We'd been working on "Widening Gyre" for a couple weeks and came out sweet and haunting. Then came our update of the The Beatitudes, with the first one "Blessed are those who confuse Consumerism with Freedom, you'll be delighted to discover the difference." The last Beatitude was "Blessed are those who see the Earth shining in an act of justice."
My sermon followed, with the 750 people quite still. I tried to get them to shout along as in "Somebody give me an Earthalujah!" or "Somebody give me a Pussylujah!" But the cathedral has a quality of stillness and after all, it is an Anglican cathedral, the largest gothic cathedral in the world. Eventually the discussion of immigration and the proposal for a fierce kind of Gandhi-esque dramatic activism, did win them over. We take this song-song-sermon ritual back now to the next fossil fuel bank lobby.
THE EARTH ENCOURAGES THE STOP SHOPPING CHOIR TO KEEP RITUALIZING IN BIG OIL BANKS: Barbara is our preacher in this Citibank lobby anointing. Sylver is the man in white splattered with oil and carrying wild branches and leaves. Anointing Sylver is Christopher.
Citibank is our Devil's bank branch this week, as the activists-who-sing continue their role as holy clowns of the divestment movement. Citibank has more money than any other bank invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline. Citibank raised most of the $3.75 Billion by gathering the 17 banks who joined in the venture.
The silent evil of the bank was palpable to us, but the innocence of the customers watching us, and even the innocence of the manager and tellers - we don't blame them. We also felt the water protectors of Standing Rock in the bank with us, which gave us courage. We handed out our info-sheets to the customers and bank tellers. And Barbara preached with the fire of the Earth-spirit. Earthalujah!
CITIBANK JESUS CLUTCHING A BUSH COVERED WITH OIL Action Number 2 in the Citibank campaign, in which the Church of Stop Shopping accompanies the Earth in overwhelming the evil banks. Citibank organized the 17 banks that put up the $3.75 billion for the Dakota Access pipeline, about as Evil as Evil gets.
Sylver is laid out on a plastic tarp, with his leafy bouquet, with an oily substance anointed upon him by Christopher as Barbara (in red scarf below) preaches on the evils of fossil fuel banking in the climate change and extinction era. This is choir situationist harmonizing... yeah!
Total time: 15 minutes. No arrests just threats from a very righteous Citi bank manager. A white male teller pushed the robbery-in-progress button behind his plexi-glas - and did it like with a swagger. We handed out flyers to about 20 customers and employees. We hope that others will join us in making bank lobby Earth performances.
Revolution needs its plaza, places for songs and shouts. Public space is more and more controlled by the wealthy. Our parks are now “Conservancies” and “Authorities” with their own police forces. As the wealthy take over, our 1st Amendment rights keep shrinking. In Union Square in NYC, a birthplace of labor in the United States, you can’t sing a song anymore. You can play a Woody Guthrie song on your computer that has a line in it about “singing on a grassy spot in Union Square,” but you can’t go do it yourself.
In this Trump time, it is so important that Standing Rock and Black Lives Matter, the Women’s Marches and the Let-Them-In rallies at airports took place. They give us some breathing space, by which I mean shouting and singing space. Every revolt has its iconic gathering places, its pressure points. The Civil Rights Movement had its Pettis Bridge, the highway to Selma, the Lincoln Memorial and the bus-stops of Birmingham. You can think of these places as stages. ACT UP had its Stonewall and Castro. ACT UP had unexpected stages in the offices of bureaucratic buildings, plays in theaters and cabarets, in the White House itself and on the congressional lawn with the AIDS Quilt, a portable space that took control with a quiet shouting imagery and its scale.
In the Church of Stop Shopping we are specializing in banks that finance the Dakota Access pipeline. In New York that means Citi, TD and Wells Fargo. These three killers have thousands of bank branches in the tri-state area and are just begging for our spiritual trespassing.
We will all have to discover our gathering places. Our cities and towns are riddled with “dead space,” – spots where we can gather and talk in that embodied way, with the passion that is beyond computers. We need to be ready to re-emerge and surround the hater. This is his Custer’s Last Stand.
Why? Because we're wide open. At the airports at the borders anyone can come in and go out. The United States invented this. Long ago we discovered that there is safety for us in offering safety to others. I love my country. Why? The 1st Nations and the Africans rose up and created the Land of the Free. I love my country. The Women fly up through the glass ceilings. Women have the power! The Other is our President. The Earth is our Mother. I love my country! I love my country! I love my country!
MATT HOPARD IS STOP MOTION SOLO AND HE IS AN IMPORTANT JOURNALIST ARRESTED. Our friend Matt Hopard AKA Stop Motion Solo, our favorite streamer, has been charged with felony riot while covering the black bloc protests of J20. He is an accredited journalist who’s work has appeared in major international news outlets like Democracy Now! and The Guardian. Wasn't Matt also in the NYTimes? He was part of the reason many of us started streaming with Occupy. Matt where are you now? Please Matt's friends chime in here with next steps.
stopmotionsolo.tv Tardigrade CERN (@StopMotionsolo)
Fast food kills the undergrowth. The choir is on the edge of DC, drove late last night from NYC piled into Motel 6 rooms. I got up at dawn to police the environment here, taking pictures back at Trump Inc from the POV of Eartth. When I grow up I want to be a cop for the Earth. I submit the evidence of the crime. The enemy of complexity, of difference, of possible rebellion - McDonalds scorches the Earth with god knows what chemicals. The shrubs remain as ornaments. Any possible life, and life that doesn't apparently increase profits, the official national fixation with Trump. Kill the undergrowth. The rooty small things, the snails, bacteria, fungi and the 10,000 living things in a cubic millmeter of forest floor. Oh, put up a wall to keep all the life that isn't gun-toting white males iwth bellies full of Big Macs... Oh, as our banners say, NOW IS THE HOUR FOR PUSSY POWER. Earthalujah!
With Lena and Savi addressing thankyou postcards to the 300 folks who helped out in this holiday askathon... Its a good idea to do this personally and feel the multitude in this community. Feel the names and feel the addresses, so many fantastical originals in the stop shopping faithful. We have waves of "Oh what did we do to deserve these gifts?" and then we look at our life of singing and preaching until we come to a rest in the forced meditation of jail... Your generosity gives a moment of distance on what we do all year and it's been many years now and we don't know what else we can or want to do but this. The important thing is to hit it hard every time, let it evolve into new actions, let ourselves be surprised by how the activism and the stage dramas can change. Well, much thanks, much thanks. ---Rev, Savi, Lena and Stop Shopping Choir too.