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Hate protests delaying traffic? Here’s good news and bad news

19 Jan

Good news: You don’t have to love the idea. Diversity of tactics is a good thing, as is knowing your own preferences.

Bad news: However, if you literally don’t understand how making people late for work (or whatever) is an effective tactic to force systemic change that is a gap in your education rather than a difference of opinion between you and those who do understand how it is effective.

Good news: Educating yourself is easy when you’re on the Internet, and you’re already online.

Bad news: While educating yourself can be enjoyable as well as rewarding, it’s probably not the most fun activity you can think of doing with yourself.

Good news: It’s worth doing anyway.

Fast food workers strike in 190 cities

6 Dec

Yesterday, fast food workers walked off the job in some 190 cities as part of the  campaign to raise the wage in the fast food industry to $15 an hour in the United States. People of color (black, latino, native) are disproportionately represented among minimum wage workers, victims of the justice system in all its forms, and the homeless population. What might it look like if those who organize for each concern were able to coordinate and combine their efforts?

Privilege is a backpack on a crowded train

5 Dec

WhitePrivilegePrivilege is like an overstuffed backpack on a crowded subway train. Those who carry it rarely realize that just by going about their business without paying attention, and gently turning towards one way or another, they’re actually knocking over people behind them. Educated white people carry this privilege, and sometimes knock people over, whether they know it or not. Some who know what they carry choose to be extra careful not to bulldoze. Others enjoy hefting that weight around and taking up as much space as possible.

I’ve likened privilege to a backpack that knocks people over, but looking for an image to go with this post I came across the works of Peggy McIntosh who said “White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks.”

Read her 1989 essay, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.”

Want to be placed on a DHS list?

14 Nov


2014 Boston Anarchist Bookfair is Nov 23 and 24, and this will be my fourth year attending. Want to be placed on a DHS list with me and all the cool kids? Then I’ll see you there.

Gnarley on the MBTA

27 Jan
I’ve been riding the MBTA since before most of my friends were born, and it never used to suck so bad. My bus today into Boston took so long, at one point I almost forgot I was traveling and, instead, felt like I was living in an extremely crowded trailer home parked at the Dedham Mall. I could have read a book on that bus, if if been able to raise my arms to hold it.  It was overcrowded because they run infrequently.

Mind you, almost anywhere you look on the MBTA — the stations, the subway interiors, the inside and outside of buses and trains — there are ads. Aren’t these public spaces? Don’t that station and vehicle, really, belong to you? Maybe you don’t want them to look like that. Why are they so underfunded? Your tax money is going somewhere. All this advertising revenue is going somewhere too.

Public transportation should be free. It should be ubiquitous. It should be awesome.  Instead, the MBTA is a source of misery for its riders.  When my ride finally got to Forest Hills, I asked that bus full of people “Are we actually at the station? I feel like I’ve been on this bus for ten years. Anyone else?” Dirty looks were the only response offered by my fellow passengers.



TSA out of MBTA on “Banned in Boston”

1 Feb
Nelson Terry, Rene Perez and Garret Kirkland on the January 31, 2013 episode of "Banned in Boston."

Nelson Terry, Rene Perez and Garret Kirkland on the January 31, 2013 episode of “Banned in Boston.”

 John Ford, Rene Perez, Nelson Terry and I had a good time making last night’s “Banned in Boston.” That’s despite tackling such weighty topics as armed Federal agents conducting random bag searches in the subway system and the possibility that Queen Elizabeth II and George W. Bush are reptilian aliens who intentionally want tar sands pipelines to destroy Earth’s current ecosystem.  Garret Kirkland was in the studio with us, and Ruth Garcia joined us for the end.  A direct link to the January 31, 2013 episode is here.