This is a 12 minute talk -- (at least my notes) given at the Redwood Sequoia Congress October 2003. (This site employs Style Sheets so you also need to
rename it "CCstyle.css", and include it where you put this file.)
9-11 was the biggest “Special Operation” in human history, and a desperate attempt by the global elite to cling to power using their traditional methods of “terror” and “war.” Terrorism is the perfect complement to “corporate globalization” seeking to dissolve national boundaries, allow transnational corporations to gain control over resources worldwide, and to permit mercenaries to dominate civilian populations. The Patriot Act was written well before 9-11, and forced, unread, through a terrified Congress. It was mirrored by legislation passed by other countries throughout the world, giving a green light to dictators to crush their “opposition.”
In the twentieth century, despite the horror and magnitude of two world wars, more people were killed by their own governments than by any conflicts between nations. The old “national” fascism of Hitler, Mussolini and Japan are being replaced by a new supranational version which places the rights of capital, the quests for profits, above all other concerns. Now we see unprecedented cooperation between governments, police, intelligence forces as they redefine “terrorists” to label those of us peacefully engaged in opposition to government or corporate policies which threaten us and the environment.
The “Big Lie” techniques of the Nazis are being used again worldwide, and fortunately for us, the smoke and mirrors of the corporate press are thinning. It’s more obvious to see what is going on from a distance- in Germany, France, Canada, even Nicaragua than in the U.S.. The “Big” questions are whether we can organize resistance faster than the Bush Administration can organize repression, and whether we can get rid of national “fascism” without inadvertently replacing it with the more deadly form of “transnational fascism.” The track record of the I.M.F., the World Bank, the U.N. are not encouraging, their one sure fire recipe for dealing with poverty worldwide has been to kill the poor- by driving them off their land, starving them, working them to death, introducing deadly diseases, using them as fodder in regional conflicts, and simple murder.
We live in a time of great peril and great opportunity. Those of us in the 9-11 Truth Alliance believe that if we can “expose 9-11,” we can bust the “war game” once and for all. This isn’t the first time an event has been staged to gain public support for a war; there is a certain continuity to the lengths to which governments will go to tricking the public to support wars of aggression, the Maine, the Lusitania, Pearl Harbor, the Reichstag Fire, Gulf of Tonkin are a few incidents that come to mind. Who benefits from wars? Certainly not those killed in battle. Fortunes are made by those who sell weapons, seize lands and resources. Greed and economics generally have a greater role in instigating wars than the rhetoric which cloaks them with lofty moral purpose.
It is time to hold the real criminals accountable, redirect resources from killing and controlling the planet to nurturing life. The danger is that only a limited version of truth will surface. A limited version would lay the blame on the Republicans and Saudi Arabia, ignoring the Democrats role, to reinforce the myth that Al Qaeda and terrorists pose a great danger to the world (separate from the C.I.A.), to funnel more money into policing people and to justify further wars against Syria, Iran, Korea, and Saudi Arabia and to create an International Security State.
My mentors- Bob Swann, a pioneer in land and monetary reform, and Bill Moyer, author of Doing Democracy, were both brilliant in analyzing the shortcomings of the reigning systems, and very effective in nurturing alternatives. We can hardly tear down the system without providing some vision of a better world that nurtures hope. For almost a decade, I’ve been trying to change the monetary system and the global economy and have come to realize that “solutions” get less press and attention than the root causes of the world’s problems. We know innately that almost everything needs to be transformed- transportation, energy, housing, education, agriculture, industry, how our shoes and clothing are made, and that each action, every purchase, we make is a political decision which cumulatively pulls or pushes the world towards a desirable future or oblivion. I try to juggle and balance my life between challenging oppressive systems and nurturing the healthy, positive alternatives. Much has to do with becoming more conscious of ourselves, our actions, and their impact upon the world, and recognizing how much power each one of us has.
I met Bill Moyer at a workshop he gave entitled “Building Equality in Relationships,” which was a sneaky way of teaching “enlightenment” in disguise. All too often, people behave unconsciously, adopting the modes of behaviour of the society in which they are growing up, in our case “the dominator mode” which is violent and controlling. This can be applied to men who are abusive towards their wives and children, as well as to the U.S. government, which uses military force and a number of other methods to get other countries to go along with its demands.
The root of the violent response is in the psyche of the person (or country) who believes that their perception of themselves, or their view of the world, is being threatened. They react in “defense” of themselves, as if their entire life depends upon the other supporting their image of themselves, or their worldview. Generally, people do this “unconsciously.” Bill taught us to pay attention, to be aware of the moment when we feel the urge to “passionately defend or challenge someone who questions us or our beliefs.” A moment of “fatal peril; ”he named it. He taught us to take a deep breath, ground ourselves, and remember - “Our happiness and well being is not contingent upon other people’s perceptions. Accept others views as “interesting information.” Engage in genuine dialogue- a free exchange of views, without attachment to forcing one’s views upon another.
My husband and I have very different political beliefs and Bill’s workshop transformed our marriage and helped us develop a conscious cooperative relationship between ourselves and with our three children. Bill’s intent was to empower social movements, by improving the relationships within the movement, keeping the environmentalists from killing and battling one another, so that they could work together.
In an atomized world, people seek community; by nurturing a respectful, friendly, welcoming climate within the growing social movements, we attract more people to become part of a global struggle for peace and justice, to connect them with humanity and the world in which we live, to help people see beyond our differences and find common ground with the deepest human values that we all share, to match peaceful processes with peaceful goals.
I mention this, because to me, it is evident that the system is being maintained by fear and greed. Our greatest hope to change that system is by nurturing respect, humor, truth, compassion, justice, all that we wish to flourish, into being, on every level.
There is a scene in the film “Beyond Rangoon” when a group of people are escaping the brutal military junta in Burma, and they are just at the border of – Thailand, which they hope will be a safe refuge, when a soldier with a machine gun bars their way. The priest reaches out palm open and says, “Join us.” And the soldier does.
I don’t know the precise percentage of irredeemable, power hungry, insane mercenaries there are in the world, but I do believe that the majority of humanity are good people who love life, who would like to live in peace, who care about their children and their children’s future. We want to encourage everyone, including the firemen, the police, the military, even corporate executives to be on the side of life, and to see that those who choose to sacrifice thousands or millions of lives knowingly for oil, gold, power, lucrative contracts are criminals and a threat to all.
Aung Sung Suu Kyi wrote: "It is not power that corrupts, but fear -- fear of losing power and fear of the scourge of those who wield it."
A healthy human being feels empathy and connection with other people. A “disconnected person” is unable to feel love, empathy, respect towards others or towards those beyond their ‘family,’ ‘tribe’, ‘nation,’ ‘gang,’or ‘circle.’ Unfortunately there seems to be a greater allegiance within the global elite to other global elite than to any particular nation or country. Henry Kissinger, for example, was hired by Unocal to get the oil of Turkmenistan, and in the wake of 9-11 was hired by a Chinese Oil Company; he eventually resigned his position on the Independent Commission because he didn’t want to reveal his financial ties, but he clearly reflects elite rather than ordinary American allegiances.
We have a special responsibility, as Americans, to hold our government accountable, before China, France, Germany or the United Nations decides we need help with our “regime change.” We would do well, if we could also dissolve the corporations most responsible for crimes against humanity and distribute their assets to their victims, rather than shift the burden of reparations from some victims to other victims.
How do we do it? When we marched on our Senator’s office demanding an investigation of 9-11 back in January 2002, I passed out worksheets that Bill had made mapping out the 8 stages of social movements, and the roles, both effective and ineffective that activists play at various stages. The first stage, can be initiated by just one person, that is simply to let people know that a problem exists. We’re beyond that now with 9-11, Bush actually helped us by appointing Kissinger to head the Independent Commission. That was raising the red flag to the whole world that a cover-up was going on, clearly getting us past stage two- the failure of existing institutions, propelling us into stage 3, where we are, today, Ripening Conditions. The tide has turned, more and more people question the official story, Bush’s credibility and popularity are plummeting. We have more room to get our message heard, but there are also strong forces who would prefer to co-opt or mislead the movement to serve a different agenda.
There are efforts to “tweak” the Patriot Act- rather than abolish it. The obscene Homeland Security is being funded and constructed brick by brick. There are so many battles- the W.T.O., the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, the Phillipines, the militarization of space, corporate control over water and food, the attacks on immigrants, A.I.D.S., fraudulent elections, the end of cheap oil, concentration of media control, the attacks on the environment, so many battles being fought, on so many fronts, that it is hard for anyone to know where ones talents, energy, time would be most useful and have the greatest impact.
“Globalization/Global Economics,” I felt, was an umbrella issue which contained all the other issues, so I have been working on that for nearly a decade, and I have seen the movement, consciousness grow. I was somewhat shocked when the established Left failed to see how “terrorism” was deliberately created to further the agenda of the corporate elite. There shouldn’t be a false division between the anti-war and the anti-corporate globalization movements, a deeper analysis could unite both movements and the entire country, the world, all of us, by identifying those most responsible for the violence and fear being unleashed upon everyone.
I have been told that “even if what I am saying is ‘true;’ It is not strategic to talk about it.” I agree that there are many different hats we can wear to further social movements, and that great diversity in a forest or complex social movement is probably healthy. When confronted with a life threatening situation, it is “normal” for people to go into fear, denial, before they can bravely face reality and live fully. We still see many people stuck in fear and denial, paralyzed rather than energized by the crisis confronting the world at this time. That is why I am always passing out Bill Moyer’s worksheets when I table, to empower people to act, and nurture hope.
I remember Rachel Corrie’s father told a story about Rachel, and how as a very small child, just age two, she had posed a question-
I believe it is. We need to be brave, to speak truth, to laugh, to encourage one another, to help humanity outgrow the “juvenile leadership” that has seized the reins and is steering us the wrong way.
I think all of us need to respect one another and realize that we do need billions of allies in order to shift humanity’s course, that all the movements and issues are related and help pull one another along, that there is no “one and only way.” In my own path as an activist, I participated in “Leadership Mid-Peninsula,” (hoping to radicalize the local budding leaders.) I failed to do that, but I did learn a lot, including five very practical, useful, basic principles of leadership, which I want to share with all of you; we don’t need one or two great leaders; we need a leaderful movement…
Challenge the System
Inspire a Vision
Model the Way
Enable Others to Act
Encourage the Heart
The real leaders generally aren’t the ones at the podium; they are the organizers who create the space, bring people together, who empower others, and at the end of the day make everyone feel like “We did it!” and “We shall overcome!”