Women's March Lesson One

16143462_10154061999140974_9180329666138444107_o.jpgFast 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!

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We have got this gratitude!

15994937_10154052778010974_3095438087804429604_o.jpgWith 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.

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When Trump Ends

15400998_10153957450385974_7875582623017435942_n.jpgWhen Trump's power ends, the Earth won't. When Trump is over, the black mothers will still disarm us. When Trump dies from the cancer he gives everyone else, the wetlands will renew the sky with amazing birds...When Trump ends, the Earth will be alive on her own terms. She will let families cross borders with only love as an ID. When Trump opens his eyes he will see that his only opponent is the Earth, her storms and droughts, her wildfires and tornados...

When Trump's power turns to dust, he will blend into forest floors, unknown aquifers, bacteria fields in the magnetic ice...When Trump goes, the Earth won't have to forgive him. When we go, the Earth will lift our death bed to the stars. She will effortlessly take us back.

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We are all threatened animals now

15442185_10153952641615974_280502358535851797_n.jpgNot to be discouraging. We have to evolve in the next minutes and years, that's all. Grow new wings from our shoulders, claws for fingers... Most of all we need new dreams.

As a species, we've lost our way. We suffer extreme memory loss, which we were told was good for the economy. We don't know how loving we've been. We can't remember Peace. We think that justice is a new app.

We are entertained so much, how do we sort out when the toxins, and bullets, and advertising that celebrities fling against any passing Other - how do we know when our shopping for famous people is like a secret holocaust? We look up and notice drowning children and wonder if it had anything to do with us. We go for a hike and face a mountain that is completely silent, covered with death. Did I do that? Our solution to send in the drones. When the last mountain lion dies make sure it goes viral.

Life is re-organizing and the question is - will we evolve, too? That would be a gift, a real gift, to remain alive, considering what we've done. We sense that the Earth is making its move. The final songbirds take their position on the wind. They have a message to deliver, an instruction, a code. The Great Dying is here. The eco-systems know what to do.

The Earth asks its predator species to stand in one place and sing, as the regeneration begins.

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Donald We Shall Fight You On The Beaches

01_med_res.jpgDonald we shall fight you on the beaches. 
We shall super storm you in the air… 
Earthquake your golf course… 
Freak tornado your hair – we are dancing, dancing, dancing
Not so scared - That’s our flag - it's still there.

Ask not what Donald Trump can do for you
The rents are too goddamn high
What country you from? What country you from?
My country is so dark the selfies go blind
My nation is a warehouse of bump and grind
Every thought of Trump is thrown to the gods
And every hip-shake thang is bad for jobs
I dance in a bio-region with no fire codes
I hacked your tweet with my extinct toad

Donald we shall fight you on the beaches. 
We shall super storm you in the air… 
Earth quake your golf course… 
Tornado your hair – we are dancing dancing dancing 
Not very scared That’s our flag - still there. 
That’s our rockets' red glare.

Ask not what Donald Trump can do for you
The rents are too goddamn high
What country you from?
In my country we pick through the wreckage of greatness
...we live in lateness
...our museums are shocked and bored
A thousand celebrities demand one happy ending
Happy with this bloodletting that’s trending?

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The Mourning Is Over

15443041_10153945311930974_5238719969721483863_o.jpgIt's been a month since Trump won. Sometimes when we lose a loved one we mourn for a year, or two, or sometimes for the rest of our own lives. Losing the presidency to Trump seems something like that kind of loss, at least that's the way a lot of us are acting.

With the Trump win we can't afford to be in a woozy funk anymore. We need to admit that we are partly Trump ourselves, otherwise he would not have been possible. There is no "Other" here. We blew his smoke and positioned his mirrors. The reality shows and Twitter. We created this. We accepted it into our lives and into the lives of our children. We cooperated with corporate marketing even as it de-humanized our lives.

He understood something basic in his customers that a product campaign would want to know. He found that when he spoke so angrily that he didn't make sense, or remember the past or respect the future - that he was speaking intimately with the many Americans who are full of rage but powerless to carry it anywhere. Most Americans have no jobs or bad jobs and that is bad enough. More fundamental even than this: they have no listeners.

We are still in a state of paralyzed sorrow over 9/11. We have never been able to reform the violent security state that grew from it and grows to this day. Nothing in national life has been more damaging than the lassitude, the abandonment of knowing that followed the crashing of the towers.

We so thoroughly shrank from asking why these young men would fly those jets to their deaths. Did we actually believe that they were "jealous of our freedoms." What? We never ever came close to the question upon which we could mature, become compassionate and independent; that is, what is the rage that these young men experienced with so many American bases in and around their country.

I deeply appreciate that the San Francisco Gay Chorus abandoned their international tour to come back to the red states and sing. We need to be among them, and that will be very hard for some of us. The happy racism and woman-hating and warmongering... and the Earth-killing. But these people operate on a little-known radio band where there is only anger and no content. Our direct action must be to live with these Trump voters. I think I've got Trump people on my street. We have live with these forgotten Americans, oppose Trump the idea and not the human - and love the Earth.

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Welcome To The Resistance

15326266_10153939897605974_195589916554956065_o.jpgThis could take 4 years or 40 years, but you won’t be able to retire from this. You won’t be able to quit the danger and exhaustion.

Our job is the wall. We must smuggle people over it, dig holes through it and under it. We will take the young dancers on the Ghost Ship to Sophia Walinsky with her shattered arm. Black mothers will touch the whites who played God in the high school pageant and couldn't stop.

The pipeline investors doing expensive yoga in Chappaqua will come to care for the broken young men from Afghanistan and Iraq who stand in the blizzard firing sub-lethal projectiles at the children of Redwood Summer and Wounded Knee.

Many kinds of people immigrated to the United States when there was no wall. Why do we wear these walls around us?

Photo credit: Richard Misrach

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Shopping

We can tell that something far-reaching is happening in the most ordinary transaction. That sensation of shallowness in us. That almost unnoticeable high. The loss of difference in the things around us. The monoculture within and without.

Oh we know. We know that the Earth cannot live with this. And we know that we are the closest living thing to the point of purchase. We know that we are the first little piece of Earth to know. So how do we say this?

We know. Somehow, we know. That the Earth cannot live with this shopping. We cannot live with this shopping. We know we can’t.

We know that the thing that was here before the products were placed between us and the Earth – that thing is still here, just behind the display case. Just beyond the dumpsters in back of the store. Folded in a secret place under the horizon. We hear a song …a song that seems to sing itself…

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Standing Rock: A Moment of Clarity for Progressive Activists

15109487_1146014782161972_7175156683577997372_n.jpgEarth-force meets money-force at Standing Rock. I’m so relieved I’m here. It scares me to think that I might have missed this.

We get up at dawn. Four hundred people walk slowly in a light snow to the river by the camp. A teacher is talking. His headdress is a crisscrossing of long, narrow feathers. He is of the Havasupai, the people who live by the blue-green waterfalls at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. He calls out across the river. “Water is life! Take me! My heart beats with you!”

It’s cold at 7am. The children don’t seem cold though. They run around in the mud and ice. There are 80 tribes here. Some say many more. As we stand on the shore with a slow drum beating, the people shout “water” in many languages. 

The Earth-force is represented by this river and these eagles and these water protectors. We see the Money-force, standing over there on the bridge, just a couple hundred feet from the edge of long meadow of white tipis along the Cannonball River. The police look like a long row of Darth Vaders. 

In the environmental movement, we have yearned for the success of the Civil Rights and the Gender Rights movements. Few of us, though, face the police like the freedom-fighters of old. Arrests and trials are only one indicator of a movement’s power, but an important one. As environmentalists we fall back on soft confrontation dominated by data. Data is bloodless. Lobbying, position papers, endless graphics and electronic petitions might as well be abandoned in the age of Trump.

Evidence points to the need for a quasi-religious transformation of cultural values.  —Dr. Anne Ehrlich and Dr. Paul Ehrlich

Who has undergone this “quasi religious transformation” the Ehrlichs call for now in the time of the Earth’s crisis? I think of Wangari Maathai and her billion trees, Edward Abbey and Earth First and the dreams of freeing western rivers of their dams, Judi Bonds and Larry Gibson in their danger-filled opposition to mountaintop removal coal mining.

The transformation of Standing Rock needs to be carried to many towns and cities. The Earth’s response to its own fever is everywhere all the time, and our activism must this as our map.  We need to press up against militarized and consumerized citizens at all points, and then convert them to life.  Can we pull them across the border between death and life?

Suddenly there is clarity for Earth activists.  With extinction accelerating and climate changing, we must transform with the intensity that one associates with religion.  If some of us wouldn’t be able to convert an actual faith, at least a new Earth politics must be strong enough to break up the over-scheduling, the debt, the traditional careerism - the things that make it impossible to freely act.  We have the time if we take the time.

Three movements in recent years galvanize us.  In these citizen movements we did take the time, took the risk, and made a difference. Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter and Standing Rock. The lesson in all of them, the thing they have in common is that so many changed their own individual lives in order that they could then change the rest of us.  In all three, the spiritual element is carried by the act of living together, literally living together, without the supervision of the corporations or government.

Zuccotti Park and the stretch of sidewalk in front of the Ferguson police department and the meadow near the sacred stone… these three places are lived in. Here is where activists cared for each other and shared food, clothing and medicine. The force that upsets entrenched power the most is this compassionate living, this community in plain sight.

Standing Rock offers us our moment of clarity.  We can physically commit now. We must face the Devil. It is life and death. And living actively in a time of life and death must be a spiritual act. It should  be you and I in service getting something done, in our daily life.  Public caring and going through  the quasi-religious transformation must go hand in hand.  It was always so, from Pettis Bridge to Stonewall.  

When we are at peace with the Earth, we are able to hold our ground.  The ground is the point.  We hold our ground and the Earth holds us.  In prison and in pain and in loss the Earth holds us.  And then in the time of forgiveness after the struggle - the Earth still holds us.  

We must fearlessly love until there is no hate!  Earthalujah!

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