Talking Heads


Submitted by ludd on February 9, 2010

As we go to press, we're not sure who won the election. But does it matter? For most of us, our daily lives remain the same.

The results of the election won't affect us as closely as our face-to-face encounters with police at the Democratic Convention last summer. Our choices on the street then were as limited as our choices in the voting booth.

The Convention was one of the summer's most spectacular events rivaled only by the Olympics (see "We're #l!" in this issue). San Francisco had been specially sanitized for the event. City agencies dumped one set of undesirables - street people and prostitutes - cashless in the suburbs or industrial outskirts of the city. The police were out to win their own gold medals with the other set - protestors. A solid wall of cops with a quick-arrest policy busted nearly 500; free speech and rights of assembly were a farce with people being snagged for "conspiring to block a sidewalk" or even for just looking like a protestor. Several of our own circle were arrested for pushing a peaceful Trojan "Peace Ass" (i ate money and shat missiles and conventional arms).

When the conventioneers had gone home and the cops had returned to their normal levels of hostility, everyone was still at work. Some who had taken to the streets with spirit were left with an unsettling question: was it worth it? Those who are still facing many months of agonizingly slow legal procedures may end up doing time in jail. But most would do it again. For them, Mistress Feinstein's enactment of a Democratic Party-controlled police state made it even more clear that we need to take to the streets, and often. Others felt the show of the macho vs. the powerless wasn't worth the beatings and arrests - they'd rather find alternatives in their everyday lives for expressing their dissatisfaction.

And the election season drags on. Some will vote, some won't. Some will sleep through it, some will get drunk ' (For further discussion on voting, see "Any Port in a Storm?" in this issue.) For those who rely on elections to make a difference in their lives, the prospect of one more term with the Gipper is depressing. Others feel despair as movements on the left lose momentum, lose touch with reality, or turn upon their own. The political situation, like the situation at work, arouses two related feelings, despair and outrage. Tension builds and wavers between sadness and fury. It releases into different kinds of political response with one unifying theme: we refuse to passively accept the limits imposed on our lives by the political system, by the government, by the job market, and by commodity culture. Two features in this issue focus on making changes. In his piece, "Down In The Valley,"

'Doc' discusses the resistance he encountered while working for Tandem Computers in Silicon Valley. Our new regular feature, "Hot Under The Collar," explores instances of office rebellion and issues against which to rebel. And as usual, we have an array of provocative graphics, poetry, and short fiction to take the imagination beyond the mundane. We crave your thoughtful letters. Air your thoughts in PW's Letters section! Write to: PW, 41 Sutter St. #1829, SF, CA 94104.