Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Energy for activism

So there we were, hating the Mission scene and creating it: our meetings always took place in the Mission; most of the people who showed up at our demos lived or socialized in the Mission. But here’s the thing -- people would come to our meetings, and it would change them, I mean it would change their relationship to activism. Their relationship to the world through activism. Their relationship to the world. Maybe not their relationship to the Mission scene. The scene some of us were trying to undo, while creating it.

Today I feel overwhelmed and uninspired. I don’t even know why I’m writing this, or why it’s important to say that I feel overwhelmed and uninspired. I’m trying to write about my relationships, but I’m actually writing about Gay Shame, my relationship to Gay Shame. I went to a performance last night and it was so hard on my body that I went to bed early and slept late and then when I woke up everything just felt awful. I mean me. All day I was waiting to take a bath, a bath to help with my pain. I finally took a bath. I still feel awful.

Kelvline was one of those people who Gay Shame changed -- she’d never been involved in direct action before, and suddenly she became so enthusiastic that sometimes it felt oppressive. She had all this energy, all this energy for activism. Or there was someone like Avery, who showed up in Diesel jeans, which several people commented on. Why were we looking at her jeans? Based on Avery’s looks and look, we were wondering about confusion of the white gay Castro variety. But soon he was suggesting we take on the racist agenda of Gavin Newsom, the city council member for the wealthiest neighborhoods of San Francisco. At the time, Newsom was rising to power through a ballot measure called Care Not Cash, which took away homeless people’s welfare checks, and replaced them with “care.” We came up with an action called Prop N Stands for Nightmare: A Pre-Halloween Festival of Resistance, where we brought a haunted shantytown to Newsom territory.

Gay Shame declared: Gavin Lies -- There Is No Care in Care Not Cash. We blocked traffic in front of Newsom’s campaign headquarters and rolled down a “bloody” carpet in the middle of the street for the Exploitation Runway, where past, present, and future greats of local, national, and international exploitation competed in categories like Gentrification Realness (Old School and New School), Luxurious Liberals, and Eviction Couture. We connected development scams to poverty preachers, oil exploitation to fashionistas. When we were done, or when the cops demanded that we finish, we took our sound system and cardboard shantytown up a steep hill to confront Newsom directly at the temple where he was speaking; we were prevented from attending by a phalanx of cops, but somehow managed to pull off our whole action without arrests.

2 comments:

Wil Lake said...

There was a tIME IN yOUR nEIGHBORHOOD WHEN EVERYBODY GOT ALONG... AND THAT WAS THE fASHION. tRY TO HAVE GOOD VIBES(YOU ARE STILL ON THE VIBE ORIENTED lEFT-COAST)...lOT oF eVERYTHING...
wIL

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Ha! There was never a time when everybody got along, but that's not necessarily a problem. If we all got along, there would be way more problems.

Vibes? I don't know about vibes...

But lovely to hear from you, all the way down there in the opposite corner...

Love --
mattilda