Thursday, January 6, 2011

Response to "Going Inside"

BACKGROUND: My friend and fellow activist Bruce Gagnon is one of the main inspirations for me to start my own political action blog (Janet Weil is the other). Bruce posted to his blog Organizing Notes recently this piece about his frustration with people calling organizing meetings than then turn into affirmations of the need to feel peaceful rather than get to work. He was criticized by some unnamed denizens of the Addams-Melman House for his bromide, and posted this apology in response.

I have just been watching the excellent documentary A Force More Powerful about Gandhi-ji, the Danish people during Nazi occupation, civil rights activists in Nashville who desegregated the lunch counters, and many other activists around the globe. So I was already mulling over the eternal tension between being and doing.

It's becoming increasingly clear to me that the world's people have been brainwashed by mass media to believe only in violence, in application of force as the solution to their constantly inflamed fears for their "security." This paves the way for countless U.S. citizens to parrot the corporate party line: "Better fight the enemy 5000 miles away than have to fight them here."

Who is this enemy? I have heard ignorant people say Muslims, others say Arabs; many seem to think these two enormous, diverse groups are the same, and synonymous with "terrorists." Most do not even realize that the Taleban of Afghanistan, for instance, are not Arabs.

As dead birds fall from the sky in Arkansas and Louisiana, and chemical weapons experts are murdered and thrown in dumpsters, it will become increasingly hard to believe that our violent ways have kept "the war" 5000 miles away.

I can't tell other people what their path is, but I'm pretty sure mine is to use my affinity for communication to reach out to my fellow human beings and say: Violence solves nothing, and continuing our violence against the Earth and its inhabitants will surely lead to the demise of human beings. If we are to save the race, we must study non-violent methods. 

Gene Sharp has done a lot of scholarly work that will be useful to us, and you can read many of his writings and collections of others' writings here, for free.

Non-violent methods do not require a person to feel peaceful. They are not weak. They can be practiced by anyone as a practical method of removing power from violent war profiteers or others who intend harm.

We had better get started right away. There is still plenty of time in our day to meditate also. We can do what Gandhi-ji did: get up earlier.

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