Remember your history, know your enemies and cherish your allies.
There is a difference between DIY and punk.
There is a difference between friends and allies.
There is a difference between dreaming and doing.
You are either the problem or the solution.
You can sit in shit or try to fix it.
Smash the pity party, kill the cute.
27th of June 2013, arrest of Irina was prolonged until 2nd of October. She was arrested 2nd of July 2012, so now Irina has already spent more than one year in prison without a court! Arrest of Irina was prolonged due to dubious claims of her alleged “victims” that they still have not acquintanced themselves with the results of the investigation.
Irina is accused of having taken part to an armed assault against a Nazi concert in Moscow club “Barrikada” the day she was arrested. She has been charged with three felonies, including “hooliganism, committed by a group and with a preliminary intent” and “involving minors to a felony hate crime”, as one of the persons arrested with her was 17 years old at the moment of the arrest.
Irina was arrested just few days after her graduation from the Journalist Faculty of the Moscow State University. She needs a medical care for her hand, as she was stabbed by Nazis during a fight in 1st of May of 2011, but in remand prison she may not receive proper medical care.
During the remand court session of 27th of June, Irina was strong and showed that system is not about to crush her. She is also not in a need of material support. However moral support is necessary, full year of remand prison is hard for anyone and during the investigation she has been betrayed by some of her former comrades.
Historical writing always has some effect on us. It may reinforce passivity; it may activate us. In any case, the historian cannot choose to be neutral; he writes on a moving train. Sometimes, what he tells may change a person’s life. In May1968 I heard a Catholic priest, on trial in Milwaukee for burning the records of a draft board, tell (I am paraphrasing) how he came to that act:
I was trained in Rome. I was quite conservative, never broke a rule in seminary. Then I read a book by Gordon Zahn called German Catholics and Hitler’s War. It told how the Catholic Church carried on its normal activities while Hitler carried on his. It told how SS men went to mass, then went out to round up Jews. That book changed my life. I decided the church must never behave again as it did in the past; and that I must not.
This is unusually clear. In most cases, where people turn in new directions, the causes are so complex, so subtle, that they are impossible to trace. Nevertheless, we all are aware of how in one degree or another, things we read or heard changed our view of the world or how we must behave. We know there have been many people who themselves did not experience evil, but who became persuaded that it existed, and that they must oppose it. What makes us human is our capacity to reach with our mind beyond our immediate sensory capacities, to feel in some degree what others feel totally, and then perhaps to act on such feelings.
I start therefore, from the idea of writing history in such a way as to extend human sensibilities, not out of this book into other books, but into the going conflict over how people shall live and whether they shall live.
I am urging value-laden historiography. For those who still rebel at this-despite my argument that this does not determine answers, only questions; despite my plea that aesthetic work, done for pleasure, should always have its place; despite my insistence that our work is value-laden whether we choose or not-let me point to one area of American education where my idea has been accepted. I am speaking of “Black Studies,” which, starting about 1969, began to be adopted with great speed in the nation’s universities.
These multiplying Black Studies programs do not pretend to just introduce another subject for academic inquiry. They have the specific intention of so affecting the consciousness of black and white people in this country as to diminish for both groups the pervasive American belief in black inferiority.
This deliberate attempt to foster racial equality should be joined, I am suggesting, by similar efforts for national and class equality. This will probably come, as the Black Studies programs not by a gradual acceptance of the appropriate arguments, but by a crisis so dangerous as to demand quick changes in attitude. Scholarly exhortation is, therefore, not likely to initiate a new emphasis in historical writing, but perhaps it can support and ease it.
What kind of awareness moves people in humanistic directions, and how can historical writing create such awareness such movement? I can think of five ways in which history can be useful. That is only a rough beginning. 1 don’t want to lay down formulas. There will be useful histories written that do not fit into preconceived categories. I want only to sharpen the focus for myself and others who would rather have their writing guided by human aspiration than by professional habit.
Refugees from Amerika: A Gay Manifesto (1970) by Carl Wittman
San Francisco is a refugee camp for homosexuals. We have fled here from every part of the nation, and like refugees elsewhere, we came not because it is so great here, but because it was so bad there. By the tens of thousands, we fled small towns where to be ourselves would endanger our jobs and any hope of a decent life; we have fled from blackmailing cops, from families who disowned or ‘tolerated’ us; we have been drummed out of the armed services, thrown out of schools, fired from jobs, beaten by punks and policemen.
And we have formed a ghetto, out of self-protection. It is a ghetto rather than a free territory because it is sill theirs. Straight cops patrol us, straight legislators govern us, straight employers keep us in line, straight money exploits us. We have pretended everything is OK, because we haven’t been able to see how to change it - we’ve been afraid.
In the past year there has been an awakening of gay liberation ideas and energy. How it began we don’t know; maybe we were inspired by black people and their freedom movement; we learned how to stop pretending form the hip revolution. Amerika in all its ugliness has surfaced with the war and our national leaders. And we are revulsed by the quality of our ghetto life.
Where once there was frustration, alienation, and cynicism, there are new characteristics among us. We are full of love for each other and are showing it; we are full of anger at what has been done to us. And as we recall all the self-censorship and repression for so many years, a reservoir of tears pours out of our eyes. And we are euphoric, high, with the initial flourish of a movement.
We want to make ourselves clear: our first job is to free ourselves; that means clearing our heads of the garbage that’s been poured into them. This article is an attempt at raising a number of issues, and presenting some ideas to replace the old ones. It is primarily for ourselves, a starting point of discussion. If straight people of good will find it useful in understanding what liberation is about, so much the better.
It should also be clear that these are the views of one person, and are determined not only by my homosexuality, but my being white, male, middle class. It is my individual consciousness. Our group consciousness will evolve as we get ourselves together - we are only at the beginning.