Posts Tagged ‘UNLV’

scott crow comes to the vegas valley

Att’n: Nevada friends, ALLies and rabble-rousers! (Or, anyone who happens to be passing through the Vegas Valley on the evening of June 5 ….) Here’s some great news from Vegas ALLy and A-Café-er Kelly Patterson: Vegas (A)s have organized a visit and a talk from scott crow of Common Ground Collective, Ecology Action of Texas, etc. etc. etc., based on stories from his book Black Flags and Windmills. The presentation will be in Beam Hall on UNLV campus, on Wednesday, June 5.

  • WHO: Everyone’s invited!
  • WHEN: Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 6:00 - 8:00pm.
  • WHERE: Frank and Estella Beam Hall, Room 105 @ UNLV. Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • WHAT: Talk by Organizer/Author Scott Crow of the Common Ground Collective

Here’s the Facebook event page; or Las Vegas Anarchy Meetup event page if you prefer. Either way, the copy’s the same:

Scott Crow co-founder of the Common Ground Collective, an anarchist inspired grassroots relief in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, will be in Las Vegas to give a presentation. crow uses his book as a foundation for a visual, fast moving and engaging presentation of stories to show what ordinary people can do to change their own worlds and create power from below without governments. The presentation seeks through a collection of stories to show how the philosophy of anarchism has shaped and changed modern political movements. Anarchism’s influence on organization and actions has allowed spaces for projects like the Common Ground Collective, the largest anarchist organization in modern US history to come into existence after Hurricane Katrina, the Occupy uprisings, and the environmental climate change movements across the US. The presentation which is equal parts personal story, radical history and organizing philosophies asks questions about how we engage in social change, the real and perceived challenges presented by the state and dares us to rethink our grassroots movements in how we engage for the future.

This talk will be of interest for anyone that has been involved in grassroots organizing and community related planning from a decentralized, member based perspective.

scott crow bio:

scott crow has spent his varied life as an underground musician, coop business owner, political organizer, trainer, strategist, consultant, ‘green collar’ worker, writer and speaker advocating the philosophy and practices of anarchism for social, cultural, environmental, and economic aims.

Over the last two decades scott has worked for a number of national organizations like Greenpeace, A.C.O.R.N. and Ruckus Society and co-founded a number of varied projects, businesses and organizations including Lesson Seven (political industrial band), Red Square (coop art gallery), Century Modern (antique cooperative), Treasure City Thrift (volunteer/worker cooperative) and the Common Ground Collective in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina (the largest anarchist inspired organization in modern US history). He is the author of the book Black Flags and Windmills (PM Press 2011), appeared in What Lies Beneath: Katrina, Race and the State of the Nation (South end Press) and co-produced the film Angola 3: Black Panthers and the Last Slave Plantation (PM Press). He has appeared in international media as both a writer and subject including the NY Times, Democracy Now, CNN and NPR as well as the documentaries Welcome to New Orleans, Better this World, and Informant.

NPR’s This American Life called him a living legend among anarchists and the New York Times characterized him as anarchist and veteran organizer . . . that comes across as more amiable than combative . . .. Currently scott splits his time speaking and consulting nationally and organizing locally.

¡Papeles para tod@s! 1 May 2009, 3:30 PM @ Commercial Center Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada

Bring your signs. Bring your flags (all of ‘em, from anywhere). Most important, bring yourself and bring your friends! Stand up and march on with your fellow workers and your fellow immigrants, against international apartheid; against the bordercrats and their walls, their checkpoints, their paramilitary raids, and their police state; and for the human rights of each and every person to be left alone, to live and work in peace, without needing to get a permission slip from the State for their existence.

1-mayo-2009-handbills

Justice for Immigrants; Human Rights for All!

May 1st 2009

Meet at 3:30 PM at the Commercial Center (between Commercial Center Dr and E. Sahara Ave).

March will begin at 5 PM, ending at the Federal Courthouse

  • Support family reunification!
  • Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform!
  • Support Workers’ Rights to Organize!
  • Support the DREAM Act!

Sponsored By:

LiUNA, PLAN, MEChA, Young Democrats of UNLV, LUZ community development coalition, Hermandad Mexicana, Stone Wall Democrats, Si Se Puede, Latino Democrats, NV NOW, Así Se Habla and UCIR.

For More Information Contact Us at info@ucir.org

Justicia Para Inmigrantes; Derechos Humanos Para Todos!

May 1, 2009

Reunión a las 3:30 PM en el Commercial Center (entre Commercial Center Dr y E Sahara Ave).

La Marcha comenzará a las 5PM y Terminará en la Corte Federal.

Apoyen La Reunificación de Las Familias!

Apoyen Una Reforma Migratoria!

Apoyen Los Derechos del Trabajador Para Organizarce!

Apoyen el Dream Act!

Patrocinado Por:

LiUNA, PLAN, MEChA, Young Democrats of UNLV, LUZ community development coalition, Hermandad Mexicana, Stone Wall Democrats, Si Se Puede, Latino Democrats, NV NOW, Así Se Habla and UCIR.

Para Más Información Por Favor Contacte a UCIR en info@ucir.org

Simple solutions to stupid problems, part 2: By The Power Vested In Me edition

Reporting from Las Vegas — In a city launched by shotgun weddings and quickie divorces, and which offers the chance to be wed by faux Liberaces, King Tuts and Grim Reapers, there remains at least one nuptial taboo: You can’t be married by an atheist.

Michael Jacobson, a 64-year-old retiree who calls himself a lifelong atheist, tried this year to get a license to perform weddings. Clark County rejected his application because he had no ties to a congregation, as state law requires.

So Jacobson and attorneys from two national secular groups — the American Humanist Assn. and the Center for Inquiry — are trying to change things. If they can’t persuade the state Legislature to rework the law, they plan to sue.

[…]

When Lipman and his wife moved to Florida this spring, Jacobson — a balding man with a thin, white mustache and a trace of his native Philadelphia in his voice — decided to become the local atheist celebrant.

But I’m not going to do it by saying I belong to a religious organization, he said. That’s a sham, because atheists are not religious.

Jacobson filled out an application to perform marriages, but sidestepped the questions on religion. County Clerk Shirley Parraguirre said she had little choice but to reject it.

As Nevada law requires, all of the county’s 2,500 or so licensed officiants are connected to a congregation — though some are as small as two people, Parraguirre said. (Judges and commissioners of civil marriages can also lead ceremonies.)

Some of the state’s regulations hark back to the 1960s, when ministers were dumping their flocks to become wealthy Marrying Sams, according to the book Las Vegas: An Unconventional History. One would-be officiant apparently hoped to marry enough people to finance his divorce.

Lawmakers, trying to ferret out the profit-hungry, said weddings must be among a minister’s incidental duties. Drive past the string of neon-lighted downtown chapels, and you’ll see that didn’t quite pan out.

Clark County issues nearly 100,000 marriage licenses a year and boasts dozens of places to exchange vows — atop Harley-Davidsons, in Renaissance costumes, aboard gondolas — 24 hours a day. The competition is so fierce that in recent years, employees at rival chapels have accused one another of slashing tires and shouting death threats. Someone is working at all of these chapels, said Parraguirre, whose office doesn’t have the resources to track down ministers flouting the law. In fact, she worries that if the criteria to become an officiant changes, her staff will be bombarded with people coming in and just doing it for a job.

[…]

Judges performing ceremonies, for example, don’t have to meet religious criteria, so it’s absurd to make anyone else do so, [Lynne Henderson, a law professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas] said. Officials could regulate celebrants in other ways, such as making them get training.

Ashley Powers, Los Angeles Times (2008-12-14): Atheist may sue if law on Las Vegas officiants won’t change

Let’s suppose it’s true that County Clerk Shirley Parraguirre’s office just hasn’t got the resources to deal with all the applications that would bombard them if Nevada did away its mandates for state discrimination against religiously unconventional marriages. It seems to me there’s a simple solution: save County Clerk Shirley Parraguirre the work by abolishing the laws that require wedding officiants to get a license from the State in the first place. If there’s no licensure requirement, there will be no discrimination lawsuits, and also no applications to bombard poor County Clerk Shirley Parraguirre.

If your Elvis-impersonating streetside neon-chapel minister’s motives are really focused on making a living rather than on serving the Lord, who cares? Couples who want a religiously serious wedding will presumably go to a church or temple or mosque where they can get one.

If your Starfleet-uniformed Captain of the Starship of Love hasn’t had some State-sanctioned course of training (training in what?), who cares? Couples who want to vet their celebrants for training or competency will do so.

Even if you think that the State has some legitimate business using a licensing system to pick and choose which marriages it will or will not recognize (I don’t), what possible purpose can it serve to require not only the couple, but also the third party that they hire to officiate — whose only legal function is to witness the vows and attest that these folks mean what they say — to get specially vetted and licensed by the State? Really, seriously, bureaucratic rationality aside, who could possibly care, and why?

See also:

Re-usable Anarchy and A-Cafe updates

Here’s a couple of updates on local anarchist organizing in Las Vegas.

First, follow-up on the A-Cafe. As I mentioned a few days ago:

We’re starting a Las Vegas A-Cafe. (By we, I mean both Southern Nevada ALL and some other local anarchists I’ve contacted. Look out, we’re conspiring.) The Anarchist Cafe is intended as an informal gathering for anarchists (of all stripes, sects, and creeds) to meet and talk with each other—which is free-form enough to allow people just to meet up and hang out if they want to hang out, but y also where they can talk some shop, spread some news, and float some ideas for action. The idea comes from events in Califas (SoCal, NoCal). For the time being, we’re being rather literal by holding the event in an actual coffee house, because they have good meeting space, comfy chairs, and don’t expect us to do anything more for it than buy some of their drinks. Hopefully the first meeting will bring together some new faces and old.

We did heavy flyering on Monday, a little on Tuesday, and quite a bit more on Wednesday. Due both to planning and to some accidents of who was available when, pretty much all of our flyering was concentrated on UNLV campus and the neighborhoods immediately surrounding. About half of the flyers were put up were ALL flyers on police brutality and taxation. About half were advertisements for the A-Cafe specifically. (The latter had the advantage of an eye-catching circle-A, and a specific action item — attending the meeting.)

Here’s the results.

  • The flyers got some attention: the Southern Nevada ALL website got about 350 unique visits on Monday, about 180 on Tuesday, and about 210 on Wednesday.

  • The A-Cafe went well. Based on past experience, I figured ahead of time I’d count the event as a success if we got a few of the old folks together and made at least one or two new contacts. As it turned out, we had three ALLies (including myself) and one other anarchist we’d already met with pass through the room. We made five new contacts, passed out quite a bit of ALL literature and flyers (including multiple copies to a couple people who were planning to distribute them to friends). We also got in contact with three others who could not make the first meeting but are interested in future events and local organizing. So count this as quite the success, if we can make something of it.

The Cafe itself mostly involved introductions, passing around some small sheets we are using to build a contact list and poll people about the projects they’re interested in working on. A couple of the people who attended were interested in anarchist ideas but not committed anarchists, so we talked about the basics of anarchism with them; and chatted up those who were already committed anarchists about possible local projects.

The next meeting of the Las Vegas A-Cafe will be:

Wednesday, September 3
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Running Rebel Plaza
4550 S. Maryland Parkway

As before, if you are in the Las Vegas area (or you know someone who is) and are interested in the A-Cafe or in Southern Nevada ALL, be sure to come, or to let the interested parties know about it. (You can use Vegas A-Cafe’s Tell-a-Friend form, if you like.) I should be at the A-Cafe on Wednesday, and I hope that several other ALLies will be there too. If you’re interested but can’t make it to the face-to-face, by all means drop us a line so we can put you on our contact list.

The next question then, is, now that introductions are out of the way, what future A-Cafes will involve, at least for those who have been at least one A-Cafe and met other folks already. A large component is supposed to be informal, based on chatting with each other rather than having some kind of agenda to work through. Partly because that kind of thing is boring as hell, and partly because, insofar as it serves a purpose, it only serves a purpose for groups with a much more well-defined set of projects than A-cafe, which is mainly just intended as a space for people to meet each other, network, and have a bit of pleasant and possibly useful conversation. But it will definitely help to have some kind of prompts to get people talking with each other, and potentially things for people to work on individually or in small groups, if that’s what they want to do. Any suggestions? If so, I’d definitely appreciate any proposals down in the comments section….

Second, I’ve received some requests for editable versions of the flyers that ALL has used in its two flyering events. I’ve been dragging my feet a bit, in part because distributing editable content over the web is actually somewhat more complicated than distributing print-ready content. Basically, because print-ready PDFs are designed to be portable — that’s what the P in PDF stands for — and so carefully embed all the data that you might need to reproduce their content exactly. Editable formats don’t provide the same guarantees. But, I realize that editable versions will be much more useful to those of y’ALL who are outside Vegas than a print-ready version that you’d have to use physical cut-and-paste to customize for local needs. So, here is what I’ve done. From here on out, each new action that we post to the Southern Nevada ALL website will have a Re-use section at the bottom of the page, which will include editable copies of all the files we used to produce the material for that action, as well as any auxiliary files that you need to download to make the whole thing work. All of the materials that Southern Nevada ALL has already distributed so far for Tax Day and Radical Re-orientation are now available in their original, editable OpenDocument Text format (which you should be able to edit with OpenOffice.org Writer, Google Docs, and most open-source office software). These flyers all make use of at least one custom font face not included with your operating system; the fonts are all freely available for download, though. Here’s the full set of the fonts you might need (in TrueType format):

And, once you’ve got those fonts downloaded and installed, here’s the full collection of flyers and handbills that we’ve used. I’ve also included a copy of the short form we used for the networking project — for contact information and polling about interest in local projects — in case you might find that useful, too. As usual, all of this is copylefted and made freely available for your re-use. (It would be a courtesy to add a small attribution to Southern Nevada ALL somewhere if you should re-use the flyers we made while changing the contact information. I’d also love to hear about it if you use the designs in your own agitprop. But it’s not like I’m going to sic the Anarchy Police on you either way.) Enjoy!

Flyer:
How Government Works (#1)
Flyer:
How Government Works (#2)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For Torture (#1)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For Torture (#2)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For War (#1)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For War (#2)
Flyer:
Your Money Or Your Life!
Flyer:
Your Tax Dollars At Work (#1)
Flyer:
Your Tax Dollars At Work (#2)
Flyer:
Cops are here to protect you. (#1)
Flyer:
Cops are here to protect you. (#2)
Flyer:
A-Cafe invitation
Handbills:
Vegas Anarchy handbills
Handbills:
Las Vegas Anarchist Networking Project

Onward.

The Las Vegas A-Cafe and Radical Re-Orientation at UNLV

Here’s the latest on Southern Nevada ALL and anarchist organizing in Las Vegas.

We’re starting a Las Vegas A-Cafe. (By we, I mean both Southern Nevada ALL and some other local anarchists I’ve contacted. Look out, we’re conspiring.) The Anarchist Cafe is intended as an informal gathering for anarchists (of all stripes, sects, and creeds) to meet and talk with each other—which is free-form enough to allow people just to meet up and hang out if they want to hang out, but y also where they can talk some shop, spread some news, and float some ideas for action. The idea comes from events in Califas (SoCal, NoCal). For the time being, we’re being rather literal by holding the event in an actual coffee house, because they have good meeting space, comfy chairs, and don’t expect us to do anything more for it than buy some of their drinks. Hopefully the first meeting will bring together some new faces and old. The first meeting is:

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008
6:30pm – 8:00pm
@ The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Running Rebel Plaza
4550 S. Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89119

Bring yourself. Bring a friend. And bring anything — ideas you’ve had, projects you’re working on, literature, zines, flyers, art, whatever — that you’d like to share with some like-minded people. For myself, I’m going to try to encourage everyone to sign on for some networking projects, bring a lot of ALL literature to set out on a table, and chat people up about possible local actions and projects.

For more details, see the Vegas A-Cafe website.

In order to announce the upcoming A-Cafe, to raise awareness about the domestic and foreign and perpetrated by the State, and to reach out to incoming and returning students at UNLV, Southern Nevada ALL took its second flyering action today — the first day of classes for the upcoming semester at UNLV. We’re calling this outreach action Radical Re-Orientation. Right now, we’re limited mainly to posting flyers and distributing handbills. In the future, if we gain more of a foothold on campus, I hope that we can really trick the event out, through some strategic use of tabling, more extensive first-week events, and hopefully coordination with other groups on campus. But, in any case, for now, there is the A-Cafe, and there are the flyers and handbills. The numerical majority of the paper that we’ve been pushing has been a pair of new flyers on police brutality, a handbill on anarchy, and a flyer announcing the A-Cafe event. In addition, we also have some fresh copies of existing flyers on how we are forced to pay for war and torture through government taxation.

Flyer:
Cops are here to protect you. (#1)
Flyer:
Cops are here to protect you. (#2)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For Torture (#1)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For Torture (#2)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For War (#1)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For War (#2)
Flyer:
A-Cafe invitation
Handbills:
Vegas Anarchy / What Is Anarchy?

The handbills are designed to be printed out as a double-sided 4x4 sheet, with the logo on one side and the What Is Anarchy? text, with a link back to the A-Cafe website, on the back. We’ve dropped a few in public places, and spread the rest around under car windshield-wipers and on doorknobs; the idea is for the front to catch your eye with the logo, and the back to give some idea of what we’re all about. I hope to re-use the design with a bunch of different texts on the back; for the first one, I tried a capsule summary of what anarchism is about. Thus:

What is Anarchy?

Anarchy means lawlesness. It does not mean riot or chaos. The government schools and the corporate media have taught you to believe that Anarchy means disorder because they need you to believe that order and peace can only exist where they are imposed by government laws and enforced by government police. The elite few who pull the strings in the government and in the corporate media need you to believe that social order requires social control. After all, they intend to do the controlling. They expect you to surrender your freedom to their authority. In exchange they promise you peace, protection, security, and order. But what they deliver is fear, war, police brutality, and humiliating “security” checkpoints. Their “order” means taking orders. Their “protection” is a prison.

In Anarchy there is another way. Instead of a coercive order imposed by government, we believe in consensual order. Instead of “protection” from brutal government cops, we look to individual and neighborhood self-defense. Instead of “relief” from indifferent government welfare bureaucracies, we look to fighting unions, worker solidarity and cooperative community-based mutual aid. Instead of “order” imposed by obedience to government laws, we look to voluntary contracts and agreements between free people negotiating as equals.

We oppose all government prohibitions, government taxes, government borders, government police, and government wars, because we are for peace, freedom, and social harmony. These can only exist between people who come to agreements as equals, not between people who are forced to obey out of fear. It is government law that produces violence, riot, and disorder. Only in Anarchy can there be true order, real peace, individual freedom and social harmony.

If you are interested in learning more about these ideas, or meeting other people in Las Vegas who are working to make them a reality, check out the Vegas Anarchist Cafe at: http://vegas.anarchistcafe.org

We put up about about 150 flyers and passed out about 200 handbills today. We’ll be spreading more anarchist love in upcoming days. I’ll let y’all know how it goes in terms of attention, new contacts, and the A-Cafe. As usual, if you find any of the pictures pretty or the text useful, they’re all freely available for you to reuse and recycle as you see fit.

If you are in the Las Vegas area (or you know someone who is) and are interested in the A-Cafe or in Southern Nevada ALL, I’ll be at the A-Cafe on Wednesday, and I hope that several other ALLies will be there too. If you can’t make it to the face-to-face, by all means drop us a line. If you want to put up flyers, feel free to contact me — I can hand you off a stack of flyers to put up and give you some idea of the areas that have already been hit — or feel free to print them up yourself from the PDF and put them wherever seems best.

Onward.

Marching for the Dream / Marchando por el Sueño / Las Vegas, 23 May 2008 3:00 PM

This is happening in three days. We’re counting on the community to spread the word as far and wide as possible. If you’re in the Las Vegas area or know people who are, please pass along the word to anyone you know who might be interested.

The United Coalition for Im/migrant Rights in Las Vegas is organizing a street demonstration THIS FRIDAY, 23 May 2008, at 3:00 PM, beginning with a march through the streets from Valley High School to the UNLV campus, followed by a rally at the UNLV amphitheater. UCIR has called this march as a continuation of the May 1 movement for immigrant rights and against government harassment of peaceful workers and students.

The demonstration this Friday is specifically intended to raise awareness of the predicament of undocumented immigrant students, to speak out against the as a demonstration to raise awareness of the predicament of undocumented immigrant students, to speak out against the criminalization of immigrant youth, and in support of the DREAM Act, which provides a process for undocumented immigrant children to gain permanent residency, avoid the threat of deportation, and eventually gain citizenship while pursuing a college education.

Marching for the Dream: 3 PM May 23, 2008

We will meet at S. Eastern Ave. in between Karen and Vegas Valley Drive (in front of Valley HS) and conclude with a rally at the UNLV amphitheatre.

Children and youth should not lose their capacity to dream; on the contrary, they should cultivate the necessary rebellion to not conform to the unjust and degraded world that we have inherited them. —Rigoberta Menchú Tum

Education, not Deportation!

For more information visit www.ucir.org, email us at info@ucir.org, or call (702) 287-9316.

Marchando por el Sueño / 3 PM, 23 de mayo 2008

Nos reuniremos en S. Eastern Ave. entre Karen y Vegas Valley Drive (frente a Valley HS) y concluiremos con una protesta en al anfiteatro de UNLV.

La niñez y la juventud no deben perder su capacidad de soñar; por el contrario, deben cultivar la rebeldia que es necesaria para no conformarse con el mundo injusto y degradado que les hemos heredado. —Rigoberta Menchú Tum

Si a la Educación, No a la Deportación!

Para más información visita www.ucir.org, mándanos un email a info@ucir.org, o llama al (702) 287-9316.

You can support the struggle against international apartheid and anti-immigrant segregation by joining the march, bringing a sign or placard with a strong anti-criminalization message (some of the signs already prepared include: Education, not deportation; Keep your borders off my education; End International Apartheid, Immigrant students are not criminals, and This is our home. We are not going anywhere, and Papeles para tod@s). Most importantly, bring yourself and as many friends as you can (non-coercively!) get your hands on. We are taking to the streets, and I hope to see you there.

See also:

ALL I need to know about taxes is what I learned on the street

Today, Tax Day, marked the first public action of the Southern Nevada Alliance of the Libertarian Left. Here are the flyers we posted today.

Flyer:
How Government Works (#1)
Flyer:
How Government Works (#2)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For Torture (#1)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For Torture (#2)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For War (#1)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For War (#2)
Flyer:
Your Money Or Your Life!
Flyer:
Your Tax Dollars At Work (#1)
Flyer:
Your Tax Dollars At Work (#2)

Here’s the communiqué I wrote to go along with the flyers, because I like that kind of goofy shit.

Communiqué #1

This is the first communiqué from the Southern Nevada Alliance of the Libertarian Left.

Today, April 15th, guerrilla educators affiliated with Southern Nevada ALL struck targets in the streets of southeastern Las Vegas and on the UNLV campus. Flyers—with slogans including Taxes Pay For Torture, Taxes Pay For War, and Your Money Or Your Life,—were raised to reach out to unwilling taxpayers and potential new ALLies, and to raise public consciousness about taxes.

On the filing deadline for 2007’s federal income tax—when countless honest working folks are sick of meddlesome government—when they are tired of being forced to fill out complex forms—and when they are forced to take (on average) 30% of the money that they worked to earn in the previous year and render it as tribute to the United States federal government—against their will, and whether or not they approve of what the government will do with the money—we have a perfect opportunity to spread our message about the violence of government taxation.

Taxes mean violence, both at the point of collection, and at the point of government spending. Collecting taxes is inherently violent because taxpayers are forced to pay the government whether or not they want to, under the threat of government violence. Those who refuse to turn over the money are subjected to government fines, confiscation of their homes and effects, or locked away in prison. It must never be forgotten that anything is funded by taxes could have been funded voluntarily, if enough people could have been convinced to donate the money willingly, or to give it freely in exchange for something that they get in return. In the last analysis, there is no reason to fund a project by taxation unless there is no honest and peaceful way to persuade people to support that project voluntarily. But if there is no honest and peaceful way to fund something, then it should not be funded. Taxation ought to be considered the last resort of the scoundrel and the thug. Morally, there is no difference between tax collection and highway robbery.

But the violence of taxation is even worse than the violence of highway robbery—for while the robber takes your money violently to satisfy his own greed, and then leaves you alone, the tiny handful of people who constitute the the ruling faction of the federal government take your money violently, and then they use that money to fund yet more violence — whether by locking nonviolent drug users away in government prisons, or in the form of police brutality, or in the use of torture by government intelligence agencies in the name of National Security, or in the form of government wars and occupations. The government’s ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have already cost more than half a trillion dollars, and which cost millions of dollars more with every passing day, and the onlyem> reason that this government can afford to continue with their occupation and their bombings, long after the majority of people in the United States have concluded that the wars are hopeless and fundamentally wrong, is that tiny handful of people have the power to force the millions of us who are against these wars to fund them anyway, against our will and in violation of our own conscience. Taxes pay for police brutality. Taxes pay for torture. Taxes paid for Guantanamo. Taxes paid for Abu Ghraib. Taxes pay for war. And when taxes pay for something, what that really means is that unwilling victims, including you and me, are forced to pay for it even if they don’t think that it is worthwhile. Even when they think that it is abhorrent to their own beliefs.

We believe that there is another way. Southern Nevada ALL is working to raise public awareness, and to work towards a new, consensual society, in which no-one will be forced to pay for torture or war, and in which working folks will be able to keep what they have earned, rather than being forced to turn it over to be used at the whim of the violent minority faction known as the United States federal government. We are starting small, and we are starting here, because that is what we have, and this is where we live. We ask that everyone in Southern Nevada who believes in peace, voluntary co-operation, mutual aid, and individual liberty join us in our struggle.

—ALLy C.J., 15 April 2008.

The Southern Nevada Alliance of the Libertarian Left can be reached through its website, sonv.libertarianleft.org, or through its e-mail list ALLSouthernNevada.

This is phase 1 (or maybe version 0.1) of organizing an ALL chapter in southern Nevada. Our next step is to meet any new ALLies we may find, start talking about plans, and prepare some more (hopefully eye-catching) flyers, handbills, and pamphlets to spread the word. (For example, distributing some copies of William Gillis’s excellent Market Anarchy zine series, and some other pamphlet-length articles similarly formatted, hopefully to get them circulating amongst local anarchists, libertarians, and peace people.) After that, to begin talking about local networking, informal gatherings, on-the-ground activism, and spinning off affinity groups and longer-term projects. I think that global popular revolution is scheduled for sometime after next March.

If you’re interested, and you’re in (or know people in, or are just interested in) the area of Las Vegas and southern Nevada, consider joining the e-mail list. If you enjoy the flyers, you’re free to take them, modify them as necessary, and re-use them as you see fit.

Onward.

Hoppe and Churchill: On the Justice of Strange Bedfellows

Ward Churchill and Hans-Hermann Hoppe might not enjoy coffee together very much. I can clearly see the meeting ending in blows. But they do have some things in common, sure: both are radical critics of the State and the social status quo; both are tenured professors at state Universities in the West; and both have recently found themselves in administrative hot water for making controversial public statements.

Churchill’s case, so far, has been more widely reported. Thanks to the heroic efforts of a student journalist using Google, the Know-Nothing blowhard brigade finally discovered that Ward Churchill wrote an essay called Some People Push Back—which has been distributed on the Internet since 2001, and was expanded into a book-length treatment in 2003—in which he described the September 11 attacks as chickens coming home to roost, pointed out that the plane flown into the Pentagon was striking a military target, and that As to those in the World Trade Center … Well, really. Let’s get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. You’re hearing about all this now because Churchill, a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, was scheduled to speak on a panel at Hamilton College in New York on The Limits of Dissent (because God is an ironist, I guess), and after a journalist at the student newspaper dug up Churchill’s essay and wrote a story on it, the Right-wing commentariat saw something they’ve been salivating over for a long time: a perfect opportunity to sink their teeth, hard, into the (allegedly Left-dominated) world of academia. So they deployed a predictable combination of media hue-and-cry and outright threats of violence, and managed to mau-mau Hamilton into cancelling the panel. Now, in hopes of a second victory for silence, they are pushing for University of Colorado at Boulder to follow it up by firing Churchill from his (tenured) professorship. The University’s Chancellor has so far agreed to bring a thorough examination of Churchill’s opinions before the Holy Inquisition:

And Colorado’s DiStefano, after an angry grilling from the university’s Board of Regents — an elected body dominated by conservatives — reversed himself and announced a 30-day investigation of all of Churchill’s lectures and publications. This is the first step, the chancellor said, in the legal process required to fire a tenured professor.

Meanwhile, there have been Web site calls for the resignation of Stewart for allowing Churchill to be invited in the first place.

— Washington Post 2005-02-05

Just a few days later, in Las Vegas, because—again—God is an ironist, anarcho-capitalist economics Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe found himself brought before a disciplinary hearing by the administration at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. Hoppe had a formal complaint filed against him by a student for his comments in a lecture on the economic concept of time preference, in which he decided to illustrate the concept by examples, and claimed that homosexuals, as a group, tend to have higher time preferences than heterosexuals—that is to say, that homos tend to prefer immediate gratification over deferred rewards more strongly than straights. He went on to insinuate that the emphasis on short-run effects over long-run equilibria in J.M. Keynes’s economic theories might be explained by Lord Keynes’s fondness for gay liasons. In response to the student’s complaint, UNLV is demanding Hoppe accept a letter of reprimand and a dock in pay in response to a formal complaint filed by a student in one of his economics classes; Hoppe is striking back with a letter-writing campaign and legal assistance from the ACLU.

The anarcho-capitalists who are coming out for Hoppe and the lefty anarchists who are coming out for Churchill might not want very much to do with each other. But both camps are right to point out that both of these cases represent dangerous threats to academic freedom. (Note: threats to academic freedom, not freedom of speech. The two are importantly different concepts, although both are valuable.) Unfortunately, both camps have also developed a maddening tendency to smother the point about academic freedom (or open debate more broadly) in a bunch of rally-‘round-the-black-flag nonsense.

Hoppe and Churchill should not be punished by academic Inquisitors for the contents of their arguments. Academic freedom is absolutely vital to the functioning of a University (as a place of education rather than an indoctrination camp), and it’s absolutely vital to maintain a climate of vigorous, open debate in our culture. But it’s important to note that the reasons for protecting academic freedom apply to bad arguments as well as to good ones: defending Hoppe’s and Churchill’s freedom to make arguments without fear of professional reprisals doesn’t require defending the arguments they make. And that’s a good thing, because Ward Churchill is a dick, and Hans-Hermann Hoppe is a homophobic bigot. Their arguments shouldn’t be defended, because those arguments are indefensible.

It ought to be transparent why Hoppe’s claims are offensive—and I’m frankly tired of seeing libertarians play innocent on the matter. Hoppe’s latest comments are only the latest in a long record, and I’m frankly baffled that Ilana Mercer or anyone else would take seriously the notion that describing the comments as only a generalization about how homos usually prefer immediate gratification more strongly than breeders is supposed to make it less offensive. Does anyone think that Hoppe’s left-field ad hominem argument—insinuations that poofery might explain errors in Lord Keynes’s economic thought that Hoppe finds particularly grave—is really a vital teaching tool? Or that it doesn’t make his other comments on homosexuality and gratification seem just a little, well, bigoted?

Churchill’s essay, for its part, is a farrago of confusions, logical fallacies, and flat-out lies. Most of the nits aren’t worth picking here; what is worth pointing out is that the central theme of the essay depends entirely on the claim that when America—that is, the American government—goes on a rampage around the world, we are acting like bullies, and so we have no grounds for complaint when we are ruthlessly slaughtered by people [who] push back. The problem here is that the people picked out by the we changes with every use: the people who did the rampaging and bullying are the government and its agents; the people who are complaining are, I guess, ordinary Americans; the people who were ruthlessly slaughtered were a couple of thousand workers, the overwhelming majority of them neither involved with the military nor holding any foreign policy position in the U.S. government, who happened to commit the terrible crime of going to work one Tuesday. But the people are not the government, and they are not owned by the government. They are mostly—we’re anarchists here, remember?—the victims of the government. We didn’t attack Iraq; we rarely if ever have meaningful control over the war-policy machine that has wrought so much misery in the Muslim world. The crimes of the United States government do not license crimes against civilians who happen to be in the United States; any more than the crimes of Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein license crimes against civilians who happen to be in Afghanistan, Iraq, or whatever other part of the Muslim world the Leviathan is planning to stomp through next.

Churchill’s critics have repeatedly been accused of misunderstanding his arguments and taking his words out of context. Now, I have read the whole essay through several times, but you never know. So perhaps one of Churchill’s defenders could explain to me exactly what the proper, contextual understanding of this is:

In sum one can discern a certain optimism — it might even be call humanitarianism — imbedded in the thinking of those who presided over the very limited actions conducted on September 11.

Their logic seems to have devolved upon the notion that the American people have condoned what has been/is being done in their name — indeed, are to a significant extent actively complicit in it — mainly because they have no idea what it feels like to be on the receiving end.

Or, while we’re at it, this:

And when they do, when they launch these airstrikes abroad — or may a little later; it will be at a time conforming to the “terrorists”’ own schedule, and at a place of their choosing — the next more intensive dose of medicine administered here at home.

Of what will it consist this time? Anthrax? Mustard gas? Sarin? A tactical nuclear device?

That, too, is their choice to make.

During the HUAC era, many people in the U.S. were drummed out and blacklisted from teaching because they were genuinely associated with Stalinist parties in the United States. That was wrong; but you shouldn’t have to act like Stalinists were anything other than dupes or bloody-minded opportunists to make the case that the blacklisting and the anti-Communist witch hunts were wrong. The case for their academic freedom shouldn’t have been contingent on their having the right beliefs. And the same is true for both Churchill and Hoppe: the fact that they are wrong does not mean that they should be fired.

I’ll be writing a letter on behalf of both of them; defending both Churchill and Hoppe from the administrative goon squad is important. But we shouldn’t let a siege mentality dull critical thought. The reason Churchill and Hoppe are in hot water is that they made controversial statements which are rationally indefensible and deeply offensive. The problem is the administrative response to the controversy, not the controversy itself; the way to respond to terrible arguments, among rational adults, is with other arguments, not with politically-driven intimidation.

Let’s begin.