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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

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Organic shame...

It is still bright and warm, huge fluffy white clouds floating lazily across deep cerulean blue early evening skies, by the time we arrive at the church and folks start unloading the two support vehicles, bringing in their stuff for the night.

A couple of womyn are coming up from Madison with food for tonite. I'll have to figure out if I'm going to ask them if any of their food is organic - and then wonder if they really know what organic means and is. From the sodas and bottled water, crap snack food - all corporate junk - that is spread out for us, I have severe doubts.

But that is why I have my camper, so I can cook for myself.

Before I can head out the door to start cooking, I am urged quite loudly to partake of their feast. The womyn have arrived with an array of sliced lunch meat and cheese, breads and condiments, as well as a rice & veggie salad. I feel uncomfortable but I am driven to ask if anything is organic.

One of the younger womyn walkers, horrified I'm sure, rolls her eyes and tells me that it is so expense to buy organic. I agree it's expensive but add, if you're only counting cost as dollars and cents maybe, but it is very expensive for our bodies, the Mother Earth, and the farm worker to do non-organic.

Then I confess happily that I am an organic snob.

I hear this same young womon unabashedly ask our hosts if anything is gluten-free, like the bread. Talk about fuckin expensive! I see the hosts have made little signs on the food that include "vegan" and "gluten-free" but no "organic" signs.

I think about how quickly those two things became a designer health bandwagon, and how comfortably everyone has adapted to accommodate those diets, both those that do not eat vegan or gluten-free and those that do. And I marvel once more at the power of advertising and trend-setting: if only organic was set as such a trend!

Later I think about why I said that I'm an organic snob. I'm just putting myself down plus the entire organic movement. And it reinforces the false idea that healthy organic food is for rich snobbish people. I could have said that I don't eat poison - but that's not true, I have my non-organic exceptions usually in the form of sugar or dim sum - but my exceptions certainly do not come in corporate processed packages in this small church.

I decide I will tell everyone at some point tomorrow that I didn't mean to diminish "organic" food but that I should have said I have a commitment to the Mother Earth, to the farm workers, and to my body to eat organic. With pride, not shame.

Conflict already....

First day, joining the walk late - mostly all white people, one brown womon who speaks with an England accent,  and one brown man who is wearing a name tag for those of us white u.s.ofa. folks who have difficulties with any language but english. I learn later he is from Pakistan and muslim and I am bowled over with fear and respect for him, being willing to march through this white, anti-muslim country.

We walk along a 2 lane road, which I'm sure passes for a major highway here in the Wisconsin country side. I'm trying not to get depressed walking alongside tons of gmo corn and soy. Finally we approach the road that leads us thru the center of 'town' to the church where my truck is parked and where we will spend the nite.

The town is one block, lengthened by the large, old courthouse building and on the opposite side of the street, the 'modern' police building.

As we enter the town, I try to get folks to walk down the main street. There has been no vehicle traffic & I'm sure the townsfolks will be amazed if not thrilled or furious, to see a protest on their street.

I give up as the walkers surge across the street - at the cross walk - and continue to walk on the sidewalk.

I am holding out our Black Womyn's Lives Matter banner as we walk. An angry white man in a large burgundy pick-up truck revs his engine as he passes us, shouting something, the exact words we're not sure but we know he's not happy.

Very shortly later, he returns and this time I can hear him say "White men's lives matter"... o.k.

As we get about halfway down the block, two big armed white men slip out of an inset door and insert themselves into our walk.

I ask them how many police does this town have, as I have seen a green sign just before we entered town saying there are 350 folks living here.

I was told there are 8 police and 4 are former military. We are asked what it is that we are doing. Someone declares we are on an anti-drone walk from Madison to the Volk base. Several others continue to talk about drones and our opposition to them.

I have to speak up loudly to say actually we're making the connection between police violence against Black people and the military violence, using drones against brown people.

I tell the police that what we really want from them is for them to lay down their weapons, take off that uniform & that bullet proof vest, and join us.

I feel several folks gasp and one of the youngest, white barefoot fellas reaches out his hand to shake the police officer's hand and make nice.

I move away and continue bannering.

The police leave and I feel like I need to ask if the group has agreements around dealing with the police. One of the older white men, balding on the top with long straggly hair down his back and a matching straggly beard down his front blurts out his support for the police.

He continues to rant about how the police came to his house when his crazy daughter was threatening to kill him and his wife - who also loves the police - and the police intervened, saving them from their child, and taking her away.

I try to express my sorrow at his family dynamics at the same time standing firm against police handling such a situation - does he know that many times police murder family members when called, especially if the people are Black? I assume his wife and daughter are white, but even white folks have been murdered by police responding to mental health issues.

I tell him it is a huge failure of our society in general and for him & his family in particular, that the police were the only people he could call during this crisis. I asked him, what if our society put money into providing mental health services for your family, what if there was someone else you could have called to come help them?

Our break is over, but before he slips off the bench, one of the other marchers kinda jokingly comments "so you're a trouble maker, eh?" to which I respond I sure as hell hope so. And I hope I'm amongst trouble-makers - why else are we here?

Connecting police violence against Black people with military violence against Brown people.

I have finally arrived in Madison at the airport on this first day of the 90 mile walk to connect police violence with military violence.

Madison and Wisconsin, like every other part of this country, are really important places to have this walk and make this connection. Although Madison has only a small percentage of Black people, less than 8%, the jails are filled with at least 50% of Black people. Black people are 10 times as likely to get policed, picked up and arrested than white people.

Then Volk military base has joined the rapidly growing ranks of bases in the u.s.ofa. that operate drones, including training drone pilots. In 2009, there were 2 such bases (that we knew about) in the u.s. Today there are 150 (that we know about).

So this walk is making the connection between the violence against Black people perpetrated here on this land by police with the violence against brown & Muslim people perpetrated by our military on lands thousands of miles away from our country.

I have missed over half of today's march because even though I flew all nite to get here in time, my suitcase didn't make it with my early morning flight so I had to wait until the next flight arrived at noon in order to pick it up and bring it with me.

Prior to coming, I had considered the challenges of shifting with my right arm and healing dislocated shoulder but I totally forgot how much physical upper body strength my truck demands when hauling myself into the driver's seat and/or into the camper part....grrrrr.

But I was able to drive, shifting at times with my left hand, especially in the lower more difficult gears, but changing up to my right hand in the higher gears.

The womon who is bottom-lining support for the walkers picked me up in the church parking lot where we are going to be spending the evening and where I parked my truck and then took me to meet the walkers and join for the last couple of miles.