Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Occupy New Orleans - to be continued

I roll into New Orleans just as the sun is setting again. It is cold but not as cold as Birmingham.

The Anti-Racism Committee is meeting, giving report backs. They did an action Tuesday at the sheriff's foreclosure sale. Apparently there is a community center up for sale that has been a center since before Katrina, that is now being auctioned off.

About 15 people attended the sale and disrupted for about 1 1/2 hours. They used the mic check and read over and over many reasons not to allow this sale promoting gentrification and destruction of this valuable community asset. They were successful! Many of the potential buyers left and no one bid on the property.

They also connected with two other homeowners who were losing their homes and disrupted their sales too!

There were 3 white women and two African American men on the committee.

I stayed for the general assembly. Occupy New Orleans was violently raided this past Monday in the wee hours, one person arrested, and all their things, including tents, sleeping bags, food, tables, etc. - tossed into the garbage!

The lawyers immediately got a TRO for 1 week against the police and city. The g.a. was mostly about future actions and this 'issue': the lawyers are going to try to make the TRO permanent but in case they don't succeed, people want a back-up plan...

Alabama Rest Stop Lingo!

I pull into the rest stop close to midnite and find two white people - one very tall, male and tattooed, the other female, very short, and bundled in sheepskin - standing outside my door, hands in pockets, smiling broadly at me.

They are from Maine, have been to Occupy Bangor, and report to me they are traveling the green occupy scene, which I think means the stuff some folks smoke!

They are heading around to the great places they know to "hang cardboard" which I find out is not putting up a "NO WAR" sign, but a "Hungry, will you help?" sign.

We retire to our vehicles - they have a station wagon - for the night.

Early this morning, I am up with the bright, clear, warm sun happy to have pg&e so I can charge my phone, after all the tire calls yesterday!

I greet the two male guards inside the "security provided" rest stop bathrooms: one is white, short and stocky; the other is black, tall and narrow. When I ask what they think of the Occupy movement, the white guard tells me they are so busy they don't have time to keep up with what's going on outside of here: they have a lot of work to do right here.

I'm thinking they mow the huge grassy areas, trim the trees, make the flowers grow but he says no, it is their job to keep out "panhandlers" and "texas tailgaters".

Now I'm thinking no one begging money and having bar-b-ques? No, he indicates all the trucks parked outside the window, and turns beet red as he attempts to mimic someone jumping from truck to truck.

I still don't get it until his partner spells it out: prostitutes.

Oh, here they are, making minimum wages maybe, to make sure no one else makes any money here...

Blow Out!!! and Southern Hospitality! to be continued

I am leaving a message for Duke, my WVO contact in Shreveport Louisiana. He has not returned my calls after our 'political' conversation (you know the one where he, a former cop & firefighter, believes in war and why don't I?) even though he promised me he would sell me wvo whether we agree or not.

I hear a loud bang and the truck shudders a little. My first thought is did one of these angry white men, who have been giving me the finger and dirty looks all morning, decide to try to shoot me? hmmmm

I pull off the exit, pull into a gas station, and see that my back rear tire is flat - and gaping! Oh fuck.

I have just enough cash to make it home. Now I'll have to buy a tire at the very least... grrrr

Sitting at the curb, I begin trying to locate tire people. Thank the goddesses Tessie pays for my phone to have internet access. She takes such good care of her mom!!!

I find a truck tire place that I think is close by but it turns out to be several miles away. I cannot drive there. The fellow questions me, not believing I, a mere womon, am driving a commercial vehicle.

I explain to him my vehicle is no longer considered commercial as I converted it into a camper but it used to be commercial. I reveal I am an anti-war activist and my truck reflects my beliefs. Might as well get it out in the open before they send someone who might refuse to help me once he gets a look at my truck.

This fellow pleasantly turns out to be very supportive, even extremely helpful. $90 for the road service, $220 for the tire, $310 plus taxes. I tell him I cannot afford that so he recommends I call a local tire place, saying my tire is pretty common and he's sure it will be cheaper.

He takes my number and also tells me he is putting a tire for me on the service truck that is going out in a few minutes just in case I can't find anything cheaper. He makes me promise I will call him back when I get the tire replaced (after it is complete, he insists), or he will call me before the service truck fellow returns just in case I need it!

How wonderful! I find a tire place exactly .5 of a mile from where I have parked! When I get there, I am greeted so enthusiastically by the two white guys behind the counter.

One, a young, trim fellow, tells me he has already photoed the Monsanto side of my truck & sent it to his wife. He tells me they are trying to go 100% organic, including their meats, and next year they want to get bees!

The other fellow, older, chubbier, former football player, starts a conversation about the terrible shape of the world. He quickly changes it to "forget the world, I mean our country".

I am afraid to ask him exactly what he means in case he is aligned with the "they don't appreciate us over there" folks, rather than the "the u.s.a. is fuckin' up everyone around the world.." folks.

He tells me to take football, for example - which is how I find out he used to play. Some coach is making $4 million a year, with $20,000 per month 'allowance' for a car. He is stuttering, he is so mad, questioning what someone wants with all that money.

He cannot stand the disparity in our country. I talk about 1 billion a day on wars. He has heard of the Occupy movement but hasn't checked it out yet.

I encourage both guys to get to Occupy as soon as they can.

And I get a new tire for $157 out the door! GREAT! But now I HAVE to find work or it'll be me pushing the truck home....

Occupy Mobile - to be continued

I arrive in Mobile late this morning. It is MUCH warmer here by the ocean then it was in Birmingham and Huntsville, thank the goddesses!

I have parked by Government Plaza where the occupation is supposed to be but can't find them. I ask the white womon at the hot dog stand and am thrilled that she knows about them. She tells me they've move 3 blocks away to another park.

I head over there and can't find anyone. I try to find out more info on my cell connection to the internet but am unable to.

I want to make it to New Orleans in plenty of time to attend the Anti-Racism Committee meeting 5:30 so off I go!