Category Archives: radio free boston

Friday, July 10, 2009

I’ve managed to get in touch with the whole extended family — my side and Paul’s. They are fine, living a little leanly, but okay. My brother’s got a broken arm from a scuffle at the local grocery store. Apparently, even though they all live in the verdant hills of Connecticut, there’s just not as much food to go around.

I suspect that it’s a matter of distribution rather than amounts. Even Cambridge has enough food … for right now. It’s July and the farmers are rolling the stuff in by the truckload. There’s still some fighting — MIT, again, is a flashpoint, I wouldn’t go near the salt-n-pepper bridge for love or money. Not even for lemons.

It’s the little things — like lemons — that are really disconcerting. There’s more food available in markets and whatnot than there’s been in a while. Apparently the pro tem government is helping farmers fill up their tanks and they’ve got somebody organizing caravans to save on gas. (I said it before and I’ll say it again — the Children of Liberty have one ass-kicking Quartermaster.) But there are no imports from outside of the region.

Radio Free Boston — the announcers using their real names now — says it’s not a blockade, just a matter of logistics. The ports and the trains will but up and running soon.

For now, New England is doing pretty good — our farms produce got meat, veggies, fruit, milk, potatoes. But no one is growing wheat or rice in New England. There are no citrus or olive trees in New England. There are no spices in New England. Herbs a plenty but no cinnamon, clove, nutmeg. It’s going to be hard to make apple pie this year.

I seem to be the only one thinking ahead to apple pie season, though. Everyone else is having a party. The soup kitchens have become community kitchens and I spent my day making enormous batches of black bean soup. Vats of it. With fennel and carrot slaw on the side. For the first time in my memory, there are more volunteers than we need. And it’s the most happy I’ve seen anyone in almost a year. There’s singing and dancing in the back, and there are lots of pretty college students waiting the tables. People kiss me on the cheek and tell me to lighten up when I grumble.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m a dour sourpuss. But my people originally came from Russia and there’s one thing any babushka knows, deep in her bones, even in the laughing heart of summer:

Winter is coming.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I admit it, when I heard the Children of Liberty announce a General Strike for this week I didn’t think it would do much.  People need their paychecks and the Fed Powers-That-Be don’t need much from Boston that they are going to miss in a week.

But something is definitely going on.  The mercs have been pushing hard.  They’ve handed-off most of the static jobs (checkpoints, guarding facilities and people, show-the-flag patrols) to the National Guardsmen and instead are doing honest-to-God anti-insurgent raids.  I’ve read a enough of Gen. Petraeus’s Counter-Insurgency Manual to figure that this is one of the “sweep and hold” plans like they used in Iraq a few years ago.  Backwater sweeps; the Guardsmen hold.

OK, maybe I’m extrapolating from rumor on the street and announcements from the radio.  One of the Guard in Davis was a bit too loud in his theorizing while I was at the local food swap this morning.  But that’s what it look like from the cheap seats.

We’re hunkered down and hoping that when the sweeps come to our neighborhood they don’t break too much or kill too many.  I’ve got the rest of this manual to get read.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Boston is under a general strike.  The call is to shut the city down all this week.

Not a huge difference in my life since I don’t have a steady job to show up at, but it does mean that we’re going to have to use a bit more reserves here and there to get through the week.

So far, the strike seems to be pretty hit-or-miss.  A lot of the poorer folks are going to work regardless of what Radio Free Boston or CoL flyers tell them to do.  More middle-class folks are calling this their vacation week, thus having it both ways.

The place that seems to be having the biggest effect, at least according to the radio, is construction.  Over the past week a bunch of the major boulevards, bridges, tunnels, and rail-lines in the city have been damaged.  Sometimes it seems to be little fire-fights that happened to take place in strategic spots – other times it’s just that things are suddenly broken.  For most Boston locals, this is annoying, but we just go around on our scooters or bicycles or our feet.  It’s the BackWater Hummers and National Guard deuces that can’t get through.

Now the local construction folks, both public and private, aren’t rolling.

Neve is still busy though.  The network of soup kitchens and emergency meal centers that she was plugged into have stopped being emergency.  In Boston today, those church basements are the communal kitchens for the whole neighborhood.  Nobody can afford to eat alone anymore.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It’s been one of those brutally hot weeks here in Boston. Everything slows down to Southern City speed. The electricity has been more or less consistent, but we’re still losing seniors at an alarming rate. Paul has taken to knocking on neighbors’ doors during the longer outages, dragging some of the limp looking older folks into our one air conditioned room at the condo.

The bike generator obviously can’t keep up with A/C demands so we’re using diesel. We’ve all pooled our money to keep a supply on hand.

In the early part of the heat wave — Sunday and Monday — we kept hearing sirens and ruckus, but at a great distance. High tensions and high temperatures don’t mix well so we figured it was just the Allston Boys shooting off their mouths. Or even little skirmishes between the BackWater Thugs and the Colonel’s boys. But nothing made the news so we thought maybe it was just accidents. Not that anyone is driving a whole lot.

Then suddenly we started seeing “1290 AM” written in chalk all over the square. And people started talking about “Radio Free Boston.”

Of course we came home and turned on the (hand-crank) radio to that station and… hey! The Children of Liberty have set up a radio station.

I guess the broadsides were getting too dangerous to distribute.

Turns out that the ruckus we’ve been hearing has indeed been scuffles between The Colonel’s men and the BackWater Thugs. And the Children of Liberty and the BackWater Thugs. Why haven’t we heard about this? Well, it seems that the government has threatened the journalists with “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization” if they talk about it. And have hauled away some reporters for violating the “security ban.” Those reporters haven’t been heard from again.

Why do I believe what could just be so much propaganda? ‘Cause I recognize the folks doing the reporting. I used to work for a very big, important, one might even say GLOBAL paper in the area. (Forgive my subtle attempts to thwart the Carnivore program.) And I used to listen to WBUR every day before they got shut down “for security reasons.” I know those voices, even if they are using some singularly silly noms de guerre. (Though I have to admit that I think Joe Cronin would be proud to have his name being used.)

Apparently, the MIT lads and lasses have gotten involved and we can expect regular broadcasts from Radio Free Boston on the “real truth.” Just scan through your AM dial to find them. They keep moving.

Turns out that some of the ruckus has been some pretty pitched skirmishes. (Can you have a pitched skirmish? Or does it necessarily become a battle? Am I just reluctant to use the word ‘battle’ in conjunction with my city? Is fire-fight better?) Mostly they’ve kept it to places where the civilians aren’t. (“Civilian” — there’s another tricky word with unpleasant implications if you think about it.)

Some of the biggest fights have been on the MIT campus — mostly shut down for the summer. Apparently some of the handful of “authorized” students working on the classified projects objects to the way they were being treated and one thing lead to another.

I imagine, now that you know about the news, you can go online and find a more comprehensive source. I don’t have enough battery power to repeat all the stories. But there are few points about the station that I find really interesting.

First, someone did their homework. With the power wonky, I wasn’t surprised when I started seeing those hand-crank radios more often. But suddenly I’ve been seeing them everywhere! I mentioned it to a friend and she said, quite casually, “Oh, yeah, there’s some guy with dreads been giving them away in the T stations every morning.” Clearly, the Children of Liberty have their act together.

Second, it’s terribly depressing that I have had to explain to three different people where the name came from. Apparently, if you’re under 30 and don’t read LeCarre, you’ve never heard of Radio Free Europe.

Finally, I think we’ve turned some kind of a corner. Everyone is listening to the Radio Free Boston. Everyone is talking about the news that’s showing up. The BackWater Thugs get sneers and jeers and cold shoulders and people just flat out leaving when they show up to an area. The entire staff of the local Starbucks just walked out the door when two off-duty but in-uniform Thugs walked into the front door.

Maybe it’s just the unbearable heat dripping down the back of my neck, but I feel like a storm is coming.