I made it out to #occupywallstreet last Friday night. Here is how my experience unfolded:
1. Culture Shock
I’m into showers, they’re not. I’m in my mid-thirties, grew up in a working class Puerto Rican community and I’ve been yupified over the years. I didn’t see a lot of people of color and I wasn’t feeling the vibe. I wondered how people from my community could ever make a link to this crowd. I was welcomed to walk around, curiously browsing, checking out the scene, the art and the people.
The whole globe is shook up, so what are you going to do
when things are falling apart? You’re either going to become
more fundamentalist and try to hold things together or you’re
going to forsake the old ambitions and goals and live life as an
experiment, making it up as you go along.
I’m blown away by #occupywallstreet. And I am thrilled by the conversation it has unleashed – sometimes amused, sometimes frustrated and often moved. I’ll be at Liberty Plaza this Friday.
I’m appreciating the political discussion, the strategic questions, the desire for racial inclusion in this emergent process. However this turns out, it is way bigger than a protest. Something is changing, Kevin Kelly points to it: Read More
I spend a lot of my time plotting the next revolution. Considering what it will take to usher forth the next movement. Preparing myself to participate. Sifting through the preconceptions of what movement has to look like. Calling forth the evolution of revolution itself. Instigating, prodding, inviting, conspiring, hoping.
I am honored to be part of a listserv called “The Gamechangers Salon,” there is brilliance and passion in it. There is also a lot of anger these days, particularly given recent events in Washington. Following is my recent contribution to the conversation, coincidentally, my colleague Cynthia Silva Parker, just wrapped up her blog series on Power & Privilege with a post on Pursuing – something in the air at IISC! Here is my post:
Spurred on by my colleague, Jen Willsea, I recently submitted a piece for the “Walk the Talk” zine/book project. The organizers describe the project as being about “exploring power and exploitation in nonprofit organizations, alignment of our work with our vision, and what role nonprofits have in radical social transformation…[because] even in the most grassroots and progressive organizations, working on the most radical issues, we may find a deep dissonance between the world we want to create, and what it is like to be working in the organization day-by-day. Read More
|Photo by wwarby|http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwarby/2310975386|
A friend recently relayed the following story about how some baby elephants are tamed, for cirucuses and other forms of work. As part of its training, the baby is tied it to a steel stake in the ground, strong enough to prevent it from breaking free when it tries to do so. Eventually, the elephant will give up and stop trying to escape. I imagine that this is not the complete story, but keeping with this trajectory . . . At a certain point, the trainer can replace the steel stake with a smaller wooden one, despite the fact that it would never hold the elephant if it tried to break free. An elephant trained to believe that the stake is strong will not try to break loose and run. Read More
I write from vacation in Puerto Rico, my place of origin. I am amazed by the fact that I left when I was 12 but the place still feels like home – in a very deep way. I’m on vacation after facilitating a retreat for the Barr Fellows Class of 2009 in Vieques, PR. It was a phenomenal experience, certainly for me but most importantly for the Fellows.
I have witnessed the significant deepening of relationships among these fellows since they first came together as a cohort during on our learning journey to Brazil in June of 2009. We have had a number of retreats and events since, some as a class, some with the larger network of Barr Fellows. At this mid-way point through their three-year process (though their being part of the network has no formal end), it becomes absolutely moving to witness powerful shifts towards greater possibility. Read More
Bureaucrats get a bad rap. Which is not always fair. They do serve an important purpose. If you’ve been to Singapore, you find they can be so efficient it is almost exciting. However, I do think it is important to take a critical look at organizational form. We have to pay attention to the way we structure ourselves when we aim to do things together. Read More
I’ve just about had it with the vitriol and saber-rattling lately. Our world cannot sustain much more bellowing from those on one end of a spectrum at those on the other, with no room for nuance, ambiguity or the unknown. Enough!
So much of our current day “discourse” is framed (at least in the mainstream media) by discussions of who is right/wrong, right/left, bad/good, holy/evil. As long as we are limited to these extremes, we will be doomed to the tyranny of righteousness and posturing. This will not, and cannot, sustain us.
Each January, whether formal or informal, uttered or silent, many of us resolve to do something different for the coming new year. We commit to starting some things and finishing others. We put plans into motion, we reassess, reevaluate and take stock of the life that we have and where we want it to be.
In two weeks, as President of the United States, Barack Obama will issue the State of the Union, as is constitutionally required “from time to time,” reporting on the condition of the country and setting forth his legislative agenda — resolutions for the nation — for 2011. Likewise, as a Movement of Peoples United in striving for a just and equitable world, we should require of ourselves a reflection upon the state of our union as we reconsider and reset our course for change in this new year. Read More
In her keynote address at Boston’s Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast, Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry invited us to consider the meaning of Dr. King’s 1967 book, Where do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community (excerpt here) at in this political moment. She reminded us what was going on in 1966, as Dr. King wrote. The Freedom Movement had achieved many legal and legislative victories by then, (Brown vs. Board of Education supporting school desegregation and the Voting Rights Act to name just a few). The Movement and its victories created justifiable hope that the lives of people on the margins of our society could improve. At the same time, poverty and racism still created the need for continued struggle. By 1966-67, many felt their hope was no longer justifiable in the face of violent backlash and intractable injustices. In the face of withering criticism including charges of cowardice, Dr. King continued to urge the country toward community rather than chaos, without shrinking back from the justice issues before him. Read More