Collective Ownership is Key

CJ Trowbridge


USP 560 – Urban Poverty


            I have spent a lot of time this year traveling to radically sustainable experimental communities across the country and asking countless questions about infrastructure, ownership models, and governance models and now I’d like to propose a solution to urban poverty.

The Community Development Corporation model is an exciting alternative model for housing development, ownership, and administration. This special kind of non-profit community-ownership model is motivated not by maximizing shareholder profit or as a meager form of public relations for a large corporation, but rather as a serious attempt to solve the problem. Legally, a CDC makes decisions on the basis of actually building and providing affordable housing to the community and facilitating community development rather than maximizing profit for the small, elite class of capitalists in the community.

In San Francisco there are two CDCs with many more on the way. In the Tenderloin and Chinatown, the CDCs have made incredible progress in dramatically increasing the available affordable housing inventory while also making sure that housing goes to those people who actually need it. Meanwhile the corporate PR housing projects from Mercy Housing, and those projects from private developers, have tended to either have no impact at all or — more often – actually make the problem worse.

I have spent much of this year meeting with the arts districts of San Francisco to help them launch CDCs in all the districts, so that every neighborhood in the city can seize control of the housing and wrest it away from greedy and exploitative capitalist landlords. Today housing is a commodity to be invested in with a goal of maximizing return. Tomorrow, with the help of CDCs, housing can transition back to being a basic human right that everyone has access to.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think CDCs are a great solution for cities like San Francisco which by any social problems measure is arguably the worst city in the world, but I think where CDCs really shine is in new community development. I visited a new community being built in rural Tennessee around permaculture, collective ownership, mutual aid, and egalitarianism. They’re part of a larger network called the Permaculture Mutual Aid Network. They are on a project of acquiring land all over the country to create new communities focused on teaching people how to live sustainably while also providing for the needs of the surrounding population, be that through mutual aid, growing food, or however else they can help. These amazing new communities allow anyone to just show up and live there for free. It’s very exciting because they are being very conscious of sustainable development and especially conscious of equity and inclusion. They already have solved for the basic needs of everyone in the community. Everyone gets housing, everyone gets water, everyone gets food, everyone gets community, and no one has to pay for anything.

One of the most exciting challenges facing these new communities is defining their collective ownership model. Other networks of permaculture communities, such as the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, use Land Trust to put their land into a collective ownership model. The problem I see with land trust is that it’s not a legal entity. It can’t execute contracts or qualify for grants or funding.

Compare The Permaculture Mutual Aid Network therefore to Arcosanti, a non-profit-owned community very much like a CDC but much older than the CDC model. Everyone who works there gets housing, food, water, power, etc but they often have to pay for some or all of these things. The community makes decisions together about what to do with the land and the resources. They are also able to take on new projects as a legal entity which can commission construction, maintenance, etc.

Personally, I think that the nonprofit model is a better approach to collective ownership of communities than the land trust model. In a hypothetical new permaculture community, a nonprofit model would be able to get government grants and special dispensation to experiment and conduct research on urban issues relating especially to infrastructure and poverty. I see this as a very exciting potential project for our generation. We have been left with a world full of problems, and poverty is at the heart of those problems. It’s clear to almost everyone under the age of forty that more capitalism is not going to fix capitalism. It’s also very hard to see an alternative, but I think this example shows that there is an alternative.

We’ve all read the horror stories of the company towns (like Pullman). These towns were owned by a company that would deduct your rent and groceries from your paycheck so that you often ended up owing them money to live there and work in their factory. But I also had a different takeaway from those stories; a town full of workers was exploited by a company, and that company thrived on what it stole from them. Imagine the same scenario only without the factory and without the capitalism. Imagine a nonprofit company-town whose only goal is to be a good place for people to live. That’s really exactly what Arcosanti is, and they’ve been doing it half a century. Clearly it can work.

The world bank says we can expect 140 million climate refugees within the next twenty years. (World Bank) Crop failures are already widespread in America due to zone changes. (New York Times) This year alone is likely to be the worst fire year in history. (New York Magazine.) The American power grid was built seventy years ago with a fifty-year lifespan and it’s been running past 100% for decades. (Popular Science) For all these reasons and more, it’s more critical than ever that we act now to create resilient communities where people can survive what’s coming. I am convinced that this nonprofit collective ownership model is the best way to make that happen.


Works Cited

New York Magazine. (2021, June 16). California’s Last Fire Season Was a Historic Disaster. This One Could Be Worse. Intelligencer.

New York Times. (2021, April 1). What’s Going On in This Graph? | Growing Zones. The New York Times.

Popular Science. Ula Chrobak. August 17, 2020. (2021, April 26). The US has more power outages than any other developed country. Here’s why. Popular Science.

World Bank. Climate Change Could Force Over 140 Million to Migrate Within Countries by 2050: World Bank Report. (n.d.).

Seize Housing Now

CJ Trowbridge


USP 580 Housing Policy & Planning

Term Paper

The solution to the housing problem in San Francisco (And beyond) is the Community Development Corporation model, and the newly created arts districts are the perfect lever to make that happen. I spent much of the pandemic meeting with the boards of the arts districts to discuss this proposition, and they all already agreed before I first met with them. Based on the great success of the examples of the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation and the Chinatown Community Development Center, the other districts now see this model as an ideal solution to bypass many of the barriers to constructing affordable housing, and to empower the community to seize ownership and development of their housing from exploitative landlords and corrupt for-profit developers. This is also widely seen as a way for ordinary people to unionize as a community and exert power over those few local capitalists who historically weald unbridled authority over local policy. This has exciting implications for housing and beyond.

Like most urban policy processes, the arts districts – though new – see few people attending public meetings to discuss the important issues affecting our community today. I saw these new institutions as potential Archimedes levers for the cause of the CDC model so I began attending their public meetings. I was surprised to often find myself the only one attending. I was also surprised to find that they were all already very excited about the potential for launching CDCs in all the districts that don’t already have one. In fact, it was typically the number one priority on the agenda. A common secondary priority was to reopen the now shuttered sex clubs that once dotted all over the city. More on that later.

The reason the Community Development Corporation model is so exciting as an alternative model for housing development, ownership, and administration is that it is a special kind of community-ownership model which is motivated not by maximizing shareholder profit or as a meager form of public relations for a large corporation, but rather as a serious attempt to solve the problem. Legally, a CDC makes decisions on the basis of actually building and providing affordable housing to the community.

Mercy housing in contrast is technically a nonprofit but does very little actual work in the community. I asked the COO if she feels like they are having an impact on the problem. She said, “No, not at all.” Contrast that to the TNDC COO who said, “Yes, absolutely,” and you will immediately see the difference between housing projects as corporate PR versus housing projects intended to actually solve the problem. Other examples like Hope SF or Hope VI are ostensibly nonprofits focused on building housing, but only when it is built on demolished former minority neighborhoods. These non-CDC examples arguably do more harm than good because they legitimize the terrible capitalist housing system while also erasing minorities from the city and having almost no impact on actually solving the problem.

In contrast, TNDC and CCDC have had great success in building lots of affordable units and renting them out to the people who actually need them. That’s why the other districts now see this model as an ideal solution. It also allows them to bypass many of the barriers to constructing housing. One example is that CDCs have first right of refusal for any residential real estate transactions. It is now commonplace to see projects in the Mission where a private developer demolishes a historic building to construct luxury condos instead. Let’s call these types of projects “Gentrification Centers.” The Mission currently has no CDC, and so there is no nonprofit with first right of refusal that can step in and say, “No, actually we don’t want a Gentrification Center, we will take that land instead and build affordable housing.” This is why these models are so attractive to communities plagued by Gentrification Centers.

CDCs also have access to exciting funding sources such as the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit which, while limited, does offer a great deal of funding for these projects as well as empowering CDCs to discriminate against wealthy people. This means they are not just empowered but required to provide affordable housing to those who actually need it, rather than to tech bros and other gentrifiers.

One of the things I’ve been pitching all year is that CDCs should also be selling “housing credits” just like carbon credits, except to offset the cost of housing. They could create a market to allow big tech companies to claim they are “housing neutral” just like they currently claim to be carbon neutral. There are many historically good actors like Marc Benioff, Frieda Kapoor, Merritt Capital, and others who seem likely to want to fund projects this way or even through more traditional debt instruments or via venture philanthropy. The city itself would have a hard time explaining to constituents why it wouldn’t fund these new CDCs directly. I think it would even make sense for them to sue any corporations that are bad actors, requiring them to pay for housing credits if their employees have had a particularly harmful effect on a given community.

Funding CDCs could also become a major strategic part of project proposals. Just imagine if a company like Twitter had been required to offset its impact on the local housing inventory when it moved its headquarters to the Market-Octavia district. Instead, the surrounding community was demolished and replaced with some of the most expensive housing in the world. If there was a Market-Octavia CDC, this would likely have played out very differently.

The really exciting thing about CDCs for all the districts is the fact that they allow a community to seize control of its housing and wrest that housing from greedy capitalists and slum lords. Currently, we have a housing system that pits the wealthy against the workers and treats workers as a resource to be exploited. Landlords try to extract the maximum amount of value out of workers in order to avoid doing any work themselves. A CDC on the other hand is not trying to make a profit, they are trying to do the right thing. This means that they are charging rates people can actually afford and providing affordable housing only to those who actually need it. It’s a radical change from a deeply corrupt and immoral system to a deeply moral alternative.

It also wrests political power away from local merchant associations and other capitalist groups whose aims do not align with the best interests of the people. For example, there is a battle happening right now between the Castro Merchants Association and the Castro Cultural District over whether or not the new racially inclusive pride flags should replace the incumbent flags, or be placed in “separate but equal” locations. I’ll let you guess which group is on which side of this issue. This is emblematic of many of the issues that CDCs will empower communities to confront together. Community development is not about making more money for a few capitalists; it’s about embracing the broader community and doing what the community feels is right for the community. This is supposed to be the role of politics, but sadly we live in a world where money is speech and so politics is owned by the capitalists. In this world of deeply corrupt politics for business, the CDC presents an opportunity to revisit a classic solution to this very problem, the union. I think it’s useful to consider a CDC as a sort of labor union for a neighborhood which can serve as a platform to solve many community development issues beyond just housing.

This is a big part of why the SoMa District and the Castro District both listed reopening the sex clubs as their number two priority after establishing local CDCs, because these historical community institutions were sacrificed on the altar of capitalism by people who wanted to “clean up” the neighborhood and make more money on housing as an investment and more traditional business as an investment. Instead of allowing business to decide what the neighborhood looks like, the community is coming together to tell business what they want the neighborhood to look like.

CDCs have exciting implications for housing and beyond. The reason I came to San Francisco to learn about problems in cities is because though these issues exist everywhere, there is nowhere in world worse than San Francisco. This means that while many things have been tried here, and many of those things might work elsewhere, the solutions we find that do work here will almost certainly work elsewhere. I see Community Development Corporation as the best of these solutions; a really powerful tool that communities everywhere could use to take control not just of housing but also of local business and politics in order to force incumbent political and mercantile institutions to behave in a pro-social way that actually benefits a thriving community rather than displacing and erasing the community to turn a neighborhood into a sterile investment rather than the living, thriving thing it ought to be.

Urban poverty is Not an Accident

CJ Trowbridge


USP 560 Urban Poverty

Term Paper

It’s no mistake that there has never been a capitalist city without poverty. In his essay, “The Urban Process Under Capitalism,” David Harvey explains that cities are a process, not a place. Cities under capitalism – by definition – serve to extract labor and resources from the masses and deliver those resources to the wealthy and powerful. Equality in capitalist cities is impossible by definition. Systems that facilitate the asymmetric flow of power and resources to privileged groups at the expense of everyone else are called systems of oppression. Seen through this lens, a city is an engine which produces poverty in order to create a small, wealthy ruling class. There is no ameliorating this fundamental purpose and function of cities under capitalism. Urban poverty is a feature, not a bug.

If inequality, poverty, and the structural denial of people’s basic needs are bad things, then look at the housing market in San Francisco and you will see perhaps the worst city in the world. According to original research I did in the GWAR class, you have to be in the 78th percentile for income to afford a median-rate apartment in San Francisco. This research took place before covid, and while we don’t know how bad it is now, it seems unlikely that covid made this better. That means four out of five working people are denied access to housing. This is simply untenable. This widespread denial of such a basic need for the vast majority of people is the result of many things, but in part it’s because of BANANAs (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) and NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard).

One of the most widely accepted political projects of the residents of San Francisco for decades has been working to prevent any new housing from being built anywhere, with a few trivial exceptions. And that project has succeeded. Housing prices have been artificially inflated to astronomical levels seen nowhere else in the world. People are moving to Manhattan, “because it’s cheaper.” I was recently in Manhattan and talking about housing with people who flat out did not believe me about the median rates in San Francisco.

Are there feasible alternatives to the current model of housing development? One intrinsically related problem to solve is the model of housing ownership. San Francisco is a deeply ideological city. It is committed to implementing only neoliberal solutions to all problems. Neoliberalism and its approach to solving problems could be defined as, “more capitalism is actually somehow the solution to the problems caused by capitalism.” This is why these two issues are so closely related. Because high density urban housing projects in San Francisco today are exclusively private. There is no public housing anywhere in San Francisco. There are only for-profit and non-profit housing projects. These all exist under a legal framework which requires them to make decisions based on a fiduciary responsibility. Even a nonprofit has to make a profit, they just can’t take it home at the end of the day.

One example is Hope VI and its local version Hope SF. These programs are publicly funded but they are extremely limited. They also target minority neighborhoods for forced redevelopment. This does not mean increasing the density of housing in those neighborhoods. It just means replacing existing housing with new housing at about the same density or even less in some cases. This means demolishing minority neighborhoods and forcing those minority groups to leave the city while new housing is built. Theoretically there is outreach to get those same people to come back and live in the new units. But according to one developer I talked to who works on Hope SF projects, almost no one ever comes back. Therefore the real impact of these programs is simply to accelerate the erasure of ethnic minorities in the city without adding any new housing inventory.

Another issue is the public opposition to any new housing development. A lot of neoliberals respond to this by working hard on crafting the thousandth version of the perfect argument that will finally convince the NIMBYs and BANANAs to allow housing to be built in the city. Maybe that will work, but I see a better way.

The Tenderloin and Chinatown have seized control of their housing from the free market through the use of community development corporations. A community development corporation is a special type of nonprofit whose mission is to build affordable housing in a particular geographic area. They also have special powers such as first right of refusal for any residential real estate transactions. So if there was a community development corporation for the mission, and some private developer wanted to build a gentrification center, the Mission District Community Development Corporation would have the power to step in and take that land from the private developer to use for affordable housing instead.

One of the main barriers to the construction of affordable housing is the fact that the cost per unit to build affordable housing in San Francisco is higher than the ten-year return on investment. There is no incentive for a private developer to build new units because their investment horizon is legally limited to that ten-year period. If they can’t make a profit by then, then legally they can’t do the project. They have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize shareholder profit. Legally they can not do the right thing and build affordable housing, they can only build luxury condos for tech bros.

There are lots of special funding sources that community development corporations can use to build affordable housing including federal, state, and local grants and tax credits. Since it’s a nonprofit, people can also leave their real estate to the community development corporation in their will. I also think it would make sense for them to sell “housing credits” like we currently have carbon credits, creating a market where companies can choose to donate directly to offsetting the cost of housing construction in particular neighborhoods.

Many companies currently brag about being “carbon-neutral” or even “carbon-negative.” It’s easy to see a future where large corporations are forced to pay to offset their impacts on housing prices. This could also become an auxiliary function of Community Development Corporations; to sue for the funds to reconstitute stolen housing in their communities. It’s easy to see a campaign by the combined CDCs for the districts of San Francisco to sue the tech giants for the funds to build housing to replace all that the tech bros have taken.

Another exciting thing about Community Development Corporations is that they are allowed, and even mandated to discriminate. For example, some of the federal housing grants require income restrictions on who is allowed to live in the housing. This is a great way to make sure that those new housing projects don’t just go to the same tech bros, but rather go to the minority groups, artists and hourly workers in the city who actually need that housing.

Because Community Development Corporations are not working on a short horizon, they can build projects around a longer timescale. If your goal is to maximize affordable housing in a geographic area rather than to maximize shareholder profit, then you can legally do lots of things that those private developers can not. For example, charging significantly lower rents means it will take a lot longer to recoup an investment. And if you’re working on a short horizon, then that means your rent has to be high enough to cover your investment cost within that horizon. A Community Development Corporation works on a virtually infinite timescale, meaning it can access different funding instruments to work on that longer timescale and charge significantly lower rents.

There are some other proposed alternatives such as Land Trust. The problem with Land Trust is that it’s not an entity, it’s just an agreement about how the land will be used. A land trust can’t build a high rise or even hire an electrician. All of that still falls to whoever actually owns the land being used under trust. This is why I think the Community Development Corporation model is a better option.

It’s one thing to try to fix San Francisco, but that’s not why I came to the worst city in the world to study its problems. I came here to learn about this because a lot of things have been tried here, and since the problems here are worse than anywhere else, the solutions that work here will likely work even better everywhere else. To that end, I spent much of the year traveling to different experimental communities around the country and learning and studying and discussing infrastructure and ownership models. There are a lot of things being tried out there. This brings me to the last major problem with providing affordable housing, the border fiscalization effect.

Emeryville sits right next to Berkeley. They make most of their income by simply legalizing whatever things Berkeley bans, from box stores to gas stations. This has the net effect that every policy Berkeley sets is utterly meaningless and merely shifts those land uses a few feet to the south where Emeryville welcomes them with open arms. If you look at the Market-Octavia District and the absurd glass towers of luxury condos with their token alleyway poor doors for the non-rich, you can immediately see the problem with building affordable housing anywhere near there. It’s even more expensive because so much of the land has been excluded for luxury development.

That’s why I think this model would work even better in a small town, or a new town. Arcosanti is a good example of a community done right. They bought hundreds of acres abutting a national monument and built a very small, very high-density housing project with workshops for industry and commerce. Cars are banned, and no one can build anything within miles of the community because they own all that land. This is all owned by one nonprofit which decides how the land is used. It’s also incorporated as something like a town meaning outside politicians can’t impose codes and laws on them. Most people there live for free as part of their pay for whatever work they’re doing. This is the Community Development Corporation model taken to the best-case scenario, and it happened half a century ago.

I see a huge opportunity for cities like San Francisco to implement Community Development Corporations for all the districts. This would really improve things with regard to housing which is fundamental to urban poverty, but it also creates a natural union of the people to fight together for the political needs of the people rather than the corporations which currently run the city. Community Development Corporations are corporations in the classical sense, people coming together for a common purpose. They are fundamentally anti-capitalist because they seize assets and distribute them to those who need them rather than empowering the wealthy elite to accumulate those assets and deprive the people who actually need them.

I think the larger opportunity is to launch Community Development Corporations everywhere. I think of them as sort of the opposite of a Homeowners Association. The purpose of an HOA is to treat housing as an investment and to maximize the return on that investment. This is necessarily contractionary and anti-affordability; it deliberately reduces the supply in order to artificially inflate prices. The alternative Community Development Corporation model does just the opposite. It treats housing as a basic right, and it works to build as much as possible and provide to those who really need it. This would be a perfect way for small towns everywhere, or even new towns, to seize control from the capricious free market which only want to deny their needs in order to facilitate the higher prices and scarcity that are necessary for inflating the wealth of the ruling class.

Morality of Agency and Objectification

CJ Trowbridge


PHIL 455 Sex and the Law

Term Paper


Everybody thinks pedophilia is bad, right? There is widespread consensus about that, right? Maybe not. I think this popular misunderstanding of the nature of ongoing support for pedophilia is one of the main reasons it has not been meaningfully addressed, particularly in contemporary queer culture and especially in affluent white cis male gay (AWCMG) culture. I will be comparing and contrasting the way these two groups affect and are affected by the contemporary discourses around pedophilia, particularly from the legal and moral perspective. I will also offer a solution to the problem I describe. Comparing and contrasting these groups is useful for reasons that will soon become obvious.

One of the main problems with confronting this issue within both the broader contemporary queer culture and specifically the AWCMG culture is the lack of a shared epistemology and ethical framework for making persuasive moral arguments about behavior. This is thanks, in large part, to the fact that American culture tends to delegate its moral reasoning to increasingly reactionary and esoteric forms of evangelical protestant Christianity. It becomes a problem because most Queer/AWCMG people tend to rightly reject religion as a valid foundation for any moral truth, and therefore the community shares a vision of rejecting the idea of moral truth rather than developing it together.

There is an old saying, “be gay do crime.” Historically, it has been illegal throughout most of American history for people to be gay in the verb sense rather than the adjective sense. This has led people to think of their sexual identities as a character they might sometimes or someday play, rather than a set of behaviors they regularly engage in; as an adjective rather than a verb. This is why there is a long history of strong relationships between Queer/AWCMG groups and organized crime which facilitates spaces and services for these illegal identities.

Stonewall was a mafia club. The reason there was a riot is that the police wanted to be paid off a second time in the same night. This is why Sylvia Rivera (who was there) explains that it started with patrons throwing dimes at the cops. (Guardian) The popular myth of Martha P Johnson throwing a brick distracts from this deeper truth. The riot started because corrupt police wanted a second bribe from the mafia which owned the illegal gay bar. This was long before the word trans(gender) was popularized, and in the words of Rivera, Stonewall was a bar for what we would today call the AWCGM community. Rivera said Stonewall did not generally allow “drag queens” like her and Marsha to enter, and that she was the only one there that night. (Guardian) Marsha later agreed with Rivera, saying in her own words that she was not even there. (New York Times 2:55-3:18) The story of Stonewall has transformed into a story of trans women of color standing up to police who were persecuting them for being trans women of color. In reality, Stonewall was a mafia club that generally only allowed white cis men. The riot started because the police wanted a second bribe in the same night. The modern myth of Stonewall is something that is meaningful for a lot of people but the truth is more interesting than the myth as we will see…

This historic relationship between organized crime and the Queer/AWCGM community is the first of two pieces of the core problem I want to address. The people in the community were forced to reject a society which rejected them. It was illegal for them to exist, so they embraced organized crime and were embraced by it. The zeitgeist of the community has always rightly been that legal definitions are explicitly invalid, that legal bans on a behavior should be interpreted as an intrinsically positive thing about the thing being banned, and that legal endorsements of a behavior should be seen as damning.

Lord Acton famously said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” The heroic men of the AWCGM movement were no exception. The visceral hatred between the leaders of the cis white gay men and everyone else who wasn’t quite society’s ideal but wasn’t an affluent cis white male gay culminated in 1971 when Del Martin wrote her infamous open letter called “Goodbye, My Alienated Brothers.” Martin was a lesbian quaker who had started hundreds of activist nonprofits including underground news networks to spread information and connect people together. In her open letter, she wrote about how the luminary gay leaders like Harry Hay had repeatedly told the lesbians that their place in the movement was in the kitchen, that they had done the same to essentially everyone who wasn’t an affluent white cis male gay. She wished them well and she left with her hundreds of nonprofits and international network of followers to build a new separate movement away from the AWCGMs.

Harry Hay was the founder of the Mattachine Society. There is some debate about whether or not it was the world’s first gay rights organization. They were certainly among the first and most influential in the early campaign for rights and equality for gay people. They even earned their own FBI COINTELPRO task force which eventually dismantled Mattachine (Cohen). Hay went on to found the radical faeries which is still one of the largest and most active primarily-AWCGM organizations in the world with chapters everywhere. He deliberately designed it as something that would be hard to dismantle in the same way Mattachine had been dismantled. Rather than building a nonprofit with a board, he built a loosely affiliated international network of anarcho-communist houses and sanctuaries where drug-fueled orgies combine with alternative spirituality to create a community that isn’t really possible for an FBI agent to infiltrate. Hay went on to spend essentially all of his adult life campaigning for the legalization of pedophilia. He protested against gay pride parades across the country – up until the day he died — because they refused to include pedophilia as a legitimate part of the gay community. (Regent University Law Review) He wrote for the NAMBLA newspaper, spoke at their conferences, wrote forewords for their books, and posed for cover photos for their promotional material. (Bronski) These claims are not controversial, but aside from the Regent University Law Review article, there are few remaining primary source documents accessible online. Even NAMBLA’s own website has been scrubbed of its extensive gratitude to Hay for his decades of work. I will include a list of links in Appendix A for the remaining sources I was able to find.

It is extremely difficult to find any extant primary sources discussing Hay’s lifelong crusade for the legalization of pedophilia. This is precisely because the people in the Queer/AWCGM lack the epistemic and moral framework to address an issue like this, and often try to cover it up or silence discussion of what can understandably seem like a bad faith attack on a great hero of the movement. It’s true that these facts about Hay are often used by reactionaries to attack the entire Queer/AWCMG movement, but in general, the critique seems more true of the AWCMG slice of the spectrum, than the rest, the Queers. This is precisely for the reasons I have outlined above. First, because the AWCMG community explicitly rejects religious arguments for right and wrong, and rightly so. Second because religious arguments are essentially the only moral arguments given in American culture. Third, because the community explicitly rejects legalistic perspectives on moral truth, since legalistic perspectives have historically rejected the community. Fourth, because the luminaries in the community historically have explicitly and emphatically endorsed pedophilia.

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis from sociology argues that people are only able to approach and understand the world within the context of the ideas and words and concepts and language they have with which to do so. So if you reject most or all religious morality and reject most or all laws as a valid source of truth and justice, then how do you argue that anything is bad? If we look around at the response and the reckoning that hasn’t happened on this issue, we might be tempted to say, “you cant.” But I think there is a way. We can look to Del Martin and the argument she made in that famous open letter half a century ago. And we can draw a line from there straight to today’s feminist ethicists to see exactly how to make a strong moral argument on this topic that holds up even within the context of the Queer/AWCMG worldview.

In her book “Down Girl: the logic of Misogyny,” author Kate Manne makes the argument that misogyny, like all forms of structural injustice, is wrong because of a fundamental moral truth. It is wrong to rob people of agency by objectifying them. To deprive someone of agency is to destroy them as a person and recreate them as an object to be used. Fundamental to Critical Theory and Conflict Theory is the idea that systems of oppression are made up of aggregated microaggressions. Manne argues that there are different kinds of microaggressions which do slightly different things within that larger set of aggregated microaggressions. One specific type of microaggression which she calls a “down-move” is an act or statement intended simply to claim that the other person is lesser, is an object, does not deserve agency. She argues that this type of microaggression is the enforcement mechanism for the social norms and acts of theft of power and agency. So by her argument a down-girl move is a misogynistic act, a down-black move is racist act, etc.

Did you know that it’s perfectly legal for police to rape their prisoners in the United States as long as the officer claims it was consensual at the time? (USA Today) What’s the core moral problem here? I would argue it’s the same thing Manne and Martin are arguing, that they are robbing their prisoners of agency and using them as objects instead of treating them as people. This is always the core moral issue with sexual assault, and Manne does use many examples of sexual assault to illustrate her larger argument, but she argues that it extends basically to everything. A core problem of structural injustice whether it’s rape or wage slavery is that it robs individuals of agency and destroys them as people in order to recreate them as objects to be used by people in power for the benefit of people in power at the cost of people without power.

Consider the relationship between Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton. Was it consensual? Is it possible to consent across an incredible gap in power and agency? In Lewinsky’s own words, “I now see how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent. Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege. (Full stop.)” (Vazquez)

What defines consent? Legally, the age of consent has changed radically and is not the same everywhere. This makes the legal definition seem capricious and arbitrary. For most of American history, the age of consent was 10-12 years old. Today it’s mostly 18 (except with parental permission), though in Europe it’s mostly 16. In some places around the world, it’s still much younger than that. (Fradella 44)

Consider two examples within the context of the arbitrary and capricious legal definition of consent based on age. Imagine an otherwise consensual relationship between two unmarried people who are a day apart in age, where one happens to be over eighteen; this is statutory rape regardless of their willingness and enthusiasm to be together. Now consider another example. A 12-year-old — with parental permission — marries 87-year-old pedophilia-activist Harry Hay. This is perfectly legal and morally just, according to the American legal system, as well as in many other places around the world. (Reiss) I hope these examples illustrate the fundamental problem with using our deeply problematic legal system as an authority for moral truth.

Instead consider whether a 12-year-old can really exercise agency and give consent to an 87-year-old. And then consider whether a 17-year-old can exercise agency and give consent to an 18-year -old. In the first case, it seems clear to me that a child of twelve can likely not exercise the agency to give consent to an elderly pedophile. In the second case it seems clear that someone who is a day away from being a legal adult is not lacking any critical faculty that they will develop in the next 24 hours which precludes them from exercising the agency to give consent.

The arbitrary lines we draw at certain ages don’t make any sense and they change radically from place to place and over time. A better approach is to take the advice of Kate Manne and Del Martin and treat people as subjects rather than objects; to restrain ourselves and others from robbing them of agency over their own lives and actions.

I recall listening to an argument being made by someone in a radical faerie space that there is a system of injustice through which young people structurally deny sex to old people; that for young people to not give sex to old people is actually a microaggression. In that moment I knew I needed to someday write this essay. But it took a long time for me to put the pieces together. As Amber Chiacchieri argues in her essay “Sexual Violation, Feminism, and Foucault: Against a Confessional Politics of Truth,” neoclassicalism has appropriated many of the discourses of post-structuralism to extend systems of injustice rather than subverting them. She argues for a back-to-roots examination of contemporary post-structuralist discourses through the lens of Critical Theory. The claims of post-structuralism can be difficult to judge or grapple with as valid or invalid. The argument that young people are structurally denying sex to old people is not a logically self-contradictory claim, so how to refute it? Well according to Chiacchieri, examine it through Critical Theory. A system of oppression exists to facilitate the flow of power and resources from people without privilege to people with privilege. How does that apply to the example of this pro-pedophilia argument? Clearly old people have more power in society than young people. Clearly old people in society have more agency than young people. Clearly old people in society have more resources than young people. QED, the argument is not valid, and it is a good example of Chiacchieri’s claim that neoclassicalism tries to appropriate the discourses of post-structuralist liberation to extend injustice rather than subverting and dismantling injustice. I agree with her argument that Critical Theory is a perfect lens to examine these kinds of claims through, and Critical Theory is the very foundation of Manne’s argument that robbing people of agency and objectifying them is the fundamental method at the heart of systems of injustice. This argument for pedophilia therefore turns inside out through the Critical Gender Theory lens, and reveals why pedophilia is morally wrong, because it defines young people as objects to be used by old people, and defines old people as entitled to access to sex from young people, without any regard for the agency of the young, and for what they actually want.

I recently attended a Q&A discussion panel at SFSU where the members of the panel were all non-white QTBIPOC. The topic of the discussion was objectification. Every single member of the panel talked about how normal it was for white people, and in particular AWCMG people to objectify them in very specific ways. Everyone on the panel had examples of being compared to food or other objects by AWCMGs. This argument is bigger than pedophilia; it’s the very core of social justice. Robbing people of agency and objectifying them is why racism is wrong, and why misogyny is wrong, and why capitalism is wrong, and why every other system of injustice is wrong.

No one can consent to a boss who controls their livelihood. No one can consent to a cop who is legally entitled to rape and even kill them. No one can consent under the threat of violence or the fear of starvation or deprivation. Whenever there is a significant gap in power and resources between individuals, there can not be consent. This is the core moral truth that explains exactly why pedophilia is wrong and explains how to argue about it with people who rightly reject religion and the law as valid sources of moral truth.





Works Cited

Bronski, M. (n.d.). News and Features: The real Harry Hay. News and Features | The real Harry Hay.

Chiacchieri, Amber M., “Sexual Violation, Feminism, and Foucault: Against a Confessional Politics of Truth” (2019). CUNY Academic Works.

Fisher, S. (n.d.). valence issue. Oxford Reference.

Fradella, H. F., & Sumner, J. M. (2016). Sex, sexuality, law, and (in)justice. Routledge.

Guardian News and Media. (2019, June 23). ‘I have to go off’: activist Sylvia Rivera on choosing to riot at Stonewall. The Guardian.

USA Today. Link, D. (2020, July 9). Fact check: Sex between police officers and their detainees isn’t illegal in many states. (I cited it this way because readers thought this author’s name “Link” was a note to myself to find a source for this claim.)

Manne, K. (2019). Down girl: the logic of misogyny. Penguin Books.

The New York Times. (2019, May 31). The Stonewall You Know Is a Myth. And That’s O.K. | NYT Celebrating Pride. YouTube.

ReduxPictures. (2012, October 15). Pay It No Mind – The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson. YouTube.

Reiss, F. (2019, March 1). Perspective | Why can 12-year-olds still get married in the United States? The Washington Post.

Regent University Law Review. Child Molestation and the Homosexual Movement. Published 2001. Accessed 2021-06-08.

Steve Cohen, opinion contributor. (2021, May 9). Shining a light on COINTELPRO’s dangerous legacy. The Hill.

Vazquez, M. (2018, February 26). Lewinsky sees ‘problematic’ issue of consent in Clinton affair | CNN Politics. CNN.




Appendix A

Harry Hay’s blurb and cover photos for the NAMBLA book “A Witchhunt Foiled;”


KeyWiki article with many live and some now-dead links to sources covering many examples of Hay’s pedophilia activism;



USP 530 – Session 11

DIY Handbook

By Heather Samuels with Raquel Pinderhughes

Table of Contents

Household DIY.. 3

Household Cleaners. 3

Household Air Filter. 4

Unpaper Towel 4

Draft Snake (Window or Door). 6

Food and Gardening DIY.. 8

Buying Food in Bulk. 8

Preparing Immune System Boosting Foods and Remedies. 8

Growing Herbs Indoors. 8

Growing Herbs and Food Outdoors. 8

Composting and Vermiculture. 9

Beekeeping (needs more). 9

Master Gardener Certification Programs. 9

DIY Beauty, Hair, Cosmetics, and Hygiene. 10

Cosmetics. 10

Skin Care. 10

Self-Care Products. 10

Hair. 10

Hygiene. 11


Plarn and Plarn Projects. 12

Beeswax Wraps. 12

Beeswax Candles. 14

Homemade Paper. 14

Produce and Grocery Bag. 14

Disaster Preparation and Survival DIY.. 16

To-go Bag Kit. 16

Household Earthquake Prep. 17

Fire Starter. 18

Water Filter. 19

Neighborhood Phone Tree. 20

Basic First Aid and CPR. 21


Household DIY


Household Cleaners

Window Cleaner

  • ¼ cup of white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of cornstarch
  • 2 cups of warm water


Toilet Cleaner

  • ¾ cup baking soda
  • ¾ cup white vinegar
  • 10 drops of tea tree oil
  • 10 drops of lavender essential oils


Multi-Purpose Cleaner

  • ¼ cup of white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 litre of hot water
  • ½ a lemon


Citrus All Purpose Cleanser

  • Ingredients
    • Peels from lemons, limes, grapefruits and/or oranges (use organic for an organic cleanser)
    • White vinegar (organic for an organic cleanser)
    • Mason jars with lids, or any airtight container
    • Spray bottle
    • Mesh strainer
    • Distilled water


  1. Before peeling your citrus, be sure you have cleaned it with warm soapy water and have removed any stickers. You can use any variety or combination of citrus that you like. I prefer to do the peeling by hand to eliminate the possibility of any fruit getting into your cleanser base (sugar = mold).
  2. Fill a clean mason jar, or airtight container, with the peels and pack as tightly as possible. Jars with a tapered opening work best, so that you can place a larger peel at the top to block the smaller pieces from floating above the vinegar, which in my experience can lead to mold.
  3. Once you jar is packed, fill with vinegar until all of the peels are completely submerged.
  4. Screw the lid on tightly and store the jar in a cool, dark place for two weeks. I like to check it every few days to be sure that the peels are still submerged, and no mold has grown on any exposed pieces.
  5. After two weeks your cleanser base is ready. Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer into a bowl or another jar. Discard the peels
  6. The base can be stored in a tightly sealed jar or airtight container until ready to use. When you are ready to make the cleanser, combine it with distilled water in a 1:1 ratio and, using a funnel, pour into a spray bottle.


All Purpose Cleaner Video


Household Air Filter


Unpaper Towel


  • 2 yards of cotton terrycloth fabric
  • 2 yards of cotton flannel
  • straight pins
  • sewing machine or sewing needles
  • plastic mesh canvas sheet
  • snaps and snap setter
  • rotary cutter (or scissors), cutting mat (optional if using scissors), and ruler



  1. Wash your fabric pieces in hot water so that any shrinking will occur before you sew and dry them.
  2. Place your two fabrics on top of each other on top of your cutting mat and smooth out both layers so there are no wrinkles.
  3. You are going to cut 12″ x 12″ squares and it’s really helpful if you have a template that you can use to cut each one so you don’t have to measure out each square every time (like a cardboard template or other stiff material).
  4. Use your template and ruler to cut through both layers of fabric with your rotary cutter. If you are using scissors, lay the pieces of fabric flat and pin them so when you cut, they stay in place.
  5. Repeat until you have 12 squares of two-layered fabric.
  6. Use your straight pins to pin each set of squares together if you haven’t done so already.


  1. Sew around your squares with a 1/2″ seam allowance (or edge), leaving a 3″ opening so you can turn your fabric inside out through the hole when you are done. Clip the corners of your square with scissors and then turn your fabric through the hole. You can press your seams flat by ironing each square if you like
  2. Once they are all turned right sides out, make sure your 3″ openings are folded in and even with the rest of the towel edge and sew all the way around each square again with a 1/4″ seam allowance this time. (This will close your opening for you and help keep the towels lying flat.)
  3. Get out your snaps and snap setter. Snaps have a stud side and a socket side (the stud part sticks out and the socket part goes in), so you’ll want to arrange all your towels with the flannel side up and set two socket side snaps facing downwards on the right side of the square and two stud snaps facing up on the left side of the square (Maybe practice on a piece of scrap fabric to ensure you know how the snap setter functions). I cut a piece of mesh canvas the height of my towel and marked two squares (the same height and depth from the edge) with a marker so I could just line that up with the edges and mark where to place the two snaps so I didn’t have to measure every time. Repeat by setting four snaps in this same manner on each towel.
  4. Cut a piece of canvas 6 1/2″ wide and as tall as your towels (should be about 11″ tall). Attach stud and socket snaps (three on each side) with one set facing down and the others facing up so that your grid will overlap about 3/4″ on each end when you snap it into a roll. It can be helpful to use clips of some sort to help keep your roll rolled up while you are marking the spots for your snap locations. Once your end snaps are attached, you’ll want to attach two stud snaps that face outward when the roll is snapped together in the middle of your canvas the same distance apart as the snaps on your towels.
  5. Once your snaps are all set, you can snap your roll together and start assembling your unpaper towel roll until all your towels are added!


New Sew Un-Paper Towel Video


Draft Snake (Window or Door)


  • Medium-weight fabric (how many yards you’ll need depends on how big your windows and doors are) (If you have an old pair of pants you no longer wish to wear, that should provide an adequate amount of fabric)
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Sewing machine, threaded
  • Straight pins
  • Insulating material



  1. Measure your window or door
  2. Measuring the width of the window or door you are working with will ensure your DIY project actually works and keep you from wasting supplies.
  3. Cut your fabric
  4. To know how wide to cut, add four inches to the width of your window or door. No matter how wide the item is, cut the fabric 8 inches tall (this will help make sure your heater can run efficientlyby blocking out cold air). Now you have a long rectangle of fabric.
  5. Fold your fabric in half
  6. Fold your piece of fabric in half lengthwise so that the long edges are touching each other Then, pin these edges together using a few straight pins.
  7. Sew seams
  8. Using your sewing machine, sew the long edge where the pins are as well as one of the short ends. Sew several backward stitches so the ends are firmly sewn shut. You could also handle the sewing by hand. Leave a 2-3 inch gap in the seam so you can turn the fabric inside out.
  9. Turn the fabric tube inside out
  10. This will help to hide the stitching and create a seamless look.
  11. Next, you’ll want to fill your fabric tube with insulating materials. You do want it to be dense and have some weight to it, so using many materials to provide weight and fluff would be good.
    1. There are several things you could use here, such as beans, sand, rice, old fabric scrap, plarn, etc.






Food and Gardening DIY



Buying Food in Bulk

Tips for Buying in Bulk


Where to Buy in Bulk in California



Preparing Immune System Boosting Foods and Remedies

– basic vegetarian or non-vegetarian soup with fresh herbs

-fire ciders, elderberry syrups, and echinacea tinctures


Add Raquel’s Elderberry Syrup Video




Thyme Tinctures



Growing Herbs Indoors





Growing Herbs and Food Outdoors



Vertical Gardening



Composting and Vermiculture

Apartment/Indoor Composting


Apartment Vermiculture


Outdoor Vermiculture



Beekeeping (needs more)



Master Gardener Certification Programs

How to:


UC Master Gardener Youtube Channel:




DIY Beauty, Hair, Cosmetics, and Hygiene



Videos with Various Makeup Products

  • This video contains recipes for: brow pomade, powdered blush, eyeliner/mascara, lip tint/cream blush, and setting spray





Skin Care

This video contains recipes for: lip scrub, toothpaste, dry shampoo, face toner, and makeup remover

  • This video contains a recipe for: face moisturizer and cream

  • This video contain recipes for: cleanser, toner, and moisturizer



Self-Care Products

  • This video contains recipes for: face mask/scrub, facial serum, green tea rose toner, coffee scrub, vanilla cinnamon lip scrub, rose and lavender bath salts




For Black or textured hair:


General hair DIYs




  • This video contains recipes for: deodorant, shampoo, and shave cream

  • Toothpaste and Mouthwash








Plarn and Plarn Projects

Plarn is Yarn made from upcycling plastic bags.


Pro-Tip! Plarn can be used for more than just weaving or crochet! Use it for packing material, insulation material, crafting material, and much more!




Plarn Bags (If you don’t know how to crochet, go to Crafts section)

  • 30 – 40 plastic grocery bags (preferably bags you already have or naturally accumulate)
  • Scissors
  • Crochet Hook – size J to N – the bigger the hook the looser the weave
  • Safety Pins to use as markers
  • Optional – ruler and pen if you want to pen if you want the plarn strips the same width


  1. Make your plarn and roll into a ball.
  2. Make the bottom rectangle. Decide on the size you want (Example – 10 inches x 4 inches) and chain about 20 stitches.  Remember to keep the loops loose.
  3. To make the “body” of the bag, single crochet all around the rectangle and continue in the round until you reach the desired height. The pictured bag is about ten inches.
  4. To make the handle, start by placing four safety pins to mark where the handle will go.
  5. Single crochet up to the first pin, crochet 20 and join the row with the single crochet at the fourth pin. Continue to single crochet around the top edge increasing the width of the handles until they are about 1 – 1 ½ inches wide.
  6. Finish


Video Playlist of Plarn Projects:


Beeswax Wraps

What You’ll Need


LAB TIP: Some tutorials call for jojoba oil or powdered pine resin, but we found that these more expensive ingredients didn’t add any major benefits in our tests.


  1. Cut the fabric.

Preheat the oven to 200°F or the lowest setting. Cut the fabric into sizes that will fit on your baking sheet. For a snack bag, use a 7″ by 14″ piece of fabric. A 14″ by 14″ square will cover most sandwiches. Pinking shears will help prevent your swatches from fraying, but scissors will also get the job done.


  1. Place on a baking tray.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the fabric on top. If your fabric is one-sided, place the patterned side facedown. Use a fresh piece of parchment paper each time you make another wrap.


  1. Sprinkle the pellets.

Evenly distribute a liberal amount of beeswax pellets all over the fabric. Make sure you get pellets near the edges too.


  1. Melt and spread the beeswax.

Place the sheet in the oven for about 4-8 minutes. When the pellets melt completely, take the tray out and use a paintbrush to spread the wax evenly over the entire fabric.

NOTE: The beeswax will stick to the brush, so use one you’re okay discarding or saving to make future beeswax wraps.


  1. Let dry.

Using tongs, remove the fabric from the baking sheet. It should feel cool to the touch after waving it for a few seconds in the air. Hang the fabric up to dry or set it on the back of a chair with the beeswax side facing up.


  1. Customize your wraps.

Once the beeswax has set and is not very tacky, you can add buttons or hand-sew them into small pouches.


Snack Bags: Use a 7″ x 14″ piece of fabric. Once dry, fold the fabric in half with the non-treated sides facing inward. Hand sew the two sides together, leaving the top open. Turn the bag inside out, and add a button as a closure or stitch Velcro to both sides.


Sandwich Wraps: Use a 14″ x 14″ piece of fabric. On the patterned side, sew a button in two adjacent corners. To close, put the side with the buttons face down. Fold the fabric into thirds around the sandwich. Flip and fold the ends of the fabric up so the buttons are on top. Wrap twine around them in a figure-eight pattern for a secure closure.


How to Care for Your Beeswax Wraps

Wash your wraps by hand in cool water with a mild dish soap. Place them on a drying rack or clothesline to dry. Avoid any heat such as hot water, microwaves, or ovens that will cause the beeswax can melt, ruining your wraps.






Beeswax Candles



Homemade Paper


Produce and Grocery Bag



Use fabric scraps from old clothes you’d like to repurpose!

This can be hand sewn, does not necessarily have to be machine sewn.



Upcycled Sewing and Weaving Projects


Hand Sewing Video:


Machine Sewing Video:


Upcycling Clothes:


Mending Clothes:


Basic Crochet: (This is great for plarn projects!)


DIY Fabric Reusable Menstrual Pad






Disaster Preparation and Survival DIY


To-go Bag Kit

Suggested Items:

To assemble your kit store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation)
  • Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Manual can opener (for food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Download the Recommended Supplies List (PDF)


Emergency Supplies

  • Masks (for everyone ages 2 and above), soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes to disinfect surfaces
  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Prescription eyeglasses and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children


Maintaining Your Kit

After assembling your kit remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed:

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place.
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers.
  • Replace expired items as needed.
  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.


Kit Storage Locations

Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and cars.

  • Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
  • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.
  • Car: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.






Household Earthquake Prep


  • Practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On with family and coworkers.
  • Have hard soled shoes by your bed at all times in order to deal with broken glass.
  • Make an Emergency Plan: Create a family emergency communications plan that has an out-of-state contact. Plan where to meet if you get separated. Make a supply kit that includes enough food and water for several days, a flashlight, a fire extinguisher and a whistle.
    • Include non-perishable foods, cleaning supplies, and water for several days, in case services are cut off in your area. If you are able to, set aside items like soap, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, disinfecting wipes, and general household cleaning supplies that you can use to disinfect surfaces you touch regularly. After an earthquake, you may not have access to these supplies for days or even weeks.
    • Being prepared allows you to avoid unnecessary excursions and to address minor medical issues at home, alleviating the burden on urgent care centers and hospitals.
    • Remember that not everyone can afford to respond by stocking up on necessities. For those who can afford it, making essential purchases and slowly building up supplies in advance will allow for longer time periods between shopping trips. This helps to protect those who are unable to procure essentials in advance of the pandemic and must shop more frequently. In addition, consider avoiding WIC-labeled products so that those who rely on these products can access them.
  • Protect Your Home: Secure heavy items in your home like bookcases, refrigerators, televisions and objects that hang on walls. Store heavy and breakable objects on low shelves. Consider making improvements to your building to fix structural issues that could cause your building to collapse during an earthquake. Consider obtaining an earthquake insurance policy. A standard homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover earthquake damage.
  • Wear a mask when in public to slow the spread of COVID-19. You may not have time to put on a mask in the event of an earthquake. Wearing one regularly will allow you to be prepared to drop, cover, and hold on safely with those who are not a part of your household. Masks should not be worn by children under two, those who have trouble breathing, and those who are unable to remove them on their own.



Car Kit Video


Preparing Your Home Video




Fire Starter

DIY Fire Starter

My Notes

  • Video advocates breaking candles into small pieces, melting them into pucks. Candle wax is flammable.
  • I think cotton swabs saturated in vaseline are much better as a firestarter and far less complicated.
  • Typically any kind of paper and cardboard work fine for starting fires.
    • An axe and hammer make it much easier to split the wood and get it to burn if its wet.

DIY Rocket Stoves

My Notes

  • The video advocates for combining a tee fitting with a downspout and cutting holes in it so that you get a small burn barrel with a fresh air intake at the bottom.
  • There are lots of similar solutions. Tire rims are much easier. I usually dig out a hole under one side and then do a log cabin fire that sucks air in through the hole.
  • Personally, my jetboil is great and I prefer that to trying to cook on a wood fire with its unpredictable temperatures.

13 Ways to Start a Fire

My Notes

  • The video goes over lots of hacky ways to start fires. These skills are things you have to practice constantly for years to be any good at. If you are in a real emergency, this is not going to work. You need matches, a lighter, etc.
  • I find it very easy to use the jetboil to light things on fire.

Firestarter Mushroom


Water Filter

DIY Water Filter

My Notes

  • The video shows how to make a filter from garbage and things you can find in the forest. This is not going to actually make the water safe to drink, as the manual points out.
  • A cheap Sawyer filter, Lifestraw, or Lifestraw bottle would be a much safer way to filter sketchy water.


*Side Note:


Filtering water does not purify it. You must boil water after the filtration process in order to kill any pathogens, bacteria, or other microorganisms. Do not boil water in order to remove nitrate, lead or some other substances. Boiling water will actually increase the concentrations of these substances, not remove them.


What are pathogens and which pathogens should we be concerned about in our water? Pathogens are disease-causing organisms which may include types of bacteria, viruses, protozoan parasites, and other organisms. United State Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) regulates the following pathogens in drinking water:

  • Cryptospridium: This is a single-celled protozoa parasite found in lakes and rivers, especially in waters with sewage or animal waste pollution. This protozoan parasite can cause gastrointestinal illness like diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps.
  • Giardia lamblia: This is a single-celled protozoan parasite that can be found in the intestines of infected humans and animals, in soil, food, or water contaminated by feces from infected humans and animals. This pathogen can cause nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches.
  • Legionella: This is a type of bacteria that is naturally found in the environment, usually in water. It grows best in warm water (hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems or air-conditioning systems of large buildings are ideal places for this bacteria). Legionella bacteria in water can become a health risk if the bacteria are aerosolized (e.g., in an air conditioning system or a shower) and then breathed in. Inhaling Legionella bacteria can cause a type of pneumonia known as Legionnaires disease.





Neighborhood Phone Tree

How to Build a Phone Tree


A phone tree is a prearranged, pyramid-shaped system for activating a group of people by telephone. Using the phone tree system can spread a brief message quickly and efficiently to a large number of people.



Quickly notify members and/or supporters about fruit deliveries. Spreads the work load out between members. Save printing and postage costs involved with communicating brief notices by mail.



People- A coordinator and a network of reliable people form the skeleton of the phone tree. See enclosure titled, “Example Phone Tree Layout”

Time- The coordinator will spend time organizing the tree. (This process should be done prior to serious activation of the tree.) Once it’s set up, the tree can do dozens or even hundreds of hours of work with only five to 50 minutes of involvement by each member, depending on the frequency and number of calls each member is assigned.

Money- No money is needed aside from long-distance charges, where applicable. Use home telephones and cell phones at no additional cost.



1) Make a list with current phone numbers of all the persons you want the tree to reach.

2) From that list, recruit a smaller group of people who will be responsible for calling and activating other members. This small group is referred to as the Key Group .

  1. Keep the Key Group as small as possible, since each group may be responsible for reaching people who in turn are responsible for reaching out, and so on. It is critically important that the members of the Key Group are reliable!
  2. Impress upon ALL participants the importance of completing all their assigned calls.

3) Divide the people on your list among the members of the Key Group.

  1. Consider assigning responsibilities geographically to reduce any phone charges.
  2. Try to limit calls to three to eight per participant so the phone tree won’t become too burdensome.

4) Make a chart of Key Group members and their assignments and distribute it to the Key Group. Be sure to include work, cell, office, and other numbers to locate members.

5) Ask key people to notify you when they are going out of town or will otherwise be unavailable. Have alternate Key Group folks that can fill in if someone is unavailable.

6) Hold message drills occasionally to test your phone tree for effectiveness and identify areas for improvement.



1) As coordinator, you will start the tree. Write out a brief script complete with the specific details of fruit and delivery.

2) Call the members of the Key Group using the script. Make sure that Key Group members understand what they need to do and the time frame in which they should do it.

3) Spot-check the tree’s effectiveness by calling a few people down on the list to be sure they have received an accurate and complete message. Also, you can prearrange with folks down the list to contact you once they have received the message.

4) Train the folks in your phone tree to keep trying each person on their list until they make contact. If a member of the phone tree cannot be reached, have the caller notify you as the coordinator so you can fill in or delegate the responsibility to another member.


KEY POINTS Have an organization chart for your phone tree. Be sure that your Key Group members are reliable. Have multiple ways of reaching members (home, work, and cell numbers are key).





Basic First Aid and CPR


Basic First Aid

First Aid Kit Contents
My Notes
  • The guide goes over things you should have in your first aid kit. Of course you’re not going to actually know what to do about arterial bleeds, broken bones, etc with these tools unless you get certified so you should definitely do that and also have a good first aid kit.
  • I am Red Cross certified for First Aid and CPR . Getting certified is quick and easy and probably free. Everyone should do this. This is like the one skill that no one has any excuse not to have. You owe it to yourself and others to get certified for First Aid and CPR.
To be prepared for emergencies:
  • Keep a first aid kit in your home and in your car. (And in your go-bag, hiking-bag, etc.)
  • Carry a first aid kit with you or know where you can find one.
  • Find out the location of first aid kits where you work.


First aid kits come in many shapes and sizes. Your local drug store may sell them. You can also make your own. Some kits are designed for specific activities, such as hiking, camping or boating.

Whether you buy a first aid kit or put one together, make sure it has all the items you may need:
  • Include any personal items such as medications and emergency phone numbers or other items your health-care provider may suggest.
  • Check the kit regularly.
  • Check expiration dates and replace any used or out-of-date contents.
The Red Cross recommends that all first aid kits for a family of four include the following:



Basic First Aid Video


USP 530 – Session 10

April 7th
Session Ten: Infrastructure: Water, Waste, Energy, Transportation, Building, Food 

This session will focus on how changes in urban infrastructure can help cities become more inclusive, resilient, productive, livable, and sustainable. We will be guided by the following questions:

  • Infrastructure: Infrastructure refers to the long-lived engineered structures central to economic and social development. (Slightly modified version of the world bank definition.)
    • A set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and businesses
    • The services and facilities necessary for its economy to function
    • Composed of public and private physical structures such as roads, railways, bridges, tunnels, water supply, sewers, electrical grids, and telecommunications (including internet connectivity and broadband access.) In general
    • The physical components of interrelated systems providing commodities and services essential to enable, sustain, or enhance societal living conditions and maintain the surrounding environment
    • In the face of the massive societal living conditions and maintain the surrounding environment
    • Acknowledging this importance, the international community has created policy focused on sustainable infrastructure through the SDGs especially SDG 9 “Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure.”

Class Topics

  1. What changes need to occur in the water sector?
    • Sewage reclamation
    • Aquifer restoration
    • Ban all forms of waterway pollution and rehabilitate waterways
  2. What changes need to occur in the waste sector?
    • Ban non-recyclable materials and anything single-use
    • Mandate recycling everywhere
  3. What changes need to occur in the energy sector?
    • Drastic reduction in consumption
    • Decentralization of production and storage
  4. What changes need to occur in the transportation sector?
    • Mass transit must be accessible to everyone
      • And only then, heavy incentives for not using personal cars
    • Electrification
      • Plus better sources of electricity
  5. What changes need to occur in the building sector?
    • Drastically cheaper construction
    • In lieu fees much higher than cost of building affordable units
    • More sustainable materials
  6. What changes need to occur in the food sector?
    • Crop subsidies must end
    • Nitrogen loading must be banned
    • Pesticide use must end
    • Food shown be grown in small, sustainable, permaculture farms instead of at the corporate scale
  • Common problems with civic infrastructure
    • Inadequate infrastructure
    • Fossil fuel based
    • Inaccessible to impacted groups
  • Infrastructure policy has been identified as one of the easiest ways to have a big impact on the causes of many climate change impacts
    • Our infrastructure has historically been badly maintained
    • The energy consumed by our infrastructure is often not sustainably sourced
  • Discussion of structural adjustment and neoliberal privatization of infrastructure, and the impacts on infrastructure decay
  • Discussed green new deal and the differences from the plan
    • Raquel prefers to think of the rights of people to things like clean air and clean water
  • Categories for DIY project
    • Household
    • Food & Gardening
    • DIY Beauty, Hygiene
    • Crafts
    • Disaster Prep and Survival
      • Josh Ochoa
      • Chris Le
      • Austin Davis

Required Reading

  1. Analysis  of the BIDEN PLAN
    • No climate issues meaningfully addressed
    • Scale of the bill is not serious


  1. Carbon Footprint of a Sandwich –

Importance of infrastructure in cities – pull from Raquel’s book

Case Studies of Ecologically Responsible Infrastructures

USP 530 – Session 8

March 17th
Session Eight: Disaster Preparation and Resilience in Cities

In this session we will focus on disaster preparation and resilience in cities. We will focus on the root causes of disasters, profiteering from disasters, the differential impact of disasters on different populations, and disaster preparation and resilience. We will be guided by the following questions:


  • Disaster is a noun
    • A sudden event such as an accident or natural catastrophe that causes great damage or loss of life
  • Resilient is an adjective
    • The ability to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions
    • Synonyms: Strong, tough, hardy
  • 7 most at risk cities in US are in California
  • 3 in 5 cities worldwide with at least 500k pop are at a high risk of a natural disaster
    • Collectively these cities are home to 1/3 of the world’s urban population
  • Many large cities are subject to 4 or 5 different kinds of natural disasters
  • Only three of the megacities (>10m pop) in the world are not at high risk of natural disasters
  • Building resilient and sustainable cities highlights the need for those cities to be able to
    • maximally prepared to absorb the impact of hazards
    • protect and preserve human lives
    • limit damage and destruction
    • do all of that while providing the critical infrastructure and services
  • what would a city need to prepare
    • backup water supply
    • rainy day fund
    • backup communications system
    • backup energy systems
    • backup food distribution system
    • automatic gas shut-offs in houses for earthquakes
    • shovels
    • disaster training
  • Climate change means there will be an increase in the number and severity of natural disasters in the coming years
  • Shock doctrine: book written after the tsunami in bali
    • Government and private sector work together to take advantage of chaotic situations and privatize public entities.
    • Investigated what happened very quickly
    • Also what happened over time
    • In Bali, the government told the fishermen residents they needed to be moved. came in with guns and forcibly removed them much further away from the coast because they said that area was unsafe for habitation. then they sold that land to luxury hotel developers
    • City of New Orleans used hurricane Katrina as an excuse to close schools, hospitals, and public housing in black neighborhoods and then sell it all off to private organizations


  1. What are the root causes of the range of disasters affecting cities?
  2. Can we distinguish between human versus natural root causes of disasters?
  3. Are corporations profiting from disasters?
  4. Do we have a moral compass on disaster profiteering?
  5. How do disasters impact different populations in cities?
  6. What strategies and policies can be used to increase resilience in cities?
  7. How can we ensure that these policies are inclusive?

Assigned Readings  

  1. Billionaire Bonanza from COVID-19
    • Bezos used to shock doctrine to make tens of billions of dollars as a result of the pandemic
    • Wealth tax would help cover the costs of the disaster
    • The policies that were in place and the policies that were not in place gave rise to a situation in which people who had a monopoly in certain parts of the economy were able to make huge amounts of money by taking advantage of vulnerable populations.
  2. The differential impact of disasters on different populations
    • Making Cities Resilient
      • A study conducted by UN
      • Surveyed cities around the world to assess their resiliency
      • Three levels
        • Have they done the analysis and planning on disaster preparation (80% did)
        • Have they followed through by providing resources like funding to address those analyses (Most did not)
        • Have they engaged their communities in the planning for natural disasters (Most did not)
      • Lisbon Case Study
        • Had already done disaster preparation before the study began but they used the campaign to close the gaps and expand funding and partnerships to address disaster preparation
  3. Disaster preparation and resilience NorCal Resilience Network
    • This one was missing
    • Projections for more intense and frequent extreme weather events need to be integrated with disaster and emergency management planning.
      • Extreme weather events are projected to continue increasing in intensity and frequency and we have to start planning for that
    • Contingencies for spare capacity and flexibility to deal with climate hazards occurring simultaneously or in quick succession need to feature in disaster and emergency management planning.
      • Capacity and flexibility are key. We need to stockpile things like PPE to prepare for disasters.
    • Strategic investments in disaster prevention measures, including climate-resilient green infrastructure and updated building codes, will provide significant long-term cost savings and social benefits.
    • Continuous outreach and engagement processes can ensure that citizens prepare for and can respond to climate-related disasters.
      • Outreach, green policies, better building codes, etc will help
    • Raquel’s comments
      • A resilient city is one that is going to change the policies to make sure that the exploitation doesn’t happen again
      • Robust, redundancy
        • Systems are in place to take over during failure
      • Flexibility
        • Refers to the willingness to adapt alternative strategies in response to disasters
      • Resourcefulness
        • An educated population is ready to deal with shocks and stresses and changing circumstances on their own
      • Inclusiveness
        • There needs to be multiple stakeholders involved in building a resilient city
      • Integrated
        • Systems need to be coordinated



This assignment has two parts, make sure you answer both parts in writing.

FIRST: Write down all of the ways in which you understand how global warming and climate change are impacting cities and urban residents. Be as comprehensive and multidimensional as possible.

SECOND: Write down all of the solutions to reduce global warming that you are aware of. Be as comprehensive and multidimensional as possible.

USP 530 – Session 7

March 10th
Session Seven: Alternatives to Policing and Incarceration

This session will focus on alternatives to policing and incarceration. Over the last six decades, the movement to reduce policing and mass incarceration has been growing in the United States. In this session we will be guided by the following questions:

  1. Why is there a movement to reduce policing and mass incarceration in the United States?
    • To reallocate or redirect funding away from the police department to other government agencies and increasingly to community efforts.
  2. What are this movement’s concerns about policing and mass incarceration?
  3. What are this movement’s alternatives to policing and mass incarceration?
    • Community outreach
    • community self-policing
    • cahoots model
    • new orleans model
  4. What strategies and policies could be used to reduce policing?
  5. What strategies and policies could be used to reduce mass incarceration?
  6. What strategies and policies could be used to abolish incarceration?
  7. What is the history of policing in the us?
  8. What alternatives to policing are on the table?
  9. What are the financial consequences of defunding the police?
    • Civil forfeiture
  10. Three categories
    • Prison Abolition
    • Police Abolition
    • Defunding (partially) the police

Required Reading for Alternatives to Policing

  1. Sacramento Bee article by Angela Davis, Melina Abdullah, and Robin DG Kelly. “California must lead the way in abolishing school and university campus police
  2. Alternatives to Police Services
    • Rayshard Brooks found sleeping in his car in a Wendy’s drive through
      • Police responded, tried to arrest him. He took the taser and tried to shoot the officer.
      • Officer killed Brooks.
      • Officer charged but not convicted.
    • Dion Johnson
      • Fell asleep in car
      • Officer came to arrest him
      • Officer shot him and got off as self-defense
    • Both cases included police escalating drunk people into violence and then killed the person to whom they were responding.
    • The claim of the article is that the police should not be bringing lethal force to these kinds of calls
    • In the UK, 90% of officers have no guns and no power to arrest people
      • 55 shot in the uk in last 45 years.
      • Over a thousand times as many in the us
    • Recommendations:
      • Create a specialized traffic officer
        • Militarized police are not necessary for traffic stops
        • Case Studies
          • Philando Castile
            • Police asked for his ID and then shot him when he reached for it, accused him of reaching for a gun
          • Sandra Bland
            • Falsely accused of assaulting officer
            • Died in jail
      • Create specialized community outreach officers
        • Case study in Oakland
        • Specialize in de-escalation
      • Oregon 2017 Policing Stats
        • 50% of prison population has mental illness
        • 52% of arrest of homeless individuals
        • 25% of fatalities were mental health or substance abuse
      • Cahoots
        • Sending community member to respond instead of police
        • 25% of police calls in Eugene router to cahoots
        • Never any death or serious injury
        • 30 years
        • Another case study in Richmond
        • This could likely be implemented elsewhere
      • Other recommendations
        • Decriminalize drugs
        • Decriminalize homelessness
    • Australia admitted publicly that systemic racism is the reason for disparate incarceration
  3. Police abolition Links
    • Abolish prisons is the new abolish ice
  4. ?
    • Police are more likely to use lethal force with BIPOC people
    • Reallocate funds to teams trained in de-escalation
    • Police don’t prevent violent crimes, they respond afterwards.
  5. 4 Ideas to replace traditional police
    • Create specialized traffic police
    • Deploy community mediators to handle minor disputes
    • Create a mobile crisis response unit
    • Experiment with community self-policing
  6. How Can We End Child Sexual Abuse Without Prisons
  7. CFA at SFSU on police off campus from CFA website
    • CSU faculty union statement;
      • Racist, militarized, police violence continues to grow and escalate.
      • Appeals to normal institutional channels have had no effect.
      • The police must be forcibly demilitarized and removed from CSU campuses.
    • Police actions are involved in too many areas that are better suited for other areas of the government like public health
    • Scope of policing is too broad
    • 90% of police calls in one meta analysis of Seattle were related to mental health
      • Why are the police responding to these calls?
    • Many types of calls that police are currently responding to would be better served by responses from other agencies
    • Many “alternative policing” proposals could be seen as supplemental to existing police departments
    • Community patrol groups are often accompanied by police officers
  9. Abolish Prisons is the new Abolish Ice
    • We need alternatives to prisons
    • 13th amendment allows slavery for anyone convicted of a crime
      • California firefighters are enslaved prisoners
    • Work on social determinants of crime
      • schools
      • healthcare
      • housing
    • Restorative justice instead of incarceration
    • “Abolition is just as much about building what we want to see as it is about tearing down the things we want to get rid of.”
    • “It’s hard to get on board; it’s hard to tell the person who was raped that their rapist should not be punished.”

Video on Alternatives to Policing  (find) 

  1. Angela Davis: Abolishing police is not just about dismantling.

HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: Required Reading for Alternatives to Incarceration

Students will choose 1 reading and summarize it for the class. Go to the pdfs (in the session sections to the side) to find links to these articles/reports:

  1. Prison Abolition: A Curated Collection Of Links
  3. The Case for Abolition
  4. What Do Abolitionists Really Want?
  5. Imagining A World Without Prisons 
  6. How Can We End Child Sexual Abuse Without Prison?
  7. Lets Fight for Freedom from Electronic Monitors and E Incarceration
  8. A World Without Prisons
  9. The Critical Overlooked History of Washington’s Prison Abolitionist Movement
  10. Is Prison Necessary?
  11. Abolish Prisons is the New Abolish ICE 
  12. What is Prison Abolition? 
  13. Think Prison Abolition in America is Impossible, It Once Felt Inevitable
  14. Ban Prisons
  15. How To End Mass Incarceration

Videos on Alternatives to Incarceration

  1. Angela Davis on Prison Abolition, the War on Drugs and Why Social Movements Shouldn’t Wait on Obama – 20 minutes
  2. Beyond Reform: Abolishing Prisons |Maya Schenwar| TEDxBaltimore – 15 minutes


First. Make a list of all of the disasters affecting cities, and their root causes

USP 530 – Session 6

March 3rd
Session Six: Surveillance in Cities – Assignment #1 DUE TODAY 

This session will focus on the impact of increased surveillance in cities. For every 1,000 people in SF, there are over 3 cameras and the District Attorney’s office has access to almost ⅔ or their data (ABC7 News). Cameras are disproportionately in Tenderloin, Chinatown, DogPatch, Mission, Union Square. San Francisco ranks fourth in the United States in a study on public surveillance cameras. We will be guided by the following questions:

  1. What do we mean by the term “surveillance”?
  2. How does increased surveillance in cities effect urban populations?
  3. What forms does surveillance take in cities?
  4. How does surveillance impact different groups differently?
  5. What strategies and policies can people/groups use to protect themselves from unwanted surveillance

Required reading 

  3. Ring Planned Neighborhood “Watch Lists” Built On Facial Recognition, The Intercept, Biddle 11/26/19
  8. Phone radiation protection


  1. The Power of Privacy – 28 minutes

Virtual protection video – heather find this video


We talked about the challenges of urban planning when you’re ordering communities subvert your plans and specifically the example of Berkeley and Emeryville

This was connected to the implications of trying to do planning around banning cars and gas stations and car lots because they’ll just go outside your jurisdiction

We talked about IOT and the fact that it doesn’t necessarily give people more power but instead it gives corporations more power

She said we need to think about;

  • who is making the app and why
  • where is the data going
  • who is using the app.

These three lenses are the lenses through each of you IOT related issues

We talked about the problem of tracking online and the fact that even with all of these pseudo options like disabling location sharing and disabling cookies it actually makes no difference whatsoever as to whether these companies can track you and sell information about you