Category Archives: Current Events

Honoring the Life and Death of Pipeline Saboteur, James Leroy Marker

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VIA Sabal Trail Pipeline Resistance

The story is still unfolding about a man who lost his life to police bullets after an act of sabotage that disabled a section of Sabal Trail pipeline construction in Marion County last week, on February 26, 2017.

We know that there will be more to say in the coming days or weeks, as family and friends come forward with stories of James’ life. But we felt a need to acknowledge what has happened while the incident is fresh on peoples’ minds and questions are surfacing around his motivations, the value of the actions he took and the response of law enforcement.

First off, it must be noted that his action effectively disabled recent construction activity in a highly controversial area, mere miles from the crossing of preserves including Pruitt, Halpata Tastanaki and the Marjorie Carr Greenway, with sensitive wetlands and endangered species being impacted. This includes land which survived the decades-long Cross Barge Canal battle, only to be torn up for this pipeline.

Pipeline representatives have indicated that they anticipated getting this section in the ground early this week, but will no longer be able to do so as a result of the damage.

Second, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office has released an updated statement confirming that in the interaction with Marker, “no law enforcement officer was injured or fired at.” But we have not heard any statement from the Sheriff on plans to release dash-cam video footage that would justify their use of deadly force against Marker. While his act may have been destructive to property, there is no evidence of it being physically violent. At this point, the primary element of danger in the situation appears to be in the police decision to initiate a high-speed chase.

And lastly, while few details of Markers life are available publicly, we have learned that he was known by friends as a lover of the Earth and humanity, that he was a military veteran, that he participated in environmental/social advocacy, and that he was a father.

We understand that there are complex feelings among those who have been part of fighting this pipeline, and while we don’t wish to dismiss difficult conversations, we feel that focusing on honoring the sacrifice Marker made to take a stand against this pipeline is of a greater immediate importance than debating the strategy, tactics or morality of his action.

We send our sincere condolences to friends and family of Marker. If there is a public memorial site or event in the future, we will do our best to let folks know about it.


Villain Hitting and Politics

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Paper tigers used in villain hitting. Credit: SoHome Jacaranda Lilau

The Guardian has an interesting article about villain hitters in Hong Kong, who are professional sorcerers specializing in curse magic. They are mostly elderly women, and they typically set up shop in stalls under bridges:

At roadside stalls with burning incense and an assortment of statues of deities, the sorcerers hit a paper effigy with their shoe while cursing the villain in question. If there is a specific target, patrons can write a name on the paper or bring a photo.

Once it has been beaten to shreds, the sorcerers rub the remains with a slab of pork fat and burn it. They then chant for good fortune, and all for just HK$50 (£5.25). […] The ritual originated centuries ago, when farmers in southern China performed the ceremony to drive away evil spirits. […] Aside from hexing enemies, the women advertise spells to cure illness, stop babies from crying, help souls crossover and even [sic] contact dead ancestors for marital advice.

Apparently, patrons have been targeting politicians lately: “As his popularity plummeted, Hong Kong’s leader, Leung Chun-ying, has been increasingly in the crosshairs of the roadside retribution vendors.”

A stream of people have brought Leung’s photo to be hit, Wong said, but she would not take credit for his decision not to seek a second term in elections next year. Tourists from neighbouring Taiwan have also stopped at her shrine, paying to curse their former president Ma Ying-jeou.

Political tension in Hong Kong exploded two years ago, resulting in nearly three months of street protests, road occupations and constant calls for Leung to step down led by what became know as the umbrella movement.

“People felt depressed and powerless in the immediate aftermath of the umbrella movement, as even such a large scale mobilisation failed to bring about any observable change,” said Mathew Wong, a politics professor at the University of Hong Kong.

Villain hitting offers another type of power. In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche, “the concept of politics will have then merged entirely into a war of spirits…there will be wars such as the earth has never seen.”

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Canal Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. Credit: Foouaichaou


An emergency call from so-called North Dakota

I received this text in an email, and would like to share it with anyone reading this blog.

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An emergency call from so-called North Dakota to all witches, pagans, and co-conspirators of earth centered spiritual faith to join us in resistance

This is a call. Not to be heard, but felt. A call to be moved. A call to action.

Many of you now know of the struggle of the Standing Rock Sioux and innumerable other indigenous nations against the Black Snake called Dakota Access Pipeline. The prayer and action camp at Standing Rock has been sustaining a vibrant community in resistance to the pipeline since the spring, slowing down construction and withstanding militarized police harassment on a near daily basis. The 20 mile injunction placed on construction by the federal government has been lifted, and construction is now within just 6 miles of the Mni Sose River and the encampment. The battle has entered its most decisive moment.

Our indigenous relatives from across Turtle Island have come here to continue a struggle that has been kept alive for over half a millennium. They have come here as the original and sovereign land tenders, earth defenders, and water protectors of this place. As the original walkers of the path of right relationship. They have come here to take back power and to show leadership in the fight against exploitation and commodification, against the culture of colonization and inquisition, and for a healthy and bountiful world.

We are humbled and inspired by their initiatives, and unconditionally support them. Now is the time for us as allies in this anti-colonial struggle, to call upon our fellow comrades to join us on the battlefield.

To all who pray to our Earth and the water that cleanses her and brings forth life. To all who cast a circle and call in the elements, spirits, gods and goddesses, and deities; who ask for guidance from the spirit world. To those who listen to the ancestors as our descendants lay and wait. To those who align themselves with the cycles of the moon, the seasons, and the tides. For whom the cycle of life and death does not instill fear and aggression, but strength and comfort. To all who know how to listen.

It is time now witches, to deepen our work not only of casting spells and hexes, but of breaking them. We call forth the de-spelling of individualism, empire, spectacle, domestication, and whiteness.

It is time now witches to join us. Join us in spirit and join us in humility on this land. Bring your magick. Bring your prayers. Bring your bodies to the frontlines to protect all of creation. Come ready to take decisive action to kill this Black Snake. Come ready to follow in the path of indigenous warriors. We call you to join a frontline battle in a spiritual war that has been raging for centuries. A war against a dead civilization for all life on earth.

If you cannot come in body, take action from afar; the form of life of our enemies pervades all around us. If you cannot come, pray, cast, gather the coven, go to the wild, hold ritual, plan attacks. Ground yourself and continue to do the work. Continue to be moved.

We toss you a bundle of thread sweet witches, from the beautiful homelands of the Oceti Sakowin in each direction. It is the thread of centuries of resistance. Weave with it.

-A Clandestine Coven at Standing Rock


TWH: Warriorship and State Monopoly of Violence

gavin and micah

My July essay for The Wild Hunt was written as a devotee of war gods with the purpose of examining various theories about the State’s monopoly of violence, counter-insurgency and warriorship. It was written in the aftermath of the killing five police officers during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Dallas July 7 and the killing of three police officers in Baton Rouge July 17, the same city where Alton Sterling was killed July 5.


The Wild Hunt: 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising

My latest article for The Wild Hunt is now up. It’s an interview with P. Sufenas Virius Lupus and Morpheus Ravenna about the centennial anniversary of the Easter Rising in Ireland, Cú Chulainn, “the Irish heroic ethos” and more.


R.I.P. Akai Gurley

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Chinese-Americans have been rallying in support of Peter Liang, a former NYPD cop who was recently convicted of killing Akai Gurley, an unarmed black man, in 2014.

As an individual of Chinese descent, I feel duty-bound to make it clear that I DO NOT support Peter Liang, and that I think the movement in his defense is anti-black.

All Chinese people of honor and integrity should align themselves in solidarity with black people and against the police, as they did briefly in Oakland in 2014:

oakland chinatown solidarity

 


Canonization of Junipero Serra

In March, I reposted the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band’s open letter to Pope Francis expressing their opposition to the canonization of Junipero Serra, the founder of the California mission system which led to the death of many tens of thousands of indigenous people and the suppression of their cultures. Today, the Pope disregarded the numerous objections of indigenous people and went ahead with the canonization.

Valentin Lopez, chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, was quoted on CNN for his reaction:

“We’re stunned and we’re in disbelief,” said Valentin Lopez, 63, chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band located along Monterey Bay in California.

“We believe saints are supposed to be people who followed in the life of Jesus Christ and the words of Jesus Christ. There was no Jesus Christ lifestyle at the missions,” Lopez said, who has campaigned against sainthood for Serra.

Back in February, Valentin Lopez wrote about the implications that this canonization would have:

Speaking on behalf of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, we would like you to know that should you go forward with your announced intentions to canonize Serra, please know that we rescind the request we made in our letters to you for a mass of reconciliation.

The canonization of Serra will be a clear message to our Tribe that the church does not care about our true history or our historic trauma.

Furthermore, please know that if Fr. Serra is canonized, the Amah Mutsun reject the diverse apology offered by Pope John Paul to all indigenous people as our Tribe can only conclude that his apology, which was an apology ostensibly on behalf of the catholic church, was meaningless and insincere.

More of Valentin Lopez’s writings on this subject can be found at the Amah Mutsun’s “Opposition to Serra Sainthood” page.

CNN also interviewed Deborah Miranda of the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Nation:

Fifty different tribes in California condemned the sainthood conferred on Serra, said Deborah Miranda, a literature professor at Washington and Lee University in Virginia and a member of the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Nation of California. She wrote “Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir,” a book about her ancestors’ experiences in the Spanish missions.

My objection and the objection of many California Indians is that he is being honored for in fact dishonoring many of our California ancestors. The missions ended up killing about 90% of the California Indians present at the time of missionization, creating all kinds of cultural and emotional baggage that we still carry to this day,” Miranda said. “It’s not a question of attacking the Catholic Church or attacking Pope Francis. It’s about making sure that the truth is heard and that injustices are not continued on into the 21st century.

But the Native American campaign to stop Serra’s canonization never gained an audience in Rome, Miranda said.

“We have gotten zero response from the Vatican, not a word. We do not exist, it seems, in Pope Francis’ world,” Miranda said. “They’re interested in his record and in how many people he managed to convert and in the fact that he at this point in time is a famous Spanish person when the church really needs some positive PR, so they are purposely overlooking the deaths and the cultural genocide of Native American people because it’s to their benefit.”