The 2006 Slingshot Organizer
by Zack Furness
The coming of the new year doesn’t do much to part the gray, repetitive coldness of a Pittsburgh winter, although new year’s eve parties do tend to bring out the best in folks around these parts. In addition to the damp stench of cheap champagne, the new year also means that I get the chance to painstakingly copy down all the phone numbers, random notes, and poorly written song lyrics from my old Slingshot organizer and carefully write them into my new 2006 Slingshot organizer (trumpet sounds here!)
For those of you outside of the punk rock/anarchist loop, Slingshot is a political collective based out of Berkeley that has been publishing their pocket-sized organizers for a full decade now; using the proceeds to fund their main project, Slingshot Newspaper. The organizer contains a ton of great information, and the homemade, DIY aesthetic brings a tiny tear of joy to my eye every time I open it up.
To start with, every date in the organizer contains information about some political event in history that took place on a given day. For example, on my birthday, February 3rd, I learned that the following event took place: 1977 (the actual day I was born!) Chicago secretaries protest after Iris Rivera loses job for refusing to make coffee. Or, if you happen to have a lunch engagement scheduled for this coming July 6th, you will be happy to know that while you dine upon tasty morsels of food, Thomas More, author of “Utopia,” was beheaded on that very day in London, 1535!
There are thousands of important and interesting historical events listed in organizer, in addition to an essay on activism, a menstrual chart, a conversion table, and a contact list for radical bookstores around globe (including addresses and phone numbers). Several pages of the organizer are specifically devoted to health and health maintenance, including fact sheets about drug overdoses, ovulation, foot reflexology, condoms, and natural healing. Finally, there are lots of alphabetized, empty pages for the phone numbers and addresses of your loved ones and enemies alike. As if this wasn’t enough, the organizer is filled-to-the-brim with various types of photocopied artwork and images, and there are numerous colors from which you can choose. As a side note, I learned from friends that it’s a good idea to cover the outside of your organizer….a preventative measure that will guarantee the life of your organizer through the perils of spilled beer, coffee stains, and unexpected rainfall. While contact paper is an easy solution, many prefer the clear packaging tape method of lamination; a technique that is an “unrecognized art form,” according to my comrade, The Rachel.
All these aspects make the Slingshot a great asset to your pants or bag, in addition to the fact that it’s quite cheap, very portable, printed on recycled paper, and directly supports DIY, radical publishing. In response to the ever-increasing demand for these organizers, Slingshot also features a larger, zine-sized version that is spiral bound—you can’t fit this one in your pocket but it has much more room for writing.
You can find the Slingshot 2006 organizer at independent bookstores, infoshops, or record stores everywhere….or at least places where there’s more than a handful of anarchists running around. If you can’t find it there, find them online at:Slingshot
Or, if you are one of the 876 people left in the United States that still enjoy actual mail, you can reach them by land at:
Slingshot Collective 3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705
Zack Furness is a Bad Subjects editor and a teacher at the University of Pittsburgh.