Finding the real locus of freedom.

the latest issue of Mildred Pierce...Ever walk into your local independent bookstore or info-shop and have your attention grabbed by that slightly odd-looking zine cover, and then have your mind blown by its shark-tooth-sharp commentary on music, literature, art and The State Of Culture As We Know It?

Well, back in November of 2009, my very first interview to air on Full Circle explored the meanings of zines and self-creation with writer and artist John Bylander, who, with his co-editor Megan Milks, publishes the cultural criticism and art zine, Mildred Pierce. Listen in to hear why independent media production is so important for our cultures and how it can be a source of social, political, and personal transformation.

To pick up a copy of their latest issue, peruse their archives, or find out how you can get your innovative, slightly toasted cultural criticism, fiction, and art in their next issue, check out the Mildred Pierce blog. Issue 4 is due out soon, so keep your eyes peeled at your local bookstores and info shops – and if they don’t carry MP, ask ’em to!



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View From A Maximum Security Women’s Prison


Over 200,000 women are in prison and jail in the United States; more than one million are under criminal justice supervision.

The CIVpinnumber of women in prison has grown by over 800% in the past three decades – that’s twice the rate of men. Two-thirds are there for non-violent offenses, many of them drug-related.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky said ‘the degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.’ In December of 2009, I spoke with my cousin Jordan Mills, who was formerly incarcerated at Florida’s Broward Correctional Facility. She gave KPFA 94.1 FM’s Full Circle listeners a glimpse of life in one of America’s maximum security women’s prisons.

If you want to learn more about advocating for people incarcerated in America’s prison system, check out the Prison Activist Resource Center or give them a call here in Oakland, 510-893-4648.

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Tell me a story.

A painting found in a watering hole in Hoi Anh, Vietnam.

When I was a little girl, almost every night I would insist that my father “tell me a story!” Sometimes they were stories of his childhood in 1950’s & 60’s rural South Jersey. Sometimes they would be about learning to skydive and living out of an orange van in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the 70’s. And sometimes they would be about Marine Corps boot-camp at Camp Lejuene or what I now realize were highly edited versions of surviving ambushes in the jungles of Vietnam.

This past Veteran’s Day, I asked my father to sit down with me and tell me a story about his experience as a young man in Vietnam.

This story originally aired on KPFA 94.1 FM’s Full Circle, November 12, 2010. Jane Chang and I co-hosted.

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Music Is A Force For Personal Empowerment & Political Resistance

Waheed & The Resistance, latest album

Last night on KPFA 94.1 FM’s Full Circle, I had the pleasure of interviewing two Bay Area artivists: Waheed, from Waheed & The Resistance and Charlene Wedderburn, president of independent label Power Surge Recordings.  We talked about everything from music, to metaphysics, to the global Emcees 4 P.E.A.C.E. movement .  Take a listen…

Check out Waheed & The Resistance on MySpace to hear full length versions of the songs on tonight’s broadcast.

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The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age Of Colorblindness, a conversation with Michelle Alexander


Michelle Alexander is a former Director of the Racial Justice Project at the ACLU of Northern California, who now holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. Her latest book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age Of Colorblindness, reveals how a new racial caste system has been developed and implemented in America without much discussion or controversy. Here’s how…

You can pick up a copy at your locally owned bookstore, and once you have, I encourage you to share it with your friends, family, and neighbors. It’s time to start having those uncomfortable, but necessary conversations.

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Alternative Responses To Violence

Riot police at 14th & Broadway in Downtown Oakland following rally held in response to Oscar Grant verdit

What would you do if confronted with violence on the streets of your community or in your personal life? The Storytelling & Organizing Project, or STOP, wants you to know that you have options. This Oakland-based organization is recording and sharing the stories of people who have dealt with interpersonal violence on their own terms, without relying on the police, prisons, traditional social services, and other systems of the State. Rachel Herzing and Isaac Ontiveros of STOP sat down with me to share their story.

If you want to hear more stories like the ones in this piece, check out The Storytelling & Organizing Project’s website. You’ll find great resources for using STOP stories in your own work to intervene in interpersonal violence, as well as information on how to get involved in the project.

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What do Californian’s value most?

IHSS Coalition

This story comes from the Fruitvale neighborhood of East Oakland. Regina Scott, a retired nurse, struggles to pay her bills, put healthy food on the table, and care for her disabled brother Ned, as the Governor and legislature threaten to cut the programs that allow Ned to live with his family and be a part of his community. The cuts to In Home Supportive Services and Adult Day Health Centers will devastate families caring for elder and disabled loved ones all over California and put a strain on already weak local economies when 375,000 jobs are eliminated along with the programs. Courtney Supple brings you the story:

You can contact the members of the Joint Conference Committee, who are now reviewing the budget.  And I’m sure the Governor would love to hear from you, as well.


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