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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Friday, October 04, 2019

Newsletter #3 Ohio then Missouri 10/4/2019 On the Road Again

 After a six month hiatus – half forced: broken toe and sprained ankle; half chosen: assisting a sistar’s move off the continent after 40 years in the Bay – I’m finally resuming my mobile version of the door-2-door as I go town-2-town offering readings/gatherings/discussions centered on “But What Can I Do?” and except for the extreme heat and nasty mosquitoes, I’m loving it!
And what exciting and malevolent times to be back on the road! There have been sooooo many folks standing up to the maliciousness of our government, military and corporations, so many events and actions organizing to protect Mother Earth and all life on our planet, and specifically to protect asylum seekers and refugees from our u.s.ofa. wars and greed. Thus my ‘new’ paint job on the back of my casa camion!

My next scheduled reading/discussion/gathering is being organized by an amazing, kick-ass local Missouri radical feminist activist – yes there are strong amazons fighting in Missouri – for October 10th so if you’re in/near Missouri or have any friends, family, or others, anyone who wants to know “But What Can I Do?” please help spread the word.
Here is the blurb Via put out:

Berkeley-based anti-racist, radical feminist lesbian activist Xan Joi is coming to Fulton, Missouri on October 10th, to read selections from her book, “But What Can I Do? A handbook for change: My Self, My Community, My Country,” gained from her experiences driving around the country over 400,000 miles since 9/11 in her veggie-oil powered box truck. Her “radical ride” has mobile billboards emblazoned with large, pointed anti-war, anti-violence, pro-peace, pro-empowerment missives all four sides. The discussion will be held in room Hazel 112 from 11:00 am -12:50 pm at Reeves Library, on campus at Westminster College. All are welcome to attend."
Report Back Ohio Reading

            I was deeply honored recently to be the featured guest “presenter” at the 35th year celebration of a small womyn’s land in Ohio. What an incredible accomplishment to establish, promote and protect female sovereignty for three and a half decades. When these womyn founded this land with, for, and by womyn, what an amazing accomplishment and now, an Amazonian feat to keep it sacred womyn’s land, even more fantastic as it continues to exist.
            35 years ago it was not only unthinkable for womyn to live together on land with ourselves, by ourselves but revolutionary to challenge the misogynist paradigm of females supposed innate need for a male(s) to provide, protect, and direct our lives. Not just revolutionary but even more importantly: empowering!
            Female empowerment! What a terrifying thing for a patriarchal society!
            I am extremely thankful, and profoundly respect and laud these early feminist foremothers who recognized the many levels of attack on female bodies and taught us how to love our bodies, cherish our bodies, respect and value our bodies and more: our vision, our voice, our thoughts, our leadership.

The making of white people’s comfort with our role as colonizers!
            Two separate ‘notions’ were raised during this reading that I want to share with you because they are both common ways in which white people seek comfort in justifying our role as colonizers.
            The first is the belief that all people are racist, regardless of their race. What comfort, what relief white people can get from this idea that we are not the only racists in the country and some go even farther: claiming that if Black and brown people were given the chance (hmmmmm) they would be/have been just as racist as whites.
            To reiterate, white people are the only ones in this country who have the power to be racist – as men are the only ones who have the power to be sexist – to oppress a class of people, to belong (whether they want to or not) to the class of people who have the power to oppress.
            Any people can be bigoted, prejudice, and can discriminate against individuals if they have the means but only those with the power of their race can be racist. I caution white people to also know that there is a difference between bigotry, etc., and the response or reaction to racism.
            The second justification I want to talk about here is one of the beliefs touted by our amerikkkan nitemare and engrained in our perception: the blaming of people for their poverty and lack of ‘success’.
            This came up when we spoke about how if one has four things in life daily at the same time – clean water, a roof over your head, a change of clothing, and food you can save for the next day – we are among the 15% wealthiest humans on the planet.
            Most of us in this country don’t want to look at our riches, compare ourselves with those 85% of humans, and believe their paucity is due to their own ineptitude or corruption of their government, etc. Not many of us want to think it’s because we have embraced and pursued this amerikkkan nitemare at the expense of everyone else.
            One such rationalization is pointing out that the people in a looted country might presently have the riches but don’t have the “infrastructure” to move those riches to the people who need them. Of course, what we’re talking about is the infrastructure capitalists use to move goods and services: as roads, trucks, ships, stores, etc. Not to mention an income-based society.
            One of the first things colonizers do when conquering a country is destroy that country’s infrastructure for taking care of its people. One of the primary ways we accomplish that is by redirecting land use to make the land provide whatever resource it is that we want and need, thereby destroying the people’s ability to use the land to provide for themselves.
            Many of us don’t think to define “infrastructure” as that which characterized most pre-colonization lands: community, life and work erected around the resources the people needed to survive. i.e. not based on fossil fuel consumption at the very least.

            That’s all she wrote!! In love and rage, Xan

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

What ever happened to Ohio???

Entering Ohio, it is very distressing to see the wealthy and/or non-thinking amerikkkans that are STILL not ashamed to put out their tRump/pence signs but the worse is the gadzillion flags still flying, I'm thinking, left over from July 4th? Is that possible?

Then I see the ones hanging on tall posts flying at half-mast and I'm thinking, I am in Ohio, Youngstown, not Dayton, but still. Could the Ohio attention span for grief last this long?

Then it occurs to me it's the 11th of September and I hear my grandmother's 99 year old authoritative voice directing me to grab the children and run, leave the country as fast as I can! She knew it was happening again, the nationalistic fervor echoing that of Hitler's Germany.

Obviously I didn't leave the country but now I'm thinking about the wisdom of being in Ohio, as regressive as this state has become, as anti-womyn, anti-mother earth, anti-men of color. But Ohio doesn't stand alone, rather has a LOT of company.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

That's an awful controversial thing you have painted on your shirt

            The next rest stop doesn’t bring any more respite either. It’s another tourist information welcome center staffed by two white people: one a ‘middle aged’ white-haired womon and a younger white male who appears to have mild case of down syndrome. Even so, all the people in line address their enquiries to him.
When it’s my turn to ask my question, before I do more than nod and greet both people, the womon scowls, puts both hands on the counter in front of her and challenges me with an “That’s an awful controversial thing you have painted on your shirt.”
I look down in surprise – I’m still wearing my “Death to Racism” shirt – surprised she would express what I’m sure lots of white people are thinking, but pleased she is leaving herself open to a real dialogue.
“You think ‘death to racism’ is controversial? What would you like to happen to racism Pauline?” I begin but she’s shaking her head.
“No, well maybe, but not really,” she’s claiming. “It’s the back.”
I’ve really forgotten what’s written on the back, as I’ve several choices. When I ask her she spits out “Abolish Prison”.
“Wow, I didn’t expect anyone in Vermont to think abolishing prison is controversial,” I state.
“You’re still in Maine,” she glowers, “and yes, that is VERY controversial.”
Her son chimes in and thus begins our dialogue around prison. I ask what they think the purpose of prison is. They are silent for a few and then they say to lock away bad people.
I let them know the many reasons that ‘purpose’ is misleading. I talk about how the system ensures certain people – poor Black and brown people – go to jail and certain people – rich white people – don’t. They agree that often the people who SHOULD be locked up are not. They are not going to agree there’s institutional racism governing prisons.
The young man whose name tag I can finally see as he leans forward, brings up rehabilitation so I have an opening to say no, prisons are about breaking human beings, not helping them. I can see an almost identical look pass over their eyes and know they know what I’m talking about.
I talk about prisons as a huge failing of our society – I acknowledge that there are people who need to be removed from the greater society but prison is not the answer.
“Well what do you think the answer is?” asks Bryant.
I smile, happy he has asked.
“We have to begin when people are children and make sure they are taken care of…” I start.
Pauline jumps up, knocking her chair over, angry that I would suggest it is our job to provide for our citizens, especially as youth, so they don’t grow up angry and fucked up and so desperate as to do things a privileged child doesn’t have to do to survive.
Frankly, I’m horrified – I didn’t expect anyone to react with such hatred toward children who are hungry, homeless, un or under-educated, with little if any options.
“Their parents need to provide for them,” she spits. “You should move to Cuba or Russia if you want children to be taken care of.”
I’m done. I ask her, well no, I state, “wow, I bet you call yourself a christian too.” And then I start quoting the bible about “I was hungry,….etc..”
She concurs she’s is a christian as I can see her searching her mind for another bible verse that never comes to her for where would it say don’t take care of the children?
I shake my head in disgust and leave, forgetting what question I had for them in the first place.


fuckin unfuckinborn child???

            I’ve been offline since the third so, after we leave the park heading back to Atlanta, I decide to take a break at a rest stop that has an information center as I’m very curious why all the u.s.ofa. flags are flying half-mast.
            The two older white womyn solemnly tell me what happened in El Paso and in Dayton. They don’t tell me most of those murdered in El Paso are brown people nor that six of the nine murdered in Ohio appear to be Black. Nor that the shooter is a white male.
            “A white male veteran?” I inquire.
            They both helplessly shrug their shoulders in unison, and the three of us exchange deep, sad helpless looks.
            I bring this sadness with me as I proceed to return outside to my vehicle when I very soft-spoken, self-effacing white male, clean shaven head, finely dressed, sweet smile – everything about him screaming “I’m safe, I care about you, I can take care of you – slowly approaches me, leans his tall slim frame over a few feet away and softly asks if that is my truck parked down the lot.
            I match his broad smile and claim ownership of my truck.
         He nods approvingly, holding out his hand, as he says “You have no message about the ‘innocent unborn’.
            Perhaps if he hadn’t framed his question with ‘innocent’ maybe a wave of fury would not have surges thru me and I want to shout the names of the born people who were murdered in El Paso and Dayton, in Iraq and Yemen, in the rain forest and the oil fields. Perhaps if he had seen my anguish, if he had acknowledged the most recent mass murders, the senseless deaths of so many, I could have responded from my normal, calm, reasonable self.

            I thank the goddesses I had hesitated taking his oh so friendly controlling hand as I could not trust myself to not hurt him. I wanted to smash his face, break him in many pieces as he tells me he’s a doctor – of course he is – and I see all the most vulnerable desperate womyn and girls approaching him, believing him, counting on him for their healthcare not imagining how truncated his caring and thus their health care will be.
            Instead of flattening him onto the roadway, I furiously yell at the top of my lungs: “I don’t have time or the ability to deal with womyn-hating assholes like you.”
          He gets that hang-dog, lame doe-eyed how-could-u-be-so-mean-to-innocent-little-me look and raises his voice to challenge me about protecting the “unborn child.”
         As I stride through the now silent travelers parting on the sidewalk to let me pass, I shout more names at him and end up calling him the biggest idiot if he as a medical professional doesn’t know the fuckin difference between a clump of cells and a child.
            Well, the fury subsides with my grandson perched in his passenger seat, looking at me and wondering what happened. Do I tell him about the mass murders? Do I tell him about the oppression of womyn? He already knows what flags flying half-mast means so I tell him that yet another white man has shot some people in Texas and Ohio. He only wants to know if we’re going through those states and I’m glad we’re not.
            I can’t tell him, after we’ve spent almost two weeks on the road and about a week of that journey in one of the whitest states in the union, that white men with guns are willing to murder are in every state.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

...this one is miniature...

My grandchild is thrilled a very large family, a Black and white family like us, with lots of children – including one boy who will be turning 11 also this month – has encamped across the narrow road from our campsite. They have played non-stop since the adults pulled their camper van in to the space and began to set up.
Mujasi comes running over as I’m cooking us dinner to beg me to allow him to go to the miniature golf course with Aaron.
My heart sinks. He is so happy to have friends his age yet I’m opposed to golf on at least two grounds: one the impact on Mother Earth, and two how can you come to a wonderful place like this and want to play fuckin golf.
I ask if he can’t suggest something different like riding bikes or going for a hike or searching for shells on the beach.
He shakes his head at every idea, saying they don’t want to, they want to play miniature golf.
I tell him I’m thinking. He’s hopping up and down, telling me how much he REALLY wants to go with his new friends.
I relent and tell him okay. He jumps into the camper and throws his arms around me, thanking me profusely.
Then he makes me sooooo proud as he says “Grandmother, I know how bad golf courses are, how much water they waste and pesticides they use, but this one is miniature. So please don’t worry that much.”