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Science, Inventions & Techology / 🌍
« on: April 22, 2018, 11:46:27 PM »
Great new website demonstrating the impact on Earth of Homo Saps with visual animations of climate change, migration, ice melt, you name it.


EarthTime enables users to interact with visualizations of the Earth's transformation over time. Combining huge data sets with images captured by NASA satellites between 1984 and 2016, EarthTime brings to life patterns of natural change and human impact.


Users of EarthTime can view compelling animations accompanied by fact-based narratives from international experts. Drawing upon EarthTime's vast data library, the stories below are curated in honor of Earth Day 2018. Explore these stories to learn more about our collective impact on the planet.

Go to the website for all the graphics, too many to paste here.

Here's the teaser video though.

<a href="" target="_blank" class="new_win"></a>


Doomsteading / Catch-22 of the Doomsteader Paradox
« on: April 22, 2018, 02:18:04 AM »

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on April 22, 2018

Discuss this article at the Doomsteading Table inside the Diner

The name for the blog Doomstead Diner comes from my early years of recognizing what the problems were with Industrial Civilization on the forum.  I developed a cartoon strip with another denizen of that forum, Flapjax who did the artwork and I wrote the scripts for it.  It was a parody of several other regulars of the period who appeared as characters in the strip, including a self-parody of myself of course as well. lol. I'm the one in the panel above field dressing a Moose.

Back in those days, "Doomsteading" or setting up a survival location for making it through the Zero Point and the Collapse of Industrial Civilization was a very popular topic.  Numerous members of the forum had Doomsteads of one size or another, from as compact as 1/4 Acre "Urban Doomsteads" right up to the 1000 Acre variety that a few Rich Fucks boasted about.  Never quite sure of course if they were actually  telling the truth or just had a vivid imagination on what they wished they had.  I did meet a few IRL though, Pops was one who had a small 20 acre Dairy Farm in Missouri near where my sister lives.  Mostly though, I had to figure out how much truth telling they were doing versus how much fantasy it was from picking through the prose for inconsistencies.  Most of the time, it was a lot of fantasy.

As time has progressed, I have met here in Cyberspace many more such people, some of whom have spent time chatting up inside the Diner.  They all have many features and personality traits in common.  Not all mind you, this is somewhat of a gross generalization, but it is true enough most of the time to draw some conclusions from it.  That is what we will explore in this article.

First of all, you have a split in the prototypical Doomsteader type into the Males and the Females.

Image result for man chopping wood Males

"Rugged Individualists" who like to DIY as much as they can, building all sorts of cool shit to survive the Zero Point.  Normally in order to actually own a decent size Doomstead, they were succesful money makers inside Industrial Civilization as well, although not always the case.  Besides building shit, they also pride themselves on being able to do back-breaking work no matter how old they are.  Also pride themselves in their skills with weapons and shooting various animals for food.  Sometimes they are Solos, but more often have a female partner who picks up the other Doomsteading tasks.  Usually both older with their kids grown and out of the nest.

Related image Females

Not generally Solos, usually part of a marriage to a male of the type above.  Greenies who like to DIY also, but usually more traditional female tasks like milking the cows, churning butter, sewing, knitting, canning veggies etc.  Usually mechanical stuff like plumbing they leave to the male partner.  Sometimes they are OK with shooting and killing animals, but a large percentage are vegans, which means generally also the male partner needs to be a vegan as well.  Hard for a Meatosaurus to get along well with a Vegan of course.

These prototypical Doomsteader types are most often in their retirement years and have some source of Mailbox Money rolling in because if they raise even 1/4 of their own food on their property on their own that is doing really good.  They gotta have supplemental money coming in somehow.  When shit goes wrong with the plumbing, it's off to Home Depot to get replacement parts.  The tractor they use for all the big tasks runs on diesel of course, and they don't make their own biodiesel.  But they could in theory they tell you, at least as long as they actually have enough land to grow the soybeans along with grow food for themselves and feed for their animals.

They have plans to protect themselves from Zombies also.  Hubby has an arsenal of weapons and ammo supply any National Guard Armory would be proud to sport.  Night Vision scopes and Booby Traps and Body Armor too!

Image result for survivalist prepper

Anyhow, before I roll too far off track on this tangent, it should be fairly obvious this type of Doomsteading Plan is wholly ridiculous and removed from reality.  You have some younger people involved in this as well besides the retired oldsters who have found ways to "straddle two worlds", earning money in some facet of the industrial economy while at the same time living semi-remote on their Doomstead.  However, their plans are generally no more realistic than that of the Boomer Doomers.

Now, in chatting with such folks pursuing their Doomstead fantasies, many of them do recognize that their individual Doomstead is not really practical or survivable without some sort of Community behind it to work together in making survival possible longer than just until your preps run out and your tractor breaks down.

Image result for rugged individualist However, while they mouth the words about "forming community", they don't do it because they themselves are the antithesis of the communal type of person.  Rugged Individualists who like to go it alone and do everything for themselves.  Other people don't work hard enough for them, they aren't dedicated enough.  A big part of the reason they move out to remote Doomsteads is not because of TEOTWAWKI arriving any day now, it's because right here during BAU they can't stand most other people and want to get as far away from them as they reasonably can.  They prefer to be alone in the woods chopping down trees to building fences together with other Kollapsniks.

Now, how long do you think a bunch of anti-social Doomers would get along together in an Intentional Community?  About the same amount of time as between the lies popping out of the mouth of Trumpovetsky, that's how long.  Yet somehow these folks believe that after SHTF Day arrives, the magical Doomer Community they are building will come together.  Nice strong, young, smart, pleasant and healthy Kollapsniks will magically show up at their Doomsteads as Worker Bee Serfs while they play Lords of the Manor and everyone will live Happily Ever After.  This is such complete and utter bullshit it's even worse than the fantasy that a go-it-alone Doomstead would work.

How are these helpers even going to find the place after SHTF Day?  If it's a good location, it's 40 miles West of Nowhere up some unmaintained dirt road that doesn't even make it onto Google Maps, although if you really scope around and have GPS coordinates you might spot it on Google Earth.  Communications are down, so they're not going to find you on the Internet.  They probably can't get gas for their Bugout Machines to make the trip even if they knew where the place was and had become friends with you over the net prior to SHTF Day.  So you can pretty much kiss off any chance of getting your fantasy Doomer Community together after SHTF Day arrives.  Which means as far as post-collapse goes, the whole process of Doomstead Building, money, work and time in getting one of these places set up for this projected world of the future is a complete waste of time.

It's not such a waste of time though if you believe in a Slow Catabolic Collapse (aka Boiling Frog, see Mr. Wizard JMG), where the general society deteriorates just a little at a time, stuff you depend on from the outside world is still available and you can afford it although just harder and harder to get a hold of.  The internet is still up most of the time, but the outages become more frequent.  Taxes go up, but they're not completely unaffordable.  A plausible scenario for this is WWIII getting more fully underway, with rationing being instituted.  Then your supplemental Grow-Your-Own food plan becomes a valuable addition to your life to help keep it a bit more normal.  You'll still encounter the problem of a growing amount of theft of your food unless you are really well off the beaten path and hidden.

Image result for lord of the manor

These aren't the only issues though with Forming Community on your 100 acre Doomstead.  Even if you postulate that you can organize up some type of community prior to SHTF Day, you have the problem of having some sort of workable political system to govern it.  The most common in the fantasyland mind of the Doomer Owner of such a Doomstead is that they will be the "Lords of the Manor".  All the people who come to join them are the Serfs.  They "own" the property after all, everyone else is only there by their leave.  Another preposterous fantasy here.

First off, your ownership of a piece of property is granted to you by the state, and in a post-SHTF world, the state has failed or partially so, and they are not fielding police forces and a court system to protect your property rights.  So now you depend on your little tribe of Kollapsnik Serfs to help you Protect & Defend your 100 acre patch of the earth.  So you need to arm them to be able to do this protecting & defending.  Let's assume here they are SUCCESSFUL with this task, holding at bay successive waves of Zombies, unpaid Sherriff's Deputies and National Guard. troops.  GREAT!  What though is to stop them now from turning on you, the Lord of the Manor and getting rid of your oppressive ass that expects them to actually do as much work as you do every day?  Nada except you and your trusty AR-15 if you are actually awake when the Assassination Plot is carried out.  Even Caesar wasn't protected by the Pretorian Guard from Brutus.

Related image

The Feudal System of Lord of the Manor and Serfs evolved over a very long time from more basic Tribal systems which just had a Chief and then the rest of the Hunters & Gatherers  The Chief position was mostly inherited, but merit in Leadership and mental and physical abilities also came into play.  If you got into that position, you held it by means of respect from the rest of the tribe.

As time went by though, other classes of the Feudal society evolved, Nobles, Military, Priests, Merchants & Peasants.  The military caste served to protect the Nobles.  There wasn't much social mobility in this system of course, and it was hard for Serfs to revolt against the Lord of the Manor.  Periodically though if things got really bad and there was Nothing Left to Lose, they would do it anyhow.

In any event, you can't just POOF set up such a system on your 100 acre Doomstead.  To begin with, even in a best case scenario where you got maybe 150 people (Dunbar's Number), you can't have a dedicated military caste to protect the Lord of the Manor, they have to do te gardening and milk the cows too.  There's no real merchant class, because the whole theory here is you are self-sufficient on your plot of land.

In reality this plan is just ludicrous also.  So what can work?  IMHO, your political organization for the Doomstead has to be Democratic, essentially meaning that everyone living there has a say in how the Doomstead will be run.  The problem with this is it irks the original owner of the Doomstead, who spent gobs of money to buy the place and then maybe also put in years of back-breaking work trying to get it up to speed for SHTF Day.  He pines in his heart for the Good Old Days when he could just go out alone in the forest and chop some wood.  No Boss to tell him what he should do on any given day, except maybe his wife of course if he is married and not a Solo.  No annoying meetings with other Homo Saps over what the best course of action is to take moving into tomorrow to keep the Doomstead a going concern for a few more years of Collapse Living.  Once you have the Community you know you need to survive, you have to be able to live inside it, with all the difficulties involved of getting any group of Homo Saps to agree on anything.  I won't even touch on all the problems that crop up with sexual relationships that develop and break up, that one is a complete sewer and closed many of the Back to the Land Movement communes of the 1970s.

Image result for the farm commune 1970

What this means is the Rugged Individualist busting his balls to DIY a good Doomstead is really no better off than the suburban McMansion Dweller who has socked away 3 years worth of Freeze Dried Mountain House foods in his basement pantry.  About the same time he starts running out of food, without a Community the Doomstead of the Rugged Individualist will be failing as well.  So why do all that work?  Just stock up as much as you can of long lasting industrial food products for SHTF Day.  It will save you a lot of effort in putting in fencing and cleaning the slop out of the pig sty.  Granted, it would not keep you quite as bizzy and entertained as all that Manly Man work of chopping wood and digging post holes, but you can stay entertained on the internet.

The upshot here for this entire article is that nearly every TEOTWAWKI SHTF Day Plan out there at the moment is Doomed to Failure.  So until we can revise these Rugged Individualist paradigms, about the best anybody can hope for is to survive 3-5 years after the Big Day arrives. For me, this is not too bad, since I don't expect to live for more than 3 more years anyhow.  However, there are healthier specimens out there in Doomerville who would like to go a bit longer than this at least, if not succeed in staving of extinction for Homo Saps in the near term.

The ANSWER of course to all of these problems is the SUN☼ Project, which seeks to bring together the older and younger Doomers, the owners of property and the disenfranchised  and begin the process  of Community Formation NOW, before SHTF Day arrives.  The bear of course here has been just how to do this in a manner everyone can agree on and work towards together.  Never easy to get Rugged Individualists to agree on anything of course.

However, the recent developments Inside the Diner have given me some NEW ideas on how to accomplish solving this very Wicked Problem.

There are now multiple Diners with Doomsteads in various locations sprinkled around the FSoA and the Great White North.  All of them owned by Rugged Individualists.  What we need to do is to hold Convocations at the Doomsteads of these RIs on some type of semi-regular basis until SHTF Day arrives.  In such Convocations we hold Workshops to help Rugged Individualists become more social and able to tolerate other Homo Saps they share a living situation with.  We also train all on how to be accepting of decisions made on a community level rather than one Lord of the Manor.  Most important of all, we cook up a lot of GREAT FOOD!  lol.  Nothing builds Community better than Great Food.  Well, maybe Great Beer, but we can brew that up too, or import it from Krautland until SHTF Day arrives.

Image result for campfire dinner

Image result for campfire beer

By practicing our skills at community living in short intervals prior to SHTF Day, some of the most obvious short term problems can be worked through.  Long term problems can only be worked through after SHTF Day arrives and everyone is brought together PERMANENTLY!  ACCCKKKK!  Really?  You gotta live with 100 other assholes for the rest of your days walking the Earth?  Maybe it's better to die quick…

Where will the final location be?  That depends on many things geopolitical and climate related.  But the COMPACT is that all Diners will always welcome all other Diners and at least TRY to GET ALONG.  The alternative is Death for All.

Homo Dinerus.  Coming Soon to a Doomstead Near You.

History / 🏛️ Long-Lasting Civilization May Be a Pipe Dream
« on: April 19, 2018, 09:47:49 AM »

Long-Lasting Civilization May Be a Pipe Dream

Ruins on Sudan's Meroë island. What traces of our modern existence might we leave? (Maria Gropa / Wikimedia Commons)

Humanity’s cherished hope that we are building a long-lived civilisation may be nothing more than a pipe-dream. Human endeavour, two scientists argue, may carry within it the seeds of its own destruction.

The two astrophysicists have turned one of the great questions in science into a way of examining the down-to-earth consequences of global warming, the pollution of the oceans with indestructible polymers, and the wholesale destruction of species in the last 300 years.

They put an innocent question: if there had been an advanced technological and industrial civilisation on Earth several hundred million years ago, how could anyone know? What marks would have been left by a race of intelligent reptiles with motorised transport, housing estates, international trade and an arms race?

In what they call the Silurian hypothesis – a reference not to the geological period long before the first creatures crawled from the sea onto the empty continents, but to a 1970 episode of the British television serial Dr Who – they turn to the only testbed available to contemporary Earthlings: the evidence of the Anthropocene, the geologists’ name for a new era that could be considered to have commenced with the Industrial Revolution.

If some alien or distant-future civilisation set out to study the Earth’s geological record, what signs would humans have left in the strata?

And almost immediately, their study confronts a paradox. “The longer human civilisation lasts, the larger the signal one would expect in the record. However, the longer a civilisation lasts, the more sustainable its practices would need to have become in order to survive,” they write in the International Journal of Astrobiology.

But the more sustainable a society, the smaller the footprint its agriculture, manufacture or energy generation would have made, and the smaller the signal in the geological record.

So the researchers, Adam Frank from the University of Rochester, New York and Gavin Schmidt, director of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies, set out to calculate the future signature of long-vanished human society.

Signs of change

They conclude that the burning of fossil fuels has already changed the carbon cycle in a way that would be recognisable in records of carbon isotopes. Global warming – a consequence of that fossil fuel combustion – would be detectable in the rocks.

Global agriculture would be signalled by increases of erosion and sedimentation rates over time, and plastic pollutants would be detectable for perhaps billions of years. And all-out thermonuclear war – were it to happen – would leave behind some unusual radioactive isotopes.

“As an industrial civilisation, we’re driving changes in the isotopic abundances because we’re burning carbon,” said Professor Frank. “But burning fossil fuels may actually shut us down as a civilisation. What imprints would this or other kinds of industrial activity from a long-dead civilisation leave over tens of millions of years?”

The latest study is not the only one to contemplate the paradox of a self-destroying civilisation. Last year an Arkansas mathematician considered the silence of the extraterrestrials.

Nothing heard

For 40 years, humans have been listening for the noise of other intelligent civilisations in the galaxy, and have heard nothing. Maybe, he suggested in the same journal, modern humans are typical of technological civilisations, and destroy either their planet, or themselves, almost as soon as they exploit technology.

Perhaps, he suggests, a technological civilisation that lasted for millions of years would not be typical.

The latest study, in essence, pursues the same logic. Human advance for the moment is not sustainable. The people of the Anthropocene have already tipped 12 billion tonnes of indestructible plastics into landfills, and created a technosphere that totals about 30 trillion tonnes. And by 2050, humans will have built another 25 million km of roads.

“You want to have a nice, large-scale civilisation that does wonderful things but that doesn’t push the planet into domains that are dangerous for itself, the civilisation,” said Professor Frank. “We need to figure out a way of producing and using energy that doesn’t put us at risk.”

History / 🎓 The Historic 1968 Struggle Against Columbia University
« on: April 18, 2018, 01:54:22 AM »
I was born 6 years too late for this battle.  :(

<a href="" target="_blank" class="new_win"></a>


April 17, 2018
The Historic 1968 Struggle Against Columbia University
by Eric Mann

How a Black United Front in Harlem, the Students’ Afro American Society, and Students for a Democratic Society took on the Columbia University Ruling Class, Mayor John Lindsay, the New York Times, the NYPD—and won!

    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen.”

    – V.I. Lenin

The Columbia University Struggle of 1968, 50 years ago, was in fact a Struggle against Columbia University—as a ruling class slumlord, a racist gentrifier against the people of Harlem and Morningside Heights, and a genocidal war criminal carrying out weapons research against the People of Vietnam. It was one of the great miracles of the times that students who had been recruited to support The System turned against it and sided with the Black community and the people of Vietnam.

The Struggle against Columbia was carried out by The Movement—a Black United Front in Harlem including Harlem Tenants Association, Morningsiders United and Harlem CORE, the Students’ Afro-American Society and Black Students of Hamilton Hall, Students for a Democratic Society at Columbia, and national groups like Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, SDS, with support from the national civil rights and anti-war movements.

The Movement demanded that the University stop the construction of a gentrifying gymnasium in Morningside Park opposed by the residents of Harlem and Morningside Heights, who called it Gym Crow, and withdraw all institutional ties to the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA)—a Department of Defense think-tank that developed weapons to use against national liberation and communist insurgencies including the people of Vietnam. The Columbia University administration, after a two month struggle, acceded to the core demands of the struggle—-an unequivocal victory for The Movement at the time.

The Columbia Struggle took place in New York, a world city, and Harlem, the national capital of the Black Nation. The Movement gained prestige by taking on such high profile adversaries on a world stage —the Columbia ruling class, Mayor John Lindsay, the New York Times, and the New York Police Department.  Its historic victory was shaped by the protracted nature of the conflict over years culminating in two intense months and the consistent ability of its Black and white leadership to solve the many challenges in the organizing process. The Movement built and sustained a broad united front of Black and white anti-racist, anti-war forces to stay on message against Gym Crow and the Institute for Defense Analyses, keep the heat on the university administrators and trustees, and isolate careerist white students and faculty who tried to capitulate on the core demands in favor of “student power” and a “restructured university”

Through the struggle Black Harlem residents, Black students at Columbia and Barnard College, and white anti-racist anti-war students came to see even more clearly that institutional racism and imperialism were not just things that Columbia did but rather, were the very essence of the university’s role in capitalist society—including training its students to become the future administrators and leaders of the U.S. Empire.

The struggle took place in the revolutionary year of 1968 in which the United States was losing all moral credibility in the world, and that students, teachers, workers, women of all races were in revolt shaped by a world and Third World revolutionary energy and optimism. Like a revolutionary feedback loop, Columbia in turn contributed to the revolutionary energy and power of the world movement against the military and political hegemony of the U.S. Empire.  Many students at Columbia and Barnard, armed with the moral imperatives of the time, fighting for the key demands of that campaign, and experiencing mass police repression of their movement came to understand that the struggle against Columbia was also a fight against The System and that in turn raised their determination and morale.

Fifty years ago I came to Columbia as a national organizer for SDS and worked closely with the SDS chapter leadership for more than a month to build greater support for the struggle and the Six Demands. I was so moved that in August 1968 I wrote a long article going into great and at times minute detail of what I believed were the lessons of Columbia that was published in Our Generation, a Canadian radical magazine, and later The Movement, a publication of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. I focused on Columbia because it had deeply impacted my views, radicalized me further as all events at the time in history did, and because I believed in analyzing social movements to lay the historical record. Today, I have spent the last 3 months re-studying the Columbia struggle, reading Stefan Bradley’s excellent Harlem Versus Columbia: Black Student Politics in the late 1960s and every essay in A Time To Stir, edited by Paul Cronin, a valuable compendium of Columbia participants, to reground my own historical perspective and re-examine my own role in that struggle.  I think The Struggle Against Columbia is worth that level of engagement as it provides such a positive model of a Black/white anti-racist, anti-imperialist mass campaigns again on such a large historical stage. And as I have seen clearly by reading so many conflicting interpretations of history—where not surprisingly of course I side with the Black view of that struggle including its many united front voices and dedicated white comrades—there is no such thing as “history” but only the battle over historical interpretation and this article is my contribution to that battle.

Key Events in the Struggle Against Columbia

The Struggle Against Columbia was a confrontation with Columbia University’s reactionary role in U.S. society.  If the decisive event in the Columbia struggle was the SAS/SDS occupation of Hamilton Hall on April 23, 1968 that its participants will describe in these pages that struggle had deep and long roots in protests against the University.

    1) Tenants in Harlem and Morningside Heights had a long history of struggle against Columbia the Slumlord throughout the 1960s.

    2) Black groups and Morningside Heights neighborhood community and tenant activists had been opposing Columbia’s building of a gym in Morningside Park in Harlem since it was proposed in 1961.

    3) Anti-war faculty and students had been protesting Columbia role in weapons research and Columbia’s complicity with CIA and military recruiters and U.S. genocide in Vietnam since the mid-1960s.

The concepts of moral responsibility and confronting complicity drove the Columbia Struggle

As the movement against the war in Vietnam gained strength after 1965, organizers researched and challenged the structural connections between U.S. racism and atrocities society and the institutions in which they lived, worked, and studied.  People started to say, “my church or university is “complicit” in war crimes and “I don’t want be complicit through benefitting from the system or by being passive or silent in the face of injustice.”

Bob Moses, SNCC leader, at the SDS March on Washington Against the Vietnam War in April 1965, said that Vietnam and Mississippi were two fronts in a world movement against racism and colonialism and challenged us to “make the connection between segregation in the South and U.S. defoliation in the Third World.”

In March 1967, Bob Feldman, an SDS researcher, discovered that Columbia was institutionally affiliated with the Institute for Defense Analyses, whose Jason Division of  U.S. university  faculty members was doing Vietnam War-related research on weapons for the Department of Defense to be used against native peoples in the Third World. Professor Seymour Melman, a prominent anti-nuclear and anti-war figure, exposed the university as an appendage of the military state in which some faculty were involved in the production of nerve gas and 50 percent of the University’s budget was paid by the DOD, Atomic Energy Commission and NASA.  SDS and anti-war students challenged CIA recruitment on the campus and raised the charge that Columbia was directly involved in crimes against humanity against the people of Vietnam.

On April 1967, at Riverside Church blocks away from Columbia, Dr. Martin Luther King gave his most forceful statement against the U.S. war against the people of Vietnam, Breaking the Silence, saying, “There are times when silence in betrayal” and calling the United States, “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.”

By February 1968, Columbia finally began construction of its gymnasium, put a fence around the site and began digging. Black community groups called on Columbia to stop construction of the gym altogether. H. Rap Brown and other national Black liberation and civil rights leaders joined Harlem groups. Black students at Columbia made the fight against Gym Crow a high visibility Harlem, city-wide and national campaign.

Still,  in the spring of 1968, the demands against Columbia—stopping construction of the Gym and cutting all ties to IDA—were not yet part of a coherent campaign nor was there an agreed upon tactical plan to even imagine winning those demands.

In an irony of history, only a few days before the April 23, 1968 demonstrations and occupationboth SAS and SDS worried that the campus was not ready to move aggressively to confront Columbia on Gym Crow and the IDA before the end of the school year.

As Ray Brown of SAS describes in his essay, “Race and the Specter of Strategic Blindness” in A Time to Stir, 

    “Mark Rudd or Juan Gonzales asked William Sales and myself to attend a meeting to discuss whether there would be any further demonstrations about the Gym before the graduation of 1968…We unanimously agreed that the student body was tired, apathetic, and unlikely to engage further on the issue. There was agreement however that we should give it one final joint rally at the Sundial.”

As Brown explains, first the students tried to occupy Low Library but it was locked down. Then someone yelled, “To the Gym” and the Black and white students marched there only to discover, “a whole in the ground provides a poor prop for a demonstration” and then the group moved to have a “teach-in” that soon became an occupation of Hamilton Hall.

There, the Black and white students understood they were moving from a protest to a serious and possibly protracted occupation of Columbia buildings.  Later that day, The Black Students of Hamilton Hall decided they wanted an exclusively Black site to strengthen their own perspective, presence, and independent role in the overall protest and asked the whites to “find other buildings to occupy.” SDS leaders agreed and moved on to occupy Low Memorial Library, Mathematics, Avery, and Fayerweather. The Black and white, SAS and SDS, agreed on what would be called The Six Demands.

    1. That the administration grant amnesty for the original `IDA 6” and for all those participating in these demonstrations.

    2. That construction off the gymnasium in Morningside Park be terminated immediately.

    3. That the university sever all ties with the Institute for Defense Analyses and that President Kirk and Trustee Burden resign their positions on the Executive Committee of that institution immediately. 4. That President Kirk’s ban on indoor demonstrations be dropped.

    5. That all future judicial decisions be made by a student-faculty committee.

    6. That the university use its good offices to drop charges against all people arrested in demonstrations at the gym site and on campus.

Inside the occupied buildings more than 100 Black and 700 white students practiced self-government, engaged in deep personal conversations and for many, lifetime transformations, and formed the nucleus of a larger and sustained resistance to Columbia administration and support for the Six Demands.

On April 30, at 2:30 in the morning, after a week of the mass occupations, the University and New York Mayor Lindsay called in massive, armed-to-the teeth, New York Police Department force toforcibly evacuate the students.  The Black students, painfully aware of police brutality and with the power of Harlem and the recent urban rebellion surrounding them, negotiated an orderly withdrawal from Hamilton. The white students were met by a police riot in which many people were arrested and beaten. The campus, already supportive of the two major demands to Stop Gym Crow and Stop IDA became even more supportive of the occupiers.

After “the police bust” SAS and SDS called a student/university strike, the university cancelled classes for the rest of the year. Now, SAS and SDS built a broad united front to support the Six Demands, went from occupying the buildings to occupying the university, initiated city-wide demonstrations in support of other social justice causes including support for Harlem and Morningside Heights tenants fighting Columbia as a slumlord, and organized a Liberation School as an alternative to corporate, imperialist education involving as many as 1,000 students participating.

Through a complex process of protest, mobilization, community organizing, counter-institution building, independent media such as Liberation News Service and Harlem and Black publications, and great city-wide and national support The Movement—led by the Harlem Community, SAS, and SDS was able to take on the Columbia ruling class, New York Times, Mayor Lindsay, and the NYPD—and win. Miraculously, Columbia accepted the demands of the Movement. The University agreed to stop all construction of the Gym in Harlem. The University agreed to break all institutional connections with the Institute for Defense Analyses.

The Columbia Struggle as a Civil Rights, Black Liberation, and Anti-war Campaign led by the Black community

The Struggle Against Columbia University in April and May 1968 was a civil rights and anti-war struggle as part of a national and international movement.  It was led by a powerful alliance of the Black community nationally and in Harlem, the Students’ Afro-American Society (SAS), Black Students of Hamilton Hall, and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)—a national, white, radical, civil rights anti-war student organization and its Columbia-Barnard chapter. It was not a Columbia University and Barnard College-student-centered struggle as much as broad united front inside and outside Columbia against the University as a slumlord, racist gentrifier, and human rights violator.

The year 1968 was a momentous year marked by epochal world events.  Three events among many shaped the Columbia struggle.

    * In January 1968 the Vietnamese National Liberation Front carried out the Tet Offensive—a brilliant coordinated attack against South Vietnamese targets and U.S. troops including seizing the U.S. embassy in Saigon—the NLF had a great sense of symbolism. This shocked the world into finally understanding that the struggle led by the National Liberation Front and the Communist Party of Vietnam would win the war—and members of U.S. ruling circles began to discuss how to end it.

    * On March 31, 1968 President Lyndon Johnson announced he would not run for re-election as a reflection of the powerful anti-war sentiments against him and growing anti-war Democratic Party insurgencies against him by Senator Eugene McCarthy with Senator Robert Kennedy also waiting in the wings.

    *  On April 4, 1968, in what many believe was a FBI, right-wing plan, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis Tennessee, a year to the day after his passionate anti-Vietnam war speech “Beyond Vietnam—A Time to Break Silence.”  His murder led to the largest national outbreak of urban rebellions in Black communities all over the U.S. including in neighboring Harlem. While a few made facile statement like, “Well, that’s the end of non-violence,” in fact King’s assassination was a devastating blow to the Black movement, the U.S. and world left. We had lost our finest leader who had the unique ability to effectively confront the federal government and the Democratic Party and was killed precisely because of that gift.

On April 23, 1968, the day of the dramatic escalation of the Struggle Against Columbia, the  civil rights, Black Liberation, anti-Vietnam war, and Third World movements inside and outside the United States were filled with a sense of  outrage, influence, and hope and dreams of major structural victories against “The System” —aka U.S. Imperialism.

The form and content of Black Leadership of the Struggle Against Columbia University.

In 1968, Columbia University was a private educational institution with a campus of 8,000 white students at which 100 Black students provided leadership to the surrounding Black community and the white student movement as well.

SDS—the white radical student organization dedicated to opposing the U.S. war against the people of Vietnam was also very supportive of the civil rights and Black Power movements at the time.  Many of its members had also been members of CORE and Friends of SNCC even before joining SDS and the Columbia SDS committee on university expansion that Mike Golash headed made the struggle against Gym Crow a high priority.  In fact, SDS’s grasp and practice of support for the Black struggle and the people of Harlem dramatically improved through the course of the struggle.

In his important essay “Race and the Specter of Strategic Blindness” in A Time To Stir,  Ray Brown, then a leader of the SAS and Students of Hamilton Hall argues that

    “The Black struggle at Columbia was the pivotal act of the Columbia protest not an ancillary code to a New Left uprising.”   

As an active participant in that struggle I understood that at the time and believe that the vast majority of SDS students did as well.  Today,sadly,50 years later, a few white, bitter, ethically impaired, and marginal participants have attacked the Black students for choosing to make Hamilton Hall an all Black site of occupation.  I think that is a re-writing of history in which many white people have moved to the right over their lifetime but they do not speak for SDS at the time and in some cases are even rejecting their better selves in their present downward spiral.

The Fight against Gym Crow–The Black United Front in Harlem with critical white allies defeated Columbia University

Today in Harlem and Black communities throughout the U.S., including South Central Los Angeles where I presently work and organize, the Black community is under profound attack—dispersed, disoriented, defensive, at times demoralized. Black communities are under constant police occupation and a ruthless market system in which an oppressed, colonized people driven out of the economy can no longer afford to live in their apartments and homes.

Harlem, the most prominent Black Community in the United States, once the site of white flight, is now suffering from the invasion of the white gentrifiers.

When I went to work with the Congress of Racial Equality in 1964 in the north east, including Harlem, the Civil Rights Movement and the Black militants had already coined the slogan, “Urban renewal is Negro removal.” As such, the struggle in 1968 for Black residents of Harlem in alliance with Black students to stand up to a powerful white university to defeat Gym Crow was a significant and symbolic victory on its own terms. It was part of the historic struggle of the times for “Black community control” of schools, police, and public land—reflected in the historic struggles at IS 201 in Harlem and the Black communities of Ocean Hill/Brownsville in Brooklyn.

This movement for Black self-determination was in direct conflict with the University’s view of itself as the white civilizer of native peoples. As Stefan Bradley describes in Columbia versus Harlem, University Provost Jacques Barzun saw the Black community as “un-inviting, sinister, abnormal, and dangerous.” Barzun felt that Columbia’s Negro removal programs were necessary to protect the safety of white Columbia faculty “and their wives” and offered a better alternative to the system’s only other solution, “paratroopers in an enemy country”

As Roger Kahn, in the Battle of Morningside Heights, explained, “In the 1960s, Columbia, `one of the most aggressive landlords on earth,’ bought 115 residential buildings in West Harlem and Morningside Heights, and displaced around 6,800 Single-Room-Occupancy [S.R.O.] tenants and 2,800 apartment tenants, approximately 85 percent of whom were Black and Puerto Rican.”

In 1968, the Ford Foundation gave $10 million to Columbia for community development that only reinforced their power against the community while liberal Mayor Lindsay made high sounding statements against removal and gentrification with no commitment to take on the university. On the people’s side, Architects Renewal Committee in Harlem put forth radical visions for an alternate future and grassroots groups continued the protests but there was not sufficient muscle to stop the voracious university. Since the capitalists controlled all the financial institutions, the political “power structure,” and the police, and given this ominous balance of forces, what were Black, Puerto Rican, and low-income people of color to do?

In 1961 the Columbia University administration, with the support of the white corporate power structure, went to the New York State legislature and got them pass a sweetheart bill to cede, that is “rent” two acres of public land in Morningside Park bordering on Harlem to the university to build a gym for its white student body and faculty. At the time, Black elected officials State Senator James L. Watson and Assemblyman Percy Sutton from Harlem supported it hoping the project might bring resources to their constituency.

But, by 1967, as the gym moved towards groundbreaking and construction, the reality of the project hit home—Columbia was going to carve out 2 acres of valuable public park land to build a monument of segregation.  Columbia planned to “allow” the community access to 15 percent of the gym facilities and hours of operation and to punctuate its contempt, offered the residents of Harlem a segregated “back door” at a lower level at the bottom of the gym. A growing community resistance called for the cancellation of the project with the brilliant agitational slogan, “Stop Gym Crow,” in reference to the racist Jim Crow segregation laws.

By October 1967 Robert McKay of the West Harlem Tenants Association announced that their members would “throw themselves in front of the bulldozers” if Columbia did not stop its plans to build the gym.

In December 1967 H. Rap Brown, the chair of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, in the ascendant language of Black Power, told a meeting in Harlem,

    “If they build the first story, blow it up. If they sneak back at night and build three stories, burn it down. If they get 9 stories built, it’s yours. Take it over and maybe we’ll let them in on the week-ends.”

The Black students at Columbia, led by the Student Afro-American Society, made the stopping of the gym their priority. As Raymond Brown, observed, “As a group we found ourselves more committed to the Harlem community than Columbia.”

Black artists, revolutionary intellectuals, civil rights, and Black Liberation organizers helped shape the political and cultural consciousness of Black Students at Columbia

SAS leaders Ray Brown, who later became a prominent attorney challenging genocide in Africa, and William Sales, who became a prominent Black scholar at Seton Hall University, explained that the Black students had frequent interactions with militant civil rights leaders Courtland Cox, James Bevel, Pan Africanists Queen Mother Moore and John Henrik Clark, and Black nationalists such as Charles 37X Kenyatta. The group had also met with James Baldwin, the revolutionary writer, As Brown explained,

    “Baldwin explained that our presence at an Ivy League University was more important than we ourselves realized and that our complaints about our treatment were minor issues compared to the fact of our presence and the search for connections to the larger issues.”

It is hard for people today to grasp that those influential Black leaders who were the celebrities of our time prioritized work with rank and file and future leaders of grassroots movements and treated us with great respect. In my own experience with CORE and later as an organizer with the Newark Community Union Project, we spent hours listening to Robert Moses, Dave Dennis, Fannie Lou Hamer, Lawrence Guyot, William Kunstler, and other leaders of CORE, SNCC, and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party who spoke with us about organizing and movement strategy.  As such, Black students came to understand the significance of their strategic role as a wedge and even weapon against the University’s attacks on their community and were beneficiaries of the great Black thinkers and revolutionary worldview of the times—including its internationalist and Pan Africanist influences. The fact that Chairman Mao Tse-tung sent a telegram of support for the Black Students of Hamilton Hall is beyond comprehension today.

Black independence, Black separatism, Black self-determination and the decision to ask the whites to leave Hamilton Hall.

The Black Students of Hamilton Hall found their own voice, their own independence, their own self-determination, inside Hamilton Hall and created a Black enclave of self-government that was a model for the broader movement.

As Ray Brown, explains, once the Black and white students began the occupation of Hamilton Hall, the Black students began to meet separately upstairs. Ray Brown, Andrew Newton, William Sales, and Cicero Wilson formed the steering committee of Black Students of Hamilton Hall.

“With surprising clarity and speed we decided to embrace the demands to “cease the construction of the Gym and end the university’s ties to IDA. We also decided to barricade the building and ask the still disorganized white students to leave and seize other buildings on your own. Our victories on IDA and the Gym have long been manifest.”

As William Sales explains,

    “Inside Hamilton Hall we experienced true self-determination. Everything that went on inside the building was a result of decisions we made and had to live with. It was our larger Black community that literally fed us and stayed the hand of the police for a week. We ironed out disagreements and established workable protocols for maintaining the livability of the building and for democratic decision-making. Our success in remaining together under those circumstances greatly enhanced our mutual self-respect. It created for us a visceral experience of what Black Power and self-determination could be within the larger society.”

Contrary to the rewriting of history by a few bitter white liberals, the SDS leadership and supporters, by then 700 strong, and the vast majority of white students fully supported the decision of the Black Students of Hamilton Hall, saw them as “our vanguard” and saw their role in occupying Low Library, Fayerweather, Avery, and Mathematics as their own great achievements.  They saw “take over your own buildings” as a constructive challenge to expand the support for the Black community, the Black students, and the people of Vietnam—and had the good sense and good politics to not get caught up in the false and racist consciousness of, of all things, “white rejection by Blacks.”

In my hundreds of conversations with SDS members and allies, I did not sense any resentment of Black self-determination. If anything, I was already hearing war stories among white students about their great experiences in Mathematics, Fayerweather and other buildings, the “commune experience” and how proud they were of SAS and SDS.  And this was just after the NYPD free-for-all attack on the white students with more than 700 being beaten and arrested where if they had any anger it was against the police and the university. Then, the questions facing the movement were, “What do we do now? How do we seize the initiative? If we are no longer in the buildings how do we win our demands? How do we get Columbia to stop building the gym and carrying out war crimes against the Vietnamese?

Ray Brown spoke for the Black students and the best of the white students when he concluded, “Our victories on IDA and the Gym have long been manifest.”

Building a Black United Front and multi-racial alliance against the gym.

As one example of the growing power of the Black Power and Black militant forces inside the Black united front, many of the Black Democrats who had initially voted to authorize Columbia’s building of the gym, including Percy Sutton who by then had become Manhattan Borough President, claimed they had been misled by Columbia and went from token to militant opposition—first proposing compromises to make the gym more community friendly and then realizing as did Columbia that the entire project was toxic—and coming out against the gym altogether. Victor Solomon of Harlem CORE said “the racist gym” cannot be built. “Harlem is a colony and the community should impede the progress of “the imperialist.”  What is again hard to grasp today is that those radical and revolutionary ideas had great resonance in the Black community and its advocates—in this case CORE and SNCC knew how to organize not just put out rhetoric.

As William Sales explained,

    “I knew that Black activists could accept many Communist principles if presented in the context of Third World Liberation.  If one used the words of Fanon, Cabral, Mao, or Nkrumah many blacks would endorse your position especially when combined with major references to Black Nationalism.”

Again, the interrelationship with advanced thinkers shaped the clarity and force of the Black students. As William Sale explained, in his essay, “Self-determination and self-respect: Hamilton Hall 50 Years Later,”

    “Preston Wilcox of the School of Social Work faculty helped Ray Brown and myself avoid the pitfalls of opportunism around the issue of the gymnasium. We initially conceded that community folks and their student allies were too weak to oppose the construction of the gym. Our position was that Columbia could be pressured to increase the size and amenities of the gym structure but it was too late to force them to abandon the notion of two separate gyms within one shell.  Preston was adamant, and won us over to the position, that the struggle was against any form of Jim Crow building, not about getting a better deal within an essentially Jim Crow arrangement.”

SDS and white students were critical elements of the Gym victory.

While SAS and the Black students at Hamilton Hall drove the Gym campaign the aggressive support of SDS was critical. This was a white university in a white society and white students were 90 percent of the student body.  Initially, SDS, from my reading of that history and my participation in the struggle, focused more on opposition to the war in Vietnam and ending the University’s role with the CIA, DOD, and the Institute for Defense Analyses. But the power of the Black movement and Harlem made the gym a compelling issue and central to the strike and the campaign.

By April 23, the famous Last Chance Demonstration, as Black and white students marched together, the chants were “let’s take Low Library” followed by “let’s go the gym site” followed by “let’s take Hamilton Hall.” In a few hours The Gym and the IDA were joined together for posterity.

We can be assured that if the Columbia ruling class felt any tension or conflict between the Black and white movements on the core demands of the strike they would have exploited them to its own benefit.  In my own work at Columbia, I and other SDS leaders challenged white students who said, after the police raid on campus, “I support the strike, but… I want student power and a restructured university and do not want to be bound by the two main demands of the campaign–the Gym and IDA.”

We at SDS vehemently replied that The Strike was about racism and war and Columbia’s role in it. For some liberal and careerist whites to say they supported a “strike” but not the demands of the Struggle was in fact supporting Columbia’s racism and imperialism and selling out the people of Harlem and Vietnam.  We did not want a “restructured university” —we wanted a specific end to specific racist and imperialist policies and institutional arrangements by the university.

To their credit, the vast majority of white students agreed and rallied behind the powerful moral arguments of the Campaign. By the end of the struggle, when Columbia finally announced it would end the gym project–Gym Crow–once and for all and withdraw from IDA it was a testament to the broad, multi-racial, progressive, radical, and revolutionary united front led by the Black community and students. It was the dialectical relationship between Black ideas, Black community forces, Black students, and a broad and militant support from the white and vast majority of Columbia/Barnard university students and again the revolutionary conditions of 1968 and that period in history that turned the tide for such an unequivocal victory.

William Sales summarizes the spirit and achievements of unity/struggle/unity in Black/white relationships that successfully defeated the Columbia ruling class.

    “Black students at Hamilton Hall did not split with the agenda of the white students. We endorsed the demands of the strike and never wavered from that position. There were however, important tactical considerations that could not be ignored. We felt that white students underestimated the violence that the system was capable of directing at its own citizens when challenged. Black students knew this from the beginning. As a small minority of the student body Blacks did not want mere numbers to swallow up their presence in the demonstration. In addition, our smaller numbers and stronger mutual familiarity allowed us to arrive at firm consensus significantly quicker than our white counterparts. Stylistically, the ultra-democracy of SDS with the amorphous, fluctuating white membership in the strike was a protest style we wanted no part of.  It appeared to us to be anarchic.

    I personally respected the SDS leadership. The need to keep cohesion among their constituency was a monumental task that they should be praised for executing. Their self-sacrifice and adherence to a principled position in support of oppressed people of color, in Harlem as well as Vietnam, commanded our respect. No decision to assume separate tactical headquarters should imply we were not allies in the same fight.”

From Protest to Strike to Campaign to Victory

On April 30 after a week of student occupation of the university, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) arrested more than 700 students—500 men and 200 women. The SAS and SDS leaders enjoyed significant popular support but Columbia administration had not agreed to meet their demands. In response to the “police bust” there was even more support for the movement and SAS and SDS proposed and thousands agreed it was time to go on Strike. But what was the tactical plan? What did a strike look like? How could the movement win its demands and sustain the momentum of the occupations? Again, the focus was the Six Demands.

Again, the Six Demands were debated, discussed, and dissected.

The Six Demands as a Definition of Politics

    1/ That the administration grant amnesty for the original `IDA 6” and for all those participating in these demonstrations.

    2/ That construction of the gymnasium in Morningside Park be terminated immediately.

    3/ That the university sever all ties with the Institute for Defense Analyses and that President Kirk and Trustee Burden resign their positions on the Executive Committee of that institution immediately.

    4/ That President Kirk’s ban on indoor demonstrations be dropped.

    5/ That all future judicial decisions be made by a student-faculty committee.

    6/ That the university use its good offices to drop charges against all people arrested in demonstrations at the gym site and on campus.

When I arrived at Columbia, Mark Rudd, Juan Gonzales, and other SDS leaders explained the challenge. They said that while the Black students of SAS and SDS had won the respect of the majority of the campus they worried that the more militant forces could be isolated as more moderate forces, closely aligned with the University administration, had joined “the strike” but were not committed to stopping the Gym or ending the university’s ties to IDA. We all knew this was history in the making but how could we turn a great protest into a structural victory?

As one example, a new group, “Students for a Restructured University” (which received $40,000 in funding from the Ford Foundation, whose then-president, McGeorge Bundy, was a former Johnson White House National Security Affairs Advisor) said that SDS was turning people off with talk about “racism and imperialism” and argued that Columbia was in fact a “community of scholars.”  They put themselves forward as a competing political force and tried to negotiate a separate and unprincipled peace with the Columbia administration telling the public that SAS/SDS did not speak for the (white) students. But what about the interests of the people of Harlem and the people of Vietnam–would these privileged white students from an imperialist Ivy League University, some of them with their own imperialist aspirations, sell out the movement? At the time, the answer was “very possibly if not probably if we don’t continue to provide political leadership.”

The struggle for the political leadership of the Columbia Strike

SDS and SAS proposed that the strike committee be expanded from the 100 Black occupiers and 700 white occupiers. They agreed that the Black students would get 3 delegates, a ratio more than a literal counting of the 100 Black students who occupied Hamilton. Today it seems shocking that SDS did not propose the Black students get at least 7delegates to the 7 white SDS delegates. The Black students and their Harlem allies were the main force and had provided such great leadership for the campaign—and it was not their fault that because of Columbia’s racism there were so few Black students. It did not make sense that the white SDS students could out-vote the Blacks let alone the new mass of more moderate white students just joining the movement after the Police Bust. Fortunately SDS and many other white students did respect and grasp Black leadership and were united on the Six Demands of the movement. It is a credit to the white students and the leadership of SAS and SDS that they did not provoke a split by trying to overrule the Black students who clearly would have left the strike committee under those circumstances.

But now, the SAS/SDS bloc had to worry that their votes and power would be vitiated by the thousands of new people, almost all white, who wanted to join the strike. SDS and SAS made what was in fact a very generous offer. Any additional 70 people who organized themselves into a working group could get one vote on the strike committee providing, of course, that they supported the Six Demands of the Protests since that was of course why people were now going on strike.

The Grad-Facs (Graduate Faculty) put forth the most manipulate demagogic proposal. They thanked SAS and SDS and the Strike committee for agreeing that every additional 70 people who supported “the strike” could get one vote but they argued that the new delegates did not have to agree to support the Six Demands or demand the end to the Gym or IDA. They even accused the Black students and SDS of not being “democratic” by “imposing” these demands on the new white students who had done nothing to support those demands in the first place. So here was another dilemma for the organizers. If we told the new members of the Strike Committee they had no right to mess with the demands but could participate in the discussions of the strike, the right-wing liberals would have split the forces and yes, there was danger of isolation. If on the other hand, we said that Columbia’s role as a slumlord, Gym Crow gentrifier, and human rights violator was “negotiable” then we could be accused of selling out the demands of the Black community and the people of Vietnam in an unprincipled pursuit of popular support of white students at an imperialist university.

Right or wrong, the SDS leadership agreed that the new 70 member groups had some power to debate the demands and we took the responsibility to win those debates. As one example, I was asked by the SDS Columbia chapter leadership to argue for the strike demands to a mass meeting of more than 300 new strike supporters in a large auditorium I think in the Architecture school. I began by challenging the white students to ask themselves whether they believed they had the “right” to vote, as privileged beneficiaries of a racist, imperialist university, as to whether Columbia in turn had the “right” to be a slumlord in Harlem, had a right to build Gym Crow, had the “right” to conduct research on mass weapons to kill civilian populations in violation of the Nuremburg statutes. Many of the white students were Jews, as was I, and I argued they had to grasp the present Holocaust being imposed on Black people in the U.S. and the people of Vietnam—and many of them did. I argued then as I do now that “Human rights and civil rights are not subject to “majority vote” by those who are inflicting or benefitting from those abuses by our government.

That was the moral argument. But, in that they didhave a “vote” in the strike committee and since we urgently wanted to win those demands against Columbia I had to convince them to support The Six Demands. I argued that they had a moral obligation to vote for human rights and against racism and genocide. I said they had a moral obligation to stop Columbia as a slumlord and war criminal and yes, in the arguments of the times, challenged them to not be “complicit” in those crimes by even passive support. I challenged them to support those in SAS and SDS who had occupied the buildings, stood up to the police, put their bodies on the line, yes, risked their continued student status at the university, and had fought for the people of Harlem and Vietnam “You can’t make your support conditional on re-debating the demands of the campaign.  You must support the Six Demands of the Campaign fully and enthusiastically with gratitude to those who had the courage to lead.” And then I ended with the punch-line, “And think of what a great victory it would be if we were able to force Columbia University to stop construction of the gym and end all ties to the IDA–think of how people in Harlem and Vietnam would appreciate what you did.”

Then we had to confront those on the strike committee who argued against our demands for amnesty and the dropping of charges. Again the pro-Columbia liberals were very clever. They argued, “Well, if you chose to violate the rules and seize property and fight the police, in the spirit of civil disobedience why aren’t you willing to suffer the consequences?”

We replied that if the University was evicting people from their apartments, building a racist gym, and participating in the murder of civilians part of our political victory was to force them to accept the righteousness of our actions and to stop repression against the movement. If Columbia could bring in the police, get people sent to prison on political charges, suspend and expel students then it would have a chilling effect on future protests which is exactly what the university wanted.  We argued, “Do not hide behind civil disobedience which none of us thought we were doing—if a racist court sends Black people to prison for registering to vote who are you to call that justified.  And what of the Black students at Columbia who had to fight to just get into this racist institution. Now that they fight for their community you white liberals want to have them face charges, suspension and even expulsion. Why don’t you just go to work for the University and stop pretending to support the strike.”

And while we had to win this debate day by day through this process we won many hundreds of students to not just support the Six Demands but angrily reject the manipulation of the Grad-Facs and later, Students for a Restructured University.

Keeping up the protest movement and building the Liberation University

So now thousands of students were on strike—but now what did we do with people?  Many students agreed to boycott classes but how did we prevent them from just “dropping out” and going back to their dorms or apartments and disappearing? We at the Strike Committee came up with two interrelated ideas—keeping up demonstrations and actions throughout New York, especially in Harlem and building a Liberation School on the Columbia campus to show an alternative university as the revolution right inside the very institution we were shutting down.

As I wrote in 1968 in The Movement magazine, “The liberation classes served several functions:

    1/ To give students an example of the type of university Columbia could be under different political conditions.

    2/ To keep students occupied and on campus.

    3/ To provide a unique opportunity to put forth radical critiques and solutions to political questions in courses taught by radicals from around the city, many of who were not “professionals.”

    4/ To provide an opportunity for radicals to show that they could run institutions competently and democratically.

As I wrote in The Movement in 1968,

    “Many students were rapidly changing their opinion of the left, and although still suspicious, were becoming increasingly open to ideas that only a few weeks before they would not have considered. It became clear that while some peoples’ ideas change through discussion, action can provide a political context in which those discussions can be most fruitful. For many, resistance to radical arguments stems, not from disagreeing with the particular issue being discussed, but from a belief that radicals can’t win. At Columbia, thousands of students came to believe that the left was, or perhaps could be, a real force in this country. And because of that feeling, they became more open to our politics.”

In then went into a detailed discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the Liberation School experiment. But in retrospect a lot of that was metaphysical—”wishing” we could have gone from a protest group to a disciplined mass organization with infinite organizational skills and capacity. In reality, the Liberation School was a smashing success—we built an alternative out of whole cloth, figuring it out on the fly The Liberation School involved more than 1,000 students in classes on the lawn, in classrooms, some academic, some strategic, some interesting, some boring, but all of them real and carried out by radical students and their community supporters. I taught a course on radical movements on the Columbia lawn—the organizer as radical educator. We had succeeded beyond any historical expectations.

The Unfolding Dialectic of Direct Action—Maintaining the Momentum of the Strike—expanding the scope of protest while the strike continued

As I wrote in 1968 “After the first bust the momentum of the strike could be described as steadily declining, with frequent exciting incidents temporarily halting that decline. The problem of maintaining cohesiveness and commitment, always a difficult one, was greatly influenced by the nature of how the strike began. The fact that the original defining character of the strike was its tactics continued to influence its development throughout its duration. As a result, the leadership of the strike spent a great deal of energy planning a series of confrontations that would keep the pressure on the administration and maintain a sharp focus on the strike. Considering the great difficulty of such a strategy, they were quite successful.

Expanding the Action

    “There were many actions: a demonstration against a university ban on outsiders coming into campus, rallies with people from Harlem, a demonstration by the moderates on the strike committee to retest the ban on indoor demonstrations, and most successfully, a joint sit-in with community residents in Morningside Heights who seized a building Columbia owned because of high rents, poor services, and efforts to evict them. Over 140 people were arrested, about half students and half tenants, and hundreds more were in the street.” Fifty years later this is hard to grasp in its significance—the Black and white students increased their commitment to Harlem and expanded their struggle against the Gym to Columbia as a slumlord and The Movement as an ally of Black and Puerto Rican tenants.

    “Finally, on May 21, there was the second bust. The police were called in to clear demonstrators protesting the disciplining of six students who participated in an earlier demonstration against I.D.A. Police stormed through campus, clubbing demonstrators and non-demonstrators, students who supported the strike and students who couldn’t care less. Even though they were ordered to clear the campus some police went inside dormitories to beat up students. Students retaliated by throwing cobbled stones ripped up from the walk, and dropping heavy objects off the tops of buildings on to police cars. More than 70 Columbia students arrested inside Hamilton Hall were immediately suspended by the Columbia administration

The victories of May.

If the SAS and SDS “only” occupied 6 buildings and put Columbia on the political defensive and won great support in New York the U.S. and the world that would of course been a profound victory. But those forces continued the tactical offensive to win their demands throughout all of May under very difficult conditions.  During this period, when the administration played a consciously passive role, momentum was difficult to keep up because, without a visible common enemy, the direction of the strike had to come from within. While the SDS chapter at its core was a small, perhaps 25 to 50 person group, and SAS had also been transformed to Black Students of Hamilton Hall, it was miraculous that those forces who had as late as mid-April worried that their campaign would have little support were now leading a movement of thousands of students and many thousands of Black and Puerto Rican and white liberal/radical supporters.

SAS/SDS who did not have a long history of collaboration were forced by history to work far more closely together and work out contradictions in the process of organizing.

Miraculously, they were able to transform the character of the strike from a mass confrontation to a sustained mass action to a coherent campaign with clear demands, broad mass support, and were able to isolate the Columbia University administration despite its powerful ruling class allies—or perhaps because of them and the growing mass, moral revulsion against The Establishment.

The leadership of the strike, and the hundreds of others who worked hard on keeping the strike going, were painfully aware of the problems being encountered, and, yet, kept solving the problems put before them. This was an historic experiment in Mass Politics.  SAS, SDS, and The Strike Committee were not a bureaucracy making decisions and implementing them in a vacuum. Both SAS and SDS were a group of people—most of them from 18 to 22 years old, often very new to this level of spotlight and leadership, functioning and functioning effectively in the midst of powerful political currents. When things were moving, they moved with enormous force and rapidity. When periods of inertia set in, the malaise was overpowering.

All great revolutionary victories must have some element of good fortune and the benefit of our adversaries far more powerful than us making major mistakes of arrogance, miscalculation, brutality, and carrying out indefensible, immoral policies.  Harlem, SAS, SDS, and their allies defeated the Columbia University ruling class, Mayor John Lindsay, the New York Times, and the NYPD. In the end Columbia University agreed to stop the construction of Gym Crow, agreed to end all institutional relationships with the Institute for Defense Analyses, and even beyond the immediate demands of the campaign but clearly as a result of it, in the fall of 1968 called on the U.S. government to immediately withdraw all U.S. troops from Vietnam.

As I wrote in 1968, with such great hope and optimism,

    “The Columbia strike more than any other event in our history, has given the radical student movement the belief that we can really change this country. If we are successful, we can use the university as a training ground for the development of organizers who will begin to build that adult movement we talked about so much about.”

In Praise of radical and revolutionary organizations who challenge the U.S. Empire

On the 50th anniversary of The Struggle Against Columbia it seems like, “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away.” I am so lucky to have lived through the Great Revolution of The Two Decades of the Sixties because I truly saw a revolution with my own eyes—a revolution that shapes my organizing work today.

During The Sixties I was given the gift of working with the great organizations and leaders of our times. Millions of our lives were shaped by the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, Congress of Racial Equality, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Students for a Democratic Society, Young Lords Party, American Indian Movement, and the Black Panther Party.

Our lives and life choices were a product of Third World Revolutions that created the historical events, international conditions, and mass consciousness of the times.  Whether people understand it or not, the events of 1968 were on a direct continuum with the Haitian revolution of 1794, the Great Slave Revolts that swung the civil war to the North in the 1860s, the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Chinese revolution of 1949, the Cuban revolution of 1959, and the great African revolutions of the Congo and Ghana in 1960 and beyond.  The Sixties were profoundly determined by the Great Vietnamese Revolution against French and U.S. Genocide— beginning with opposition to the French invasion of Vietnam in the 1850s, through World War I and World War II, culminating in the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1955 and the U.S. in 1975.

It was also a period shaped by such great revolutionary intellectuals, organizers, and mass leaders who carried out the most revolutionary rejection of White Settler State U.S. colonialism and imperialism and built an entire worldview of counter-hegemonic thought and ideology to delegitimize the system and legitimize The Movement—Black and Third World revolutionary thought.

The image of Black students at Columbia being schooled by the great Black thinkers of the time—James Bevel of SCLC, H. Rap Brown and Stokley Carmichael of SNCC, John Henrik Clark, and James Baldwin is inspiring to me to this day.  And their generation was the product of the work of W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Claudia Jones, William L. Patterson and the great Black communists who wrote We Charge Genocide: the Crime of the U.S. Government Against the Negro People and presented it to the United Nations in 1951.

By the 1960s our generation’s radicalism took the form of courageous action, making moral choices, confronting individual and group sacrifice, and a speaking out with force and conviction against the profound moral depravity of our own government.

At the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Justice Dr. King called out the United States for duplicity against the Negro people.

    In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.”

At Berkeley in 1964, Mario Savio gave voice to many students at U.S. universities

    There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!

By 1966, Muhammad Ali, a great political thinker, gave voice to Black people’s opposition to the war in Vietnam,

    Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?

    No, I am not going ten thousand miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would put my prestige in jeopardy and could cause me to lose millions of dollars which should accrue to me as the champion.

    But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is right here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality…

    If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. But I either have to obey the laws of the land or the laws of Allah. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail. We’ve been in jail for four hundred years.

In the Struggle against Columbia, we felt a profound moral obligation to defend Black people in the U.S., the people of Vietnam and the people of the world from the assaults of our government. We agreed with Dr. King that the United States was “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” We saw our role, as it is today, to challenge every institution of which we were a part, to develop the most radical and structural demands against the system, and to develop forms of organization and forms of struggle, that is, tactics, to carry out those objectives. We all wanted to be part of organizations and looked to national organizations with local, city-wide, and regional chapters as the best form of challenging the system.

In the Struggle Against Columbia SAS and SDS built the broadest possible united front in support of the Six Demands. We were generous and inclusive but not stupid—we understood our moral responsibilities and would not sell out the cause to which we had dedicated ourselves. We confronted and isolated the cynical corporate liberals among Columbia students and faculty who were little more than proxies for the Columbia administration. The vast majority of students Black and white saw Columbia the slumlord, Columbia the gentrifier, and Columbia the war criminal as a clear morality play in Black and white and saw the Six Demands as a clear Black and white answer.  We fought with both innocence and sophistication to defeat powerful ruling class forces.

Today, we are living in a Great Counterrevolution Against the Great Revolution of the Two Decades of the Sixties. The greatest weapon of the counter-revolution is to caricature and slander the great radical and revolutionary organizations that made history.  Many of us, as veterans of those movements, can tell you better than our enemies the many mistakes, errors, even abuses we carried out in the process of fighting for a better world.  Inside SDS within months of the great Columbia victory, the Progressive Labor party inside SDS came up with a new line, “All nationalism is reactionary” and began attacking Black studies, Black liberation, Black Panthers and even the Vietnamese Communist Party for exercising self-determination in its negotiations with the U.S. to end the war. Another faction, calling itself the “Revolutionary Youth Movement” in believing it was leading the struggle against P.L. in fact turned on virtually everyone but themselves and played a profoundly destructive role in making SDS into a playground for factions and little else.

Throughout that I stood close to my principles and the politics of the broad united front I had learned in my work in the Civil Rights and Black Liberation movement and what I thought were the “lessons from Columbia” that still guide my work today. I went back to Boston University where along with Craig Kaplan, Don Alper, Nora Tuohey, Sherrie Rabinowitz and other SDS members, and in close alliance with great faculty Howard Zinn and Murray Levin, we built BU SDS into a powerful mass radical organization. We initiated our Anti-military campaign that called in Boston University to prohibit Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) from being on the campus and to end its B.U. Overseas Program in which BU faculty taught at U.S. military bases all over the world. We fought on the side of Chuck Turner and other Boston/Roxbury Black organizers to challenge white trade unions and white construction workers to demand Tufts University hire Blacks in its construction projects, fought for Black Studies, and worked closely with the Boston Black Panthers. We did not attack other SDS members or each other and somehow managed to survive both PL and the RYM people. But SDS did not and by the SDS Convention of July 1969, only a year after the great Co

Frostbite Falls Newz / ☠️ RIP Harry Anderson @ 65
« on: April 16, 2018, 09:39:20 PM »
I loved Harry's act which I first saw him on Saturday Night Live.  When I was a kid I had dreams of being a Magician and practiced Card Tricks.  Besides being a good Magician, Harry was a funny guy too.  He had a pretty good acting career through the 80s and 90s, with his biggest role as the Judge in "Night Court".

I always wonder about these guys who die pretty young who were semi-famous in the mid portion of their lives? ???  :icon_scratch:  What were the last 10 years like for Harry?  He was living in Asheville NC, not exactly a hot spot.  Did he spend all the money he made and was just living on residuals?  Was he a drug addict and/or alcoholic?

Anyhow, one thing about Harry was he did really good card tricks.  Maybe he will teach me some when I join him in the Great Beyond.  RIP Harry Anderson.


Harry Anderson, 'Night Court' Actor, Dead at 65

Comedian and magician also played "Harry the Hat" on 'Cheers'
Harry Anderson, the actor, comedian and magician known for playing Judge Harry Stone on 'Night Court' and Harry the Hat on 'Cheers,' has died at 65. NBC-TV/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
By Daniel Kreps
4 hours ago

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Harry Anderson, the actor, comedian and magician best known for playing Judge Harry Stone on the sitcom Night Court, died Monday at his home in Asheville, North Carolina. He was 65.
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"This morning at 6:41 a.m. the Asheville Police Department responded to the home of actor Harry Anderson where he was found deceased," the Asheville Police Department confirmed told the Hollywood Reporter. "No foul play is suspected."

Anderson started his career as a magician before turning to comedy and, eventually, acting. "I started in magic and then I got out on the street and realized I can make more money on the street hustling with the shell game," Anderson told Johnny Carson in 1988. "So I hustled until I got my jaw broken and then I sat around with my mouth wired shut for six weeks and figured out maybe linking rings were safer. And went back to the magic, and on the street, comedy was a great tool."

Known for incorporating magic and con artistry into his comedy routines and acting roles – including his numerous appearances on Cheers as "flimflam man" Harry "The Hat" Gittes – Anderson was first introduced to mainstream audiences thanks to his reoccurring guest role on Saturday Night Live in the first half of the Eighties.

Following the success of his Cheers appearances, the actor remained in NBC's heralded Must See TV block when he was cast as the lead in Night Court, where he played a judge tasked with overhearing the bizarre cases that entered a Manhattan circuit court on the night shift. The series aired for nine seasons, with Anderson earning three Emmy nominations for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series over Night Court's run. Rolling Stone readers also named Night Court one of the 10 Best TV Shows of the 1980s.

Actress Markie Post, who played opposite of Anderson for seven seasons, tweeted "I am devastated. I’ll talk about you later, Harry, but for now, I’m devastated." Fellow Night Court actress Marsha Warfield posted a video remembrance to Anderson on Facebook.

In addition to Night Court, Anderson appeared in the TV miniseries version of Stephen King's It and starred as columnist Dave Barry in the sitcom Dave's World, which ran for four seasons. Anderson also made guest appearances on Tales From the Crypt, Comedy Bang! Bang! and The John Larroquette Show, where he reunited with that former Night Court actor. Larroquette tweeted following news of Anderson's death, "Heartbroken."

Anderson's last television appearance was a quasi-Night Court reunion on 30 Rock in 2008.

Judd Apatow tweeted, "I interviewed Harry Anderson when I was 15 years old and he was so kind, and frank and hilarious. The interview is in my book Sick In The Head. He was a one of a kind talent who made millions so happy."

Podcasts / 🌿 Wolf Richter talks Pot
« on: April 16, 2018, 04:11:13 AM »
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The Diner Pantry / 🌶️ Too Hot to Handle?
« on: April 15, 2018, 04:23:33 PM »
Back in the daze I could actually EAT and not just fantasize about eating, I really loved spicy foods of all kinds.  I developed my taste for Spicy Foods in Brazil as a kid, adding "Pimiento" 🌶️ to my Feijoada Dinner.  Pimiento was just hot peppers🌶️ in a bottle filled also with Oil & Vinegar to extract the capsascin, whici is what makes Hot Peppers🌶️ HOT.

After that, I got turned on to HOT Chili and HOT Szechuan Chinese food.  HOT Cajun recipes too!  In fact for a while in my eating years, no food could be too spicy.

Apparently other people like super hot foods, so in search of customers some farmers have bred up even MOAR SPICY Hot Peppers🌶️.  The latest breed ranked highest on the Scoville Heat Units Scale @ 2.2M Scoville Heat Units is the "Carolina Reaper".  This is about 100X hotter compared to a Jalapeno Pepper and 10X hotter than a Habanero Pepper.  :o

Now, I cannot really see a need for a pepper THAT hot.  Habaneros are so hot if you add more than one to your Chili you shoot flames out of your mouth like a dragon.  Why do you need a Carolina Reaper? ???  :icon_scratch:

Apparently though, some Darwin Award candidates have tried to eat Carolina Reapers raw and whole, causing a variety of medical problems. ::)


Maker of world's hottest pepper on the defensive after pepper hospitalized man
Justin Boggs
2:40 PM, Apr 15, 2018
38 mins ago

Copyright 2018 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

A maker of the Carolina reaper hot pepper is defending distributing the pepper after a man became hospitalized from eating the pepper, the UK's Sky News reported.

The Carolina reaper was named the world's hottest pepper last year by the Guinness Book of World Records. The pepper is rated at 2.2 million Scoville heat units. By comparison, a jalapeno is rated up to 8,000 Scoville heat units. A habanero is rated up to 300,000 Scoville heat units.

An article in last week's British Medical Journal claimed that a 34-year-old man was hospitalized for eating the pepper during a hot pepper eating contest. The man experienced "thunderclap" headaches, The report also claimed the man's arteries had constricted after consuming the pepper.

But Salvatore Genovese, a grower and distributor of the Carolina reaper, said the pepper should be eaten "correctly," according to the Sky News. 

"It's not really designed to... just plonk it in your mouth and eat it," Genovese said. "I would never do that and I wouldn't recommend it.

"Just cook with it, make a curry, infuse it slowly take it out if you want to afterwards, and get the rich flavors from that super-hot chili."

Genovese told Sky News he sold nearly 500,000 over the last few years without hearing any complaints.

The unidentified 34-year-old man showed normal health five weeks after eating the pepper.

The Kitchen Sink / Tombstone
« on: April 15, 2018, 05:53:46 AM »

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on April 15, 2018

Discuss this article at the Kitchen Sink inside the Diner

The time has come to UNVEIL the Tombstone!  The Stones have been ordered! 😎

It is not just one rock, there are 10 of them that will be pinned together utilizing basalt rebar.  You can see the model at the top of the page in the Feature Photo spot.  I did this model using Google Sketchup.  Great program, EZ to use and FREE!

Many things had to be considered in designing this Tombstone, from the Cemetery Rules to the overall orientation with respect to the SUN☼.  I wanted it to be both an homage to the beauty of mathematics and to the goals of the SUN☼ Foundation.  I also wanted it to have some utility, and not just be a rock.

Image result for 5 platonic solids On the mathematical end, I began with the 5 Platonic Solids, Tetrahedrons, Cubes, Octahedrons, Dodecahedorns and Icosahedrons.  These solid objects all have equal faces and edges, going from 4 faces up to 20.  Those are all that exist or will ever exist.  I couldn't fit them all in reasonably, so I had to pick the ones that worked best in this situation.  Octahedrons got nixed because they don't sit upright on one face.  Icosahedrons got nixed because 20 faces to cut from granite is simply too many, and the face it sits on to pin to another stone too small.  The Cube (which is featured at the top in my original drawing) got nixed in favor of a Rectangular Prism, for reasons I will explain later.  So that left two to include in the monument, the Tetrahedron and the Dodecahedron, 4 faces and 12 faces respectively.  These two rocks sit to either side of the central column on the base stone.

The base stone itself is constrained by cemetary rules to be maximum of 36" X 14", so the sizes of all the other rocks have to fit within that footprint.  There is no restriction on the total height of the Tombstone, which in the end came in quite tall at close to 5'.  I wanted it taller than the typical marker stone which comes in around 30" so it would be easily found by visitors wandering the cemetery, but I didn't expect it to come out THAT tall! lol.  I was shooting for around 40" originally.  But then I had to readjust for making the Stonehenge high enough and I decided to drop in a Sphere as well to represent the Earth.  That took the total height up another foot.

Above the pedestal stone in the center is a rectangular prism with the ratio of height-width at 1.612:1, which is the "Golden Rectangle".  Many things in nature are based on this ratio, spirals in particular such as snail shells and entire galaxies.  Origianally this part was going to be a cube, but I needed to make the whole thing taller for the stonehenge at the top.

Related image To either side of the central stone are the two Platonic Solids I used, the Tetrahedron and the Dodecahedron.  The Granite color here is Gold which represents the SUN☼, and contrasts strongly with the Black Granite used for the Pedestal and Central Stone, representing the Mystery of the Universe and Life.  The faces of these two stones will have different symbols and text engraved on them, although exactly how many faces will be engraved is yet to be determined.  It runs up the cost significantly.  Finding a quarry that had the right color granite and also the necessary equipment to cut complex shapes out of stone was the most difficult part of this project.

On top of the Central stone is a "Hat" which serves as Protection from the elements for the Central Stone beneath it.  I discovered researching the oldest Tombstones with still legible inscriptions that they often have a capstone on top of them that shields the stone with inscriptions from the elements to some degree.  Over a long period of time, this makes a big difference.

After the Hat on the way up the Tombstone comes a truncated sphere, in a Blue Granite.  This stone is meant to represent the Earth.  Like the two Platonic Solids, finding a quarry with this color of granite that had the technical expertiese to cut the stone took some time.  It has to be truncated so you can pin it and bond it to the stone beneath, and so the stones above can be pinned to it.  You don't lose too much here, just Antarctica at the bottom and the Arctic Ocean at the top.  Hopefully, we will be able to engrave the Map of the Earth as it currently exists before more continental drift on the stone as well.  My art people are working on that one.  Should be possible according to Tombstone Tom, my chief Stone Art Director.  Cost on this may be a factor though.

Capping the Sphere is an Octagonal Hat, which serves as the Base for the Stonehenge.  It is an EZ to cut flat slab of the same color (Gold) as the two Platonic Solids, again to represent the SUN☼.  All the top stones are cut from this color of Granite, so you have the impression of the SUN☼ hovering over the Earth.  The Octagon also has a deep engraving of the SUN☼ Logo, which also serves to direct and drain rainwater off the stone.

Image result for stonehenge The next step up is the Stonehenge, composed of 3 flat slabs of Gold Granite, to top the whole thing off with a SUN☼ analogue.  The Stonehenge has two Uprights, which are topped by the final piece, a Hexagonal Hat.  Due to the orientation of the Tombstone on the plot,  if you stand to the Dodecahedron side and sight from there through the 2 uprights, at the Solstice the SUN☼ should be visible precisely at noon Missouri time in the center.  This may be off by a few minutes because the cemetery is not precisely aligned on the North-South axis, it's a couple of degrees off.  But close enough.

To top it all off, the Top Hat for the Stonehenge is a Hexagon, designed to work as a Daily Sundial.  It has 12 Symbolic Engravings which are not the traditional Signs of the Zodiac, but symbols to represent certain concepts.  However, the overall idea is the same, and I positioned the symbols so that at High Noon every day, the shadow of the Gnomon will fall precisely on my Birthday of August 31st. 🙂  However, there is no Gnomon actually permanently installed on the Tombstone because Cemetery Rules say you have to use only Granite, and a Granite Gnomon would be too brittle and break off easily.  So what I did here is to have a hole drilled through this stone in the center where you can insert a wood or metal dowel to serve as a Gnomon when you visit the Tombstone.

There are still more features of this monument and burial arrangement to elucidate, most prominently here all the INSCRIPTIONS!  I doubt at this point I will do all of them as it will drive the price of the Tombstone into orbit with Elon Musk's Tesla.   His Space going EV will probably outlast my Tombstone, although that is hard to predict since over a Million Years of time it could crash into something else flying around in the SUN solar system.  From what I read it also will probably collide with the Earth or Venus in the next million years.  My Tombstone on the other hand is safely esconced here on earth, protected from most meteorites by the atmosphere which burns them up.  So it would take a pretty big one to whack the Tombstone, and it would need to be a pretty direct hit in the location.

An Earthquake won't do much damage other than to probably separate the stones, which is no biggy.  I actually designed this so that each stone could work independently, it doesn't absolutely need to stay together over the centuries (millenia?).  In some respects it would be BETTER  if it breaks into pieces, since then they could be carried off by future tribes of Homo Dinerus to have around the Campfire! 🙂  The Dodecahedron and Tetrahedron will be particularly difficult for any Stone Cutter of the future to duplicate without a really kick ass CNC machine.  A nice prize!

Image result for egyptian pyramids Anyhow, Pharoahs built themselves Pyramids, Ulysses S. Grant has Grant's Tomb, and even Jimi Hendrix has a kick ass monument in his hometown of Seattle.  Why shouldn't I have a cool Tombstone also?  Other Diners of course think I am quite NUTS for embarking on this project, but for me it has been very entertaining project and keeps me bizzy, along with other projects I create for my crippled self like creating a paper bound "Book of the Doomstead Diner" with representative articles from our history chronicling the Collapse of Industrial Civilization.  I am really looking forward to all the stones coming in and getting the thing assembled and then shipped for placement from Washington to Missouri, assuming I can stay above ground long enough for this to get completed.  This will take some time, since it usually takes 4-6 months between the time you order a stone and it gets delivered, and then there is engraving, assembly and shipping time to factor in as well.  So I don't expect the actual construction of the complete Tombstone to occur much before June 2018.

In the first installment of the Tombstone series "Prepping for Death", I covered what I am doing to try to preserve my Intellectual Property  for as long as possible after I buy my ticket to the Great Beyond.  This installment covered the actual physical construction and appearance of the Tombstone that will sit above my decomposing meat package. More or less anyhow until the SUN☼ Goes Red Giant, unless the rocks are carted off by surviving Homo Saps for some purpose like building new dwellings or just because they look cool.  Just about all the surfacing rocks for the Pyramids were carted of over the millenia, when they were built they had a much smoother appearance.

In the next installment of the Tombstone Series, I'll begin covering the Symbology & Text that is to be CARVED IN STONE on the rocks.


Why do people self-immolate when there are so much better ways to buy your ticket to the Great Beyond?  Like walking into the Goldman-Sachs building with a modified AR-15 set on Full Automatic.


Famed gay rights lawyer sets himself on fire at Prospect Park in protest suicide against fossil fuels

Theodore Parisienne
Thomas Tracy
Adam Shrier
Larry Mcshane
Updated: Saturday, April 14, 2018, 12:53 PM

A nationally known advocate for gay rights and the environment died Saturday in a fiery Prospect Park suicide, with his self-immolation meant as a wake-up call to save the planet.

The charred remains of David Buckel, 60, were discovered shortly after sunrise when firefighters responded to a 6:40 a.m. blaze in the southwest corner of the sprawling Brooklyn park.

“I am David Buckel and I just killed myself by fire as a protest suicide,” read a hand-written suicide note left near the blackened circle of burned grass. “I apologize to you for the mess.”

A second, longer note — left with the first inside an envelope marked “For the police” — said Buckel doused himself in “fossil fuel” before starting the fatal fire as a metaphor for the destruction of the planet.

“My early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves,” he wrote. “A lifetime of service may best be preserved by giving a life . . . Honorable purpose in life invites honorable purchase in death.

“I hope it is an honorable death that might serve others.”

He compared his macabre demise with the suicides of those who set themselves afire to protest China’s occupation of Tibet.
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David Buckel killed himself by lighting himself on fire Saturday in Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
David Buckel killed himself by lighting himself on fire Saturday in Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

“This is not new, as many have chosen to give a life based on the view that no other action can most meaningfully address the harm they see,” he wrote.

“Here is a hope that giving a life might bring some attention to the need for expanded actions, and help others give a voice to our home, and Earth is heard.”

Early morning joggers and bicyclists spied the burning body as smoke wafted through the air on the year’s first warm spring morning.

“I rode by (the body) several times,” witness Rochelle Krause posted on Twitter. “The first time I tried to convince myself it was a mannequin. But then the fire department showed up.”

Bicyclist Rahmin Pavlovic, 43, of Brooklyn, said Buckel’s choice of location was no coincidence.

“It’s definitely some kind of statement,” said Pavlovic. “He did it out in the open, right near the main entrance — not in some tucked away part of the park.”
David Buckel’s suicide notes were left inside an envelope labeled “for the police” placed inside a garbage bag left inside a shopping cart near the body.
David Buckel’s suicide notes were left inside an envelope labeled “for the police” placed inside a garbage bag left inside a shopping cart near the body. (Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News)

The Brooklyn victim was burned from head to toe by the time the FDNY arrived.

“We were a little freaked out," said a jogger who stumbled across the remains before the victim’s body was covered with a blue tarp. “It took us a little while to process it.”

Buckel took pains to make sure first responders knew who he was and what his motives were once they answered the 911 call.

He stapled his business card to the hand-written note and went into great detail in the second missive — a neatly typed explanation of his decision to take his own life.

The envelope holding both notes was placed inside a garbage bag, then left inside a shopping cart near the body.

“Pollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather,” he wrote. “Our present grows more desperate, our future needs more than what we’ve been doing.”
Police closed off a large patch of lawn as bewildered parkgoers began to stream into the park. The man's death is an apparent suicide, cops said.
Police closed off a large patch of lawn as bewildered parkgoers began to stream into the park. The man's death is an apparent suicide, cops said. (Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News)

Buckel, who lived near the park, was a renowned lawyer and activist who worked with the Marriage Project for the gay civil rights group Lambda Legal.

He was also a well-known environmental activist, working as the senior organics recovery coordinator with the NYC Compost Project, funded by the city Sanitation Department and based at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

“The news of David’s death is heartbreaking,” said Camilla Taylor of Lambda Legal. “David was an indefatigable attorney and advocate, and also a dedicated and loving friend to so many.

“He will be remembered for his kindness, devotion, and vision for justice.”

Buckel famously served as lead attorney in a lawsuit involving transgender murder victim Brandon Teena, who was raped and then killed in 1993. His story was later told in the movie “Boys Don’t Cry,” starring Hilary Swank as Teena.

A county sheriff was found negligent in the killing for failing to protect Teena from his rapists — who returned and killed Teena once he went to authorities.
Officials investigate the scene and carry away the man's body inside Prospect Park.
Officials investigate the scene and carry away the man's body inside Prospect Park. (Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News)

Police closed off a large patch of lawn as bewildered locals began to stream into the park. A plastic ID with Buckel’s name and photo was also recovered at the scene.

As a proponent of community composting, Buckel worked at the Added Value Red Hook Community Farm and served as senior Organics Recovery Coordinator for the NYC Compost Project.

The Brooklyn farm location composted 200 tons of organic waste per year.

The 1987 Cornell Law School graduate argued during his career against the Boy Scout ban on gays and for the establishment of a gay student club at a Utah high school.

He also helped a Pennsylvania woman win a lawsuit allowing her to place the epitaph “beloved life partner” on the headstone of her gay partner, and took on the IRS over tax breaks for gay nonprofits.

The Kitchen Sink / 🤮 Diner Database Puking Event: 4/13/2018
« on: April 13, 2018, 05:26:29 PM »
The Diner DB Puked🤮 up a bunch of old posts again.  This time they were all mine.  :icon_sunny:

Hopefully the Diner has now relieved itself of its nausea and will be operating as normal again.  If so it will be doing better than its proprietor.  Although my nausea episodes have been slightly less frequent the last few days.


Economics / Signs of JIT Delivery Collapse in your Neighborhood
« on: April 12, 2018, 08:00:40 PM »
I just got back from a trip to HR Block to pick up the newly revised SC Charities forms from the tax accountant.  This because SC Charities did not like the first version, because of a $23 discrepancy with last year's return.  ::)  It's an irrelevant discrepancy anyhow, the non-profit doesn't make any money!  It's more than a non-profit, it's a money sink right now!  lol.  Anyhow, at least so far the IRS has no problems with the tax return.

On the way back from HR Block I stopped at Fred Meyer for a prep run.  Trying to find some food I can still stomach for nourishment, I went to my favorite
Gourmet Cheese and Olive Bar to fill a 16oz container with my favorite items, but many were not there!   No Feta cube-Olive mixture!  No Grape Leaves!  No Mozzarella Balls!  :(  I loaded up with some Marinated Mushrooms, Roasted Garlic & Artichoke Hearts instead.  I stuck to an 8oz container too. We'll see how that goes down.  ::)

So I asked the preparer of these plates what the story was, and apparently Freddies inexplicably did not receive their weekly shipments!  :o

Now, this is a very small niche area, but also over in the liquor department they were out of some types of booze.  So this may be a Canary in the Coal Mine up here.  It's the first time I have encountered the problem with anything I buy regularly.

Use this thread to report on any items disappearing from the shelves in your neighborhood.



climate desk
Engineers tried to tame the Mississippi River. They only made flooding worse.
By Adam Rogers   on Apr 7, 2018

This story was originally published by Wired and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Scientists, environmentalists, and anyone who lives within a hundred miles of the winding Mississippi River will tell you — have told you, repeatedly, for 150 years — that efforts to tame the river have only made it more feral. But scientists would like more than intuition, more than a history of 18th-century river level gauges and discharge stations, more than written and folkloric memory. They would like proof.

Luckily, rivers inscribe their history onto the landscape. Which is why Samuel Muñoz, a geoscientist from Northeastern University, found himself balancing on a pontoon boat with a hole in the middle, trying to jam 30 feet of aluminum irrigation pipe into the muddy bottom of a 500-year-old oxbow lake. Muñoz and his team thought that if they could just pull up good cores of that mud, the layers would be a chronology of forgotten floods — a fossil record of the river’s inconstancy made not through petrification but implication.

Basically, the Mississippi meanders. Sometimes the river curves around so tightly that it just pinches off, cutting across the peninsula and leaving the bigger curve high, if not dry. That parenthesis of water alongside the main channel is an oxbow. In a flood, water churns up chunks of sediment and spreads into the oxbow. When the flood waters recede, the layer of coarse sediment sinks to the oxbow’s bottom, where it remains.

So Muñoz’s team humped their pontoon boat all the way from Woods Hole, Massachusetts to three oxbows whose birthdates they knew — one from about 1500, one from 1722, and one from 1776 — and jammed pipe into the lakebed with a concrete mixer. “It vibrates so hard, your hands fall asleep,” Muñoz says. “And then you have 300 or 400 pounds of mud you’re trying to get back up.” But it worked.

The cores were a map of time, with today at the top and the oxbow’s birthday at the bottom. In between: A peak of the radioactive isotope cesium-137 marked 1963, when humans started testing nuclear bombs. Using technique called optically stimulated luminescence to date, roughly, when a layer was last exposed to sunlight, they spotted classic floods, like 2011, which caused $3.2 billion in damages, and 1937, which required the largest rescue deployment the U.S. Coast Guard had ever undertaken.

The important part, though, was that the characteristics of the layers for floods they had numbers on could tell them about the magnitude of floods they didn’t. They got 1851, 1543, and on and on.

Then Muñoz’s team checked their work against another record: tree rings. Inundate an oak tree for a couple weeks and that year’s growth ring will show damage at the cellular level. So they took core samples from trees, living and dead, in the Mississippi flood plain — the oldest going back to the late 1600s. The ring damage matched. Not exactly, maybe, but close enough. They knew they were seeing floods for which no one had numbers. Muñoz’s team had created a record of Mississippi River floods two centuries older than any other. They published that work in the journal Nature on Wednesday.

Here’s where the fun part starts. Muñoz’s team then compared those floods with meteorological data — hunting for some link between flooding and climate. They especially looked at temperature changes on the oceans — El Niño events in the Pacific and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. “There’s this really obvious increase in both how often the river has been flooding over the last century and how big those floods were,” Muñoz says. “The default explanation is that there’s something going on with the climate that would explain that.” There was: More El Niño meant more floods.

So climate change causes floods, right? Hah! Too easy. Muñoz’s group ran a statistical model, based on the climate over the entire period of time they now had flood records for, estimating how much more worse flooding should have gotten based on climate change alone. “It comes up with a little bit of an increase, like a 5 percent increase in how big the biggest floods should be,” Muñoz says. “But not all the increase.”

Overall flood risk has gone up 20 percent, the team says. But 75 percent of that risk comes from human engineering of the Mississippi for navigation and flood control. In other words, it’s our fault.

After a particularly devastating flood in 1927 — 637,000 people lost their homes, perhaps up to 1,000 killed, $14 billion in period-adjusted damage — human beings deployed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to wage all-out war on nature to protect industry, farms, and trade. People tried to warn the government even as construction began on the Mississippi’s infrastructure — channelization, dredging, dams in the upper stretch, and along the middle and lower levees, concrete mats along the banks called revetments, and gates.

“All that increases the amount of water and the speed that water goes during a flood. What we’re saying is, we can’t explain the increase we’re seeing with climate alone,” Muñoz says. “But for the first time, we can go back further, to a state in which the river wasn’t dominated by human activities. We can really show that the way the river behaves today is not natural.”

Even that look at the prelapsarian Mississippi may not change much. Warnings that flood control would lead to uncontrolled floods date back to at least 1852, when a famous engineer named Charles Ellet warned in a report to Congress that the whole idea was going to lead to disaster. Yet the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Mississippi River and Tributaries Project remains in full, multi-billion-dollar effect. (Representatives for the Corps of Engineers did not return multiple requests for comment.)

Now, Muñoz’s inferential datasets don’t convince every river researcher. Bob Criss, a hydrogeologist at Washington University at St. Louis, says he doesn’t completely buy Muñoz’s team’s particle-size correlations and tree-ring cell biology. “It’s just a bunch of voodoo and sound bites,” Criss says. “I certainly don’t object to his conclusion. But I don’t think it’s robust.”

Criss definitely does buy the idea that engineering has made flooding worse, though. He says straight-ahead numbers like stage measurement (the height of the river) are enough to tell you that. Levees upriver send more water downriver. Revetments move that water faster. What might have been slow-spreading floodwaters when they were unconstrained turn into neighborhood-destroying mini-tsunamis when they burst all at once from behind failing levees.

“That’s what Charles Ellet was saying 160 years ago. This is the problem with the Army Corps. It’s like a protection racket. They just squeeze the river, make more floods, and then say, ‘Oh, let us help you, you need more help, the floods are worse,’” Criss says.

To be fair to Muñoz’s measurements, paleoflood hydrology on the Mississippi ain’t easy. (Hence the pontoon boats.) Rivers in the American Southwest that run through bedrock and canyons, for example, leave much more evident traces — sediments and other stuff that researchers can more easily excavate. That’s how paleohydrologists like Victor Baker, at the University of Arizona, can produce a 2,000 year record of Colorado River floods and a 5,000-year record of floods on river systems in Arizona. (Perhaps it will not surprise you to learn that attempts to regulate those floods has worsened them, as has climate change.)

And Baker buys what Muñoz has come up with. “Levees protect against little floods. If you have a super big flood that exceeds the capacity of the levee, the levees make that worse,” he says. There have been bigger floods than people remember — but the landscape recorded them. And if humans learn to play those recordings back, maybe we can find a new way to get ready for the waters yet to come.

Medicine & Health / The Test for Survival
« on: April 10, 2018, 03:28:37 PM »
Nope. I do not remember what you wrote about that, if I ever read it.

It's pretty brutal tribal eugenics.

In my own spiritual beliefs, I don't believe infants are imbued with a spirit from the Great Beyond until that meat package has shown itself to be physically strong enough, not before the 2nd year.  If the tribe has a child that is not healthy, you send it back to the Great Beyond  You can also send infants back to the Great Beyond if it is a time of famine and you can't properly feed it.

Surviving male children when they reach puberty are sent out into the wilderness alone in the spring with just the basics, a knife, fire making equipment, one week-one month of food and whatever clothing and sleeping blankets they can fit in a pack basket, which they have to make themselves.  They are not allowed to return until the following spring to the tribe.  Every adolescent male must undergo the Test for Survival regardless of who they were born to, a chief's wife or a lowly gatherer.  All get the same survival training through childhood from the same teachers.  The ones who return alive are the ones who will continue the next generation of the tribe.

At the end of life, elderly people can be useful as both Elder Council members if they are still well respected, Medicine Men, or Child Minders, as all children are raised communally, not by individual families.  However if they can no longer do even these tasks due to infirmity, like the infants they are left to die or dispatched to the Great Beyond in a fast manner, with great celebration of that person's life and contribution to the tribe.  They have become a burden to the tribe after that though, so it is time to go the Great Beyond and then seek a new meat package for another go round in most cases.  A few may have achieved enough experience and knowledge in their trips through corporeal life though to remain in the Great Beyond and travel the Multiverse as Watchers, who can help any incipient coporeal life on any planet anywhere to get going into Sapience.

All together, these rules will limit total reproduction of Homo Sap to what the planet Earth can afford to support.

The Watcher


FAQs / Diner Code of Conduct
« on: April 09, 2018, 02:25:24 PM »
More conveniently referred to as the "CoC".

We recently have had yet another outburst from Diners who are not content with the way this forum is managed.  I am going to make yet another clarification on the CoC to get this tiresome and recurring problem cleared up.    ::)

1-  You need to be polite and respectful of other Diners and their attitudes and viewpoints.  Snarky comments and pictures used to ridicule others are not acceptable.

2-  The Diner forum has many different Diners with different interests and passions.  Not all are directly related to collapse, but they usually have some tangential relationship and will inspire collapse related discussion.  They also give you some relief from the daily dose of doom we get all the time here of one sort or another.  If you are not interested in Art, Stamps, Boats or Food, don't read those threads.  There is plenty of other stuff posted every day to read from WWIII to the Collapse of the Monetary System.

3-  Complaining about Censorship is a total waste of time.  Any such post will itself be pitched to the Great Beyond.  If you don't like this, tough nuggies.

4-  STICK TO THE TOPIC!  If your disagreement is about economics or geopolitics, talk about that, not what other Diners opinions are on these topics.  Don't call other Diners "stupid" or some variant of that for having a different take on it than you do.

5-  Politically speaking, the vast majority of Diners do not think Trumpovetsky is a very good POTUS.  If you are going to Stump4Trump on the Diner, other Diners will list out his many deficiencies, including but not limited to incompetence, criminal racketeering in real estate, misogyny, racism, narcissism and megalomania.  If you want to show your support for this dimwit, do it somewhere else.

6-  Diners who persistently and repeatedly violate the CoC will be put on Moderation or have their posting privileges removed.

There are of course other issues which will come up to be added to the CoC as needs require.  In the mean time, remember the words of Rodney King.


Economics / 🏦 The Indians are Curry
« on: April 08, 2018, 08:34:45 AM »

In just 24 hours, the bad news about India’s banks has gotten worse

Is India’s banking sector imploding?

In the last 24 hours alone, the country learnt that the industry has written off bad loans worth nearly four times the latest annual budget of the Nepal government. What’s worse, the number may as much as double if a forecast from a global investment bank comes true. Adding to the gravity of the situation, India’s second-largest private lender, ICICI Bank, and its CEO Chanda Kochhar, face a potential class action lawsuit in the US over the recent allegations of corruption and nepotism.

Massive write-offs

The Narendra Modi government revealed in parliament that Rs2.41 lakh crore ($37 billion) were written off by India’s public sector banks (PSBs) in the last four financial years. “Banks write off bad loans or non-performing assets (NPAs) at regular intervals as it helps them clear their balance sheets and achieve tax-efficiency,” minister of state for finance Shiv Pratap Shukla said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha. Shukla, however, did not reveal the names of the defaulters, citing confidentiality.

While the government has insisted that write-offs do not mean the banks will give up on the recovery of loans, an analysis has revealed that the total recoveries by banks in the last four years has been less than 10% of the write-offs.

Most write-offs come from the corporate sector which accounts for over 80% of the total PSB loans, according to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). On the other hand, many government banks have stayed afloat only because of the government’s financial support, including the most recent $32 billion recapitalisation plan.
More “dud” loans

In any case, the $37 billion write-offs may not be all. Around $38 billion more of loans may soon turn bad, global investment bank Bank of
America-Merrill Lynch (BofA-ML) has warned. “Of the $178 billion (around Rs11.7 lakh crore) of debt of the power sector, $53 billion (around Rs3.5 lakh crore) is already under stress. Of this, as much as $38 billion (around Rs 2.5 lakh crore) have the potential of being written-off as bad loans,” BofA-ML has said.

Over 90% of the stressed loans in the power sector have gone to the producers, many of whom have gone bankrupt due to crushing debt, rising costs, and falling revenues. On an average, BofA-ML expects 75% of these loans to be written off.
Legal threat

ICICI Bank, right now the heart of a raging nepotism controversy, runs the risk of facing a class action lawsuit in the US, according to American brokerage firm Jefferies. Such a suit allows a group of consumers or investors to sue an individual or a company for financial or other damages caused by negligence or mismanagement.

“Emerging risks (for the bank) could be a formalised corruption charge and more such instances coming up, and (the) bank facing a class action suit and a costly settlement,” Jefferies said. ICICI Bank’s stock has already lost 11% of its value since March 15 when the first reports of nepotism emerged.

It was alleged that the bank doled out loans to a firm owned by Videocon promoter Venugopal Dhoot who had links with Deepak Kochhar, the husband of the lender’s CEO. That loan soured and the borrower went bankrupt. The heat is now on Chanda Kochhar. While the bank’s board has defended her and denied favouritism, nepotism, or any quid pro quo, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is reportedly probing the case now.

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