Archive for February, 2009

Dear LazyWeb: local anarchist seeks suggestions for Anarchist Classics Series

Dear LazyWeb,

A lot of my time in the past couple weeks ended up getting eaten by a scheduling issue over Las Vegas Anarchist Cafe which is now seems — insha’Allah — to be resolved. It means we’ll be moving from Wednesday nights to Thursday nights, but it also means that we have a definite reservation in, which is all nice and written down and has a contact number where they can reach me if they need to let us know about anything. And now that we have the scheduling issue apparently resolved, and a stable time more or less locked in, we are planning to expand out our Free Speech Soapbox Series (see GT 2009-01-27 and GT 2009-02-03 for previous mentions), and hopefully to make it a regular thing. One of the ideas that we’ve batted around for slow weeks is to do an Anarchist Classics Series — where the idea would be to read aloud, and then discuss, some classic Anarchist lectures (or, as the case may be, roughly lecture-length essays that are conducive to being read aloud). There are lots of them out there — public speaking, to both general audiences and to movement audiences, used to be a much bigger part of our movement than it is today, and one of my hopes is to do a little something towards reviving that tradition — and some of them are really good. Each reading would hopefully be done by someone who’s relatively familiar with the essay being read, and then followed with some Q&A and discussion.

Before the scheduling troubles cropped up, our plan was to kick off the series with Tucker’s classic, State Socialism and Anarchism: how far they agree, and wherein they differ. Presumably, once everything is firmly back on track, we’ll be able to cover it after all.

But, here’s my question for you, gentle reader: if you were scheduling an event in this series, which lecture or short essay would you recommend to Vegas Anarchist Cafe for a reading and discussion? Let us know what you think in the comments section. Which ones do you think are the most important or interesting to cover, and which are likely to stimulate the best discussions afterwards? (For reference, we have about an hour for the whole event — so the Anarchist Classic in question should be something that can be read aloud in about 30-45 minutes.)

Dear LazyWeb: local anarchist seeks suggestions for Anarchist Classics Series

Dear LazyWeb,

A lot of my time in the past couple weeks ended up getting eaten by a scheduling issue over Las Vegas Anarchist Cafe which is now seems — insha’Allah — to be resolved. It means we’ll be moving from Wednesday nights to Thursday nights, but it also means that we have a definite reservation in, which is all nice and written down and has a contact number where they can reach me if they need to let us know about anything. And now that we have the scheduling issue apparently resolved, and a stable time more or less locked in, we are planning to expand out our Free Speech Soapbox Series (see GT 2009-01-27 and GT 2009-02-03 for previous mentions), and hopefully to make it a regular thing. One of the ideas that we’ve batted around for slow weeks is to do an Anarchist Classics Series — where the idea would be to read aloud, and then discuss, some classic Anarchist lectures (or, as the case may be, roughly lecture-length essays that are conducive to being read aloud). There are lots of them out there — public speaking, to both general audiences and to movement audiences, used to be a much bigger part of our movement than it is today, and one of my hopes is to do a little something towards reviving that tradition — and some of them are really good. Each reading would hopefully be done by someone who’s relatively familiar with the essay being read, and then followed with some Q&A and discussion.

Before the scheduling troubles cropped up, our plan was to kick off the series with Tucker’s classic, State Socialism and Anarchism: how far they agree, and wherein they differ. Presumably, once everything is firmly back on track, we’ll be able to cover it after all.

But, here’s my question for you, gentle reader: if you were scheduling an event in this series, which lecture or short essay would you recommend to Vegas Anarchist Cafe for a reading and discussion? Let us know what you think in the comments section. Which ones do you think are the most important or interesting to cover, and which are likely to stimulate the best discussions afterwards? (For reference, we have about an hour for the whole event — so the Anarchist Classic in question should be something that can be read aloud in about 30-45 minutes.)

The Metro Police Beat

  • A couple of months ago, just before New Years’, [a Las Vegas Metro SWAT team rolled out to Emmanuel Dozier and Belinda Saavedra’s house in Seven Hills, at 9:30 at night (about four or fve hours after dark, around here, during the winter) in order to serve a search warrant. The cops blasted open the gate with a shotgun. They claim they announced themselves but nobody other than the police says that they heard anything other than a lot of noise. Saavedra has a three month old baby and a 13 year old daughter who were in the front of the house when this hard-to-see gang of armed strangers opened fire late at night and started forcing their way in. Saavedra called 911 as soon as she heard the gunfire; the recording of the call is now available online. Dozier got a handgun that he keeps for self-defense and fired back at the gang of strangers, apparently wounding three cops. After a stand-off, once the 911 dispatcher convinced Dozier that the men outside were in fact cops, he dropped the phone, went outside, and surrendered himself with his hands up. Here’s how he looked when he got to the police station:

    This is his mug shot from the police; he has a huge bruise and a lot of swelling around his right eye.

    Then they searched the house. They found no cocaine anywhere. Dozier is being charged with attempted murder and possession of marijuana — even though an inventory of items seized doesn’t include the marijuana or paraphenalia the police claimed to have found with their search warrant. Apparently the search warrant was to gather evidence to bust Dozier on charges of being a low-level cocaine dealer. The cops claim an undercover had already made a few purchases from Dozier; allegedly they had a business relationship with him, but they couldn’t be bothered to meet up with him one more time in order to be able to make an arrest that didn’t involve storming his house late at night while children were present. They told the media that Dozier had no above-the-table job; actually, he had a regular job at the time as a sheet-metal worker. They have not made any claims that Belinda Saavedra committed any crimes whatsoever at any point, either related to the drugs or related to the shooting; but the did make sure to force her down and rough her up after she had surrendered (since she wouldn’t calm down or shut her mouth while they shot at her house, hollered at her, took away her baby and called her a dumbass for her trouble).

    Meanwhile, the D.A. has taken steps to take away her children and charged her with abuse and neglect — even though, remember, she is not accused of any independent crimes whatsoever. The explanation is that she is being charged with abuse and neglect because she doesn’t have a job outside the house. There’s no sign that being a stay-at-home mother (while her boyfriend holds down a job as a sheet metal worker and her mother works two jobs in order to help support her grandchildren) has caused either kid any hurt or want. But the prosecutor does inform us, in the complaint, that the 13 year old was traumatized when cops started a gunfight at her house. I wouldn’t be surprised, but whose fault is that?

    The cops refuse to answer any questions about the reasons for staging a late-night SWAT raid in this case or about the discrepancies between their public statements about the suspects and the documented facts that emerged later. Dana Gentry reports that Police refuse to answer but a Metro spokesman did tell me extreme measures are necessary to guard against some liberal judge throwing out the case. Metro are liars and child abusers who routinely use maximal force in situations where they could easily have gotten anything they needed to get by other means. They also spend tremendous amounts of time, and tremendous amounts of money that taxpayers are forced to turn over to them against our will, prosecuting people who — even if everything alleged against them is true — are doing nothing more than selling a valued product to a willing customer, and who never should have been threatened or hassled by the police in the first place.

  • Las Vegas Metro made a road stop at about 4 in the morning on February 6. They suspected that the driver was drunk. He got out of the car and ran away on foot. Cops sent a helicopter to look for him and concluded (based on heat in the yard) that he was hiding out in a backyard in a nearby neighborhood. He wasn’t — turns out he was hiding in a different part of the neighborhood — but the family’s dog, a pit-bull named Coco, was. This wouldn’t have been a problem, except that the cops decided that catching a DUI suspect was so incredibly urgent, and respecting other people’s private property being, after all, no concern at all to Las Vegas Metro’s important work, they would send a gang of seven cops, first to barge into the next-door neighbor’s yard without asking, and then, again without asking anyone’s permission, to jump the wall into the backyard where they thought the suspect would be. The family dog came out and confronted this gang of strangers barging into her territory; she didn’t actually attack anybody, but, after all, she was only surrounded by seven fully-grown, professionally-trained, and heavily-armed police officers; her continued existence clearly posed a threat, so they shot the dog dead. The cops took responsibility by issuing an Oops, our bad to the bereaved family — along with a self-serving claim that the cops just had to shoot the dog in self-defense. (No, they didn’t. Self-defense is no longer an excuse when you put yourself in danger by invading somebody else’s private property.) Then, public servants that they are, they left Jose Fernandez and Yurisel de la Torre by themselves to cover the $200+ bill for cremating their dead dog.

    Metro are home invaders and dog killers who routinely exercise contempt for private property, instigate violent confrontations in order to deal with trivial crimes, shoot first and ask questions later, and then excuse their use of maximal force as the necessary means to completely unnecessary ends.

  • While we’re here, I should also mention that the Nevada Crime Technology Advisory Board, representing Las Vegas Metro, the FBI, and several other law enforcement outfits from around Nevada, wants a new law passed that will allow police in Nevada to unilaterally seize the balances on prepaid debit cards without any kind of warrant — because, while they don’t have any evidence to present in any particular case, they reckon that somebody, somewhere using one of these things might turn out to be a bad guy selling drugs to willing customers — which is apparently enough of a reason to give these lying, child-abusing, dog-killing, home-invading, itchy-trigger-fingered irresponsible thugs a unilateral right to seize private citizens’ money, by arbitrary fiat, with no need for any kind of prior judicial review.

There’s a cliché around here, about how longtime locals compare the way things are now — for better or worse — with the way things used to be, back when the mob ran Vegas. The problem with this is that the mob never stopped running Vegas. The only thing that’s changed is the name of the families, and the color of the tailored suits.

Leave South Hills Church alone

Here’s my February 10 letter to the editor of the Las Vegas Sun, which apparently will remain unpublished (by them). It’s in response to their recent story on a political tussle between the South Hills Church and some folks living by it in Green Valley, over a series of big-ass crosses that South Hills Church was planning to put up on their own property:

Editor, Las Vegas Sun:

I was saddened to read (Neighbors at odds with church over huge crosses, 2/4/2009) the Clark County government, at the behest of busybody neighbors, has forced South Hills Church to scrap plans to build three large crosses on the their own property.

The bellowing blowhard busybody brigade complains these crosses — built on land the church owns, with money freely given to the church for that purpose — would encroach upon the views from their yards. Sad as that may be, the view from your yard stops being your own private property once you start looking over another’s land.

South Hills Church’s plans to build symbols of their own faith on their own property are their own business; they’re not interfering with anybody else’s property and they’re not forcing anyone to look. Yet they get harassed in the name of politically-enforced aesthetic correctness. Neighbors and county government have no more business butting in to tell them how tall or short to make accessory structures on their own land, than they have call to make the church change the logo on their own sign, or the color they painted their walls, just to better please the neighbors’ aesthetic sensibilities.

Of course, we are informed government zoning laws require shorter crosses. No doubt; that’s exactly why government zoning is a ridiculous and petty tyranny. Such laws should be immediately and completely abolished.

Leave South Hills Church alone. What goes up on their own property is their own business.

Sincerely,
Charles W. Johnson
Southern Nevada Alliance of the Libertarian Left

See also:

Portland ALLies on the Airwaves

Posted 20 February 2009 // by ALLy Rad Geek

ALLies Shawn Wilbur and William Gillis — of the Northwest Alliance of the Libertarian Left — were interviewed a while back by Kyle Burris for KBOO FM (90.7 FM Portland, 100.7 FM Corvallis, 91.9 FM Hood River) on the ideas of the Libertarian Left and Market Anarchism. Shawn Wilbur recently mentioned on his blog that the interview is now available online:

Market Anarchism: Government regulation and the financial crisis.

What roll did government regulation play in the current financial crisis? Is more regulation what we really need? What would a truly free market look like? And is there hope for radical reform, beyond the failed Marxist model?

KBOO’s Kyle Burris speaks to local anarchist activist William Gillis, and historian Shawn Wilbur, about the theory know as Market Anarchism, or Left Libertarianism. They discuss the roll government plays in the current economy, and also take a historical look at government’s affect on unions and health care in the US.

More information on the subject can be found at the website Invisible Molotov.

KBOO.fm (17 Feb 2009): Market Anarchism: Government regulation and the financial crisis.

Congratulations to Shawn and William!

An mp3 file of the interview is available for download from the KBOO.fm website.

ALLies on the Airwaves

(From Portland ALLy Shawn Wilbur 2009-02-18.)

From Occupied Cascadia, Kyle Burris recently interviewed Portland ALLies Shawn Wilbur and William Gillis for KBOO-FM’s program Radiozine:

Market Anarchism: Government regulation and the financial crisis.

What roll [sic] did government regulation play in the current financial crisis? Is more regulation what we really need? What would a truly free market look like? And is there hope for radical reform, beyond the failed Marxist model?

KBOO’s Kyle Burris speaks to local anarchist activist William Gillis, and historian Shawn Wilbur, about the theory know as Market Anarchism, or Left Libertarianism. They discuss the roll [sic] government plays in the current economy, and also take a historical look at government’s affect on unions and health care in the US.

More information on the subject can be found at the website Invisible Molotov.

KBOO.fm (2009-02-17): Market Anarchism: Government regulation and the financial crisis.

Congratulations Shawn and William!

An mp3 of the interview is available for download at the KBOO.fm website.

How local government in Las Vegas and Clark County deals with the worst joblessness crisis in a generation

  1. By trying to force working folks out of their jobs driving ice cream trucks, since it is far more important that a handful of bellyaching neighborhood grouches can avoid hearing Turkey in the Straw for 30 seconds around 8:00pm, than that working folks actually be left alone to make an honest living, using a few fittings to trick out a truck they may already own, by providing a cold treat to willing customers and a little bit of happiness to neighborhood children in the midst of a sweltering summer. (The Las Vegas Sun, apparently with a straight face, describes briefly hearing an ice cream truck pass by is akin to aural torture. If so, it may be the only form of torture that you can avoid by turning up your damned hi-fi for a minute or two.)

  2. By forcing working folks out of jobs driving taxis, by artificially limiting the number of taxicabs that can legally operate in Las Vegas, thus limiting the legal cab market to only 16 companies, cartelized into a controlled oligarchy protected from outside competition — notably from any possibility outside competition by independent cabbies, who might otherwise be able to set themselves up in one of the largest and most lucrative tourist markets in the world, with nothing more than a car they already own. As a result of all this, anyone who does manage to get work as a taxicab driver is forced to work at somewhere around minimum wage for one of the 16 government-approved taxicab companies; while lots of people who could otherwise make a living driving a taxi are forced out of work because, thanks to the arbitrary fiat of the Nevada Taxicab Authority, based on sheer guesswork about how many cabs Las Vegas needs, the only legal way to drive a taxi in Vegas is to rent yourself out to one of these big taxi companies — and the Authority, again based on absolutely nothing other than pure guesswork, tourist-industry gossip, and impressionistic first-hand observations about how many cabs Vegas needs, won’t even let those companies hire on any new cabs this year.

  3. And finally, rather than just getting the hell out of the way and let working folks make an honest living with resources the already own, by shutting them down at every turn, running them out of business for the benefit of neighborhood power games or established insider companies, and then, to crown all, by sticking their hands into working folks’ increasingly empty pockets, and grabbing out a million dollars while they still can, to hand over to the tax-funded Las VegasConvention and Visitors Authority, in order to run a bunch of ads on behalf of big casinos to beg other big businesses to send their executives on more trips out to Vegas, apparently on the theory that those poor ol’ casinos just can’t be expected to pay for their own damned advertising.

See also:

Rad Geek Speaks: a recording of my talk “What Is Anarchism?” at the 28 January 2009 Las Vegas Anarchist Cafe

A couple of weeks ago, I gave an introductory talk on Anarchism at the Las Vegas Anarchist Cafe.

As I mentioned at the time, I made a cheap recording of the talk using the voice-note function on my MP3 player. As previously promised, here is the cheap recording, for your downloading and listening pleasure. I ran long (as I usually do the first time I give a talk), and so didn’t get to cover some of the ground I’d hoped to cover. (Notably, I didn’t spend as much time as I would have liked talking about the reasons why the burden of proof is on the statist, not on the anarchist, and I didn’t get to cover in any explicit or detailed way the reasons why Anarchists oppose all forms of authoritarianism, not just statism itself. This is the first time I’ve given this particular talk, but I hope to give introductory talks like it in the future, so I’ll figure out a way to cover it next time; in the meantime, thoughts, questions, suggestions, and so on are all welcome.

Enjoy!

Download: Charles Johnson, What Is Anarchism? Las Vegas Anarchist Cafe, 28 January 2009 (MPEG-3 format)

Southern Nevada ALLy Kelly Patterson speaks TOMORROW (Wed. 2/4) at Las Vegas Anarchist Cafe: “We Need The Wobblies Now More Than Ever! A Brief History of the Industrial Workers of the World.”

The Vegas Anarchist Cafe is a meet-up for networking, building community, and doing some outreach for anarchists in Las Vegas, which Southern Nevada ALL has been organizing together with unaffiliated local anarchists for the past several months. The main idea is just to give anarchists, anti-statists, and anarchy-curious fellow travelers a place to meet up and talk in an informal setting at a local coffee-house. There isn’t a fixed business agenda; the idea is to give people a place to find each other. Once they’ve found each other, A-Cafe can serve as a springboard for the independent projects that they may want to start.

After some discussions with regular A-Cafers, we’ve decided to start putting on a series of talks, presentations, skill-shares and open mics — tentatively titled the Free Speech Soapbox Series. Last week I gave the first Soapbox talk — an introductory talk on Anarchistic ideas, called What Is Anarchism?. Turn-out was good, and the discussion was lively. (For those of you wondering about the audio recording — I haven’t yet had the chance to check whether it came out audibly or not. News on that soon.)

This week — specifically, TOMORROW, Wednesday 4 February 2009, fellow Southern Nevada ALLy Kelly Patterson will be giving a talk on labor radicalism, wildcat unionism, and the Industrial Workers of the World, called We Need the Wobblies Now More Than Ever! A Brief History of the Industrial Workers of the World!

This week at the Anarchist Cafe:

We Need the Wobblies Now More Than Ever! A Brief History of the Industrial Workers of the World.Kelly Patterson — Wed., January 28 6:30pm — 7:30pm — Local artist, activist, and fellow worker Kelly Patterson will will give a presentation entitled We Need the Wobblies Now More Than Ever! A Brief History of the Industrial Workers of the World. The I.W.W. is a radical, anti-statist industrial labor union, which organized hundreds of thousands of workers and became one of the most powerful unions in America early in the 20th century — until the United States government targeted it for destruction. In this age of bail-outs, the government and the bosses have proven themselves incapable of delivering the prosperity that they promised; workers need a fighting union now more than ever. Kelly’s talk will look at both the I.W.W.’s storied history, and at signs of hope for a Wobbly resurgence in the early 21st century.

This week’s presentation is the second in the Free Speech Soapbox Series, a series of presentations, speeches, programming, and free speech open mics for the middle 60 minutes of the weekly A-Cafe (6:30–7:30pm). When we have a Soapbox, the first 30 minutes and the final 30 minutes are devoted to the usual informal meet-up format; the 60 minutes in between offer information, entertainment, programming, or a chance for A-Cafers to talk about issues that they care about or projects they are working on. The schedule of Soapboxes is available online. If there is something you’d be interested in talking about at the A-Cafe, contact us to set up for an available time slot.

—from the Vegas Anarchist Cafe website

The Anarchist Cafe meeting will begin at 6:00 PM. Kelly’s talk will begin at 6:30 PM (and should run about an hour or so, including time at the end for Q&A). During the time before and after the talk, A-Cafers are encouraged to check out material from local organizations on our table space, to meet each other, and to chat.

Here are the details on the event:

  • WHAT: Talk by Kelly Patterson of Southern Nevada ALL on the history of the Industrial Workers of the World, and why we need a radical, anti-state industrial union now more than ever
  • WHEN: Wednesday, 4 February 2009, 6:30 PM.
  • WHERE: Weekly Anarchist Cafe @ The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Running Rebel Plaza (across the street from UNLV). 4550 S. Maryland Parkway; we’ll be in the meeting room off to the left of the entrance.

If you’re in the Vegas area (or even if you’re not), it’d be great to see you there. If you know anyone around abouts who might be interested in a talk about Anarchism or radical labor organizing, then please do forward the announcement on to them.

More to come soon; watch this space.

See also: