Fall 2018

In this issue:
(download .pdf of UltraViolet Fall 2018)

New Efforts Fight Anti-Billionaire Hate Crimes
International Solidarity w/ Palestine Mural Dedication
More Conservatorship Won’t Solve the Housing Crisis
Candy Royalle
Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz
Richard Brown
Marge Nelson
They Really Don’t Care. But We Do
Angela Bowen
Shorts From Inside
My Opinions
Info Needed in WV
Extra Up-to-Date Resources
UV Gives You a Voice
Dear Shorts from Inside
Aftermath of an eastern hurricane and a western climate summit
And speaking of Hurricane Florence…
Birthday benefit and screening of the film about Bo
PACE
The MOCHA Column
California YIMBY via Daily Kos
Zionist Propaganda Unwelcome in SF
Nicaragua: What’s Going On?
Up All Night: The Page-Turner, A Litquake Event
Freedom From Religion Foundation National Convention
Thanks Resist!

New Efforts Fight Anti-Billionaire Hate Crimes

photo illustration of Bezos at Evict the Rich demo

Sixty members of the House GOP caucus today unveiled legislation to counter what they describe as an epidemic of anti-billionaire rhetoric. The twenty men, led by Representative Stu Pid Hedd, who puts his net worth at $20 billion (though his tax returns claim $4 million) are cosponsors of the Freedom of Unbridled Consumption and Kissing Act of 2018.

“The time has come,” said Hedd, “to confront this scourge on our country.” He played a video showing masked teenagers chanting, “Eat the Rich,” along with pictures from a recent San Francisco demonstration at which protesters projected “Queers Hate Techies” on a condo, as evidence of a rash of hate crimes against Wealthy Americans.

“And then there’s the weaponized #MeToo thing,” he said. “Whatever happened to droit du seigneur?” Droit de seigneur refers to the right of noblemen to deflower any virgin of lower class.

Representative Lothario Valentino concurred. “Girls used to know that copping a feel was a compliment,” he complained. “Now they use it to shake you down. It has to stop.”

In a related development, a group calling itself Friends of Brett announced the Billionaires Overcoming Overconfidence Fund (BOOF) to raise money for embattled billionaires’ legal fees. To contribute to their GoFundMe visit GoFundMe.com/boofers. The first 200 contributors will receive an autographed picture of a billionaire’s penis.

More Conservatorship Won’t Solve the Housing Crisis

by Tory

Governor jerry brown signed SB 1045 into law September 27th. This law allows for the expansion of conservatorship for people who have both substance abuse issues and psychiatric disabilities. The bill introduced by scott wiener (who claims to be gay but we don’t accept him as family), a politician in the pocket of the big developers, is a naked attempt to remove the houseless people from the streets of cities. Big developers are just itching to make every square foot of san francisco into condos for the techie wave of affluent gentrifiers. To that evil end they want to rid the city of street encampments, which interfere with their expansive views and latte laced daily routines.

SB 1045 allows for a five-year pilot project in san francisco, los angeles and san diego counties to set up expanded criteria for which people could be held against their will. The bill says that a person must have both severe substance abuse and psychiatric problems, be detained on a 5150 psychiatric hold eight times in a year, have tried all less restrictive treatment modalities, have not complied with Assisted Outpatient Treatment ( Laura’s Law) and be outside the purview of the law which currently provides for psychiatric holds and conservatorship in california, called Lanterman Petris Short (LPS). london breed, the mayor of san francisco, has indicated that she will introduce a plan to implement the pilot project immediately. The Homeless Action Coalition, Senior Disability Advocacy, LAGAI-Queer Insurrection, Gay Shame and other groups have begun a campaign to raise awareness and to lobby sf board members to fight this law. Susan Mizner, Disability Rights Program Director of the National ACLU stated, “Conservatorship is the biggest deprivation of civil rights aside from the death penalty.”

The law is wrong in so many ways. The bill itself has NO funding. So while setting up a new bureaucracy to strip people with mental health and drug problems of their civil rights, there is no provision in place to provide treatment or housing. This then leads one to speculate that the real plan is to build a new jail to incarcerate pesky houseless people in the name of all this heightened compassion. london breed stated in the SF examiner, “it is not humane to allow San Franciscans struggling with severe mental illness and addiction to continue to suffer on our streets.” This from the same mayor who is funded by developers intent on building condos everywhere.

It is clear to housing rights activists that the solution to homelessness, is to create enough housing for everyone. In fact throughout the bay area houselessness is rising exponentially as rents skyrocket and evictions abound in the wake of condo conversions. SB 1045 presupposes the falsehood that people living on the streets don’t want housing and services. The facts belie this insidious idea. In san francisco there are over 1000 people on the shelter waiting list and 8000 families waiting for public housing. There are 500 people requesting substance abuse treatment that is not available. Furthermore while knowing that people with psychiatric diagnosis are vulnerable to homelessness and substance abuse, in 2017 40% of people discharged from psychiatric emergency services in sf were given no referrals or follow up at all! This likely happens because emergency rooms are overwhelmed and there is just no real help to be had for those who need it in this profit driven world.

Along with the lack of services to implement this bill, the provision that requires eight 5150 detentions to trigger the law further emboldens and empowers the police, who most often initiate 5150 psychiatric holds. This means that cops will target certain people they want to get off the streets, further criminalizing those with psychiatric disabilities and substance abuse problems. We have repeatedly seen the horrific stories of police called to intervene with someone with mental illness and then promptly killing them. In san francisco 60% of people murdered by police have mental health problems.

It is also important to consider what conservatorship really means. It takes all the decision-making away from a person, about where they go, what they do, how they live. A conservator is assigned to the person by the courts and quite literally makes every important decision. We need only remember the history of forced sterilization, barbaric treatments such as lobotomies and hideous institutions in the not so distant past to challenge this idea. And in a racist, classist, sexist, ableist society, the rich, white, male able-bodied person rarely, if ever fears this kind of state control. This, in a world that has no housing or services in place to support depriving people of their civil rights, even if one agreed with this specious notion. The current conservatorship laws which have some civil rights built in (in the form of court hearings) are adequate. What is woefully inadequate are specific services that actually work for the people who need them, and housing.

In addition to being pushed by developers, the support for this bill is coming from desperate family and friends of people with psychiatric disabilities who correctly fear for the vulnerability of their people on the street in need of treatment. It is naive to think that the developers and politicians care one whit for the mentally ill. Rather their concern is the look of the city they want for their own profit. They are cynically and callously using the pain of friends and family of the psychiatrically disabled to push relentless gentrification.

My adamant opposition to SB1045 is informed by a history as a health care provider in mental health, as well as from living with my long term ex-lover of 15 years, who struggled with a severe psychiatric disability.  When I was nineteen, I had a summer internship at chicago state hospital, an old archaic cook county mental institution on the outskirts of chicago. I was hired by some long-forgotten research project to observe various behaviors on a check list, exhibited by people institutionalized their entire lives in this county psych hospital. This job had a profound effect on me. I soon realized that lifelong institutionalization had robbed people of much of their agency, decision making and even basic social relationships that give pleasure. I read the charts of the patients and most of them were incarcerated because someone in their lives felt that they were acting strangely or too bizarrely to fit the norms of the current times. The charts would begin “patient’s husband said she was acting strangely.” In those days it was easy to “commit’ people. Certainly many queer people were considered bizarre and incarcerated. I spent that summer hanging out in the day room trying to befriend people who often had lost ability to even make eye contact. Some years later droves of people were discharged from state hospitals back to the communities, with the promise of community mental health services which never materialized.

After that job, still living in chicago, I became part of a radical psychiatry grassroots group trying to care for people with mental illness without hospitalization. We tried to set shifts to take care of people having psychotic breaks. It was really hard; we didn’t have enough resources.

I became an RN in 1981, working as a psych nurse at the alameda county psychiatric emergency services in the 1990s. I saw first hand just how limited services were. People, after getting a shower and a meal, were regularly put out on the streets of san leandro with bus tokens and a list of AA meetings. Only the most severely disabled were placed on longer term holds with court hearings and admitted, because there were never enough inpatient beds. Then there was the story of an old woman in her early 80s, a little confused and possibly psychotic, who had according to her been happily living in a park, until community members snitched on her and she was summarily brought to the bench in psych emergency. She desperately wanted to leave the hospital and return to the park she considered her home. She knew full well she had come to the end of the line and was now incarcerated. Where was the mobile service unit that could come to her with a shower, change of clothes and some meals?

In 1999 I became a nurse practitioner and went to work at the VA oakland mental health clinic as the psychiatric provider for the methadone and substance abuse programs. All my patients were dually diagnosed with both mental health and substance abuse problems. Many lived on the street. During my tenure, the VA started a program to house patients, in response to public outcry over all the houseless veterans. The VA set up a very successful program which got people off the street into good apartments using case management and advocacy to keep people in their apartments. Not so shockingly, it worked!

After I retired from the VA,  I worked at san francisco general as a nurse practitioner in their large methadone program. Many people in this program are houseless, giving me first hand knowledge just how limited services are for people living on the street in san francisco.

Along with all the many experiences from my work life, I also loved someone living with a psychiatric disability. Saundra and I lived together for fifteen years. During that time she had multiple psych hospitalizations at Bellevue in New York. Before I knew her she had lived on the streets. She was diagnosed as schizoaffective, sort of a depressed version of schizophrenia. I remember terrible times, sometimes lasting months, in which she would be in bed in a near catatonic depressed state, hearing voices telling her she was bad and thinking stop signs had special ominous meaning for her. Often she wouldn’t let me take her to get help. Saundra was a gifted writer and artist a delightful funny person, and never wanted to give up her right to self-determination in spite of  how hard her disability was.

Expanding conservatorship as called for by SB 1045 does absolutely nothing for people living with mental illness and substance abuse on the streets. It is a cynical political window dressing of a law. Politicians pretend to care about houseless people, but really want room for more private parklets to sprout in front of hanging fern bars in the mission.

As someone who has lived with and loved someone with schizoaffective disorder, and who has worked in many health care settings, it is clear that until we have a society which prioritizes real health care providing complete and accessible treatment for psychiatric illness and substance abuse, and  housing for all, nothing is really going to change. If they want to do a pilot project, how about creating enough housing for everyone! We need an end to capitalism a complete transformation of how we live, nothing less than a revolution. Until that happens, we can’t really know what people need and make it happen!

STILL BLAMING CAPITALISM

REVOLUTION

International Solidarity w/ Palestine Mural Dedication

graphic of Palestine Mural: The Will to Live - Arab Liberation Mural

Dedication of 3 Murals – International Solidarity w/ Palestine

Please join Clarion Alley Mural Project on

Sunday, October 14th at 2 PM on

Clarion Alley (between 17th and 18th between Mission and Valencia)

for the dedication of three new murals in solidarity with Palestine:

The Will to Live – Arab Liberation Mural

Bangkit Palestine (Arise Palestine)

End Apartheid B.D.S.

Sponsored by Palestine Youth Movement and Art Force, endorsed by Palestine Action Network and Middle East Children’s Alliance

 

Candy Royalle

Candy Royalle, a Palestinian-Lebanese queer woman poet and performance artist, died in Sydney, Australia, on June 23, of ovarian cancer. She was 37.

Candy’s grandfather fled Palestine to Lebanon during the Nakba. Her father emigrated through France to Australia. Candy chronicled some of her family history in her poem, Memories, which won the World Poetry Cup in 2012.

I am my grandfather’s memories

of sunshine streaming through olive trees.

Of women sitting around and clucking like hens as they crush garlic with spices to make

that night’s meal

whilst men tend gardens plough the fields

of their ‘baladi’ their homeland.

 

I am my grandfather’s memories remembering that he was raised as a Christian in a land of Muslims

with Jewish friends.

He played in the dirt with his future enemies shared meals

and didn’t yet know

that history was in the making somewhere in Europe…

 (read the full poem )

Candy joined the Sydney spoken word community at Bardfly when she was 18. Over the years she performed at Woodford folk festival, the Sydney writers’ festival, the Adelaide fringe festival and the Tasmanian poetry festival. As a queer woman of color, she was also a strong advocate for Palestine, Aboriginal communities, and anti-capitalism.

photo of Candy Royalle

Candy explained on her website, “I’ve always existed somewhere in between. Between cultures and colours, genders and sexuality. Between spiritual and atheist, creator and imitator. Belonging has always been a theoretical idea for me, not a sensation rooted firmly in any place or person, any community or group. Until the end of last year, that is.”

Candy was diagnosed with cancer diagnosis in 2014. In 2015, she and her partner went to Lebanon, where they witnessed both devastation and a thriving community life. They trekked across north Lebanon. They also visited with a Lebanese lesbian family. “It hit me then. It hit me so hard I experienced a beautiful tearing in my chest, an opening I didn’t even know existed. I listened to these fierce, intelligent, intellectual women each doing their own bit of existing, fighting, resisting from the edges and I felt it. I felt like I belonged. Like this was my tribe. I thought about how I am surrounded by bold queer Arabic women – in Sydney, online, around Australia and the world who have also expressed their feelings of not belonging. I thought about how lucky I was to have those connections, to be sisters with a global group who make the borderlands a place of belonging. It dawned on me that we occupy those fringes together. That we utilise things like art and activism to create a place of belonging within the margins and can revel in what it means to be an outsider who belongs.” (Read more by Candy in Overland.)

When Israel attacked Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza on May 26, Candy posted from Sydney, ““Family, I need you to explain something to me. I mean it in the realest sense — I’m not interested in blaming, nor am I angry, I’m truly just confused.

“Please tell me: what’s it going to take to engage you all in the ongoing brutal occupation and massacre of the Palestinian people? Last night, a rally was held to commemorate the Nakba and mourn the 60 murdered and 1200 injured innocent civilians who were shot by Israeli Occupying Forces for peacefully protesting, the day before yesterday. Only a few hundred turned up to protest.

“Why will so many of you take to the streets to change drinking laws? For gay marriage? And yet not for this awful thing that’s been happening for 70 years, and has continued to happen because of the lack of pressure people are putting on their governments? Can’t you see beyond your own comparatively mild oppression and get out for others too? If I come to those rallies, why can’t you come?…”

In 2015 she toured parts of the UK, Canada, and the u.s. as the Butch Priestess Tour. Recognition for her poetry, included a City of Sydney artist residency in 2017, and in April 2018 she was awarded the Red Room Poetry Fellowship. Her final performance on June 5 was with her band, the Freed Radicals, at the Red Rattler pub in Marrickville.

Most of us in QUIT! first learned of Candy from our friend, Lebanese lesbian and visual artist, Happy Hyder, and through Happy we were able to get permission to show Memories at Outside the Frame: Queers for Palestine Film Festival.  It was a big hit. Candy was a unique, strong and creative force in this world. You can find many of her performances, including Killing Us Softly on the web. A collection of her poems, A Trillion Tiny Awakenings, is due out in November.

Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz

Statement from Jews For Racial and Economic Justice

We are deeply heartbroken to share that our comrade, our sister, our beloved friend, Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz, died on Monday July 9th after a long, tough battle with Parkinson’s. … JFREJ would not be what it is today if it had not been for Melanie. As JFREJ’s founding director, Melanie pushed us to become a membership organization. She also, critically, centered our work in a deeply feminist, queer, anti-racist, multicultural, class-conscious analysis. …[S]he combined sparkling ideas, emotional sensitivity, and moral courage – a steely fierceness embedded in a quiet, unassuming style. …

Melanie established JFREJ’s workshop for confronting white privilege, racism, and antisemitism. She launched a series of radical Jewish history conferences, called In Gerangl/In Struggle/Con Peña, events that brought together histories as diverse as the Jewish Labor Bund, lesbian radicalism, and the Civil Rights Movement. History mattered to Melanie as an activist principle. She knew that reckoning unromantically with and finding inspiration in the past could help shape new, radical visions for the future. When a controversial New York City professor vociferously claimed that Jews had been responsible for the Atlantic slave trade, sparking predictable outrage, Melanie she organized a public JFREJ forum that brought together historians, scholars, and activists to reckon honestly with Jewish involvement in both slavery and in the abolition movement. She took back ‘Kantrowitz,’ the family name her father had discarded for ‘Kaye,’ but, rather than hide his assimilationist act, kept ‘Kaye’ in front of that forward slash, signaling that the closet was part of her Jewish American history, too.

Melanie came to JFREJ with considerable experience as an activist…. She left a position as a tenured professor in Vermont to take the barely compensated job. And her move to New York produced something else beshert: her extraordinary partnership of 21 years with the organizer Leslie Cagan, with whom she shared deep ethical commitments, dedication to the movement, and a wicked sense of humor. Fittingly, they met for their first date at the Dyke March.

As a teenager, Melanie participated in the civil rights work of the Harlem Education Project, where, she once wrote of her first experience of the power of collective action: “I was hooked.” At [New York] City College in the 1960s, and then at graduate school in California (she earned a PhD in Comparative Literature at Berkeley), she joined the emerging feminist and lesbian liberation movements. Her work against domestic violence in Portland, Oregon in the 1970s was among the first in the country. She served on the steering committee of New Jewish Agenda, the national, multi-issue grassroots group that was active from 1980 to 1992, and co-chaired its Task Force on Anti-Semitism and Racism.

photo of Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz

Melanie’s pioneering writing and teaching developed alongside her activism. At Berkeley, she taught the first Women’s Studies course and she went on to teach in programs as diverse as Urban Studies, Race Theory, Public Policy, Gender and Queer Studies, and Jewish Studies. For five years she directed the Queens College/CUNY worker education center, which served mostly middle-aged women of color. She taught in the Bard College Prison Initiative. …

Melanie also had a profound impact on untold numbers who encountered her ideas through her writing, editing, and public talks. As co-editor of the groundbreaking lesbian feminist journal Sinister Wisdom in the 1980s, she helped amplify radical voices in a multitude of forms and from a range of underrepresented perspectives. In a special 1984 edition, for instance, she and co-editor Michaele Uccella, gave over the entire issue to an American nurse’s chronicle of her experience working at a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon at the time of Israel’s 1982 invasion. …

With The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women’s Anthology, which she co-edited with Irena Klepfisz, Melanie helped ignite a diverse, complex radical Jewish feminism for the late 20th Century. Her short story collection, My Jewish Face & Other Stories, offered a moving, humorous, deeply human portal to the urgent struggles of the 1980s. Her most recent book, The Colors of Jews, presciently historicized and decentered Jewish whiteness. These writings and others invigorated and challenged generations of activists, writers, and radical thought

Melanie calls out to us still, in an essay from her ferocious 1992 book The Issue is Power: “We are up against one of the most powerful, impenetrable machines of human history, our government,” she writes. “I am talking, ultimately, not only about preserving women’s choice, or fighting hate, or even about peace between Israel and Palestine, but about massive transformation of society. . . .The old activists of my childhood who were my models – now I become them.”

Excerpted from words by Esther Kaplan, Marilyn Kleinberg Neimark, Donna Nevel, & Alisa Solomon; read the full statement at jfrej.org.

Richard Brown

photo of Richard Brown

On June 21, 2018 we lost Richard Brown.  Former and forever Black Panther, grand jury resister, father, grandfather, and life long fighter for liberation. When he said, “All Power to the People” – he meant it!

Richard Brown was born on March 21, 1941 in Tulsa, Oklahoma and moved to San Francisco as a child.  He joined the Black Panther Party early on and was a tireless fighter for Black liberation, taking Point One of the BPP program to heart:  “We want Freedom.  We want the power to determine the destiny of our Black Community.”

He lived in the Fillmore for more than fifty years and was a mentor to countless young people.  He was instrumental in the Ella Hill Hutch Community Center, the African American Community Relations Board and the Community Court.

In the early 2000’s, after the passage of the Patriot Act, the FBI and San Francisco police reopened a cold case stemming from the murder of a police officer in 1971.  Richard was one of 8 Black activists who refused to testify in front of a grand jury and went to jail.  In 2007, the SFPD brought charges against 8 former BPP members and Richard went to jail again for over a year.  The eight were all in their 60s and 70’s, yet they refused to give in. After years of litigation and millions of dollars spent by the government to convict them, the charges were dropped. (see FreetheSF8.org)

In a speech advocating resistance to the grand jury, Richard said: “We in the SF8 understood full well that we could not say anything about anybody and expect any kind of justice.  I say hell no to the FBI, I say hell no to the grand jury, I say Hell No to the police. They’re the real terrorists!”

Richard was a fierce advocate for political prisoners and a spokesperson against racism, government misconduct and grand jury witchhunts. In 2014, he went to Geneva to testify about the issue of US political prisoners before the UN Human Rights Commission during their review of the US.

Richard was a humanist – he truly believed in the liberation of all people.  He was willing to listen and change. He loved science fiction and would watch anything that had zombies in it.  He loved his community and his children.

Even in the last years of his life, when he was hooked up to an oxygen machine, he would go to events, speak on panels and advocate for justice.  He was a fighter to the very end. He said:

“I can’t stop. If the people understand and take control like they can, they can turn this around and they will. As long as I can be effective and as long as I can try to continue to do that, I’m going to be working toward that. I guess I’m doing this out of love for the people and love for peace and freedom. And until we get it I’m going to continue to fight.”

We miss you, RB.

–Mirk