Anarchism 101: Everyone shows up and the pancakes are not for sale

Originally posted on Eléctrica in the Desert:

At home in this world with the Early Bird Cafe / CLAIRE O'BRIEN 2012

CLAIRE O’BRIEN / 2012  

I met Robert Fisher and Karen Lewis last summer at a gas station in central New Mexico. A sheriff’s deputy had forbidden the travelers to hitch hike, while simultaneously ordering them to move on immediately.  Fisher and Lewis had just carried hefty knapsacks and sleeping bags across ten miles of searing  secondary asphalt. Worse,  they had done it without so much as even the paltry fifty percent shade quotient ordinarily provided at regular intervals by half-scale monuments to various Conquistadors. That’s a very long ten miles in our July desert.

Robert and Karen looked dehydrated, as well as more than a little alert to questions of quality control re. local law enforcement.

If not for the disgraceful gaps – referred to less kindly as chasms by more pedestrian perspectives  –  in my knowledge of  various significant American cultural trends , I would most likely have recognized Mr. Fisher. To many thousands of people across the nation and beyond,  Robert is the Rainbow Gathering Elder known more famously and simply as ” Early Bird Café.”

Although he grew…

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HOW AMERICAN SLAVES SAVED THE NATION

Originally posted on Eléctrica in the Desert:

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Many European-Americans tend to treat the U.S. Civil War as a sort of travelling, endless hobby we all share, divided into interest groups such as documents, weapons, music,battle reenactments,  photographs, and maps.

Other white people express a poignant, sort of haunted nostalgia re. the war, which is really a  deceptively sentimental rumble of anger, even a threat. I think these represent two of several major themes that function to erase the meaning of this war from our national memory.

images-51 The American Civil War didn’t create the deep wound that spreads throughout our national psyche and shapes so much of our national life.
Slavery did.

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We haven’t been able to heal that wound, not because we’re all haunted by…

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PHOTO JOURNALISM FROM THE TRENCHES: GAS STATION PAPARAZZI

Originally posted on Eléctrica in the Desert:

NIGHT STATIONS 6-12 (17)

        THE ARRIVAL OF DAWN FORCED DIEGO TO FACE HIS INEXPLICABLE STATUS  AS THE ONLY PERSON IN SIERRA COUNTY TO HAVE BEEN SNUBBED BY THE TRIO OF GHOSTS KNOWN AS THE RED POLES.     

CLAIRE O’BRIEN 2013

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 CLAIRE O'BRIEN 2012

                                     THE CAR INSISTED THAT THEIR RELATIONSHP REMAIN  CONFIDENTIAL

CLAIRE O’BRIEN 2013

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THE OLD GAS PUMPS WEREN’T SURPRISED WHEN V-POWER DIDN’T SLEEP A WINK DURING HIS FIRST NIGHT AT THE STATION/O’BRIEN 2013

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NOBODY KNEW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN ON THAT FATEFUL FRIDAY NIGHT, BUT EVERYONE HAD A PERSISTENT FEELING THAT THE FOOD MART WOULD PLAY A KEY ROLE IN THE PIVITOL EVENT / CLAIRE O’BRIEN 2014

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 IT WAS GENERALLY AGREED THAT THE SMALL FAMILY OF BADGERS COULD HARDLY BE BLAMED FOR MISTAKING THE BACK DIESEL PUMP FOR A CHURCH.

CLAIRE O’BRIEN 2014

                  SORRY, NO LITERATURE / CLAIRE O’BRIEN  2013

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 JUST BEFORE MIDNIGHT ON MONDAYS, WEDNESDAYS AND…

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Protesters Shut Down Campaign Speeches


Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter founder Patriss Cullors lead a protest at Netroots Nation in Phoenix, Arizona, effectively shutting down the speeches of presidential hopefuls former Maryland, Gov. Martin O’Malley and Sen. Bernie Sanders,MSNBC.com reports.

“It’s not like we like shutting sh*t down, but we have to,” Cullors said. “We are tired of being interrupted.”

With shouts of “Black lives matter!” and “Say her name!” two hashtags that have been used to raise awareness about state-sanctioned violence against Black people in the United States, protesters refused to be silenced even as O’Malley and Sanders tried to stick to their talking points.

MSNBC reports:

Both candidates – former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders – struggled to appease the angry protesters while sticking to their talking points and both ultimately failed to capitalize on the unexpected interruption, which comes amid a national conversation on racial tensions and police brutality. Just last week, a black woman named Sandra Bland died in police custody after being arrested for a traffic violation in Texas. Meanwhile, Friday marked the first anniversary of Eric Garner’s chokehold death at the hands of NYPD officers in Staten Island.

“Every single day folks are dying. Not being able to take another breath. We are in a state of emergency,” Cullors continued, hoarse from chanting. “If you don’t feel that emergency, you are not human.”

After much chanting – and pleas from event organizers to give O’Malley a chance to respond to their questions – the former Maryland governor began to speak about criminal justice reform, promising a detailed policy proposal soon and saying he supported forcing police districts to report brutality complaints. Protesters interrupted him, chanting, “Black lives matter!”

“I know, I know … Let me talk a little bit … Black lives matter, white lives matter, all lives matter,” O’Malley answered earning boos and shouts from the protesters and gasps from the rest of the audience.

He left the stage shortly thereafter.

Sanders – who was widely expected to be the favorite candidate this weekend – took the stage to chants from protesters, who made it clear they wanted answers from him as well.

“Black lives of course matter but I have spent 50 years of my life fighting for civil rights and if you don’t want me to be here, that’s OK,” Sanders said with visible exasperation. “I will answer your question, but I’d like to speak for a couple of minutes, I was told …”

Sanders left the stage, abbreviating his appearance significantly. Netroots Nation released a statement in solidarity with the protesters:

“Although we wish the candidates had more time to respond to the issues, what happened today is reflective of an urgent moment America is facing today,” the group said in a statement, highlighting next year’s conference location – St. Louis – which aims to put a direct focus on race issues in the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting death at the hands of police nearby in Ferguson, Missouri.

Moderator Jose Vargas refused to silence the protesters, later tweeting:

“To folks who ask me why I didn’t stop protestors: We cannot silence people of color and women of color”

In an interview http://daviddayen.tumblr.com/post/124440944821/interview-with-ashley-yeats-black-lives-matter )  with journalist David Dayen, protest organizer Ashley Yeats echoed those same ideas. When asked how a candidate can bridge the divide between racial and economic justice when speaking to the progressive community, she said:
“When you talk about economic justice, who’s the poorest of the poor? Talk about gentrification, talk about mass displacement. Talk about the things that actually lead to poverty. Who is affected by that? Talk about whose neighborhoods are flooded with really harmful drugs. Talk about who’s denied access to resources. Talk about who [isn’t]? that is all in black and brown neighborhoods. So if you’re doing economic justice but you’re not talking to black and brown people, you’re not actually doing economic justice. So that’s the challenge I pose and that’s how you bridge the gap, get people to realize that if you’re talking about economic issues, black people are part of every category.”

r

By NewsOne Staff

THE LAND TELLS WHO WE ARE: Conquest, Identity and Place in the San Luis Valley

Originally posted on Eléctrica in the Desert:

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There are some American places where  history overlaps and  becomes so condensed,  so close and nearly visible,  that each layer is almost like its own separate lens

Lorraine Gomez grew up in such a place

Colorado’s San Luis Valley is  the world’s highest alpine basin, and one of its oldest, created by the great river that formed it thousands of years ago in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The Valley follows the Rio Grande south to New Mexico, where the river tumbles over the border  and the two join the Camino Real in its long journey to Mexico City.

DSCF0351 Lorraine Gomez / Claire O’Brien 2013

Gomez’s connection to the  120-by-75 mile valley stretches  back to the Spanish farmers who settled the land before the Mexican Revolution. The communities they established have retained a strong and continuous Hispanic identity for generations (the term “Hispanic” refers specifically to Spanish-Americans in this region.)

Gomez is so deeply rooted in this valley that it defines the heart of her own  identity as well,  remaining her central reference point, regardless of whether or not she happens to be living there.

“It’s…

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