Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pebble People by Cindy Sheehan

"Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system." Dorothy Day

I interviewed Yoko Ono on Thursday, January 4th for Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox Radio Show. The interview itself, besides being a great coup for my show, struck a deep chord with me.
True, I have spent a small part of my life trying to change the way the Empire I live does business, but I have done everything from camp out for weeks in Crawford, Tx to running for Congress in San Francisco. I have been arrested multiple times and have shaken my fist more than once at empty buildings in DC on those confusing Saturday marches. I think the emotion I can associate with my activism, besides continuing and constant sorrow (for Casey and all the other victims), is anger! I got to a point, that like a sponge, I had absorbed so much news of blood, gore, pain, greed, lies, oppression and overall suffering that it got to a point where the new info registered, but bounced off my psyche. As Popeye says: “that’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more.” But unlike Popeye, most of us have to suppress our “fight or flight” instincts because we are not three-years old.
I do believe that anger is a reasonable response for a reasoning and aware human-being to the unreasonable crimes of the Empire; however, these crimes have been occurring for centuries and they do continue to occur with shocking regularity—no matter who occupies the Imperial Throne. A state of rage, I’ve learned, cannot be sustained forever without some kind of permanent damage being done. I tend to write, or pick up my bullhorn to yell at the people I’m pissed at, but some, like this Empire and Jared Loughner can choose to express their anger with violence.
Back to my interview with Yoko—in it she basically said (listen to the entire interview here) that we should not be angry with the government, because our anger/marches have no affect on its policies. Yoko said, rightly, that 99% of the people in this world want peace and it’s the other 1% that causes most of the violence and problems out of greed. I can imagine, since Yoko’s younger days in war-torn Japan, that she has seen this dichotomy grow even more pronounced. What I do know, though, is she’s right, our activities and anger have little affect on those one-percenters; so what should we do?
The anti-war movement has been on the decline for years after it peaked in the Fall of 2005. There are many reasons for this—some are tired; some are poor; some hated Bush, but not so much his wars; some are frustrated and discouraged; some were in the movement just to destroy it from within—and some have just grown more and more fearful of the creeping fascism of this “Post-9/11” terroristic government.
Near the very end of the interview, I told Yoko about our idea of Re-Creating Revolutionary Communities (RRC). It’s a plan to implement the ideas in the last chapter of my book: Myth America: 20 Greatest Myths of the Robber Class and the Case for Revolution.
It’s about creating revolutionary change in our own communities or tribes. We can do this by growing and trading as much of our own food as possible (while advocating for more seasonal consumption of food, native seed, organic farming, water-conservation, etc); trading goods/services and supporting our local thrift stores and merchants; being the primary educators for our children/grandchildren and other community's children (while advocating for increased funding and more diverse and well-rounded curricula in our neighborhood schools); creating local economies based on trade and local scrip when we can; making/saving as much energy as we can (while advocating an end to the resource wars and increased investments in renewable and sustainable forms of energy); running for local city councils and school boards—your local government is the one that can be most easily influenced by regular citizens and ones that we have the most chance of infiltrating with our progressive and compassionate ideas.
All of these things, and more, can be easily done on a micro scale with very little (or no) investment. I believe we have little chance to bring world peace before we create peace in our own communities or families to spread in a very horizontal way.
RRC is a grassroots movement that already has attracted people willing to become involved from about 40 different states and five different countries.
We oftentimes seek immediate gratification in this fast food, open 24 hours/day society. I wanted peace in the Middle East yesterday. I want the war criminals from the USA to be held accountable today. But most of all, I want a peaceful and sustainable future for my grandchildren and all of the children of the world tomorrow.
No matter how pretty he talks, Obama is not the answer to our problems, or even the question. Obama is not the Alpha/Omega, or the cat’s pajamas—he is a man deeply invested in promoting and supporting the filthy, rotten systems that oppress us. In the interview with Yoko, she said that we give the government too much power over our lives, and she was right.
According to our own Constitution, common law, and common sense, government can only derive its authority from the consent of those governed.
RRC is about withdrawing our consent in a very peaceful and healthy manner and supporting each other so our wealth, resources, and children can stay in our own communities and families and not contribute any more to the wars or violence of the Robber Class.
We do live in the Empire, but we do not have to be subjects of it—we owe our allegiance to the human family, not it. However, RRC is not a separatist movement—it’s a movement to be constantly stretching our wings and connecting with each other to eventually have a favorable society that is finally by, for and of the people.
In conclusion, as Yoko said, we often try to throw boulders into the Ocean of Change to make huge splashes, but oftentimes, we create more problems, or get washed away by the tidal wave. Although, big and exciting, these movements are also over very quickly.
We can have greater and better affect by being “Pebble People.” Dropping our small pebbles into ponds to create gentler, yet infinite, ripples for profound and lasting change.
Not as glamorous as the boulders, but it’s our best chance to reject this “filthy, rotten system.”

For more info on RRC, Contact Cindy Sheehan

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