“Pansy” EP Pre-Release to benefit the Transgender Law Center, and Action For Trans Health

Today, bandcamp is donating all of their profits to the Transgender Law Center in the US. To maximize the impact, I’m doing a 24 hour release of an A Side / B Side single from my new EP “Pansy” for £1.

15% of the money raised will go straight to the TLC (that’s bandcamp’s usual cut), and on top of that I’ll be donating 15% of my share to Action for Trans Health in the UK. It will only be available for 24 hours, from 8:00am Friday August 4 to 8:00 Saturday August 5, during bandcamp’s campaign. After that if you want to hear it, you’ll have to wait until I release the whole EP at the end of the summer.

The A Side is “But Why”, a song about weird romantic cultural norms. The B Side is a cover of “I Am Hated For Loving” by my fav trash lord, Morrissey, re-imagined as a trans love song to self. “But Why” will be on the full EP, but the cover won’t be so if you want trans mozzer, this is your only chance.

It’s only £1!

Support trans artists & trans activism!

When I release the full EP, the digital version will be free / pay-what-you-can, and I’ll continue donating 15% of my earnings from both the digital and physical versions to A4TH.

💕🌱💕🌱💕

UPDATE: Thank you so much to everyone who bought or shared my pre-relase single yesterday.

Bandcamp’s profits were about $100,000 (!!!) which will all go to the Transgender Law Center. My sales are just a drop in the bucket but I’m really proud that my music contributed to this massive fundraiser. On average you spent almost 4 times as much as my suggested price: bandcamp’s share came to £10.13 which will go to the TLC, and I’m giving the same (well, £11, rounding up) to Action For Trans Health. Lots of the support came from other trans artists which warms my cynical heart tbh.

I’m overjoyed that my music can materially support activist groups. When I release the full EP at the end of the summer, the digital version will be pay-what-you-can / free, and I’ll keep donating 15% to A4TH.

Your vote for President isn’t radical

[Image description: black oil rigs in North Dakota stand in stark contrast to the snowy ground and light gray sky]

In the US presidential election I wish we could be real and talk about strategic voting, the problems with Jill Stein & the US Green Party, and the problems with Hillary Clinton which have nothing to do with her illegal insecure private email server.

Clinton isn’t unappealing because she’s “unlikable”. She’s unacceptable because she’s made a career out of conservative values which actively cause harm to the most marginalized in our country and the world. She’s a warmongering imperialist who voted for the invasion of Iraq, supports the continued drone-bombing of civilians in Yemen, supports the neocolonial Israeli state, and she’s overseen anti-democratic coups in Honduras and Nicaragua. She backed anti-black “war on drugs” legislation and actively tried to silence the Black Lives Matter movement. She is personally invested in private prisons and massive oil companies. These are serious concerns, not something to dismiss as a fair compromise for ideological purity, and that’s not saying anything about her inaction on vital issues like First Nations rights and reparations, ending mass surveillance, and housing as a human right. She’s not just a neoliberal Democrat who’s “not radical enough”; her entire career is built on imperialism abroad and neocolonialism at home.

The rhetoric that 3rd party voters and abstainers are stupid or too privileged to be affected by a Trump presidency is patronizing and false. Some people won’t vote for Clinton because they were betrayed by the DNC during the unfair primaries; some won’t vote for her because they’re misogynists. But some of us have been watching people vote for “the lesser of two evils” for decades and seen that it only entrenches the two-party system and doesn’t make a damned difference anyway.

A few things are very clear: The GOP is eating itself, which is great; the DNC is gradually ceding ground to the radical Left, which is also great; and Presidential elections are not the main site of struggle in liberation, or any meaningful change.

Queer people gathering in public is still a brave political act: the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting

[Image description: fairly ugly, high contrast photo of wildflowers at nighttime]

CN: death, violence, blood

The mass murder at Pulse nightclub in Orlando is not “tragic” or apolitical, it was state-enabled domestic terrorism targeting Latinx queers.

Last night at Pulse was a Latin night with a trans headlining act. 50 people who went are dead.

This was not an isolated incident; he was not a “lone wolf” with “mental health problems”. The whole country has been advocating violence, harassment, and dehumanization of queer people for decades. Queer and trans people are literally excluded from public life (bathrooms, blood donations, healthcare, ID documents); the state has made us into sub-citizens. An entire generation was killed by AIDS, trans women of color are murdered in the streets, and queer youth are killing themselves because the relentless bullying and social/familial ostracization  is unbearable. We’re not afforded life.

Islamophobia and xenophobic imperialism is a weak response. Speculation about the shooter’s family’s immigration status is disgusting and irrelevant. That he was investigated by the FBI is not relevant—the FBI surveils practically everyone who’s brown and muslim in the US. What’s relevant is that he was able to get guns and kill 50+ people.

The line right now is that the shooter was “radicalized” and had “ties to ISIS”, but there is no evidence of either. The mayor has declared a state of emergency in the city of Orlando which will probably allow the state and police to act with impunity in their surveillance and violence toward US muslims.

UPDATE: The shooter (name not included because fuck granting him notoriety) worked at G4S: a private security company which bullies, detains, deports, and dehumanizes black and brown people, especially queer POC. He idolized the NYPD: a department which harasses and arrests trans women of color for “walking while trans”. His ex-wife has stated that he beat her. His “culture of violence” has nothing to do with his religion (which his father said not important to him) and everything to do with our racist, homophobic society. This shooter’s culture of violence is our culture of violence.

This is not apolitical. We don’t need prayers. It’s easy to say “how tragic” and “the first responders are heroes” but that’s not enough. We need gun control, and anti-racism and anti-queerphobia in our laws and society (but not hate-crime legislation which funnels marginalized people into the for-profit prison system). We need equal rights and access to public space. We need affirmative action. We need swift denouncement of violence and stigma against queer people and POC and immigrants and muslims.

Love never won. Transphobes are bombing bathrooms and queer people are murdered at nightclubs.

Hate has won.


If you’re in the Orlando area, PLEASE DONATE BLOOD:

Orlando West Michigan Donor Center, 345 W Michigan Street, Ste. 106, Orlando, FL 32806

Orlando Main Donor Center, 8669 Commodity Circle, Orlando, FL 32819

Oviedo Donor Center, 1954 W. State Road 426, Oviedo, FL 32765

Asbury United Methodist Church – Bloodmobile 220, West Horatio Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church – Bloodmobile, 4851 S. Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32819

Metro Church – Bloodmobile, 1491 East State Road 434, Winter Springs, FL 32708

 

Note: there are conflicting reports about whether the FDA ban for “men who have sex with men” to donate blood has been lifted. It should go without saying that this ban is homophobic, discriminatory against HIV-pos bodies, and ofc it’s coercively assigned to trans women.

The Koreas, Bastion of Cold War Realism

In which I reluctantly defend neorealism as a grand theory applicable to the security situation in North East Asia:

Rather than asserting that realism or its offshoots are the ultimate International Relations grand theories, I suggest that neorealism remains a crucial aspect of IR security theory. The offensive realist behavior of the DPRK and the defensive realist policies of China and the South Korea serve to illustrate the unfortunate but continued significance of neorealism within international relations.

Read the whole lengthy article on The Diplomat.

White Terrorism and the AME Church Shooting in Charleston, SC

Some thoughts in reaction to the shooting on June 17, and the media reaction:

Distressingly, the gun violence doesn’t come as a surprise in America; neither does the racist media coverage of the attack.

Black victims of crime are often painted as “thugs” who invited violence upon themselves, while white perpetrators of crime are “lone gunmen”, isolated and absolving society at large for its racism which encourages white terrorism. Or, he’s labelled “mentally ill”.

Racism isn’t a mental illness; it’s learned violence. Using mental illness to excuse such violence only stigmatizes the mentally ill and further isolates the incident as individual rather than systemic.

This church, the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, has a long history of anti-slavery and anti-racism activism and ties to politicians and activists—one of the nine victims, Clementa Pickney, was a state senator and senior pastor at the church. It remains a pillar in the black community in Charleston, and was targeted with this in mind.

The shooter, who I will not dignify by naming, is a white man who entered the church during a bible study. In the South it is unusual for white people to enter black churches, and vice versa, but he was apparently welcomed into the space and sat quietly for one hour before shooting and killing nine people. This raises important questions about safe spaces: places of worship should be safe spaces, and if black people cannot hold a bible study without fear violence, that is terrorism. Black people—yes, like all people, but to claim “all lives matter” or the relevant equivalent is to erase the particular struggle of black people in America, not to mention it’s a pathetic attempt to center the attention back to you—deserve to have safe spaces, unburdened by fear of violence at the hands of oppressors. This means that black people are entitled to safe spaces which explicitly exclude white people. Until we, as a society, stop harming black bodies and start valuing black lives, black people don’t owe white people and non-black POC access to their safe spaces. Anyone who is more concerned with being excluded on the basis of their non-blackness than they are about anti-black violence and the need for black-only safe spaces is part of the problem.

Tongsin | 통신 no. 4: War Games and the Sewol Sinking

Delegates representing the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) in Pyongyang, May 2014 | Image: KCNA
Delegates representing the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) in Pyongyang, May 2014 | Image: KCNA

This edition covers March–May 2014. These three months covered the US-ROK war games Key Resolve/Foal Eagle and Max Thunder and the North Korean response of several short- and medium-range projectiles over their eastern coast; and the Sewol ferry disaster. These two events were leveraged in DPRK state media to paint a picture of an allegedly harmonized Sino-DPRK perspective that is both anti-American and anti- South Korean. China’s news on Obama’s visit with the Dalai Lama and the US’ damning human rights report is highlighted by the DPRK state media.

Read the full PDF: Tongsin no. 04 March–May 2014

Originally posted by Morgan Potts on Sino-NK

US-ROK Announce Dates forKey Resolve/Foal Eagle

As expected, the annual joint exercises Key Resolve/Foal Eagle will take place as planned despite outcry from North Korea. Both exercises will commence on February 24.

Key Resolve, the CPX, will occur from 24 February – March 6. KR 14 will involve approximately 5,200 US troops, with about 1,100 coming from off-peninsula.

Foal Eagle, the accompanying FTX, will take place from February 24 – April 18. Foal Eagle involves air, land, and sea drills. About 7,500 US troops will participate in FE14, including 5,100 from off-peninsula.

The USFK press release indicates that the United Nations Command has informed the DPRK’s Korean People’s Army of the exercises and their non-provocative nature.

Tongsin | 통신 no. 02: Military Exercises and Reunification

Dance-Performance-at-Korean-New-Year-2014

The second installation of Tongsin | 통신 is now live on Sino-NK, edited by myself with research assistance from Leeds student and historian Vikram Jones.

In January, DPRK state media focused on the upcoming US-ROK joint military exercises Key Resolve/Foal Eagle, awkwardly forcing China into the narrative surrounding reunification.

Download the full PDF.

Aegis Destroyers and Ballistic Missile Defense in Japan and South Korea

The Aegis combat system is quickly becoming the hallmark of sophisticated navies. Specifically, it is an advanced command and control, and an integrated weapons system, which features anti-submarine warfare systems, anti-aircraft warfare systems, the Phalanx CIWS to defend against anti-ship missiles, and Mark 41 Vertical Launch system. Simply put, Aegis uses high-powered computers and radar to track and guide weapons to enemy targets. It was developed by RCA, which was sold to various other American electronics corporations before being absorbed by Lockheed Martin which currently produces the systems. The US Navy has employed the Aegis system on its ships since the 1980s; it is also deployed by the navies of Spain, Norway, Japan, and South Korea. Australia and NATO forces intend to employ the system in the next few years to bolster their missile defense capabilities.

South Korea

ROK bought Standard Missile (SM)-2s in 2009 which would ultimately be used on Aegis destroyers. Aegis ships also have SPY-1D radar designed for early warning. In 2012 ROK also purchased Green Pine  land-based radar from Israel. South Korea’s Aegis ship is the Sejong Daewang (“Sejong The Great”) Class destroyer, aka KDX-III (Korean Destroyer III): a guided missile destroyer, jointly produced by Lockheed Martin and Hyundai Heavy Industries. The KDX-III is nearly identical to the American Arleigh Burke Class destroyer, except for its longer hull which makes it the largest surface ship in the world to carry the Aegis system. Though the ROK’s destroyers carry the Aegis radar tracking software they do not currently have interceptors. The ROK announced this past summer that it would upgrade from SM-2s to SM-6s by 2016, and a budget proposal accepted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff shows plans to procure three additional Aegis destroyers by 2020.

Japan

Japan’s BMD is comprised of six SM-3 missiles on their four Aegis destroyers, and the PAC-3 Patriot system. Tokyo is increasing the number of SM-3s from six to eight over the next ten years.

Last year PAC-3 was deployed in Okinawa and Tokyo’s Ministry of Defense HQ in a symbolic demonstration of capability, obviously not practical as using the missiles would, for instance, shatter every window in Shinjuku. Similar demonstrations of defense capability were made in 2009 and 2012 during North Korean missile threats.

Such demonstrations are more show than substance. Japan has other concerns aside from North Korean aggression: stagnant economy, territorial disputes with China, the Fukishima fallout, and the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea which is seen as far more pressing than the DPRK nuclear/missile threat, and the assurance of US alliance makes BMD even less of a priority—yet, the Japanese have still chosen to keep those four very expensive Aegis-equipped boats.

Regional dynamics

Japan has a high level of cooperation with the US, not least of which involved the US-Japan Defense Pact and the high assurance value of American military exercises in the region. This starkly contrasts to the minimal cooperation in missile defense between South Korea and Japan, and between South Korea and the US. While the Japanese are content with relying on the Americans for missile defense, South Korea is moving toward an increasingly independent missile defense system.

South Korean Offensive Missile Capabilities

The ROK tested its indigenous ballistic missile system, Baekgom (백곰) system in 1978 and in 1979 the ROK and US made a bilateral agreement limiting the range and payload of South Korean ballistic missiles to 180km and 500kg, respectively. The Baekgom system was replaced with the improved Hyunmu (현무) system in 1982, which completed its first test launch in 1985.

In 1998 following North Korea’s Taepodong-1 intermediate-range ballistic missile test launch, ROK developed the surface-to-air missile codenamed “M-SAM”. The KM-SAM system (as it would be later named) emulates the Russian missile S-300, and the technological cooperation between Russia and South Korea worried American policymakers who felt that the US Patriot system was superior and provided better interoperability with the USFK.

The ROK joined the Missile Technology Control Regime in 2001, which limits missile payload to 500kg and range to 300km, possibly superseding the agreement with the Americans and increasing South Korea’s allowed missile range. In 2002 ROK announced the procurement of 110 ATACMS Block 1A missiles from Lockheed Martin which have a range of 300km, deployed in 2004.

Since 2011 ROK has sought to increase missile range up to 1000km, citing the 1800km range of North Korea’s Rodong-1. In October 2012 the US and ROK agreed that South Korea’s missile range could be up to 800km with a 500kg payload; it was also agreed that unmanned ariel vehicle (UAV) payload could be increased from 500kg to 2500kg.

South Korea is clearly looking to divorce itself from the American missile and missile defense systems, pursuing greater independence in the region.

North-East Asian ADIZs

South Korea declared yesterday that it is expanding its Air Defense Identification Zone to include the submerged Ieodo rock, overlapping China’s ADIZ, to take effect on 2013-12-15. The South Korean announcement comes as a reaction and condemnation of China’s ADIZ, announced last month. Beijing has expressed regret.

The Chinese ADIZ is remarkable not because there is no precedent for zones of this nature, but because it effectively claims the need to be informed of any aircraft flying within the zone, which includes international airspace (as do other ADIZs) and, more controversially, it overlaps neighboring ADIZs. The entire purpose of an ADIZ is to eliminate confusion about nearby aircraft and to intercept enemy aircraft before it gets too close to sovereign airspace; but because China’s and South Korea’s ADIZs overlap with each other (and Japan’s), they are likely to cause rather than reduce confusion. Aircraft flying near Ieodo or the disputed island territories may face conflicting communications orders from multiple states, and potentially multiple attempts at interception. ADIZs are not explicitly included in international law and states are not obligated to abide by them, though they generally do in the spirit of collective security and in the interest of avoiding accidents.

Needless to say, Japan, South Korea and the US are not on board with China’s ADIZ declaration, rightly worrying that it lends to instability in the region.

In defiance of China’s announcement, South Korea conducted an air and sea exercises near South Korea’s Ieodo rock, which sits squarely within China’s ADIZ. The exercise included 2 P-3C patrol boats and 1 of South Korea’s 3 Aegis destroyers.

Japan also demonstrated noncompliance, scrambling 2 fighter jets against Chinese reconnaissance aircraft on the day of the announcement. South Korean and Japanese ADIZs immediately border each other but do not overlap.

Last week 2 American B-52 bombers entered China’s recently announced Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) without notifying Beijing beforehand. The mission, an allegedly routine exercise called “Coral Lightning”, flew over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands on 2013-11-25. Secretary Hagel called China’s ADIZ “destabilizing”, further noting that “This announcement by the People’s Republic of China will not in any way change how the United States conducts military operations in the region.” The Chinese Defense Ministry claimed, “China’s armed forces will adopt defensive emergency measures to respond to aircraft that do not cooperate in the identification or refuse to follow the instructions,” yet the Pentagon said the exercise occurred “without incident“.

Military confrontation appears unlikely. Beijing is facing embarrassment, but beyond that consequences will be benign. It is probably too much to hope for a cooperative international effort to regulate ADIZs so as to avoid similar political disputes in the future.