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Showing posts from April, 2017

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Tension in Berkeley

I have pictures of shenanigans in Berkeley, taken from a safe distance (I'm not stupid and stay very close to law enforcement at these things) today - April 14, 2014. The protest was not the 1960s or 70s again. Right wingers were chanting statements against Jared Kushner and left wingers were throwing garbage and yelling stuff like "sacrifice your body, bitch!"

The Trump crowd in Berkeley was crass, cringe inducing, blatantly anti-Semitic (one sign by a guy chanting "Fire Kushner!" said "Da Goys Knows" next to a cross) and on par with the crowd at a smaller comic book convention in presentation. Some who tried to look intimidating looked more like the professional wrestler Big Boss Man. These types might be good for occupying a wildlife reserve or attacking random minorities they're ignorant about but they only succeed in getting used by a guy like Donald Trump - there's no coordinated political movement to them.

The black bloc anarchists t…

Practicing Photography in Berkeley Part One

I did not go to art school and I did not take even one photography course in college. My knowledge of photography is completely from observation - I had a friend when I was in my late teens who took excellent photography on a family visit to Auschwitz (her family was Jewish), which I profiled on my website at the time. That gave me some idea of what a good photo looks like.

My roommate of this past year helped me to purchase a proper camera and also told me of the skills he acquired from photography courses, primarily the "rule of thirds." I have been very fortunate to practice my profession of photography in a city like Berkeley. The university campus itself seems as if it was designed for the sake of photography. I was able to get beautiful shots of the spectacular campus. I did succeed in getting paid for this twice this year and hope to do so again.

I am a big fan of the neo-traditionalist wave of art that seems to be picking up steam in many circles. I am not yet good …

Stars of Courage: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - A Godfather of Liberation Theology

It is a bit clich├ęd to take Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and acclimate his message to whatever the message of whatever person is. He has been made to be everything from a conservative Republican and gun nut to a firebrand socialist. Radical Second Things comes out of many different things but its most consistent basis is liberation theology. I hope this bio explores how his gospel was a prelude toward liberation theology and how his push toward LT was part of his social environment.

During the civil rights era of the 1960s, there were a great many different African American activists who made it to the mainstream forefront. A stark chasm at least seemed to initially exist between Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam and Dr. Martin Luther King. One was urban, hostile and embracing a religion that certainly is not alien to blacks in America or elsewhere but was fairly alien to midcentury America. The other, in King's movement, was rural, Christian and challenging the broader culture, no…

Stars of Courage: Hate Man

Jordan Denato produced a good amount of artwork for this series but I had to skip ahead for this one as the figure is a close one for me.

Back in 2014, while living in Berkeley, a thing I do periodically in life because of the ease of life there, I lived in a hostel for a few months where I got pretty involved in the community there. I ended up helping to move stuff for Hate Man, real name Mark Hawthorne, an elderly man who spent four decades on the streets of Berkeley, living primarily in Berkeley's well known "People's Park."

Hate Man had not always been homeless - he had been successful enough in standard society to have a staff reporter position at the New York Times. Like a more oddball version of a monk (and without the system that monks have), he chose a life away from normal convention. Homelessness was not a misfortune for him. He said of it, "“I’m addicted to it. It’s fresh air. It’s exciting. It’s very Zen. There are problems with it, but it’s very …

Stars of Courage: Narayanan Krishnan

India is a huge, populous country composed of a billion people, many of whom regularly are struggling to survive against adverse circumstances. Many Indians, fortunate enough to escape the poverty, often buy on hard to the materialism of the west when they arrive here. It's very common for people from that country (think Dinesh D'souza) to latch on to conservatism, libertarianism or other frameworks for western wealth as they lock also in to elite western jobs with a hunger their western counterparts may lack.

Narayanan Krishnan may have been slated for just that transition. In the early 2000s, only in his early 20s, he had been hired for an elite job in Switzerland. While gearing up to travel for the job, he saw a very distressing incident - the sight of a very elderly man literally eating his own defecation for lack of genuine sustenance. While, having grown up in India, he had certainly already been exposed to poverty, the disparity between his situation and this old man&#…

Stars of Courage: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Despite its ultimate failure, the rise of National Socialism in Germany caused great damage. It killed 6 million Jews and reportedly 30 million plus in the Soviet Union, along with a great deal of Germans, Poles, Americans and others who became embroiled in the conflict with fascism.
Like the petty authoritarianism that engulfed Latin America in the 1970s and 80s, the totalitarianism of WW2 era Europe reached a lethal point with established religion, the institutions that stood in the way of groups like the Nazis having total influence and control.
The widely quoted Dietrich Bonhoeffer played a similar role to Oscar Romero in the story of Nazism. Bonhoeffer was implicated, along with family members, several times in plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Bonhoeffer was an explicit critic both of the euthanasia policy (which was rooted in eugenics and had some infamous participants) and genocidal ambitions toward the Jewish population of the German Nazi regime. Bonhoeffer was executed by …

Stars of Courage: Allan Law

At any given point in the day, someone in America's cities is reaching out to America's impoverished and its underclass with collected resources. Synagogues, churches, mosques, temples and non-profit groups of all sorts collect and purchased or donated food or prepare it themselves to distribute to people who can't regularly afford to eat.

I knew nothing of such things until I ended college. There's a bunch of reasons why I don't really vear from publishing and editing of some kind in work - my situation does lead to food insecurity at times but is still much more privileged than many people. I choose to frequent many charity feeds even when I can afford not to - it informs a project like Radical Second Things to see every day both the people that liberation theology is meant to speak of and the people who are making the "preferential option" real. For people who never encounter such organizations, the true value of them will remain invisible - for some…

Pictures on the Ground: The Trump Era Civil War Unleashes on Berkeley

Berkeley, California is always crazy but during the Trump era, it's a special flavor of it. Check out my pictures - they say more than any essay could. Please donate so I can show you more.

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About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

© 2017 Radical Second Things