Sunday, February 21, 2010

Why I arrived

The first meeting of the now revitalized Greens Party of Fairfax County was held yesterday at the Oakton Public Library. I am glad to be working with Green veterans Jim Lowenstern and Paul Hughes. Jim has run for House of Delegates in the past. Paul started the meeting with a presentation on corporate personhood, which has again become a hot topic in light of the Supreme Court's disastrous decision stating that money equaled free speech and that corporations are entitled to the same First Amendment rights that we as human citizens of the U.S. enjoy.

We had a larger turnout than expected at this meeting. A couple Greens moving to the area from other states, and three folks who are new to the Green Party but expressed an interest in becoming involved. I truly believe we can make a difference on the local level, and I hope more progressives will become actively involved in their own communities.

Our next meeting in March will continue where we left off in deciding which local issues we wished to focus on, and which are some of the county and municipal seats we many consider running for. There's a lot to work on locally, and I am looking forward to doing my part in turning Fairfax County in a more progressive direction. Here is the group's Web site: NoVa Greens.

Looking back at my previous posting, and realizing that I do want to help Cindy Sheehan and Robby and Polly with Peace of the Action (particularly Camp Out Now) in March, I now admit that at times my words were too harsh. I admire those still incredibly dedicated to the peace and justice movement. I am sorry that my words may have pushed some friends away. However, I feel I was entitled to express my own thoughts and feelings. Like I said, perhaps the words chosen were not the best. Although I no longer really see this struggle as "my struggle," I respect and admire so many involved in it.

I am just glad to be working with the local greens and living my life with Matthew. Money is tight, but we are pulling through.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Why I left

I promised myself I would write this for a while now. Dissatisfied with the pace of change and lack of cohesion and supportive community within the peace and justice movement, I decided to return to my own life and focus on building my career and having a good life with my partner. I knew I would be taking a long break from activism and organizing before I even went to jail (Dec. 18-21), but my time in there simply confirmed this in my own mind. I realized that leaving this "movement" was the right thing, but at the same time I was annoyed that people I cared for were sacrificing a great deal more than 98% of the rest of the peace and justice movement, and were getting precious little support. I wanted to make a point about this. This fact exposes a major injustice. I also was not getting hardly any support for my own ordeal.

Furthermore, a few I had considered good friends had already turned against me. They were angry that I would challenge them, and be so completely honest in my opinions about the movement's lack of diversity and willingness to adapt.

The peace and justice movement has shrunk during President Obama's tenure. Some within the progressive community, although fewer now than a year ago, persist in seeing him as some great hope. Something nearing the proportions of a modern day Moses. Efforts to persuade them otherwise have not been very successful. So not only is the peace and justice movement stuck in doing the same limited, predictable and easily dismissed protests but it is floundering in the face of this unrealistic belief that elections can change our course. Meanwhile social movements have not changed anything in a positive direction in decades.

I wish those who persist in the struggle good luck, although I am disappointed by their unwillingness to accept diversity and adapt their tactics. Groups like National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, although well-intentioned, have stubbornly clung to the same type of actions which are not working. And now for those risking jail time, this group (as well as many others) offers very little legal or financial aid.

Jail is a terrifying place, and although this would probably be a major part of a nonviolent revolution, far too few are willing to go there. Personally, I went there once, and I do not care to repeat it. This burden, like so many others within the movement is not fairly shared. And there's not a lot of real concrete support; there remains a lack of community and cohesion which is deeply disappointing and troubling.

On a personal level, my relationship with my wonderful partner is getting better. Now is a good time for me to get off this crazy merry-go-round. I have very little hope we can impact the course of the empire at this time. We can, however, impact our own lives one day at a time in very personal but powerful ways.