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Raise Your Voice: Blessed community

Peter Molenaar

By PETER MOLENAAR

Feb. 11, 2019…

I would brave the slippery streets, with the ongoing sixth mass species extinction in mind, in order to participate in the public visioning phase of the HOTB Mayday Parade. This was to be the last opportunity to make a modest appearance.

The chairs of the Avalon meeting room were well occupied to receive Sandy Spieler’s guidance. As it turned out, Sandy had been entitled to choose this year’s theme, and rightfully so. In keeping with Martin Luther King’s intent, she chose: “Blessed Community.”

To develop this theme, the gathering was tasked to a rotating series of workshops, set in the auditorium. My first stop was captioned: “Barriers to a Blessed community.” The tally of square sticker tag commentary was to reveal an old question of causality: Is the human condition a consequence of “human nature,” or is human nature a reflection of social systems?

An appropriate MLK quote: “This country has socialism for the rich, and rugged individualism for the poor.” Hmmm…

For example, consider the historic cost of U.S. interventions in support of brutal Central American regimes – regimes now corrupted by drug cartels and street gangs who will rape your mother lest she flee – flee to the border, only to have her baby stolen and placed in a cage. Imperialism costs a lot.

Moving on to the next workshop….

The question: What influence do the elements of the ground below and sky above, the river and trees, have upon the Blessed Community? Regarding trees, with sticker tags in hand, I wrote: Material formation responding to external stimuli, in order to sustain and replicate itself. Yes, the biological definition of life reads like a poem.

Somehow I am reminded here of a white-angel-face MAGA teen who saw fit to taunt a Native elder. Oh, so we have young “right to lifers” who worship a man who deemed arms sales to “Saudi friends” as good business, even as the images of dead and dying Yemeni children were before us. Such is the nature of the “Trump effect.”

Yet, we do have a blessed community. We have entered the room of Ilhan Omar, whose spirit of opposition to all forms of oppression is evident. Note: Certainly at this juncture, regarding the ongoing dispossession and oppression of Palestinians, there can be no Israeli exceptionalism. Period.

And so then…

The HOTB gathering reconvened to hear each voice. In essence, the Marxist in the room stated: For some 200,000 years, empathy and altruism prevailed because the matriarchal circle which formed around the fire prevailed. Let us keep the faith.

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