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Protesting in Chicago, Against NATO, Against the War Machine... & Locally

It is heartening to see that the Occupy/Protest Movements are still going strong, despite the Orwellian crackdown on protesters and the increasingly repressive laws against dissent.

I failed to show up in court on May 18th, after being arrested on Good Friday, at the Occupy Lockheed Martin protest. Actually, I never heard from the court and assumed the charges would be dropped, which has happened at past protests against Bayer, Livermore Labs... but I learned today that they will be pushing forward charges and I'll probably have to go to court on May 31st. I still feel like the real criminals are those writing the laws and running the courts.

My son, Jules, asked former Senator Russ Feingold (and indirectly Congresswoman Anna Eshoo) at a Clean Money fundraiser last weekend about impeaching the judges that made that clearly "lawless" decision granting corporations the right to buy elections, commonly known as "Citizen's United." Feingold did admit that there were "constitutional remedies" and that one of the shortcomings of the laws was not spelling out that the Supreme Court judges needed to be held to the same standards that every other judge was held to. Technically, they can be bought and schmoozed and compromised "legally," whereas any other judges could be ousted for doing what the Supreme Court judges have been doing, basically selling their votes to powerful forces.

I have spent much of my time, these past several weeks, simply talking with people- at the Farmer's Markets, precinct walking, at the May Fete Parade, at the Green Party sponsored Town Hall Meeting, at the Candidate's Forum (which Eshoo missed, again...) within the 18th District. On the whole, people do realize the systemic nature of the problems that we face and the difficulty of challenging entrenched interests. We've found surprising allies and volunteers from a range of other groups that have been working on strengthening democracy and pushing forward on social justice issues, including our natural allied groups that have been working on single payer healthcare for all and passing a Constitutional Amendment to abolish corporate personhood. Traditional Republicans and Democrats appreciate our grassroots efforts and have promised to vote for me (or have said that they already did, since people have already begun mailing in their ballots).

Last time I ran, the votes that meant the most to me were those of my husband and my son, this year I wonder how many of the voters will respond to the messages that we have sent out or that they have heard. There has been basically no coverage of candidates or the race in any of the press (even though the Palo Alto Weekly did a cover story on the election and the mentioned the new district and the new rules).

Our float in the May Fete Parade won the Mayor's award, and increased our physical visibility. Last weekend, I also risked arrest by attending the annual May Celebration in the local park, which I boycotted for years, because they threatened to arrest me when I was gathering signatures on my "Impeach Bush and Cheney" petitions. Free Speech these days seems, for the most part to be limited to the places where one cannot be seen nor heard. An insightful, knowledgeable old acquaintance told me that the real struggle is over "access to political power." At the moment we have witnessed the construction of barriers to limit almost all, but the very wealthy, from having any say in the rules which affect our lives. We can have freedom in other arenas, just not the ones which are "critical" in determining the future.

No matter what happens in the primary; I still think that the best thing I can do is to help weave a stronger movement, whatever increases community, strengthens our capacity to stand up for our rights and challenge the lies and injustices that hold up the dominant institutions. I feel like I'm but a drop in a very large wave.