Robert Wildwood's "Robnoxious Years" Blog

Forever Living The Dream

How To Get At Me

I have a new blog:

https://robertearlwildwood.wordpress.com/

 

For print you can find me at Microcosm Publishing:

https://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/artist/robert_wildwood/

Thank you for reading! -Robert Wildwood

 

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Unsinkable!

Here is the link to my book: “Unsinkalbe: How To Build Plywood Pontoons & Longtail Boat Motors Out Of Scrap”

http://www.microcosmdistribution.com/catalog/books/3679/

White Privilege & Capitalism

“Those who have the privilege to know, have the duty to act.” – Albert Einstein

It’s a street demonstration in the United States of America and the crowd chants: “Whose streets? OUR streets!” I look around at the sea of faces descended from Europeans and think: these streets were built on stolen land. The burial ground of an indigenous tribe is underneath this street. After 500+ years we are still invaders. If you find yourself in a meeting surrounded by people of the same race and your goal is to save the world, you should start wondering: Who are you saving the world for? I look around at this gathering of white Americans and think: this must be what it looked like when Columbus landed here 500 years ago to meet the indigenous tribes who lived here for 50,000 years.

We could all forgive and forget if only we had made reparations, righted the wrong, but we are still colonizing this country. Native American reservations are still the poorest places in the nation. The government and corporations take the coal under Native American reservations using deceit. Parking garages are built on top of Native American burial grounds. In Minneapolis the African American community is the most unemployed of all races here. Prison populations for people of color are far higher than for white people. People of color are still treated with prejudice and they suffer more than whites. A tornado lands in north Minneapolis and tears the place up, black residents cant get reasonable help. It’s like our own little version of Hurricane Katrina.
I’m privileged to have a job. Privileged to have a house. Privileged to have a car. Privileged to get detained by the cops and be given only a ticket or a warning, not hauled to jail and eventually to prison. I’m privileged to be around other people of European descent who don’t judge me because of my race. I’m privileged to have grown up with both parents, and that they are still together. I’m privileged for people to look at me an think I’m one of the good guys cause my skin is light. Every movie I ever saw growing up depicted dark skinned people as the villains. Racism was always there, subtle, and always there. Yesterday a black man walked up to me and smiled, and in my mind I thought, “Oh no, a black man!” like I should be afraid. Where does that thinking come from? I don’t remember anyone telling me that black people were bad, and that’s it: the racist teachings we experience growing up are subtle, but they spread thru everything so that we don’t even notice when we’re being taught racism. Why is the dark skinned guy the villain in the movie? Because the light skinned guys are the good guys, that’s just the way it is. It’s taken years of being thoughtful about racism to move towards overcoming those feeling. Sometimes I think that the early childhood training I had in racism will always be a part of my mind. I grew up in a world that believed in the Other as less human than Us.

It sucks having someone remind you of the privilege you have just because of the race you were born as. A finger points at you and you feel defensive. You! What, who, me? Yes you! Your people committed genocide and ethnocide and your people were slave owners! Okay it’s true, Europeans came here 500 years ago and did all this, and here we are the descendents, but that was before my time, why do I gotta deal with the fallout from the bad decisions my ancestors made? Well it’s true, we’re not responsible for the actions of our ancestors. We can’t time travel and stop them from doing what they did. We’re responsible for our actions, in this present moment, and we benefit from having light skin, we benefit from being perceived as part of the people who rule this country. It’s changing, yeah, it’s changing. Slowly. Maybe once we’ve had 500 more years of non-white presidents then we can talk about a post-racial society.

When someone says, “White people take everything, except the burden.” it rings true but it hurts too. I make minimum wage at my job, I bust my ass and there’s usually only 2 digits worth of money in my bank account. I live in a house with 6 other people cause I can’t afford anything else. I’m on food stamps and public health care. I worked for years busting ass building houses for other people, yet I do not have a house of my own. I also chose to quit jobs and go travel, hitch hike, ride trains, build boats out of trash and live on them for months, and then go back to the city and get a job and live in a house. Without my white skin, how easy would it be for me to have done all this? If I wanted, I could probably get a high paying job and have lots of money. I never tried it, but I bet that my skin color would make it a lot easier, and the fact that everything I saw growing up told me that I could do anything I wanted, and the people who did whatever they wanted all looked white like me.

I feel burdened sometimes, the basic human burden of being alive, but one burden I don’t have to deal with is 500 years of my people being oppressed by another people who are still occupying my land. I don’t have to live in a country that my ancestors were brought to against their will and forced to work, generation after generation. The United States was founded on stolen land and stolen labor. Indigenous tribes and African Americans were exploited by our European ancestors, that’s how the U.S. achieved dominance in the world textile market, the stepping stone to later world domination. I am descended from this colonial royalty, my ancestors were the thieves and the murderers. This system of exploitation still exists, and that is why 500 more years of Capitalism won’t actually free anyone.

A conclusion that modern feminism has arrived at is this: For one person to be free, all people must be free. Capitalism doesn’t care what race people are, it only demands that there be a small percentage exploiting the large majority. If the small percentage of exploiters is multi racial, multi cultural, so be it, Capitalism is happy. The continuation of Capitalism could lead to a racially blind exploitation, where everyone is exploited, without discrimination. Capitalism is like a virus, it will mutate to survive.
The original exploitation is so deep in our culture that we don’t even notice it. Sports teams are still named after indigenous tribes. Villains in movies are still dark skinned. Individuals participate in Cultural Appropriation. What is the difference between unethical cultural appropriation and an ethical acculturation? When the power dynamic between two people is not equal, then cultural appropriation may happen, such as when a person of European descent wears a feathered headdress which mimics the feathered headdress of Native American tribes. Let’s say a Native American and a European met up on some path somewhere 500 years ago with no history of exploitation between these people, and the Native American gave the European a beaded headband with feathers in it and the European gave the Native American a necklace with a silver crucifix on it. This would be acculturation, on equal ground. What if the European pointed a gun at the Native American’s head and demanded the beaded feathered headband? This would be cultural appropriation, and that is what has been going on for the past 500 years, and that’s why it’s not okay for people of European descent to dress up and act like Native Americans. The same applies to the cultural appropriation of African American culture. When white kids take up hip hop and rapping, why does that feel different than when a rapper samples a European sound like a cello and uses it in a song? If you look at the big picture, you will see there is a different power dynamic, and that is the difference. African Americans were brought into the culture of European style music in America by force. White kids TAKE hip hop and rap because they like it and they want to be cool. Native Americans and African Americans were forced to become Christians by the Colonial Europeans. White people TAKE Native American and African American spirituality as their own, without asking.

There is much cross-over now, cultures now mingle at an accelerating rate, so that sometimes it’s hard to tell where one started and the other begins. More cross over will continue happening too. It’s natural for cultures to share their culture: art, music, language, fashion, technology, and for cultures to create new things out of the fusion. If you think about it, it will be obvious. If you are of European descent, don’t dress your kids up as Indians for Halloween, and if you are thinking of picking up rapping, you better think about it. If you grew up in the culture, if you were welcomed into it and think you should rock it, then rock it, and suffer the judgment. Are you flexing your white privilege by appropriating the culture of an oppressed culture, or are you really part of it? If a person of color calls you out on something you’re rocking, then take it to heart, think about it, because you are probably not the first clueless colonial they’ve met.

(Thanks to the Women of Color in Science Fiction panel at Galacticon 2009, and thanks to everyone who participated in the discussion on White Privilege at Idapalooza 2012, and to the article “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh.)

oh my gawd we live on a planet!

oh my gawd we live on a planet!

First show of the band I am in, Moon Cabbage!

march 31 moon cab

Do As I Say, Not As I Do: The Art & Lives of the Evanosky Sisters

“Sweet Summer by Robnoxious” Zine Masters

Turn your computer sideways OR print it out and figure it out! These are the masters used to make the zine. If this type of free art/information transfer does not interest you, get the actual print zine from me with heavy cardstock  and hand lettered cover for $4, send it to my Paypal account: robotearl@gmail.com
You can also go to Boneshaker Books http://www.boneshakerbooks.com/ the only bookstore in the world that currently stocks this zine. I’m too obsessed with drawing the stories to spend a lot of time fucking around with distributing them.




















“Sweet Summer” a new zine of comics and other writings

 Forty pages long, a cover of beer box cardboard titled with hand drawn cursive lettering in yellow paint, gold glitter, or red glitter. So far, available only at Boneshaker Books in Minneapolis or thru me if you can find me, such as online: http://www.etsy.com/search/handmade?q=robnoxious&view_type=gallery&ship_to=US

From Arab Spring to American Autumn


A Report on Occupy Minnesota by Robnoxious

The Occupy Wall Street movement is based on the fact that 1% of the population owns a majority of the wealth in the U.S., and therefore controls the country. The occupiers demanding satisfaction from the rich call themselves “The 99%”. A totally reasonable basis for revolt.

When I first heard that folks were going to take inspiration from the Occupy Wall Street movement and occupy downtown Minneapolis, I formed an immediate Theory based on my past experiences with such movements in this city: this is going to be another sad and pathetic event in a long line of sad and pathetic events attempting to halt the suffering caused by global capitalism. The usual big egos of activism would show up and strut about the stage, satisfy their egos, get trashed by the cops, file a lawsuit, get a bunch of money, and take their friends out to dinner. Business as usual.

Before actually going down to the Occupy Minnesota site at Government Plaza to gather empirical data in support of this theory, I decided to first write down some hypothesis about the protest scene:

Hypothesis 1: Bored of the previous struggle of drinking cheap beer and then suffering thru school and work hungover and talking shit about global capitalism, people decided to release their passions and try to rage in the streets like in other fun countries.

Hypothesis 2: We would not actually enjoy a revolution here because as citizens of the U.S. we are at the top of the food chain, a successful revolution would be a staggering blow to our quality of life expectations.

Hypothesis 3: Tired of first person shooter games we desire to actually chase our crappy leaders and other actors from Hollywood around a REAL landscape using REAL guns.

Hypothesis 4: Minnesota has actually been occupied by white activists for hundreds of years, so maybe technically this protest event should be called Continuing to Occupy Minnesota.

Hypothesis 5: Black unemployment rates and foreclosures on houses have been really bad for a long time, really going all the way back to the “end” of slavery. But now it has affected and come to the attention of white people so we must do something about it.

Hypothesis 6: Any successful movement to swiftly change the U.S. Government will be met with the nearly incomprehensible powers of the Military Industrial machine as it defends itself and it’s children (the 1% of rich people). Resistors will be beaten, sprayed with chemicals, arrested, terrorized, infiltrated, neutralized, demoralized, threatened, bombed, burned, shot, robbed, insulted, and that is just what the cops will do. Police are the tip of the tentacle leading back to this violent monster Global Capitalism that has wrapped itself across this continent and the world. It has flying robots that can target and drop bombs on individual people, dear God! These machines are being tested on people of color overseas right now, how long before there’s a swarm of these over every major U.S. city?

Hypothesis 7: Global Capitalism is fighting a war to achieve Global Domination, and it is winning. If we desire to be free and to end all exploitation and oppression world wide, then we are opposed to Global Capitalism, and therefore we are at war with Global Capitalism and must defend ourselves. Meeting the enemy at a time and a place of it’s own choosing is a terrible strategy and is not the way towards victory. For example, attending a publicized protest, or “Cop Fest”, and getting gnashed in the gears of the machine. Partial Solution: read Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”.

Hypothesis 8: If the cutting edge of the anti-capitalist movement in Minnesota is a few banquet tables, some crappy cardboard signs, and a row of porta potties outside a government building, then we are FUCKED!

Having formed my hypotheses I began searching to find support for the theory that this event was a load of the same old shit.

I first attempted to investigate the phenomenon online from the comfort of my home, and at the Occupy MN website was assaulted by an advertisement for Walmart! JESUS FUCK! I jabbed my fingers at the damn thing, trying to find the mute button as the advertisement lashed out with it’s brainwashing message for me to CONSUME! I narrowly escaped the attempted Manufacturing of Desire in my mind to “Shop at Walmart”. Okay People, as long as we are supporting Walmart there is not going to be justice anywhere. For real, totally unacceptable. Having a live video stream of your anti-capitalist protest being interrupted by advertisements for Walmart is obscene.

I read in the papers that homeless people were congregating at the Occupy protests in cities across the continent. Hmm, a movement that interested the poorest of the poor, interesting. After the Walmart video attack I was skeptical of our own local Occupy Minnesota, but then a friend told me that there were people of color involved in the organizing and that members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) were involved and were considering erecting a traditional living structure down there. This was starting to sound like something possibly real, and I wondered if several of my hypotheses were on the verge of being disproved.

I decided to actually go down and attend a General Assembly meeting. On October 20th, a chilly Thursday night, I attended the General Assembly at 7pm. The meeting was well facilitated, thank god. There were some short tempers and lots of enthusiasm and some amount of haggard baby tantrums. Someone reported that regular masking tape should not be used because it left sticky stuff that had to be cleaned up. Okay, this report was not a very compelling use of anyone’s time. A medic reported that people needed hand warmers and chapstick. The food coordinator showed up and expressed the common sentiment that HOT food was greatly needed and appreciated. Dear god, I wanted to cook them a pot of soup on the spot, poor kids out there in the cold. Finally the most interesting thing occurred, a report from the one of the people who had been arrested earlier that day for “occupying the street”. All those arrested had been bailed out at a cost of $50 per person. Hmmm, I thot: $400 could buy a whole lot of fucking HOT FOOD, HANDWARMERS, and CHAPSTICK! This sentiment was expressed by a lone voice standing to the left, “Was this agreed on by the General Assembly? I mean, what did you THINK was going to happen when you sat down in the street? Of course you got arrested!”

Everyone was excited as a group of the released arrestees came around the corner, hooting and hollering. I really appreciated the dissenter’s response. I went and shook his hand. Fuck that goofy let-the-cops-arrest-you type bullshit! There’s only three scenarios I think it is understandable to end in police custody: First, if they surround you or if they can run faster than you (unlikely). Second, if they kick down your door and drag you out of bed in the middle of the night, and third, if they are holding someone you love hostage.

The prevailing sentiment seemed to be on the side of the people who were arrested, for their “bravery”. I laughed out loud, thinking what people must have suffered in countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria,Yemen, and a dozen others during the various revolutions and revolutions-in-progress this year during Arab Spring.

Use of this lame old-school non-violent tactic seemed to confirm several of my hypotheses.

A break followed so that friends could welcome the brave hearts back and also to surround the guy who voiced his dissenting opinion and tell him how he was being disrespectful to the brave arrestees.

Despite the old-school tactics dragged from the dusty closet once again to dance their dusty bones in the streets, I did feel a small but strong flame of passion at Occupy Minnesota. I felt like it had the potential to grow into something profound, if only it had not begun in the fall, with gradually lowering temperatures. The government knows this too, and they are playing a waiting game. Yes, in a month of so, the occupiers will simply freeze to death. There is another excellent possibility tho, that the occupiers will be driven to occupy a sensible place INDOORS, such as a vacant government building with insulation and heat, now that is something I could get behind!

For social change movement to be successful, there must be many different angles of approach to dislodge entrenched old ideas. Some of the approaches may have totally opposite philosophies, such as the use of non-violence or pro-violence. Using the independence movement of India as an example, the non-violent protesters are credited with kicking the British out, but it was also the increasingly violent anti-British attacks that convinced the oppressors to get the fuck out and turn the county over to it’s people. In consideration that a successful movement must be diverse in tactics and strategy, I don’t want to dissuade anyone from getting involved and doing what they felt was right in bringing Justice to Global Capitalism. If you think that knitting a peace sign into a scarf is what’s gonna bring the villains to their knees, more power to ya. Just don’t expect me to wear it.

The fact that young people across the continent are coming together and realizing that there is something very wrong with Global Capitalism thru the Occupy Wall Street event is reason enough to support it. I think it’s what people will take away from this movement that is going to be important, not that the event itself will achieve much directly in the way of change.

Hey, you never know. Don’t take my shoddy methodology in this field of inquiry to be the final word, head on down and check out the scene for yourself! Downtown Minneapolis, Government Plaza is at 4th Avenue South & 6th Street South. Ongoing rallies at 5pm, General Assembly at 7pm. Websites: occupymn.org & occupytogether.org. If you bring booze to drink, make sure it is well concealed in a travel mug or perhaps in a wax soda cup with a lid and straw, as there are cops all over the place! Don’t stress it. Gotta keep life exciting somehow.

Oh ya, and bring hot food.

(This article was supposed to be published a couple weeksago. The OccupyMN movement has now occupied a home that was foreclosed on by a major bankwith the support of the home owner who was foreclosed upon! Check it out: occupyminneapolis.mn )

Sweet Summer Zine Release Party

The Downhill Thunder Road Challenge by Robnoxious