Why I’m Going to Freedom Plaza

by: Sara on 10/05/2011
Posted in: Activism

In today’s guest blog post, Starhawk takes us on her journey to join the protests at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. She shares why, even with all her ongoing work toward creating a more just and peaceful world, in the end, the movement always takes her back to the streets.

                         After nearly two months on the road, I managed to touch down briefly at home, long enough to hug my sweetie, connect with my dear friends, do the laundry and dry it on the line just before the first rains of the winter blessed us with their showers.  Then I packed the bags again and headed out, this morning, to Washington DC to join the protests planned at Freedom Plaza.  Asking myself, “Why?”  And “Do I really need to do this?”

            As much as I’ve spent years of my life involved in demonstrations and various forms of political actions, I don’t really like them.  I like being home, playing with the big white fluffy dog and the baby, sleeping in my own bed and making myself a cup of tea any time I want to.  I’m older now.  My knees are stiff and I get more like an Ent every year—that is, more treelike and less bendable.  I have a hearing problem that amplifies all kinds of ambient, irritating sounds so they reverberate around in my head like a very bad sound system while meaningful noises and conversation get harder and harder to hear—which makes loud, noisy demonstrations a form of purgatory.  I have a very full life, full of meaningful work aimed at changing the world for the better.  There are many constructive things I could be doing, should be doing, am doing—besides getting out in the streets.

            Yet, here I am.  Do I really need to do this?  Well, yes.  Why?  Because in the end, it always comes down to the streets.  When the greed, the hypocrisy, the assaults on our freedoms, our pockets, our future and our common sense go so far beyond the level of toleration, there’s no substitute for the outrage of the streets.  Internet petitions are fine, and constructive programs of creative community-building keep us sane and help point the way to a future, but those noisy bodies in the streets put the politicians, the greedy bastards and the high-level criminals to take their frakkin’ boots off our necks, thank you!

            The protests mark the 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, linking the continuation of that war with the erosion of our civil rights, the assaults on workers and the middle class and the Obama administration’s reluctance to take a strong stand on climate change and environmental protection.  But more than that, they’re part of this global phenomenon, this surge of people swarming into public space in Egypt and Wisconsin, in Greece and Spain and Israel, in London and in Wall Street, New York City, to say “Enough!”  Globally, the rich are stealing from the poor at a level that has reached almost surreal proportions.  They back the theft with all the instruments of war, repression, and massive propaganda.  Meanwhile the earth’s life support system are racing toward melt-down and the people in power are unable to do the clear and simple things we need to do to assure our children a viable future because they are bound to the service of greed.  And so I find it hopeful that around the world people are rising up and demanding something different: a world where we remember that we are mutually interdependent, and develop systems that let us get good at it. 

            So, here I am, in a big Pagan cluster slumber party in the house of a supportive and brave friend in the DC area.  We’ve had our morning meeting.  We’ve made our plans for the day and for tomorrow.  We’re going to create a water station on the Plaza, with filtered water, and some sort of permacultural toilet facilities, hopefully.  I’ll be helping out with a nonviolence training tonight.  We’ll be offering trainings on the Plaza, and some sort of public ritual, sometime.  Besides the actions in Freedom Plaza, we’re interested in connecting with the Occupy DC group in McPherson Square, who are linked to the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York and around the country.  On the 7th, there will also be actions targeting the hearings around the tar sands pipeline, the plan to pump the world’s dirtiest, least energy-efficient oil from the New Mordor the tar sands have created in Alberta across the country’s key aquifer to refineries in Texas.  Obama could stop this travesty with an executive order, and we intend to make sure that he feels pressure to do so, and that indigenous elders are heard at the hearings.

            Riyanna and I will be sharing blogging duties.  I love her blogs from actions—and that way we will each be able to sleep occasionally.  Mine will be up here, at http://starhawksblog.org/ and hers will be at http://wildandserene.blogspot.com/.  We encourage you to read them both, to join us here if you can (email pagancluster2011@gmail.com) or to look for the many sister actions in your own areas.  Magical support, energy and protection are always welcome—think of us being in the right place at the right time in the right way, with the protection, energy, support, health and luck to do the work.

            And when this is all over, I promise to catch up with reports from the awesome International Permaculture Convergence in Jordan--meanwhile, a lot of it is archived at http://www.ipcon.org/.

            Love to you all, Starhawk

Perhaps best known as an articulate pioneer in the revival of earth-based spirituality and Goddess religion, and credited with helping the global justice movement find and define itself (she writes about these collected experiences in her book Webs of Power: Notes from the Global Uprising), Starhawk is a veteran of progressive movements, from anti-war to anti-nukes, and is deeply committed to bringing the techniques and creative power of spirituality to political activism.

Her new book due out this fall, The Empowerment Manual continues this path towards a rich, diverse and sustainable earth-based future by offering guidance and tools for groups to harness their members’ ideals, passions, skill and knowledge through collaborative, shared power and bottom-up leadership to foster vision, trust, accountability and responsibility.


blog comments powered by Disqus