Friday, January 27, 2017

The Siren Song of Donny Tinyhands

 So I marched and it was good.

 It does not make bearable the news.

 I watch my country fall to the darkness of serving money. I see the ultimate loyalty is to what we own and what is ours and what is not theirs. The House of Representatives worships an orange man with a golden palace. It is delicious for many to sink into the mindless slumber of unthinking support. I wonder where virtue has gone.

In me stirs a longing for sisterhood, for autonomy.  In me stirs the fire of revolution.

What began on January 21 was a movement, and now we must keep moving. It's World War Z and movement is life.

No one will invite you to be in this movement, maybe, except me.

What we need is not to fight what is, but to move toward a beautiful vision of what can be, to create a choice for justice that is real and compelling and takes power, that takes power by the force of its virtue.  We need to imagine a world where all are fed, and all have autonomy over their bodies and their lives. We need to imagine a world where the parasite of humanity has been taught to allow the host to thrive. Thrive. The gag order on the EPA chokes this vision, and silences us. Scares us.

Rise up. Not from fear but from your wisdom. Rise up for your children and your children's children.

The enemy to be defeated is not the Mexicans. It is not the Muslims. And further - there is no enemy. There are only the injustices before us.  Not even DT is the enemy.

The Siren Song of Donny Tinyhands will not be defeated by seeing him as the enemy.  He offers something to his followers. We must offer something more to ours.

The Siren Song of Donny Tinyhands will be defeated by composing a better song, and singing it, a fight song or a symphony - Mahler's 3rd maybe. A song of the earth, and of women, birds, dolphins, bees, slavery, refugees, drought, oppression, education, compassion, a song of justice and courts and wisdom, a song for humans dancing, touching and smiling. A song for this fragile earth, our island home.   A song to the humans of our past, a song to all our gods and angels. Let a song rise up that we can even dance to. The song will not include borders and sovereigns and corporations, derivative trades and shareholder returns. The song will not include multinational tech companies. It will not include Democrats and Republicans.

Even the tiniest strain of the song of justice and compassion, even a snippet, can unseat the primacy of the siren song of dictatorship.

First we need to hear it, and if we cannot hear it, we must compose it.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

What should my sign say?

What follows is a query from a woman with a broken heart.

Tonight I heard of the ludicrous confirmation hearings, and how our cabinet will have bought their positions for money or worse. Our government was run by people with a common ethic of public service and that era has now and truly ended.  The pigs live in the farmhouse now. And it's the logical end of where we have been headed, the hijack has been heading our way for a long time. As Bill Clinton Hercules admits, money is the most powerful god of all.  Money ate democracy.

We stand on the brink of the end of democracy. It is up to us to save it. It is up to you and me. The marches across the globe will be so powerful, I can feel it already, I know they will be, but they will be powerful like a play, it will be fleeting. By any god you believe in, by the moon and the stars and the fragile earth our island home, by the legacy of Jesus Christ and Superman and Thomas Payne and Danny Kaye and Nina Simone and all you and I hold dear, I swear on all sacred things that you cannot be done after the march.  We can't think for a moment our job is done. This is the recruitment meeting run by all of us trying to recruit all of us into bringing about a better world.  Or at least avoid handing over a complete cesspool to our children.

I don't mind much where we start, with the Greens or with the Women's Equality party, with Anonymous or local councils, or the courts, we can all pick a place. We don't live in the times of Martin Luther King, Jr. Getting beat up by the cops doesn't translate into any social gain. The 1% is too insulated now, too apart.  We have to win elections and court cases.

So the query to you is what should my sign say? I mean my old standby from Occupy, which became a personal mantra, is on the picture on this blog: Justice Is Possible. And the great thing is that I'm just some dork, but I am some dork who studied the philosophy of law, and has practiced law, and knows a few things here and there about the rule of law. So I like that slogan because we need hope.

But it is yesterday's news. I mean, I do feel such hope with the Women's Equality Party. I feel like by serendipity, they have walked into their time. I would be proud to hold their banner.  If you know me, you know my dreams and you know the dream of mine that I gave to Bill Clinton Hercules and you know that in my dream, one reluctant woman was key to everything, she was old and fat and uncomfortable but she knew what she had to do was sit there, and she pinned down all the paper things that bring us suffering: she pinned down the primacy of shareholder return, the bloated consumerist values of the West, she pinned down the endless growth that endlessly hurts the earth. She did it. She is us.  So how about: The Future is Feminine? Or a line I wrote into a play last night: Liberty and Justice are women?

All this self-referential stuff is really mostly for my own amusement. How can I inspire the resolution required for social change?  I have to admit - being so broken-hearted makes me prone to falling in love and I recently fell really in love with Hurwitz's score in La La Land. I really never thought that there would ever be a new swing score with the vibrancy and depth he has. I mean, it reminds me of Bernstein. Goddamn.

 A number of possible signs from La La Land:

Here's to our hearts that break
Here's to the mess we make

Here's to the rebels
And ripples in pebbles.

And what about the Christians? As always I wonder at the culture which gives people the overwhelming sense that everything is all right. Everything is not all right. Read the beatitudes and think of Trump and Brexit. Possible signs: Blessed are the merciful, Blessed are the peacemakers.  Paul was a tentmaker. Jesus would never grab someone by the pussy. That kind of stuff.

Then there is the fury that rises in me and I want to recruit for some stone cold treason. I want to be a threat- not with violence but with a very good plan. A legal plan. So I want people to be inspired to the extremes that I have felt since 2011. I mean, welcome to the march everyone, I've been here for a while and I have nothing but love and respect for you. You may find that this changes you. And you may find that the times change you, and change your life.  So Revolution! is one I am thinking about.  I like Love Not Hate and also love Bridges Not Walls.  I would love a tie-in with Thomas Paine and the American revolution.

I will bring my Anonymous mask.

Mostly I attend this march to demonstrate my broken heart. Dance a dirge in measured sneakered feet. Maybe that will be my sign. Just a broken heart emoji. Maybe that is all I can do now. I mean, I think we are all a little traumatized but what can I say? There is never a good time to get in there and fight. There is only now.  There is a fire to extinguish. We have got to turn this ship around. I know we can do it.  It's going to have to involve real people making personal sacrifices, but real people making personal sacrifices doesn't strike me as any good for a marketing slogan.

I keep thinking of that quote from Marianne Williamson. Any line from this is perfect:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Maybe I will do something simple. Let Your Own Light Shine. 

If Not Today, When? If not us, Who?  - That was on one side of one I carried at the Occupy Planning/NHS protest on Westminster Bridge. On the other side it said:

Governments Should Serve People, Not Banks. 

That one really does get to the heart of a lot of this (including Brexit, surprisingly, through the catering to capital.

My Daughter's Name Is Liberty. 

That one is good too.

Fiat Justitia Ruat Coelum: to those with a sharp eye, this Latin legal dictate was printed on the back of our Christmas cards. It means: Let justice be done, though the heavens be torn asunder.  That is a good one for our times, because it is ballsy and empowered.

What sign do you think?

Another one I was considering earlier this week: Screw You Consumerist War Pigs. 

Along with Love. 

I hope you will tweet to me at @rachelmariner all the pictures of your march and I hope you will tell me what your sign will say.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why I'm Marching

So I'm going to this Women's March in London a week from Saturday. I knew from the second I heard about it that I would go. Come with me.

I'm feeling bad. In a post-truth world I don't know what to believe.

I don't know if the President Elect is a Russian spy. I don't know where even to get the news: the bias from all angles feels false. Feels hollow. Feelings are where justice comes from, right? Because it goes from a feeling that something is unbearable to a resolution to change it, to action. The big victories for humans - the progression of our virtue and our civilisation - they started in the feeling that I am having now and that you also may be having now especially in light of Brexit and our White Witch Prime Minister, in light of Trump and the Russians, in light of Calais, Aleppo: the world is dark. Curse the darkness or light a candle, that's your only goddamned choice.

The resolution to change anything is a kind of betrayal, even lighting a candle is treason against the darkness. All justice comes from treason though. The Rosa Parks - Vaclev Havel - Antigone kind of justice - it comes from betraying what is there before you today. Perhaps the usefulness of this march is to empower us to begin our long betrayal.

To quote Danny Kaye performing The Maladjusted Jester:

"The first step of all isn't hard to recall for the first step of all is to stand."

I don't think it's enough to march. It's not enough to raise awareness. It's not enough to call attention to the problem. It's not enough to write plays where for a shining moment people are inspired and then they go back to their lives. Even if everyone had that feeling it would still just be a feeling. I mean we have to do something.  Since Danny Kaye is never wrong:  the first step of all is to stand. This march is the first step toward treason.

Since Occupy I have read and thought about what protest should look like now, and I agree with Micah White that really there is no point in going out into the street in terms of influencing people who hold power. But I'm still going. Because first, sometimes it's not rational. And second, Danny Kaye. Sometimes you have to express yourself with your body. These screens aren't doing it for me, and the more we get into this lake of shit that is the situation with Russian hacking, the less I want to engage with social media. Liking something on FB is not the same as using your body to stand.

You know what I do a lot right now? Give my kids foot rubs and hugs. Look them in the eye when they are talking to me. I am making sure I am surrounded by reminders of humanaty, simple human things.

And in that quest for being human, I find an overwhelming desire to heal. Others feel total despair right now, I see us turning thing ocean liner around.  Maybe Micah White is wrong. Maybe taking a stand will make a difference. If not in the world, then in us.

I hope I'm wrong on this one but I find the younger generations overly docile and too deferential to authority. Their parents didn't let them develop their judgment. Generation X  may be the last generation able to do what needs to be done. My generation has the money and longevity now to heal the many wounds of the world. We can get elected, we can organize, yes we can.  The only way to do that is by not demanding justice, but by being powerful enough to implement justice. Win elections. Change governments. Open courts. Pass laws. Take power. Treason.

We think of ourselves as powerless to take on the injustices of our time. Consumerism and unregulated capitalism have captured our imaginations. They have captured all of our time. And then, with respect to activism, everyone is in their own lovely activist ghetto: their church or school. But those aren't working. It's time to imagine the kind of world we want for 2027 and start to make it happen now. By claiming power. It is time for the lawyers and the playwrights and the Christians and the moms, the farmers and the cowmen, the campaigners for peace, the guardians of human rights, the stewards of the earth - to call ourselves all those things and become all those things. It is time to stand.

Come with me.