IT'S A LIVING… BUT IT'S NOT A LIFE #9.9
Part 5 - more additions 3
Parts 1, 2,
5, 6, 7,
Okay, this time around I thought I should run some of the information
that I'm getting in from people who get this newsletter.
HERE IN THE STATES (CIVIL LIBERTIES AND RACIAL ATTACKS)
That Chomsky editorial really hit the nail on the head. This is really
turning out to be a big victory for the right. Here go our civil liberties.
Here's what Karl Howeth in Oklahoma said:
"You know, right here in Oklahoma, at Wal-Mart (fucking bastards),
they wouldn't let Arabic people in for the first day. I work there, and
was called into the office for making a comment about it not being unprovoked.
I listened to myself on video. They are recording us in the break rooms
and departments. Welcome to 1984 (clichéd, but more true than ever)"
Reports are starting to come in from everywhere about racist attacks
happening in the US. Again, I urge anyone that has any information even
from their local mainstream new, about such attacks, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dozens of racially motivated attacks are happening around the US. Charles
Maggio said that in Hoboken people were driving around with "Kill
All Arabs" written on the side of their trucks.
In Philadelphia, several University of Pennsylvania students attacked
two cab drivers. Everyone by now is aware of the man who was shot in Arizona
for looking like Bin Laden. He was a Sikh, which means he was neither
Muslim nor Arab. Here in Austin, the Nation of Islam temple was attacked
with Molotov cocktails but the neighbors, none of whom were Muslim, put
out the fire and have stood outside defending it ever since.
Okay, all of us here on the left are sick to death of petitions and I
know that they sort of represent a middle of the road approach to a lot
of people. But here it is. I'll leave it up to you what to do with it.
Greg from Go-Kart Records has been down in Manhattan working as part
of the relief effort. A question that he asked me that I'm wondering about
myself is "where are the punks?" Where the hell are all the
kids we know who work tirelessly to put together a basement show or start
a band or do a fanzine? Where are they now? I was turned down for giving
blood because of my heart condition (I'm an idiot. I always forget about
my heart condition and my medication to say nothing of the fact that giving
blood could kill me) when it occurred to me that most DIY kids probably
haven't even done that much. May seem trite to a lot of you. But it seems
like if you are in the area you should be doing all you can to help. God
knows everyone helped during the aftermath of the Earthquake in SF.
Anyway, Greg has had some amazing insights that I haven't heard about
anywhere else in the news. Here are some segments of his communications
"I have spent the past two days helping out by sorting supplies and
delivering them down to the WTC. It's really creepy there - surreal doesn't
describe. I get queasy every time I go down there and the feeling doesn't
go away for at least a half hour after you leave.
"What scares me is all the pro-America rhetoric that I keep hearing.
I am there to help my fellow humans. People keep handing us flags and
waving "honk if you love America" signs. Don't they realize
if we keep the treating the world like shit this will just keep happening?
Probably not. Might I add that other than FedEx and UPS I have not seen
any donations or help from any megacorps. (Well McDonalds and Outback
Steakhouse are serving food at Ground Zero). But no one else. We donated
300 shirts from the shelves at Go-kart, okay so most of them would never
sell, but where are the Wal-Marts and others. They are making a fortune
off the good intentions of people who go there to buy socks for the workers;
it's sick but not surprising. They are making money off this tragedy,
what else is new.
"One good sign - I guess, was the fact that I have actually heard
political debate. In union square (Tuesday and Wednesday night at least)
people actually were debating what to do and the fact that America's needs
to change our foreign policy. Of course, for every intelligent comment
there was 10 "fuck you, USA rules" or something like that. But
at least there was some discussion. Then again, this is Greenwhich Village.
"Oh well - that's my two cents. I felt your letter deserved a response.
I will be back working tomorrow and I am doing food detail on Sunday.
The workers at the WTC are all zombie-like, but all really appreciative
of our help. Here's something I don't understand that maybe you know the
answer to, why are there so many Scientologists there? It makes no sense.
But there are hundreds."
"Just an update - today everything went to the unions. Volunteers
are no longer needed as you have to be in "certain" unions if
you want to help. 150 welders from Local 150 showed up today, with credentials,
who wanted to work for free. But they were turned away. They were not
in Local 30 and only they can work there now. Of course they all get paid.
The Local 150 guys wanted to work free, I guess that was their mistake.
Amazingly all the Union guys who were helping sort donations were pissed.
They don't want money, they just want to help. But someone's pockets are
getting greased and that's all that matters. Of course their was no way
a contract could have been sent out for bids to save some of the taxpayers
"One of their main reasons for this is they say it's easier to
control the "private" workers. Some stuff disappeared - I am
sure it did. But if $10,000 of stuff got stolen who cares, it will costs
$1,000,000+++ to have the Unions do what we did in the past few days.
There were close to 200 people at our site alone, and some went without
sleep for days.
"And where are all the fucking punks? There is only one kid there
who's a punk. I asked him where his friends are and he told they all said
they were too tired to come. He dragged his Mom out today to help. I guess
I shouldn't expect the fashion punks of today to show up when there is
a chance to put their money where their mouth is. They're too worried
about the fact that Hot Topic is closed this weekend.
"You will probably find this amusing as well - It should come as
no surprise that even in a time of tragedy egos are uncontrollable. At
the parking lot outside of Javits Center where we work, people have appointed
themselves "managers". I thought they were sent by some city
organization, but they were just volunteers like myself. Of course, the
managers never lift boxes and they have even set up a "command center"
where they do their "work". Meanwhile, the people at Ground
Zero are not getting their supplies. These people are in so far over their
head it is ridiculous. So the city sent in pros today. And of course the
"managers" flipped out. One of the "managers" actually
held up her phone and yelled "I'll call the brigadier general, he'll
tell you I'm in charge here" while she shoved her cell phone around
for all too see. Apparently the coup was successful, she left as did all
the other managers. I couldn't be happier.
"Down at ground zero the workers asked for as many palettes or
plywood we could get them. They are sliding all over the place. So when
a lumber company pulls up with q huge flatbed full of lumber I freaked
out when the "managers" told them we didn't need it. Of course
they have no idea what they need, they've never been down there. But they
were more than happy to do five interviews today.
"The cops got so pissed they started driving up in city buses that
they loaded up with supplies. Some people wouldn't help until the "managers"
gave their approval. Good riddance I say. I ignored these morons and the
cops started referring to me as the leader of the "black market"
- they would pull up to the back gate, tell us what they need and we would
just get it, the way it should be. The "managers" never knew
- they couldn't see us from their command center.
"In the "losing my faith in humanity all over again"
category again. One truck that was loaded up the other day drove away
and has not been seen since. An ex-fire department chief went down to
ground zero and flashed his badge - he was arrested stealing $3,000 worth
of jewelry out of Tourneau. And a total of six people including two cops
were arrested at our site today for stealing donations."
"Joe, who works here, just got back Japan (he sells merch for Sick
Of It All as well). He told me that his sister is a sergeant at the Verazano
Bridge. Joe lives in her house.
"So he got back yesterday after being stuck in Japan for a few
days and his sister told him that when they shut down the Verezano Bridge
they found three vans full of explosives. The drivers must have fled by
foot or in another vehicle.
"A fourth van was found a little down the road parked where the
Hess oil tankers are. Apparently those tanks run a pipeline directly to
JFK and had those blown up, they would destroy JFK. This has been not
been reported in the news here at all/ Probably in an effort to keep people
from being to scared.
"If this is true, and I have no reason to believe it isn't - then
I wonder how many other things have gone unreported for our "protection".
"Yesterday, on canal street, some of the sweatshop workers were
being told to sell shirts that said "World Trade Center: I Survived
The Attack". The people selling the shirts barely spoke English,
but people were getting really pissed off. The started yelling - "What
the fuck do you think this is, an amusement park ride!"
"It was ugly - the people selling the shirts left, I am sure they
came back later. And I am sure there were others all over the city. Of
course the guy yelling was wearing a ribbon. I doubt he did anything else.
"Yesterday I worked at the McDonalds truck at Ground Zero (yeah,
yeah I know McDonalds - but I want to help, and they are the only restaurant
down there -Outback is not there as I previously thought- and I had an
in so I could help). We served over 14,000 burgers in 9 hours. Never mind
McNuggets. Tim, from Ensign who works at Go-kart, went back up to Javits.
We had been going up there together. When I got to ground zero, I asked
if there was anything needed and everyone said hard hats.So I called Tim
at Javits and told him. He tried to organize a truck to go down, but was
told repeatedly that there was no way. The power struggle that had gone
on the day before had apparently reached higher heights of stupidity.
Some guy who works at the White House, we have no clue what he does there,
but he has been showing up every once and a while. He is like a character
out of a movie; he constantly smokes, speaks in a whisper, and is always
looking past you when he talks to you. He flashed his white house badge
whenever there is a dispute. So, he apparently has taken over the Javits
site. Since no deliveries were being made yesterday, there was not much
garbage. But somehow the Javits trash haulers kept making runs, so finally
someone figured it out and stopped them at the gate. When they took off
the top level of garbage, the bottom was full of boots, shirts - you name
it. So the people working the gate, including Tim called over the Police.
The Police basically said there is nothing they could do, the trash haulers
work for Javits, if we arrest them Javits shuts this place down. Javits,
a city-owned, tax-payer funded building, will shut down one of the main
donation centers for the Word Trade Center Tragedy will shut down, if
you arrest people who steal from the workers risking their lives at the
WTC. What a crock of shit.
"Later that day some NYPD officers showed up to get some stuff.
They were not going down to the WTC but showed up on their own. I realize
they are all working 12 hour shifts, with no days off, and the stuff that
is being donated is intended for everyone, including the NYPD, but the
orders from the people in charge was that nothing was to leave the site.
Now when I was there, I just did it, but not everyone sees things my way.
And apparently the people at the gate told them nothing was to leave the
site. So the officers got about 10 more and threatened to arrest everyone
and close down the Javits donation site, the same threat must be in some
training manual. So the White House Guys and the cops have a cell phone-pissing
match, and the word comes down, let the NYPD take what they want.
"By the end of the day, one delivery was made, of about 30 hard
hats. Some help.
"Down at McDonalds I would take 200 burgers and sodas and walk
down to the where all the workers were and ask them if they wanted any.
Most people were happy to see us. I was throwing burgers in to the welders
who were down in the remains of the WTC. It is just massive the debris.
It is unreal. Remember that scene in ET when they discover ET and all
those guys in white suits are running around, it's like that. Except there
are cops, National Guard, guys in white suits, and welders everywhere.
Everything was going well until they found people with cameras sneaking
around. After that I needed a police escort. The cops were cool enough
with help, but it wasn't as easy anymore.
"I dunno if I told you but every time we went down to Ground Zero
from the Javits center, we would be swarmed by people with cameras trying
to jump on. Yesterday, when the McDonalds van got down to the first checkpoint,
I jumped out to speak to the police. Some guy offered me $500 to sneak
him on the van, so he could take pictures. How sick is that.
"Also - I am going to start researching an email I want to send.
I think it is ridiculous that people like Bill Gates have only donated
$10,000,000. That may seem like a lot, but to a man worth an estimated
$40,000,000,000 - that is pocket change at best. This is a man who donated
close to $5,000,000 (according to Newsweek) to political causes last year.
I want to know how much Microsoft gets in Government funds (read: taxpayer
money). I am sure it is more that the paltry $10,000,000 he donated. He
may have donated more privately, but if he did, why announce the $10,000,000?
"The Backstreet Boys donated a whopping $10,000. That's $2,000
per dancing buffoon. They have received more than $10,000 worth of press
for their fabulous donation. And they have the gall to say that the money
is going to set up the Backstreet Boys' donation fund. So their money
is not going to help anyone, just create a self serving organization so
they can pat themselves on the back. Why not just donate the money? They
are also thinking about donating some of the proceeds from some upcoming
shows. Thanks a lot.
"Jennifer Lopez donated $25,000 so far. She makes an estimated
$10,000,000 - $15,000,000 a film. Thanks again Jen.
"If these people just made anonymous donations then I wouldn't
care, but they use this tragedy for their own gain in the name of publicity.
Fuck that. If you want credit do something that will actually make a difference.
One woman in Syracuse, NY showed up at the local radio station that was
collecting donations for the Red Cross (a coalition of 12 stations in
Syracuse has raised over $600,000). She refused to give her name, but
since the station was live on the air at the time, the DJ asked the woman
for some info. She explained that she was a widow with two young children.
Since her mother is now babysitting the kids, she started a savings account
and she is donating all her savings, along with her pay check from the
past week to the red cross. It was a total of $2,500. She is a hero. Not
the Gates, Lopez and the Backstreet Boys.
"So to write an email and ask people to forward, that lets people
know the truth about these "donations" - do you think it's a
I'm also guessing that by now you all know about the cover art for the
new album by the Coup. For those of you who don't know the whole story,
here's a synopsis. The Coup is a brilliant Hip Hop group from the Bay
Area. Very political, most of their songs are political in nature and
carry a heavy anti-capitalist slant. For their fourth album, titled Party
Music in response to people complaining that they were too political,
the cover art depicted DJ Pam The Funkstress holding a baton like a conductor
of an orchestra and Boots Riley holding a detonator. The backdrop, however,
is a graphic of the World Trade Center exploding. Needless to say, this
was meant to be metaphorical as an act against capitalism, which the WTC
certainly represented. Of course, the cover art was also put together
two months ago as the record was scheduled for release this Tuesday.
People are getting hot and bothered about the cover for two different
reasons. On the one hand, people are calling it an "early warning"
that went unheeded. People assume that the Coup advocate the kind of violence
that happened last Tuesday. They think that because they have allied themselves
with so-called left wing ideas that they are somehow connected to the
terrorists that did the attack. Basically, America is myopic when it comes
to looking at its perceived enemies. Commies, fascists, Muslims…
they're all the same to ignorant America.
On the other hand, people are taking a really creepy type of sick pleasure
reveling in its timing and nature. People are fascinated with the "novelty"
of the record cover like they used to with the old Carcass record covers.
To make the Coup into a novelty band is really fucked up. People are
missing the point here. The cover art was meant to be metaphorical and
the World Trade Center was used as a symbol of capitalism. Needless to
say, the Coup has withdrawn the cover and has openly expressed their own
horror at the WTC attacks.
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