Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
New interviews throughout the week
Terrapene carolina carolina baby turtle

Protesters who don’t want cop city built have used every tool available to them in the peaceful protester toolbox, from picketing outside city council, to offering public comment, to writing in to the mayor’s office, to contacting the Atlanta Police Foundation. The Atlanta Press Collective has done exhaustive research on demonstrating the history of this place and what the community stands to lose. There’s been a real grassroots, peaceful, legal, protest against this, and none of it has made a difference. And of course it only takes a few rocks thrown for the police state to decide ‘this has got to go’ and use full force to break it down…After Tortuguita was murdered by this task force of GBI, Atlanta Police dept, and a few others, there were protests several days later. There was one cop car that got burned, but there was a picture of that cop car on every single news outlet everywhere in the country. As we see with a lot of these movements, what really is a huge coalition of people united against this use of violence against the people, ends up becoming illustrated by very small specific instances of violence to demonstrate that an entire movement is immoral and needs to be dealt with.

Recorded Monday, January 30th 2023, we speak with
Rachel Garbus, a writer and editor based in Atlanta. Rachel discusses her writing recently published on Welcome to Hellworld titled, "Stopping Cop City, the murder of Tortuguita, and the trees that got us here".

Rachel Garbus is the co-founder of Out Down South, a multimedia history project and podcast celebrating the stories of LGBTQ+ Southerners. She's on Twitter @rachel_garbus

Image: Terrapine Carolina baby turtle. FotoDawg, CC BY 2.0... read more


Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

Juneteenth is now a federal holiday in the USA. It’s nationwide! It’s been celebrated by Black people since 1866, a year after the event that instigated it happened, when, on June 19, 1865, Union Army general Gordon Granger came to Galveston, Texas to announce and enforce the Emancipation Proclamation of three years earlier. Texas was the last Confederate state to still maintain slavery.

So, Juneteenth doesn’t just celebrate the official end of legal chattel slavery of human beings in the United States, it also celebrates when the Union Army came and forced Texas to stop enslaving Black people. It doesn’t just celebrate that the government announced there was to be an official legal change in the status of Black human beings: it commemorates the sad truth that some people are so attached to their domination over other people’s bodies, labor, and choices that they have to be forced at gunpoint to even pretend to acknowledge their personhood.

And this is the first year it’s gone national! Official! Legit!

What does one do on Juneteenth? Celebrate Black culture in all its multifaceted magnificence, that’s what! Sing, dance, buy shea butter products and green yellow and black T-shirts, eat soul food and drink strawberry soda. Educate yourself about Black history. Pay attention to Black political and artistic voices. Watch “Small Axe,” “A Wrinkle in Time,” and reruns of “Treme” and “Watchmen.”

I was very excited to celebrate Juneteenth this year. Finally, a national holiday I could get behind. But maybe it was because President Simple Joe Malarkey only declared it a couple days before the holiday, so it was too short notice, or maybe I just didn’t plan the day right. I don’t want to call out anyone by name, but I was very disappointed. I didn’t get invited to a single cookout. There’s one I probably could’ve invited myself to, and there was the two-day street bash in Leimert Park, but, you know, a fellow likes to be asked.

It is true that Juneteenth has been celebrated for a hundred fifty-five years, and never once in all that time have I been invited to a bash, cookout, sock hop, soiree, or to-do. So why should I expect to be invited to one now, just because some old white dude signed a piece of paper?

I don’t remember Black... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

What makes great masses of people believe the same stupid, or magical, or xenophobic, or elitist narrative? What made Emperor Constantine decriminalize Christianity and eventually elevate it to the state religion of the Roman Empire? And what made people go along with that? What made people agree on currency? What makes people agree on crypto-currency? What makes so many people agree on the greatness of certain art? Or certain food?

Well, certain food is objectively delicious, but still...

At the root of this question might be, “how do people come to believe strongly, vehemently, even violently, opinions having no other value than the value the believers assign to them?”

Then again, what other value do opinions have? Well, a medically trained doctor’s opinion of why, say, you aren’t capable of speaking above a whisper, might have more value to you than that of someone who’s just tossing out guesses, because of the training and expertise of the one, compared with the lack of them of the other.

But you might not like the doctor’s opinion, because it has implications that require you to have polyps removed from your vocal chords, whereas the know-nothing opinion might only require you to eat chicken soup or suck on a slippery elm lozenge.

So, still, although you have your reasons, no specific property of the opinions other than your own judgment would make you choose one or the other. The medical one may be correct, or better reflect your physical condition, but you could still ignore it indefinitely if you were attached to the other opinion for some cowardly or superstitious reason.

I recently learned a little about the Saint Francis dam disaster, a fiasco made possible by the water wars of the late 1920s and 1930s, which Robert Towne and Roman Polanski used as a McGuffin to build their Chinatown on. The details would be better told as one of Renaldo’s Rotten Histories than by me. He may have already done so, I don’t know because there’s no way to search for just the Rotten Histories – I’m not trying to create more work for the archivists, I’m just saying: I’ll just be giving you the broad, choppy strokes.

Bureau of Water Works manager and chief engineer, William Mulholland, who would go on to have a drive through the Hollywood Hills named after him, wanted to be a big hero... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

Earlier in the year, Chuck read a communication from a listener who seemed to wonder, since any action one takes, with whatever intention, gets coopted by the capitalist machine that contributes to destroying people’s lives, and no one, without exception, has yet been able to escape from the snare, wouldn’t it be better just to remove oneself from the Earth, in order to at least minimize one’s bad impacts on the planet, and cease the process of feeding the system with well-intentioned efforts, all of which eventually arrive at negative outcomes?

I mean, if this really is Hell, why should we continue to stay here?

I hope that listener has resolved this issue to their satisfaction. Nevertheless, should anyone else be positing similar questions about the value of carrying on, here are a few things to consider. And believe me, I need to take this mental journey as much as anyone.

In the simplest terms, if this really is Hell, then the option to leave is a red herring, and you’d probably end up somewhere even worse, or at best back where you started. And if you survive a suicide attempt (I’m assuming I’ve been coyly discussing suicide here, though I don’t really know myself that well) you will be stigmatized and possibly lose what little freedom you have. And being trapped in a mental hospital, at the mercy of a system that’s currently discussing bringing back electroshock and lobotomies, is worse than what you might be wishing to escape from.

I assume everyone agrees that it’s possible to do a modest amount of good to improve the lives of others in a small way, every day. Someone is in pain right now, and you can relieve that pain. That alone, whatever the unintended consequences down the line, is worth the price of admission.

Don’t beat yourself up for your inability to escape the moral convolutions of human existence. I mean, if you think about it, it’s an egotistical point of view. Who do you think you are, Supergirl? Jesus? Buddha? Jimmy Carter? Florence Nightingale? Leonora Carrington? Esther Freud? Esther, daughter of Mordechai? Joan of Arc? Edith Piaf? Zora Neale Hurston? All of them with human flaws, some with pretty lousy ones. Ask James Baldwin about Zora Neale Hurston some time, if you ever get reincarnated into the past, which is likely.

What I’m trying to say is, it is... read more