Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Economist Joseph Stiglitz: Trump's Budget Takes a Sledgehammer to What Remains of the "American Dream"

The Trump administration unveiled its $4.1 trillion budget Tuesday. The plan includes massive cuts to social programs, while calling for historic increases in military spending. The budget proposes slashing $800 billion from Medicaid, nearly $200 billion from nutritional assistance programs, such as food stamps and Meals on Wheels, and more than $72 billion from disability benefits. The plan would also completely eliminate some student loan programs. It would ban undocumented immigrants from receiving support through some programs for families with children, including the child care tax credit. The budget also calls for an historic 10 percent increase in military spending and another $2.6 billion to further militarize the U.S.-Mexico border, including $1.6 billion to build Trump's border wall. For more, we speak with Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.
AMY GOODMAN: On Tuesday, the Trump administration unveiled its $4.1 trillion budget. The plan includes massive cuts to social programs, while calling for historic increases in military spending. The budget proposes slashing $800 billion from Medicaid, nearly $200 billion from nutritional assistance programs, such as food stamps and Meals on Wheels, and more than $72 billion from disability benefits. The plan would also completely eliminate some student loan programs. It would ban undocumented immigrants from receiving support through some programs for families with children, including the child care tax credit. On Tuesday, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont slammed Trump's budget.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: This is a budget which says that if you are a member of the Trump family, you may receive a tax break of up to $4 billion, but if you are a child of a working-class family, you could well lose the health insurance you currently have through the Children's Health Insurance Program and massive cuts to Medicaid. At a time when we remain the only major country on Earth not to guarantee healthcare to all, this budget makes a bad situation worse in terms of healthcare. In other words, this is a budget that provides massive tax breaks for billionaires and corporate CEOs, and massive cuts to programs that tens of millions of struggling Americans depend upon.
When Donald Trump campaigned for president, he told the American people that he would be a different type of Republican, that he would take on the political and economic establishment, that he would stand up for working people, that he understood the pain that families all across this country were experiencing. Well, sadly, this budget exposes all of that verbiage for what it really was: just cheap and dishonest campaign rhetoric that was meant to get votes, nothing more than that.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The ACLU, NAACP and Planned Parenthood have all come out criticizing the budget. Some conservatives are also criticizing the budget. Republican Congressman Mark Meadows of North Carolina told The New York Times, "Meals on Wheels, even for some of us who are considered to be fiscal hawks, may be a bridge too far," unquote.
The budget also calls for an historic 10 percent increase in military spending and another $2.6 billion to further militarize the U.S.-Mexico border, including $1.6 billion to build Trump's border wall. In a rare proposed benefit for families, the budget allocates $19 billion for six weeks of paid parental leave for new families -- a project that's been spearheaded by his daughter and senior White House adviser, Ivanka Trump. The budget projects 3 percent economic growth, which economists say is widely unrealistic.
Unlike previous presidents, Trump is unveiling his proposed budget while he's abroad. David Stockman, former budget director for President Ronald Reagan, said, quote, "This budget is dead before arrival, so he might as well be out of town," unquote.
Well, for more, we go to Joe Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist, Columbia University professor, chief economist for the Roosevelt Institute. He's the author of numerous books, most recently, The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe.
Joseph Stiglitz, welcome to Democracy Now!
JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Nice to be here.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you respond to the budget that's just been revealed?
JOSEPH STIGLITZ: It's like everything else: It's made up. You could say it's a collection of lies put together. It doesn't make any economic sense. I don't think anybody who's looked at it has -- can fathom the economics. I mean, you mentioned one thing, the 3 percent growth rate, which is the largest deviation in estimate relative to the CBO on record. You know, when I was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, we wanted to be responsible, and we always were conservative and were very careful, getting the views of everybody, wanted to make sure that our numbers were reasonable. He's made no pretense to be reasonable.
In fact, what's striking is, while he assumes that there's going to be more growth, if you look at the budget, it's designed to reduce growth. He cuts out support for science, for R&D, which is the basis of productivity growth. He cuts out support for job retraining, so when people leave one job, they can be trained for the next job. He cuts out support for Pell grants, so those who have low income can get the education so they can live up to their potential. All these are things that actually lower economic growth. So I would say this is not a growth budget, this is a no-growth budget.
And then he has the numbers, you know, the gall to have things like -- you know, just mind-bending. He says he's going to -- elsewhere, he said he's going to eliminate the estate tax. And his budget says that he's going to raise several hundred billion dollars' more money from an estate tax that is zeroed out. Now, you can make a statement that if we lowered the estate tax a little bit, maybe people will be induced to die more, and maybe we'll get more revenue. You could make that kind of statement. But one thing you don't need a Ph.D. is, zero times any number is zero. So if you have a zero estate tax, no matter how many people are dying and how wealthy they are, you're going to get zero revenue.
And remember, what he's doing, he's cutting out the estate tax that benefits 0.2 percent of the economy -- of our society. You know, you have to have an estate of more than 10 million, if you're a married couple, in order to pay anything on the estate tax. And meanwhile, he's cutting benefits for ordinary Americans -- education, health, as you mentioned, food, nutrition. It's not just the system of social protection that we've created, but even the bottom safety net that is -- catches people when they're in trouble.
For the continued transcript and the video interview, please go here:  https://www.democracynow.org/2017/5/24/economist_joseph_stiglitz_trumps_budget_takes

Mourning Manchester: Forging a New Politics of Grief

An excellent and deeply important article. - Molly

A man wears the British flag at a vigil for the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing, at Albert Square in Manchester, England, May 23, 2017. (Photo: Andrew Testa / The New York Times)
 By Nazia Kazi, Truthout | Op-Ed
We are all grieving the children lost in the suicide bombing of a concert in Manchester this week.
The global media is remembering these young lives, lost in an unimaginably brutal assault. They have names, faces, personalities, friends, preferences, histories and families. We see their community members weeping for them. We see their loved ones kneeling, planting flowers at the site where their lives were taken.
They are portrayed in their full humanity; the abrupt ending of their lives is a sign of a violence that has no place in our world.
In this moment it might seem callous to point to the simultaneous invisibility, the namelessness and facelessness, of the civilians in Yemen -- many of them children as well -- whose lives have recently been taken as a product of violence.
It might seem uncouth, in this moment of global grief, to express outrage at seeing the British flag wielded as some twisted symbol of solidarity. To point to its legacy as a symbol of brutal imperialism would somehow undermine its current use: a sign of empathy for innocent lives lost.
Our grief in this moment is expected to outweigh our outrage that Donald Trump, speaking from the apartheid state of Israel, calls the purveyors of this attack, "evil losers," just days after brokering a gargantuan arms-deal with a US-backed regime with a known history of human rights violations.
We are expected to be too heartbroken in this moment to remind anyone that visual politics determine how we experience grief itself. On September 11, 2001, media networks around the world chose to play and replay the now-iconic footage of "jumpers" leaping out of burning towers to their death. These same media networks obediently followed a government-issued ban on showing flag-draped coffins of deceased soldiers returning from Iraq, simultaneously rendering 9/11 a unique type of tragedy and rendering invisible the brutalities of the illegal invasion of Iraq. In the aftermath of the 2015 Paris attacks, many people deemed mere mentions of the fact that lives had also been taken by ISIS (also known as Daesh) in Beirut just days before to be disrespectful to the lives lost in France.
Perhaps this is why the standard chorus of "we condemn terror" is sure to emanate from Muslim organizations in the West in the wake of Manchester, as if this were particularly their condemnation to make. No matter how vocally these proclamations are made, they will be drowned out by the much-larger climate of Islamophobic bigotry.
We live in a seemingly unending terror age -- a time of many instances of mass violence. We have grieved lives lost in San Bernardino, Orlando and Paris. We have seen journalists beheaded. And we know that, just as many of us learned about the terrible news of Manchester upon waking on Tuesday morning, we will wake up to such bad news again. There is a numbing sense of déjà vu in this seemingly repetitive cycle of terror and death.
Yet this terror age must give rise to a new politics of grief.
A new politics of grief would not allow these deaths to be churned into approval ratings for right-wing politicians.
A new politics of grief would not allow the memory of those lost lives to be used as fuel to line the pockets of arms dealers and dictatorships, or to generate an unquestioning support for intensified militarism.
A new politics of grief would not be used to bludgeon us into silence, nor to put a lid on our critical faculties.
Instead, a politics of grief for this seemingly endless terror age would be one in which we think deeply, contextually and historically about the political conditions that give rise to a brutal attack like the one we saw in Manchester.

Dakota Access Pipeline Has Been Leaking Oil, And It's Not Even Operational Yet

The Dakota Access Pipeline has already leaked oil in both North and South Dakota
By Josh Davis

The Dakota Access Pipeline has sprung a leak already and it's not even operational yet. It sprung two small leaks in March, adding to previous ones that had already occurred in April. While the operators of the pipeline stress that all leaks have been contained and cleaned up, those who oppose the pipeline say this simply proves that it is not a matter of if, but when, a larger spill occurs.
The pipeline isn’t due to be operational until the beginning of June, but already there have been multiple reports of leaks along the length of the project. Back in April, it was found that around 320 liters (84 gallons) of crude oil were spilled in South Dakota, the state where massive protests in support of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe occurred to try and block the completion of the project in the first place.
Now it is being reported that there have been a further two leaks in North Dakota, with one near the pipeline terminal in Watford City spilling 320 liters (84 gallons) and another in Mercer County spilling 75 liters (20 gallons). Both leaks were identified quickly, isolated, and stopped, with the contaminated snow and soil quickly cleaned up.
Neither spills, however, were reported to the public by the operating company, the contractors, or the government and were simply listed on the federal website overseeing environmental safety. The health department lists all spills that occur, but don’t normally announce them unless they are over 150 barrels in size, pose a health risk, or threaten waterways, meaning that all the smaller spills that have already occurred go unmentioned.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is a highly controversial project. The 1,900-kilometer (1,200-mile) pipeline, which is estimated to cost $3.8 billion, runs from the oil fields of North Dakota to a refinery in Illinois. It hit the news as support began to swell for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe who were protesting the construction of the pipeline through their ancestral lands and over their main water source. After the pipeline was initially blocked, to the tribe’s great dismay, President Trump signed an executive order allowing the project to go back ahead.
One of their main issues with the pipeline was the threat any leaks would pose to their clean water. “They keep telling everybody that it is state of the art, that leaks won’t happen, that nothing can go wrong,” a lawyer for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, Jan Hasselman, told the Guardian last month. “It’s always been false. They haven’t even turned the thing on and it’s shown to be false.”
Please go here for the original article: http://www.iflscience.com/environment/dakota-access-pipeline-has-been-leaking-oil-and-its-not-even-operational-yet/

Tearing Down the Walls That Keep Us From Finding Common Ground

Demonstrators hang a banner that reads "Act Now! Build Bridges not Walls" from Tower Bridge in London to coincide with the inauguration of Donald Trump
The current occupant of the White House wants to build a “real,” “big,” “serious” wall. To avoid a government shutdown, the administration wavered on the timing of funding. But that does not mean a wall, or walls, will not be built. Walls are material structures, and — maybe more importantly — they are metaphors. They promote ideas like possession, property and separation, as well as mine, yours, who belongs, and who doesn’t belong. They create emotional responses: safety, trust, envy, frustration, fear, anger, dread, hostility. The wall on the border between the United States and Mexico is both material and metaphorical. If you have not looked at pictures of the walls, fences, or barriers already installed on some 650 miles of the 2,000-mile border, you should do so right now. Considerable damage to the environment, the economies of border communities, and individual human lives has already been accomplished by the militarization of the border.
In 1961, the Berlin Wall appeared almost overnight. It was physical and metaphorical, carrying a weighty ideological message to Western “fascists,” who, according to the U.S.S.R. were trying to destroy the socialist state. From the West’s perspective, the purpose of the wall was to deny people access to the West and, importantly, to its message of freedom. All walls carry multiple messages depending on your point of view. The wall on the border with Mexico has different meanings depending on which side of the physical and metaphorical wall you are on. Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions has different ideas about the wall and the people it prevents from entering the United States than do the ranchers and farmers whose land is often divided by a river that does not respect human boundaries.
While construction may be impeded, the idea still exists. It exists as part of an “unconscious system of metaphorical thought,” according to Tom Vanderbilt, in a November New York Times essay about the insidious power of ideas. As a metaphor, the idea of a “wall” is the centerpiece of the new administration’s approach not just to the border, but also to the rest of the world. More barriers along the border could have dire environmental consequences for specific species and the biodiversity of the region. As an environmentalist, I am horrified at this scenario and, yet, I believe that the idea of the wall is as pernicious a consequence of the election as these material impacts.
Everyone is building walls. In Eastern Europe and the Middle East, walls are being built at an exceedingly rapid pace. Vanderbilt cites geographer Elisabeth Vallet’s survey of the 50 actual walls that currently exist, 15 of which were built in the last few years. They are a response to the crisis of immigrant and refugee migration and reflect, as well, the different belief systems — religious and political — that fuel various regional conflicts. A similar surge of nationalist ideology is evident in the United States, too, as “build that wall” became a rallying cry among Donald Trump’s supporters. Those who approve of both kinds of walls exhibit fear and racism. Others believe the myths about job loss or the illusion of physical walls as a solution to a variety of social problems. Nationalism, sometimes labeled populism, has always bubbled under the surface of political discourse in the West, and such rhetoric now has “legs.”
Meanwhile, people who oppose the wall and the immigration policies it represents have also built walls. Articles in Slate, Huffington Post, and elsewhere all carried unforgiving tirades against people who voted for Trump after November 8. This divisive landscape and tendency to build walls represents a crisis for social change activists in engaging a majority of the people to support movements for change.
In the 2001 book “Doing Democracy: The MAP Model of Organizing Social Movements,” veteran social movement activist and trainer Bill Moyer wrote that, “the central task of social movements is to win the hearts, minds and support of the majority of the populace.” After 40-plus years of participating in, planning, training, and analyzing social change and the role of social movements, he stressed the important role of ordinary citizens in successful movements for change. Moyer believed that people would respond to violations of “their deepest values” and that social movements were, in fact, a primary way for people to “challenge unjust social conditions and policies.” As the editor and a co-author of “Doing Democracy,” I too believe that values are at the core of social movements. That is why our political and cultural polarization — that is, the “metaphorical walls” — concerns me and raises questions like: What are these “deepest values?” How do they relate to our “democratic values?” And how many of us share them?
If social movements are to continue to be a “means for ordinary people to act on their deepest values,” as Moyer thought they did, then we need to ask questions about our current culture and the dynamics that are creating more walls than ever before. Are there, in fact, universal values that are widely held today? Numerous authors and many activist groups still cite the Movement Action Plan, or MAP, as a model in understanding the typical stages of social movements on the road to success, the strategies and tactics useful along the way, and the roles that individuals and organizations play in accomplishing movement goals.
Since we completed “Doing Democracy,” I have not encountered any references to the last chapter, titled “Toward the Future.” That chapter encapsulates discussions that Moyer had with many people over the years, and with me during the last several years of his life, about the underlying philosophy of our beliefs and values and knowledge emerging from psychological and sociological research about how we change beliefs and behaviors. Moyer’s analysis of the need for personal and cultural transformation, including the transformation of movement cultures, has not engaged people as much as the “Eight Stages of Social Movements” and “Four Roles of Social Activism” — reflecting, perhaps, an emphasis on strategy and tactics instead of the more personal challenges of being effective change agents by grappling with the philosophical and psychological aspects of social change.

Toward a Climate Insurgency


 
To the outward eye, the climate movement looks to be back on its heels, reeling from the ascendancy of a fossil fuel regime, the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the zombie Keystone XL and the threatened departure of the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. And there’s not much I can offer, as a climate organizer, to dissuade one from that opinion. The one major effort thus far was a massive march on Washington, D.C. that was planned when most expected Hillary Clinton to be in the White House. So we’re left wondering: What the hell are we supposed to do now?
Into this breach steps Jeremy Brecher’s slim new volume “Against Doom: A Climate Insurgency Manual.” Neither glitzy, eloquent nor subtle, Brecher methodically lays out an interlocking vision of direct action within a constitutional legal framework to build the powerful nonviolent climate insurgency necessary to turn the ship around. “Against Doom” smartly connects disparate threads of the existing climate movement and pulls them together with strategic vision. I finished the book fired up with a clearer sense of where my own work with the Climate Disobedience Center, as well as my Quaker faith community, fits into an unfolding climate insurgency. And I’m ready to get back to the pipeline valves, coal piles, construction sites, boardrooms and courtrooms where we have the opportunity to stem the tide of climate cataclysm.
Brecher puts all this in perspective right up front: Before Trump, the Paris agreements represented merely “the illusion that world leaders were fixing climate change” — with ineffectual emissions reduction targets of only 2 degrees Celsius (non-binding) and 1.5 degrees (aspirational). As such, Trump is only a refreshingly honest manifestation of the movement’s failure to muster sufficient power to achieve its ultimate aims. The illusion of the efficacy of an inside politics game somehow survived the failure of cap-and-trade among the major environmental groups, and those groups refocused on the Obama administration’s potential for executive action. At the same time, the national fight against Keystone XL and grassroots resistance by frontline communities across the country and globe have laid the groundwork for a strategy of insurgency.
Insurgency
The strength of “Against Doom” lies in getting to the next layer of strategic sophistication about what a plausible insurgency strategy looks like. While many activists may say that “increasing the negative consequences of continuing fossil fuel extraction and burning” is the aim of their tactics, Brecher starts in a very different place. He argues that “The most important targets of the climate insurgency are the hearts and minds of our friends and neighbors locally, globally and virtually. The goal is to encourage them to organize themselves and act to protect the climate.”
Brecher makes the implicit case for a movement of nonviolence by putting “costing the fossil fuel industry money” fifth on his list of eight ways to build climate insurgency. He argues that a “by any means necessary” approach to shutting down fossil fuel infrastructure will alienate rather than encourage the participation of those we need. The first fight we have to win is the fight to get the rest of the troops off the couch: to activate and mobilize those who say they agree with us, but are — as of yet — unmoved to take action. Implicitly, he argues that maintaining nonviolent discipline is necessary to unlocking the potential power of our soft supporters. Several times in the book, Brecher musters a slew of public polling data to say that support for dramatic climate action is broad, but weak. Therefore, it isn’t hard to extrapolate from that data the kinds of actions — like a covert campaign of industrial sabotage — that would send those soft supporters running to embrace the status quo. Instead, they need to bring the fight to their churches, unions, governments and other institutions that form the “pillars of support” for the fossil fuel industry. In that sense, Brecher is making the case for an insurgency that is transparent and inviting.
Brecher also gets the insurgency’s objective right, which is to motivate anyone with some piece of the fossil fuel lever in their hands to make policies and choices that meet the admittedly high bar of averting cataclysm. This is where we can draw the most distinct line between what is establishment environmentalism and climate insurgency. For nearly a decade, environmentalists have mistakenly focused on passing a cap-and-trade bill, regardless of whether it met the objectives of sufficiently reducing emissions. Signing a global treaty became the goal, rather than getting commitments to emissions reductions that would limit warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Both of these events saw the environmental establishment laud policymakers and negotiators for their great accomplishments. Most recently, the League of Conservation Voters endorsed Hillary Clinton, the pro-fracking presidential candidate, and gave Bernie Sanders a 6 percent score on their annual report card — despite the fact that he was running a campaign that took science seriously and declared climate to be our most serious national security threat. The existing climate movement isn’t immune to this tendency either, as it is constantly confronted with people who want to be positive and focus on solutions. As a means to confront this issue, Brecher insists that “it is not the role of the climate insurgency to determine in detail the specific pathway institutions will take to eliminate fossil fuels.” That is something many different groups — both “inside and outside the climate insurgency” — need to figure out. “The role of the climate insurgency,” Brecher writes, “is to make clear the negative consequences — from climate change and from movement action — that will befall those who do not take such measures.”

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Grace Lee Boggs: The Spiritual Leap Into Becoming More "Human" Human Beings

Grace Lee Boggs is among my many heroes. This amazing woman from Detroit lived her life - nearly all of her 100 years! - in service of a higher good for all. Bless her! May she inspire in us an ever deepening transformation into the wholeness of who we are.
Peace & blessings - Molly


 The Wisdom, Courage, and Fierce Love of
Grace Lee Boggs

To make a revolution, people must not only struggle against existing institutions. They must make a philosophical/ spiritual leap and become more 'human' human beings. In order to change/ transform the world, they must change/ transform themselves.

I think that at some level, people recognize that growing our economy is destroying us. It's destroying us as human beings, it's destroying our planet.

We need to connect Visionary work with Resistance work. One is not possible without the other. Both are essential parts of a more holistic movement for change.
 
People are aware that they cannot continue in the same old way but are immobilized because they cannot imagine an alternative. We need a vision that recognizes that we are at one of the great turning points in human history when the survival of our planet and the restoration of our humanity require a great sea change in our ecological, economic, political, and spiritual values.

A revolution that is based on the people exercising their creativity in the midst of devastation is one of the great historical contributions of humankind.

Don't get stuck in old ideas. Keep recognizing that reality is changing and that your ideas have to change.

We urgently need a paradigm shift in our concept of the purposes and practices of education. We need to leave behind the concept of education as a passport to more money and higher status in the future and replace it with a concept of education as an ongoing process that enlists the tremendous energies and creativity of schoolchildren in rebuilding and respiriting our communities and our cities now, in the present. 

Love isn't about what we did yesterday; it's about what we do today and tomorrow and the day after. 

- Grace Lee Boggs
 

Joanna Macy: A Letter To Us All

I am so excited to see Joanna Macy, who is now 88, when she will come to Portland in August. Meanwhile, this great teacher's wisdom is available to all through her books, articles, and teachings which span a lifetime. This letter from Joanna that I share below is from last November, but remains deeply relevant today. Blessed are those who devote their lives to the "work that reconnects." May we each be inspired and connect! - Molly



Dear People
Thanksgiving Day 2016
I know many of you hoped  to hear from me sooner, and I have been trying to write.  I labored over three letters and tossed each of them, because they did not begin to do justice to the situation we’re in. They sounded either hysterical or flat.
I’ve been asking myself: How can I be honest and not spread fear? How do I say “game over” when we mustn’t give up?
Maybe the game that’s over is the pretense of normalcy. Maybe what’s over is the delusion that with millions of souls already in prison, with millions of undocumented already deported, with over half of America already in poverty, the rest of us can stay so preoccupied with our personal pursuits.  Perhaps what’s finished is the fantasy that we can find ourselves without taking our suffering seriously.
Now, a triumphant Trump brings into the spotlight at stage center those who have been waiting in the wings: the lords of coal and oil, the masters of surveillance, the white supremacists, the war-ready generals, those eager to rule the bodies of women.
So it is good that we reach for each other, find our strength and our sanity in each other.  It is good that the churches are filling again, and places of worship choose to be sanctuaries for the hated and hunted.
I rejoice that many of you are gathering people together in your own communities, schools, and workplaces, so they can share their thoughts and feelings.  Some of you are inviting people to talk and hear each other;  some of you are offering processes from the Work That Reconnects, such as Open Sentences and Breathing Through and the Truth Mandala.  This is not only rewarding, it’s essential.  For isolation and fear reinforce each other.
For myself, I turned yesterday to the Brahmaviharas or Four Abodes of the Buddha (loving kindness, compassion, joy in the joy of others, and equanimity), which we practice interactively in workshops as “Learning to See Each Other.”  I was experiencing another wave of fear, and in the midst of it I recalled the many times I heard myself say: “See, in the actual experience of these four abodes, there is no room for fear.”
That recollection helped me—and so did what happened with my eye doctor when I mentioned that wave of fear which  I was still feeling in my body.  For the first time in the years he’s been treating me, Dr. L. stopped what he was doing, pushed the door closed, and began speaking of himself and his life.  He conveyed the impact of Trump’s election on an American with Chinese parents, the stress on his wife who couldn’t eat for days, their children’s confusion and upset.  His friend, an American-born ethnic Chinese practicing medicine at the VA Hospital, was verbally attacked at the corner store for being a “Chink” who doesn’t belong in our country.
Once again I experienced it: how, when we open together to the suffering around us, we become more real to each other. Even in the midst of grief and fear, we are not alone.  The mystery at the core of our existence is that simple: we are held in a web of mutual belonging.
Because the world needs us right now to practice our values and step into our power, it’s good to make a list of priorities.  Here are some ingredients drawn from my own list:
  • - Meet weekly with a committed group to look deeply at what’s going on and share  responses.
  • - Join efforts to protect people who are targeted for harassment, arrest and deportation.
  • - Amp up support for movements opposing global warming and nuclear weapons, including support for the epochal resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock.
  • - Read (preferably with others) books on creative mass nonviolence, such as Why Civil Resistance Works by Chenoweth and Stephan.
  • - Stay steady and faithful in your vows and your meditation practice.
  • - Share the Work That Reconnects!
Since this letter is accompanied by one from Anne Symens-Bucher, I would like to close by sharing a communication I made three months ago.  Addressing a group of facilitators who were meeting to focus on the WTR Network, I wrote:
“Since I never created an organization for the Work That Reconnects, and chose to offer its theory and practices as a give-away and Open Source, I have no formal office to retire from, or pass on to a successor. But there is a person I do want to name now as one whose experience and vision I would ask you all to use and trust.  Anne has known the work for 32 years, and has assisted me on a daily basis and in many locations for almost 11 years. No one, other than I, is more familiar with its global spread and cast of characters.  I have come to believe that Anne's intuitive sense of best strategies for a coherent, bureaucracy-free organization is better than my own, and that our expanding network would be well served if she were seen as my “successor,” and consulted for her canny suggestions. What this will mean in practice is still unclear and will be sure to unfold, as emergent properties do!”
The next issue of Deep Times, the journal of our WTR community, will soon be out on-line.  Don’t miss its invigorating wealth of news and reflections from our brothers and sisters near and far.  Stay connected!
In grateful love and solidarity,
Joanna
Please go here for the original and more: