Counter Point Journal (June 2012)


Counter Point Journal (June 2012)
June 2012
CxPJ Collective
extracted text
Counter Point Journal
June 2012


At Long Last
The Counterpoint Returns
Around this time last year, The
Counter Point lost all of its
operational capacity, from
writers leaving Olympia, to
researchers being too busy, to
people just being plain ol' burnt
out. But thanks to the immensely
meticulous and inspiring work of
past contributors, most folks on
campus have at least heard of
The Counter Point Journal, even
if it is believed to be dead. To
be invisibilized from Evergreen
bureaucracies allows the powers
that be to think they've won, that
they won't have to worry about
countering points emerging
from "accepted" media outlets
throughout campus, rallying up
bits and sometimes movements
of discourse.
I mean, shit, even we believed
the thing was dead.
n ac
I e
emg ea . e
have no HQ no main phone line,
no way to be targeted or laid
siege to. Since we are not on •
the radar, no one knows what
we are up to, what we will report
on next, or when we'll release
what we've procured. Shit, some
people don't even know we've
released anything even while I'm
handing it to them. They'll look
at the paper once I've shoved it
int o t heir hand and sometimes
w it hout looking up will say, "Yeah
I really like some of the articles
the Counter Point puts out." I
always smile and say "Yeah thanks,
we've got sortie neat pictures in
this one!"
Most important ly, as an
i nvisible organ ization we
have no one to answer to but
each other. A tough practice
since, as a society we have an
understandable deficiency
towards holding each other
accountable in genuinely loving
ways. I say understandable
because most senses of
community are abstracted by
idealisms that don't speak to the
site specific-nature of existing
networks of people, living and
working together.
In any case, the material
conditions were these: The
Counter Point was down to one
self-identified writer, and two
self-identified visual artists, so
it's taken some time to organize
our latest issue. But we have
organized (horizontally), and we
have worked to solicit writing
from those who are in direct
contact with the issues at hand.
By working where we are, with
what we've got, we hope to
sustain a tiny piece of the radical
set of journalistic practices
established by former Counter
Point editors.

Why Not (Occupy)?

Troopers surround the newly-occupied Rachel Corrie Community center on
the morning of December 16, 2011.
Image: P. Battson

Occupy Olympia began on October
17th 2011 in response to the call
for a national day of occupations
of public squares and in solidarity
with Occupy Wall Street. Occupy
Olympia's presence at Heritage
Park undoubtedly provided an
inescapable visual image to the
community of the growing problem
of houselessness and economic
inequality in our community. The
occupation provided an opportunity
for people with concerns about our
economic and politic systems, to
find each other and begin to work
collectively to experiment with
The encampment started off
strong, with an immense amount
of energy and quick formation of
a variety of committees addressing

failure to adapt to problems that was a strategic move to bring
arose also contributed to this decline. attention to social service gaps in our
Discussions at General Assemblies community. This effort was intended
began to become stymied by to highlight the lack of democracy in
individual personalities, instead of how downtown Olympia (and any
cultivating a willingness to learn city under the orbit of neoliberal
from potentially radical model. The • capital) operates, to generate a space
discussion became too wrapped to conduct experiments in direct
up in personal theory, instead of democracy, to address how resources
allowing individuals or grQups to are allocated and by whom, and to
experiment and learn from it. As the give inspiration for what is possible
weather deteriorated in Olympia in this movement.
and many memb.ers burned out,
A recent study has shown that
the focus shifted ·to addressing 18% (nearly one out of five) of
the steady rainfall, flooding, cold the inhabitants of downtown are
weather, and shortage of food. This houseless. Meanwhile, there are
is not to discount the efforts of many numerous buildings downtown that
people who worked tirelessly at the have been unused for years. The
camp on several different levels to Rachel Corrie community center
provide essential services to the had at one point been the Thurston
camp inhabitants.
County Department of Housing,
On December 16th, with an • closed due to budget cuts. It was later
eviction notice looming over the p1..!(chased by Trjvo, a Seattle-based

food to organizing free education
workshops. Experimenting with how
to format direct democracy had its
moments in Occupy Olympia, but
the failure to continue with this
experimental approach caused a
decline in participation over time. A

participants in Occupy Olympia
occupied an abandoned building on
Sth Avenue, renaming it the Rachel
Corrie Community Center. As the
orientation of the encampment had
become less about achieving political
goals, an occupation of a building


While certain organizations in
Olympia exist to provide services to
those in need, they do it primarily
through the framework of chcJrity.
In this regard, they help meet
people's immediate needs without
challenging or attempting to
change the structures of power that
generate the problems to begin
with. The Rachel Corrie Community
Center provided a space for selfem powe rm ent through selfdetermination, where those in need
and those in solidarity created a
moment in which decisions directly
relating to human needs and desires
could be made by the community
within a framework that recognized
the failures of a representative
democracy driven by capital. Short
lived as it may have been, the Rachel
Corrie Community Center can serve
as an example of what can and must

unpopular highrise condominiums.
Trivo has since gone bankrupt, and
the building has laid vacant for
years. Given the huge discrepancy
between land use and need within
the downtown Olympia community,
a new paradigm is needed.

moment but as a sustained paradigm
for new forms of social organization.
There are many directions
in which this movement can go.
We hope to see it continue its

continued on page 2

- - -........

2 - Counter Point Journal




E. Williamson

Evergreen staff continue to stagnate
while employees are simultaneously
Evergreen has unusually strong being asked to shoulder a larger and
union density for a small campus: larger percentage of rising health
The CounterpointJournal
(CxPJ) IS a collective of Evergreen dining services workers are care costs.
represented by the Longshore union,
For he most p~rt, the College
students, staff, and alumni
one of the most historically militant has attempted to avoid layoffs
who publish an independent,
in the state; faculty are represented by choosing not to fill vacant
alternative newspaper. The
by a joint AFT/WEA affiliate; and positions-a move that has the
paper is designed as a space
many of our staff members are unfortunately side of effect of
for voices, issues, and analysis
represented by WFSE, the largest displacing workloads unevenly
state workers' union in Washington. onto already underpaid staff. But
silenced or marginalized by
The newest staff members to be in the Facilities, there has been
mainstream media in qur
cofllmunity. Origjnally a direct unionized-previously #exempt• a series of layoffs of temporary
staff in Registration and Records, workers (covered in the Cooper Point
response to the questionaJ)le
Advising, Housing, Admissions, Journal's May 25 article, "Permanent
.•and attimes, oppressive
and other crucial student support problem; temporary solution''). The
policies of Evergreen's campus
offices-have \formed their own Library has also lost a number of
WFSE local and are currently in the permanent staff positions. Likewise,
newspaper, the Cooper Point
process of bargaining their first the Academics division has been
Journal (CPJ), the CxPJ has
contract. (The term "exempt" is used
relying on a greater and greater
expanded its coverage and
readership beyond the college to refer to staff members who have number of contingent faculty to
historically not been eligible for staff the curriculum. Contingent
through two years of quality
union representation, but last year faculty are still represented by the
WFSE representatives successfully union, but they sign a contract
argued at the Labor Relations Board letter each time they are rehired
that these positions, about SO in total, which gives the College permission
, We accept submission 9f 1"
articles that deal with timely, ,, do not include managerial duties and to cancel their appointment "based
relevant, and local issues. We · • should thus not be prevented from on enrollment, program need, and
joining a union.) Many of these staff
specifically seek submissions • members make less than $40,000 per ·budget considerations without any
further obligation" to the employee.,
based on research and include
Why is the College hiring so
interviews with folks directly
In Washington, as elsewhere in many temporary workers? In part,
affected by the issue being
the country, unions are one of the this practice is the result of the statefew mechanisms working people wide public sector hiring freeze,
·oiscussed. We also accept
have to resist the defunding of which makes it harder for agencies
higher education and other public like Evergreen to get approval for
services. Governor Christine Gregoire permanent hires. Hiring temporary
has been less aggressive than Ohio's workers also saves the College
John Kasich and Wisconsin's Scott money on "added costs" like health
Walker, refusing to openly blame ca re benefits.
unions for a budgetary crisis caused
What we have, then, is an
by corporate greed. But the lack of institution that is responding to
leadership in Washington State- increasing economic pressures in allparticularly on the vital issue of tax too familiar ways, ways that threaten
reform-has caused most of. the
to erode the rights-a living wage,
burden of the recession to fall on
reasonable hours, dependable health
working people, including Evergreen
care-that workers fought so hard
staff, faculty, and students. As tuition
continues to rise, so do the College's contunued on
financial reserves, and yet salaries of opposite page·
. . .


,To submit original work, or
to get in contact with us with
questions or comments, e-mail

The editorial a>lfective
reserves the right to question,
edit or refuse any content It
re(eives. The collective will
make wery attempt to consult
theauthor(s) in r:egards to any
potential revisions.

Occupy, continued
from page 1

Two strategies that we see as
instrumental for a continued
commitment to direct democracy, politicization of the movement
hor'izontal organization and (that are as of now in their
experimentation. We also see a beginning stages) are antineed for Occupy and people to foreclosure resistance and the
continue to be embedded in ongoing labor struggles within our
local communities and struggles, state.
addressing the failures and
Within Olympia, a fairly wealthy
inadequacies of institutions and and (supposedly) liberal town,
our government while highlighting there exists a large houseless
our community's ability to create population and many families
its own solutions in a long-term, whose homes are being taken
sustainable way.
away. This phenomenon is not
Focusing on existing institutions' exclusive to Olympia, as the
inefficiencies will reinforce their housing crisis and economic
value. By attempting to make these recession has created a new
hierarchical institutions "better• or population of houselessness and
"stronger," we will not achieve the illegal foreclosures. As Occupy
change that our community needs. attempts to articulate structural
While it is important to maintain critiques of capitalism and power
accountability and gain victories, dynamics, it is essential to remain
we need to put more energy place-based and location specific
into building community-based
in ortler to cultivate community
organizations that are outside as a base in which to present to
of these bureaucratic systems. the world (and us) a better vision

M. Stephens
Though those with US-citizenship can
travel to essentially any given corner
of the world, our own mechanisms
for granting even temporary visas
reflect the systemic opressions which
permeate our society. As the drum
of xenophobia persists, immigrants
and visitors from the south become
complicit within the assembly-line
style bureaucracy thatdictates entry
and exit from the United States.
My own journey to Santo Tomas,
Nicaragua, with the Thurston-SantoTo mas-S iste r-Cou nty-Association
(TSTSCA) exposes the contrast
between my ability as a United States
citizen to travel to Nicaragua to engage
in a long-going community-exchange
project. As the TSTSCA prepares for
a north-bound delegation of two
Nicaraguan school teachers, reflection
regarding previous successes and
failures within the visa process
demonstrates the ways in which
discriminatory practice has been a
barrier to furthering these community
exchanges and opportunities for
mutual personal growth.
Crossing Borders
Last spring, I painted the walls of
my house. I ordered the things in
my room, efficiently stuffing them
into boxes labeled: Books, T-Shirts,
Sweaters. I received a suitcase full of
crayons made by Roseart and Elmer's
glue sticks. I got my passport photo
taken. I got shots for tropical diseases
that flourish within the borders of the
Caribbean isthmus to our south. Much
later, I left from the city of Minneapolis
with a five dollar bill jammed into my
pocket. My body had been scanned.

of the future. ,Admonitions about
the destructiveness of the current
model have little weight if we are
not personally striving to better
the lives of the individuals around
us at the same time. Many towns
and cities have been successful in
uniting the community to resist
foreclosure, with the result of
giving homeowners extended
time to re-negotiate with banks,
while providing support to allow
people to stay in their homes.
Foreclosure resistance means
not exclusively direct actions
and negotiating with banks, but
rather means forming solidarity
and assisting people in any task
or need that they might have - as
simple as providing childcare for
an afternoon or helping mow their
lawn. It is important that these
actions are directed and led by the
homeowner, as unilateral actions
have the potential of putting the
homeowner in jeopardy and not

CxPJ logos by Lamise AI-Shawahin

Fencing was erected to support the dismantling of the Occupy Olympia encampment,
with signage provided by the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services.

electronically and my back-pack had
been searched.
Sample I unloaded my bags from
the conveyor belt and walked towards
customs. A Nicaraguan official asked·
me not where I was from, not what
my purpose was, and not if I had
family in the country. Instead, I was
asked for five dollars. I presented
the now-creased green paper to
the customs officer, who told me in
exchange, •Enjoy your stay.• My own
interaction with visa systems contrasts
deeply with those. of north-bound
delegates, and exposes my privledge
as a white woman with a US passport
in hand. The process of entering my
own country is quite different for
those who come from Santo Tomas, a
community which so warmly accepted
my presence and welcomingly invited
me into its homes.
First of all, these women each have
to pay a fee of $150 in order to even
apply for a Visa, a fine 30 times the sum
of what I had to pay after disembarking
from my flight. The already high price
of this fine is exacerbated by the fact
that minimum wage (in areas where
enforced) is $35/week. This budget,
especially in the case of Nicaraguan
women, likely goes to supporting
family members, and it is unlikely that
saving is feasible. TSTSCA will cover
these fees, but otherwise visitors
would be bankrupted by the expense.
A year after my own voyage
south and after paying the fees, I find
myself dashing around down-town
Olympia collecting letters of support
with the aim of obtaining two nonimmigrant visas. These letters from
Olympia community members and
state representatives will support the
Delegates' claim of being invitees
participating in a long-term exchange
relationship. We, as US citizens,

continued on page 5
giving them the help they need.
We also see the recent
labor victory in Longview as
an opportunity to channel this
momentum into other labor
disputes occurring within our
state. Farm workers in Eastern
Washington have reached out
to the Occupy movement to
once again gather its strength in
numbers in solidarity with their
struggle against milk producer
Darigold. Efforts by these farm
workers to unionize have been
met with threats and intimidation
from Darigold managers and
working conditions at the dairy are
inhumane. Employees work 16 hour
days and when asked for water,
the managers tell the workers to
drink from the same tanks as the
cattle. Attempts to ask for better
conditions are met by a Ruby Ridge
Farm's owner who carries a rifle
and explains, "This rifle is for those
people with the union."
The farm workers' call compels
us 10 take action out of moral
responsibility as well as a strategic
opportunity for us to continue
to articulate and demonstrate
how our increasingly globalized
economy plays out on the bodies
working people. Solidarity with
Darigold workers presents us with
a great opportunity and also a
great responsibility not to co-opt
their struggle but to follow their
lead and do what is asked of us
in support of localized resistance
against globalized forms of
repression and exploitation.

Counter Point Journal - 3

Before College:
Life not the refreshing sting of razor wire you'd
expected? Thought it was 500 percent more electrifying
stress? A touch of uncashed check ... prickling snubs ...
Or $3,000 above poverty line, even?
We don't make out that 140 decibel one-liner
that mutes our voice, mutters: "Stop looking for
yourself in others." Should you? .
''Everything is always getting quieter" is best.
Apathetic about .cooling down your social life slowly?
Annihilate it. Out on the plank.
Shrivel your self in the least ignored ocean bottoms!
Recollecting fissured atoms, exploding matters.
A Different Kind of Company. A different kind of
without your organism in atrophied armor tissues!
Discover the loud noise that comes from pumping flt1id.
Perform undesired dominatrix demands.
Hungry? Why wait? How many licks does it take to get
to the center of a command society with Cold War era
technology? Don't get mad, get overtly selfless.
If you like a lot of passive robots on your McMuffinJoin Our Club! Come see the softer side of a streamlined economy. A disciplined unlearning game just
like mama used to make. Couldn't your hands use

prior knowledge of an exploded sphere?

We're pleading.
Breathing proofs and convictions.

Now including the
Half-Life SpinHow close to the edge will death before college take
you? Force the answer from a weightless student.
Ending with just under $0 worth of classroom smarts
after dismissal of promised payday.
It helps to drink our noise- it looks good on you, baby.
The best a
waking up is demanding answers
in your cup. Tall characters stretch out on a surface of
the tale. Your spine is a chest of drawers and nothing
is on TV at this hour.
There's no wrong way to eat the prediction
• that your death will be shy in all the wrong ways.
VI'SD food bank farming. The Navy ... your own
dream-yacht tour. The longest point not included
on the plane of you not here, or you still not here.
Are you out? The Project on Youth and
Non-Military Opportunities @ www,
before-you-enlist/alternatives & Project Yano @ • for less misinformation.
. This message is over. Navy.
You're in Good Hands With Death In Your Mouth. TM


2700 [wrgreen Parkway NW
Olympia, WA 98505



Pl~ print <learl)i.

Email Address: (optional)
Date of Birth:•
Phone:• (

Best Ti me to Call:*

Current Year in High School;'
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□ Freshman (08)

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Year of High School Graduation: ___ ·····--··
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Unions, continued
from opposite page
for in the early twentieth century. Ohio
voters overwhelmingly rejected the bill
that would have significantly curtailed
workers'bargaining rights, but workers
lost the fight in Indiana, and similar
struggles will not be easily won-the
political battles occurring in former
union strongholds like Michigan and
Wisconsin remind workers that we can
take nothing for granted in the era of
The importance of union leverage
in combating the erosion of these
rights can be seen quite clearly in
comparing two all campus e-mails sent
by President Purce last spring. On April
15, 2011, before the legislative budget
for the new biennium had even been
finalized, Purce wrote that both of the
proposals on the table at the caJ'itol
"would also have significant impacts
on college employees, including 3%
wage reductions across all employee
categories, additional furlough days
for some employee groups, reductions
in retirement contributions for some
employee groups, and increases in
• employee contributions to health
insurance premiums.•
By May 26, however, he had
backtracked, stating that despite the
3% cut to the overall payroll costs
called for by the legislature, "we will,
of course, honor our current collective
bargaining agreements and meet
our responsibility to negotiate any
changes in compensation.• He added
that "the specific nature of the impacts
will vary.• Indeed. Though Purce did
take a token pay cut at the beginning
of the budget crisis, there has been
no recent announcement about
cuts to the salaries of upper level
administrators, a dozen of whom earn
more than $70,000.
Classified staff members did
agree, as part of their 2011 contract
negotiations, to take a 3% pay cut
in the second year of the current
bienniu . But thlfnks in part to
workers at Evergreen and across the
state resisting the logic of inevitability,
the College returned to the bargaining
table this year and agreed to make up
the 3% reduction in the base budget
through •voluntary furlough program,
employee turnover savings and
other compensation base reduction
strategies• ("Three percent reduction
for classified staff canceled," e-mail
from President Purce to all staff and
faculty, May 10, 2012).
The faculty union has been equally
successful in resisting blanket cuts;
last June the UFE negotiating team
reached an agreement with the
administration stating that salaries
woufd not be cut for the next two
years. This result is due, in large part, to
the power of coordinated bargaining
with faculty at Eastern, Central, and
Western. It's worth noting, however,
that despite a long-overdue pay raise
included in the UFE's 2008 contract,
Evergreen faculty are still the lowest
paid in the entire state, and lag 20%
behind faculty at peer institutions
across the country.
It's too early to tell what challenges
the new, formerly exempt staff union
will face in its contract negotiations.
But recent outcomes provide powerful
evidence that the College has the
ability to choose not to punish its
already underpaid workers. Although
each union bargains separately, each
successful contract reinforces the
importance-and the viability-of
resisting the •race to the bottom:'

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June 2012

4- Counter Point Journal

Poet-Activi~t Community Extension
Portland Debrief
N. Tiso
Our PACE action-experiment was
words; they are bodies.
•conducted on the afternoon of Sunday,
In his notes on PACE, Sherlock
identifies poetry as "the least
December 11th 2011 during gray
weather. The political event we were
commodifiable of art forms• and
framing our action around was the
therefore a particularly attractive
next day's West Coast Port Blockade, form for •generative community
a picket action done in solidarity with
extension" in/against a culture
ILWU as EGT attempted to use scab
industry that actively recruits art
labor during the union strike. This was
into "the prototyping of fascinating
also just a month after the notorious
consumables.• It's true poetry is not
•midnight eviction" of Occupy Portland
very good at prototyping anything
on the morning of November 13th, other than poetry, but when speech
when police raided the encampment acts are central to the political
(one of many sweeps across the
development of a movement, such
nation). So our antennae were attuned
as with the human mic and Occupy,
then poetry is uniquely situatedto this uproar; I identified myself with
the leftist radical communities that
empowered even-by its marginal
textured Occupy's ecology, like the
anarcho-clowns making riot police
It's perhaps useful to contrast this
laugh or the volunteer staff feeding
idea of'fascinating consumab_les'with
what poet/art critic Thom Donovan in
the tired and the hungry.
As cheesy as it sounds, one of the
his blog post calls 'lyrical valuables'most beautiful maxims I heard about the qualities of a poem that can be
Occupy (as a social phenomena) was: shared or made common, as distinct
Occupy is in your heart. Whenever I from consumed. How can we share
think about Occupy post-eviction, I what can't be consumed? Good
remember this phrase. I also remember question. Construed subjectively,
it when wondering if my involvement the human mic poem links bodies in
with Occupy is authentic, or enough, space thru recitation and reception, ·
compared to more dedicated or able- and is absorbed by the chaos of its
bodied activists, but then I remember occasioning, or kairos, if you will,
the best thing about Occupy is how it becoming changed (and charged) in
can be infinitely appropriated. Occupy a way a commodity cannot. The hope
is a site, a feeling, and ultimately a is to "reclaim public spaces as sites of
social production; (Sand and Boykoff)
social practice: it's about live resistance
in this case thru what linguist J.L.
and community-building. This essay
examines one such practice, its theory Austin calls performative utterances,
and execution, in the interests of wherein "it is by the utterance of the
words that the act is performed" (Hall
continued experimentation/liberation.
PACE as an acronym means Poet- 184). Interestingly, Austin classifies
Activist Community Extension, and is poetry as separate from his conception
of the performative in language:
best conceived of as poets engaged
in •guerrilla street action, sharing
A performative utterance will, for
with strangers in public space• via
example, be in a peculiar way hollow
•unconventional methods of poetic or void if said by an actor on the stage,
exchange• that can range from the
or if introduced in a poem, or spoken
antagonistic to the invitational. The
in a soliloquy ... Language in such
term originated from Philly poet- circumstances is in special ways - ·
sorcerers CA Conrad and Frank intelligibly - used not seriously, but in
Sherlock. Together with other poets ways parasitic upon its normal use like Lin Dinh, they performed PACE ways which fall under the doctrine of
the etiolations of language. All this we
actions in downtown Philadelphia in
are excluding from consideration. Our
2004, to positive reception.
PACE is an semi-improvisatory performative utterances, felicitous or
invitational social engagement not, are to be understood as issued in
in an otherwise mediated false- ordinary circumstances (169).
immediate world, where even former
Rest assured the next time I'm
Supreme Court Justice Stevens rightly asked my line of work, it'll be in the
Department of Etiolated Language.
acknowledges in his landmark Citizens
United dissenting opinion, "business Within the abstract formulation
corporations have been 'effectively of Austin's theory, this separation
of "poetic• and •ordinary• modes of
delegated responsibility for ensuring
discourse helps make his argument
society's economic welfare'; they
inescapably structure the life of every intelligible; however it's just this
intelligibility PACE calls into question.
The fact is that public space is a Certainly our utterances as poets in
misnomer. If it wasn't, Occupy's park the street were said as if on a stage
takeover wouldn't be so politicized. (the stage of reality) and their delivery
An anticommons, American public .felt *hollow or void," confirming our
space is everywhere managed by an
standing as parasites, but they also
anti-intellectual corporate-political
issued from an •ordinary circumstance.•
elite hostile to nondomesticated
If a performative utterance produces
community-organizing (i.e. activism). . the circumstance of its reception,
its precisely how •ordinary• the
Public space is more or less integrated
into the capitalist architecture of circumstance of our "parasitic*
utterances were that accounted for
mass consumption. How to practice
mass participatory democracy under their remarkability. This suggests
these alienating social conditions is a a possible synthesis of poetry,
quintessentially American dilemma.
performativity, and the practice of
Occupy introduced into the history everyday life.
of protest rhetoric a new discursive
tactic: the human microphone, which,
as I'll go into later, uniquely occasions We met at Powell's Books on SW 9th &
Burnside in the mid-afternoon. Gabe,
the context of its utterance and in
doing so creates the space for new Croft, and three other enthusiastic
modes of interaction to be tested, from
Evergreen students were there, with
within the outside of the dominant materials in tow-books to read from,
reality. Our PACE action experimented
flyers/broadsides to handout1 and
with how poetry can appropriate the
poster boards with radical graffiti
human mic form to similarly build
slogans to hang. It was badass. David
solidarity between listener-speaker and Elizabeth were late, but that's ok;
(as each are both), only in this case
we got warmed up while waiting for
in improvised situations and so with
them. It was cold out (not raining) and
a more permeable coterie. We were
Gabe was wearing sandals without
also modeling more consensual
socks. I felt bad for Gabe's feet. We
linguistic frameworks viz. the listening- banded together and lit cigarettes,
based speech-act that is the human
fumbling for a way to get started.
microphone. Our appropriation of Eventually we just did.
this discursive tactic was justified in
We had two planning meetings
showing that pQems are more than just about this PACE action dating back to a

Image: Croft
little over a week prior, one I attended
in long johns via Skype. We discussed
evolving conditions on the groundat the port, with the longshoremen
and the union, with Occupy PDX and
their action committees, etc., and
were for a time interested in framing
our PACE action on the day of a march
to the blockade site, until we found
out no march would be happening
because the port was too far out to be
accessible by foot, and was not near
any neighborhoods. We then decided
to do our action the day before as
a sort of promotional event for the
shutdown, and put the call out for
other similarly interested community
members to join us ·via the Google
group OccupyPortlandPoets.
It was a typical busy downtown
day; people filed in and out of the
bookstore around us. I showed Gabe
and Croft my broadsides. I must say I
was proud of them because I printed
them left-justified on pretty cardstock
at the IPRC, then chopped them to
better size with a big paper cutter.
We decided it'd be best to warm up
by reading these aloud human mic
style, with every few words spoken
by one repeated and then amplified
by the many. None of us were really
experienced reading poetry this way.

The need to repeat demands simplicity,
whereas my poems were usually
complex beasts, so fitting their unusual
syntax and multisyllabic vocabulary
into this condensed and then echoed
format required, above all, a sustained
attention to misunderstanding.
By coincidence, an unhoused
person named Steve was selling Street
Roots magazine on the same storefront
sidewalk entrance. Steve had
something of the marketplace hawker
about him, only goofier, whereas here
we felt, well, serious, or maybe just
scared. Steve's levity reassured us.
I forget if I had Steve read my poem
solo first or if the troupe I was with
performed and then we asked Steve
to join in. I remember Steve at first
reading it with a comic persona then
becoming more absorbed in how it
specifically addressed what appeared
to be Steve's condition (unhoused),
and this caused Steve's pitch to slow
and deepen as the poem worked upon
I don't listen to the news but can't
help hearing the homeless question,
the carnival feeling, the politics of
outburst emotion on both sides: one
paramilitary the other a new Left
sleeping outside, not keeping clear its
function ...

Imagine that being read aloud (real
loud) for all within earshot to hear, like
an ancient bard. It was doing things to
me too. That it •brought the poems to
life• is probably the most cliche way I
can describe the affect.
Feling less & less nervous, I lead
the way in a cascading chorus, three
phases long. What is so great about
the 'human mic' repetitive speakerlistener format is it puts the emphasis
on listening and receiving the poem,
literally, into the body, before reciting
it, so that every speaker puts their
spin on it. As Adam Weg writes in On
The People's Microphone, '.'Parceling
oratory into memorable bundles,
arousing enjambed speech-the
new technology s·uspends authorial
timelessness and elicits the historical
precession of hallucinatory closure
experienced by any reader absorbed
in any text ... which inaugurates a
community not of authorship but of
readership': This idea of cultivating
"readership" encounters what Bay Area
poet Rob Halpern calls •a poetics of
receptivity," that privileges -passivity
over activity, receiving and accepting
over unraveling, decoding and, in the
end, appropriating:'

continued on page 7

June 2012

Counter Point Journal - 5

A Sixty-Fiye Percent Privatized Evergreen
E. Hauser
Budget cuts. Those two words have
haunted members of the Evergreen
community for years, from students
and alumni to faculty and interested
residents of Olympia. Most everyone
has something to say about the issue,
but no one seems to know the whole
story. That's because, as with most
issues involving politics and money,
there's more than meets the eye at first
glance. I attempted to clear matters
up a bit in a recent interview with the
Executive Director for Operational
Planning and Budget at Evergreen,
Steve Trotter.
I began by asking what the funds
that constitute what are often
referred to as the school's "reserves"
are, exactly. Trotter was quick to point
out that "reserves" is a misleading
term: undesignated fund balances
are not equal to reserve money that
the college can allocate any way it
likes. "At the end of the last fiscal year,
there was about 30 million dollars in
this pool," he explained, but this fund
balance was largely tied up in future
plans. For example, a large portion
would go to su.pport the housing
and dining services on campus in
the coming year. Evergreen has to
keep an operating budget to pay
for improvements to buildings and
other expenses, both expected and
unforeseen. Therefore, some money is
designated for expenses like planned
remodels to buildings, while some is
kept as a true reserve for things like
unexpected repairs to oncampus
facilities, or deficits that must be made
up in the school's budget.
"Evergreen's operating budget
comes from state subsidies and
students' tuition," said Trotter. When
state budget cuts slashed funding
for higher education, the school was
forced to look for alternate means of
generating revenue. These cuts took
money out of the school's budget
faster than tuition increases could

make up for the difference, so reserves
and one that is privatelyfunded, and
were used as a quick fix to balance this
Evergreen has been slowly moving in
the direction of the latter. Its thirtyThe logical next question is where fivepercent state funding is actually
is this money coming from? If state
high compared to what other schools
budgets and student tuition are not are getting, but Evergreen's unique
enough to cover the school's needs, approach to education requires the
how does it generate extra revenue?
school to have more financial flexibility
Trotter explained that Evergreen does, in order to maintain things like small
in fact, have tools to gather funds
class size and hands-on opportunities
for the reserves. Overenrollment of for students.
students is one way the school gets
Using the school's reserves has
money: it accepts fees from more
helped to cushion the pain of
students than the school expected in
budget cuts, but at some point these
a given year, then uses that money to
reserves must be rebuilt. The state
provide the extra faculty and facilities
has, unfortunately, implemented
necessary to accommodate these
a three percent yearly decrease in
students. Trotter said that "Evergreen
funding for the school, so the school
recently enrolled 4,500 students
must continue to find other ways of
instead of the expected 4,200, and
making money to compensate. Overused their tuition money to ensure
enrollment can only help so much, and
that the school would be staffed and Trotter reiterated that frugalness must
prepared to accommodate them ." be maintained, now that ,the school
Twentythree percent of these were
is more dependent on savings from
out-of-state students, whose higher· things like staff vacancies. Trotter said
tuition fees helped even further.
that "Evergreen is trying to minimize
Of course, there is a limit to how the impact of this frugalness on
much the school can overenroll
employees by avoiding pay cuts and
before it runs into trouble. Savings
layoffs," but this reporter knows that
are also accumulated throughout the these things will happen when there
year through unfilled office positions. is no other easy way for the school to
The more the school can avoid hiring
save money. The reserves have been
secretaries, receptionists, and like
useful, but they won't last. The state
staff, the more money it saves. Also, has asked the college to prepare five
not spending the entirety of funds • and ten percent budget reductign
that have been allocated to certain
plans, but t~ere just aren't many
purposes, such as travel budgets, other obvious places to cut spending
translates into savings at the end of before students, faculty, and staff start
the fiscal year.
bearing the brunt of the burden.
How much of the budget deficit
Evergreen is working on a fivecan these efforts make up for? Not year plan of ramping up efforts to
all of it, since state funding has been
secure resources, which are needed
so drastically reduced in recent
mainly for financial aid for students
years. "Thirty years ago students paid
and for faculty development. "State
twenty percent of the school's costs," and federal financial aid subsidies
said Trotter. "Now they pay sixtyfive
are holding up the current model for
percent: The eeonomic recession
financial aid at the moment, but this
helped to speed up an already existing
cannot be expected to last; said Trotter.
pattern of decreasing state mandated
Instead of public subsidies, tuition
money for colleges. There is a large
is becoming the only income for the
continuum between an organization
school, and if students cannot pay out
that is funded entirely by the public of pocket the school is not financially

Immigration, continued from page •2
lend assumed legitimacy to these
representatives through our letters. In
the eyes of the state, this justifies the
personal statements of these women.
Meanwhile, Martha Irene Lazo
and Heylin Amarely L6pez both work
towards getting letters from the
Ministry of Education and county
State workers local to Santo Tomas.
The letters from both here and there
justify the women as workers with
valid ties to their community and state
that the women are excited to use this
opportunity as a means to better and
enrich our educational practices in
Olympia, as well as their own back in
Santo Tomas.
Martha and Heylin are presumed
outlaws even before crossing the
The exorbitant fees for visa
application and the reinforcement
letters from the state and Olympia
community members show that the US
visa process restricts access according
to class. Being able to get your hands •
on $1 SO is no easy feat for the average
Nicaraguan, and neither is it easy for
many United States citizens.
The quantity and content of support
letters reveal the power of the State
to deem who is cut-out or permitted ·
to touch sacred US soil. Immediately
criminalized and forced to jump
through a series of hoops, Lazo and
Lopez must justify their desire to cross
into sacred U.S. soils.

phone call. She said that the people
weren't so nice and that they asked her
questions unrelated not to the deep
and powerful history of the sister-city
relationship. They overlooked details
about her important work as a librarian
in tl-te community's only library, and
failed to question her about her work
in the comedor infantil, a children's
soup kitchen whose roots trace back to
the Sandinsta struggle, today feeding
about 50 kids their only meal in a
given day. They didn't ask her about
the purpose of her visit: dialogue with
Olympians about community work and
ultimately to travel back to Nicaragua,
delivering new insights and revived
energy to her work in Santo Tomas.
As it turned out, Normantina
paid a monumental fee in order to
be questioned about her lack of a
husband. Her age and her status as a
single woman, officials said, made her
a likely 'illegal: a stowaway in disguise,
seeking work in the glamorous
ornamental greens industry in order to
send wages southward.
I asked Normantina if her plan was
to stay in the United States, and she
responded with laughter. A life lived
in silence, under the fear of ICE raids
and police brutality? No thank you.
What arrogance these gringos have,
Normantina told me with chuckles.
Nevertheless, Normantina's story
shows the way in which social and
political profiling based on racism,
classism, and sexism color the systems
Previous Visa Experiences
which govern us. Normantina was
profiled according to her social class,
When Normantina Aguilar and Ana
gender, and because she came from
Marfa Sanchez made their four hour Nicaragua. In the eyes of US officials,
pilgramage to the US embassy in
these factors cumulatively add to
2004, their visas requests were denied. her status as an economic and social
While the TSTSCA has had success in 'risk-factor.' Being a working -class
bringing numerous northern-bound
woman from Nicaragua, the other
delegates to Olympia over the years, aspects of Normantina's identity were
things do not always unfold in a way
invisibilized. She became a threat to
that allows us to further our goals of the U.S. economy as a potential 'jobsolidarity and sisterhood.
stealer' (and therefore a threat to the
Normantina recounted her •function of our capitalist society),
experience to me via an international
because of the social markers assigned

to her. "Lo sientoooooo," said the
customs official as he passed her a
rejection notice from across the table
in the US Embassy.

At this point, we aren't sure
whether Martha and Heylin will
be granted their Visas. We can't
be sure of much in a society that
labels people 'alien: and 'illegal: or
just plain old 'different.' In order to
ensure safety and equality both
for ourselves and for those labeled
'different: we need to collectively reimagine our immigration system and
democratically re-distribute power.
These stories of well-intentioned
and good hearted people who are
my friends groping their way through
the systemic oppressions of the visa
system drive me to ask who or what
that system is trying to protect.
Who is gaining from the
dehumanization and criminalization
that happens on a daily basis? Why is
it that my friends have to cross what
feels like an iron-wall of bureaucracies
just to visit us at the northern end of
the same continent?
. As the US government continues
on its systematic campaign of
terrorism, solidarity across borders
and constructed identities become
absolutely necessary for collective

benefiting from their attendance. "The
trinity of public subsidies, financial
aid, and tuition is no longer balanced,"
Trotter explained. "The cost of tuition
has gone up, not because the cost of
operating the school is higher, but
because less money is coming from
As Evergreen struggles to come
up with financial aid money, one of
the issues faced is that of college
becoming an opportunity for the
wealthy only. Higher tuition expense
has already become a barrier to some
new students. With the school relying
more and more on tuition fees to cover
its expenses, less students can afford
to apply, and those that would have
once received financial aid may not
now. Trotter informed me that "Over
one third of Evergreen's students are
below the poverty level, and many
constitute the frrst generation in their
family to attend college at all." More
recruitment of out-of-state students
who will pay higher tuition fees is
expected from the college, but while
this will generate more money for the
school it won't help the plight of those
students who have difficulty paying
for college, whether instate or outofstate. Trotter also expects decreasing
applications from minority students,
who may have relied on financial aid
that is not now available.
One challenge Evergreen faces that
many state schools don't is its youth as
a school. Evergreen receives markedly
less income in the form of private
donations from alumni than other
schools do, as it is only forty years old
and therefore has a much smaller pool
of alumni to receive gifts from. This
alumni group is "our largest private
funder," said Trotter. As the current
school year marks Evergreen's fortieth
anniversary, Trotter expects the school
to be asking for more donations from
its alumni and supporters, but there
is no way to tell how much these
individuals will be willing and able to
Although there is now less funding
coming to Evergreen from the
state, this does mean that there is
more accountability from the state.
"Washington wants to support the
college and increase its efficiency,"
said Trotter, •because the state will
benefit from having more people
with degrees." However, with the
school growing and state funding
decreasing, it is difficulty to see how
this can be done. Trotter stressed that
public officials cannot be blamed for
these problems. "No one wants to
raise tuition, but it becomes the only
option when the public doesn't want
to allow tax increases that would
translate into ·more money for schools.
There is a demand for more money

for financial aid and improvements to
the school, but little desire to pay. The
legislators do not provide money; they
merely manage what they are given to
work with, so it is up to the public to
provide them with more funds if they
want the school to get more money.•
Unfortunately, people seem unlikely
to become more receptive to tax
increases any time soon.
Evergreen's faculty is already
paid less than the faculties of the
rest of the state schools, yet they
often do more and harder work. The
school lacks opportunity for revenue
because it refuses to cut corners in
academfc areas, such as the way it
handles its lower division classes.
While large state schools like UW and
WSU cram hundreds of freshmen
and sophomores into lecture halls
for classes that offer little to no oneonone help from or interaction with
their professor, Evergreen is known
for small class size and close student
professor interaction. This uniqueness
leaves less room for costcutting, but
faculty and administrators are loathe
to change the qualities that make the
school so remarkable. Trotter stressed
that "in the future, preserving this
uniqueness will remain a high priority."
Evergreen students and graduates
who have benefited from the school's
alternative approach to education can
only hope that Trotter speaks the truth,
so that future generations can enjoy an
option that contrasts drastically with
traditional approaches to education.
Evergreen needs to have some
financial flexibility in order to remain .
the unique opportunity that it has
been for thousands of students, but
what little money the school has is
already tied up in prior obligations.
Fund reserves do not mean free money,
and even those reserves that are
needed for the school's operation are
running out. When it comes to solving
the school's budget problems "we
have to.think long-term,"Trotter said.
Clearly there are no easy answers, but
it seems that it will ultimately fall to the .
public to cfo what the state no longer
does for Evergreen. If we continue
to resist higher taxes, the school will
be left with no choice but to make
changes that will destroy its valuable
uniqueness and take away educational
opportunities for future students. The
ultimate question, then, is how much
does higher education mean to the
people of Washington State?
If you would like to find out
more, there is information on the
school's website. The Office of the
President page has a link to the
Budget Office page, and to the Office
of Governmental Relations, which
provides blog entries that may be
helpful in understanding the role the
state is playing in all of this.

Counter-Hegemonic Global
Aggregates: A Paper

Three Evergreen students; G. Buell, J. would mean a very different world as
Bracken, and K. Ashcraft; produced a compared to today's.
115-page paper entitled The Contours
Ashcraft et al. itemizes the
of Social Movements in the Neoliberal "myriad inadequacies-both respective
Epoch for an academic contract in
and collective-that fail to instigate
[spring 20J 1?].
a fundamental structural transition
By popular demand, the full text of from the capitalist world-system" and
the paper is now being hosted at [url]. in doing so clarifies some boundary
This column is meant to serve only as a conditions of success. This is what,
very short introduction to the full text.
primarily, makes it an important work
In its first section, the paper argues to anyone interested in collective •
a thesis: "the claim that globally- activism politically or academically.
networked counter-hegemonic
Ashcraft et al: cites 77 unique
movements provide the most references, and, at the beginning of
favorable opportunity for this systemic section II, annotates a list of•the most
change" against a global, neoliberal, relevant and dynamic" of these texts.
capitalist order. Its second section
As such, the paper has some secondary
constructs a framework to analyze
importance as a comprehensive guide
* Update: As of March 2nd, Heylin
further readings.
Amarely L6pez and Martha Irene
Finally, this paper derives tertiary
Lazo received their US Visitor Visas.
networks." Finally, it presents case
importance specifically to Evergreen
Although this recent ~ccess is
studies of such "CHGAs" illuminated
students due to its existence. That
something to be celebrated, the
by both the thesis and framework in
is, it is worth remembering that it is
process for US Visa acquisition
to produce important, critical,
continues to reflect systematic
work such as this through
inequalities and alienations embedded
are "La 'Via Campesina, The Free
the contract system at Evergreen.
in the bureaucracies· of the United
Culture Movement, and the lslamist Simply as an example of work, this
States and global capitalism at large.
Movement." They are characterized
paper is an important read for anyone •
by, in the authors' own words, "historic interested in studying history, activism,
failure." This should be no surprise, or social change at Evergreen.
since significant success of a CHGA


6 - Counter Point Journal

ARTISTS: Strike to the Street
As the idea of "Public-Place• is
"negotiated" by "our• federal and state
laws, a perverse interpretation from
what I believe such ideas desire to be is
in effect. Visual stimulus for example is
bought and sold to the highest bidder.
(I.e. advertisement billboards). While
the ideological goal behind making a
public message available is to inform
the community (that interacts with
the board) about a particular thing
or idea, yet informing one's public
potential is dictated by how much
money one can spend. I'm relating
a competitive means to live, to who
gets to put out their message, and to
. what communities are targeted by
the messaging. What this creates is a
representation of knowledges that are
dictated by fewer interests than that
of the amount of those who ·occupy
the spaces that are affected by the
It is obvious to me that under our
current terms of cross community
negotiations (Capitalism). we will
never be in each other's interests.
Entire panels would hav~ to be
recruited, close to the likes of a "city
council" process of representation. In
case you don't know capitalism is not
interested in developing communities'
social and health practices. Please,
look around your "public" terrain.
Might it be conducive for you to be
able to make available an idea, a hint
or path towards proposed further
' investigation, i.e. a website domain
of your choosing written or installed
on a wall? Unless you're not in front
of a chalkboard the answer is then
no. (How long does chalk last anyway)
Poets gather in front of Powell's Books. Image: N. Tiso
What I mean by conducive, is how
immediately can your messaging be "right" about "public" manipulation. much media saturation in our"Public" you cause enough of a stir, then maybe
hidden inside of a pillow case looking
accommodated by your community's' This text aims to articulate some
spheres, our public displays must be you'll get some media attention, so
sack. The aesthetic properties of your
"hot spots"? Do the bureaucratic ideas as to how to make you, those
contrasted in relation to the specific that the amount of people who have situation should be mobile, otherwise
procedures you must go through
to deal with your action may be big. you raise the chances of being shut
around you, and your environment terrain you seek to manipulate. If you
rely on you spending money for your easier to manipulate to you and your seek to manipulate a space where That doesn't mean that most of them
down all together. I'm not saying that
"space"? A messaging that you believe
people are moving fast then one's will have interacted with your work you should avoid actions that require
community's desires.
needs to be made available for the
Guy Debord spoke of how a aesthetic production must be st ill or how you needed them to, except
one (and ·hopefully many) to make
general knowledge of your community. "commoditized" (Divided) cultural
slow. If some one is bustling on their for the people who came into direct a stand. All I'm saying is that if your
Does an American company like Coca- existence only allows particular kinds 15 minute lunch break in midtown
contact with you or your troupe. The
theatre can be mobile, or have little set
Cola have any right to advertise in
of experience, thus a limited potential
Manhattan, hurrying on a multi lane
people who are going to potentially
up, then that opens up where you can
India? What is it that makes Coca- of experience through out day-to- crowded sidewalk, and is suddenly be •fucked" by your performance
do it, and how many times you will be
Cola having representation in India so
day possibilities. The example of forced to navigate around some one
are the ones who will have if any the
confronted by police, yet continue to
important. How is it that Americans the 9-5 labourer has a home, a work
not moving, on their knees, positioned
most profound interpretations of your operate. (I.e. "of course we can move,
who spent little to no time in India, place, and a social venue of some
in the middle of the sidewalk. The action, because their physical body Officer. We'll just cross the street.")
know what an Indian might like to
sort, whether that social venue be
moment that the person has to
brushed past yours.
A protest that must be deciphered
drink. What deals and information are for grocery shopping or the local
navigate around the person kneeling
When deciding on a position, map
in order for it to be recognized as
they using to influence their decisions. pub. In a commoditized culture, the
on the sidewalk is very important. out how the space is used, where
a protest is, to me, a situationist
Unfortunately Coca-Cola's intent is venues for dissensus must be sparse, Let's say this person kneeling has their the streams of pedestrian traffic are, production. This is not how most
not to genuinely supply people with a unnoticed or not allowed in order mouth open, (as if screaming) their and where the entrances and. exits
protests have ever been conducted.
tasty beverage to fulfill their belief that for •capitalism" to have developed
eyes closed, and hands tied behind
are (when thinking of public streets
Protest rhetoric has always been to
people have a right to experience the
as it has. What Guy Debord was they're back. Even if it's for but a brief and alleys). Is there -an entrance, a mobilize as many as possible while
wonderful inventions and concoctions
attempting (simplified) was bringing
moment in passing that the pedestrian
funnel, a hot spot? Target it. Think of blaring a clear set of demands. For
of the world. Basically people the experience or knowledge to the
on their 15 minute lunch break has to
the physical logistics of the space: centuries, the dramatic protest meant
(Amer.ican Coca-Cola) who don't
venues that wouldn't'have otherwise
change they're perceived path, and
where can you be seen from, whether it was loud and that the causes for
spend time in a particular community
been able to house. (Let alone want to)
in that changing of trajectory, they
people can be hindered physically in
why the protesters were there were
(India) don't know or care for what the
Steeped and raised inside our material
are left with a social interaction that
navigating around your space. Is it summarized onto signs and banners
community may not only need, but fetishizations, our capitalist framework. they can't •tame• in their minds. What wheel chair accommodating, in that (to make a clear visual statement for
just flat out want. I'm not knocking
we have splintered off from socially
observation reveals an almost hidden
I.mean is that at some point after the
non-protesters passing by). By being
the genuine idea of informing another conducive activities, we have separate
situation, the person provides themself political belief that is supported by the
clear in your sign as to why you're
community from one's own about living with individualized boarders, we
with an anecdote as to what that social
space? Think about it.
there while strapping it to a stick so
a new drink that one thinks other receive separate checks and separate "interaction• meant. I.e. why that person
Let me divulge into a little bit of you can raise the sign above your
people would like. If we even can, tables when we go out to eat. We are
was kneeling on the sidewalk.
my experience with New York City head for it to be seen, with the font
how could we regulate what messages culturally not interested in helping
The positioning you and your street hustlers, or what quaint Olympia
size of the signage being big for an
get promoted across cultures and
each other out. Guy Debord suggests fellow Comrades decide on must
beautifully calls "busking." Smart obvious interpretation. In this day
communities. And at what point is a an immediate intervention with a bear in mind the sight specificity to
hustlers will do a few of the following
and age, this is detrimental to the
cultural practice hindering a possible
mindfulness of aesthetic properties the space. Researching the space
when setting up a certain positioning
protestor's ideal of mobilizing in the
social (Maybe health in context with
as a means to inflict on people in
becomes incredibly important, both
on a sidewalk. The items for sale will
street. To code the messaging of the
dietary education) development.
very abrupt yet specific ways. Let's •at home" research as well as "in the
be laid ouf on a blanket which rests
sign would be an attempt to invite for
For you to agree with me as to your take the •sidewalk" for example, one field" research. Do a lot of police
on the sidewalk and the hustler's back individual criticism from onlookers.
environment not being conducive for of the most populated and "public" patrol the area, is the infrastructure
will be propped up against a parked
What I mean by detrimental to the
you to be able to impact it physically terrains one could find. This is also a that of big business or do people live
car with the blanket laid out in front
ideological prompts that initiate a
via a visual sign is that you are taking
terrain that when used, people have
in the space. These are variables that of them (with the hustlerfacing away
gesture such as public mobilization
into account a couple things. What a lot of behaviors that they aren't must impact the decision making
from car traffic). This gives the illusion
of a like minded force, is that the like
you've been told since you've existed
even aware of, even if they are aware
process for designing the situation. If to drivers that the person leaning on
minded want to cultivate more people
in this society is that you need to
they may do nothing to change the your performance idea seeks to give a the parked car is A. in front of their into they're mass via educating them
go through the legal bureaucracies
behavior. (Auto-Pilot) An example of representation in America for foreign
work place, or B. or just hanging out on the issues that have brought forth
and money arrangements to claim a being conscious of your actions and
factory workers of Nike, then why not in front of where they live. "Homeless• the mobilization to begin with. So if
billboard or advertisement. Another not doing anything to change them
conduct the operation in front of a buskers blend in less, which is why a a protestor has a sign that says "NO
thing you take into account is how is how people generally deal with
Nike store. Or in front of a legislative
lot of"Homeless• buskers in New York
BLOOD FOR OIL"; some one who sees
you would be treated if you chose to "homeless" people in the street. There
building that continually enables and
will sit on the floor, not only because that sign will write yo'u off in they're
ignore the legal bureaucracies, an
is a behavior that- seeks to ignore
endorses Corporations to "Export• they may position themselves there for own mind as some one protesting the
example would be the possibility of them; people without a "Home• are
labour for ~heaper production costs. an 8 hour work day (thus they must sit war. Therefore you are interpreted as
being spotted by the police while
hard to look at, to see us in a similar By situating yourself in frent of a Nike
down), but also because sitting down
having nothing to teach the onlooker
putting up your sign. So the last thing
situation, as a possibility of our own
store, (for example) and attempting
hides them better from cops while about the war, I mean shit, everyone
I can think of that does not make your is undesirable. This practice begins to provide a "voice• for those that remaining in tf,e public eye. Another "Knows• about the war, right? Yet
situation conducive would not only to negate a possible dissensus, what become the cost for Nike to exist, you
thing I want to relate between what our argument (as protestors) would
be fear of your •neighbor" seeing you
it might start to be like to not ignore are providing a possible dissensus
kind of aesthetiqil logistics should be
clarify what it is about the war that is
commit the action, but also the fear people, to hear that they would prefer from the general media that surrounds
recognized and how people hustle
known, and what it is about the war
you possess yourself, you become a to be warm rather than sleeping under the Nike store. The situation that is
items in the street is how collapsible
that should be represented when a
witness to your own •crime.• (Othering
a bridge.
created in front of the store is directed
the set Thus going back to the
capitalistic engine revs the old yet ever
yourself, "Othering• as verb, a self
This is where Situationism seeks to impact the workers of the store
blanket that is under the items for consistent war pipes. I propose that
surveillance) You become the first to be of use, that a "Live• public directly, while causing more of a stir sale can be grabbed up by all four
obstacle implemented by a societal
media announcement be made in
so that higher management will have
corners and moved not only quickly,
conditioning that has told you what's
person. In today's context, with so
to get involved and "deal" with you. If but k~eping the materials for sale

continued on
opposite page


continued from page 4

Counter Point Journal - 7

by addressing that skepticism in the
mind of the reader and trying to-in a
kind of appeal to shared moral values,
to a desire for peace-defuse those
fears guarding us from acce~sing one
another's sentimental and erogenous

It made fun of earth day and contained
pornographic innuendo. Croft read it
aloud with great delivery in terms of
timing 'oratorical bundles' to match up
with David's punch lines.
Sometime during all this
hullaballoo the Powell's bookstore
manager came out and told us we
had to step about five feet backward
off their property, back onto the
public sidewalk. We asked if he'd like a
broadside. He said no. I'll refrain from
commenting on the ludicrous irony
of a lefty bookshop being against
hosting an admittedly impromptu
reading. Later a non-managerial store
clerk came and asked what we were
doing and took a broadside, and was
generally supportive, so it's really just
the bookshop bosses who don't like
reading, for the record.
The reactions of the shoppers/
passersby around us consisted
mostly of indifference or disavowal
of listeni ng; a stiffening like of a
trying to resist having a reaction, but
maybe inwardly trembling, etc. People
don't really care if you read poetry to
them; they are too busy shopping
and are afraid of having their routine
interrupted, so they fight against
attending to your irruptiveness (the
punk in me gets off on this making

and blogging etc. are high-stakes
necessary, non-saleable) that we
when thought of in terms of how we
addressed, uncomfortably.
are replicating consensual dialogic
Reading the poem was far different,
Were our poems able to receive
frameworks (commons) enabling
in this case, than writing it. It felt,
them, the people?
aesthetic-political connections, and so
ironically, like a more direct form of
After hanging around Powell's
participating in the communities we
address to read to these people in an
we decided to move into the heart
identify with/co-produce is important.
environment constructed to facilitate
of the downtown area, but before This is why I was very grateful for
the rituals of the private personIt's ok, I'm confused too, and know you
we left Gabe smuggled some of my the brief sweet period of intense
commodity (thru marble hallways into
might not be convinced
_broadsides into the magazine rack at collaboration between poets, artists,
low-end malls etc.), than reading in an
to join this upswell of the repressed
Powell's and Croft inconspicuously and activists I experienced while OWS
art gallery was. The public's reaction
returned to haun_tthem the 1%.
wedged that CLASS WAR-OCCUPY was blooming. At the very least it got
to our PACE action was, in many
Maybe you wonder what the pay-off is
NOW sign pictured above in the
us talking to each other, opening up
ways, identical to how the public at
or can't afford to be hunted down
street-facing display window. Then, our practice and considering new
a museum or gallery reading would
when you've got jobs to keep
we walked to Pioneer Place Square. A aesthetic possibilities in tandem with
react: inaccessibly. It is only that in the
large Christmas tree was being erected
consensus-based GA meetings that
streets such a cold reaction to poetry & mouths to feed.
in the square and festooned with lights. likewise had divergent communities
or art is more viscerally exposed and
As a poem it performs a kind of
A crass manger for Santa was also finding mutual ground. I was, dare I
becomes spectacular.
sentimental outreach. It juggles the
under construction.
say, •inspired" by what I saw going on
It was precisely the severity of this
need to both appeal to skeptics &
We regrouped at the intersection
around me, and that was what was so
juxtaposition between art/life, and
of SW 6th and Morrison, planning our sublime about this historic moment: to
the pain of existing as the conductor cynics nevertheless of the 99%, while
next move. David wanted to be mock- be inspired by the real casts the future
of that _contrast in real -time, that also converting that disenchanted
outlook characteristic of the modern
arrested, hands cuffed behind back
under spells.
paradoxically accounted for the
with zip-ties and all, like a detained
We read back and forth to one
emotional power of this event. That · subject into a more optimistic,
involved position, such that they might
subject. I believe David read poetry
another across the intersection,
is why if the public responds w ith
come to sympathize with _or even join
from this position; I was across the
straining at times over the sound
a lack of interaction and a surplus
street at the time. We decided to do
of traffic, until it was nearly time for
of spectatorsh ip to a PACE action- the Occupation. Again, that the poem
a reading across the intersection, dinner. We had to listen hard to hear
experiment, by no means is it a failure. failed at actually doing this by no
means negates the awesomeness of
from one side to the other, and split . each other; this listening was crucial
Failure is a part of the success of art.
the attempt.
ourselves accordingly. We were also
to the registering of the poem. Lyric
After this whole experience I _had
offering various broadsides/flyers to
valuables thus projected, we disclosed
with my poem, Gabe lead in reading
passersby (one with actual Blockade
our human and commodity status and
excerpts from Theresa Hak Kyung
information/directions to Port site).
made transparent the opacity of the
Each one has a thick shell they're
Our eventual pQsitioning at
bodies-as-objects wandering about
reluctant to crack. Each one driven
Pioneer Place Square (a consumer/ us, who, faced with our laments, went
by wants. Each one worried about
municipal nexus) was a three-phase
about their activity self-consciously, in
It's ok, I'm confused too, and know you might not be convinced
tomorrow. Each one with or without
(in groups of two each approx.) human
that etiolated space of the ordinary.
to join this upswell of the repressed returned to haunt them the 1%.
bread on the table. Each one walking
mic poetry chain, from one major
I'm convinced more PACE actions/
Maybe you wonder what the pay-off is
past me lost in the illusion oftheir
street corner to the other (at times
experiments, framed in conjunction
or can't afford to be hunted down when you've got jobs to keep
isolate circumstance, with a kind of fear
interrupted by the light-rail system), with concrete political events such as
& mouths to feed.
in their eyes. Each one I love very much.
amidst a den_se urban crowd. T(:iis
the port shutdown, help insert political
And we symbolized a brief "we" within
discursive tactic allowed us to relay will into personal space, and I can
them, some fodder for gos~ip about
a spectacle of thei r "consumer our poems across larger swaths of imagine such an action being torqued
Portland weirdo's later at the dinner Cha's Dictee (Tanam Press 1982), an
image-text novel documenting the
city space than would be ordinarily to function as a creative method of
table, perhaps, or something more
body's resilient unwillingness to being
I changed my mind about people
possible. Thus the poem sprung from
community-organizing or coalitionsinister or impregnating, even.
not caring when you read to them in
colonized. Then David and Elizabeth
differently oriented bodies in space, or building across significant differences.
I mean it when I say reading in
public like this felt intimate. I felt arrived. David brought a really great public. I think they care they're just not was in other words a somatic/spatial, Like if the PACE action served to bridge,
poem David wrote in response to
allowed to show it or act like they do, not just semantic, phenomenon, and
say, the sentimental gap between labor
the poem as really living up to the
emotional impasse it faced, about a Rodney Kocik quote; it was about and it's those conditions of a laboring/ both demonstrated and constructed a unions and environmental groups
capitalism and the body, and was all at consumptive society preventing the
solidarity among speakers.
by targeting the common interests
how to be pedagogic without being
On a core level this action was
of both in its rhetoric, in a way that
patronizing or paternalistic or pedantic, once haunting, ironic, tender, analytic. reception of poetry (or of the nonabout my friends and I com_i_n-"'g' -~d~e~fuses the •wedge strategies• of Big
togetfier ancf strengthening our Oil, etc. However t e PACE action is
of participants. The People's Mic is activist David Graeber speaks of such
relationships with each other and thru
not meant as a substitution of, but in
Streets, continued
a tool designed to keep everyone in
poetic actions as having never had
that, forming an artistic community. addition to, more direct methods of
from opposite page
the mass, in on and current with the the effect that the architects of the
What the Occupy movement showed
action & protest like strikes, marches,
conversation of whoever is ta lking. action wanted. "The sky never opened• us is that revolut ion happens
occupations, etc.
With the "People's Mic," there must as it were: people didn't stop being
the sign should imply that something
thruough interaction. Sharing poems
fascist and continued to elect fascist
is going on amongst the bodies of first be a speaker who says three to
representatives even in the midst of
protestors that some one passing by
allows for a gap in the sentence so that certain emerg ing theories, as well
should investigate. Basically, the signs
the crowd who heard what the speaker as independent medias. (Guerilla
Yet in the maw of our buried America
should be prompting investigation
Theatre, Journals etc.). Yet something
towards the operating bodies if said,can now relay to the outlying
somewhere in that sick terrain
crowd what was said. This obviously
anything is to be understood. I'm
of deranged rhetorics mixing terror into amber
important hand in organizing the first
takes a while to get through, but the
really strict on this point: I mean
waves of grain I know, even amidst the hopelessness of being able
result is that everyone will hear what
no icons, no Anarchy symbols, and
to be myself (or all the more because of this?)
analysis is that during this wave of
no monkey wrenches. These bear that one person just said . So if we •Public" Occupations are the multiple
an inclusive'we'is holding out, waiting to exist
. associations that today detract from
facets that were made visible by the
the meaning we would want people
demonstration of living publicly. There
I'd say let's get it out there, let's get
to understand. Everyone knows
are people out there that quit their
about the war right? Everyone knows
jobs as numbers of demonstrators
what Anarchy is. We've all heard of it, about their own experience, or were
increased. As the perceived support Further Reading
down to be interviewed, represents a for such an individual seemed to
so therefore you provide me nothing
new. An example would be if a notion that the worker wants others
grow, it became a more possible
protester is reading out from a text, to interact with what that worker has · a-ction to walk away from one's job. Sherlock, Frank. "PACE: Poet-Activist Community Extension:' Non site
gone through. The "People's Mic• is
then the sign another protester carries
I'm not saying that people left their Collective. 8 Oct. 2009. 18 May 2012. http://www.nonsitecollective.
should be holding something that a great way to cause ·an auditory Wall St. jobs like wildfire, but just that org/book/export/html/813
disturbance, yet remember that it is
there are people who traded their
reads "LOOK" or maybe "LISTEN." This
what it is. People will get very annoyed
mega corp. jobs for an undetermined
is a way to not give yourself away too
United States District Court. Stevens, John Paul. "Dissent on Citizens
future. A decision like that being made
early to communicate with someone very quickly if a "People's Mic• erupted
United v. Federal Election Commission:'
in a library, or anywhere else inside to
comes from a new assertion of an
who disagrees with you; this is a way
Legal Information Institute. 21 Jan. 2010. Cornell University Law
to lure them into your educational
out in the streets, where unlike in
by the "Situation• of having to
School. May 18 2012. or experience. In public, to
an institution or establishment, they
pass " Homeless• homes every day 205.ZS.html
demonstrate or recite text is very hard
would be less likely to listen to what
before and after work. For me to
due to the auditory competition that
you have to say, due to the contrasting
be implicating Situationism in the
occurs. If the situation you procure
Donovan, Thom. Wjld Horses of Fire. 22 July 2010. 18 May 2012.
Occupy demonstrations is to articulate
nature of your actions.
has "vocalizing language• aspe-cts most important challenge for to people that the "messaging• was
then there is little help I can provide
besides thinking about how to prompt
investigation by the pedestrians via "public* acts, is that it's an ever- of bodi~s operating on a national
Sand, Kaia, and Jules Boykoff. Landscapes of Dissent: Guerilla Poetry
evolving field of constraints. A tactic scale already evinces cohesion). The
that works in one specific place will
general media's language relies on a and Public Space. Palm Press, 2008.
Yet there are a couple of things we
privileged •academic• lens, that in of
not have anywhere near the same
can learn from (UH-OH! Brace yourself!)
effects elsewhere, although ·multiple
itself becomes a criteria maker. By not Austin, J. L. How To Do Things With Words. Clarendon Press, 1962.
the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations
places may have irrefutable similarities seeing the Situation of people living
and situational creations. One thing I (e.g. a business chain.) Yet because
publicly as being its own language
Hall, Kira. "PerformativitY:' Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 9(1-2):
found to be particularly interesting
the •act• that one might design must of communication, people found
was the use of "The People's Mic.• contrast in some way with the place in
themselves confus.ed when trying to 184-187. American Anthropological
Occupy Wall St. spawned from
which it takes place, there is as muct;
translate the situational experiel'lce to Association. 2000. Yale University. 18 May 2012.
different Anarchistic models and has
an academic language of "rationality~
potential as to what this form can
unique Anarchistic tendencies due (in
initiate as there are places in the world. Therefore, the public's actions are Weg, Adam. "On The People's Microphone:' Fiery Flying Roule. 7 Nov. .
large part) to who was instrumental Art's role in our American society (at being understood as irrational as far as
2011. ·
in the early organizational processes
the very least) must be a gesture of general medias were concerned. They
that brought the first occupations
the social, an acknowledgement of tried and asserted understandings
Rob Halpern qtd. by Owens, Richard. "Prison-House of Commons:
into fruition. The movement being
privilege within and inside of the "Art' based on whether what was conveyed
Bonney Vis-a-vis Thom Donovan:'
"leaderless• promot es that any one
itself. Since these public productions
from the situational experience could
The Poetry Project Newsletter Dec.-Jan. 2010-2011: 15.
can provide skepticisms to the entire
are designed to propel a social idea, be plugged into our "academic" lens.
group to impact group decisions
the idealism behind the action is that
If you thought there is some art
and process. This can be hard to do
of an intervention towards the specific that doesn't speak to a certain Political
practice, then you are surely wrong.
physically due to the sheer tur_
n out
public place. A writer, theorist, and

8 - Counter Point Journal

June 2012



is part of an international movement campaigning to end the occupation of Palestine and systematic oppression of its people. Currently, DIVEST! is
working to gain support for the divestiture of American companies who assist in the ongoing civil liberty violations against Palestinians at the hands of
the American and Israeli military. Alongside Jewish Voice for Peace, American Friends Service Committee and the campaign WE DIVEST, DIVEST! hopes
to spread awareness on the importance of ending financial support to these companies, and how one can make a difference on a local and national level.

is one of America's largest financial servicers, has the ability to chose where to invest the funds of those employees and citizens using its services.

currently uses TIAA to manage the retirement funds of faculty. Money from our own community is at the disposal of TIAA. These funds are financing
an assortment of corporations who not only assist the American and Israeli militaries in their occupational exploits, but also see direct economic
benefits from Israel's ongoing subjugation of Palestine.

A collection of corporations supported by TIAA-CREF and some grievances against them:

Northrop Grumman
produces mechanical parts used in the making of Apache helicopters and F-16 aircrafts. These
aircrafts were used against Gaza civilians by the Israeli military during the 2008-09 assaults.


produces the armor plated and weaponized bulldozers used in demolition work against Palestinian
homes, orchards and land.

Involved in the con~truction and expansion of illegal Jewish only settlements, exploits Palestinian·
natural resources to serve illegal Jewish only settlements, Is currently contracting for the future
operation of an illegal light rail system connecting said Jewish settlements with Jerusalem

provides surveillance equipment used on the "Separation Wall" - an act declared unlawful by the
International Court of Justice

Motorola Solutions
Assists in restricting Palestinian population by supplying surveillance-equipment used around
Israeli settlements, checkpoints anclmilitacy, camv.~ ip th W~$ BaQk;Supp]ies communicatio_n
systems to the Israeli army and West Bank settlers


Provide maintenance and support to biometric ID systems used in Israeli checkpoints to
systematically deprive Palestinians of freedom of movement. These systems also control
information granting or denying special privileges to those in its database.

DIVEST!, The Evergreen State College and a democratic let down
In 2010, TESC student body became the first in the nation to democratically decide on a boycott of all products produced by companies benefiting
from the occupation of Palestine. An election on the matter was held in the spring of that year and the voter turnout set a record at Evergreen - it
was also more than double the average turnout in student elections nationwide.
Two resolutions were passed: •
A call for the financial divestment from companies profiting off of the Israeli occupation of Palestine
A call for the creation of a "CAT Free Zone" prohibiting the use of Caterpillar Inc. equipment on campus
Although DIVEST! has been widely well received on an local, national and international level, the collective has encountered strong resistance from
those one might expect to respect such a popular movement-TESC Board of Trustees. Despite an overwhelming effort on behalf ofTESC student
body, the Board of Trustees has refused to recognize the popular cail to end support of companies used in_the Israeli occupation. Contrarily, the

Evergreen Board of Trustees has:
Stood in solidarity with the Israeli General Consulate and various pro-Israel lobbying groups.
Dismissed and ignored student representative input during the drafting of the passifying and inadequate Social Responsible Investment Policy
Produced written statements vowing NOT to uphold the student vote to boycott pro-Israel products
The action~ by the Evergreen Board of Trustees have shown the TESC student body, and the Olympia community, that they wants of the people will
not be met without a strong demand.

How Can YOU Help? .
The great thing about BOS is that everyone can participate. From lobbying to direct action to simply making informed choices as to where you
spend your money, making an effort is the most important step one cai:i take. We need students interested in organizing film screenings, attending
lectures by guest speakers, making zines, taking photos, writing articles, and pressuring the administration to respect campus democracy. Working
together, we will continue to build momentum and demand that those in power listen to the student body. New members are always needed, and
maintaining a strong and sustainable student voice on campus is essential. Please join TESC Divest in helping to bring hope to those who need it

and justice to those who deserve it.

For more information, visit us at