Right before the upcoming historic March 4th, 2010, a step into the Transformation of Public Education in California (and the Planet!), after the successful Rolling University, the direct action at Durant Hall and the much-more-covered-by-the-corporate-media riot on February 25th, I wrote the following message to the people of the movement:
Namaste dear beloved citizens of the World,
May this email find you ready to take the next step to Transform Public Learning, to march forth…
You know that no matter what you do, my love for you is unconditional.
I admire the courage that some of us have to refuse to be silent in an ocean of injustice. I celebrate people’s choice to take action against the privatization of the university, for indifference in the face of injustice is the worst state of human dignity. Although I do not agree with the tactics, it takes a kind of courage to defy a blind retributive justice system by burning dumpsters in the streets. But are we brave enough to burn the diplomas and titles (MSCs, PhDs, post-docs) we received from an institution whose noble purpose has been eclipsed by corporate and military interests, and whose history is corrupted by colonialism/imperialism? Are we brave enough to start a parallel university* focused on the meaning of life?
Some compassionate brothers and sisters wrote to me that they were ready to quit the movement because they were alarmed about the riot and violence of last Thursday. But are we brave enough (compassionate enough) to not allow the unfortunate actions of a few to distract us from the horrendous and obscene structural violence that attacks without mercy the minds and hearts of children with laid-off parent(s)?
Even when I disagree with the method, I honor the courage some people had to destroy the windows of a fast food chain restaurant in Berkeley, but are we brave enough (courageous enough) to work many hours a week in an urban farm to destroy these business for real by building a better alternative altogether? Are we brave enough (wise enough) to attack not the symptoms but the roots?
I applaud the bravery it took to overcome apathy, in the occupation of administrative buildings, because to be apathetic in the face of violence is to support it. But are we brave enough, not just to occupy buildings, but to liberate them in alignment with the victory of the commons?
I appreciate that some people of the administration at Berkeley is concerned about the security of the community, students, workers and faculty, and while I strongly disagree with the violent methods (psychological, emotional and physical) used by the chancellor and the police, I respect their determination. But are we determined enough to keep the peace, that we are brave enough to look into the eyes of the nonviolent students with bruises, broken noses, broken hands, shattered fingers and wounded hearts? Are we brave enough to own responsibility and to heal the damage in a restorative way? And if we are really concerned about security, are we brave enough to stop the ~60-year-old-madness tradition of the University of California in the involvement and proliferation of nuclear weapons on the entire Earth Community? Are we brave enough not for “national security” but for Human Security?
I hold in high regard defiance to illegitimate authority, especially when the brute force of the latter is shown in abuse of physical power by the police, but are we brave enough to convert the heart of an officer to join our movement as a friend, as a brother/sister? [This former police officer from the Bay Area told me that he quit his job because he wanted to help people, but his supervisor told him: “This is not social service. Your job is to arrest people and to locked them in jail.”]
I praise the bold calls to act swiftly, powerfully and rapidly, but are we brave enough to slow down, to reach balance and to listen to the Feminine Divine of the movement, to be more efficient and to eradicate ~5,000 years of patriarchy and authoritarianism?
I respect the choice of some people who feel they need to use black and red bandannas during the march towards Oakland, for whatever reason that may be. But are we brave enough to show our militancy without old paradigm symbolism? We have invited many African American and Latino teenagers from many high/mid/elementary schools to participate in the march. Are we brave enough (responsible enough) to stand up shoulder-to-shoulder with the teens and children without masks — but with only our bare courageous hearts?
I congratulate the immigrant students and workers for our solidarity during marches. But are we brave enough to honor the example of César Chávez (and millions of our grandparents!) and strike for real?
I support our brothers and sisters who are going to Sacramento in paid buses by the administration of higher-education to lobby for legislative change. But are we brave enough to be self-reliant and to walk ~5 miles with our K-12 local communities, in a call for change that comes from within our community, and not from without?
I commend the love we feel for our comrades, family and partners, but are we brave enough to love the humanity of our opponents?
Are we brave enough to be the only ones brave enough?
Are we brave enough to eradicate the inner violence of our feelings, attitudes and thoughts?
The question is: are we brave enough to start a real (R)evolution?
See you on March 4th to reclaim the streets towards Oakland to march forth…
If you want to be a rebel, be kind. Human-kind, be both.
¡SI SE PUEDE!
¡Hasta la victoria siempre!
In radical love,
PS: * Here’s the UniTierra booklet in .pdf format