The Revolution Will Not Be (Russell) Brand-ed

Plus 3 alternative wellsprings of revolutionary potential

by Isabelle Nastasia and Suey Park


Russell Brand “plays Indian” (aka appropriates Native culture) at ex-wife Katy Perry’s birthday party. – Photo via Indian Country Media Network

Over the past couple of weeks, actor and comedian Russell Brand has been praised by several blogs and social media users for his viral video and last week’s New Statesman manifesto calling for revolution. The headlines speak for themselves: “Russell Brand May Have Started a Revolution Last Night” and “Brand is Readying the Revolution.”

As young organizers and radical thinkers, the question on our lips is: why is Brand getting so much attention, while we – the “disenfranchised underclass” – been saying this shit for years?

Natasha Lenard articulately described why she does not stand with Brand and his so-called revolution: his complete lack of attention to dismantling patriarchy and sexism. Many other holes can be pointed to in Brand’s personal commitment to justice for oppressed peoples, from his appropriation of Native culture to his sexual exploitation of women. But the thing that stands out to us as particularly ridiculous is how corporate media is holding Brand up as a would-be revolutionary at a time when young people of color and women, queer kids, working class and poor youth are leading organizations that are building a robust movement across issues, strategies, and identities; a movement that is not looking to celebrities or elites for direction, but is informed from below.

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During the week that Congress will close for 2013 without having passed an immigration reform bill, a group of Jersey residents locked themselves together in the street that serves as an entrance to the Elizabeth Detention Center (625 Evans St.) to protest the President’s deportation arbitrary quota policy and call on him to stop removals and expand deferred action instead.

“We can’t let more families to be separated. We can’t wait for Congress. After what I saw my family go through I want to help other families that are in the same situation,” explains Rosa Santana, who migrated to the US after Hurricane Mitch hit her home country of Honduras and who’s aunt and uncle were deported.

The action is the latest in a series of civil disobediences that have exposed the harm caused by current immigration policy and urged the President to act.  In the midst of a pending snowstorm and on International Human Rights Day, they say they want to bring visibility to those in the Detention Center and to the people suffering from current policies like the Secure Communities deportation program.

Without further executive action, the President will hit the record of 2,000,000 people deported in the near future. But participants say there is still time for Obama to turn his policies around.

“We’re doing everything in our power to stop deportations,” says Carlos Canales of Casa Freehold. “We’re out here in the cold hoping I that President Obama’s heart softens, and understands that immigrants are here to work and help our families.”


What about all those LGBTQ people who think immigration does not have anything to do with them? Here is why it does. The immigration debate gets to the heart of a conversation about who is a "real" citizen, who is part of our communities, and who can be allowed to stay and live here, and who has to do so through a shadow existence, with no basic rights. Sound familiar? It should. It is a historic dialogue that has talked around and through communities of LGBTQ people, people of color, poor people, people with disabilities, and many others.
—  SONG Co-Director Caitlin Breedlove 

Faces from the #Not1More Boston Rally Against Deportations (4/17/14)

President Obama has deported 2 million people since he came into office and is the nation’s “Deporter in Chief.” Despite signing an executive order to halt the deportations of undocumented immigrants who came as children, he has taken no similar actions to halt the deportations of their older family members. Families are being split and destroyed every day by the Obama administration’s current policies, and President Obama has the power to sign a similar executive order tomorrow halting all deportations until Congress takes comprehensive action. But he has refused and continues to drag his feet, and some of the most marginalized families in our country are paying the price of his inaction.

I had the pleasure to attend and take pictures at this rally last Thursday, and it was incredibly moving.

Together we say: not one more family destroyed, not one more day without equality, not one more indifferent reaction to suffering, not one more deportation.

#2million2many #Not1more

More photos: HERE

Leaked Photos Show Immigrant Children Packed In Crowded Texas Border Facilities

SAN ANTONIO — Photos leaked Thursday from a U.S. Border Patrol facility in the Rio Grande Valley show overflowing holding facilities of immigrants, many of whom are children.

The photos show hundreds of immigrants believed to be in the country illegally from Central America and Mexico being held in crowded concrete rooms similar to a jail cell. Many of the children appear to be teenagers but some clearly are younger.

The photos have a timestamp of May 27, 2014.

A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the agency has not “officially released any photos at this time in order to protect the rights and privacy of unaccompanied minors in our care.”

[photo description: selfie of Oscar and his baby, both are smiling at the camera.]


Last year, Oscar Canales had a minor traffic accident in Greensboro, NC on his way to work. He was arrested for driving with no license and unjustly detained for over a month before he was released under supervision.

Since his release, Oscar has been diagnosed with Depression and is on medication. To make matters worse, he was told to show up at ICE office with one way ticket to El Salvador on April 8th, 2014.


Call Charlotte ICE @ (704) 672-6990

Sample Script: “Hi, I am calling to ask that Oscar Canales’ (A#098-935-658) April 8th deportation be stopped immediately. Oscar has been living in the U.S. for nearly 10 years and has US citizen children who need him home. Stop his deportation now!”



When a person holding public office feels comfortable spreading this level of revolting contempt, we fight back. When a man has been voted into power only to take advantage of that power to advocate violence against members of his own constituency, we fight back. When dangerous and powerful men perpetuate cycles of hatred that cause women to fear for their lives: WE. FIGHT. BACK.


April 10 is the National Day of Action for Immigrants’ Rights


Photo source

Protesters In Oakland Call On President Obama To Let Thousands Of Undocumented Children Stay In U.S.

OAKLAND (KCBS) – A small, but vocal group of protesters gathered outside the Federal Building in Oakland Thursday, urging President Obama not to deport immigrant children streaming across the U.S. border illegally.

The group chanted and waved signs, demanding that the U.S. grant asylum to the refugee children, and not send them back home to Central America.

“These children are fleeing from violence in their homes back home and they are really seeking help for their lives,” said Sandy Valenciano with the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance. “This wasn’t something they just decided to do off the top of their heads. This was their last resort to the security of their lives.”

Valenciano said existing law requires that children detained at the border be turned over to Health and Human Services. But President Obama wants to weaken that law, so the kids can be deported instead.

Blanca Vazquez with the East Bay Immigrant Youth Coalition said the children are being held in camps in Arizona, Texas and Southern California under inhumane conditions.

“These are no conditions whatsoever for any person, let alone for a child,” she said.

Stephanie Soultree Camba, poet, artist, and undocumented activist, is today’s Filipino American History Month Hero! Her writing and art have been featured on Undocumenting, and organizes in Chicago for immigration reform and against the continuing deportations. Check out her writing at

For Filipino American History Month, we’re highlighting Fil-Ams who are carrying on a proud legacy of activism & organizing. Who’s your hero?


Repost with #2Million2Many!

Today’s National Digital Day of Action focuses on the 2 million deportation mark under the Obama Administration, and put the pressure and blame on exactly who’s responsible for our broken immigration system: 

  • Speaker John Boehner and Rep Eric Cantor for blocking a vote for a permanent solution AND since Congress is failing to act
  • President Barack Obama who has the power to reduce deportations and stop tearing apart families

Let’s use our social media power and tell Washington to end the deportations and fix our broken immigration system.

Rommy Torrico


In Their Words:

Why I create:

  1. To put it simply, I can’t help it. It comes naturally now. I don’t know how to not do it.

  2. To release

  3. To resist

  4. To tell stories

  5. To affirm my existence, harness my own power and make it known that I will not be erased or silenced

On Creating as Release

Creating is a form of introspection and self-analysis for me. Having grown up in a homogenous Anglo community where heteronormativity, racism and binaries reigned supreme, it was difficult for me to find my place. Instead of speaking up, I would turn to drawing, poetry or music as a way of resisting the constant demand to conform and, as a result, allow myself to expel all the relentless microaggressions that would so carelessly be thrown around. In retrospect, being confined to such a caustic environment really helped catalyze my passion to create and led me to seek out ways to harness that passion.  

I create as a release. A release of energy, release of emotions, release of self. It’s such a paradox to feel so heavy and invisible at the same time. I just try to find some way to alleviate that. I choose creating as a form of release so that, in the end, I can feel completely exhausted and just let my mind be empty- if only for a short while. Of course, that never really happens. A new idea always pops up and it’s on to the next project. But the thought of emptying all that’s inside and basking in that emptiness is so enticing that I can’t deny myself the luxury of trying each and every time.

On Identity and Creating

As I grow and discover more about my identity and how that identity fits in the larger canvas, I’ve become more intentional in regards to what I create. As a queer, undocumented, trans person of color, I’m so acutely aware of the presence of marginalization and the importance of intersections of identities. I try to be as authentic as I can with my art, so that it reflects parts of my whole, and in turn, affirms my existence. I understand my responsibility as a “maker” to humbly tell the stories of my community, my roots and to share my own experiences. I proudly own that responsibility and with every piece I create, I want to challenge viewers to dissect, to dialogue and most importantly, to feel.

Although formally trained in architecture, I’ve always found it difficult to just focus on one form of creating. I strayed from architecture to digital graphics and even now I continue dabbling in all types of art as they all fascinate me. Anything from painting, to photography, to poetry, to videography, to baking. Keep it coming, I say. There’s no such thing as too much when it comes to creating things that make you feel good.

Who: Rommy Torrico

Where: Florida via Iquique, Chile

Medium(s): Visual art


“El Paletero” 


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DREAMers Erika Andiola & Cesar Vargas confront Steve King in Okoboji, Iowa for trying to end DACA.

Bad-ass Dreamers have awkward confrontation with evil, condescending devil, Iowan Congressman Steve King.

"You are very good at English." He tells to someone who was raised in the United States. "You came from a lawless country. Do not import your lawlesslness into America."


An amazing, passionate message to President Obama from the child of an undocumented immigrant

This is important and really moving. Please listen and share. #Not1More #2Million2Many


New Sanctuary Movement

As part of her partner organization work, Lauren helped plan a protest for the National Day of Action to End Deportations.  Families converged outside of the York County Prison, where their loved ones are being detained for deportation.  Protesters called on President Obama to halt deportations, which have shot up under his administration, and showed their support for incarcerated community members by singing and chanting outside of the prison fence.