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MAY 2012



"Carnivals come cheap—the true test of their worth is what remains the day after, how our normal daily life will be changed. The protesters should fall in love with hard and patient work—they are the beginning, not the end. Their basic message is: the taboo is broken, we do not live in the best possible world; we are allowed, obliged even, to think about alternatives. First, let us not blame people and their attitudes: the problem is not corruption or greed, the problem is the system that pushes you to be corrupt. The solution is neither Main Street nor Wall Street, but to change the system where Main Street cannot function without Wall Street.

We have all the freedoms one wants . . . we feel free because we lack the very language to articulate our unfreedom. . . all the main terms we use to designate the present conflict – "war on terror", "democracy and freedom", "human rights", etc. —are false terms, mystifying our perception of the situation instead of allowing us to think it."

Selected excerpts from Slavoj Žižek's "Occupy Wall Street: What is to be done next?"



Julia Bluhm is one bad-ass 8th grader. You may have heard about the petition the SPARKteam activist distributed calling for Seventeen magazine to feature more real girls in its pages by limiting photo-shopped spreads to one per issue.

After the petition garnered 30,000 signatures, Seventeen editor Ann Shoket invited Julia to meet last Wednesday—without actually agreeing to address Julia’s request.
Read more here. Outraged like we are? Then sign the petition.



Congratulations to Nya McDowell, the 16-year old winner of the Bay Area Teen Poetry Slam. Nya McDowell swept the crowd to their feet as she addressed her father/pimp who turned her out on the streets of Richmond, California when she was 13 years old.

Just two years later Nya has re-appeared, in full possession of a righteous anger and calling forth a mighty healing for her and every survivor of male violence who was in attendance. Thank you, Nya.

Stay tuned for the National finals coming up this July in Oakland, Califronia. The Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam is open to any greater Bay Area youth 13-19 years old. This year's Finalists are Allison Kephart, Gretchen Carvajal, Nya McDowell, Colleen Hamilton, and Obasi Davis. All will compete this summer against teens from all over the country and other nations. Be sure to check out the International Youth Poetry Slam Festival to be held July 17-21, this year in Oakland, California. "Because the next generation can speak for itself." For more information, visit



A new study highlights one aspect of raising a healthy infant that many new parents overlook—a diverse peer group.

Babies aren't born racist. But if an infant is exposed to a racially homogenous group of people early in its development, it starts relating to other races differently, even before he or she can speak. At the age of nine months, infants become "better at recognizing faces and emotional expressions of people within groups they interact with most," according to the study from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst recently published in Developmental Science.

Read more here.



It's a media onslaught. Teens are getting all sexed up! Having babies! Getting TV shows! Day care in high schools! Babies right and left! Teen pregnancy is more rampant than ever, right? No?


Despite often-heard concerns about the prevalence and recklessness of teen sex, a recent report from the National Center for Health Statistics says the teen birth rate in the United States is at an all-time low.


While the report doesn’t explain why the numbers are dropping, researchers attribute it to a number of factors, including increased contraceptive use and an overall decline in teen sexual activity.


Read more here.



In 1886, 300,000 workers, many of them immigrants and anarchists, staged ageneral strike across the United States. On that day workers took another step in the long march toward an eight-hour workday—a movement that began in the 1860’s and didn’t end until well into the 20th century. The 1886 strike and the Haymarket Massacre that followed a few days later sparked a global tradition of celebrating worker unity, a tradition that never took hold in the United States with the same gusto as it did in other countries.

Over the last decade, the immigrant rights movement has revived May Day rallies and marches in response to the waves of hate immigrants have endured since September 11, 2011. After a brief Winter hiatus, Occupiers across the country are joining immigrant organizations in calling for massive marches and a general strike. The strike includes a cessation of shopping, providing an action for those who are unable to skip work or school. Read more here.


Watch the videos: Talks With Occupy Oakland's Activists of Color.

A conversation on the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement at The New School, a university in New York City.


Read more about how class Issues fade along with occupy protest coverage.



France has repealed a sexual harassment law on the grounds that the definition of the crime was too vague. The move sparked renewed debate of an issue that was recently in the spotlight following last year's arrest of one-time presidential hopeful Dominique Strauss-Kahn.


Some women's groups say the decision by France's highest constitutional body leaves victims without legal protection until a new law is penned, while others argue that a new, improved law could lead to more convictions.


Former International Monetary Fund chief Strauss-Kahn was arrested last May after he was accused of sexual assault by a New York City hotel maid. The charges were later dropped but the ensuing scandal cast a harsh light on the practice of hushing up or shrugging off sexual advances by powerful French men. Feminists are demanding a change of attitude.


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