Into the future with James Baldwin

longform-original-10616-1456436107-12“the conquest of the physical world is not man’s only duty.  He is also enjoined to conquer the great wilderness of himself.  The role of the artist, then, precisely, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through that vast forest; so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.”

At a time where we must look to the future to see the harmonious existence that must be within reach for all of us, we must look to the past with a critical eye.

“The liberation of Americans from the racial anguish which has crippled us for so long can only mean, truly, the creation of a new people in this still new world.”

It becomes easy to get lost in the farce of the current election, or the sad fact that any living human being would expend the energy to cast a vote for either appallingly similar candidate of the two major parties.  I saw a bumper sticker the other day in the same style as the Bernie Sanders sticker but it said “Giant Meteor 2016- just end it already” I laughed out loud but I just don’t believe we exist there.  Look at the heroics of someone like Colin Kaepernick, something I can’t even imagine happening, someone starting a movement within the NFL, one of the most restrictive even blatantly fascist organizations one can imagine.  Forcing some of the commentators to have intelligent conversations about racism and police violence and oppression.  If this can happen within the NFL, my hope continues to grow for our future

“The possibility of liberation which is always real is also always painful, since it involves such an overhauling of all that gave us our identity.  The negro who will emerge out of this present struggle-whoever, indeed, this dark stranger may prove to be-will not be dependent, in any way at all, on any of the many props and crutches which help form our identity now.  And neither will the white man.  We will need every ounce of moral stamina we can find.  For everything is changing, from our notion of politics to our notion of ourselves, and we are certain, as we begin history’s strangest metamorphosis, to undergo the torment of being forced to surrender far more than we ever realized we had accepted.”

I appreciate James Balwin’s articulations so deeply because he carefully and convincingly points out that the struggle to overcome racism, oppression and achieve true freedom is not only a black struggle, but a struggle of all people.  The division lines the media creates between us are a complete fabrication and it continues to be easier to see through.  Sane, patient conversations are happening everyday, in fact just the other day I was speaking with a kind old, maybe 70’s early 80’s white gentleman and we were speaking about James Baldwin and how relevant he continues to be and he told me honestly growing up in Arizona he never realized he carried bigotry with him until he moved to the city and began to experience black people and it took him having to work with a black co-worker to begin to understand how different everyone’s experience is and to come to terms that bigotry existed within him and acknowledging it was the only way any of us can heal.

“We are the strongest nation in the western world, but this is not for the reasons that we think.  It is because we have an opportunity which no other nation has of moving beyond the Old World concepts of race and class and caste, and create, finally, what we must have had in mind when we first began speaking of the New World.  But the price for this is a long look backward whence we came and an unflinching assessment of the record.  For an artist, the record of that journey is most clearly revealed in the personalities of the people the journey produced.  Societies never know it, but the war of an artist with his society is a lover’s war, and he does, at his best, what lovers do, which is to reveal the beloved to himself, and with that revelation, make freedom real.”

James Baldwin’s essays should be read by anyone interested in a better future.  He speaks to us from a past with no bitterness, or even bias, to point us towards a new direction and to remind us, our present circumstances do not need to be the way they are. We have the power to change everything, but we must start from the beginning and come to an understanding of how we have gotten here.

“What we can make of our unique experience depends on our willingness to accept the bitterness in which this experience was gained-the price we paid, both black and white, and the effect it has had on us.  We look upon this experience with shame, but it is out of what has been our greatest shame that we may be able to create one day our greatest opportunity.”

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Queen of chaos 1

A looming shadow covers my thoughts as the map to the center of her heart forms within my mind, the shadow currently suffocating our world.  The truth becomes a lie as it swiftly rolls off the tongue in a jumble of nonsense, touching nothing or no one, divided, we cry for life.  We are delivered nothing but darkness, it covers our eyes as we accept the veil transmitted as truth.  I cannot accept your version of life, I must dry the blood from my hands.

Without the gift of sight I reach for Daniel.  Somehow everything made sense and then it all disappeared.  – I have it, in this box, the web – My thoughts…seem so clear and as they disappear I kneel and accept that I must never believe what my mind communicates

I blink my eyes, the shadow veils my eyes as Daniel dematerializes.  A map appears, labyrinthine lines stamped upon my brain, leading me straight to her.  In whispers her voice guides me through the lines placed before me.  The factory grows and seethes behind my back, it reaches for me as I grab hold of her voice.  But her voice, so deceiving as it shifts  form before my ears.  From the top of a mountain impossible to see, her lies grow beneath her feet as she repeatedly nods her head to the beat of death.  Words and meaning totally disconnected, only formed for our acceptance, and we do accept it…until we don’t.  Her fangs brighten in the darkness, waiting for an invitation.  As I stand before them, I no longer can identify which one I long for.  The map dissolves in my mind and I close my eyes.  The factory reaches, growing, but I will not comply.  A bobbing head, bouncing on hope, bleeding life from the earth, we must stop her, and we continue to accept.  Her form shifts as her words place her in uncommon space, a jail upon our minds as we listen to her words.  Condemning addiction and feeding it to us wholesale, opposing tyranny as she bathes in it, promoting equality and peace and celebrating the death and destruction of worlds and people who have never known anything but the struggle of their own existance.  The struggle created by her and the moon swirling about her.

-I need to touch the web, I see no center without it there-

-You no longer need the center…freedom equals pain…at first

-I can’t fight her…she doesn’t stop standing over me, her shadow swallows all I am, feeding on my hope as she spits out lies.  Her moon swirls above me, the moon which stole my childhood yet I always felt the need to reach for as it drew me close and pushed me away caught in the crosshairs of her second moon, her second shadow pushing me down I can no longer move, I can no longer see.  Her words, empty wind, chaining me down on the ground I dream of the box, the web, I become the spider which entered my mind, I grasp all it experienced.  The evil of the two moons converge on my thoughts as I climb back into the web.  A choice of a bit less evil can never be any kind of choice.  With any choice of evil, the blood still falls from your hands and never dries.  With each cry from the depths of the universe, each cry swirling in the wake of the moons, the queen expands, with each hand dried from the blood it previously accepted, her form contracts.  As she stares into the web she created I crawl towards the center and she can’t reach me here, but she will not give up as I journey to the center of her darkness, the emptiness overwhelms me, I will never accept the lies, never

Blessed are the peacemakers

tumblr_lz3c9bjgxn1qacnzqo1_1280On April 30th 2016 Father Daniel Berrigan died.  One of the most important and sadly forgotten anti war activists in history.  He travelled to Vietnam during the war and spoke of being bombed by US planes as he was visiting Vietnam shelters with Howard Zinn .  Also a member of the Catonsville 9 along with his brother Phillip.  They burned draft records using homemade napalm, these actions most believe sparked the anti Vietnam war movement.  He went underground after this and became the first Catholic priest ever on the FBI’s most wanted list.  He also started the Plowshares movement, breaking into General Electric nuclear missile facilities hammering on the missiles and spilling blood on files.  His activism never stopped.  From Iraq, Afghanistan, capital punishment and supporting the Occupy movement.  His service to the world will never be forgotten.  These are his words:

We would like you to know the name of our crime. We would like to assume responsibility for a world, for children, for the future. And if that is a crime, then it is quite clear that we belong in their jails. Where they belong is something else. But in the name of all the eight, I would like to leave with you, friends and jurors, that great and noble word, which is our crime: “responsibility.”

 

“Of course, let us have peace, we cry, ‘but at the same time let us have normalcy, let us lose nothing, let our lives stand intact, let us know neither prison nor ill repute nor disruption of ties … ‘ There is no peace because there are no peacemakers. There are no makers of peace because the making of peace is at least as costly as the making of war – at least as exigent, at least as disruptive, at least as liable to bring disgrace and prison, and death in its wake.”

“Instead of building the peace by attacking injustices like starvation, disease, illiteracy, political and economic servitude, we spend a trillion dollars on war since 1946, until hatred and conflict have become the international preoccupation.”

“Because we want the peace with half a heart and half a life and will, the war, of course, continues, because the waging of war, by its nature, is total — but the waging of peace, by our own cowardice, is partial.”

“A revolution is interesting insofar as it avoids like the plague the plague it promised to heal.”

“Sometime in your life, hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives. Hope that you might have baked it or bought or even kneaded it yourself. For that look on his face, for your meeting his eyes across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even.”

“One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the U.S. around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better.”

We have chosen to be powerless criminals in a time of criminal power. We have chosen to be branded as peace criminals by war criminals.

The Earth sheds tears of gratitude for your life Father Berrigan

Discorporated

images-4“Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.” Benito Mussolini

Closing your eyes is a good thing
It is the only thing we can do now.
But it can no longer protect us because what we are feeling is not only coming from the outside, it is inside all of us now.
There is a pill to cure it. A screen to make us forget. We are existing so far outside of ourselves. Our consciousness so spread out upon the map of the world, that we are ceasing to exist at all.
There is a website where the falsification of our lives can exist for everyone to see. There is one where every instance we can show a picture and read comments about what we don’t see in front of us.
Andy Warhol was wrong, 15 minutes of fame…we have fame every second of every day where falsehood and truth don’t only co-exist but are the same, there’s so much bullshit here that nothing exists anymore because my fucking identity is so strong it doesn’t even matter what it is. It’s a number and a card and it has purchasing power which isn’t even real but i’ll shove it down your fucking throat with my Tesla and my fucking organic juice and food that isn’t even food and it’s all coming out of my ass now for all the world to see but it’s not even that because there are so many things to see that they can’t even be seen anymore. I love myself so much because I’m eco friendly and I fight for social justice when I contribute a dollar at Whole Foods to some cause I can’t even understand. People fighting for air to breathe, and that last drop of water, maybe I need to pile the bodies outside my door to understand my ignorance is what’s fueling the massive genocide of all life.
And what of those that are starving and drowning in their own pain? They just don’t work hard enough do they? And what of those lost, track marks up and down their arms, their last tooth dangling by a thread, they’re not even real are they? And what of that thin line that separates us all. That credit card balance that exists somewhere…up, no where really because even that’s not real.
What of the word EMPATHY, that doesn’t really exist much here anymore. And what is it you’re protecting? Is it your identity, which you have to protect with insurance and 24 hour surveillance to make sure what you are on paper can never be stolen as long as it is being watched by someone.
And what of the enemy, the faceless gigantic name printed across a billboard, or on my email with more rights then I can ever think of but still not even real. It’s there but the face…is it words thought up in some boardroom by some post graduate entitled prick to enter my sub-conscious and never leave. And what of that prick and their responsibility in all of this…responsibility, now there is a word that doesn’t have a whole lot of meaning these days because everything I do, my contribution to world hunger through a fake number from a piece of plastic at the push of a button, my purchase of a $100 football jersey made by a poor Chinese worker, steamed clean of the blood dripping from their hands, they have to eat somehow right. And that voting pull, our full responsibility here, voting for screaming walls, forgetting it is us, we are the ones screaming at the wall of our own selves, hiding from what we are to each other and the world. That faceless all encompassing corporation feeding upon the world sucking it dry of all life hiding behind anything that would shield it from the reality in the mirror. The reality behind that mirror is that behind Walmart and Google, Coca Cola and GE,is our face and our unopened eyes. This is not to say we are inherently evil this is to say until those eyes open to what is in front of us, change is only something we pull down every four years to make ourselves feel better and not even yet an idea. When we feel all this we created, everything to defend ourselves from life and thought, to protect our childhood, until we can see ourselves for what we can be, does this veil of bullshit begin to deteriorate. We can be beauty and truth and love and perfection, understanding and strength, but we can be none of these things alone.