Posts tagged UNLV

scott crow comes to the vegas valley

Att’n: Nevada friends, ALLies and rabble-rousers! (Or, anyone who happens to be passing through the Vegas Valley on the evening of June 5 ….) Here’s some great news from Vegas ALLy and A-Café-er Kelly Patterson: Vegas (A)s have organized a visit and a talk from scott crow of Common Ground Collective, Ecology Action of Texas, etc. etc. etc., based on stories from his book Black Flags and Windmills. The presentation will be in Beam Hall on UNLV campus, on Wednesday, June 5.

  • WHO: Everyone’s invited!
  • WHEN: Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 6:00 - 8:00pm.
  • WHERE: Frank and Estella Beam Hall, Room 105 @ UNLV. Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • WHAT: Talk by Organizer/Author Scott Crow of the Common Ground Collective

Here’s the Facebook event page; or Las Vegas Anarchy Meetup event page if you prefer. Either way, the copy’s the same:

Scott Crow co-founder of the Common Ground Collective, an anarchist inspired grassroots relief in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, will be in Las Vegas to give a presentation. crow uses his book as a foundation for a visual, fast moving and engaging presentation of stories to show what ordinary people can do to change their own worlds and create power from below without governments. The presentation seeks through a collection of stories to show how the philosophy of anarchism has shaped and changed modern political movements. Anarchism’s influence on organization and actions has allowed spaces for projects like the Common Ground Collective, the largest anarchist organization in modern US history to come into existence after Hurricane Katrina, the Occupy uprisings, and the environmental climate change movements across the US. The presentation which is equal parts personal story, radical history and organizing philosophies asks questions about how we engage in social change, the real and perceived challenges presented by the state and dares us to rethink our grassroots movements in how we engage for the future.

This talk will be of interest for anyone that has been involved in grassroots organizing and community related planning from a decentralized, member based perspective.

scott crow bio:

scott crow has spent his varied life as an underground musician, coop business owner, political organizer, trainer, strategist, consultant, ‘green collar’ worker, writer and speaker advocating the philosophy and practices of anarchism for social, cultural, environmental, and economic aims.

Over the last two decades scott has worked for a number of national organizations like Greenpeace, A.C.O.R.N. and Ruckus Society and co-founded a number of varied projects, businesses and organizations including Lesson Seven (political industrial band), Red Square (coop art gallery), Century Modern (antique cooperative), Treasure City Thrift (volunteer/worker cooperative) and the Common Ground Collective in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina (the largest anarchist inspired organization in modern US history). He is the author of the book Black Flags and Windmills (PM Press 2011), appeared in What Lies Beneath: Katrina, Race and the State of the Nation (South end Press) and co-produced the film Angola 3: Black Panthers and the Last Slave Plantation (PM Press). He has appeared in international media as both a writer and subject including the NY Times, Democracy Now, CNN and NPR as well as the documentaries Welcome to New Orleans, Better this World, and Informant.

NPR’s This American Life called him a living legend among anarchists and the New York Times characterized him as anarchist and veteran organizer . . . that comes across as more amiable than combative . . .. Currently scott splits his time speaking and consulting nationally and organizing locally.

Priorities

The government-installed administration at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas says that, what with the current round of massive state budget cuts, and the threat of future cuts one or two years down the line, they don’t have enough money to teach classes in unpopular majors. (Based on recent decisions from administrative committees, UNLV’s — excellent, but small — Women’s Studies program, among others, might just barely manage to escape the axe. For this round of budget cuts.)

But apparently they do have enough money to build a big memorial to dead government soldiers.

Of course they do; it’s a matter of priorities. When the allocation of money for the University is political, it’s always going to favor what’s politically popular over what’s educationally important. And there’s nothing more politically popular than Patriotically Correct monuments to dead government soldiers.

This is, of course, exactly why UNLV should be liberated entirely from government appointments of administration and from the government strings attached to government funding.

Supporters of the Women’s Studies department, and of academics at UNLV broadly, often view the prospect of privatization of the University with horror. I don’t—because if privatization just means turning UNLV over from governmental ownership to non-gvernmental ownership, that could mean a lot of different things. I understand the reaction, if they are thinking of the kind of legislative privateering where the University simply being sold off to the best-connected corporate bidder. What I think is that the University doesn’t belong to the state government in the first place, and so the state government has no right to sell it to anyone; it belongs to the students and the faculty who use it. And privatizing, or if you prefer socializing it, directly into the hands of the campus community is the only just way to dispose of the University.[1] It’s also the best thing that could possibly happen to education at UNLV. As long as a government-imposed administration is in charge of UNLV, UNLV will be about serving the priorities of administrators, and serving the priorities of the government. UNLV will be about learning and teaching when it’s controlled by learners and teachers; the sooner we end the government occupation of campus, the better.

NV out of UNLV!

See also:

  1. [1] Of course, a plan like that — just handing the University for free over to those who work and study in it, with no political strings attached, instead of coming up with some scheme to create a subsidized sale to an bureaucratic efficiency-minded corporate management, with lots of lingering state control over what they can do — is almost certainly something that will never come out of a committee of the state legislature. Or rather, it’s something that will never come out of a legislative committee unless they are forced to it by events on the ground. If it’s going to come about, it’s something much more likely to come about by a strategy of campus organizing, concerted strikes by faculty, staff, and students, and student occupations of buildings and facilities, aimed not at legislative influence in Carson city, but at asserting effective physical and cultural control over the campus. But I see the need for people-power tactics, instead of bureaucratic gamesmanship and legislative lobbying, as an advantage of my proposal. Not a weakness.

¡Papeles para tod@s! 1 May 2009, 3:30 PM @ Commercial Center Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada

Bring your signs. Bring your flags (all of ‘em, from anywhere). Most important, bring yourself and bring your friends! Stand up and march on with your fellow workers and your fellow immigrants, against international apartheid; against the bordercrats and their walls, their checkpoints, their paramilitary raids, and their police state; and for the human rights of each and every person to be left alone, to live and work in peace, without needing to get a permission slip from the State for their existence.

1-mayo-2009-handbills

Justice for Immigrants; Human Rights for All!

May 1st 2009

Meet at 3:30 PM at the Commercial Center (between Commercial Center Dr and E. Sahara Ave).

March will begin at 5 PM, ending at the Federal Courthouse

  • Support family reunification!
  • Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform!
  • Support Workers’ Rights to Organize!
  • Support the DREAM Act!

Sponsored By:

LiUNA, PLAN, MEChA, Young Democrats of UNLV, LUZ community development coalition, Hermandad Mexicana, Stone Wall Democrats, Si Se Puede, Latino Democrats, NV NOW, Así Se Habla and UCIR.

For More Information Contact Us at info@ucir.org

Justicia Para Inmigrantes; Derechos Humanos Para Todos!

May 1, 2009

Reunión a las 3:30 PM en el Commercial Center (entre Commercial Center Dr y E Sahara Ave).

La Marcha comenzará a las 5PM y Terminará en la Corte Federal.

Apoyen La Reunificación de Las Familias!

Apoyen Una Reforma Migratoria!

Apoyen Los Derechos del Trabajador Para Organizarce!

Apoyen el Dream Act!

Patrocinado Por:

LiUNA, PLAN, MEChA, Young Democrats of UNLV, LUZ community development coalition, Hermandad Mexicana, Stone Wall Democrats, Si Se Puede, Latino Democrats, NV NOW, Así Se Habla and UCIR.

Para Más Información Por Favor Contacte a UCIR en info@ucir.org

Simple solutions to stupid problems, part 2: By The Power Vested In Me edition

Reporting from Las Vegas — In a city launched by shotgun weddings and quickie divorces, and which offers the chance to be wed by faux Liberaces, King Tuts and Grim Reapers, there remains at least one nuptial taboo: You can’t be married by an atheist.

Michael Jacobson, a 64-year-old retiree who calls himself a lifelong atheist, tried this year to get a license to perform weddings. Clark County rejected his application because he had no ties to a congregation, as state law requires.

So Jacobson and attorneys from two national secular groups — the American Humanist Assn. and the Center for Inquiry — are trying to change things. If they can’t persuade the state Legislature to rework the law, they plan to sue.

. . .

When Lipman and his wife moved to Florida this spring, Jacobson — a balding man with a thin, white mustache and a trace of his native Philadelphia in his voice — decided to become the local atheist celebrant.

But I’m not going to do it by saying I belong to a religious organization, he said. That’s a sham, because atheists are not religious.

Jacobson filled out an application to perform marriages, but sidestepped the questions on religion. County Clerk Shirley Parraguirre said she had little choice but to reject it.

As Nevada law requires, all of the county’s 2,500 or so licensed officiants are connected to a congregation — though some are as small as two people, Parraguirre said. (Judges and commissioners of civil marriages can also lead ceremonies.)

Some of the state’s regulations hark back to the 1960s, when ministers were dumping their flocks to become wealthy Marrying Sams, according to the book Las Vegas: An Unconventional History. One would-be officiant apparently hoped to marry enough people to finance his divorce.

Lawmakers, trying to ferret out the profit-hungry, said weddings must be among a minister’s incidental duties. Drive past the string of neon-lighted downtown chapels, and you’ll see that didn’t quite pan out.

Clark County issues nearly 100,000 marriage licenses a year and boasts dozens of places to exchange vows — atop Harley-Davidsons, in Renaissance costumes, aboard gondolas — 24 hours a day. The competition is so fierce that in recent years, employees at rival chapels have accused one another of slashing tires and shouting death threats. Someone is working at all of these chapels, said Parraguirre, whose office doesn’t have the resources to track down ministers flouting the law. In fact, she worries that if the criteria to become an officiant changes, her staff will be bombarded with people coming in and just doing it for a job.

. . .

Judges performing ceremonies, for example, don’t have to meet religious criteria, so it’s absurd to make anyone else do so, [Lynne Henderson, a law professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas] said. Officials could regulate celebrants in other ways, such as making them get training.

— Ashley Powers, Los Angeles Times (2008-12-14): Atheist may sue if law on Las Vegas officiants won’t change

Let’s suppose it’s true that County Clerk Shirley Parraguirre’s office just hasn’t got the resources to deal with all the applications that would bombard them if Nevada did away its mandates for state discrimination against religiously unconventional marriages. It seems to me there’s a simple solution: save County Clerk Shirley Parraguirre the work by abolishing the laws that require wedding officiants to get a license from the State in the first place. If there’s no licensure requirement, there will be no discrimination lawsuits, and also no applications to bombard poor County Clerk Shirley Parraguirre.

If your Elvis-impersonating streetside neon-chapel minister’s motives are really focused on making a living rather than on serving the Lord, who cares? Couples who want a religiously serious wedding will presumably go to a church or temple or mosque where they can get one.

If your Starfleet-uniformed Captain of the Starship of Love hasn’t had some State-sanctioned course of training (training in what?), who cares? Couples who want to vet their celebrants for training or competency will do so.

Even if you think that the State has some legitimate business using a licensing system to pick and choose which marriages it will or will not recognize (I don’t), what possible purpose can it serve to require not only the couple, but also the third party that they hire to officiate — whose only legal function is to witness the vows and attest that these folks mean what they say — to get specially vetted and licensed by the State? Really, seriously, bureaucratic rationality aside, who could possibly care, and why?

See also:

Re-usable Anarchy and A-Cafe updates

Here’s a couple of updates on local anarchist organizing in Las Vegas.

First, follow-up on the A-Cafe. As I mentioned a few days ago:

We’re starting a Las Vegas A-Cafe. (By we, I mean both Southern Nevada ALL and some other local anarchists I’ve contacted. Look out, we’re conspiring.) The Anarchist Cafe is intended as an informal gathering for anarchists (of all stripes, sects, and creeds) to meet and talk with each other—which is free-form enough to allow people just to meet up and hang out if they want to hang out, but y also where they can talk some shop, spread some news, and float some ideas for action. The idea comes from events in Califas (SoCal, NoCal). For the time being, we’re being rather literal by holding the event in an actual coffee house, because they have good meeting space, comfy chairs, and don’t expect us to do anything more for it than buy some of their drinks. Hopefully the first meeting will bring together some new faces and old.

We did heavy flyering on Monday, a little on Tuesday, and quite a bit more on Wednesday. Due both to planning and to some accidents of who was available when, pretty much all of our flyering was concentrated on UNLV campus and the neighborhoods immediately surrounding. About half of the flyers were put up were ALL flyers on police brutality and taxation. About half were advertisements for the A-Cafe specifically. (The latter had the advantage of an eye-catching circle-A, and a specific action item — attending the meeting.)

Here’s the results.

  • The flyers got some attention: the Southern Nevada ALL website got about 350 unique visits on Monday, about 180 on Tuesday, and about 210 on Wednesday.

  • The A-Cafe went well. Based on past experience, I figured ahead of time I’d count the event as a success if we got a few of the old folks together and made at least one or two new contacts. As it turned out, we had three ALLies (including myself) and one other anarchist we’d already met with pass through the room. We made five new contacts, passed out quite a bit of ALL literature and flyers (including multiple copies to a couple people who were planning to distribute them to friends). We also got in contact with three others who could not make the first meeting but are interested in future events and local organizing. So count this as quite the success, if we can make something of it.

The Cafe itself mostly involved introductions, passing around some small sheets we are using to build a contact list and poll people about the projects they’re interested in working on. A couple of the people who attended were interested in anarchist ideas but not committed anarchists, so we talked about the basics of anarchism with them; and chatted up those who were already committed anarchists about possible local projects.

The next meeting of the Las Vegas A-Cafe will be:

Wednesday, September 3
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Running Rebel Plaza
4550 S. Maryland Parkway

As before, if you are in the Las Vegas area (or you know someone who is) and are interested in the A-Cafe or in Southern Nevada ALL, be sure to come, or to let the interested parties know about it. (You can use Vegas A-Cafe’s Tell-a-Friend form, if you like.) I should be at the A-Cafe on Wednesday, and I hope that several other ALLies will be there too. If you’re interested but can’t make it to the face-to-face, by all means drop us a line so we can put you on our contact list.

The next question then, is, now that introductions are out of the way, what future A-Cafes will involve, at least for those who have been at least one A-Cafe and met other folks already. A large component is supposed to be informal, based on chatting with each other rather than having some kind of agenda to work through. Partly because that kind of thing is boring as hell, and partly because, insofar as it serves a purpose, it only serves a purpose for groups with a much more well-defined set of projects than A-cafe, which is mainly just intended as a space for people to meet each other, network, and have a bit of pleasant and possibly useful conversation. But it will definitely help to have some kind of prompts to get people talking with each other, and potentially things for people to work on individually or in small groups, if that’s what they want to do. Any suggestions? If so, I’d definitely appreciate any proposals down in the comments section….

Second, I’ve received some requests for editable versions of the flyers that ALL has used in its two flyering events. I’ve been dragging my feet a bit, in part because distributing editable content over the web is actually somewhat more complicated than distributing print-ready content. Basically, because print-ready PDFs are designed to be portable — that’s what the P in PDF stands for — and so carefully embed all the data that you might need to reproduce their content exactly. Editable formats don’t provide the same guarantees. But, I realize that editable versions will be much more useful to those of y’ALL who are outside Vegas than a print-ready version that you’d have to use physical cut-and-paste to customize for local needs. So, here is what I’ve done. From here on out, each new action that we post to the Southern Nevada ALL website will have a Re-use section at the bottom of the page, which will include editable copies of all the files we used to produce the material for that action, as well as any auxiliary files that you need to download to make the whole thing work. All of the materials that Southern Nevada ALL has already distributed so far for Tax Day and Radical Re-orientation are now available in their original, editable OpenDocument Text format (which you should be able to edit with OpenOffice.org Writer, Google Docs, and most open-source office software). These flyers all make use of at least one custom font face not included with your operating system; the fonts are all freely available for download, though. Here’s the full set of the fonts you might need (in TrueType format):

And, once you’ve got those fonts downloaded and installed, here’s the full collection of flyers and handbills that we’ve used. I’ve also included a copy of the short form we used for the networking project — for contact information and polling about interest in local projects — in case you might find that useful, too. As usual, all of this is copylefted and made freely available for your re-use. (It would be a courtesy to add a small attribution to Southern Nevada ALL somewhere if you should re-use the flyers we made while changing the contact information. I’d also love to hear about it if you use the designs in your own agitprop. But it’s not like I’m going to sic the Anarchy Police on you either way.) Enjoy!

Flyer:
How Government Works (#1)
Flyer:
How Government Works (#2)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For Torture (#1)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For Torture (#2)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For War (#1)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For War (#2)
Flyer:
Your Money Or Your Life!
Flyer:
Your Tax Dollars At Work (#1)
Flyer:
Your Tax Dollars At Work (#2)
Flyer:
Cops are here to protect you. (#1)
Flyer:
Cops are here to protect you. (#2)
Flyer:
A-Cafe invitation
Handbills:
Vegas Anarchy handbills
Handbills:
Las Vegas Anarchist Networking Project

Onward.