Racism and Hope

I went to a talk tonight about prisons and racism. It was a panel discussion followed by a lively 
community dialogue. 
It got me thinking a lot about who the Nazis really are. And really, I have more background in common with them than I do with my representatives in congress. More than almost anyone I see on TV. Maybe even more than with the average Evergreen student.
They are just poor white kids, ripped off of the opportunities they want, and buying into a lie about the reasons for that. They are no more the problem with this country than soldiers are
the problem in Iraq. 
Sometimes I have a great sense of hopelessness. Neonazis are just the tip of the iceberg. I think a great many people are pretty happy with racism, so long as its not directed at them. Regular, respectable people. Even people of color. This depresses me.
I want so much for us to have something better than this-better than racial profiling, detention of Arabs, police brutality, ghettoization, English-only education, Indian casinos, supermax prisons, and poor white kids putting on Hitler outfits and assaulting their neighbors.
I want us to rise up and take some of what we've earned. But I don't think that's possible without the help of the same kids who are going to be down at the Capitol building on Monday waving a swastica flag like a bunch of 
buffoons. And I don't think its possible so long as many people condemn those kids but secretly snicker at racist jokes, and secretly thank God for white privelege landing them a job with benefits.
We can have better than this.
 I have to find hope that its possible and even probable that these nazi kids are going to wake up and start using their white power for good not evil. They are my people, and realizing this both saddens and inspires me.


The New Manium (Update)

I recieved this comment from wolvesinthethroneroom:

Jade. Its Nathan Weaver. Remember me? Mayday, Options etc. I am the manager at Manium and have been since it opened. I have to say that everything in your post is completely inaccurate. Devin True style professional promoting? Another Bar Code? $500 person capacity? We are doing all the booking? This is all news to me…. I hope you know that I’d never be involved with such lameness.
I would just write you and explain further but I cant figure out how to do that on this weird website.
But for the record everything you said is totally not true. If you want to call me please feel free...

Wow, I feel like a real asshole. Maybe I should spend more time listening to people I know in real life rather than copying and pasting every stupid rumor I read on MySpace and commenting on it. Apologies to the Manium, (old and new) and my friend Nathan Weaver who I've known since I was seven.


Outdoor Movie

I think it would be great to have an outdoor showing of the Great Dictator one night during the upcoming NSM rally.
Its a very funny movie.

We would need:
  • A downtown apartment or office we could project the movie from.
  • A projector.
  • A copy of the film.



Recently, a neo-nazi was posting on Olyblog, and at some point he mentioned that the National Socialist Movement answers to the SCA in Washington state. He was in fact, not talking about the Society for Creative Anachronism, but nonetheless it caused a bit of confusion for those of us who don't fancy ourselves part of the neo-nazi scene. I got a good laugh, though, imagining Jim Ramm and his little battalion standing and saluting before an Arthurian council.
I got to thinking...

Key similarities between the National Socialist Movement and the Society for Creative Anachronism:

  • Both are organizations for geeky white people.
  • Both are Eurocentric.
  • Both have pretend hierarchies that they are obsessively committed to.
  • Both fancy historical garb, weapons-collecting, and practice fighting.
  • Both discourage real killing, though in the SCA maiming or murdering your opponent will actually disqualify you from membership.

Key Differences between the NSM and SCA:

  • SCA stresses historical accuracy, whereas the NSM denies the holocaust.
  • SCA members recognize that having your own kingdom is just a fantasy, albeit a time-consuming and expensive one.
  • You don't actually have to be white to be in the SCA. I was just joking about that.
  • There is such thing as a cute, lovable nerd. NSMers do not fit this profile, SCAers often do.
  • SCA members have better vocabularies. For instance, ruffle an NSM member and you might hear: "Eat n**ger sh*t, you k*ke-loving, c*nt-eating lesbian commie b*tch." or on the internet, you might get 4 pages of "HEIL HITLER!!!!"s. Whereas an SCA member might say, "Lick my blood-boltered leather, thou lumpish, reeky, tardy-gaited codpiece!" , and they'd rather settle disputes in the ring with a wooden sword than by crapflooding.
  • The SCA is a good way to make friends. The NSM is a good way to be taken advantage of by crazy sociopaths, beat up by SHARPs, and further alienated from society.
Would not the SCA be a more appropriate group for dejected white outcasts of Olympia to take part in? I encourage neonazi visitors to this site to check out the SCA website. You might find that participation in a good, educational hobby is plenty white powerful.


Why the Iraq War is a Local Issue

I've been hammering on this issue for so long, but Phil just made this great post on Olyblog that really summed it up.
Its incredibly frustrating for me to hear people complain about our local government addressing the war, arguing that it is not within their sphere of governance. As if we can draw some sort of iron curtain between something so huge as this conflict and our own individual lives. Like the war is something that exists only in imaginary places like Newsweek and blue maps of the globe. Don't people get it?
There is nothing in this world except localities, connecting to other localities, and when they form a huge web, and something huge enough happens that it touches many of the localities, we call that an "international issue". These places that we hear of in Iraq are all local. Tikrit is somebody's sweet little town. Fallujah is somebody's beloved city.
This is part of the beauty of the Blogosphere. There is something both so chilling and so real about the fact that you can read someone's diary from across the world. Not someone who's diary gets published by Penguin- but one regular person's undiscovered thoughts, among thousands. We are starting to get it that we live here together. Baghdad is not an imaginary place. And neither is Olympia.

Phil's post, titled Support Your Troops, originally posted on Olyblog:

In the last three years since the start of the Iraq War, it has become common to see anti-war protesters standing on opposing street corners from pro-war activists. Sometimes there are visible differences of clothing and hairstyles. Generally the differing worldviews, above and beyond opinions on the war, are strong enough that you can taste them.

Both sides, however, have latched onto one common slogan: “Support Our Troops!”

This slogan is bandied about on either side of the street as though the other side somehow doesn’t get it. In spite of their fervor many of the rally attendees have, no doubt, stepped over the bodies of disabled veterans while walking to the rallies.

I got a call the other day from the Ranger newspaper asking if Bread & Roses had seen any veterans from the Iraq War yet. We haven't. I had to be honest with the reporter. I told her that it takes time for troops' families to give up on them.

People come home from war totally mangled in mind, body, and spirit. In spite of all the sloganeering out there, the responsibility for the welfare of veterans ultimately falls on their families. Many, many families are unable to shoulder the responsibility. This doesn't make them bad or irresponsible, nor does it mean that they don't love their veteran. It DOES mean that taking care of a person who doesn't sleep at night, who suffers from flashbacks, who turns to alcohol for solace, and who becomes sorely irritable, even prone to fits of rage, is EXTREMELY difficult and should not fall on family alone. But it does fall on family alone, because everyone else is too busy sloganeering.

With time, the families give up. I know this because we at Bread & Roses have fed, sheltered, comforted, and advocated for veterans of every war from World War II to the Persian Gulf War. And we are criticized for it.

Veterans who suffer from PTSD often turn to alcohol or drugs to ward off bad memories, as well as to blunt their emotional response to being alienated from society. Imagine enduring the horrors of war for your nation, and then being left to rot in the gutter as a reward. You’d start drinking too.


Residents of New Orleans protest in a neighborhood of affluence the city's move to turn low-income housing into mixed-income housing. Many of the already poor people of New Orleans lost everything in the hurricane. They are in danger of being gentrified out of the urban area during reconstruction.


Poll of the Week

Where do you think Nazis in Olympia go for fun? I mean, when they're not hosting hate rallies, they must hang out somewhere.
(NSMers: Please feel free to respond. I know there are a couple of you who actually live here.)

Heritage Park's Romantic Restaurant

I went and walked around Capitol Lake last night. I have some mixed feelings about Heritage Park, but there are many things I really like about it. I like the nutria, I like the apostrophe-shaped thing that goes out over the water, I like the brick sidewalks and little wooded spots. I don't know if I like them in the range of the 18 million dollars that it cost, but I like them.
Wandering around at dusk, I ended up over by the old train depot. (That white building off Water St. by the train tracks) I think the General Administration offices used to be housed there, but right now nothing is housed there except some spiders, and possibly a skillful squatter or two. It is totally deserted. I have no idea why.
I looked in the windows and it is actually really nice inside as well. It seems like a terrible waste of great real estate.
It would make a really beautiful restaurant. If I ran it, the restaurant would be cheap, yet romantic. That is something we have a lack of in Olympia, I think. Romantic places. I know the idea of a romantic restaurant is not very revolutionary. But it would be so nice.
Besides the obvious it-being-on-a-lake, there are some other factors with great romantic potential there.
The location is very romantic. Its not really on a street. Its more on the park itself, so it would has this very comforting style where you could sort of accidentally wander upon the restaurant. Romantic as hell.
You could use the back parking lot (currently piles of dirt and rubble) for a veranda. We need more places with outdoor seating in this town. Outdoor seating is so romantic.
Its also next to the raiload tracks so the occasional little train might come drifting by at 2 miles per hour and you could watch them coupling cars in the "yards", and then heading off through the tunnel, towards the Port. Its all romance.
Since the property is owned by the state of Washington, maybe the revenue from the restaurant could be used for some sort of project. Maybe the place could be a vocational program- staffed by kids coming out of foster care, or folks transitioning off the streets.
Maybe you could order New Orleans red beans and rice for $1.50 per plate, making the place accessible to the frugal and humble alike. Somehow it must be in keeping with the Olympia Way: "Inclusive and empowering."(Crenshaw Sepulveda)


New Rules Project

Rick posted this on Olyblog:

The New Rules Project:

Why New Rules?

Because the old ones don't work any longer. They undermine local economies, subvert democracy, weaken our sense of community, and ignore the costs of our decisions on the next generation.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) proposes a set of new rules that builds community by supporting humanly scaled politics and economics. The rules call for:

  • Decisions made by those who will feel the impact of those decisions.
  • Communities accepting responsibility for the welfare of their members and for the next generation.
  • Households and communities possessing or owning sufficient productive capacity to generate real wealth.

These are the principles of "new localism." They call upon us to begin viewing our communities and our regions not only as places of residence, recreation and retail but as places that nurture active and informed citizens with the skills and productive capacity to generate real wealth and the authority to govern their own lives.


South Central Urban Farm

44 people were arrested yesterday at South Central Urban Farm, the largest urban farm in the country. They were obstructing the crews that had arrived to bulldoze the farm for development. Over 300 Los Angeles residents farm this 14-acre green in the middle of one of the most sprawling concrete places on earth. In this city, breathable air and fresh produce can be expensive to come by. For the residents of South Central, this farm is more than a beloved neighborhood attraction. It is the fruit of their hard work, and the source of their family's sustainance. The sign in the picture reads "Destroy the Farm, Destroy our Humanity". It is clear from the pictures of the rally- women sobbing as the bulldozers converged, young people standing a few feet in front of the city's cherry picker, people being dragged away screaming from their plots-the sign does not sensationalize-this resource is truly precious to this neighborhood.
Activists in Lansing, Michigan wash their capitol steps after a neo-nazi rally.


Inside of a dog it is too dark to read

Originally posted on Olyblog by Crenshaw Sepulveda

Of the many places downtown I find that I have a special place in my heart for the library. I know that it is a crappy late 70’s building and it is way overcrowded. Actually I kind of like the crowd. It tells me that Olympians really use their library. I like that I see people from all walks of life there. And though it is a late 70’s vintage building it seems to have taken on a special character due to the people that frequent it. Besides it is right next to Fertile Ground and Media Island and the cool street furniture and art at the intersection, and you all know how much I love intersections.

We do need a new library, not to reduce the crowds or the proximity between users, I like the cheek and jowl that goes on at the library. Any new building would represent what the community wants in the library, hopefully from the get go. No doubt it will evolve from there. I suspect that there will be a new library in our future. I’d like to see a larger library, to be sure, with more materials available on the shelf. I’d like to see more room for the various functions that currently require rationing by the library.

I’d also like to see that the library, when the new building is built, provide some new services for the public. I’d like to see later hours. At least to midnight. I’d like to see year round Sunday hours. I’d like to see public showers. Huh? Hey, if you are going to build a building from the ground up it is at that point you add the features needed by the community. One of the things that the homeless need in Olympia is a place to shower, and also do laundry. So adjacent to the library, when it is built, I’d propose a wash room, staffed by volunteers where people could shower and do laundry. The library, by its very nature is a drop in center for the homeless, and a finer place I can’t imagine. Let the library be more humane in the future, longer hours, a place to get clean and to clean up your act.


[Jade commented:]

I've long been a fan of libraries and the library profession. (You may have heard me go on my Washington Law Library tangent.) If there is one thing we can be proud of innovating as a country, its the library. Libraries make me truly proud to be an American.

I also like the crowdedness of our library. I like the awkward tension that you get when you have to step over someone or squeeze by them in the aisles. I mean, I don't like it in a perverted way. I like it because you feel like like you know someone's secret-they are in the same 100 of the Dewey Decimal system as you. Its like you're part of some conspiracy of people having an affair with the same non-fiction.You politely pretend to not notice what they're reading, but internally you take note.

While the internet has many wonderful benefits, it will never offer that.I appreciate technology, but analog is my first and greatest love. And the library is the best that tactile, analog information has ever created.

I have long been an advocate of replacing our (so-called) education system with libraries. If libraries had all the resources of schools, then academics would be hired on as references. We would have floors of our libraries just dedicated to brilliant minds as human references. We would end compulsory schooling and private universities all together. All you would need is a local address and learning would be free. (As long as you returned your borrowed materials.)

We could librarize other resources, too. Someone I know told me that at their home-town library you could borrow framed art for a period of three months. I've seen libraries where you can borrow puppets and toys.In the Boston area the libraries give away a limited number per day of free passes to local educational and historical attractions like museums, gardens, and the aquarium.Tools, art supplies, media equipment, moving trucks?

I concur, Crenshaw. We should fund the bejeezus out of the library. Its at once the most effective government project to date, and the most successful revolution.


Portable Greenhouses

(Originally posted by DrewHendricks on Olyblog.)

Trellis and tube structures, very much like clear plastic tented greenhouses on wheels, parked on vacant lots downtown and turning sunlight, CO2 and water into Oxygen, food, and soil. They're mobile, so when the vacant lot needs to be used for something else, you can push them along to their new home. There is always some spare land around, Capital is terribly inefficient with land. You don't have to own land to make it produce, and you don't have to grow plants in soil either - hydroponics work.


May the Loudest Man Follow

Something that seems to happen frequently at marches: The march begins, and the loudest men charge quickly to the front of the crowd, shouting chants and raising their fists. I start out in front, trying stay with the marchers, but soon I am hobbling along, baby on hip, diaper bag hanging from my shoulder, and dragging some ridiculously large sign that my daughter insisted on holding only to refuse to carry it anymore. My chant is weaker then the men's up front, who's hands are free, but for a megaphone. I am a bit out of breath. Pretty soon, my kid starts whining about the walk, or begging for juice, or meandering towards traffic, and I am further diverted from the forward momentum of the rally. A lot of reporters want to take my kids' pictures. Everybody asks if its their first protest and I say, "No,"...but I am wishing it was our last.
After a half hour we are inevitably at the very end of the march. The crowd keeps bolting along, but as I look around, I see all the other people with small children are also straggling behind. Also people in wheelchairs. There is a frantic energy in the back. No one is chanting. We gave up on that a long time ago. We are simply rushing to follow the loudest-men-led crowd, which is moving at a pace that seems break-neck to us with our automated chairs, or unwieldy loads, or sobbing toddlers. The police are closer to us in the rear than we are to the rest of the march. We get all of their bored, rolling-eyes stares, and curt little motorcycle siren blips. We can hardly hear the chants anymore.
And I think, isn't this what's wrong with everything in the first place?
At my revolution, the slowest people would lead. Mothers should be in the front anyway. If we listened to mothering, everything in the world would be more peaceful, and more empowering. Plus, mothers are so much better at making sure no one is left behind.
I am not saying that the loud men couldn't be fighting, too. But at my revolution, they'd be in the back. So they could protect us from the police, and so they could keep all of us in their line of sight- so they wouldn't forget to remember the women, the elders, the babies, the disabled, and the quiet people. Plus, we need to have their loud voices in the back so we can hear the chants. They should be chanting for us, not away from us! They should be marching to us, not leaving us in the dust!

Police Watching For 'Green Terror'

OLYMPIA, Wash., June 12, 2004
Firemen walk past vehicles at a car dealership in West Covina, Calif. damaged in an August 2003 fire blamed on arson (AP)


"We have to take (the ELF threat) seriously, and one of the reasons is that this group has claimed credit for a fair amount of criminal activity in the past several years"
Tor Bjornstad, a police commander in Olympia, Wash.

(AP) The FBI has told law enforcement agencies across the country that radical environmentalists may stage protests, possibly violent ones, this weekend in support of a jailed arsonist.

The FBI bulletin said the Earth Liberation Front reportedly was planning a "day of action and solidarity" that could include acts of eco-terrorism, according to Tor Bjornstad, a police commander in Olympia, one of several cities named as possible targets.

Some of the others were Eugene; Ore.; San Francisco; Modesto, Calif.; Morgantown, W. Va.; Portland, Maine; Worcester, Mass.; Lake Worth, Fla.; and Lawrence, Kan., Bjornstad said.

The general warning was part of a weekly intelligence bulletin the FBI distributed to some 18,000 law enforcement agencies on Wednesday, said Bill Carter, a spokesman in the FBI's Washington, D.C., headquarters.

No specific targets were identified in the bulletin, Bjornstad said. He said his department contacted what it considered potential targets, including auto dealerships, building contractors and the Port of Olympia, which exports timber.

"We have to take it seriously, and one of the reasons is that this group has claimed credit for a fair amount of criminal activity in the past several years," Bjornstad said.

ELF has been linked to fires and vandalism at agriculture research labs, logging operations, car dealerships and construction sites. The group has defended its actions as efforts to stop companies from profiting from exploitation of the environment.

A Web site titled "International Day of Action & Solidarity with Jeff 'Free' Luers" featured a list of events planned for Saturday, including protests at SUV dealerships.

Jeff Luers is serving a 22-year sentence in Oregon for a 2000 arson at an auto dealership and an attempted arson at an oil company.


The Olympian Wants You

The Olympian is seeking to fill its two community members positions on its Editorial Board for the next four-month service period beginning in July. Self-nominations from all interested community members are now being accepted through 5pm on Friday, June 9th.

To learn more about the Editorial Board and these community positions, please go to http://news.theolympian.com/opinlinks/volunteeredit.shtml.

Self-nominations should include why you want to serve on the Board and what you would bring to its deliberations. Letters should be sent before Friday’s deadline via snail mail, email or fax to: Editorial Board, The Olympian, P.O. Box 1219, Olympia WA 98507. The e-mail address is news@theolympian.com and the fax number is (360) 357-0202.


Dreamers Wanted

Thurston County's "Dream the Dream" forum happened yesterday. The forum was intended to be a diverse group of local residents, including business-owners, creating a plan to end homelessness in our county. According to the Olympian, however, the dream of the forum wasn't fully realized, as it was mostly attended by the same people who already work on these issues everyday. Few from the private sector attended.
I admit, I was amongst the non-attendees, though I had entertained the notion of going for a while. I found myself facing my own cynicism. The same kind of cynicism that had people name the forum, "Dream the Dream". I thought, "Yeah, keep dreamin, dreamers." And I felt that it would be too sad to go and spend a whole day thinking about homelessness.
I worked in the poverty industry in this town for several years. It was my blood, sweat, and tears for a while. I quit about 6 months ago. And for some reason yesterday the idea of facing the overwhelming obstacle of homelessness absoloutely filled me with unspeakable despair. I don't know how I got this way.
I used to be so fired up about it.
But now I find myself thinking that I could not stand to be in that room and watch people spin their brilliant visions of hope, only to watch the same problems continue in our community. Whatever great shelter they create, or streamlined services, or new rehab program, its still going to be the same groups fighting over the same slice of the pie, and it will never be enough.
What do I do about this?
I know there are others who feel the same way. That's why we do nothing. That's why we avoid looking street people in the face. That's why we throw money at them, or lobby to get rid of them. I know I am part of the problem. How do we face this horrible grief? How do we find the strength to do anything?

I am really at a loss of cool ideas right now.


The Olympia Way

It should be no secret to anyone that I love Olympia. I also want it to become a better place. I will harp on the issue of Olympia becoming more inclusive and more empowering until my dying breath. I am a simple person, generally driven by this concept. I make no allusions that I know everything, nor am I stubborn about looking at issues from other sides. But I am dead set on Olympia becoming more inclusive and empowering.

What I like so much about Olympia is that it is not like any other place I have experienced. I have lived in a great many of the great cities this country has and visited even a greater number of them. This is no better choice for me than Olympia. There are other places I could be happy, to be sure, but no place I have a greater respect for, or affection for.

We see places around our country or world and wonder should not Olympia have this or that. Indeed, there are many things that would be interesting to have in Olympia. The thing is that Olympia has her own way. I do not see her doing things because it is cool in Santa Cruz or Providence or Timbuktu. I see her doing things because they are inclusive and because they are empowering. I will bring ideas to the table that may have their origins in cool places, you can count on me for that, but in the end nothing matters unless the ideas are inclusive and empowering.

Olympia has her own way. Can not always pin her down. In the end she will be like nothing else and she will always stuggle to be only who she is.


Nazis finally give me credit

Jim Ramm, Nazi leader with the NSM sent me this e-mail:
SO you are replacing Sarah (who is afraid to tell her
last name) as Olympia's latest blog-villian? Good! The
gang from the NSM are here to give you a warm welcome.
See you at the next Oly Unity meeting.
Mission accomplished.


Poll of the Week

I am deferring to Machete Red this week. In her comments about the Port, she wrote this:

If we open up the entire Port property for private or semiprivate ownership, or a land trust or something, we can build from the ground up. Square one. Start visioning now. What do you want to see on that property? Pretend that the Port Commission, in their last act, is giving away the land... what is your vision for this area?


Town Hall

originally posted by emmettoconnell on Better South Sound

Have you missed me downloading the city of Olympia council packet and telling you what I find interesting? Might not, but I've missed doing it. So, for next week's meetings, here are the highlights.

1. The general government committee met last week to start planning the next Town Hall meeting, it will be September 28 and they're trying to come up with some stuff for us townies to talk about. Here are their suggestions:

  • Olympia as the Capital City - Olympia’s proposed 2007 State Legislative Agenda
  • Put Sustainability into Action - Solid Waste Master Plan (How to Achieve a Zero Waste Goal by 2025)
  • Improve the Effectiveness of Government - New City Hall
  • Invest in Downtown Olympia - Staff will provide an update at the meeting of possible topics

Huh, not exactly the burning topics of the day, are they? The only one that sounds interesting is the New City Hall, to me though. Last time they had a packet (sorry, didn't write about this one), I noticed they mentioned the 2007 city budget as a possible topic. While this part of the city process should have a "town hall" or participatory flavor to it, it shouldn't be part of the Town Hall meetings process.

In terms of your comments below, feel free to say what you think the city council should talk with you about on Sept. 28.

By the way, why are we only having one of these this year? In an non-election year, we should have at least three of these. Then we wouldn't have to worry about picking a topic, we'd have enough time to cover everything.

2. Speaking of town hall meetings, in the matrix for the upcoming Neighborhoods (associations) Town Hall meeting next week, there is a spot for "libraries," and a mention that the general government committee will be meeting with Timberland folks in July, maybe to talk about a new library. I have to get me to that meeting.

3. Speaking of neighborhoods, it looks like the city is planning to change the way they do neighborhood planning. In the document in the packet, there aren't many specifics, but there is a mention of formal neighborhood plans and seeking to streamline how people interact with the city government. Sounds pretty cool, I'll be interested to see how it turns out.

4. For the folks in Northeast Olympia, specifically at the corner of 8th and Pattison out by the Hospital, looks like the city is buying you a new park out there. Or at least some land for a park. How nice for you. The four acre park will cost the city about $500,000. Not bad.

There it is, what I found important in this week's packet. If you feel like you missed something, feel free to spend a few minutes and download the entire thing yourself. Its 30 MB of fun this week.

In terms of your comments below, feel free to say what you think the city council should talk with you about on Sept. 28.


Visionary Art Museum

American Visionary Art Museum, is located in Baltimore, MD. (One of my favorite parts of the country.) In their own words:

"Visionary art as defined for the purposes of the American Visionary Art Museum refers to art produced by self-taught individuals, usually without formal training, whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself."
In short, visionary art begins by listening to the inner voices of the soul, and often may not even be thought of as 'art' by its creator.

Exhibitions have included themes such as: We are Not Alone: Angels and Other Aliens, and HolyH20: Fluid Universe, and Race Class, Gender \Character:
"Throughout history, visionaries have dreamed of a world where their characters are not judged, their creative potential is not limited, or their livelihoods are not proscribed by factors of race, gender, or economic circumstance."
Its hard to even imagine how cool this place really is. Since we are accustomed to "high art" concepts, rather than visionary art, its difficult to imagine all of what they might be talking about. Think the Procession of the Species, or that guy in Centralia who's yard is decorated with all that metal stuff. Included at the AVM are things like art cars, their annual "BraBall" event, and a place for ridiculously gigantic sculptures. I highly recommend visiting their website, and if you can swing it, the museum itself.
It is unpretentious, wildly creative, revolutionary, absurd, spiritual madness.
Do you have a guess as to where I am going next with this? That's right... Olympia needs a visionary arts museum! We have millions of artists, many untapped. We already have a start with the Procession of the Species. We just need a building, a curator, and about ten more projects to sustain it.

Peace Tourism

Olympia has drawn the attention of the world as members of our community put their bodies in front of Stryker vehicles being shipped to Iraq, attempting to halt the militarization of our port. (Read the statement about why from the mouth of the horse, Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace.)
The ship left this morning carrying its supplies. Our fame only lasted a split second. The attention span of the world is short.
The port commisioners are likely pulling out their hair, nonetheless. They still had high hopes for that sports and convention center, and notoriety just ain't selling to tourists these days. Who wants to go to a Bridal Expo at the site of a world-famous tear-gassing? I guess its unlikely they'll be erecting a plaque.
But who knows? Maybe this kind of attention is exactly what Olympia needs to jump-start that tourism industry we've been talking about for years. After all, what was Crawford, Texas before Cindy Sheehan started Camp Casey, bringing thousands of activist-tourists including names like Joan Baez, Martin Sheen, and Steve Earle? When else have you heard of a town of 705 drawing that kind of crowd?
What was New Market, Tennessee before the Highlander Center?
And what was Faslane, Scotland before its peace camp that draws thousands of internationals annually, and has existed for over 20 years? It was a "hamlet", that's what.
Perhaps we should set up camp at the port, and invite the world to join us in our actions. Perhaps we should set up a convention center that looks more like the Highlander Center, a place for activists to come and learn organizing skills, and for pacifism conferences, and anti-racism conferences, and anti-globalization conferences. Maybe we could fund it through a partnership between the Evergreen State College and the city. What do you think, Olympia?

Sanitizing Olympia

Does anyone think Olympia is getting a little too sanitary? I do. I fear the community is getting a little obsessive compulsive about trash and bad influences and transforming the town into a role model for the entire state. Someone mentioned the Farmer's Market, and I had to agree. I am in and out of the market in a flash where I used to linger. They don't allow dogs. They don't allow smoking. Most of the tables are square in the sun. People push and shove or walk like snails and I don't like crowds. Many of the prices are jacked up and they are lacking in diversity for local homemade things at reasonable prices. I'm not sure why, but I think the boothes are too expensive. Consequently, the supply is restricted and doesn't fully feature the community's wares or artisans.

Art is a luxury I choose to afford when I can. But I tend to frequent Earth Magic, the cooperative gallery near the lake or local Natives that I know. I have my own hotlines. Antiques are another love but I buy those mostly in Centralia. Olympia is too expensive and the stuff is more filtered for affluent collecting. I like plain old stuff without a lot of value. I like business owners who bargain a little when I buy gifts. I have a jewelry lady in Centralia that I've used for three pair of special earrings. She always knocks down the price and I keep coming back. I will go there again for a wedding ring for my husband to be. Olympia lacks a lot of choices and I personally hate malls.

Everyone talks about Sylvester Park. I love the park but there aren't enough benches in the shade. And I know in the past that the police chase people off. That bothers me and I feel odd being there, like I am disloyal to my less affuent friends. I don't frequent any establishment that sanitizes people. I do go to the park because they have water for the dog. But I sit under shade trees and leave the few benches to couples, the elderly, and homeless needing a nap.
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