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Welfare Offices: Ground Zero in the Class War
By Kirsten Anderberg (

I am committed to welfare rights activism because I know from first hand
experience that the poorest sectors in town are congregated there. If you
really want to help poor folks, not just do some token thing to relieve
class conscience/guilt, get your butts down to those welfare offices.
Right there before you are the direct victims/survivors of racism,
classism, sexism. I have modeled my brand of confrontational welfare
rights activism on several other movements. I took the need for us to
reclaim our poverty openly with pride, in order to shed the shame, from
the out-of-the-closet philosophy of the gay pride movement. I took the
WelfareWatch worker Report Card concept from Cop Watch models. I took the
“agitation without apology” attitude of black activists in my town, and
the “no compromise in the defense of mother earth” motto from Earth
First!, and just left off the “earth:” No Compromise in the Defense of
Mother!” I also followed the lead of the brilliant welfare rights group
Welfare Warriors, who co-opted Domestic Violence language for welfare
mothers, using terms like “self-defense tactics” to advise welfare mothers
on the ways to arm themselves for the abuse in welfare offices. I implore
you to take this welfare rights issue seriously if you care about the
issues of poverty, race, sexism, children’s rights, and classism. All of
those issues intersect at your local welfare office right today. If your
class status has insulated you from welfare offices in your past, you need
to go there even more.

I formed the Welfare Mothers’ Anti-Shame League (WMASL) in June 2005 for
several reasons. My experiences through writing on issues of poverty have
shown me that oft times it is actually ignorance, not maliciousness, that
separates the classes. I found when I wrote an article outlining a few
things that were so basic to me, about how to include poor people in
community events, the article was treated as some profound guideline that
middle class activists snapped up hungrily. I suggested things like make
sure the event is on a bus line, and do not hold meetings somewhere that
money is necessary, such as a restaurant. Poor people wrote thanking me
emphatically and middle class editors published the piece far and wide. I
see that the shame surrounding poverty has kept our entire culture and
lifestyle, honestly, hidden. Middle class activists who really do want to
work on class issues are locked out of our reality, they are not allowed
to know what poor folks are truly experiencing, thus they do not know how
to help, as we hide this information for our own human dignity and pride.

Which lead me to the second purpose of the WMASL. The shame aspect of
poverty has so many negative parts to it, that it must be attacked like a
bull’s eye to the heart of poverty problems. If we keep internalizing
their racism, sexism, and classism, and are then ashamed of ourselves, we
simply will not stand up effectively for our own empowerment. People, we
need to stand up straight; they can only walk on our bent over backs. And
to stand up straight, the shame has to go. Much as the gay pride movement
realized that there was a damaging effect to hiding one’s sexuality in
fear of prejudice, that same philosophy easily transfers to the issue of
poverty. I suggest instead of the poor internalizing the oppression, that
we instead lay the blame right where it belongs, at the employers and
landlords who ripped us off, and we stand with our heads high. I say we
out the racism, sexism, classism with all our heart and soul, rather than
hide in shame for their crimes.

I also realized that some of the traditional means of welfare rights
activism were dead in the water, much as many of the “peace activist”
groups are completely useless and co-opted out of effectuality quickly. In
Seattle where I live, there is a group called the Welfare Rights
Organizing Committee (WROC) and yet I find they leave much to be desired.
Yes, they haul poor women and their kids down to Olympia on buses every
year to give the same old sob stories to our legislators. Yet nothing ever
changes. So, honestly, I feel this tactic is much too complacent. I felt a
need to create a DIRECT ACTION welfare rights organization. An
organization that is willing to be the Earth First!, so to speak of
welfare rights activism, as opposed to the Sierra Clubs of activism,
groups like WROC. We cannot wait for legislators to find a way to make
funds for housing and food stamps while they dole billions out for wars
and Homeland Security. We will kick that door in and take the food, to
quote a Tupac Shakur metaphor, if our demands are not prioritized now, is
basically where WMASL is at.

I also find that groups like WROC try to hold hands with the legislature
that continually screws over the poor, and also the state welfare
departments as mediators between clients and workers, while also trying to
hold the hands of the welfare clients in support. I have found that does
not work. You cannot hold the hands of our enemies and expect us to feel
comfortable holding your hands too. The WMASL decided to take a lead from
the black militant movements, and to just claim an outright hostile
positionality to the state and the state welfare offices due to their
record of continued abuse of women, children, and poor people for
corporate and business, thus greedy individual, profits. By doing that, we
can show solidarity and commitment to a stand that is not compromised in
any way, a stand that focuses ONLY on the needs of the poor in the welfare
systems trying to survive. We are not interested in negotiating with
terrorists, so to speak. We are instead going to take the actual laws and
rights already in place for the poor and to provide the one thing that has
been missing: ENFORCEMENT of those rights.

When I began comparing the traits of a domestic abuser and the behavior of
most of the welfare workers and environment of all welfare offices I have
been in contact with, the similarities are striking. The workers act just
like a controlling husband withholding freedoms and survival needs from a
woman, and her kids, in some sick domination game. The abused women live
in shame for their abuse, in both the welfare system as well as in
domestic violence. In domestic violence, the abuser convinces the abused
one that they DESERVE the abuse. Welfare does exactly the same thing.
Domestic violence abusers continually and systematically berate and
belittle their victims, and welfare workers do the same thing. I have
witnessed it myself for 40 years, when they did it to my mom, and when
they did it to me. When I saw the brilliant Warrior Women’s Voice
newspaper (, full of welfare rights
agitation news, I noticed they were co-opting domestic violence survivor
language into their own activism and I saw that as a brilliant move. I
have followed suit. Now I advise women on “self-defense tactics” inside
welfare offices because honestly those are the skills you need in that
environment. I also began using words that Welfare Warriors (who produce
Mother Warriors Voice) used, such as they call the welfare workers,
“unworkers,” which is how I will now refer to welfare unworkers for the
rest of this article.

“I am not a case, and I do not need to be managed.” – Anonymous Welfare

And finally, I decided it really was not acceptable that there was not a
national bank of abusive welfare unworkers’ names. Thus I started an
online Welfare Watch, a welfare unworker advisory board. We rate welfare
unworkers on their performance and also alert clients to past dangerous
behavior by those unworkers. I have personal notes from abusive behavior
by unworkers in three states. I have begun soliciting reports from others
in my state, as well as reports from other states as well. (If you have a
welfare unworker horror story, please email me at and
we will post the story online). The need for an outside accountability
valve over these unworkers is absolutely overdue. I noticed that cops
*hate* cop watch groups. They really had a lot invested in anonymous
behavior on the state dime apparently. Welfare unworkers are the same
breed. They expect their abuse to fall only on people who are so
exhausted, so hungry, and so dependent on them for their next food and
rent, that they do not *dare* stand up and out the behaviors of these
unworkers. Well, guess what? I am *so* hungry and exhausted that I am
rabid about this issue. No amount of food or money could buy off this rage
now. I have taken that exhaustion and refueled myself with righteous anger
and I have decided to be killed on my feet than to die begging on my
knees. And I implore all people being abused by poverty and the welfare
system to join me in this militant uprising. Put the blame on the systems
of oppression that *created* your poverty, and DEMAND a change and your
DIGNITY NOW. The WMASL is in solidarity with all of you involved in this
important work.

Last week, the WMASL released its first “Client Action Alert” to the state
and welfare offices across Washington State. The first action alert was
based on my experience in the Belltown welfare office in Seattle, on July
15, 2005. When I entered this welfare office, to try to correct mistakes
they had made on my food stamps, I went to the front desk. I had never
been in this office before. I said to the receptionist that I had a 9
o’clock appointment with a named unworker. Her EXACT response was, “check
in at the computer,” and then she went on to other clients. Miffed, I
wandered into a waiting room full of people suffering hard, in poverty,
desperate, tired, waiting…and I looked around for a computer! Finally,
hidden behind a partition, sat a computer. I went up to it and found no
instructions whatsoever. Daunted, I looked around and realized I was on my
own. I decided to look at the situation logically. I run a website, I am
computer literate…I finally looked at the computer and played with it a
minute and got on track and was able to check in for my scheduled
appointment. But it was more than clear this was an insane system. Many of
these people had no computer experience at all, and to just make them find
this hidden computer and then to give no written instructions at all was,
well, downright hostile. People are late for appointments every single day
at that welfare office, I am sure, based on this crazy system and clients’
inability to navigate even the check in system.

After I met with my unworker, I got up to leave. As I went to leave, an
older black male, perhaps 70 years old, was frustrated at the computer
terminal. He tapped my arm and asked me for help. I stopped and validated
his confusion and then walked him slowly through the check in steps on the
computer. I went home and wrote this experience down. I realized this was
a good first action for the WMASL.

The WMASL sent a narrative of this experience I had, along with a set of
proposed instructions and the recommendation that those instructions be
translated into several languages, and then posted next to the computer
terminal, to legislators and welfare administrators on July 16, 2005. Also
recommended was a visible sign in the lobby over the computer that says,
“Check In Here” in large letters. This situation affects poor people, and
heightens the frustration they experience in welfare offices, every single
day. Every day that it is not rectified, more human beings souls suffer.
It needs immediate attention. And if WMASL has to agitate to get results
on this matter asap, we will do so.

The Welfare Mothers’ Anti-Shame League is long overdue. We no longer will
internalize the shame for missing fathers, for incompetent welfare
unworkers, or for class insulated legislators bought off by corporate
interest, reducing human beings to mere capital for a few wealthy men and
their little Paris Hiltons. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We are hard
working mothers. We did our part. The shame is on society for using us, as
free childcare, crippling our opportunities, in a sexist system that
literally rewards men and punishes women for men ditching all of their
childcare responsibilities upon overworked and non-paid mothers. The shame
is on society for paying women about half as much on the dollar as men for
the same job, forcing us to raise our kids in poverty, even when we have
the same jobs and education as men living in higher classes than us. The
shame is on society for institutionalized racism against mothers of color
at every turn, aborting her opportunities and economic independences such
as the men take for granted. This MUST be addressed. Welfare mother rights
activism affects women, and children and poor people. If you care about
feminism, racism, classism, children’s hunger, homelessness and poverty
issues, learn more about the WMASL
( The WMASL motto is: “Direct
Action is the Opposite of Representation.”


Trickle Down Indy Press
By Kirsten Anderberg (

If I have learned anything in the last few years as a highly visible
writer, it is the trickle down theory doesn’t work. I don’t know why the
white middle class men who predominately own and control the bulk of indy
*and* mainstream media ever thought the trickle down theory would ever
work. Has it worked anywhere ever? I guess the question is not whether the
men o’media believed trickle down would work, but rather whether the
unpaid writers would believe that fiction and keep writing, forever, for
free, for the paid men o’media, who live in luxury compared to the writers
who are still waiting for trickle down to eat. I have learned that
everyone makes money off the poor, but the poor! I am here to address this
issue very clearly and concisely, so there can be no excuse for the
continuation of this system in indy media, a system which I can only
characterize as lecherous.

The idea that has been pitched to me for several years now by white middle
class men who own one “alternative” media medium or another (magazine,
website with high traffic, newspaper, etc.) is that once *they* get “on
their feet,” or make *more* money from their media projects, eventually,
some sort of reward would trickle down to me for handing them fully
edited, original, timely headlining articles several times a week. Yet I
watched these men, who already were living at an incrementally higher
lifestyle than I EVER have, be so stingy with their dollars, that I
literally did not eat, while they went on vacations with the media
resources’ monies! I began to see that these men were already living at a
privileged level that I have never been privy to and they were making no
effort to pay me for my hard work, which they used regularly. Now I was
expecting them to pay me for all my hard work, as one of the only
consistent feminist and class analysis woman writers out there, why,
again? Why would they pay me once they got “more” money, when they already
had way more money available to them every day than I have ever had? I
began to realize this was not about indy media’s failure to bring in
money, it was about the burden of sustaining the white middle class male
lifestyle on an indy media budget. It was about white middle class (even
claiming the title of anarchist) men having actually seized the means of
production classically, and now expecting the poor, women, people of
color, etc. to either scrounge around for some way to make our own media
without equal resources to these white middle class men o’media, or we can
work forever, for free, for the privileged men, living off false promises.

No matter how many articles by poor people or women or people of color a
white middle class male editor publishes, I want to call our attention to
the class chasm between these writers and these editors and make a classic
argument that we, the poor/women/people of color writers need to literally
spotlight this chasm over and over until shame, if nothing else, forces
these men out of the position of controlling the means of production of
media. I do not accuse these men of maliciousness, but I *do* accuse them
of continuing constructive lock outs of whole groups of people hinged on
the past race/sex/class prejudices and these men are absolutely not going
to give anything up. You cannot publish a magazine or website with all
these nice sounding anti-racist, pro-feminist articles, yet in practice,
only pay the middle class white boy over and over. That defeats all the
nice progressive articles, and it also brings the motives of these white
middle class editors into question, in my opinion.

In my town, a newspaper called “Real Change” is hawked by low-income and
homeless folks in front of stores. They pay 30 cents per copy to hawk them
in a manner similar to “bums” asking for change, for $1 a paper, keeping
the 70 cents profit per paper themselves. Yet the paid staff of Real
Change live in a completely different lifestyle! There is a general
misconception by the public in Seattle that poor people write for Real
Change and that it is a newspaper about poverty issues. Yet, in fact, that
is not what this paper is. It is not written *for* poor people, even
though poor people hawk it on corners for pennies daily. And when poor
people write for Real Change, unlike the staff, they are not paid. I
thought that the writers were not paid at Real Change since they asked me
to write for them for free. But then last year I saw an ad on a journalist
job bank advertising for a $13 an hour writer job with Real Change! I was
furious, actually, that this paper wanted me to write for free for them,
yet *some* privileged writers for Real Change were getting $13 an hour.
Then I realized the editor and those above him were probably making more
than the lowly $13 an hour writers. And so the writers, editors and
executive directors are not living at anywhere near the class level of
those on the streets hawking this paper daily for food money. I began to
see Real Change as something that is using poor folks, like some circus
side show, to get funding, to get public support, but it seems to me that
operation is actually supporting more middle class people’s careers than
helping homeless people into the middle class. As a matter of fact, I
seriously doubt any Real Change vendor on the street has been able to use
that street income to climb into the middle class. Yet, how many middle
class lifestyles (or what I would term middle class, i.e., enough *food*
every month, not worrying about rent payments monthly…) are supported by
that paper again?

I find that the men o’media are somewhat desperate for women/poor/people
of color writers. They know full well they can be called out for
publishing all articles written by white middle class men, yet that is
still what we see on most of the mainstream and alternative media outlets
to date. Only through marginalization and separation in women-only, or
focus grouped media, do we break the ownership of means by white middle
class males. And *that* is why we need to *seize* the means of media away
from these men. They have already proven they are not going to share, they
are not going to pay with equity, they are not going to be fair and are
going to somehow try to sell the poor in media on trickle down, as they
skim profits for their lifestyles. I am here to say we are too smart for
that. These men have tried to get around this by writing *about* the
issues of poverty, racism, sexism, classism, etc., issues that do not
affect white middle class males directly, but reality is, they do not want
the poor, women, and people of color speaking about these things
themselves. They want to get paid to write about even those issues!

I notice almost all books published by alternative and “anarchist” press
have male authors. I have noticed most alternative and anarchist news
wires online are controlled, not just owned, by men, who determine the
agenda, as much as Ruport Murdoch does. I find myself publishing in “indy”
publications that have ads of women naked in champagne cups or a women
with shorts going up her butt advertising to “come get a piece” at the
newest glass pipe shop in town. I am supposed to wait for trickle down to
reach me while these men play these types of media games. I have to work
amidst idiotic ad choices and then, for free, for these men, if I want to
be a writer! How about instead I seize the means of production and give
the reins to those like me, those I relate to as allies: those *outside*
the fence now. How about I seize the means of f*ckin’ production from
these greedy men and give it, for free, to my comrades, instead of
controlling the means of media for my middle class lifestyle? Guess what?
I am not middle class, and my maintenance is considerably less than that
required to maintain these middle class privileged men. We can get 3 to
one off their salaries, seriously. If you let me take the Real Change
budget and revamp that thing, for instance, the editors and executives
would make no more money than the vendors *ever!* For those $13 an hour
writer positions, I would instead pay at least three poor writers per
article, and get rid of the $13 an hour writers until *all* the writers
made that and the lowest income writers would be paid first and more. I
would also use all that funding Real Change receives to make the papers
the homeless folks hawk FREE to them, not charge them 30 cents a copy!

At this point, my enthusiasm to keep pumping up male media with my
articles for free has waned. I spend my days now learning how to write
grants to get funding for my projects, writing books that I can control
the means of production on, learning software programs for
self-publishing, and just investing in the means, rather than giving away
my writing to middle class male “indie media” projects. I do not want to
become a commodity for middle class male writers, and the money simply
never trickles down to me. And somehow the middle class have had some
weird class insulation inbred into them that allows them to take profit
from others living at lower class levels than them without guilt. At this
point, I see little point in investing in the male dominated indy media
out there. I would rather hold out, seize the means of production and not
have to publish next to sexist ads, sexist articles, and with men who live
well beyond my means while claiming some sort of poverty when it comes to
paying low-income writers. Owning the means of production is the only
freedom for the poor, and it is no different in indy media than any other
“industry.” Same people dominating, same people getting paid. Same people
not getting paid, same people being subjugated.

I call out all male dominated “alternative” media to pay every single
writer whose work they publish, who is *not* middle class, white and male,
MORE than you do the male middle class writers or you ARE promoting
racism, classism, sexism, regardless of your progressive article roster.
Editors need to start practicing what they publish. Look at your favorite
media’s organizational structure. Why are some paid so much more than
others? And who is paid most over and over? I can tell you that men like
Greg Palast, Mickey Z, Noam Chomsky, Joe Bageant, and Ward Churchill were
published right next to my articles over and over, and over, all last
year, and every one of them gets paid and lives a higher lifestyle than I
ever have. In contrast, I wrote as many articles as those men, if not
more, was published in many of the same venues, headlining right next to
them, yet was paid very little when paid, and most often I was not paid at
all, and not a month has gone by, in the last two years, where food money
was not an issue, while these men, writers, and editors, lived fat by

I cannot wait any longer for trickle down. I am seizing the means of
production and plan on handing the money and reins to every disempowered
person I can. It is time we seize media from white middle class men. I
feel they had every chance to share resources and have proven they are not
capable of letting go of their privileged lifestyles, so we are going to
need to redistribute the power ourselves. I am working on procuring
funding for a press and publishing company, as well as several other print
venues such as magazines and papers. Again, my class level is so much
lower than most white middle class editors that any project I head will
have less overhead and we can produce more than middle class men can with
the same money, as we do not have their lavish lifestyles to support
before all the rest of us can eat and get paid! Invest in Poverty Planet
Press ( instead of more middle
class male owned indy press. Count the ratio of men to women writers in
your favorite media. Which side are you on? Take back the means of press
production. A poor woman writing for free and getting published by middle
class men is not the way to freedom. Owning the means of production those
men control now is the way. That is what I have learned in the last two
years as a well-published writer.

Clothing As Political Validity
By Kirsten Anderberg (

A friend said to me recently that he thought it was important to dress in
expensive or “nice” Western clothing for credibility when doing political
activism. But I have a problem with that, as we cannot all afford shiny
clothes for political validity, as some of us are struggling for
sustainable housing or enough food every month. Clothing is far down the
list of priorities, honestly. When I told my son this friend had said
that, he remarked, “But what about that “bum” who was raving about the
inequities between Yogi Bear and Boo Boo on the street? You remember him!”
And yes, I *do* remember him! We were blown away when we *listened* to
what this “bum” was yelling on the street. He was laying out a profound
class analysis about the power structure between the cartoon characters
Yogi Bear and Boo Boo, and this man was not only eloquent, but brilliant.
We stood in amazement as his Yogi Bear analysis was so obviously just a
microcosm of the power struggles that had lead him to a street corner,
dressed like a “bum,” screaming about Yogi as “The Man.” My son and I
stood, listened intently, and left profoundly moved. I never have found a
nice leather jacket to be a necessary requirement for political
profundity. And I know that “bums” can have some heavy words and lessons
for me, like spiritual/political shamans at times, even.

Probably being a street performer for almost three decades has given me
more intimate experiences with “bums” and “bag ladies” than normal people
would have. So it may be my standing on streets in the summer and winter,
with street people I have come to view as family, that has lead me to not
be afraid of street people as some are. Street people are seriously my
friends and family. When I was a homeless teen, spit onto the streets by
middle class America, naïve, scared, alone and vulnerable, it was street
people who kept me safe, seriously. No one but street performers and
street “bums and bag ladies” are responsible for my survival through my
teens and early adulthood. So I do not see the street people as scary,
dangerous, “criminals.” I *do* see the businessmen on 3rd Avenue in their
suits as scary, dangerous criminals though.

Seattle had a “bag lady” that everyone knew at the Pike Place Market, and
it was interesting to find out about her life over the decades. It got
really complex when a young guy started street performing at the Market,
who said he was her nephew! This “bag lady” was always incredibly nice to
me. She always tipped me and I always accepted graciously. I think it is
*rude as hell* to not accept tips from street people when they want to
support you too. Nothing prevents me from circulating that back into their
cup later. She always wanted to touch my young child and I could see her
eyes light up when she talked to him. He just saw her like any other
family at the Market. I loved her the same. She would shine all the coins
she gave me obsessively. She would never give me a quarter that was not
shiny clean, and she threw coins she could not get clean into the sewer.
When I talked about her to the male street performers, I found out she had
another side with the male street performers. She *hated* them! She spit
on them! They were *shocked* to find out she tipped me and was nice to me!
Just like I was shocked to find she spit on the men! It reminds me of
Margaret Mead finally outing the idea that if men go to study a group of
folks, they will only get exposure to what men in that culture do!

I spent many a rainy day in winter talking to this “bag lady” as I waited
for my turn to street perform for food money. I bought her gloves, and
gave them to her several years in a row. I asked her once what she wanted
most. She said she wanted to go to the Ice Capades, that that was one
thing she never got to do and wanted to. She said she was sad because her
church wouldn’t let her go there anymore now that she is a “bag lady.” She
said they said she had to cut her long hair which was now one big matted
dread before she could be allowed into the church services and she was
unwilling to do that. I was appalled to hear this. It brought immediate
tears to my eyes. Street people are deep.

In San Francisco, I met a woman who was street performing in a pair of
surgery scrubs. She was wearing these green pants and top, and even a
strange hospital cap. She was a heavy-set middle-aged black woman, and she
played a mean slide electric guitar, dobro style, horizontal, and the amp
was in her shopping cart! When I finally get older and become a “bag
lady,” this woman is the role model I will follow! I still have a picture
of her from the early 1980’s. Things like this really do blur the lines
between what is a “bag lady” and what is a street performer, and it is
interesting when they overlap.

I have another friend that most people probably perceive as a “bum,” who
is also a well-known street performer. In his 40’s and 50’s, he rode his
bicycle from Portland to Seattle to perform at street fairs, with his
singing dog in his bike basket, that sang along as he played guitar and
harmonica. This guy is an honest soul, a hard working soul, with a great
sense of humor. Again, I have spent endless hours on the street with this
guy while waiting for my turn to play, and he is a genuine character with
heart and soul, and an astute political eye. He understands fully that him
riding his bike from Portland to Seattle is ecologically responsible and
helps keep him healthy. He is a role model, in many ways, for sure. Again,
I think about the things America values and devalues, and I find I want to
be more like “bums” and “bag ladies” than I want to be like corporate
agents and slaving, invisible office assistants.

Middle class people do not realize that the “bums” and “bag ladies,” and
all of us in the lower classes, really, look at them with just as much
curiosity and confusion as they look at us. I understand “bag ladies” and
“bums,” but I am confounded trying to figure out “shopping as a hobby” as
a virtue. I am stunned when people openly admit to that without shame and
embarrassment, even bragging about it! So the culture shift is quite
different depending on your positionality in society’s class system. My
point, again, is street people are as confused by the suburb behaviors, as
suburb folks are by city street survival behaviors.

One of the best improvisational performers I have met was a “bum” in Santa
Cruz who would sell “phony fortunes” on the street for a dime. I remember
looking forward to seeing him and getting my fortune. He was affordable,
you wanted to return for more and you ended up wanting to tip him way more
than a dime because his trademark phony fortunes were fabulous! And often
they came true! I often got lured in at the affordability of his services,
but then after hearing the fortune, I would be laughing so wholeheartedly
that I just had to give him a buck, that I had just worked making street
performing myself! I remember one time my “phony fortune” from him, and he
always really emphasized these were *phony* fortunes, was I would eat
something stringy for dinner. And he was right, I had spaghetti! Another
time he told me I would become very close friends with someone who drove a
really old station wagon. The specificity of his phony fortunes were
wonderful. And he was stiff competition for “bums” who did not have such
obvious talents.

I have never turned away from “bums” and “bag ladies” as potential friends
and allies. They are some of my best friends, and I may be closer to being
a “bag lady” than I think! That defining line is thin in many cases. Is it
the clothing, your lifestyle, your beliefs? What makes you a “bum” or “bag
lady?” Is it the lack of hiding? Is it their recycling of America’s
excessive waste and not having new things always? Is it just their
claiming the street as home, openly, that freaks people out about “bums”
or “bag ladies?” I am all behind reclaiming our streets. And I think
street performers and “bums” and “bag ladies” have the right idea,
honestly. Maybe that makes *me* a “bag lady,” I don’t know. But I think
that if we want to network and have coalitions, that these brilliant minds
on our streets should be utilized and included. I have much more in common
with “bag ladies” and “bums” than I do with middle class Americans. I
guess as the class divisions continue to grow in America, we will only see
more and more “bag ladies” and “bums.” More of us will have them in our
own family and blood lines, like the street performer who was related to
the Market’s most famous “bag lady.” It is time we embraced these allies
and friends, and quit looking the other way in ignorance simply because
these people do not wear nice stylish leather jackets. Their validity is
not at all lessened in my eyes by what they wear. That is the least of my
qualifiers for political validity, honestly.

Agitation as Effective Protest
by Kirsten Anderberg (

Authority HATES the agitator. Authority cannot predict the moves of,
cannot organize to stop, cannot control, the “agitator.” To find out who
is trying to control you, agitate. It works every time. Agitation is a
form of public education. Agitation is art. Agitation requires creativity
and courage. It requires confidence and spontaneity. It requires
dedication and conviction. Conformity is taught like a religion in
schools, by our media, by our state, and our police. Thus non-conformity
*is* agitation, and truly *not* what the status quo wants us to be
emulating. Thinking for ourselves, using DIY culture as opposed to
consumer culture, and asserting our human rights, in international
solidarity, threatens the capitalist conformist agenda. AGITATION is one
of the most effective forms of protest available to break up comatose
conformist behavior. It is an end in, and of, itself. It has no immediate
goal other than what it is: AGITATION.

There is a coming of age when a person begins to realize that there really
are evil forces doing evil things in the world. In our innocence and
naïvety, we often want to believe that once people are educated, they will
change their behaviors. I, like many others before and after me, for
instance, thought that if I just educated my male peers, and also my
female cohorts, about sexism, that we would then eliminate it
collectively. I have since realized that most of the men in my world fully
understand sexism, and have no interest in dismantling it either. They
will listen sympathetically to our feminist rhetoric, but when it comes to
actually doing an equal amount of their responsibilities in childcare,
cooking, dishwashing, or housecleaning, they have no intention of changing
their privileged ways. Additionally, women who have gained their
privileges by investing in and serving patriarchy, will fight feminism as
vehemently as the men will. When I began to realize that ending sexism was
not about education anymore, but rather about our taking the privileges
back without male permission, agitation became one of my most effective
tools for direct action and protest. Once education is exhausted as a
means to change, agitation is a natural next step.

People often ask me what the purpose of my actions, or what my political
goals, are. They say, “You cannot actually believe that your class
activism will topple capitalism. Or that your feminism will stop sexism.”
But they do not understand my agenda. If I cannot destroy capitalism and
sexism, then I will at least do all I can to make those enjoying class and
sex privilege feel as uncomfortable as humanly possible while trying to
“enjoy” those privileges. I have found that you can rob the “privilege”
out of privilege, in ways, if you spotlight and shame those with the
privilege for their ill-begotten advantages attained through bigotry.

The rich (or even the American middle class) cannot enjoy their addictions
to endless shopping and driving, etc., with people guilt tripping them
about things like third world labor, capitalist profit skimming,
environmental destruction, wars for oil, sky-high rents for land owner
profit, etc. That is the entire idea of gated communities, sterile malls,
the WTO, and police riots. To keep the reality the oppressed live in daily
*to create* the privileges the middle and upper class sectors live in
daily HIDDEN from the privileged. That blinded “privilege” really is the
“freedom” America is fighting for in Iraq. The freedom for privileged
sectors to abuse and rape other sectors, without having to be confronted
with the actual human faces of those they exploit. THAT is American

Often we do not even know who our oppressors are until we agitate.
Agitation is a really good way to shake out the enemy. Just start stomping
around with your personal freedoms, and see whose feet you step on!
Agitation is pooh-poohed by predominantly white, middle class “activists”
who are nearly violent in their aggressive stance towards “non-violence.”
These “activists” thwart all direct action in the name of “non-violent
permitted marches” which they become self-proclaimed “peacekeepers” at.
They also block the actions of agitating activists, saying they “cloud the
message,” and do nothing but cause consternation. But causing
consternation *is the point!* These leftist “activists” condemn Earth
Defense warriors, they condemn the black bloc, they condemn any *direct*
action. But they condemn those things, in my opinion, as those actions
directly conflict with the privileged standard of living those leftists
are trying to maintain, while simultaneously trying to act liberal and
alternative in their thinking. I do not understand how you can be devoted
to the defense of the Earth from corporate profiteers and *not* support
EarthFirst! and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). If we only support the
Sierra Club, we will lose too many trees and too much wildlife, too fast
to ever recover. Direct action is very necessary. And some of that direct
action is to cause awareness, solely.

Jeffrey Luers set fire to 3 SUV’s in a sales lot in Eugene, Or. and is now
serving an unprecedented 23 year prison term for that “arson.” People will
not even listen to me when I try to explain his case, cutting me off
immediately when I say he set fire to 3 SUVs as an eco-defense action.
They lose the spirit of his actions in the symbol. They immediately
pooh-pooh his tactics, saying “violence solves nothing.” I try to
reiterate that special care was taken to make sure no persons would be
harmed, only property. Still, people cut me off trying to say that his
actions did nothing for the environment, that burning 3 SUVs does nothing.
But I disagree. Imagine if 3 SUVs were burned in vacant sales lots every
day for 30 days. That would certainly be a statement. And certainly by
stomping around, and seeing whose toes he stepped on, Luers has clearly
exposed a definite interest in protecting gas guzzling corporate agenda by
American courts. By sentencing Luers to an exceptionally long prison term,
the American courts tried to assert who was in charge. I look at what
Luers did as an “agit-prop” move. As a political street theater
performance. As a wake-up call. As agitation, which is a valid form of
protest and direct action.

People have tried to discredit me repeatedly in the past for agitation. I
have never shied away from agitating, and I am scolded by some activists
for stomping around to find out who is assuming authority roles over me. I
am told I need to get in line with the other non-agitating activists in
“consensus.” I am told by white, male, middle class “anarchists” that I
need to lighten up on the topics of sexism and classism. I am accused of
being “too politically correct” for asserting my rights to equality. I am
told that my agitating is only hurting me and not “helping the movement,”
by these white, middle class, male “anarchists” who assume authority roles
everywhere they go. I have to examine their agenda in all this too!

That innocence that some leftists want to hold on to, saying that all
people are really good people and just need education, is naïve and
ridiculous. There really are human beings who are willing to jeopardize
all life on earth to make personal profits so their little darling
daughters can shop as a “hobby.” They are literally willing to exploit and
damage nature so they can have multiple homes full of rooms nobody sits
in, while the workers they exploit for those profits are homeless, and the
environments they ravage with their nuclear plants, mines, timber industry
profiteering, etc., never recover. There really is a majority of men in
this world who would rather keep women subjugated so men do not have to
cook their own food, wash their own dishes, or participate equally in
childcare. There really are white people who secretly support racism and
war so they can be guaranteed to not be on the very bottom heap of poverty
and suffering. There really are anti-war protesters who drive SUVs daily
and middle class “anarchists” who are trying to defend their class
exclusion as a “conventional lifestyle” with merit worthy of anarchist
defense! At this point, my gauge is the poor. How are the poor included?
How do the poor feel about this issue? Pick an issue, any issue. How the
poor are treated therein is my indicator of where to begin my agitation
and activism. I have realized that where the poverty is, is where the
oppressed are.

Agitation is chaos and chaos is effective. Anything that shakes down the
comatose capitalist reality is direct action and protest. As I said,
American “freedom” is measured in how insulated the class chasm is from
those it exploits for its privilege. When the poor actually can touch and
affect the middle and upper classes, police forces and laws are created
and implemented to stop such social interactions, to protect that
privileged sector from that interactive wake-up call which may bother
their collective conscience.

Often agitation politics is about inspiring others to empowerment and
nothing else. Often it is in the seeing of someone else exhibiting freedom
that we realize our own self-made prisons, or begin to identify our own
enemies. Seeing oppressed people effectively stand up for their rights can
be life-changing, and it can spread like fire. Certainly when I saw that
armed Black Panthers were following cop cars in their neighborhoods, I
realized cops could be patrolled too. When I saw thousands of people
resisting violent riot police at the WTO protests in Seattle in 1999, I
realized cops are not in control, the people are. When I read about the
Zapatistas just taking their land back at the ranch door fronts, that,
too, inspired me to think outside the box. Through agitation, people begin
to see other possibilities, and that is why it is so important for the
state and police to stop agitators. Agitators put the authorities on
notice, in public, that they are not going to submit to aggressive
oppressive actions. Agitators put authority on notice, by their defiance,
that trouble is brewing on the horizon. And is that not the point of
protest in many ways? Isn’t protest really a wake up call, a putting on
notice, to the authorities that be, that we are not going to take it, as
much as a move towards direct empowerment for the oppressed?

I began taking a no compromise stand regarding my activism in 2005. I saw
an NAACP leader say that the purpose of the NAACP is to agitate, and that
they will make no apologies for that. I adopted that attitude regarding my
feminism, environmentalism, anarchism, etc. this year. No apologies for my
agitation. And it has been quite a revealing experiment. I find those who
fight to get me to apologize for my agitation are working hard on their
own agendas. They are trying to undermine my effective agitation by having
me “take it back” later. But I do not do that anymore. I make no apology
for my agitation. Instead I am proud of my bold political agitation and
stand by it. And that attitude has been even more agitational, I have
found! It is one thing to be agitating, then apologetic. It is another to
be agitating, and to not apologize at all, ever, for it. That defiance in
not apologizing makes those in power, and those cowering in corners
watching, even more nervous. It is funny to watch authority try to
reassert itself in various costumes when one costume after another does
not work to break the will of the agitator. Authority has a smell no
costume will hide. Try being agitational and NOT apologizing. It ups the
agitation considerably. It adds to your danger to the powers that be to
show you are not willing to back down later under pressure. It shows you
are uncontrollable.

Many people are afraid to be agitational because they know it confronts
the status quo that exploits others for their privilege directly, and I
agree that such aggression is dangerous. But I do not agree it is more
dangerous than complacent obedience to powers that exploit nature and
other humans for personal profit and greed. FEAR is how police and the
state keep the oppressed silenced and in chains. That is why AGITATION is
so effective: it is a direct defiance of fear, thus a direct defiance of
usual social controls. In Crimethinc’s ( book “Recipes
for Disaster,” the question of “what if I get caught?” is brought up, in
regard to the fear that paralyzes people from direct action and agitation.
Crimethinc’s retort is “Motherf*cker, you’re *already* caught. Better ask
yourself – what if you get free?”

Direct action can influence the world, as the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle
did, but they can also effect those present during an action, and that can
be as important as any news coverage. Crimethinc says, “Direct action can
be for the benefit of isolated individuals, rather than “the” mainstream:
a wheatpasted poster reading PITY CONCRETE DOESN’T BURN may not be widely
appreciated, but it will help others who share this sentiment to feel that
they are not entirely alone and insane, and it might inspire them to turn
their silent rancor into expressive projects of their own. Direct action
can give visibility to a group or perspective not otherwise represented,
or emphasize the possibility of a viewpoint those in power would
deny…Direct action can make life less predictable, more magical and
exciting or at least humorous, for chance spectators as well as
participants. When business as usual is oppressive and depressing, simply
interrupting it is a service to all…Wild speculations, whispered rumors,
secret invitations, passionate crusades, epic triumphs, surprises,
suspense, drama, adventure: these are the stuff of revolutions, and
without them, it is not possible to break the deadlock between fear and
desire.” Yes, let’s break that deadlock between fear and desire now.
Through courageous agitation of business as usual for capitalist culture.
It is time activists realize that agitation is effective protest, in and
of itself.

31.03.05 2005:

Males Are Still Considered The Norm, Women Are Still Considered Adhorrent
by Kirsten Anderberg (

Why is it that when things serve only males, is it not considered
“male-exclusive,” yet anything where women predominate is immediately
labeled abhorrent, as subcultural (a women’s something or other), or a
subcategory of the all-maleness that is considered normalcy? I am stunned
how male editors continue to pump out more and more male-exclusive
websites, newswires, and magazines, and then have the nerve to call it
“alternative” press. The newest editions of both the “Alternative Press
Review” emailing, and their new magazine, have ALL male writers except for
one female-written article about a male writer! There is absolutely
nothing “alternative” about male-owned, male-predominated media in a
patriarchy! I am also stunned at how the last 5 minutes of every single
news broadcast for my 44 years on earth have included clips exalting
all-male sports ad nauseam! I am also in disbelief over the billions of
dollars spent in every major U.S. city on male-exclusive sports arenas.
This goes on while women on welfare are trying to raise kids men made,
with no help or child support from the fathers, and as the sports arenas
go up, they are told there is no money for affordable housing. Male
priorities. Always.

The newest edition of the “Alternative Press Review” magazine, for
example, has three male editors. Every single article in their new
magazine is authored by a male with the exception of ONE article. Why is
this not called “The Male Alternative Press Review?” If the new
“Alternative Press Review” magazine had only women editors, and only women
written articles, with one male written article, I guarantee you that
somehow the word “women’s” would have worked its way into the magazine
title or description of the publication. It would be defined as a
“feminist” publication, yet all-male publications are not labeled
“pro-male” in a similar fashion and I would like to know to what that
discrepancy is attributed if not sexism. We see no “male” attached to the
“Alternative Press Review” magazine, yet the magazine has almost all
males, exclusively, in a ratio of 14 male author names to 1 woman author’s
name. There are also no women editors. Additionally, the images in the
magazine are overwhelmingly male. There is one picture of a woman, Lynne
Stewart, due to a story about her, but the remaining shots of individuals
are six pictures of men, all white with perhaps the exception of Ward
Churchill, you know, The Men of Activism and Alternative Press.

Why is it when women do things, it is labeled with gender and when men do
things, it is acted as if all genders are included, when that is most
often not the case? The use of “men” to mean all males and females is a
good display of this behavior. And beyond that is the leaving off of
quantifiers such as “male” when it is male-dominated. Only if it is NOT
male-dominated do we use descriptors, which truly reflects who we are here
to serve. People do the same thing with race. They will use a racial
descriptor for everyone BUT white people! They will say a “black male,” or
a “Latino woman,” but they rarely, if ever, say “white” woman or man on
the news, for instance. In a culture that elevates white skin above all
others, only non-white things needs identification, just as in a
patriarchy, it is only non-male things that need descriptors.

This dilemma is so old and obvious that it is unnerving to have to keep
spelling it out over and over again. No longer do I believe most men
cannot understand this issue. They are feigning ignorance. I charge most
men are playing dumb to try to maintain their privileges. Any idiot could
see if you have a production with all male cast members and all male
directors, whether that be in performance or literary works, that it is
NOT inclusive! And since we live in a patriarchy, this is even more
insidious and even less benign.

The comical part for me is how separatist men keep putting the
responsibility for gender integration back on the few women who do venture
into these male predominated venues. Rather than the men accepting their
own responsibility in creating male exclusive enclaves of support, they
say to the one woman involved, “Go find us more women.” This has happened
to me regularly for over 20 years now.

When I was a performer, I wanted to know why vaudeville stages were packed
with male solo acts, but myself and one other woman were the only solo
woman acts for two decades on the circuit we performed on. I charged the
problem was males were controlling who was allowed on stages as per what
benefited them most. Apparently strong male acts find strong solo women
acts seriously threatening, but the males in charge do not find women
performing as can-can dancers, backup singers, and “assistants” to men on
stage to be threatening. So, the men in charge of the stages allow lots of
these backup women, but very very few solo women on the stages.

At the Oregon Country Fair (OCF), for over two decades, I watched
vaudeville entertainment give lots and lots of passes to women, but very,
very few to solo women acts. I have said, and still maintain it is true,
that it is easier for a woman to get onto an OCF stage and receive an OCF
camping pass by sleeping with a male performer, than it is to apply for
stage space as a popular strong woman solo act. I say that as one of the
two solo women they did give vaudeville stage space to. I wanted to know
why I was so alone up there.

When I complained to the men about the overwhelming number of solo males
on stage, and the submissive roles women were predominantly relinquished
to on stage with these male acts, they told me if I did not like it that I
needed to go recruit women to apply to the fair. But wasn’t that the OCF
Vaudeville Coordinator’s job? Did male performers have to go find male
acts for the stages? No! They packed the stages with solo male acts
effortlessly. Where were the women? Why didn’t women apply to OCF as
performers? Were women applying and not getting in so more and more male
solos could inundate every single stage? What was and is going on there?
Why is the Michigan Women’s Festival having to turn down women performers
yearly, as their stages cannot hold the number of applicants it gets, yet
OCF cannot find women acts? Wouldn’t logic tell you that a male
coordinator of any fair could look at the Michigan Women’s Festival as a
start, to FIND women performers if they truly could only find male
performers for their stages? Why are male coordinators feigning a complete
inability to integrate stages with strong female peers?

I think the problem is the male coordinators, the male performer
patriarchs, and the males in the audience want submissive women on stages,
women who will act like mindless sex objects for the men. And that is not
what you find at the Michigan Women’s Festival, or any of the
women-centered venues, really. Thus the problem really is men are not able
to find enclaves to pick up sexist women acts from. All they can find are
feminist enclaves and the men do not want to empower or work with those
women. It is actually quite telling. The men in vaudeville that I know
have very little interest in promoting butch lesbian acts, for example,
and most of the women around them on stages are abnormally thin, are caked
with makeup, and sexually objectified, unlike the men. Additionally, the
men keep getting older on stage, but not the women. How revealing is that
re their motives? I do not think they are veiling their motives very well
at all. But this is about who has the power, and men have the power.

Now I am watching the same thing playing out in the world of writing and
the “alternative press.” Last week, I received an email from “Alternative
Press Review” (APR) with articles by ALL male authors. I do not believe
for one moment that there was not a single article written by a woman that
had merit in the alternative press that week. I decided to write Thomas
Wheeler, the editor, and complain. He explained to me that very few women
“submit” articles to APR (, and that was why he rarely
displayed or promoted women's articles at APR. He recommended I tell women
writers to submit to him, echoing the vaudeville coordinators saying the
same thing to me earlier. But I cannot believe the sincerity of those
requests any longer. I do not think it is appropriate or the
responsibility of one of less than a handful of women writers regularly
submitting to APR, to find women writers for the editors of APR to review.
Is the idea that I am the only one interested in seeing something other
than only men, predominantly white men, highlighted, reviewed, published
and syndicated in something that touts itself as a “review” of the best of
the alternative press?

I think that the male editors of APR are reading predominantly male
writers’ works, and thus they are including not only male written articles
that are submitted, but also ones they read throughout their daily lives.
But one only has to look at the alternative press sites, to see how male
editors reading other alternative press sites, are just getting more and
more male views. It is cyclic. And inbred. Again, anything that is not
white and male-predominated must be relegated to subcategories based on us
not being male or white. Thus for white male editors to publish anything
but a predominance of white male authors, they need to go outside their
comfort zone and to start reading alternative press written by non-whites
and non-males to begin publishing them in reviews of alternative press, is
my opinion. Surely there are many great articles by women in the
alternative press right now. Why has not a one woman-written article shown
up on the most recent APR emailing, and only one woman’s article shown up
in the new printed APR magazine? And why is the only article in the
current APR magazine by a woman, an article about a white male

The one woman-authored article in the APR magazine right now is about Gary
Webb’s death via apparent suicide. Yet at nearly the same time, another
famous journalist died from an apparent suicide, Iris Chang. "She was a
real woman warrior trying to fight injustice," is how people described
her. “She was passionate and articulate," said a faculty member in Asian
American studies at UC Berkeley. Chang authored three books and many
articles and columns. Her most famous and controversial work is her book,
"The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II," which
described one of the war's worst atrocities. It makes me sad that APR
spent the one woman-written article talking about a white male writer.
When Iris Chang died in a similar fashion, in a similar time frame, and
not a word was mentioned about her by a male or female writer in APR.

Since men have taken over the press, in both the mainstream and most
alternative venues, women are relegated to enclaves that will promote and
publish issues of interest to us, such as women journalists who commit
suicide. I believe if the white men who predominate the editorships of
most alternative press venues wanted to include more women and people of
color as writers, they could do so very easily. It is not hard to find our
subcategoric writing enclaves. But that would mean giving up their own
stage space for those not normally given publishing space. And my
experience is, editors want to be published, themselves, as writers in
their own venues, and they also want to publish people LIKE THEM, with
their shared interests, which are predominantly white male interests, so
we just get more and more of that…so now white males predominate not only
the mainstream press, but alternative press as well! I would even go so
far as to say white male press CANNOT BE alternative. I am willing to go
so far as to say the ONLY alternative press in America is written by women
and people of color at this point. We have heard enough of the overbearing
white male viewpoint now to last us a generation or more. I am fine with
us hearing LESS from white male writers, starting today. Yet, that is all
the alternative press seems to spew out regularly, even amidst complaints,
and the existence of women writers, such as myself.

I have to admit I was turned off immediately when I opened the issue of
Alternative Press Review magazine that I received two days ago in the
mail. I felt my inner anger rage immediately as I went through page after
page to see more and more male writers, and one women writer, ironically
writing about a white male writer! I feel men should have to have these
things labeled as “male” projects when they behave thusly. Projects with
even half women participants are usually relegated to something with
“women” in the title, yet men get away with entire publications devoted to
men, and do not have to have them labeled “male projects.” I think that we
DO need to start calling a spade a spade here, and we need to start
calling these things “male” projects when they are actually that. There is
something less appealing about a publication called “The Men’s Alternative
Press Review” yet that is the reality. Even in anarchy, there is the
creation of anarcho-feminism, and I want to know why there was even a need
for that. If anarchy was followed as a model in pure theory, sexism could
not exist and thus feminism would not be needed. Yet, white males have
predominated there too, causing women to subcategorize yet again. Could
this be why they call it a patriarchy? Because men take over every single
thing they get ahold of to the exclusion of others? And could this be why
America is defined correctly as a racist society? Because white men always
make sure they are included, first and foremost, even to the exclusion of
others, while claiming to represent all?

I cannot read the new issue of APR because it enrages me to open it. I
wonder if the editors did not even notice it was all male. Or did they not
care? How is it I noticed it within the first second of seeing that
magazine, yet editors worked on it for months, and never even noticed
that? Or they do not care? Would they notice if they had included all
women writers and only one male writer talking about a woman writer? I
think they WOULD have noticed that right away. And I think they would have
sought a gender balance.

The Benet IQ test was originally created and given to sample populations
and women outscored men repeatedly. So the men decided something was
“wrong” with the test, and remade it so men scored relatively equally with
men. Yet you know as well as I do, that if men had originally outscored
women on that test, it would have been used as proof that women are not as
smart as men! And since the tests obviously are tampered with to concoct
results, they are useless anyway. But this type of thinking, this
male-oriented thought that dominates all American culture, is as insidious
in alternative press and anarchy, as it is in the mainstream press and
middle class.

I do not know if this is negligence or maliciousness. In law, you can
prove intent or negligence to assert liability. Negligence is a lesser
count, as it is implied that an oversight lead to the mishap, rather than
malicious intent. But I am not sure what to make of the alternative
press’s blind spot when it comes to white male superiority. Certainly
complaints like mine are not rare. Yet they keep on publishing more and
more white males to the exclusion of the majority, which is women. How
will it change? What causes it? Who is responsible to make it change? I do
not have the answers, but I have a copy of a magazine that exemplifies the
problem clearly, and it is called the Alternative Press Review, Volume 9,
Issue 1.

Why would women writers submit to a magazine that has no visible women
writers published? Do male writers submit en mass to feminist
publications? (I do not know if they do or not, but it is an interesting
thing to contrast). Is Mickey Z being published in Off Our Backs regularly
like he is in the male venues? No, he is not. Why would women performers
apply to fairs with only male acts on its stages? And why should women be
responsible for integrating all-male venues? Or cleaning up the mess male
exclusivity creates? Are women forced to follow suit, and to promote
women-only venues, since men have all other venues locked up? Why
shouldn’t women finally play social aikido with this, and eventually not
give men access to our work, so they are stuck with ONLY white males and
no other choice, left to bore not only others, but themselves as well? I
am at my wit’s end. Should I even submit to APR? Is it causing more harm
than good for them to publish “reviews” that absolutely exclude women
writers? I have mixed feelings on that one. Does it do anyone any good for
me to be a token woman writer in these male dominated alternative press
venues? I am not sure it does. Does it give me endless grief dealing in
male predominated venues? Yes. Should I write in women-only venues?
Perhaps I should. It is a very complex dilemma and one that does not even
exist as a blip on the radar of the male alternative press.

(Author's note: Apologies for picking on APR, many others commit the exact
same crime. It is the "review" aspect that made me attack APR, and the
honest reaction I had to the new APR magazine. I am sorry, Thomas, I had
to speak the truth. I hope you can understand.)


How People Become Homeless in America
By Kirsten Anderberg (

It is clear that the middle class do not understand what is going on when
it comes to the struggles of people in poverty, because they are not being
presented with those struggles. As a matter of fact, part of the job of
the mainstream media, our government, and the police, is to HIDE
homelessness and poverty struggles from the middle class and elite sectors
of society. Part of the “freedom” America is fighting for in Iraq, is the
freedom to benefit from a wide capitalist class chasm WITHOUT GUILT.
Without guilt is huge. It is no fun to have a mansion if everyone stands
outside your gates calling you a pig and you are shamed and scorned as a
glutton always. Mansions are only fun if everyone envies you and treats
you as superior for such acquisitions. Having expensive trendy clothing is
not fun if you are called a jerk, rather than cool, for having them. It is
pretty easy to take the “joy” out of exclusive perks for the privileged,
by just pointing out how elitist they are. That is why they try to keep
poor people out of sight, and out of mind, of the privileged classes. So
part of class insulation is not having to be called out for gluttony, and
to be gated and protected from seeing or hearing about the plights of the

How do people become homeless in America? This is something the typical
middle class person does not understand due to the privilege of having
those struggles hidden from them. When I did a bunch of personal
interviews at a local homeless encampment in Seattle called Tent City,
many of those living there had jobs. They told me they had jobs, they had
money. But no one would rent to them. And I can personally verify that
this is truth. They are not making this barrier to housing up. I am facing
it myself.

For instance, every single application I have filled out for housing in
the last few weeks has asked if I was ever convicted of a felony. One
place I applied to a few weeks back, misread a screening report and
rejected my application based on me being a convicted felon. But I am NOT
a convicted felon. I told this potential landlord that was false
information, and her response was, “If you THINK you are not a felon, you
need to talk to someone.” If I THINK? No, I KNOW I am not a felon. But I
was cast with such a weird shadow of suspicion and prejudice for being
MISTAKEN for a felon, that it reminded me how oppressive this American
“freedom” is. And it got me to thinking. They ask if you were ever a
convicted felon on every single housing rental application. If you are a
convicted felon, even if you already served your time, you apparently are
going to be rejected housing on a large scale. I was just treated horribly
because they THOUGHT I was a felon. So what is jail all about, if you
continue to pay your dues to society forevermore? If you have EVER been
convicted of a felony, even if you paid society back for your wrongs
through captivity (however that works), you will be denied most nice

There are other barriers to housing. Poverty itself is a barrier to
housing. Since 1979, landlords have been denying rentals to me based on
the premise that I do not earn three times the rental amount. And in 2005,
the same requirement is being asked of me still, and it is far too steep a
hurdle. Without lots of money in store somewhere, and a job that pays
twice the minimum wage, at least, it is a struggle to find landlords who
will rent to you. Right now, for a $600 a month one bedroom or studio
apartment in Seattle, which is about the average cheap price out there,
you are required by many landlords to earn $1800 a month, which is well
over $7 an hour times 40 hour weeks. A month with 5 weeks in it, will
bring in $1400 before taxes; a month with 4 weeks, only $1120, before
taxes. With this model, the full time minimum wage employee is eligible
for housing units that cost $374 a month, which is not realistic. I have
not seen one apartment advertised in Seattle at under $500 a month in the
last month, and I have looked at hundreds of ads.

Another barrier is credit history. Even if you have a solid rental
history, credit history will prevent you from getting rentals. I have not
been a day late on rent in over four years, nor have I ever caused
property damage to my homes. Yet my negative credit rating is preventing
people from renting to me, even with first and last month’s rent up front
and a damage deposit equal to another month’s rent. Last week, a friend of
mine tried to offer an apartment $800 in a deposit, as well as us offering
first and last month’s rent (all of which I had to scrape and borrow to
get ahold of) and I was still denied, based on bad credit history! My
friend then even volunteered to cosign the lease for me, and they still
refused, based on my credit history! I do not owe enough to go bankrupt
like people I know who just discharge $200,000 in debts for cars,
vacations, etc. I just owe enough to prevent me from being allowed to pay
yet another land owner’s mortgage for him. I owe just enough to make me
homeless, but not enough to go bankrupt over.

Another barrier I am running into is work history. Since I am a freelance
writer and performer, in addition to being a contracted laborer at times,
and am paid sporadically and unpredictably, no one wants to rent to me,
even though my rent has not been late once in over 4 years. Additionally,
the places I publish could frighten a landlord. Telling a landlord I am
well-published on anarchist/feminist/pagan/activist sites and in radical
media, may not win them over. Sending them to my website could be fatal.
Proving I have income is very hard. Some third party is supposed to do
that. But what am I supposed to do? Send prospective landlords to editors
who have published me a few times? That is absurd. So, I can barely prove
I work at all.

Another barrier I am running into is the $40 application fees. I cannot
keep giving these people $40 to turn me down based on all these reasons. I
tell them up front about my finances and rental history, and yet, they
take my $40 and reject me based on those reasons! I have to struggle to
make FOOD money. Now I am just handing over $40 a piece to APPLY to
places, that are turning me down one after another. Soon, I will have
spent all my rent money on application fees, and will be homeless. Once
homeless, I will have no contact phone for prospective landlords to call.
Not having a cell phone and trying to find housing on foot, and by bus, is
also ridiculously hard. You may also wonder why I am not renting a room in
a house. The reason for that is I went to interview after interview, and
all the group houses were full of younger people, and I was passed by as
an older woman over and over for younger gals. So, I gave up on that idea.
I am becoming physically exhausted from trying to find housing, as well as
emotionally exhausted from these hurdles being thrown in my path that I
simply cannot clear.

So, I have scraped together first, last and deposit monies, I have even
found help to pay for some application fees, yet I am still facing
homelessness in 5 days. I have been looking and applying for housing
nonstop for weeks now. I have a near perfect rental history. I am a good
tenant. But I cannot give my money away due to hoop after hoop I am told
to jump through, hoops I CANNOT jump through. Hoops put there on purpose
to keep the poor out. So, the next time you see a homeless person, you
need to realize they may have a full time job, but just be denied housing
based on this long list of prejudices I just outlined here. I think one of
the most important roles that perhaps activists need to start looking at
pursuing is becoming apartment managers, so that people like me can get
rentals. If you are a land owner, please consider turning your property
into affordable housing, with reasonable rental requirements that include
the working poor, immediately. No peace until everyone has a place to

“And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill
his cup from your little stream.” – K. Gibran

Zine Review: D.I.Y. Guide II
by Kirsten Anderberg (

Crimethinc’s ( DIY Guide II has a wide range of urban
survival skills, mixed with arrogant and humorous defiance towards
capitalism and mainstream America. The guide starts with practical advice
for direct actions and protests. Different types of protests, protesters,
and tactics are discussed. A guide to make DIY street armor is included.
The next section, Shoplifting Tips, left much to be desired in my opinion.
Missing are classics such as stuffing as much as possible in girdles
inside packs and purses. Next is a piece on Software Piracy, which I did
not quite understand to be honest. A DIY Spelling and Grammar section
follows, but the title is spelled “Spelling and Grammer!” This section
highlighted commonly misspelled words such as bourgeois, hypocrisy,
existence, and the often confused its and it’s.

An exceptional piece on riding trains is the next piece in this zine, and
I would recommend this as reading to anyone thinking about riding trains.
The article is packed with clear, concise information, and takes women
into account! A backpacking article follows, which has a lot of good and
useful information as well. The next article, “Everything I Need to Know I
Learned Drinking Hairspray Down By the Tracks,” has great advice on
hitchhiking, such as do not spill the driver’s pot. It also includes
information about using universities for showers, where to find food and
unlocked doors, and more. The next two articles, “Herbal Gynecology,” and
“DIY Herbal Abortion” make me very uncomfortable. I just worry about some
of the methods proposed for birth control therein and would hate to see a
gal get pregnant based on that article. Likewise, I am uncomfortable with
women trying to do their own herbal abortions. I found the article to be
pretty full of it, also. “Women glow when they are pregnant, I shit you
not…” I have seen some mighty worried mamas in poverty who were not
glowing, but exuding anxiety instead. I think that is a stupid statement,

The next section is on Sewing, and it is always great for folks to learn
how to do basic sewing, so I applaud this article. This article teaches
one how to make a belt, bag or modified t-shirt. There are clear
instructions on how to do your own oil change, and how to make your own
quarter pipe for skateboards. There are articles on self-publishing zines,
newspapers, CDs, records, and books, with postage information and book
contracting tips. Food Not Bombs is explained in depth after the
publishing section, and that section is followed by cook it yourself (CIY)
recipes. Flexible molds and plaster casting, black and white photography,
and safety pin tattoos finish off the written text, followed by a somewhat
mediocre comic strip.

In all, this was an easy read, and you are left knowing a bunch of things
you probably did not know before reading the guide. I recommend this zine


There is No Such Thing as a “Middle Class Anarchist”
by Kirsten Anderberg (

There can be no such thing as “middle class anarchists.” That idea is
laughable and absurd. So let me get this straight. “Anarchist” middle
class alpha-males like Chuck0 envision a revolution where the poor fight
side by side with the middle class for middle class “anarchist” rights? So
we, the poor, would be fighting for THEIR rights, but still be left out of
the equation, from what I can tell. So while **some** anarchists are
driving Volvos and eating at restaurants during the revolution, others of
us are to walk and go hungry? Hmmm. No thanks. I already know what end of
that deal I will be on. Why is it that anarchy is trying to maintain a
class chasm? I challenge the idea of a class-tiered “anarchy.”

I find it absurd that middle class anarchists speak as if 1) they are
speaking on the behalf of the poor, 2) they care about the poor in any
sense other than a cool hobby, and 3) they are in a struggle WITH the
poor, which they are not. From what I can tell, middle class anarchists
are as much my enemy as middle class capitalists. Both feed off the same
pool, the poor. Most “anarchist” journalists, the white male anarchist
journalists that get the most publication, are all middle class. The owner
of one of the largest anarchist news wires,, lives
comfortably in a middle class house. I am sure Howard Zinn and Noam
Chomsky are not living in little dumpy studio apartments on the side of
town where they do not care if you have a criminal background and bad
credit history to rent to you. It is very hard, as a poor women activist,
to sit around and listen to white middle class men define the revolution.
I find it humorous, even, that white middle class men just cannot give up
the mic, and support others speaking with equal support and exposure. I
find the middle class want to speak FOR the poor, but never want us to
speak for OURSELVES. Just as I found many a law student wanted to
represent the poor due to their own class guilt, but they certainly did
not want the poor in their own law schools, sitting next to them, or
worse, competing with them!

The best thing middle class “anarchists” can do is to shut up, get out of
the way, stop talking over and for the poor, and to sit down and listen.
Then to redistribute THEIR OWN WEALTH by giving up some (or how about ALL)
of their leisure, on a daily basis, to the poor. The idea that middle
class people expect some of us to go hungry in the revolution, while they
eat at restaurants, is not jiving with me at all. That, to me, is not
anarchy. That is just more of the same old thing where the middle class
end up controlling everything to their own benefit again. To be taken
seriously, middle class anarchists would need to divest themselves of an
obvious, obnoxious, and overwhelming class chasm and to redistribute their
own wealth amongst the poor anarchists immediately. Not tomorrow or in a
while. TODAY. None of this crap where some anarchists live in big houses
in white suburbs and some live on the streets downtown. None of this crap
where some anarchists eat lavish dinners at restaurants, and some welfare
moms cannot feed their children. Speaking for at least one poor person,
myself, I would prefer middle class anarchists spent less time in front of
the spotlight pounding their chests, and more time producing, promoting
AND PAYING poor anarchists for their time and work so they can eat.

I piss off a lot of anarchists because I point this obvious class chasm
out. And make it clear that the middle class is NOT my ally, plain and
simple. The middle class is the group of folks who have ripped me off for
unbelievably greedy amounts of rent every month of my life, so their kids
can live in safety and luxury. The middle class is who drives by me every
day on the street, one car, one person, while I wait hours for buses in
the rain. The middle class cannot seem to even conceive of walking and
bussing. The middle class are the “anarchist” editors who eat out at
restaurants and write reviews of them, while the headlining writers for
their venues go hungry with literal hunger pains. Somehow a large bulk of
American anarchists really do want to maintain that class chasm, just as
much as liberal anti-war demonstrators who drive SUV’s do.

What I find interesting is the way middle class “anarchists” are trying to
use semantics to dance around this obvious problem. One of my favorites is
the use of the term “anti-capitalist capitalist.” Oh, please! This term is
used by middle class “anarchists” who want to still be allowed to make
money, and to have a class chasm within their own ranks, but do not want
the stigma of what they are, capitalists. So they play word games. Another
one I find especially humorous is the term “anarchist with conventional
lifestyle.” That means a middle class person who wants to maintain the
class chasm to their benefit, but does not want to be dirtied with the
reality that we know that entails, exploitation of an underclass. So, they
couch it in pretty language, but the reality is, that “anarchist with the
conventional lifestyle” is as able to use you in his own capitalist
adventures as any capitalist, and to maintain that class chasm, to stay in
the middle class, exploitation of someone is gonna have to occur. The
middle class lifestyle does not sustain itself. It relies on the
exploitation of others to maintain its large appetite. Some of us go
hungry, so that middle class people can have lawns with pansies. We are
not allowed land for food gardens, but they are allowed lawn after lawn
full of flowers that die in one month.

I am pretty tired of the American “anarchist” analysis that is out there,
as it is almost exclusively written by non-poor white men. By men who
never have ever gone hungry. By men who grew up in middle class houses and
still live in middle class houses. And they are my allies in what way
again? I am not kidding when I say it is unadventageous for the poor to
align with the middle class. They are not our allies. As I said, they are
the ones charging us enormous rents, they are the ones who are eating in
restaurants while welfare moms struggle to feed their children, they are
the ones clogging roads with cars and SUVs. I would almost go so far as to
say to be taken seriously, an anarchist cannot have a fossil fuel burning
car. The idea that middle class anarchists want to claim to be
revolutionary falls dead flat when we look at the lifestyle of these so
called “anarchists,” alongside their words. So many middle class
anarchists expect the poor anarchists to fight with them side by side. But
poor anarchists will kill rich anarchists for food as quickly as they will
kill rich capitalists in a revolution. And don’t you forget it.

At this point, the only true anarchists I know are poor. The only people I
know who are desperate enough to really take anarchy dead seriously are
the poor. I know middle class people who are supportive of poor
anarchists. Who perhaps can call themselves pro-anarchist, in the same way
a male could call himself pro-feminist. But on the whole, most middle
class people are in an insulated bubble, whether intentional or not, and
although the poor can see their bubble, the middle class cannot,
apparently. I do not blame the middle class for that in which they were
raised but I do blame them for expecting poor people to waltz around only
their needs. Middle class people need to become aware of how consumeristic
and self-centered their lifestyles are. And they do not just consume
resources and things, they consume human souls in rent, cheap labor for
profits or cheap things, etc. All middle class perks are based on human
suffering of the poor out of sight somewhere. The poor that are exploited
for American middle class privilege are neatly kept out of sight from most
middle class folks, be they anarchist or not. That is what gated
communities and white flight suburbs are all about.

I am pretty sick of middle class activists assuming the poor are in
alliance with them. In my estimate, we are not. As I said, in a desperate
situation, I would kill a rich “anarchist” for food he was withholding
from others as quickly as I would an “elite.” And really, we do not need
to wait until a desperate revolution for a microcosm of that now. How
different is it for me to be criticizing middle class anarchists for
keeping their class separation over us now, and taking food right out of
the hands of the rich “anarchists” later? Not very. I have as little
respect for anarchists who are holding out sharing their wealth with
poorer anarchists now, as I would for “anarchists” withholding food from
others in a revolution. “Anarchists” who can afford expensive trendy
clothes, designer coffee daily, personal vehicles, Ipods, video games,
etc. but cannot support poor people, hungry anarchist activists, first,
before those leisures, I have no time for. That is pure bullshit.


Keeping the Poor in their Place
by Kirsten Anderberg (

One way that poor people are kept in their place is by the lack of
opportunities presented them in the chain of social importance. They get
society’s leftovers, pretty much everyone else gets served first, whether
we are talking food, clothing, housing, etc. This is based on the premise
that poor people are bad people, and thus, deserve the lowest treatment in
society as punishment. (And this brings us to the convenient opposite
theory that middle class (and up) people are good people, who deserve
special privileges that those working for them in poverty do not). And by
using the poor in this scapegoat manner, a large segment of society feels
righteous in its domination and subjugation of an entire class of its
neighbors. And it is by dishing them society’s throw away situations, and
them having to accept that in silence for survival, that the poor reassert
their inferior positionality and the privileged assert their position of
dominance, without a word uttered about power.

I have to say the most stunning example of this that I can remember is
when I worked for this totally crazy boss who was steeped in class
prejudice. She knew I had been very poor, yet I am very capable, so she
hired me and I worked for her for years. Then I began to do her books for
her. And I began to see that every other person who worked for her was
paid more, and also were given free health benefits that I was never
offered, even though I had worked for her longer than anyone else there at
this point! As I tried to figure this out, Christmas time rolled around.
All of a sudden, this boss handed me a sheet of paper and asked me to
enter it into the books. It was a list of all the Christmas bonuses she
had given to every single employee but me! Livid, I confronted this crazy
boss and asked her why every single person there got a sizable Christmas
bonus but not me, when I worked there longer than anyone else. She
literally looked me in the eye and told me that I have been poor my whole
life, so I did not need the money, and that the rest of the workers were
used to Christmas bonuses and getting paid more, so she had to do these
things to keep them employed with her. Again, I sat in amazement listening
to this. So, because I really needed a job, and did a good job and was
very reliable for this woman, she was going to treat me differently than
these middle class kids who could go home to mommy and daddy whenever the
job thing did not work out. I demanded she give me a Christmas bonus
equitable to those I entered for the other employees, and begrudgingly,
she did give it to me, but inside, I hated her from that day forward.

Another interesting scenario that is related to this is the situation with
society and job training. When I was coming out of being a homeless teen
and high school drop out and young mother on welfare, I was asked by the
Department of Social Services to participate in the Job Training
Partnership Act (JTPA) in Ca. where I lived. I was open to job training to
get out of poverty, so I went, voluntarily, to the JTPA office. I told
them I had several ideas for job training, but instead, they handed me a
list of “job training opportunities” that JTPA would pay for. Many of the
jobs listed were jobs I had done as a teen with no experience, and jobs
that paid very low wages, with no benefits, and literally, these are the
jobs that had lead me into poverty to begin with. I said to the JTPA
worker that I had no interest in low paid, low status jobs. I already had
access to those. I needed access to education and professions, not these
vocational training quick fixes for businesses as a low paid service

Apparently welfare moms never talked like this to JTPA workers. They
freaked out. The first worker came to me, sat me down and tried to explain
that SHE only made $8 an hour, so I needed to just take what I could get.
I looked her in the eye and said, “I am not limited by your limitations.”
She got up, very angry, and said, “Are you manic?” I had no idea
whatsoever she had just asked, but I got that she was implying I was
legally insane. I asked her “What is manic?” and she stormed out of the
room. A male worker then came in and tried to explain that I needed to
just choose a job on the list and we would move forward. I said no, I did
not want those crappy jobs and I wanted them to actually help me get job
opportunities that could lift me OUT of poverty, opportunities that say
the Kennedys or Bush clan have, if we are going for equal opportunity for
real. I noticed that only poor folks predominate in community college. You
never, ever see someone from rich families at community colleges. I began
to realize that professional tracks come from 4+ years of college, yet the
government was dead set on poor people getting NO MORE than 2 years of
college, period. Those in the government who voted that the poor can only
get two years of job training ALL had more than two years of college.

By allowing poor people to only attend two year college programs, rather
than four year and graduate programs, there is an automatic, built-in
class division that is quite stabilized. So I told this JTPA worker I was
sick of this 2 year training crap, and I wanted a real college education
and a real chance at a profession. He got very angry and in came a new
JTPA worker to try to explain this to me again! I looked her in the eye
and said, “What in the hell is this all about? You can obviously see that
me training to be a nurses’ aide with you, for example, is NOT going to
get me out of poverty. I WAS a nurses’ aide, for a long time. You do not
become a nurse after 20 years as a nurses’ aide. It is all very insulated.
Our castes are set.” She looked me back in the eye, and I felt a sister
bond. She told me that the truth was the people who pay for job training
programs is the business sector. They do not need professors, lawyers,
scientists, or even other business owners as competition. They need low
paid, specifically trained service workers. Capitalism REQUIRES the
exploitation of a worker class for the other classes’ “freedom.” That is
why capitalism is so gross and evil.

So her explanation at least made sense. Business owners were paying for
this Job Training Partnership, that was the partnership part. Business
partnered with government to exploit a pool of low paid workers and poor
folks. Since we are already poor, they figure we will take what they give
us. When the JTPA folks tried to train poor people in trades that would
lift them out of poverty, there were huge outcries. For instance, this
woman told me that they tried to train plumbers and electricians. But when
they did that, the Plumbers and Electricians’ Unions, which have more
power than poor people and welfare moms wanting free job training, lobbied
to stop their tax money paying to train competition in their own trades. I
asked the City of Santa Cruz to prioritize all city jobs to poor folks
first. I said since people were complaining about poor moms on welfare,
give any welfare mom who applies for a meter reader job, for instance,
first priority, above all other applicants, if she is equally qualified,
to help her off welfare with a job that pays well above minimum wage with
full benefits. But no, I was told, basically, that those jobs are reserved
for the middle class. It seems that the position of poor people having no
other options is exploited endlessly in capitalism. And since this plan of
voluntary job training for crappy jobs failed at JTPA and similar programs
across America, programs like this are now MANDATORY under the “WorkFirst”
program, which literally is a system to FORCE poor women into low paid,
low status service jobs for the benefit of the business community and
middle class consumers.

I ran into a similar wall in law school. I had really bad job experience,
due primarily to poverty and being the last chosen in nepotism, often.
Having no family gives you no “in” anywhere. I had been a maid, a nurses
aide, a child care provider, a cashier…and now I was in law school, in a
practicum, being forced to say I charge $200 an hour in mock intake
interviews with mock clients. I wanted and needed some kind of legal job
experience. As a work study student, I applied for the only work study
jobs offered at my school, in the law library and as a teachers assistant.
The problem with teachers assistant was I had a 9 year old son, was a
single mom in poverty, had no reliable family and little help from anyone
on a daily basis, and so I had to bring my son with me when he was not in
school, and could not do many of the things that were required outside of
school hours, such as night activities. The law library jobs were during
school hours, and I could do them. But the law library work study jobs
kept going to kids who came from upper middle class to upper class
families. I seriously needed a work study job to continue in law school,
as I was critically poor without proper support. I passed all my classes,
that was never an issue in law school. What was an issue was dealing with
utility turn off notices, and no food, etc. while in law school, while my
classmates literally would plan trips to Rio as a group on spring
break…reminding me that they are the good people, I am the bad people. You
see, those kids deserve vacations in sunny tropical places. I do not even
deserve electricity in my home!

I asked for a written reply from the library as to why I was never given a
work study job there even though I kept applying and was the poorest
person in the whole law school. The law library said there were people who
applied for the jobs who had law experience before so they got the jobs. I
explained that defeated the purpose of work study, which was to give those
who would normally NOT get law experience that background so that we can
use that as stepping stones to secure jobs later. The library did not
listen, and they continued to not give me a much needed job. I petitioned
the president of the law school, explaining that the purpose of the work
study program was to give people like me job opportunities and experience
in the law field, rather than to just give those who already had access to
law experience and jobs more opportunities. No one cared. I wrote to the
Federal Work Study program. No one cared. I ended up not able to finish
law school with the lack of support I had, even though I finished almost
all of the prerequisites and left in good standing. Class insulation is
deep. The middle class even exploit the work study program and use it to
the exclusion of the poor quite often.

I get confused as to what is really going on in the alternative media
scene I am involved in too. It seems an awful lot of the men who have used
my articles, and told me to go get a real job and to not expect to make a
cent for writing, are men who have no visible jobs other than alternative
media. I am trying to figure out why so many white middle class men seem
to actually make a living off of alternative press, yet I am told to work
for free most often. Is this the same thing continuing on in places that
claim to be antihierarchal and anarchistic? Like Chuck0 from
is unemployed like me. Yet he goes on vacations regularly, eats at
restaurants regularly, and now is talking about buying a new vehicle for
himself shortly on his blog. But this is the same guy who told me I need
to get a job and quit trying to make money from writing. And the same guy
who wanted to pay me $25 or nothing to write a lot of headlining stories
for about class inequity, but he wanted to LIVE class
inequity with no guilt. I saw him say recently he was irritated at
anarchists who question people like him who want to be anarchists WHILE
living a “conventional lifestyle.” But the issue is – how do we ALL get
that “conventional lifestyle?”

If Chuck0 is able to get safe housing, food, his own car, and vacations
from unemployment, in addition to his own printing press for books and
pamplets, zines, etc., how do I get that too? Certainly not from writing
several headlining stories a week FOR Chuck, just as it was not going to
get me out of poverty to go to low income job training with JTPA. Just as
I am not going to become a nurse after 30 years as a nurses aide. Because
other people, those “conventional lifestyle” plumbers, electricians, city
workers, editors, etc., always get to pick first. Whether it is work
study, low income job training, or alternative press! It seems that the
middle class males always get first pick, and paid, when others do not,
thereby keeping the circle of privilege unbroken. White males in anarchy
do not want to lose any footing to women, and there is only so much pie to
go around, so women end up with the short end of the stick over and over

As I said, I know more than a few men who seem to make all of their income
from alternative press. Geov Parrish, for example, is a well-paid
alternative writer, who has no other job and runs a paper, Eat the State,
which does not pay its writers. Chuck0 does not appear to do anything for
his vacation funds other than run, which is work, yes, but no
more so than the same amount of hours the rest of us put in for the cause,
and we are supposed to want to do for free? Is this like the Christmas
bonus thing? Since women writers are already poor, our needs should come
behind those of the middle class males who own the printing presses still.
If low income writers were paid at, we would use the money
for food and survival needs. If Chuck0 is paid, he buys a car and
vacations. That is not class equity. That is the white guy keeping his own
and telling the rest of us to work for free for him. Why do I keep finding
myself in that situation? Am I a sucker to believe this volunteer activism
shit, when I find out I am one of the ones doing it for free, while others
(predominantly already middle class and white) are paid, and quite well,
for similar work, while I battle it out in poverty dedicated to the same
supposed cause?

I remember having a falling out with a “paid volunteer” when I asked him
why some people were being paid for what was being called an all volunteer
project, The Indypendent Paper, out of the NYC IMC. Livid, he yelled at me
how he works and needs to be paid for his time. I asked why the writers
and other workers at the Indypendent were not paid for their time thusly.
He then went on a rampage about how writers would be the last people he
would ever pay in a project…and I began to wonder how this works. And I
hear both him and Chuck0 complain about the lack of quality writers on
IMCs, but then, they do not work for free, why would quality writers? The
IMC guy said he was not going to be paid shortly, but that someone else
would be paid, but again, only 2 people out of all those volunteers are
paid at the Indypendent, he said, and I had to wonder what made them so
special. I mean, if you are gonna walk around preaching consensus and
class equity, expect questions such as these! So, once again, white middle
class males DO seem to be getting some pay, enough to not have other
employment, often, in alternative press. It seems most of the white middle
class male EDITORS of alternative media ARE getting paid. And the high
profile white middle class male “alternative” WRITERS are also getting
paid BY the white male middle class “alternative” EDITORS. Nepotism. The
same kind as we found in the law library. We need a work study program for
indy media and alt press to give the poor, women, and people of color,
equal opportunities in alt press. How telling.

There is some weird thing that allows middle class people to exploit the
poor and then rationalize it, whether they be people living a
“conventional lifestyle” as Chuck0 describes himself, or whether they be
“anarchists” in indy media and alternative press. It seems to me that
white middle class males ALWAYS make sure to get paid first, if anyone is.
Whether they do this by getting control of things via having the original
equity for the business and thus unequal leverage, or by simply telling
others that their work should be done for free while almost sneaking money
out a backdoor for themselves, this is an issue. It is weird to me that
somehow people can act as that boss did, who not only decided since I was
poor, I did not “need” a Christmas bonus like her middle class employees,
but who then had the audacity to hand me this list to enter into her
books, as if I was completely an idiot in absolute submission! I hear the
men who get paid for doing alternative media tell me to go get a straight
job and to not expect to make any money for my writing. But THEY get PAID
for THEIR writing and work in alt media. And they already are in a higher
class bracket than I am. How is this different than the electricians who
wanted women on welfare to wear shame for their poverty, but were not
willing to share equal opportunities with them?

No matter where I go, I still see the rich get richer and the poor get
poorer. I still see that them that’s got take care of their own. And I
have to wonder when this will ever stop. Women writers are paid less in
alt media than male writers and editors because male writers demand that
and male editors can get away with that. Yet if women writers demand pay,
we just never get published. It is about opportunity. And looking at the
obscenely male-saturated webpages in alt media, obviously men do not
really care if they publish women, except for the few times they are under
a spotlight from feminists like me, but they usually go back to
male-dominant press as soon as I quit talking about them.

I can say honestly, that I see 100% more opportunities for white middle
class males in alternative press than women writers in poverty in alt
press. Just look at all those male names in alt press. How many of those
men are working for FREE? Ward Churchill and Noam Chomsky are paid, well.
Joe Bageant is well paid. Geov Parrish is well paid. I would guess MickeyZ
is getting paid, and I am constantly published beside his articles, as
well as these other males I have mentioned, yet I am not paid in a similar
manner. I meet deadlines, my copy is of similar quality, I have name
recognition, yet they deserve pay I do not come anywhere near deserving
apparently. Chuck0 is unemployed, yet is buying a car and just came back
from a cross-country vacation. Funny, because when I am unemployed, I
battle with food money, and a car is out of the question. Two different
levels of “poverty” there apparently, as one side of the Infoshop
fundraising bar claims “poverty.” Poverty to me means no food, poverty to
Chuck0 means no vacation or car. And since male writers are getting paid
and published more often than the women writers, their resources and
voices just keep on growing. They are on vacations while women writers
keep battling poverty, unequal treatment, and institutionalized sexism in
all worlds, from anarchy to the status quo.

Why did I get $25 in Feb from Infoshop as my last pay as a writer (while
Chuck0 vacationed), and have I received not a one paypal donation in 2
months, as an anarchist writer, when I am so widely published and there
are so few women writers, thus a need is there? How many people read my
articles over the last 2 months for no pay from a single venue and not a
one online donation? How many people visited my online vulva museum and
did not even contribute a $3 donation as asked?! Over 1000 in April alone!
Obviously I am providing a product people are reading...yet how does one
get paid like the boys? Hell, how does one get a book published like most
of those men I mentioned, when you are poor and female? I write places
like AK Press only to be turned down, probably for more male writers. And
if we DARE speak about this, pointing out this gross class inequity, we
are simply labeled whiners or insane and told to shut up and work for free
some more. This all keeps the poor, and women, in their place. We have few
options. We must survive. But one thing I will not give the privileged is
my silence on this matter. The class chasm is real, and I am pointing
right at it.

This week I went to look for a new place to live, as I have to move due to
a rent increase. The apartment manager told me to look at one of the
apartments. It had a dumpster literally 5 feet from the only window that
opened in the apt. I went back to him and said I was going to hold out for
something further from a dumpster. Then all of a sudden, he offered up a
nicer apt. away from the dumpster. I realize in this world, apparently
people will give you the worst if you take it. But it gets old always
having to FIGHT for DECENCY. To always have to suspect and weigh out what
advantage each person is trying to pull off and over on you is gross. I
get so sick and tired of these power games. There is more than enough to
go around if we all would just share. But getting that concept through the
thick heads of anarchists, alternative media men, and those living
“conventional lifestyles” is excruciating. “Conventional” American
lifestyles seem to thrive on superiority, competition, consumerism, and
capitalism. How on earth that fits into anarchy, as Chuck0 is proposing,
evades me.

I guess women and the poor have to FIGHT for every shred of equality and
every crumb of respect we get from the privileged. Apparently our
oppression is absolutely necessary for the continuation and fruition of
others’ “conventional lifestyles,” whether we are talking alt media, job
training partnerships, or renting crappy apts. for the profits of a land
“owner.” In all realms, the poor women are always the ones they try to
force to settle for the worst in society. We are the ones they always try
to get to work for free, whether it is doing dishes, childcare, or writing
articles. It gets old. Really old. Our free work equals “freedom” for
those we work for free for, but never for ourselves, just like the women
in activism in the 1960’s. The Middle Class Heaven is a Poor Person’s
Hell. And a Man’s Heaven is a Woman’s Hell. It is all about keeping the
poor in their place, for exploitation purposes. And no, anarchy is nowhere
near above doing this same thing to poor women; just look at who is
predominating anarchist press. It ain’t paid women writers from low income
backgrounds. It IS paid male writers from middle class backgrounds, who
are also predominantly white. And that is anarchist and/or alternative HOW
again? It looks identical to the status quo.


Shell Shocked From Homelessness
by Kirsten Anderberg (

As homelessness hovers over me, threatening to rape me yet again of human
worth and dignity right in the middle of lavish American “freedoms,” I
feel that familiar anxiety, fear, rage and agitation that homelessness
brings. It brings back a taste in my mouth that I remember well. A taste I
have had shoved in my mouth over and over against my will, shoved in my
mouth as I shook my head “no,” and held my lips tight, but they shove it
in you hard and make you swallow anyway. It brings back this darkness to
my soul. This scary aloneness. A panic. A desire to sob. A desire to harm
one’s self before someone else can. A desire to give up. A desire to end
life. Repeated homelessness has left me shell shocked, for life, perhaps,
as I know that it can always return. Always. Never ever is my housing
stable or secure. Ever. And I am fully aware of that. That secure housing
thing is for a whole other caste of humans. I am more lowly than that. Not
in the last 40 years have I had stable housing, not even as a child.

When did I first experience homelessness? After my parents divorced, and
my dad went on a rampage to ruin my mother. I was about 6 years old. My
mom was part of the group Congress for Racial Equality (CORE), and we had
a CORE meeting at our apartment in 1967. Our mixed race group later swam
in the apartment house pool. The next day, the pool was drained and
refilled at tenants’ requests and we were promptly evicted! A pro bono
attorney who helped my mom let us live with his family (and maid!) in
Tarzana, Ca. while my mom tried to get on her feet. I talked to that
attorney in my adult years, about 10 years ago. He said they had to take
us in because my mom was literally rolled in the fetal position sobbing
hysterically 24/7 and they felt someone needed to get me, the child alone
with her, out of that environment. Once we moved in with the attorney
family, I got to swim in their pool and play games with his kids. I saw
how white suburb kids lived. I hated them for it in ways. I was so
jealous. They had a house, they didn’t have to move all the time, they had
meals, they had a car, they had family…I know that is not right to be
jealous of those kids, but I know how I feel and felt. Thinking back to
that time 38 years ago, I just remember being confused about my feelings
towards the kids. I wanted to like them, as they gave me kid time away
from my mom, but I also envied them tremendously and I was not allowed to
utter a peep to that effect as a child.

The next time I remember being homeless is when I was 8 years old. My mom
was a full blown amphetamine freak by then, and it was unbearable living
alone with her in a dark apartment. She was terrifying, and I just
remember everything being frightening and very dark, as if the curtains in
our apartment were never opened as she functioned on and off like a
drugged zombie in front of me. In 1969, I was taken to the notorious
MacLaren Hall, in Los Angeles, which was a state run child protective
custody institution. It was worse than my drugged mom and was like a
Dickens orphanage where they hated us. But we were just kids. Kids who had
been abused by our parents, and now society in MacLaren Hall! Because I
had nowhere to go but my parents, whom the state found unfit, I was thrown
to the state. I consider that homeless. I remember lying in the bed at
night in Mac Hall, looking past the bars, and barbed wire fences, and
guards, to the streets and traffic driving by, trying to figure out how,
as an 8 year old, I was supposed to escape this hell and go get a life on
my own. America is not really open to 8 years old going out on their own,
especially girls. So instead, I was warehoused in a torture chamber run by
the state, with other severely abused and battered children and teens.

After MacLaren Hall, I was shuffled around to foster homes, and then
somehow, I landed back in my mom’s custody. It was gruesome. I could not
believe I went through all that hell in MacLaren Hall and foster homes,
only to be returned to the frightening one I thought I had gotten away
from. I counted the years until I turned 13, which was the legal age of
consent, where I could CHOOSE my guardian, rather than being forced to
live with my mother any longer. My dad always said I could live with him
as soon as I turned 13. Two months after I turned 13, I moved in with my
dad and his new family of a wife and her several kids. My mother ordered I
return home, I defiantly told her no. It was not fun at all. It was
gut-wrenching, actually. Why on Earth American society put me through all
this shit by the age of 13, I do not know. It was anything but the loving
family crap you see on TV.

I did not realize that my stepmother saw me as the biggest threat to her
new found husband to support her large family. I did not realize that she
would see me, my dad’s only daughter he raised, as a serious threat to her
daughters, for some unknown reason. It was really freaky that the more I
excelled, the madder this stepmom got at me. It became clear over time
that the more I succeeded, the more trouble I got in. The girls that were
in my home while I was in high school, were all from my stepmom, not my
dad. They got terrible grades in school, they did not have obvious talents
at all, they were sexual early. I, on the other hand, had lead roles in
all musical productions, including the most elite choirs on campus, I was
on student council, I skipped a grade in high school, I was a virgin
throughout high school yet had boyfriends, I never drank alcohol much, I
just never have liked it, I have never smoked cigarettes, I played violin
in orchestra, I was in advanced placement classes…my only “crime” in high
school was my “attitude.” I had learned back in Mac Hall not to take crap,
from anyone, for survival. That shell shock followed me into my teens. And
somehow, combined with my stepmom’s insanity, and my dad allowing it, I
ended up homeless again by age 15 ½.

To show you how insane my home life was once I moved in with my dad and
his crazy wife Gerri, I was once at school and the dean of girls called me
to her office. She told me all my detentions were done and I had no more
for that year. She called my home and my stepmom answered and she told my
stepmom that all my detentions were finished so I did not have to do that
every Saturday morning anymore. I was in the room when the dean called
her, so I know what was said. That night, at the dinner table, my stepmom
says, “The dean of girls called today, and Kirsten is suspended from
school.” My dad, angered, said I was grounded. I asked my stepmom where
she got that I was suspended. She said the dean called that day and told
her. I said I was in the room when the dean called her, and the dean
called to say I was DONE with my detentions, not that I was suspended! My
stepmom insisted I was lying and I was grounded, and not allowed to go out
that night.

Because I knew my stepmom did things like this all the time, I went to
school the next day early, and told the dean what my stepmom had done and
that the dean needed to call my dad AT HIS WORK so he could hear the
truth, not Gerri’s version. The dean knew my family was not okay, and so
she did call my dad at his work, and told him I was not suspended, I had
just finished my detentions.

That night at the dinner table, I said to my dad, “Since I was not
suspended, I am not grounded, right, dad?” And my dad said “right.” And
then my evil stepmother glared at me as if possessed, seething with anger,
and said, “You always get your way, don’t you?” I will never forget her
saying that. I probably burst out laughing at her, as by that point, I had
gotten mighty sick of her abuse. But I lived in the twisted world of
Gerri. The night I was violently kicked out of my parents’ house, they
were very drunk. They had been yelling all night long loudly. I locked my
bedroom door, I feared my dad drunk. I heard them outside, and my dad was
drunk and breaking down my bedroom door. He stood drunken in my room at
about 3 am, and said “You have ruined my life. You have 24 hours to get
the hell out of my life forever.” Then Gerri literally walked up to me,
patted me on the back, and lovingly said, “Can I help you pack dear? Let
me go get the suitcase you brought from Seattle for you.” When I went to
school, sobbing, the next day, not knowing where else to go, my boyfriend
gave me the key to the student council room to sleep in, as he was student
body president. My friends were not really sure what to do. I slept in the
student council room a few nights, while going to school during the day.
Someone on student council caught me, so kids I knew in music gave me a
key to the music room door, and I began sleeping in the music room. The
campus had priests and nuns living on the grounds. They finally caught me
and kicked me off campus and out of school. That school still has a policy
that you cannot go there if you do not live with a guardian. So when my
parents kicked me out, I had to drop out of school too.

So then I was a high school drop out, working under a fake name, and fake
date of birth and social security number, as a 15 ½ year old, as a nurses
aide in convalescent homes for $2.45 an hour. No one would rent to me as I
was so young. Desperate for somewhere to sleep, I went to the bushes on
the hill behind my parents’ house and slept there. One day, one of my
dad’s workers found me living up in the brush. He told my dad. My dad was
relieved to see me alive. He said I could live back home again if I went
to Scientology classes with them, which I did. But before I knew it, my
crazy stepmom was up to her old tricks, and I was whisked away to this
place in East Los Angeles that Scientology runs, called Narconon. I was at
a Scientology class, when my stepmom and dad showed up and drove me to
this place as if to dump me there. It was a drug rehab house. But I was
not on drugs! This was just my crazy stepmom trying to get rid of me! She
insisted I stay at Narconon or she would call MacLaren Hall and they could
come get me. I refused both offers and literally walked out the back door,
up the street, in the dark, at night. The guy who ran the Narconon came
after me and asked what was going on. I told him. He took a blood test,
and I was able to prove I was not on drugs, thus Narconon would not take
me. And MacLaren Hall apparently did not want me either, as Gerri said she
went to call them. So, I ended up back in the car, with Dad and Gerri,
driving home.

On the trip home, my stepmom said, “Do you see how you hurt your father?”
I am sure I just laughed out loud at her at this point. We got home, I
grabbed my backpack and began to walk away. It was about 11 pm. My dad
asked where I was going. I laughed. He handed me $100. I took it. He asked
if I needed a ride. I said “yes.” I asked he drive me to the nearest
onramp to I-5 and then I got out and hitchhiked in front of him. He drove

I stayed at a couple of my friends’ parents’ houses but after a short
while, their parents would ask I leave…I really had nowhere and no one and
that emptiness has a panic to it that is a tattoo on my soul. Knowing no
one cares. No one cares if you are raped, homeless, hungry, cold, or have
to quit school. I was smart I had talent, yet I was homeless, battling
each day as if it was a fight for my life. And now, I live, knowing that
homelessness is always possible. That aloneness IS my family.

I managed to drift in and out of housing, sometimes I lived with cults
such as the Source and Love Israel Families, sometimes I lived in a
schoolbus or other vehicles, sometimes I slept on lawns of churches,
sometimes I moved in with boyfriends, sometimes I was able to actually
afford rent, but never has housing been stable for me. Most of my life,
rent has cost 90%, or more, of the income I have made, and that is for
crappy apartments. The running feeling I had as a teen, it comes back
every time I feel homelessness breathe down my neck. I revert to the
reality I had as a teen, in my mind, when I see homeless coming near me

Over the years, many things have kept housing out of reach often. Right
now, for instance, my rent was just raised and I cannot pay that, so I
have to move. Everywhere I have looked wants $40 each to apply. Now, I am
very very low-income. I still do not have food money regularly. And now I
am supposed to pay not only several $40’s to apply for housing, but then a
massive deposit and first and last to move in? How? How can I meet those
huge money demands? I can’t. And I have no family. When I say I will have
no housing in May, I mean it. There is no mom or dad to go to. They
checked out emotionally when I was young. I actually began to realize that
my stepmom wanted me dead. And to stay alive is a sort of revenge. I
realize they threw me to the street, with all my potential and talents,
hoping I would die, literally. But I am not dead yet.

As I look at the reality that my lease runs out on May 2, and I have no
way and nowhere to move on May 3, it sends shivers up my spine. Part of me
wants to hide my head under the covers and to give up, but I know that
won’t get me into housing and then my enemies win. I know me giving up
will not help other women in my position. Only by living can I truly be of
any use. But my battle finding a feeling of worth on Earth, while in the
poverty caste and never being allowed any housing security this lifetime,
is taxing. It is exhausting just to get up and keep trying. And people who
are not battling hunger and homelessness and poverty simply DO NOT GET IT.
They don’t.

I feel like a shell shocked vet. I can only talk and relate to those who
have known homelessness and a precarious survival. If you were raised in a
house on a street with neighbors your family knew, etc., I cannot relate
to you. I can only really understand, myself, those who have suffered the
instability of no family, no safety net, no home, no matter how hard you
try or how much you overachieve. Certainly no one could ever accuse me of
being lazy this lifetime. No one ever has. In grade school through high
school, I excelled always. In adult life, I have always produced,
consistently. I never once shunned parenting responsibilities onto anyone
else. I raised my son single handedly for 18+ years. So, why am I so poor
again? In what way have I failed so fully, as to deserve this punishment
of homelessness? Why will I become homeless in May again? How does one
become of worth, so that you get family and housing? Has my jealousy only
moved to a larger group now, but it is the same thing that I felt with the
lawyer’s kids when I was young? Do I have a right to be jealous and
envious of those with family and homes? Do I have a right to housing ever?
Who knows? All I know is every time I am faced with homelessness, I feel a
grave loss of dignity and wrestle with self-worth issues. And I resent
those who do not understand poor renters’ dilemmas, and homelessness. The
class war is a war zone, and I am most certainly in shell shock.

The Supernanny Takes on GWBush and the U.S. Government
by Kirsten Anderberg (

Americans are seriously addicted to the idea of one car, one driver. I
know, because I stand on streets all the time, waiting for buses, watching
hundreds of cars with only one driver in them pass me every bus trip I
take. And the people in these metal monsters seem absolutely oblivious.
They are yapping on their cell phones in their air conditioned tanks as if
there was no tomorrow. They are driving the direction I am traveling, but
I have to wait long periods for my travel, because if I was in one of
their elite bubbles, the driver may be endangered. Individualism has
peaked in America. People walk around in groups, wearing headphones,
engaged in hand held video games, and talking on cell phones. I would
guess interpersonal communication skills are at an all time low in America
at this point. As the parade of SUVs drive pass me as I wait for my buses,
watching these huge machines with only one person inside, I just keep
thinking how absolutely UNsustainable this lifestyle is.

I was on the bus the other day and some of us got to talking. A bus rider
was short 5 cents and I chimed in that buses should be free. I said it was
absolutely ridiculous that car drivers expect bus riders to pay. We reduce
traffic, we reduce pollution, we reduce impact on roads, we do not create
a need for more and bigger freeways. When I look at the traffic jams in
Seattle every weekday night, based on one car one driver, I think that car
drivers are really selfish idiots who are sh*tting in their own nest, so
to speak, which is something most animals in nature do not do. If I was
into laws, I would advise making one to outlaw driving an SUV with only
one person in it. And I would CERTAINLY make it a crime for one person to
fly in an airplane around cities as Mr. Trump does too often. When I see
people like John Travolta bragging about his private plane that he picks
people up in, I think about how much gas, and ozone, this man is
personally consuming for that plane hobby. I remember hearing long ago
that every time an aerospace launch goes up, we burn a certain number of
inches of the ozone away. People in America DO NOT equate driving daily
with gas, oil, war and Iraq really. Americans are good at
compartmentalizing their thinking. So they drive, and fly, and launch,
never thinking at all about the environment or the people killed for this
oil consumption.

I cannot help but think it is not coincidence that we are having the
highest gas prices in American history when a Bush is president, nor that
we are in a never-ending war in oil rich countries now that Bush, Jr. is
president. Is it a coincidence that G Bush, Senior, was obsessed with the
Middle East, when you look at his past as a big oil mogul from Texas, who
was the freaking head of the CIA before becoming vice-president, on the
heels of the highly suspicious circumstances with the release of the Iran
hostages during Reagan’s inauguration? There is an oil connection within
the Bush family, which has now run our country into the ground several
times with their lavish spending of money and lives. When Bush, Sr. sent
U.S. military to be slaughtered and brought home in body bags in the first
Bush war in Kuwaiti, we were told that America had to go fight for Kuwait
to defend democracy and somehow Americans bought that. Saddam was
villainized and Bush, Sr. vowed to get Saddam, in an exact replica of how
his son would claim the same about Osama Bin Laden years later. Bush, Sr.
left Kuwait after the oil wells were secure back in the Kuwaitis’ hands,
and we just played down the whole Saddam manhunt thing. Just as Bush, Jr.
blew off the Osama hunt after he got the war he wanted. These token
“Wanted Dead or Alive” scams by the Bushes are getting old.

I am actually still very angry that Bush got away with a war based on a
complete fiction he fed idiotic Americans after 9/11. I am still furious
that Colin Powell got up in front of the United Nations and lied. Flat out
lied. And no, you cannot just blame that on bad intelligence sources. I do
not think the U.S. should be able to get away with such monsterous lies,
with such deadly results. As a mother, I would never have tolerated such
behavior from my son! If my son had lied like American government lies, I
would NOT let him get away with that, for his own good, so he would be a
better human being. I have to wonder what on Earth these men were taught
at home, to be acting so outrageously now. I feel that America needs to be
disciplined so that it can learn how to play nicely with others. We need
to bring the Supernanny to the American government, to get GWBush to quit
throwing temper tantrums everytime people want to actually see real proof
as to why the hell we are in Iraq right now, and to explain why we have so
much money for war but no money to feed America’s poor.

We need the Supernanny to go to the United Nations and other international
venues, to explain that America has a naughty mat now. And if America
begins to blatantly violate international law, as it is so prone to do,
they are to put America on its naughty mat, 1 minute for every year old it
is, and then when the time is up, America must look the other nations in
the eye, and apologize, then America can get up and play again. We will
repeat this cycle as long as it takes America to learn how to play with
others without aggressively stealing all the toys and piling them in their
corner and then terrorizing all kids who try to come near their toy pile.

Talking to a local transportation official, they said only 3% of the
population ride buses. That is why I think that car drivers should pay for
all buses. Since they are clogging the road, not us, they should pay for
buses to reduce the traffic they complain about. These car drivers are not
willing to ride buses themselves. They need to drive their little tanks
around town. They are the problem, the individual car drivers make
traffic, not bus riders, and I honestly think drivers should pay for
buses, the same way they pay for roads with toll fares. The bus driver I
was talking with about free buses said he had been around Europe a lot,
and they had marvelous mass transit there. A bus rider chimed in that he
was from Mexico City and they had subways running constantly. But then he
also said the air in Mexico City still stank from smog and pollution. So,
even with mass transit in Mexico City, there are still too many cars, it
would seem. I see that in Seattle too. Too many cars, for one driver per
car, and the air pays for it. Seattle has smog. Even though we have a
superior bus system. The buses in Seattle are too expensive, is my
opinion. You have to make bus riding attractive, and high bus fares is not
attractive. I think perhaps if buses were free, more people would ride
them, and that is really something we need to foster and support.

Americans need to let go of this idea of private cars. One company in
Seattle called Flexcar ( is offering an interesting
alternative for the last few years. In Seattle, you pay $35 to join
Flexcar, and then you can reserve and use one of their cars for about $10
an hour. After joining, for instance, you then call in and reserve a car.
Flexcars are located strategically all over town so picking one up is
easy. You then use the car for the reserved amount of time and then return
it to a Flexcar parking spot for the next user. The fees include gas,
insurance, etc. There are no hidden fees. You can buy blocks of time for
reduced rates as well. I think this is a novel and appropriate interim
step to weaning off individual cars and it needs to be supported. I would
like to see a time where we had little individual transportation in our
cities, as that is not sustainable, but it will take a huge shift in
American consciousness to get there. Maybe having a car available, on
call, will reduce their anxiety and allow them to walk to the store and
take the bus to work, in time. Many middle class American people seriously
do not know how to walk to the store. And ew, they might have to actually
carry a bag of groceries home! Too hard for an American.

The local news says gas prices have never been higher than they are right
now in Seattle. And then they said that the price now, of approximately
2.30 a gallon, is still not enough to get people carpooling yet. And it
made me wonder. How high would gas prices need to go to finally break the
American individual car habit? Would $3 a gallon do it? Seattle is facing
a proposed 15 cent a gallon gas tax. I just have to wonder, how much money
are people willing to sink into this SUV habit? This year basic programs
such as low-income housing assistance and veterans’ programs were cut in
funding, and school programs struggle to survive, yet Americans have
enough extra cash to be spending almost two and a half dollars, per
gallon, to drive in cars alone daily. Obviously the money for schools,
road improvement, housing assistance, and vet programs exists, but
Americans have priorities, and apparently oil and gas is prioritized above
public health and safety. But would that disappoint our president? No! He
is from an oil family in Texas! Does he want Americans to stay addicted to
oil? Yes! So THAT conflict of interest, which runs from GBush Senior, to
Junior, has dragged America into war in the Middle East whenever a Bush is
elected is my assessment.

People need to equate driving with war. You cannot be anything but a
hypocrite if you drive an SUV around with a “Support Our Troops” sticker.
Or one friend of mine read that as them saying they were supporting oil
wars so they could drive, rather than the unrealistic claim that they
cared about American soldiers dying so they could drive tanks on streets.
The U.S. military is forcing people to stay on duty after their contracts
are up right now. They are having a hard time recruiting new soldiers. And
today I heard that Homeland Security is talking about making passports
required at the Canadian and Mexican borders. As the mom of a draft aged
son, that makes me nervous. Are they closing the borders before they do a
military draft, so our sons cannot get out? I worry and wonder. I will not
let my son die in an oil war for the Bush regime. It is time we bring in
the Supernanny for America. Because as a mother, I am tired of watching
America throw its little tantrums every time it does not get its way. And
I am tired of watching America bully the others. And I am tired of America
lying and hoarding, and terrorizing the other kids.

Anarchists and Hippie Earth Mother Goddesses: Genuine Classists?
by Kirsten Anderberg (

I have to laugh at the combativeness I can raise in people who fancy
themselves progressive by hitting the “class privilege” button. You will
hear anarchists, hippie Earth mothers, “goddesses,” peace activists, etc.
talk a radical talk, but when you talk about the very real class
separation in the world, they want to just sit down and hide their heads
in the sand! I can only laugh at the sheer hostility I receive from
“loving goddesses” when I DARE threaten their class privilege with a
mirror. I also laugh heartily at anarchists who love me until I talk about
serious and real wealth redistribution, which apparently is far too real
an application of anarchist principles for many American anarchists. I
find so many activists want to drink their Starbuck’s Latte, while driving
their SUV’s and “supporting” our troops, while also pretending to be
against war and human oppression. When I point out the FACT that the
gluttoneous American lifestyle is absolutely NOT maintainable without
oppression of others not in the American middle class, such as the lower
classes in America and “third world” countries we exploit for resources
and labor, the American middle class gets downright volatile, whether
those middle class folks are privileged white anarchists or middle class
hippie mamas (aka yuppies) or Republicans.

I burst out laughing recently when I was removed from a hippie Earth
mother forum, after being literally eaten alive by a bunch of women who
must be feeling mighty guilty about their class privilege! Rather than
deal with the issues I raised, as usual, they decided instead to try and
attack my character and to twist things via semantics. But my continual
clarity, drove them nuts, basically. At first, the flaming in this forum
of supposed Earth mothers began when I had the audacity to proclaim that
the U.S. military is NOT fighting for MY freedom and that I consider every
single U.S. soldier to be supporting and engaging in a race/religious war
right now, and to be paid murderers. There was no room for such clarity on
a forum of middle class Earth-loving “goddess” killer supporters! I was
stunned to see this group of supposed “peace activists” supporting
America’s killing, as if our being “positive” to EVERYTHING was more
important than becoming politically ACTIVE. These “goddesses” tried to
argue that soldiers need to be allowed their own “life path” and not be
judged, to which I countered if your life path requires killing innocent
women and children, you have to be blocked from that life path, whether
you want it or not! I found these women preferred artificial peace to real
peace and thereafter found all their words to be hollow and meaningless.
Apparently, they came to the same conclusion about my words, saying I just
wanted to cause chaos and hatred, which is what I accuse them of, but on
an international scale. Unfortunately, THEIR words promote killing and
hunger. My words said no killing and everyone eats. I prefer my way, yes.

The next round of flaming from these “goddesses” came when I had the nerve
to proclaim that charity was different than sharing and that sharing
involved dignity for all, whereas charity was about one remaining in power
and doling out rewards to the “good” poor people who mind. That analysis
sent these women into a frenzy, which apparently ultimately ended in me
simply being unregistered from the forum and apparently all my comments
banned on my own articles they leave up all over their site, as they twist
my words! Apparently my articles are good enough to blanket their site,
but I am not good enough to comment on my own article topics once they
began to reinterpret my articles to cover their own class guilt. I stayed
steadfast in my footing and did not budge that I feel the poor are
exploited by the American middle class, no matter how superior the
American middle class fancied itself to others, which was utterly
intolerable to these hippie earth mamas.

What was interesting to me was how these women spewed hate, they had
absolutely no respect for me as a human, a woman, a mother, a poor person,
or an activist, yet they accused me of the crime of “hating.” While I was
being personally blasted and flamed intensely, these women were saying I
was “enjoying the hate!” Now wait a minute. I was enjoying them hating me?
What the hell? But then, my input was banned on their forums as soon as I
made it clear that I was not backing down on my class analysis. And this
mirrors and Chuck Munson’s censoring of me once I made it
clear I was not backing down from my feminist analysis, so these forum
owners are quite controlling like the media they proclaim to be an
alternative to, using their control to influence public thought and
discussion. I am banned from interacting most often if it is on the two
topics I have studied the most, feminism or poverty issues. Apparently
what I am saying is a danger, and let’s look at who finds what I am saying
threatening…that should say it all, really. Ah, what a beautiful microcosm
of America. What we do not want to hear, we silence and/or kill. Right
there on a progressive herbalist “goddess” or “anarchist” website. Where
was the “positivity” they proclaimed reigned supreme? When it came to THEM
BEING POSITIVE ABOUT MY VIEWS, forget it. I have rarely experienced such
thorough hatred as I have from “goddesses” and anarchists once confronted
with American class privilege. It is much easier to band together and
silence me, than to look at what I am saying, which would require an
entire lifestyle change based on human equality theory.

What is ironic to me, is while I am upsetting hippie Earth mother
goddesses by pointing out their own gluttoneous American lifestyles and
how that is not supporting the Earth or Life, I am also pissing off a hell
of a lot of white middle class anarchists too! While I have these “peace
activist” pro-war women screaming at me online that their brothers are
fighting for my freedoms and rationalizing their class privilege as
“freedom,” I also have irate white alpha-anarchist males yelling at me
about how much they hate hippie Earth mothers, as if they are talking
about me! No, hippie Earth mothers HATE ME because I bring the political
reality of class separation to the front door of feminism, and man, that
hurts, apparently. The same way white male anarchists living luxuriously
in the American middle class suburbs and freely taking numerous “activism”
vacations a year, who NEVER have been hungry this lifetime, get really
upset when I bust their class separation bubble.

I find that more often than not people try to character assassinate me,
rather than actually argue issues with me. People would rather label me
“too politically correct” as Chuck Munson of Infoshop did when I tried to
interject feminism into his world, or they would like me to be “too
angry,” or “negative,” as the “goddesses” preferred. But what is
fascinating is the panicked manner in which these groups flee when
confronted with class consciousness. I am literally villainized in many
circles for my unending and noncompromising views of class separation and
its harmfulness to the Earth and humans. And I am sorry, but I firmly
believe in the class analysis I present. I understand poverty,
homelessness, and hunger, and the insanity those things bring, and I am
not shutting up for white male authoritarian “anarchists” or for middle
class home owning “goddesses.” I am sticking with the poor and
disenfranchised, and apparently that puts me at odds with almost all
progressive, as well as conservative, people and groups.

I have had to learn to laugh at the violent defensiveness American middle
class people throw out, while then accusing the poor of being “hateful” if
we dare complain about the class caste system in America. Apparently white
male “anarchist” spokesmen know more about the woman’s experience than a
woman does, so we are silenced so the men can talk over us again and again
in article after article in “alternative media.” And if you are going to
be a woman writer, you best just write about white males, like the ONLY
woman-authored article in the latest Alternative Press Review magazine.
And apparently people who are poor do not have any useful opinions about
economic class systems, so only the middle class get to join in this
discussion. And if the poor do somehow get into the discussion, they are
silenced quickly, via character assassination or by forum owners banning
them. And apparently goddess women can be as nasty, hateful, and negative
to poor activist women as they want, but if a poor woman dare to speak
with an equal tone of authority, well, the “goddesses” do not know how to
handle it! What I see happening is a microcosm of banning books and
writers. When I was a street performer, I was arrested for saying “What do
you get when you cross a penis with a potato? A dictator.” Yet Artis the
Spoonman was screaming “Give me back my foreskin!” two blocks away, and
Jeep was singing about balling all night while drunk one block away, and
no one flinched. I was literally banned from public street performance in
Santa Cruz, Ca. for my feminist views. This idea that my clarity and
alarming honesty causes controversy is not new with my journalism. It
happened as a feminist comedian and busker also. There have been people
trying to ban my voice for decades now.

I see much of this as class prejudice, honestly. Whether you are a middle
class white male anarchist who is patrolling anarchist perimeters for
troublesome thinking feminists like myself, or are a middle class white
“goddess” patrolling the perimeters of class privilege with blinders and
assaults for anyone who shatters the illusion of being peace loving and
Earth loving while supporting the rape of people and the Earth in wars, I
am apparently a problem. If I talked with less clarity, it would be easier
to denegrate me to the nothingness many Republicans, and anarchist men and
hippie women, would like to see me reduced to. The problem is what I am
saying is packed full of truth and there is no way around it. And I am
relentless in my stating the Emperor has no clothes. I do not care if it
is anarchists and “goddesses” who are pretending the Emperor is clothed,
or if it is corporate America, the reality is the American dream is
created on the backs of the American poor and “third world” countries
America exploits. And I am NOT going to stop saying that, no matter how
much stigma is loaded upon me by supposed radicals and progressives!

I find that almost all of the slings and arrows aimed at me are
hypocritical. While the goddess women are flaming me for being negative,
the irony is rich there. I have anarchists squirming because their class
privilege is all of a sudden brought into question. Apparently many
anarchists thought they would get to keep class separation while spewing
wealth redistribution and human rights theory. They thought they would get
their nice cars and hot lattes prepared for them, while others went hungry
and did not think anyone, such as myself, would bust them. Apparently many
home owning and SUV driving “peace activists” want to stop war, but keep
on consuming at rates that far outweigh their individual production
levels, passing that inequity on to the poor for their luxury. And
apparently “goddesses” can get really negative and full of hate, when they
feel threatened by class analysis. So, all I can do is laugh, honestly. If
nothing else, I am highly effective. I have people pissed off all over the
place, and mostly, when you look at WHY they are pissed off, it USUALLY
has to do with my class analysis and others’ class guilt. I laugh when I
am called “negative” for confronting class rape of the poor, especially
when that critique comes from white male middle class anarchists and
predominantly white middle class “goddesses.” I do not have poor people
telling me to shut up or calling me “too angry.” I see middle class people
doing that, solely.

The remaining trend is the poor need to be exploited and silenced for the
American middle class. Even American middle class anarchists and Earth
mothers exploit the poor and try to justify it. Whether you are the poor
in the American mainstream, in Iraq as a poor mother in a war zone, or a
poor woman involved in anarchy, you still are expected to sit down and
shut up by those with class privilege, whether the privileged be
“anarchists” or Republicans. And the fact that I do not do that is what
has everyone riled up and so shocked. The fact that I speak with equal
authority, conviction, and facts to back up my beliefs, to those who are
class privileged in America, has people really flustered and trying to
figure out how to silence me. It is interesting that I have found the one
thing that threatens American radicals more than feminism, and that is
poverty activism.

I think at this point, most radicals would prefer I went back to feminism
and laid off the class activism. But the class activism INCLUDES feminism.
My feminism LEAD to class activism. So, I am not turning back. And I am
sure of what I am saying. So, it is up to others to now discredit me,
character assassinate me, and to silence me in whatever way their powers
allow them to, but reality is, I am still talking. And I am not stopping
until I am dead. Anarchists, goddesses, Earth mothers, peace activists,
etc. will just have to deal with that. They will call ME divisive for
busting THEIR class separation! They will call ME “too politically
correct” for staying the course. But I am convinced the poor are being
used profoundly by the American middle class, and that women are relegated
to poverty more than men due to sexism, and that these topics are
essential to ANY talks about war, peace, feminism, human rights, health,
anarchy, collectives, utopia, etc. As I have said over and over, “NO PEACE
UNTIL EVERYBODY EATS!” Exceptions? None!

More articles by Kirsten translated into German:

Erziehung versus Protest? (Germany IMC, Feb 2004)
Neue fragwürdige Praktik am UN-Tribunal (Germany IMC, Nov 2003)


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