woman laying on a summit rock
woman laying on a summit rock
The author, briefly triumphant on a summit during the hike on which this conversation took place

From: Muscles

To: The Team

Way to go, team! Everybody really did a great job yesterday, humping in to Elk Pass and then going out to bag Colvin in the afternoon without batting an eye. You came through so strong and everyone is working together like pros. Today’s hike out over Nippletop and Dial is going to be no problem.

Enjoy the beautiful alpine scenery!

From: Joints

To: Muscles

We appreciate your enthusiasm but would like to remind you that it’s not all as easy as you make it sound. You may be able to ignore our age, but for the Joints no amount of going to the gym can compensate for the fact that we are more than a half century old. These “team” outings really are hell on some of us. When are we going to modify our activity and act our age? …


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If you find yourself saying “defund the police” is unrealistic or a bad slogan or the wrong goal, STOP.

Have you devoted years of your life to studying the prison industrial complex (PIC) or spent years organizing for abolition? If yes, OK, talk about your research or analysis on #DefundThePolice, but for the love of God, please locate yourself in that conversation as a person of racial privilege whose experience of policing is radically different than that of Black people (and BIPOC people more broadly).

If you don’t have this expertise, sit down. This is a moment to learn, and then to act on your learnings. I’ve been trying to do that myself, and would like to share a few resources I am finding helpful. …


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Every morning, my feeds are full of videos and stories of police indiscriminately beating, macing, tear gassing, and arresting peaceful protesters. While corporate media coverage has euphemized, obfuscated, and legitimized the brutal repressive response to nationwide demonstrations, independent journalists have accurately documented police violence and protesters themselves have detailed events in real time on social media. Each incident is shocking by itself but together the picture they paint is truly horrifying.

There are endless scenes of cops shoving or throwing people to the ground. There are countless images of groups of cops viciously clubbing people. In a widely circulated video from Brooklyn, NY, two NYPD vehicles drove into a crowd; but there are multiple other cities where police also used their cars as weapons to attack protesters. Cops have penned in people so they can’t move and attacked them with batons, rubber bullets, pepper spray, and/or tear gas. One incident involved an officer pulling a man’s facemask off and then pepper spraying him at point blank range. Children have been maced. Police have attacked businesses and homes offering protesters shelter from the violence. There’s a photo of a man with his toddler on his shoulders and a cop in full riot gear pointing a gun at the child. There are stories of cops attacking medics and journalists. In Washington, DC, National Guard troops tear gassed and shot rubber bullets at thousands to enable Trump’s Bible photo op for the white Christian nationalists. …


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Photo credit: Spectre

Today is Earth Day and by a horrible coincidence the skies over Los Angeles and the canals in Venice are clear. Global oil consumption has plunged, but not because we have finally brought fossil-fuel capitalism to heel. …


Corporate media shrug as elite declare loss of profits worse than loss of lives

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Since the days of Adam Smith, capitalists have been arguing that unfettered markets are the best way to organize the economy. Smith famously said that the rich are “led by an invisible hand” to, “without knowing it, advance the interest of the society.” …


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Nurse and NYSNA union board member and activist Sean Petty is among the many healthcare worker sounding the alarm about the dire lack of protective gear front-line workers face.

I don’t like the term “social distancing.” I understand and completely agree with the need for physical distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus and keep people, especially those with elevated risks, as safe as possible.

But the last thing we need right now is increased social distance from each other. Indeed, I would argue that social distance is part of what got us here, and a very large part of why the COVID-19 pandemic will be as bad as it will be in the U.S.

We’ve lived for the last half century with an ideological narrative that proclaims individualism über Alles, that defines any social obligation to our fellow human beings as an unacceptable infringement on liberty, that declares there is no such thing as the common good, and that government is bad by definition. As a result, corporate and government elites have starved, denigrated, and decimated the public sector and its capacity to respond to routine infrastructure needs, let alone to crises like the one we face now. And of course, they have fought tooth and nail — to this very day — to deny the idea that healthcare is a human right and to protect for-profit healthcare at all costs. …


New Yorkers must demand accountability for lawlessness

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Sign left by community members on an ICE vehicle parked outside Maimonides Hospital 2/6/20

On Wednesday, February 5, the U.S. Senate disgraced itself by endorsing Donald Trump’s lawlessness with its vote to acquit him after the no-witnesses-no-documents impeachment trial. On Thursday morning, ICE shot an unarmed Brooklyn man in the face while they were trying to abduct one of his family members, whom they also injured. These two things are related, and together they raise the specter of increasing lawlessness and white nationalist violence.

Both men were taken to Maimonides Hospital. Gaspar Avendano-Hernandez was repeatedly pepper sprayed and tased by ICE officers as he tried to escape them after they grabbed him as he was getting into an Uber; the plainclothed officers did not identify themselves or indicate why they were trying to grab him. Eric Diaz intervened to try to help; in response, one of the officers pulled a gun and shot him at point-blank range. He was partially able to deflect he bullet with his hand, but it hit his cheek and lodged in his neck. …


remove trump, other protest signs outside and inside trump tower
remove trump, other protest signs outside and inside trump tower
Rise and Resist protest at Trump Tower 1/11/20 (photos: Diane Greene Lent)

Watching the actions of the Trump administration through the lens of the New York Times’ coverage has been by turns dumbfounding, disheartening and infuriating. While the white nationalists running our government have rolled out one attack after another on civil rights, civil liberties, the independence of the judiciary, procedural democracy, human rights laws and planetary survival, the “paper of record” has offered a soothing translation of these threats into the familiar language of Beltway politics-an anesthetizing stew of “he said, she said” false equivalences that juxtaposes claims and lies by Trump and Trumpsters with statements by others, often statements of fact, with no indication of the veracity of either side; an intense dedication to avoiding referring to anything as racist; and a general, unspoken pretense that Trump is just another president, which for the Times means extending to him its ever-reliable commitment to legitimating and stabilizing power. …


An Advent devotional based on Matthew 2: 7–23

nativity scene with holy fam in cages
nativity scene with holy fam in cages
This year’s Ntivity scene at Claremont UMC

[My church, St. Paul & St. Andrew, asked me to prepare one of the daily devotionals for their Advent series this year. It was for today, December 17, and is based on Matthew 2: 7–23. I don’t generally find it appropriate to share theologically motivated content in secular spaces — I am a big believer in the pray-in-secret Jesus as well as the table-flipping Jesus — but wanted to share this because of its extremely timely subject matter, for anyone out there who identifies as Christian.]

Mary and Joseph arrive at the Egyptian border with their baby, hoping to get asylum there. But under the new “remain in Judea” policy, they are told they can’t enter the country and must wait in Judea as their case is processed. Joseph explains that they face immediate danger due to Herod’s persecution, but he doesn’t have any documentation to prove it and fails the “more likely than not” standard now applied to credible fear interviews. …

About

Dorothee Benz

Writer | Organizer | Strategist. I love mountains & hate capitalism. #ResistanceIsHoly she/her/hers

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