Sunday, January 22, 2017

Why Was Opposition To War And Militarism So Conspicuously Missing From The #WomensMarch ?

photo of her amplifier from the women's march in Los Angeles by artist Emily Lacy
Let's start with the good news. There were 10,000 women, girls and men at the state capitol in Augusta, Maine yesterday for the women's march there. It is the largest crowd ever assembled there, for any reason. It began with a drum circle and singing by Native women that could be heard all over the capitol grounds. I teared up thinking that if we have left these wise ones in charge of decisions about how to live upon this earth, next to this water, breathing this air we wouldn't be in the mess we're in today.

Other locations also reported record crowds, including Portland, Maine where most of the people in my sparsely settled state live.

As Fatuma Hussein took the podium to tell us she had come to Maine as an immigrant,
a woman near me shouted "You are welcome here!" and the crowd erupted in cheers.

One of the best speakers yesterday was Somali-American Fatuma Hussein, founder of the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine. Standing with your young daughter she talked of how much Maine needs young immigrant families like hers, and said that her two older daughters are in college outside Maine. The IRC website offers this perspective:
Maine’s refugee and immigrant population hails from all parts of the world, including Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, and Tanzania, with the large majority of individuals arriving in the United States during the last 15 years.
And I would add, from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. She reminded us of how many more women and children are less lucky than she and her family have been, so many families living as refugees with nothing to sustain them.

That leads directly to the bad news: Fatuma Hussein failed to connect the dots between the international refugee crisis and the U.S. and NATO's endless "war on terror" in the Asia and Africa. All the approved speakers avoided this topic, too.

Those who spoke for the environment and on behalf of the Standing Rock water protectors also failed to call out the Pentagon on its enormous contribution to global warming and other environmental crimes. 

I'm sure if questioned the speakers would have said, this is not the place or time. But look at the list of issues the organizers of the march are urging us to join to together to work on in the future. What do you notice is conspicuously missing?


Maine: Stand up! Be Heard! is for the passionate persons living in Maine willing to coordinate as one group to educate and stand up for the rights of our people.The goal here is share events happening across the State of Maine. 
Events that involve (peaceful) protesting subjects such as: 
-Women's Rights 
- LGBTQ Rights 
- Religious Freedom 
- Government Reform 
- Environmental Issues 
- Against Racism/Sexism 
- Celebrating Love

This is not a hate group, so if you want violence seek it somewhere else. This group's sole purpose is to share information regarding peaceful protests, rallies and groups in the State of Maine. To provide a place for like-minded people to gather.

If you doubted that this event -- like all the women's marches on January 21, 2017 -- was orchestrated by the Democratic Party, this list is prima facie evidence.

What kind of women's movement "celebrates love" but doesn't challenge warmongering? The Democratic Party kind. You know, the ones who still can't figure out why their first female nominee for president was so distasteful to so many voters. You can close your eyes to the blood on her hands, Democrats, but you're still gonna smell it.

My usual focus for activism is opposing war and militarism, but I had agreed to do political theater protesting a major aspect of the war at home: Trump's promised wall. Our sets included statistics on the numerous deaths and detentions that Obama's immigration policies have already caused.

I saw Doug Rawlings and Ginny Schneider of the War Tax Resistance group in Maine handing out flyers of resistance. Since 57% of the taxes spent by Congress last year went to the Pentagon and its contractors, you would think that the crowd would be more concerned about it. Plus, don't women and girls suffer the brunt of violence when war moves into their neighborhood?

The women marching in August were a very middle class crowd. They have fallen hook, line and sinker for the propaganda churned out since 9/11 by corporate media and even their beloved president Obama that "terror" is something all patriotic Americans must be prepared to fight. 

This morning they are upset that the new regime is threatening to defund PBS and NPR. Personally, I am glad and I hope they do. Neither media outlet works in the public interest despite the P in their name; they run ads for corporate agribusiness and Wall St., and they consistently purvey fake news.

One of the creepiest aspects of yesterday's rally was the surveillance drone flying down close to spy on us as we prepared our theater piece. 

We assumed it was law enforcement since we were within five miles of the Augusta airport but the m.c. assured us from the podium not to worry because "it's one of ours." Great, because Democratic Party surveillance is far superior to Republican surveillance, right? 

The organizers of the rally denied our theatrical piece the podium and the microphone, so no one except a few standing close by heard it or saw it. Fortunately we were working with sets and costumes created by the incomparable Artists Rapid Response Team (ARRT!) of the Maine Union of Visual Artists, experts in visual communication. 



After our presentation scores of people came over to take pictures and selfies with us. And those messages will continue to be shared for days and weeks to come.

After the event my husband and I helped ARRT! leader Natasha Mayers to transport the sets to the University of Maine at Augusta's Klahr center, where a show of her work will open this week. 

Here's the script we worked from yesterday, and some of Natasha's photos.


"Trumpty Dumpty's Falling Wall" January 21, 2017

Trumpty Dumpty runs through the crowd.. Trumpty attempts to erect a wall. It's wobbly and he barely gets it to stand up.

Crowd:
BOO! BOO! BUILD BRIDGES, NOT WALLS!

Trumpty gets one wall to stand up and the other one falls, then he gets that one to stand up while the first one falls. Then both walls are left standing -- for the time being.

Vagina with a sign reading "NOT UP FOR GRABS" begins reciting:


HUMPTY TRUMPTY PUT UP A WALL
HUMPTY TRUMPTY HAD A GREAT FALL
ALL OF HIS THREATS TOWARD IMMIGRANTS AND WOMEN
WERE EMPTY -- BECAUSE MAINERS WOULDN'T LET HIM!

A Maine lighthouse enters.

Vagina:
MAINE LOVES IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES!
MAINE LOVES WOMEN AND THEIR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS!
MAINE LEADS!
WE ARE AN ASYLUM STATE FOR PEOPLE FLEEING FROM VIOLENCE!
OUR STATE MOTTO IS DIRIGO WHICH MEANS: I LEAD.
JOIN ME IN MAKING OUR VOICES HEARD ALL THE WAY TO WASHINGTON!

Vagina leads crowd in chanting:
DIRIGO! DIRIGO!

Lighthouse twirls, prances, waves its lobster claws and is both stately and inviting -- like an orchestra conductor.


Vagina:
LIKE THE LIGHTHOUSE, MAINE IS A BEACON OF SAFETY BECAUSE IT IS FULL OF WISDOM AND LOVE! 

Vagina leads crowd in chanting:
WISDOM AND LOVE! WISDOM AND LOVE! WISDOM AND LOVE! 

Vagina:
STOMP YOUR FEET WITH ME AND SAY:
WE WON'T STAND FOR HATE!

Crowd stomps and chants:
WE WON'T STAND FOR HATE! WE WON'T STAND FOR HATE!

Vagina:
WHAT DO WE STAND FOR?
WISDOM AND LOVE! 

Crowd:
WISDOM AND LOVE!  WISDOM AND LOVE! 

During the chanting houses come on and line up to spell out "IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES ARE WELCOME HERE"

Vagina:
WHAT DO WE STAND FOR?
WISDOM AND LOVE! 

Crowd chants:
WISDOM AND LOVE! WISDOM AND LOVE!

Vagina leads the crowd in chanting these words once they are spelled out.
IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES ARE WELCOME HERE! 
IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES ARE WELCOME HERE!

Trump Tower continues trying to break into the lineup but is repeatedly blocked.

Crowd:
IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES ARE WELCOME HERE!
IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES ARE WELCOME HERE!

During the chanting Trumpty and the walls begin to wobble. Both walls fall down. One of the walls falls on top of Trumpty. The crowd cheers wildly.

Vagina leads the crowd in chanting:
DIRIGO! DIRIGO! DIRIGO!

Other players walk or, in the case of the walls and Trumpty, are dragged away.

--end--

For those wondering what to do in the coming years, I suggest this bracing and brief analysis from Bruce Gagnon, "America: It's Going To Be A Wild Ride."

Personally, I will be following his advice and will continue focusing on militarism's impact on the environment. An informative podcast by Native leader Sherri Mitchell of the Penobscot along with activist Rivera Sun is "War On Earth: Militarism And Environment."

If you aren't afraid to connect the dots between environmental harm and militarism, perhaps you will join me in taking the pledge of the Maine Natural Guard:

💦🌲Natural Guard PLEDGE 💦 🌳

    I pledge to speak out about the effects of militarism on our environment. In discussions about security and safety, I will remind others of the need to count in the cost in pollution and fuel consumption of waging wars all around the planet. In discussions about acting soon to protect our loved ones from the effects of climate chaos, I will remind others of the need to examine the role of the Pentagon and its many contractors in contributing to planetary warming.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Best, Most Hopeful Signs Of The Times #antiInauguration #J20


A selection of the best, most hopeful signs of the times from yesterday's protests.

Not Working for Trump

Why feminists are calling for a national women’s strike during Donald Trump’s inauguration.


You can order this shirt here: https://ginoclock.teemill.co.uk/product/make-america-t-shirt-95/