A Letter to the Neighbors of the Community Arts and Media Project (CAMP)
at Cherokee and Minnesota Streets
On the police presence in and around our building this weekend
What happened on Friday As many of you witnessed, police raided the bulding at the south-east corner of Cherokee and Minnesota streets on Friday, May 16th. They first gained access to the building by threatening to condemn the building if we did not consent to a buliding inspection. The city inspector had to be accompanied by a policeman "for his safety". Over ten policeman entered the building without a search warrant. No citations were issued or major problems found.
What followed was a four hour wait for a judge to issue a legal search warrant and an extensive search of the building. The search warrant was issued to look for U-locks (for bikes) molotov cocktails, PVC pipe, whips, chains, nails with washers attached and "Other instruments of Crime that may be used during protest situations". The police have targeted the residents and visitors of the building as violent anarchist activists.
The list of what was actually found and seized is far less intimidating. The full list follows, as taken from the receipt of seized property I was given.
Seized property: (items in parentheses are my comments): a pottery kiln, clay, cones and spikes for kiln, box of sponge balls, 1 bucket and 2 boxes of nails, (camping stove) fuel, a cd drive for a computer, a thin chain (for ductwork), 2 cell phone bills (are those dangerous?), a leather strap, 5 mirrors, 3 walkie talkies, a diary, some papers (which they wouldn't let me examine), 2 respirators (they called them gas masks, I call them lead protection) rockclimbing equipment, a kazoo and 2 large paper mache effigies.
Also discovered missing so far are a memory card for a digital camera, a blue bike with wide handlebars and other journals.
People leaving the building just prior to the raid were arrested- one while walking down the street (charged with demonstrating), one who was standing out front waiting to be picked up by his girlfriend, and one who was driving away because he did not care to be part of the raid.
Why we are here- Some of you neighbors have met some of us, some of us have hung out together, and some of you we haven't yet met. Andy and I (Art) have lived here since January, after we received a legal occupancy permit for 3022A Cherokee St. Tom and Eric are in the process of moving in, as we get occupancy permits for 3024A. We are a part of the group of organizations that wanted to come together to create a community space for our organizations, and at the same time create a friendly neighborhood space where we could share our resources and skills. That is why we have been trying to create a bike workshop in the garages, that is why we are renovating 3022 to be a free and public library and computer lab. That is why we have shown free movies and a puppet show in the backyard, and that is why we are trying to solidify funds and plans to build handicapped accesibility ramps so that we may obtain legal occupancy permits for all of the first floor apaces, two of which will mainly be large, open meeting spaces for events and meetings, with a focus on education and artwork as tools for creating our voice and making it heard.
Because the group that initiated this project is mostly white, we have tried to remain conscious of what negative effect our presence could have. Often gentrification follows young white artists that move into low income neighborhoods. Gentrification here may happen if higher income people, generally white, decide that this is the hip neighborhood to be in and start buying property and fixing them up real nice- this will drive up rent rates, increase police harassment of people of color (if that is even possible here), and eventually drive out the people who are the culture of this area. We do not want this! We desire that the people here now can be empowered by our skills and resources, and that we be empowered by learning from you and working with you.
Why our visitors are here this weekend- One issue that we are concerned with is Genetically Modified (GM) crops. St. Louis is home to Monsanto, one of the biggest corporations producing and selling GM crops. Many of these are largely untested for saftey, but they are in many of the foods you can buy at Schnucks, and are unlabeled. They are in the lunches that your children are given at school. Farmers and countries who do not accept these crops are experiencing many difficulties- GM crops pollinate neighboring fields and then those farmers are liable to be sued under copyright infringement. Organic farmers can not be certified organic when a GM crop has polluted their fields. Europe and many "third-world" countries have refused U.S. produce because of the GM crops grown here, for they refuse to grow them in their countries.
Monsanto is hosting the World Agricultural Forum in St. Louis this weekend, where they gather numerous government officials and supporters of the GM foods industry. Many people want to protest this event because they feel the science is dangerous, the benefits are few, and too much tax money is supporting these big corporations instead of family farms. The plan is non-violent protest- despite what the news channels and the Post-Dispatch have hyped up. There are not thousands of anarchists coming to town- but there are a few (and they are not violent!). There are also journalists, community workers, farmers and a bike circus. That is why the police did not find any molotov cocktails but they did impound bikes, seize puppets and a kazoo. We are helping out-of-town people find housing with local people, since most of them have as much money as I do to spend on hotels- none.
What will happen now- Well, that's a real good question! Hopefully the police will return our possessions on Wednesday like they promised, because its hard to do rehab on a building when the police have seized all of your nails and respirators. We hope that we are allowed to protest the World Agricultural Forum peacefully, and we hope the police don't use tear gas and tazers like they have promised us. We hope that the city inspectors act reasonably with us and are understanding that we have a shoestring budget and that the rehab is being done mostly by volunteers. We hope that we can integrate ourselves into this neighborhoood for the mutual benefit of all of us. We want to see people have an opportunity to use the pottery studio, computer lab and bike workshop that we have been working to create. We don't want our lives to be confined by the police, exploitive jobs and political repression- we want our lives to be defined by our creations, our dreams our artwork and our strength as a community to love and care for everyone around us.
The CAMP projectis only what people make it- so we would love to have neighborhood people become part of it, shape it to be what they want, and even take it over. Lets make this neighorborhood a great place for us to live out our lives.
"Did you know that 250,000 children die every week from starvation and disease?
Did you know that a 10% reduction in meat intake would leave enough grain to feed these children?
Did you know that meat and dairy production is the second biggest polluter on the planet, only second to cars?
Did you know animals scream and cry while they're shackeld upside down, ready to be prepared for your tastebuds?
Do you know how it feels to be electrocuted and skinned alive?
No-one gives a shit, because thinking is just too hard. Welcome to the zombie nation, where shoes and lipstick are simply more important than starving children. And tastebuds are more important than life. Never mind that we're screwing the planet, as long as I'M fine and my clothes look nice, and I have a full belly. Then everything is fine.
The endless sale of anything and everything is making our generations into selfish, apathetic people. This continuous stream of capitalist ideology is the biggest polluter - of people's minds.
It's astonishing how selfish we have become, in a society where the focus is solely on ourselves and the amount of possessions we can surround ourself with. When the truth is, happiness will never come from any of these things. While people are convinced to want needless objects, they will never be happy.
There is so much more to be concerned about than when the next issue of Heat magazine comes out. Like the fact that people die unncessarily every second - because the actions of EVERY ONE of us affect the entire planet.
So lets all get drunk and watch tv, consume this and that, then consume some more. Oh and don't forget to consume a bit more in the morning, too. No-one will notice because they're all mindless zombies too.
Just to add: The tv sets represent how everyone has adopted the materialistic and shallow values of capitalism - buy, buy buy and don't give a damn about anything else. It demonstrates how the majority of people just don't think anymore - tv does that for them!"
here is a piece i did on cencorship. ignore the thing that says "evasion" ....anyways, i want alot of honest opinions on this. love it. tell me. hate it. tell me. well anyways. its late. and im tired. good night fellow deviants.
"If I could give a prize to the single best idea anyone ever had, id give it to Darwin. Ahead of Einstein ahead of Newton ahead of everybody else, I think he had the single best idea anyone has ever had." Daniel Dennett
<img src="http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j119/xjager513/CharlesDarwin.jpg"> welcome all to my tribute to who I consider probably the most brilliant man who has ever lived, Charles Darwin.
To learn more about who Charles Darwin was please click any of these links.
From 1831 to 1836 Darwin served as a naturalist aboard the H.M.S. Beagle on a British science expedition around the world. In South America Darwin found fossils of extinct animals that were similar to modern species. On the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean he noticed many variations among plants and animals of the same general type as those in South America. The expedition visited places around the world, and Darwin studied plants and animals everywhere he went, collecting specimens for further study.
Upon his return to London Darwin conducted thorough research of his notes and specimens. Out of this study grew several related theories: one, evolution did occur; two, evolutionary change was gradual, requiring thousands to millions of years; three, the primary mechanism for evolution was a process called natural selection; and four, the millions of species alive today arose from a single original life form through a branching process called "speciation."
Through careful observation and painstaking research, Darwin came to the conclusion of the theory which he called Evolution Through Means Of Natural Selection.
His ground braking theory has survived the test of time and has been confirmed through the last 150 years from various forms of scientific testing. However in 1859 when Charles Darwin's radical theories was published in his book
Basically the public mocked him ,especially the journalistic community. This Is most likely due to a misunderstanding of his theory but most notably it was in clear contradiction to religious held beliefs. Especially the story of genesis which states we were created by an omnipotent being in his image, and which also stated ALL life was created as you seem them today.
This brings me to my particular field of interest. Here are some of the famous artistic forms of mockery still used to this day by people who just are still in the dark about his theory of evolution through natural selection.
<img src="http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j119/xjager513/mock.jpg"> These artist's portrayals of Darwin as a half man half ape was nothing more then to say
" Look what Darwin thinks we came from, This is what he Darwin sees himself as. Some kind of monkey man."
How wrong they had it.
So we Forward to the year 2008 where science now almost unanimously accepts evolution as the sound scientific explanation for the origin of species.
Now an artist will praise him for his wonderful ideas.
What I did was basically using the same mocking tactics the mobs used all those years ago. I simply switched it around and used this same theme to praise and manifest his theory into an entity. In my own style obviously.
Charles Darwin is in essence , evolution.
The creature itself is an evolutionary timelime from bacteria to man. Darwin representing the head, the idea of evolution.
So here is to Darwin. A man who had the courage to think in a world ripe with ignorance.
Bringing them peace or putting fear into their hearts?
[A Turkish sniper attached to ISAF Forces on a routine foot patrol..]
As a member of NATO, Turkish Armed Forces has more than 4,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan. These troops are non-combatant units and mostly attached to construction battalions.
Photo taken in Kabul, Afghanistan
*update: With Vice President Cheney's visit to Turkey in March 2008, U.S started to increase pressure on Turkey to send combat units to Afghanistan. [which Turkish Government and Army officials are decidedly refusing]