Rage Into The Machine

An overlooked irony in the 2008 US presidential race was that armed-struggler turned professor, Bill Ayers, was now a cog in the same Chicago political machine that empowered his former arch-nemesis (and friend of his father), Richard M.Daley with goons to chase and beat Ayers and the other dissenters outside of the 1968 DNC. This fact was not relevant to the McCain campaign, and would likely been unhealthy for the red-baiting of Obama which was pretty much all the GOP had to run on, after eight years of sloppy, sloppy power.

I’m writing from Pittsburgh and the Chicago machine is scary to me and that should tell you something. Didn’t the governor try to sell a congressional seat on ebay or something?

I hadn’t considered it at the time but all the criticisms of a “reasonable”, corporate friendly, Chicago power politician as a “socialist”, “radical black-liberation theologian” ,”Marxist”  who wanted to “redistribute wealth” etc. weren’t just amusing, but dangerous, as they caused oppressed people and leftists to rally around him yet, gave Obama many opportunities to prove that he could keep the “rabble in check,” and that his loyalty to power was greater than to the masses.

I’ve never been too impressed with 1960s US student radicals, partly because I saw where many of them ended up, and partly because the shit happening in the rest of the world was so much more awesome. I’m sure it also has something to do with the anti-intellectualism that was so prevalent in working-class neighborhoods and families. Higher education was a “waste of time” when steel jobs paid more than many jobs which required a degree.

It’s often remarked that half of the Weatherman Underground are in prison and the other half are college professors. An exception is another “Days of Rage” participant turned registered lobbyist and Obama fundraiser, Marylin Katz, who is also a flack-catcher for various Chicago agencies, including their storied police department‘s community policing initiative as well as about a dozen other agencies.

I’m not sure what role Ms. Katz had in managing the rest of the irrelevant aging new lefties, who spun Obama’s candidacy to legitimacy amongst those who profess to have radical politics. Long-time sycophant Tom Hayden continues to enrich himself promoting the progressive personality du jour. I guess the Democrats finally noticed the successful GOP strategy of the past 25 years that involves appealing to the ideological base to win the center. What remains to be seen is whether the Dems will continue their policy of screwing their base or will they actually make some concessions? The business unions have continued to unconditionally support the Dems despite their horrible track record on labor issues.

What lesson can modern radicals take from all of this? If you’re selling out, make sure you’re compensated for it and a system that can recuperate (sub)urban guerrillas can find a place for anyone who is interested. Still, I wonder what Shortshanks would think of his former opponents’ places at his table?

Landslide Farmhouse Eviction Account and Support Information‏

The City has unboarded the house, but informed the residents that they may not sleep there. Legal status is being worked out. A benefit is planned, and donations are being accepted.

UPDATE!!!!

Thanks to the hundreds of phones calls of support to Council Woman Payne’s office, public works, the mayors office, and to 311; the Support of Council Woman Payne, and legal aid from the ACLU, our lawyer and one long, hard day of work from many other helpful folks, the boards will be removed from the farmhouse. We are thankful for all your support. This victory, though temporary, has shown us just how many people in our community and the larger community care about Landslide.

Personal Account of November 7th 2008 Landslide Community Farm’s Farmhouse Eviction

On the morning of November 7th 2008 the Landslide Community Farm volunteers were assembling to plan the 3rd day of their yearly farm closing work week, when Pittsburgh Public Works arrived escorted by several PGHPD vehicles, including a police wagon. The police asked for identification from all people on the sidewalk when they arrived. They then asked to see a written lease agreement or deed for the farmhouse.

No written agreement was able to be presented; police officers then notified all present that we had fifteen minutes to remove our important belongings before the house would be barred. When asked why we were being evicted, we were told that an anonymous complaint call had been made to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s 311 hotline. The caller claimed that we were violating building code.

Neighbors, visitors, and volunteers helped us retrieve as much of our property as we all could before we were denied re-entry. The Public Works employees then measured and tried to board the doors, but their van was a bit too far down the hill. They pulled the van up and backed over their own saw. They had to leave the premises to purchase a new one. Police officers remained outside watching the community farm members as we watched over the farmhouse.

Public Works returned and boarded two of the entrances. The police asked if anyone was still present in the house. A full time volunteer re-entered and checked the premises and reported that no one remained inside. Then, two police officers entered the house admittedly without permission from the owner and without a search warrant. Public Works then boarded the last door and the police informed us we would be immediately arrested if we entered the farmhouse. The PW workers left with the police shortly afterward.

Councilwoman Tonya Payne, a major supporter of the farm, came a bit later with the same PW employees that had sealed the farmhouse. She and the other city employees said they wished they could help us in this situation. The councilwoman didn’t know how to go about that, and the PW employees said that they could only follow orders. We are now trying to figure out our next steps and what our options are. We are currently working with a lawyer but if you have ideas or advice please email Landslide@riseup.net.

If you would like to help us out, we need you! Please come to Landslide in the next few days to help us finish our closing work. You can also attend our emergency fundraiser tomorrow, November 8th, 2008 5452 Wilkins Ave. at 8 pm. We will be having our weekly Sunday Brunch benefit (a spilt benefit between Landslide and Book ‘Em) as usual on Sunday, November 9th Noon-3ish pm. Anything that you have (especially love and support) will help get us through this tough period and build our collective strength. Monies collected will first go toward legal fees and we will also be raising money in case the farmhouse goes up for city auction soon. If you cannot physically come to Landslide but want to donate money, you can send donations via Pay Pal on http://www.thomasmertoncenter.org by selecting “Donate” then “Projects” then choosing the Sustainable Living Project. Checks should be made out to “The Thomas Merton Center” memo “Sustainable Living Project”. Checks and money orders can be sent to: The Thomas Merton Center 5125 Penn Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15206. We will have a list of tools and materials that we could use and projects that are being completed posted on our website shortly. Please check http://www.landslidecommunityfarm.org for updates.

Thanks so much to everyone that has been a part of all the kindness, generosity, and overwhelming support that the project has received. We couldn’t be here with out it.


members
of The Landslide Community Farm

Ravenstahl “Greens” the Hill: Landslide Farmhouse Evicted

boarded1For some strange reason, that probably has nothing to do with admitted liar and extortionist Mario Lemieux’s, gambling-funded $290 million Taj Mahal in the Hill, or overtime pay, Landslide Community Farm was Redd-Up. Instead of “cleaning up neglected and overgrown lots, towing cars, boarding up abandoned buildings, getting rid of graffiti” a group of individuals who are participating in a community farming project had their person and property put out on the curb and their home boarded up while licensed terrorists were there for some reason, maybe to provide cover fire? That is after the politicians nephews from Public Works found a
replacement for the saw that they ran over with one of their own trucks. Given the popularity of irony in recent years, it’s worth pointing out that at the time of this writing, on beloved and respected comrade mayor Ravenstahl’s web page, the first item is this Green Up Pittsburgh Application (posted here for your convenience, should you need to start a community farm of your own)

signThis was my first visit, and I was quite impressed.This incident was kind of shocking to me, as far as I knew, this was a pretty well respected and established project, with both community and a degree of political support. Hell, even the Trib, was impressed.

watering-can

The following are messages from the Landslide folks:

**Update**

Councilwoman Tonya Payne’s office has contacted us to say that she’s working on the issue and that we should stop contacting her so she can get to work helping us. Please stop calls to Councilwoman Payne’s office but continue calling Mayor Ravensthal’s hotline 311 and the Department of Public Works (412) 255-2790 (ext 3).
City officials are now telling us that we are being evicted because the house had no doors or windows. You can clearly see doors AND windows in the photograph below (which was taken at the time of the eviction). Our attorneys are advising us that regardless of any alleged building code violations, the eviction was without proper notice or opportunity to remedy any problems and completely illegal.
Thank you all for all of your support. Keep checking back to www.landslidecommunityfarm.org for updates. Let’s keep the pressure on!
In Solidarity,

Landslide Community Farm

harbs

At a little before 9:00 am this morning, four police officers and two representatives from Pittsburgh Public Works arrived at the Landslide Community Farm farmhouse (#3 Allequippa St.) and told everyone inside to leave—the house was being boarded up. Police and Public Works officials could produce no documentation other than a work order instructing them to board up the house.  Apparently someone had phoned in a complaint stating that 20 or so ‘vagrants’ had been living in the house. There had been no advance notice, no opportunity to fix any purported problems, just an abrupt eviction. Police demanded to see a written lease. When none could be presented (our lease agreement is verbal, as are around 40% of all leases agreements) they told us that they had ‘no choice’ but to comply with the order and board up the house. Police made it clear that the owner of the house had not requested the eviction and that they had not contacted her before We are working hard to settle the situation but we need your help to pressure the authorities to let us back into our homes. Please call: Councilwoman Tonya Payne- 412-255-2134 Mayor Luke Ravensthal’s Hotline- 311 Tell Councilwoman Payne and the Mayor that Landslide community farm is an established and respected community project. Take all appropriate action to let these farmers back into their homes! In Solidarity,
Landslide Community Farm http://www.landslidecommunityfarm.org

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