- My original post on this blog was titled "The need for revolutionary love" and I stated in this piece that Revolutionary Love meant, to me, "to really apply love in everything you are doing in a revolutionary way, so that if you plan change in society, the change you are planning can be developed as a way of enhancing the total well-being of people who you are working with, but it should also be designed to imbue the change you are performing as a type of love for the people who may routinely perceive change resulting from new movements as difficulty or hardship for their system or way of life. As this concept develops further and as revolutionary practices and concepts are posted here, the revolutionary love idea will be developed further."
- Well, today it is being developed further. Indeed, I will also address as part of this post, a new way that you can help the disenfranchised and homeless, as I previously announced. But that's later on in this blog post. I felt a brief prelude, and some background information, would be in order first.
- Since the beginning of this blog, I have been a part of different opportunities for activism in society, including #OpESR (the progenitor of the #OWS movement) from well before its June 14 nationwide protest launch that I helped plan and coordinate, throughout #OpBART (and as documented on my blog, I've been active in a form of activism which has involved development and pursuit of a formal legal petition to the FCC against BART's cell phone shutoff and cell shutoff policy); most recently, I've been involved in #Occupymonterey since its mid-October inception and its November 4th Camp launch at Veterans Memorial Park and various activities and General Assemblies oriented around Colton Hall in Monterey.
- I have thus developed a good amount of insight into who participates, who is just "along for the ride," and -- more to the point of this particular blog post -- who needs help, and how that can be done in a way that makes sense.
- Revolutionary love also means, in addition to the concept that I have previously shared, that we all need help to varying degrees. We can help ourselves, but we have an obligation to help others that are disadvantaged and / or find themselves, regardless of whether by choice or by life's circumstances, in situations which are difficult or even oppressive. (Obviously, this does not only mean people who are in difficult economic circumstances -- it also means we have an obligation to help people who, regardless of their wealth, for example, a person who may have a high degree of wealth and a great amount of power or authority, and yet may feel constrained or unable to act in a way which is fair or equitable all of the time, because of the accruing difficulty or danger that those who are in fact wealthy or powerful perceive is a result of any positive actions that they may commit.) When we see these people in these same situations it presents the moral circumstance of a choice that we must make as to whether or not to commit the time, energy, and resources we have to helping, supporting, and sheltering those who find themselves in difficult or oppressive situations -- often in situations far more difficult than we might be in, but in situations which we might imagine ourselves being in if we were in a different economic situation, or if anything unexpected happens to us. They are different depending on the person, because each person's individual needs [often including things that can be sacrificed if necessary] are different, but much of what a person's basic needs are, and the essential rules that are vital to maintaining order in a group are the same -- key amongst these are respect, nonviolence, and absence of abuse as rules, and the ability and dedication of group members to cultivate those qualities (as well as to expel members who persistently refuse to adhere to them) -- are at the core of what holds both traditional, hierarchical society together, as well as more unconventional, communal groups and societies (one example being #Occupymonterey Camp).
- Having concluded this prelude and having made clear that our obligations to helping others within the context of revolutionary love extend not only to the economically disadvantaged, but also to those persons who may in fact be both well-off and yet in situations which are both difficult and / or oppressive (which as many of us know, is an increasingly easy situation to find yourself in regardless of your economic state), I believe emphatically this message and those to whom we shall help with it is completely content-neutral, economically speaking. And there is no question that my suggestions below can aid our society in helping those who are, in fact, disenfranchised and homeless, as part of that overall process. Fair warning: while some of this stuff described below is actually pretty easy to do in terms of physical effort, overall, it does take time and work and a lot of patience to accomplish, and the change that results from it can be stressful to quite a few people even when the results are positive. (Don't Say I Didn't Warn You) The only thing that remains is whether or not you, the reader, desire to use these ideas and put them to work.
1) Recently I was visiting the Salinas Chinatown area and as part of that visited the Community Learning Center. Next to it is a Garden. There is some information on that here: http://www.salinasdcb.org/crp/csumb.html I was meeting with the people that help coordinate activities here, and talking about some new initiatives that they are starting. This is all right next to Dorothy's Place, which is a dedicated structure with a kitchen and a space for community building, where homeless persons live.
More information on Dorothy's Place here. http://www.dorothysplace.org/ Various homeless persons are in fact employed there under the auspices of Peter Maurin Screen Printers, Red Artichoke Culinary School & Catering, as examples. The street and its buildings (Dorothy's, Community Learning Center, the Community Garden, more) used to be basically abandoned and vacant properties. Now these places are staffed by a combination of nonprofit staff, university volunteers, and homeless persons in transition and is improving with infusion of redevelopment funds. This particular case is not an example of a battle between economic groups (such as the homeless and the homeowners, or advocates of street people versus people in government), instead, in the case of the Salinas Chinatown area, it is a constructive collaboration that has worked. More information on the renewal plan here. http://www.salinasdcb.org/crp/overview.html
2) The #Occupymonterey Camp concept (in the City of Monterey, California) was an example of a permitted Camp that has resulted in an #occupy consensus on a matter of direct civic benefit to the larger community which has been considered part of the movement message. It was pretty simple, actually. I kept the idea as simple as possible (the "K.I.S.S." thing always works) -- something "Civic" or a "Civic Group" that would do "projects" -- I introduced the idea in community discussions for possible consensus at the local #occupy -- and the rest just took off organically. On 12/7 the Occupy Monterey Camp Direct Action Group passed a Civic Working Group concept, which a day later was adopted by consensus of Camp Assembly [Family Gathering], at a location allowed under permit by the City for the Occupy camping activity, within a tiny site of Veterans Memorial Park serving as a traditional public forum where public discourse has been facilitated by the City government. On 12/10, the Civic Working Group was adopted by consensus of Occupy Monterey’s Colton Hall General Assembly. The adopted concept can involve such things as street or park cleanups and assisting in a homeless shelter, or other community needs, and can include service initiatives and agreements with the City and is intended to involve both people who are currently active with Occupy Monterey and as well, any member(s) of the general public. Sadly, as we were made aware of on 12/21, extension of our permit to Camp in the tiny site (Group Site 2) of Veterans Memorial Park in Monterey beyond January 4th is in jeopardy although there was a General Assembly consensus prior to the 21st requesting that the City extend the permit; based on what we've found out from our meetings with the City, it's clear that this is a City management decision. Words of support and encouragement for Occupy Monterey can be sent to the City Council, as we would like to be heard before the City Council on the 17th. (We'd also like to help the City out with putting one or more vacant structures in the City to good use, as they've done in Salinas -- that wouldn't hurt, either, since the Assistant City Manager has written to us and told us that "lawfully occupying a vacant building, or collaborating on future service initiatives are all things that we would be willing to discuss" (partial quote from his e-mail, but significant if it could be made to happen in the way it did in Salinas, for example -- since there's really nothing like that happening right now in Monterey).
To contact the City of Monterey City Council regarding this matter, and to suggest that our permit to Camp be extended and that we be allowed to be heard on appeal before the Council on the 17th of January, please send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org (The City Clerk of the City of Monterey) and request in bold at the top of your message, that your message be routed to "Mayor and All City Council Members."
To inquire or propose an idea that you (and some friends) would help with via the Civic Working Group, contact email@example.com
Of course, wherever you are, you can replicate the Civic Working Group concept in your community too. As you can see from the example above, it wasn't just a bunch of working people participating in a beach cleanup somewhere, as a matter of fact, many people participating in this decision, who deliberated and helped formulate opinions about how the Civic Working Group should work, were in fact homeless or youth in transition and many of them who helped create the consensus that resulted in the Civic Working Group decision still are part of #occupymonterey. People, regardless of their economic situation in life, are usually happy to contribute time and effort to help improve the community in which they live. The caveat to that, is they must feel as though the community they are in is also supportive of them as well, in order for it to happen. It helps if the civic endeavor involves people from all sectors of society and all walks of life, otherwise it will begin to feel isolated and empty.
I don't know if you use twitter. I do, and I use hashtags to spread my message a little bit more broadly on twitter. If you do, you are probably familiar by now with some common ones associated with twitter, including #FF (which I don't use) or, pretty common, #OWS or #Occupy (associated with many Occupy Wall Street tweets).
My latest hashtag development is #Jan4Foundation. It's actually inspired by the fact that Occupy Monterey Camp's permit is expected to be pulled (revoked) on Jan. 4, that the various amongst Occupy Monterey are resolved to continue with Occupy in whatever form we can after this happens, that there is going to be a very profound and transformative process happening (and it will not simply be defined by going head to head with police at a campsite somewhere, because our movement will continue regardless of what occurs with Camp), and it's also inspired by the song, June 4th Foundation, by Laura Love, which is actually sort of about Tiananmen but also is about a lot more than that and will hopefully inspire you and many other people to move beyond their comfort zone. You can listen to it here: http://www.myspace.com/lauralove1/music/songs/june-4th-foundation-72747
If it inspires you, use the #Jan4Foundation tag for whatever tweet you think is appropriate that represents taking you or others beyond the comfort zone..
"liberty in tiananmen
flowers placed in the guns of men
stop the tanks with one bare
june fourth foundation"