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Telling Stories of

Resistance

Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network Zine


Formicidae

(aka ants)

There are 12,000 species but they are all in one family.

Alone, they are measly things. But together, they move
more earth than any other organism on this planet.

They do not refuse aid. If an ant is hungry and there is no
food, another ant will regurgitate to feed it.

This is not out of sympathy, nor is it a donation. It is action
rooted in the understanding that they are strongest when they
build, survive, and resist together.

Ants digging tunnels

“But it is not love and not even sympathy upon which Society is
based in mankind. It is the conscience—but only at the stage
of an instinct—of human solidarity.”

P. Kropotkin, Mutual Aid.


Resistance

The theme of this issue is resistance.
How do we resist? How can resistance
inspire us? How can resistance heal us?
How do we turn day to day resistance
into a movement?

In this movement, we talk a
lot about narrative. Here, we
place ourselves within that
narrative. In some ways, a
movement is just a group of
humans telling a new story.
Here are some of ours.

Contributors: Carolina Arias,
Garrett Blad, Abby Cunniff,
Morgan Curtis, Alexandra
Griffin, Trisha Hautea, Yin
Htin, Maya McDonnell,
Michaela Steiner,
Amy Wang.

Cover art by Sam Ho and
Catherine Walsh. Words by
Maya McDonnell.

Web coding and layout by Ben Wiley.

Power rose

Mother, tell me
a story.

Tell me what los gringos said
at the sight of your hair tangled
with the stories of many years,
when they saw the soil
of our ancestors painted on your nails
and the color of your kitchen
kissing your lips.

What did they think
when the herbs of your medicine
invited Pacha Mama's spirits
to dine with us?
What did they hear
when you opened your mouth
and offered a sea of
a thousand sighing fish?

You are a savage in their eyes,
you touched fear in every cell
and buttered doubt on their skin.

That is why you are caged.

Poor ignorant gringos,
they don't know.
Your power is stronger than bars.

Madre, cuéntame
una historia.

Cuéntame lo que te dijeron los gringos
al ver tu cabello enredado
con las historias de mil años,
cuando vieron la tierra de nuestros
ancestros pintando tus uñas
y los colores de tu cocina
besando tus labios.

¿Qué pensaron cuando
las hierbas de tu medicina
invitaron los espíritus
de la Pacha Mama
a cenar con nosotros?
¿Qué escucharon cuando
abriste tu boca
y se ofreció un mar
de mil peces suspirando?

Te vieron salvaje,
les tocaste terror en cada célula
y les untaste inseguridad
en la piel.

Por eso te enjualaron.

Pobres gringos ignorantes.
No entienden que tu poder
es más fuerte que las barras.

Zapatista Women, Ana Tijou X, Rigoberta Menchú, Mirabel Sisters, Juana Azurduy

Resistance

Resistance tastes like dark chocolate,
bitter, strong, but sweetened
with the hope of a just victory.

Resistance is the forest's song,
millions of furiously joyous voices
building a rhythm for the future.

Resistance is a scratch on soft skin,
sharp nail against a white body
dependent on the shade.

Resistance is freedom.

Resistencia

La Resistencia sabe a chocolate oscuro,
amargo, fuerte, pero azucarado
con la espenranza de una victoria justa.

La Resistencia es el canto de un bosque,
mil voces furiosamente alegres,
creando ritmo para el futuro.

La Resistencia es un raguño en piel suave,
uña fuerte contra un cuerpo blanco
acostumbrado a la sombra.

Resistencia es libertad.

Thoughts on inheriting and resisting - The Master's House -C.D.

Excerpts from: Federici, Silvia. Caliban and the Witch. New York: Autonomedia, 2004. Print.

Excerpt:

The criminalization of women's control over procreation is a phenomenon whose importance cannot be overemphasized, both from the viewpoint or its effect on women and its consequences for the capitalist organization of work. As is well documented through the Middle Ages women had possessed many means of contraception, mostly consisting of herbs which turned into potions and 'pessaries' (suppositories) were used to quicken a woman's period, provoke an abortion, or create a condition of sterility.

Thoughts:

Since committing myself to the fight for climate justice. My parents have been going through divorce. I can't seem to separate their relationship-and the power dynamics operating within it - from the inherited structures and institutions I am resisting in hopes for a more just world.

Excerpt:

In Eve's herbs: A History of contraception in the West (1997), the American historian John Riddle has given us an extensive catalogue of the substances that were most used and the effects expected of them or most likely to occur. The criminalization of contraception expropriated women from this knowledge that had been transmitted from generation to gene ration, giving them some autonomy with respect to child-birth.

Thoughts:

Memory: My dad beckoning my mom with his finger, making disgusting kissing noises and pleading with her to 'Give him some sugar.' She refuses. He approaches her, puts his hands on her and does not leave her alone until she gives him a kiss. I say nothing.

Excerpt:

It appears that, in some cases, this knowledge was not lost but was only driven underground; yet when birth control again made its appearance on the social scene, contraceptive methods were no longer of the type that women could use, but were specifically created for use by men.

Thoughts:

Years Later, I marvel at how I never questioned the power dynamics in my parents' relationship. My dad was the tyrant of the house and I learned how to be a chameleon under his reign. I kept quiet or slipped away to my room even as he treated my mom like a doormat.

Excerpt:

What demographic consequences followed from this shift is a question that for the moment I will not pursue, though I refer to Riddle's work for a discussion of this matter. Here I only want to stress that by denying women control over their bodies, the state deprived them of the most fundamental condition for physical and psychological integrity and degraded maternity to the status of forced labor, in addition to confining women to reproductive work in a way unknown in previous societies. Thoughts:

Memory: I am 18, and I tell my mom that I have gotten an intra-uterine device and that I am not sorry for not asking her, and dad because it is my body and I know they would have said no. My mom is quiet and I think I can see the familiar argentine catholicism tightening her lips, but she tells me that she and my dad had never used family planning. I ask her if she had wanted kids. She says no.

Excerpt

Looking at these phenomena from the vantage point of the present, after four centuries of capitalist disciplining of women, the answers may seem to impose themselves.

Thoughts:

I had a happy and privileged childhood. But I have realized that my house growing up felt like a literal version of 'The Master's House' - the term coined by Audre Lorde which refers to the interconnected systems of oppression-governed by the same capitalistic white supremacist and patriarchal rules. My mom, an immigrant woman with darker skin, suffered and resisted the most in this house.

Excerpt:

Though women's waged word, house work, and (paid) sexual work are still studied often in isolation from each other, we are now in a better position to see that the discrimination that women have suffered in the waged work-force has been directly rooted in their function as unpaid laborers in the home.

Thoughts:

Now I fight for divestment from within Yale's version of the Master's House (which deliberately emulate plantation houses from the old south) It's scary to realize that the systems in which I have always lived, loved and been inculcated actively depend - and have always depended - on violence and exploitation of most people. How do I resist all of these systems which have been so historically ordained?

Excerpt:

We can thus connect the banning of prostitution and the expulsion of women from the organized workplace with the creation of the housewife and the reconstruction of the family as the locus for the production of labor-power...' 'Soon all female work if done in the home, was defined as 'housekeeping', and even when done outside the home it was paid less than men's work, and never enough for women to be able to live by it.

Thoughts:

My mom left my dad this past summer. She left a note. My dad didn't see it coming. After thirty years of treating my mom like shit he realizes how lucky he was.  My mom has broken away from a long historical lineage of female subordination and oppression.

Excerpt:

Marriage was now seen as a woman's true career and women's inability to support themselves was taken so much for granted, that when a single woman tried to settle in a village, she was driven away even if she earned a wage. Combined with land dispossession, this loss of power with regard to wage employment led to the massification of prostitution.

Thoughts:

My dad has since stopped drinking. He started running and doing yoga. What? yes. He says he wants to transition into living 'leading with the heart' now. While I am not still convinced he sees my mom as a real person yet, I have never been so disoriented by-or close with-my dad.

My mom's resistance and my dad's heart give me strength, clarity and hope to ask the big questions. How do we make a just transition into a new economy, a new world, with the work of love and not violence how do I reconcile my love for my dad with my anger at the master's house?

Yin Htin is a climate justice organizer with Fossil Free SFSU and the Divestment Student Network. Currently a senior at San Francisco State University, Yin is an international student from Burma who first came to the U.S. alone at the age of 17. This past summer, she worked as a Fossil Free Fellow at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) in Richmond, CA. With APEN, Yin facilitated political education and leadership development workshops for community members, helped organize the Richmond Our Power Festival, and attended Bay Area Air Quality Management Board (BAAQMD) meetings to push for stronger air quality controls on Richmond's Chevron refinery.

Amy: From your experience working with APEN, what purpose would you say the organization serves in the communities it organizes?

Yin: APEN is a community organization in Richmond and Oakland that really works to create a just transition away from our current exploitative economy towards smaller, local economies that actually care about people and not just profit. The organization does focus on environmental justice, but I was really grateful to see that they're not just fighting for the environment but for all social justice issues, including racial justice and housing justice.

A: Was this your first time working in a frontline community?

Y: Yes, it was!

A: How did organizing with members of frontline communities change the way you approach your divestment work?

Y: Working with APEN really gave me new perspective on the meaning of climate justice—though APEN doesn't center divestment, it really does focus on just transition and reinvestment, which are both important next steps towards climate justice after we win divestment. It also made me think differently about building power and creating change, like I really liked how APEN works at all levels of power, from doing leadership development within the community to mobilizing members to lobby California state legislators. They aren't just trying to make change in the boardroom like a lot of divestment campaigns do, but they're actually empowering community members. Through my organizing, I've been able to understand how important it is to show people that they have the power to fight injustice, even if they've been disempowered their entire lives.

A: What was your experience entering and working in a community that was so new to you?

Y: At APEN, even though we were organizing around pan-Asian solidarity, I still saw myself as different from the community members. They were majority Chinese immigrants, with some Mien and Laotian refugees, but there was nobody from Burma. I don't think I had a very strong relationship to any of the community members because I didn't speak their languages, but I really enjoyed working with them during political education workshops at APEN academy and other events like the Our Power Festival!

A: Did APEN's explicit focus on racial justice change the way you see climate justice or organizing?

Y: Definitely. I hadn't thought much about race when I started divestment organizing, but since being in spaces for people of color at APEN and the DSN and fellowship POC Caucuses, I've realized how few people of color there are in divestment work. Being in these spaces has helped me open up and share more about the ways I've felt different or insecure about my race and certain cultural differences. It also taught me about how important it is to organize low-income communities of color, which are most vulnerable to climate change but have so much power to push the just transition forward.

A: We've talked a lot about how your experiences organizing in the U.S. have affected how you relate to climate justice, but I'm curious to know if your experience growing up in Burma also motivated you to do climate justice work?

Y: Yeah, Burma has suffered a lot from both environmental injustice and climate change. Recently, there was heavy flooding across the country, where almost two-thirds of the country experienced flooding, and a lot of people died. One of the main reasons for this flooding was that the Burmese government started cutting down rainforests to export the timber to China. With all of the deforestation, there's no more natural barrier to storms, and scientists say that, because of climate change, we should expect these storms to get more and more intense in the future. China also has plans to build a dam on our largest river, which would displace all of the local people in the area. For now, the government's stopped dam construction, but they still have a contract to move forward with the project. When I think about Burma, I really see the need for people to rise up and fight back against injustice.

A: What are some challenges of organizing people in Burma?

Y: The political situation in Burma right now is really difficult. I have a lot of hope for the climate justice movement in the U.S., especially after meeting so many incredible people here who are devoting their lives to the movement, but in Burma, people are too scared of challenging the government to really organize. On Facebook, I'll post about the upcoming Burmese elections or about injustice in my country, and I'll have friends and family members tell me to stop. They think that the government could be monitoring me, and that they might even throw me in jail when I get back. I understand where they're coming from, because I grew up in the same culture of fear— like when I was young, all my parents would ever say about the government is that there's nothing to be done because they're too powerful. I know that's not true, and we have the power to fight back, but I do think that the current government makes it very dangerous.

A: You're currently in your senior year at SFSU—do you know where you want to live post-graduation?

Y: I think it really depends on how the upcoming elections in Burma go, because I really don't trust the current government and that's partly why I came to the U.S. If the political situation gets better, I want to go back to my country to organize the people there, but if I can get a work permit, I would love to continue organizing for climate justice in the U.S. Recently, I've thought a lot about how everywhere I've been—even democratic countries like the U.S.— there's always injustice and people who are doing nothing about it because they don't think they have the power to fight back. It makes me really emotional, but it also makes me resilient. We're the generation that has no choice but to fight injustice. And we have to fight back.

Reverberations

Solid as a rock, rooted as a tree, I am here, standing strong, in my rightful place.

Rockaway Wildfire

Why are we in this situation, in this situation that brings us down? Can't you see we are losing patience, we are lsoing patience with oppression now? The people will rise (x6)

Nelini Stamp

We who believe in freedom CANNOT REST until it's won.

Ella's Song by Sweet Honey in the Rock

People gonna RISE like the water, gonna calm this crisis down. I hear the voice of my great granddaughter, sayin shut down wall street NOW.

written by Luke Nephew (Peace Poets) for Flood Wall Street

I am SOMEBODY and I deserve full equality right here RIGHT NOW.

Get Equal

They told us it was over, they told us the world gets colder, they told us too much on our shoulders, we believe that we will win..

Umi Selah (Dream Defenders)

I'm MAD but I ain't stressing.

King Kunta by Kendrick Lamar

Do we want to make more feminists or DESTROY the patriarchy?

Darkmatter

“look over here”
by Garrett Blad
'Look Over Here' by Garrett Blad

The white boy told me that he should be in front. He told me, "Well we're trying to serve as barriers from the police! We [white allies] should be in the front!
We're protecting people. We need to be in the front!"
I asked him if he didn't realize how problematic that statement was coming from him.
And if he couldn't see his white savior complex perspective. [He wasn't asked to stand in front]
I'm here to save you because you're so helpless. You need me.
The martyr mentality is so prevalent in activist spheres.

There's a way to be an ally without taking the voice away from those who were (and are) actually aggrieved.

Pushing buttons makes one cede their privilege, which is what the so-called "white allies" didn't want.
Classic "have your cake and eat it too" syndrome.

They were afraid of what others would think if they spoke up, so who cares if we push buttons?
Isn't that the point? It's so easy to feel good about yourself and say you're participating yet being able to hide it when it's convenient: being able to say you want to talk about issues and backing away when it comes to truly confronting it.

The issue of race and white privilege may make you upset.
You can show up to protests, or be part of the same type of collective that attempts to talk about the very issue of race.
It won't affect you because the problem isn't in front of you.
You didn't witness or experience violence.

You weren't dehumanized.
You don't have a child who was left to bleed or (unjustly) shot multiple times
Simply because of the color of the skin he was born in.
Your body will never be criminalized.
You haven't seen people you love lose their lives
From unnecessary violence and animosity.

That's not to say that some of us haven't either...but this is an issue that needs to be spoken about because everyone deserves the right to life, equality, and justice.

We need to talk about those who have been forgotten and disregarded as human beings
Who have lost their lives to corruption, hatred, and racism.
We cannot allow it to happen any longer.

We shouldn't be afraid to speak and raise the volume around campuses
About the issues that exist. We cannot be afraid because someone will get their feelings hurt.
You shouldn't give yourself brownie points for being a decent person.

It goes beyond "being aware" of one's privilege. It's about listening. It's about understanding.
Learning to be a proper "ally," standing behind, raising the voices of black people of color, and not allowing your voice to drown out those who need to be heard.

Remember
"All lives matter" = "White lives matter"
Society knows this.
We don't need to be reminded.

By Trisha Hautea

Academic direction, a test in surrender
imprints itself on my gender.
Crimson check marks inducing fixed scars,
the elasticity of hegemony keeps resistance in bars.
It seeps in through the cracks of curriculum,
A study in uniformity, capitalism blows mind loopholes on a replay continuum.
We will grow through the breaks,
Opening our souls to buried histories at stake.
implanted in the namelessness of silence, we will unearth violations of being.
We will speak our truths and feel our thoughts freeing.
Our hearts beating,
to the tick tock of a curative repeating.

'On Sale' by Alexandra Griffin
by Alexandra Griffin