today.

I dare you to look at this poll and tell me that you wouldn’t have thought twice about supporting Obama now.

gourmet poll

It’s truly a sad day for America when The People vote without knowing what gourmet food importers think. Very sad.
gordonzola: (Default)
Most of you Californians have probably already voted, judging from my FL. Me, I like going to the polls on election day. Anyways, I meant to post about ballot initiatives awhile back – the No on 8 one was just going to be one of a series -- but simply haven’t had been on LJ enough. Here are just a couple of recommendations for what it’s worth.

No on 6 This may be the most evil proposition on the ballot. A yes vote is a vote for the continued criminalization of young people, especially youth of color, because that's who bears the brunt of these types of laws. This is a referendum on the police state, are you for it or against it?

Yes on 2 You know, the endorsement from the AVA is awesome:
PROP 2. Fair play for chickens. Just because we keep more than a million human Americans called prisoners in huge barns where the lights are never turned off doesn't mean we should keep chickens and other food animals in similarly inhumane conditions. YES ON 2
but what really gets me is the huge factory farms trying to scare people into thinking that imported eggs bring an added risk of salmonella. Maybe they missed the fact that a number of counties have outlawed “over-easy” eggs because our current domestically-produced factory-farmed eggs are so riddled with disease that many health departments consider them to be unsafe to eat raw. Factory-farms are the number one cause of the spread of this kind of food-borne pathogen. Sheeesh, this has riled me enough to really want to see this win.

No on 8

Oct. 21st, 2008 08:19 am
gordonzola: (Default)
Ok, so marriage isn’t my big issue. But Californians have a pretty fucking historic chance to ratify the rights of homos to marry on November 3. Seriously, did any of you around my age think that this would happen in our lifetimes? Gays and lesbians being treated equally under the law in this way? I sure didn’t.

I’ll go back to being a purist on Nov. 4. But the idea of the right wing taking these rights away after months of marriages taking place is too much to bear. I donated to the No on 8 cause and you should too. Obama doesn’t need your money.* The right has given up on McCain and putting their money here in California to pass this measure.

Of course marriage of any kind is historically based on the idea of women as property and ensure the flow of wealth smoothly through the aristocracy. Of course everyone should have health care when they need it and not have to marry for it. Of course this can set up a division between good (married) gays and bad (non-monogamous) queers. But what the fuck? Picture losing to those right wing assholes on Election Day. We need to crush their spirit.

Here’s a direct donation link

*Of course, No on 6 isn’t a bad place to put it either. Plus No on 4 (every damn election we have to say no to this!) And don’t forget Yes on VV in Oakland and Yes on K and R** in SF.
** I cannot believe the Greens take themselves so seriously that they refused to endorse the naming of the sewage plant for George Bush. Talk about illusions of grandeur. San Franciscans, do your duty! Greens, remain irrelevant!
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It’s only one week until the June 3 election so here is one of my last pleas to vote No on 98. Please tell your California family, friends, co-workers and neighbors to go out and vote against this deceptive proposition.

From the Tenant Times:

Vote June 3--NO on 98 To Save Rent Control & Just Cause Eviction Protections
State Proposition 98 on the June 3 ballot will change your life and change our city forever if it passes. This dangerous measure would end all rent control in California. Worse, it would also end just-cause eviction protections.
Balancing and transferring economic benefits is what underlies every regulation designed to protect tenants, workers, the environment or neighborhood character. )

To get involved in last minute campaigning in San Francisco or Oakland click those links. In San Francisco, from Saturday-Election Day there will be a staffed storefront for election information and materials at 2797 16th St. (at Folsom).

I don’t know about the rest of the state, but there are resources for campaigning in your own neighborhood here at the No on 98 Yes on 99 website.

You can read all the anti-98 editorials here and watch the AARP ad here There’s also a video with a couple of melonheads that I wouldn't link except that one is named “Gordo”.
gordonzola: (Default)
Yes to same sex marriage!
Yes to abortion on demand!
Yes to amnesty for illegal immigrants!

Thanks [livejournal.com profile] jtemperence! (This is a real campaign ad from Missouri's 6th Congressional District, which includes parts of Kansas City.)
gordonzola: (Default)
If someone who knew nothing about U.S. politics asked you to explain how things work, this paragraph would be a pretty good start:

The (Supreme) Court couldn't take up an apartheid dispute involving some of the nation's largest companies because too many of the justices had investments or other ties with those corporate giants.
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You may be tired of seeing me write about Prop 98, but the June 3 election is coming soon. Absentee ballots have already been mailed.

For fun, let’s take a look at a pro-98 letter that was recently printed in the Chron:

Editor - I urge all property owners and renters to vote Yes on Proposition 98/No on 99.
First, to all renters, please note that the most expensive rents in California are in the cities that have rent control.

Why do you think the price of purchasing property has gone down whilst rents increase? Renters, have no doubt, you are subsidizing your neighbors whose rents cannot be raised to current market value because of rent control.

I should know. I own three rental properties in San Francisco and whenever a unit becomes vacant, I boost the rent hundreds of dollars to subsidize the low rentals I cannot raise.
If rent control were eliminated, I could and would return the rent to current market, which would benefit all renters. So if you like paying your neighbors' rent, go ahead and vote the contrary, but stop complaining about high rents.

And to all property owners, grow a backbone, stand up for your rights, get proactive and support the passage of 98 and defeat 99.

Let’s look at what this absentee landlord wants us to believe:

1. Landlords really, really, really want to lower your rent. Evil tenants won’t let them.
2. It’s not that rent control has been enacted where there are already relatively high rents and low vacancy rates. It’s that somehow rent control causes higher rent.
3. Owning property should enable you to not have to obey laws voted on by the majority of citizens living in the county where you own property.
4. “Current market” rate is a concept that exists independent of the, uh, current market rate.
5. The price of purchasing property has gone down due to rent control. Wait, is she really saying that?

I’ve lived in my apartment for 14 years. When the first landlord I had sold it to the second landlord it was for about $400,000. The second landlord sold it to the third landlord a few years later for $1.2 million. That $800,000 made for collecting rent for a few years and not doing much else isn’t enough? Forgive me if I can’t feel much pity for the landlords speculating on San Francisco property.

As for the concept of rent control* making rent high, according to a NY Times article, in the four years after rent control was fully ended in Boston, the Mayor’s office reported that rents (on two-bedroom apartments) had risen 75%. That seems a more likely motive for why all the landlord money is coming into this campaign than the idea that landlords want to lower rents.

Please Californians. Vote no on 98. Tell your friends. Post about it. Write letters to the editors. Talk to your neighbors.

There’s a benefit for the no on 98 campaign at the Makeout Room this Saturday. I’ll be at work, but the reading will be awesome and I hear there are t-shirts free with donations.

*There also seems to be some misunderstanding, at least among internet libertarians in certain LJ communities, about what rent control in California really is. It differs from county to county somewhat, but basically it controls the amount the landlord can raise your rent every year after you sign an initial lease. There is no vacancy control legal in California, so while units will be covered every time a new leaseholder moves in, those units go to “market rate” and the increases are controlled from that new amount. One big advantage to tenants and to the communities they live in, (and thanks to [livejournal.com profile] fightingwords for pointing this out elsewhere), is that it means that in places where there is rent control, landlords have to have “just cause” (landlord moving in, non-payment of rent, illegal activity, damage etc.) to evict folks rather than just tripling their rent and making them move away.
gordonzola: (Default)
As some idiot incoherently tries to sell a book arguing that liberals=progressives=communists=fascists and only right-wingers are really for freedom, let us take a moment to remember a real American anti-fascist. Let's also remember that the people who went to fight fascism in Spain, when many right-wingers and industrialists were cozying up to it, were hounded by the US government, labeled "pre-mature anti-fascists", and blacklisted or jailed.

Is there anyone more deserving of a (theoretical of course) punch in the face right now than Jonah Goldberg?

Feel free to make your nominations below.
gordonzola: (Default)
Oh, Election Day. I have many things to say. I was gonna leave it alone, but I don’t have the self-discipline. I pick scabs too. Criticism all around…

My friends list is not monolithic. Many of you are apolitical, you may even be the majority. Then there are anarchists, liberals, libertarians (because this is an online community) even a few Republicans. Then there’s all you folks in countries that have a history of oppositional politics and who’s countries meet the minimum standard s of modern government, you know, universal health care and social service safety nets. You all may wanna sit this one out.*

I’ve never understood the anarchist "boycott the vote" way of thinking. I mean, they’re my peeps, but spending energy (not that much energy was ever spent on this except for graffiti, sticker-making and writing poorly written essay in the anarchist press) getting people not to vote. Fetishize the Spanish Revolution** all you want, envision the unions in this country coming to consensus with all the workers (who are now somehow suddenly in unions, btw) to show that the system is rotten and should be ignored to death. Imagine the power of being so organized and unified that the government would have to deal with our sheer numbers. But the bearing that has on reality is the same bearing that whatever pervy fantasies*** you have in the bedroom (or wherever) have on the population at large. None. And for the record, the well-organized, successful, union-lead, boycott of the vote lead to such a repressive regime in Spain in 1934 that the anarchists decided not to boycott the vote in 1936. The (Spanish) Republicans won that election , which lead to the fascist coup and workers’ revolution.

I also do think it’s a position borne of privilege. This can be emotionally over-hyped but pushing for people not to vote when other people, most of them poor and Black, were dying in the streets for the right to vote in my lifetime at the very least seems like a breach of solidarity. Personally, I like to think I’m on the same side as the Civil Rights Movement. Even if one doesn’t want to give aid and comfort to the evil that is the US government by voting, voting "No" is an effective tactic. Even if you are a Californian anarchist who is just going to vote "No" on 83, 85, and 90 this year’s most evil Propositions, you’ve done a good thing. If it makes you feel better, vote against all the judges too.

But don’t think I’m a Democrat . All this self-congratulation about the possibility of taking back the house and senate ignored the fact that it will be by such a slim margin that there is no guarantee that they will "stand up to Bush". In fact, all recent evidence would show that they probably wouldn’t. I mean, why should they? A fair number of those folks are ex-Republicans, anti-choice, and never questioned their position in the class war (on top). It’s not a bad strategy for winning the election, but even though party line voting is the backbone of representative democracy the Democrats haven’t historically been able to master that basic skill. Personally I prefer a government with divided powers so I do want the Democrats to take the elections but let’s not fool ourselves and think that many of the most evil laws that were passed in the last 6 years wouldn’t have passed anyway. The Democrats hate our freedom almost as much as the Republicans.

Libertarians and Republicans, I don’t know what to say to you. Sorry.

Let’s remember what election day is. One day. Anyone who says that you don’t get to have a say if you don’t vote is obviously someone’s dupe or just repeating what they’ve been told. I don’t understand the opposition to voting, especially in San Francisco where there are polling places every couple of blocks, but casting a vote isn’t very important in the long run, it’s what one does with the other 364 days of the year. Organized mass political organizations are the only thing that’s ever changed the politics of this country for the better. That’s why the Democrats policies now (except for a few issues) are much further to the right than that of Republicans during Nixon’s presidency. If you want a more recent example, the Nurse’s Union in California ran a huge campaign against the Governor here during the special election he called last year for his pet ballot measures. Not only was he defeated in every ballot but he was so embarrassed and floundering that he actually signed the best Global Warming legislation in the country. Sure it was also a hedge against 87, and defeated Angelides before the election even started, but it shows that organized opposition , not just a get out the vote campaign, can produce positive results. But the bottom line here is that joining and supporting a union in your workplace is much more radical than going and dropping a ballot in the box.

And if you live in SF vote Yes on H and for Chris Daly in District 6 (unfortunately I’m about 3 blocks out of District 6). Daly might be kind of a jerk, but he’s mostly a jerk to people with more power than him so I think it’s amusing. Also there’s a long history of that in San Francisco politics which we should support. Who needs civility in politics during a Civil War? Rob Black is an empty suit funded by big business interests who will blow away after this election if he loses.

*It wasn’t their fault, but when I visited Germany in the early ‘90s some nice artsy post-anarchist said, "Do you have as many homeless people as we do in Berlin?" The only response to that really is, "Shut the fuck up!"
**all arguments with anarchist eventually lead back to the Spanish Revolution of 1936, just fyi.
***This shouldn’t be read as a diss of pervy fantasies
gordonzola: (Default)

I was embarrassed just watching it and I am not a Democrat. I don't even know where to start making fun... the choice of one of that era's most insipid songs*, the idea that mobilizing the ex-hippie vote will help him win, that a "Dump Nixon" sign was all it took for Angelides to become a Democratic Party hack?

Maybe the campaign has so little money at this point that they're having their high school interns do the ads.

*Even the horrible "San Francisco (Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)" was more poignant and militant than "Let Your Love Flow".
gordonzola: (Default)
Do I have to remind you to go vote, especially NO on 73 and 75? I didn't think so.
gordonzola: (Default)
ok, the inauguration. Why does any non-Bush-supporter care?

I assume everyone watching the inauguration is doing so because either 1. they're hoping for a riot or 2. want to be watching in case some act of terrorism occurs. Otherwise, watching Bush and his friends get sworn in and spout off about "freedom" is more masochistic than I can comprehend. You guys are hard core.
gordonzola: (Default)
Ok, one last thing about the election before we resume our regularly scheduled journal. I find it a little hard to write about because I don’t think the results of elections are obvious until much later. I’m not talking about provisional ballots. I mean that when one is living it, it’s hard to tell if a political moment is a stepping stone for more political evil or its watershed.

Mind you, I can write that and still not find a positive thing about the last election. I was more depressed about California Prop 72 failing than Bush’s re-election at first. 72 would have required large companies to offer health care to workers and pay a minimum of the monthly fees. I can fool myself sometimes. It seemed so obvious, and there was so little media action around it, I assumed it would win fairly easily.

Which brings me to the tragedy of all this Kerry bullshit. How much money and how many volunteer hours were spent on his campaign? The unions should have made 72 their first priority election-wise.* It’s only been the major issue in every large union battle recently, including the grocery and hotel workers. How many lasting institutions or organizing drives could we create with the millions spent on a bad candidate in a doomed campaign?

And San Francisco is no better. All the bond and tax measures were defeated. For the first time in my life I can’t fault a Mayor for announcing lay-offs.** He said if these didn’t pass there would be more cuts and lay-offs and that’s what he’s doing. It’s instructive to remember why they didn’t pass. All had more than 50% of the vote but part of ‘80s "tax reform" made it a requirement that a two-thirds majority is needed to pass new taxes. When the Right Wing started their Reagan-era counter-attack, first they came for the schools. I’m still bitter, as every Californian should be that California’s public schools, once the model for the nation are so under-funded and so bad. Twenty plus years of starvation will do horrible things to a political body.

As for the national election, I wanted Bush to lose because, among other reasons, I think it sets the bar extremely low when a President can get caught, with really no disputing evidence, lying to the country in order to go to war and get re-elected. I don’t believe presidential elections are the source of any real political change, but I really didn’t need any more cynicism, thanks.

I mean, I have jokingly said that elections as a decision between which wing of elites in the Capitalist party gets to manage the War on the Poor for the next four years. Except I’m not really joking.. I think this framework explains a lot of US politics but not everything. Elections are a snapshot in time and of empowerment, and even if there are little actual differences in the candidates themselves, they reflect real power and societal perception of what is "acceptable". Those differences are important if just to show how far away from the society we’d like to live in we are at this given moment.

What’s especially depressing, but not exactly news, about this election is that there is no fantasy left turn by the vast majority in this country. I think that liberals and even the left, in lieu of organizing, envision an overnight transformation sometimes: that those Red State*** folks will have been secretly watching Fahrenheit 911 or listening to Al Franken and on election day will show up in force to vote in "their" own interest. Let’s just say that if that happened, it would be a historical anomaly.

Movements change politics. Duh. The theocratic right is many years ahead of the left in working on this. Of course, it does help that their leaders tend to get assassinated less, but still.

As for all the LJ posts, I will comment here to most of what I read. I love you all, remember, you wouldn’t be on my friendslist if I didn’t. Even if it may just be internet love.

To the Midwest folks beating up on California because it’s no better than anywhere else: In the midst of a huge ideological right wing takeover if it makes you feel good to remind us were all in this together, then fine. Honestly, it’s kind of old news that Prop 187 should have clued you in to years ago. However, I will take you more seriously when so many of your people stop moving here.

To the wanna-be ex-pats: whining about moving is just aid and comfort to the enemy. Sure, the health care and social safety nets of Canada are attractive, in the US only something we can dream about which is the most pathetic thing about the state of US politics that I can think of. But no matter how much this is not our country, it still is our country. The first time I traveled outside the borders of the US I realized that I have no choice but being an American despite what is done in "my" name. While this is obviously a position of the descendent of immigrants, rather than that of a descendent of the kidnapped or conquered, it’s still my birthright. For good or for ill.****

To the Gavin Newsom bashers: Why, oh why, are you making me support a liberal Democrat using his own words? "Never apologize for doing the right thing." Anything else is just weak and you should be ashamed of yourselves. Of course, the bright spot for Democrats (not democrats) here is that you can find a way to blame this whole election on the Greens if you want. The argument goes like this: Matt Gonzalez, a Green almost won the Mayoral election in SF, actually out-polling Newsom on election day. Newsom, to consolidate power and neutralize the burgeoning Green movement in SF, legalizes gay marriage. This galvanizes the right (forget the Massachusetts supreme court for a second) and re-elects Bush. Those Damn Greens!*****

To the moral-voter spin-meisters: I know you aren’t reading my journal but what a bunch of hypocritical bullshit. It’s been said elsewhere but I didn’t want to leave it out. Letting the Right have ownership of the word "moral" is an assault on the dictionaries of the world.

The hangover in SF last Wednesday was pretty incredible. True, many had actual hangovers but the whole city was emotionally drained. It was quiet and empty. The stores and restaurants I passed looked empty. 8:30 at night looked like 3 AM. At one point I laughed at something funny and unrelated to the election and two or three people pointed out that that was the first laugh they’d heard all day. My laugh is exceptionally loud, but this illustrates the mood. Is this election more depressing than 1980, 1984, or 1988? Not really to me. It’s just a continuation. Which of course is a pretty depressing thought. Of course 12 years of Reagan and the other Bush probably permanently destroyed some of those nerve endings so I probably just don’t feel as much pain as I used to.

My advice: first things first, throw a party with friends precisely because we have nothing to celebrate. Then find some useful political work to do, work that is not connected to any major political party.

*I know some did at first. I need to call my friends and find out whether the had to shift their focus in the last couple of weeks.
**I can quibble with who gets laid off of course.
***It’s amazing to realize how the implications of the term "Red State" have changed since the early ‘90s.
****I only asked the Canadian LJers to marry me because I have an internet crushes on them. I don’t really want to move.
*****If you wanna find a bigger villain in the gay marriage world, try the white gay folks comparing Newsom and the marriages to Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott. Now that’s insulting and alienating to the traditional constituency of the Democrats.
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Well, yeah. I voted too. The polling place was packed at 10:30 AM which is usually a lull time. The booths were full and everyone was sitting on the floors, standing against the walls, and writing on their friends’ backs filling out their ballots. It’s odd to me when I read about other places where people have to drive or take busses to the polls because in four different residences I’ve never had to walk more than a block and a half.

I heard a staple gun on the street early this morning. I knew it was some election related thing but it was 6 AM too early to care so I didn’t look out my window. When I made it out of the house my speed-freak, lawyer neighbor had decorated our block with neon pink signs. "GOOD RIDDANCE W AND TAKE YOUR FRIEND RALPH WITH YOU!"

I made the only logical choice for President in the great state of California: Leonard Peltier. If I have to have a President, I prefer him or her to be in jail.
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Hosting the baby shower last week has come in handy for election time. Preggers’ best friend decorated my front door with a huge "It’s a Girl" sign complete with bunting and baby shoes. I’m surprised the landlord hasn’t called to find out if we now have an extra tenant.

Our neighborhood always gets a lot of canvassers, but election time means even more folks ringing the doorbell and asking for support or money. I try to be nice to canvassers because it is my worst nightmare of a job, worse than cold-calling and worse than cleaning busses for hippie capitalists. I often offer them cold drinks or a chance to use the bathroom but there are too many this time of year for that. Otherwise my apartment might start looking like an activist break room. Fights might start to break out between the Greens and the left Democrats.* The Burton/Brown/Newsom machine folks would end up pummeling the district election and ranked voting proponents in the stairs.

I’ve been using the "It’s a Girl" sign to avoid all of this and to save my time. When a supporter of a candidate who I would not vote for rings the bell I just point at the sign and say, "What? What is it? You are getting me away from the baby!" They look guilty, quickly apologize, and leave. This method for repelling canvassers is the best I’ve found, definitely beating out pretending not to speak English or answering the door naked. I think I’ll just leave it up year round.

*By the way, I say if you live in District 5 vote Haaland #1 and Mirkarimi #2. I met Robert Haaland years ago doing shit work for some campaign to save rent control and have always been impressed with him. Honestly I think his politics are to the left of the Greens. I also say support Jane Kim for school board wherever you live.
gordonzola: (Default)
woah, check out Eminem getting political. I guess the Black Bloc is now the universal symbol of resistance. Of course, just when it looks like the crowd is gonna fuck shit up they get coopted back into the system. But still...

(Thanks [livejournal.com profile] slanderous)
gordonzola: (Default)
While reading my "friends" page, I came upon this endearingly pathetic plea for friendslist stranger porn. I considered making and posting a fake Penthouse-Forum-meets-Gordonzola style entry but then I decided I didn't have the energy after my 11 hour day at work.

Instead, I've started it off. Let's play that writing game where we all add one sentence at a time until we get the entire creepy story.

Here we go:

Dear Readers,

You’ll never guess what happened to me today. I was walking home from work like usual, admiring the squalor and filth of my lovely city, when all of a sudden I heard a strange voice from behind the dumpster. "Aren't you the cheese guy?" a tentative voice asked.

Who's next?


gordonzola: (Default)

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