Our weekly calendar of activist and volunteer events and fundraisers.
At the ghastly risk of dating ourselves, let's just say it was an extraordinary time of improbable change on a global level -- a time we were sure we'd never see. Cynical? Sure. That's what results after decades of seeing the world you love go to pot, waste, and hell in a handbasket, all before your 30th birthday. It was unfortunate to be in one's twenties in those 1980s, we tell you. And we know we come off all crotchety old bugger when we go on about how disgusting life under the Reagan/Thatcher/Bush reich actually was, but it was. And don't think that we don't recall with bitter aplomb how many of our own generation bought that bucket of bile and rode into that smarmy sunset. It was the Red Dawn of a new era. It was cool to be conservative. Money was in the air, and violence, bigotry, and complete disregard for the environment were just the necessary and unfortunate byproducts -- so "we" rationalized.
Our Eighties began with a bang: The murder of John Lennon ... the end of Pell Grants as we knew 'em ... the slaughter of those innocent sisters in El Salvador ... "I Am in the One in 10" ... nuclear nightmares and dreams of mushroom clouds becoming so the norm as to be innocuous -- as indicative of the era as the Smiley Face was to the one before it. So the time which directly followed, the time we mentioned in that first sentence up there, the "extraordinary time of improbable change on a global level" was a bit of a shock. A shellshock, really, as we were so Bedtimed-by-Bonzo'd into dull-throb mode that we couldn't believe things like the Fall of the Wall, the setting back of the Doomsday clock, or the beginning of the end of Apartheid were actually going to happen without major bloodbaths. The beginning of the Nineties seemed like the dove, olive branch, and rainbow after the flood of the decade before, at least in the respect that unthinkable things happened and that some of those unthinkable things were unthinkably good. Granted, not all; here at the end of those Nineties, the world groans under the weight of our progress: At what price technology? Technocracy? At what price a top-shelf economy? Top-heavy di$tribution like never before? Trickle this, mofo.
So what's got us going off on this idealistic ramble? Perhaps we're channel surfing, hoping that Vaclav Havel and Nelson Mandela will come and blot out the gorey eyesore of today's bush league George & Al Show. So much for armchair liberalism. Pass the Perestroika! Maybe it's not such an idealistic rant ... Perhaps it's born of the frustrations of local realities like answering for Texas' Most Famous Resident when friends from overseas ask if Gee Dubyuh is as much of a screwed up dolt as the rest of the world outside of the U.S. knows he is -- and exactly how many people has he executed since taking office?! Or passing daily by the Jim Bob Fuckitt building at UT, while remembering that most everyone in that place earns less than they should. Or knowing that Austin is so ridiculously divided on something as elemental as public transportation instead of sitting down on the next Ozone Action Day table to hammer out route expansions. Or that Mayor Kirk is handing the key to the city to a bunch of mega-corporate schmoes at the Fortune 500 Forum 2000: Doing Business Different* happening this weekend, asking them to please let themselves in, make themselves at home, and help themselves to anything in the fridge -- oh, and here's a massive tax break to wash down that land grab! Or that Starbux sux and that coffee is really, really bad for you anyway, you caffeinated freaks. Whatever. It's probably just that the new U2 and Radiohead albums are coming out and we feel all "think globally act locally" and stuff.
In reality, it's because we've been gazing wistfully at our young compadres on the front lines, doing all the work for us, protesting the IMF & World Bank in Seattle, demonstrating at the two stupid national political party conventions, and now, this week, having their equipment confiscated and operations shut down at noble ventures Radio One 94.3FM and Free Radio Austin 97.1FM. (See Dancing About Architecture").
It just ain't American ... Or maybe it is.
Bear with us as we rip through an unbelievable amount of edifying and soul-stirring public service activity happening in Austin, Texas, this week. In the meanwhile, check out two Web sites, totally unrelated in anything but name, as you consider your world. www.jubilee2000.org and www.jubilee2000uk.org
*Okay, we're having a Molly Ivins (or Marilyn Vos Savant?) Moment: "Doing Business Different?" Hello, adverbs? Is that a lame attempt at Texas cutesy? If it were, it should've been spelled "Bid'ness Dif'ernt." Perhaps it's an Apple Computer homage? Not likely with Dell on the ticket. Perhaps it should just be renamed, "Writing Soundbites Stupidly" or "Writing Soundbites, Stupid."
The Say No to the Fortune 500 Coalition (NO2F500F) Festival of Resistance is all over the map this weekend. Other big events are happening, as well. NO2F500F events are going on right now, in your hometown, as you are sitting on your ass reading this: (All NO2F500F info is at www.o13.org or 329-8441, unless otherwise noted.)
The Less Fortunate 500
Today, Thursday, Oct. 12
Friday, Oct. 13
Saturday, Oct. 14
Sunday, Oct. 15