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Sun May 11, 2014 at 03:35 PM PDT

Why Ivo Welch Fails

by KatRap

Ivo Welch says students who promote divestment from fossil fuels are on the wrong track.  Who is he and why is he saying that?  And are the lessons he draws from the movement to divest from South Africa the right ones?

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In the spring of 2004, I got an email from an acquaintance asking if I wanted to be nominated for LGBT Pride parade grand marshal.  I was surprised, because I never thought of myself as grand marshal material. In point of fact, I've never been very much in tune with "marshals" - grand or otherwise.  "Marshal" sounds too much like "martial" for my taste, and the marshals at demonstrations are always telling me to stand inside the yellow line or something.

But I agreed because, first of all, I understood that it wasn't about me, it was a way of spotlighting the work of queer folks in support of Palestinian liberation, and more broadly, of anti-assimilationist queers opposing U.S. militarism in all its manifestations.
br>And second, I assumed I wouldn't win.  I was already back in Palestine when I got the notification that I'd been elected.  I ended up concluding that I couldn't afford to come back for the parade, but before I did, the mayor cancelled a scheduled reception at City Hall, apparently in fear of what I might do.

The Parade Committee came in for plenty of abuse for honoring a "terrorist" but they basLically shrugged it off.  It didn't hurt them at all.  What it did do was make a lot of people who had been feeling less and less included in the mainstream queer community feel a little more connected.

SF Pride 2012

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Professional Islamophobe Pamela Geller's new campaign was specifically intended to provoke the LGBT community.

Well she ought to know that when we're provoked, we get active.

homos strike close

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Frustrated by San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority's decision to accept another round of offensive ads from hate-monger Pamela Geller, Bay Area activists have taken matters into their own hands.

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Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 11:11 AM PST

Newtown, Occupy and The Book of Mormon

by KatRap

1.  When I first heard about the school shootings in Newtown, I didn’t have a particularly strong reaction.  I saw the headlines, I saw the number 20, then it became 26, but I didn’t read the details.  When a friend said on the phone, “That’s so sad,” I agreed without really thinking about it.
Friday evening I went to a meeting at a café.  The Palestinian owner served my wine.  I noticed he looked upset.
“How are you?” I asked and he said, “Not very good.”
I asked why and he pointed to the television.  Military guys were moving around ambulances and at first I thought something must have happened in Palestine.  But the words on the screen said it was Connecticut.
He has an 18-year-old daughter.
It was only then that I stopped to feel the news.

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Sat May 12, 2012 at 02:20 PM PDT

Gay Marriage: All About Money?

by KatRap

I turned off the TV in disgust on Sunday night.  I knew it was going to be a week filled with a subject I can't stand talking about.  But you can't fight a rising tide ... I had an interesting email discussion with some friends (one here, one in India) -- see below -- and found a few interesting things to read.

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Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 10:32 AM PDT

Occupy Dave Weigel

by KatRap

A few days ago, columnist Dave Weigel was on The Rachel Maddow Show talking about the Tea Party. Rachel suggested that the Tea Party has pretty much fallen off the political map, since their stunning electoral victory in 2010, and asked Weigel if he agreed. He said he still considers them a factor in national politics, as compared to the Occupy movement, which he said “fell off” much faster than the Tea Party did. To bolster his claim, he mentioned that Tea Party still has 600 chapters, down from a high of 1000.

He mentioned that he has gotten a lot of heat for that comment, as well he should.

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Last week, the UC Davis “Pepper Spray Incident Task Force,” dubbed the “Reynoso Task Force” for its chair, Law School Professor Emeritus and former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, released its report. The conclusion was that the pepper spraying of students seated in the Quad on November 18, 2011 “should and could have been prevented.” Well it’s a relief that the task force’s three-and-a-half-month investigation proved what pretty much all of us who watched the red spray come out of that hose over and over again on our television screens surmised.

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Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 12:33 PM PDT

The Crimes of Mike Daisey

by KatRap

Two years ago, a friend and I were looking for billboards to modify. We were working on art related to Hewlett Packard and the clothing manufacturer H&M, both of which had big ad campaigns on, but the city was awash in iPads. Every surface we really wanted to hit had an apple in the corner. Then I saw a piece in the paper about workers at one of the iPad manufacturing plants in China committing suicide because the working conditions were so terrible. I sent it to my friend with a note -- "something to do with all those iPad billboards." She mocked up some great art, but before we had it ready to go the ads were down, the iPad was old news, the company had agreed to pay the workers a few cents more per hour and the story was forgotten.

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On Saturday a friend and I went to a vigil in Fremont held by the Afghan community, to protest the massacre of sixteen civilians in Kandahar province last Sunday. I was deeply moved by the experience.

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As soon as I walked into work on Monday, everyone wanted to talk to me about Saturday’s events in Oakland, since I’m their only real link to the protesters. One woman told me about her father, a militant longshoreman. Another commented that Occupy Oakland seems more organized and less fringy than San Francisco. A guy had been upset by a report that the people committing “violence” – throwing things at the police, etc. – were members of Occupy and not “outside agitators.” I was embarrassed to admit that I was nowhere near most of the excitement.

It’s hard being expected to provide all the answers, when I have mostly questions myself.

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This was going to be my week off from Occupying, but it didn’t work out that way.

Late Sunday/early Monday I got the text message that Occupy Oakland was being evicted.  I rushed down there, even though I knew it would probably be hours before the raid, which it was.  So I went to work Monday with a scant two hours of sleep.  Tuesday night I rushed over to Cal after work to catch the end of their Day of Action, Robert Reich giving the Mario Savio Lecture to an assembled 5,000 or so people crammed into Sproul Plaza.  Wednesday I spent my lunch hour marching around the San Francisco Financial District with a spirited student-led demonstration demanding that California refund public education; Thursday at lunch I responded to an alert to go to a protest in support of Pancho Ramos Stierle, who was arrested at Occupy Oakland and turned over the Immigration; that one, as far as I could tell, did not happen, but at least the cops seemed as confused as I was.

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