Resist: Grandpa isn't coming to save you
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I've noticed a strange phenomenon since the onset of the Trump administration in January that keeps repeating itself. President Donald Trump will say or do something ridiculous, the thinking public reacts with, "That's an outrage!" and then, almost en masse, declares that an older white cisgender male Republican will save them (and the country) by somehow "restraining" Trump.
Sadly, whether it's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Chief of Staff John Kelly, or Secretary of Defense Jim "Mad Dog" Mattis, the "savior" always behaves the same way. He does Trump's bidding every time.
Let's end this nonsense by accepting a fundamental truth: grandpa isn't coming to save you.
Grandpa - whether it's Tillerson, Kelly, or Mattis - chose to serve a fascist. Given that said fascist goes out of his way to humiliate and undercut them at each opportunity, one can only conclude that they stay because they place a higher value on the fascist's objectives than they do on their own self-respect.
If history teaches us anything, it is that people like that will stay with their liege until conditions force them to make a choice between their own skin and that of their liege. Hopes and prayers for grandpa to acquire a conscience won't bring that about, but changing conditions on the ground might.
That brings us to November 4.
As you may have heard, at 3 p.m. Saturday, November 4, Refuse Fascism will sponsor demonstrations in San Francisco's Union Square Park and in 12 other cities across America, from Seattle to Atlanta. The idea is to bring people out into the streets and keep them there until the Trump-Pence regime collapses.
Washington, D.C. isn't presently on the public list of cities with planned demonstrations, but that's understandable. Given the regime's violent response to the #J20 protests after Trump's inauguration, it makes sense to give the D.C. police and the feds as little warning as possible.
Whatever happens, Refuse Fascism has already scored a major victory by driving fascists on Twitter and Facebook to absolute distraction. If I had a dollar for every Trump-supporting yahoo who claimed that RF's non-violent demonstration was "really" a planned armed uprising led by Antifa and Black Lives Matter, I'd be buying property in the Mission for cash.
That said, while I'm not aware of any planned fascist response to the SF action - and their past efforts to cause trouble here haven't ended well for them - the higher profile nature of this event may tempt them to engage in their usual nonsense of doxxing and harassment. So, mask up if you've got a bandana (if not, get one) and see you in Union Square.
Sex worker confidential
In an era where the government seems to be rolling out new restrictions on body autonomy every day, one of the best antidotes is to listen to the stories of those who have been pushing back against that nonsense long before it was cool. At 8 p.m. Friday, November 3, at 1349 Mission Street in San Francisco, the Center for Sex and Culture will host "TMI: Sex Worker Confidential," an evening where sex workers share the tales of their lives. Tickets are $11.42 and there will be a sex toy raffle.
Aaron Swartz remembered
At 6 p.m. Saturday, November 4, at 300 Funston Avenue in San Francisco, the Internet Archive will honor the memory of hacktivist and entrepreneur Aaron Swartz in the most appropriate way possible: a series of talks by those following in his footsteps and a hackathon.
Swartz, a leader in the fight against internet censorship who also helped create the RSS web feed format, Creative Commons, and Reddit, among other projects, killed himself in 2013 after the federal government - in a controversial decision - indicted him for a non-destructive hack at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Scheduled speakers include Chelsea Manning, a trans woman who was imprisoned for seven years by the U.S. military after she exposed American war crimes in Iraq and elsewhere, and who suffered "cruel, inhuman, and degrading" treatment in prison, according to the United Nations special rapporteur; Brewster Kahle, co-founder of the Internet Archive; Cindy Kohn, executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation; and Steve Phillips, project manager of the Pursuance Project, an encrypted, end-to-end project management program suite, which will be unveiled at the event. Tickets are $75.
Make up and fight surveillance
At 4 p.m. Sunday, November 5, at 80 Turk Street in San Francisco, Zerena Diaz will lead a workshop on how to use makeup and fabric to create looks that are not only fashionable, but also help to defeat facial-recognition and surveillance technologies. While the free RSVP tickets to the event have been exhausted, it may still be possible to get in at the door depending on how many attendees show up.
At 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 8, 15 multicolored beacons will be lit above the SoulCycle building adjacent to Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Milk's successful campaign for supervisor.
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