The Silence of Our Friends

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

chilling for a bit...

**to donna, sorry I keep forgetting to cross post my posts over here!!!!!

Well, it seems that I have finished everything that needs to be finished for the moment--I'm trying to calm down and enjoy a bit of a chill...

I joined that face book thing--I have no idea what it is supposed to do, I get the feeling you're supposed to stare at your wall all day, waiting for somebody to write on it. But then I just found out that you're not supposed to write on your own wall--so I really really don't know what the point is. But it looks cool and everything.

My upcoming trip to the USSF has been made completely possible by the generosity of donations--VeganKid has offered crash space, Frowner has made the blogging aspect possible, and multiple people have donated money so I could get a ticket and eat. I can't possibly thank everybody enough.
A note of thanks:


I never really thought about it before this weekend, but controlling the mobility of a people is a HUGE way to control the people. See this post (the videos for those of you who can't read persian) for commentary and videos of a petrol rationing by Iran (h/t to Maryam Namazi). And then this weekend I learned about CODEP's--work to bring alternative travel options to those who don't want to support paramilitaries (paramilitaries control the cab service, whenever you take a cab, you are supporting paramilitary action). And of course, there's the upcoming Indigenous blockade of Canadian rails.

It's made me consider how transportation is controlled in the U.S. How the people in the U.S. are controlled through their need for transportation--how those who don't have adequate reliable transportation are often restricted not just in their ability to be mobile--but also in their ability to attend school, have a job, get to a hospital/doctors office, go shopping, and so many other things. It made me think about how the poorest people in the U.S., those in rural and inner city areas, either don't have any transportation options at all, or the transportation is so unreliable, unsafe, and irregular--it's as good as not having transportation. It made me think about that scene in Smoke Signals where the women give the men a ride in their car--their car that only drives in reverse. It also made me think about how in the olden days, before computerized cars, Mexicans could fix any car problem with a little bit of tape and wire hanger.

What does it mean that these days, when a car breaks down, you have to pay corrupt mechanics 150$ an hour to fix something that could have been fixed with a piece of duct tape back in the day?

What does it mean that our transportation options are constantly restricted and controlled through gas prices, car seizures because of unpaid tickets, unaffordable car maintenance, underfunded public transportation, and unsafe neighborhoods (who's gonna walk to work in Flint Michigan at 5 AM)?

What would a feminist intervention into transportation in the community look like? I know Critical Mass has done some amazing work mobilizing around bike riding--but I can tell you right now--in Ann Arbor/Ypsi--only rich people ride bikes. They are the only ones that can afford to buy them, much less maintain them. But the community demand is there--we've had two bikes stolen in the past year. And trust me, these bikes were the equivalent of the Yugo. They were cheap, busted up, 70$ target bikes. One of them had one peddle and breaks that only worked if you shifted the bike into one of the upper gears first to slow it down. And it was still stolen.

How could radical minded folks make quality bikes available to the masses?

on a related note--read this:
Don’t drink the bottled water,
it’s stolen. It came from the mountain
and flowed through the town,
where people drank and swam,
where they pissed under the sun, where
they let their sewage collect downstream
where it quaked and stank
until the rains flooded
and swept the banks clean. Who
can deny it? Man is a beast.
He thirsts and goes mad without water.
His shit stinks, but water washes it away.
He raises his face to the warm rain
and heedlessly thanks the heavens.
Tell me, friend, who owns the clouds?
Who owns the time of day the rain falls?
Who owns the riverbed and the cracks in the earth?

More later--

2 comment(s):

I was actually kind of thinking about restrictions on travel in relation to flying. Airport restrictions are so everpresent these days, and every month it seems like there's another one. Is this making people reconsider travel? I would think so. And what does that mean?

Sometimes I wonder if they're just trying to see how much we'll bend over backwards for them.

Anyway, it's a really interesting post, thanks.

By Blogger lovelesscynic, at 7/01/2007 3:53 AM  

well.... bikes are a hell of a lot cheaper then cars, and plenty of poor folks have cars. hell, I've even managed to beg and borrow enough to get a truck recently after more then 10 years of biking or walking everywhere, just because there are some places you can't easily bike or walk or take public transportation too. and I'm about as broke as it's possible to be without being homeless...

still, there are a lot of great projects to make bikes available. one great project i ran into when i was hitchhiking through mineapolis some years back. I don't know if it's still going, but at the time there was a community bike library with bike depots around the city, mostly out in front of the many worker-owned businesses that dot Minneapolis. the bikes were nothing fancy, actually they were downright junky and all painted the same ugly yellow color, but for $15 a year you could get a membership to the bike library that allowed you to check out a bike for up to a week at a time. The bikes were all donated or built out of thrown-away parts by an all-volunteer crew that worked out of a community center that was (i think) owned by the Ojibwa tribe (whose reservation actually includes Minneapolis). the tribe provided the space free of charge and the program ran on virtually no funding. the $15 a year went to help cover parts for the bikes. The program was truly amazing and I'd like to see it duplicated elsewhere. there are lots of other models out there as well, what's lacking is people with the time, energy, and skills to make these programs a reality everywhere.

so there you have it, how radical-minded folks are providing bikes to the masses. =)


By Anonymous lynx, at 8/06/2007 9:20 PM  

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