The Buffalo Nation Responds!

The Tatanka Oyate were called upon and gave us courage. Pilamiya Maske for your vision. Stay strong Water Protectors! Davidica Littlespottedhorse

The great bison or buffalo of North America is a very powerful symbol to American Indians. Though best suited to cooler climates, bison roamed virtually in entire continent.

The smaller woodlands bison and its bigger cousin, the plains bison were revered and honored in ceremony and every day life. To the plains Indian, our Bison Brother meant sacred life and the abundance of the Creator’s blessing on Mother Earth.

The bison is powerful medicine that is a symbol of sacrifice and service to the community. The bison people agreed to give their lives so the American Indian could have food, shelter and clothing.

The bison is also a symbol of gratitude and honor as it is happy to accept its meager existence as it stands proud against the winds of adversity.

The bison represents abundance of the Creator’s bounty and respect for all creation knowing that all things are sacred.

The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe criticized law enforcement’s “militarized” response to the camp and called for demonstrations to remain peaceful, but stressed that activists would not give up their cause.

“Militarized law enforcement agencies moved in on water protectors with tanks and riot gear today. We continue to pray for peace,” Dave Archambault II said in a statement Thursday evening.

“We won’t step down from this fight,” he added. “As peoples of this earth, we all need water. This is about our water, our rights, and our dignity as human beings.”
Video Source Davidica Littlespottedhorse

(DO not know whether the video came through, but you can get it at the link below)

The Horrifying Specter of Geo-engineering

As always – Do your research, think for yourself!

Be the POWER you know yourself to be:

The Ultimate Weapon in the Toxic War on Humanity and Mother Earth

by Zen Gardner

22 167

Geoengineering, the ultimate weapon in the toxic war on humanity and Mother Earth. How to protect yourself in this escalating battle.

Willem Felderhof

The irreversible awaking of humanity to the fact that we are under attack by the psychopaths in power is exponentially ongoing. More and more people are waking up, and are experiencing the reality of the fact that we are at war and under a vicious multi layered attack. The realization of this undeniable fact is a crucial element in our fight to save the future of humanity and the planet itself. Millions of people are realizing the implications and devastating effects of the geoengineering, climate engineering and weather modification programs.

The enormous amount of information that is available on the dynamics and mechanisms of these programs and how they work in conjunction with each other is boosting  general awareness in an unprecedented way. Now it is time to take the next steps in order to fuel the reversing momentum. The toxic multi level assaults on our health make us weak and powerless and that’s exactly one of its goals. Epidemics of all kinds of diseases and health problems are exploding, while this information is mostly ignored or falsified in the corporate owned mainstream media. However, factual information on the reality of this ultimate health crisis is widely available on the Internet for anyone who does proper research.

But those who are awake don’t have to look much further than their immediate vicinity to realize that there is something seriously wrong on the matter of health. In this crucial phase of the war against humanity we should strengthen ourselves on a physical and psychological level, and the good thing is; there are ways to protect yourself against the intensifying attacks by the maniacs that are losing their power.

Awakening of the Inner Warrior

inner warrior

A very essential and powerful step in your protection against the ongoing attacks to your health and life is the realization that you are under attack. You have to realize and accept the fact that you are part of a relentless “silent’ war, and the increasing attacks you are experiencing are part of a well planned agenda designed by psychopaths. It is a war against you, your loved ones and the planet you live on. Once you can see this, your instinctive reaction to this reality will trigger your sleeping inner warrior. And because of that you’re back in business, regardless of the situation you’re in.

At this point you have to make the crucial decision; do I stay a victim, a passive bystander, or will I be the fearless active warrior. When the realization that you are under attack sets in, your fight/flight mechanism will trigger all kinds of powerful biochemical responses that will serve to protect you on a physical level against the enemy. It does not matter what enemy we are facing, your ancient fight/flight instincts will wake up the inner warrior. And the warrior in you will come up with strategies in your battles.

You can stop digging in your past with your therapist or psychiatrist because most of the health problems you are experiencing are the result of the ever increasing exposure to the multilevel toxic attack, and have nothing to do with personally inflicted stress. The highly damaging effects on a physical and psychological level as a result of the structural exposure to the ongoing slow killing programs like Geo engineering, EMF radiation, GMO’s and processed foods are the real source of the escalating health crisis. The message to yourself should not be “I am NOT OK , I have all kinds of health problems” but “I am 100% OK and perfect, my body is only reacting to vicious attacks from all directions”. This strong core understanding that you are 100% OK will have a profound effect on a cellular level and will protect you in your life in the toxic microwave. The realization that you are OK will reduce the resonating tendency of your cellular system on foreign unnatural EMF intruders. It will also reduce the FFR (frequency following response) in the brain.

With this liberating perspective your actions will not be any longer focused inside or on your past for healing or solutions. You will change the dynamics of your actions 180 degrees. You’re no longer a powerless victim in fear but a fully aware fearless warrior willing to take any action that is needed to survive. As stated before, you are back in business. From here it is you who decides what the next action will be. And the only right decision you can make if you are awake is to get involved with intelligent and powerful action. NOW. You will forget your own story and your irrelevant personal problems and goals, when you understand what we are facing. I will speak more in depth about this powerful element of protection during my coming tour in Europe. And also on different ways to detoxify your body and mind.

Preparing for the mother of all false flag attacks

The Kardashianation of Vladimir Putin in the alternative media is feeding the distraction of society in a highly effective way. The passive obsession with the actions of this noble oligarch in the Middle East perfectly serves the worn out geopolitical script. While we are being distracted by the staged geopolitical chaos with all the insane wars and crises, the geoengineering architects are paving the way for the mother of all false flag attacks. Despite the fact that a lot of people are waking up, most people are not familiar with the concept of false flag attacks. They are still in the doomed mindset of accepting the idea that we are continuously attacked and under threat by an enemy their elected officials and media presents to them.

While the conditioning of the minds of the masses to accept geoengineering as a normal phenomenon is taking place, frameworks are being created to make geoengineering programs legal. When this stage is completed the road is free for a next Hegelian show. While numerous false flag attacks in history like the 9/11 attacks in NY, the sinking of the Lusitania, Pearl Harbour, Tonkin incident, Sarajevo bombings, Charlie Hebdo, the 7/7 bombings, MH-17 etc, etc have been used to lead us into useless illegal devastating wars which served only the globalist elite and NOT the people, the one that is coming to us will be the most disastrous one ever. Corrupt puppets in the pathetic global political arenas and even the pope are helping to prepare our minds: “Global Warming is our common biggest threat”.

To fight this manufactured enemy we need a one world centralized government to save humanity and the planet. And in this battle the ridiculous slogan “either you are with us or you are with the terrorists” will be even more applied. The terrorist in this case however will not be a synthetic terrorist in a cave, but anyone who will oppose geoengineering as a solution for global warming. In other words: YOU.

Do a reality check, wake up the inner warrior in you and join the forces with intelligent and powerful action. We live on borrowed time; it’s the perfect moment to lose all your fears and act out of your box. Our children and Mother Earth are calling us and have waited long enough.


Mom Power for Change!

How Thinking Mothers Are Changing the World

by Jefferey Jaxen

2 18

Jefferey Jaxen

What are the ingredients for a revolution? Such a recipe can be combined together in many different ways. History has continually shown that real change that truly educates and empowers everyday people rarely comes from central governments and corporations. There is nothing more dedicated and pure on this planet than a mother’s love for her child. This timeless maternal instinct has given birth to a true revolution unlike anything witnessed in modern times.

Moms Know Best

Children are being damaged by vaccines; this is a fact. Trusting mothers have become activated by a deep desire to rescue their children from a system that has let them down, despite government regulatory agencies that are asleep at the wheel and failing to protect the health of our children. In the face of a mainstream medical community that has lost sight of its ethics and independent thinking, mothers have united through love in a common goal to provide answers for their children when the medical, legal, and political systems have given up on them. The Thinking Moms’ Revolution (TMR) was born out of a deep desire to recover their children.

Starting from the dedicated work of 23 mothers (and one dad) of children harmed by the system, the initial collaboration quickly grew into a revolution. A truly grassroots movement, the Thinking Moms have become a whirlwind of alternative research and new healing methods with a core of continual education to bring new awareness. As more mothers joined, all working without pay, the message became exponentially stronger creating a buzz. TMR, and its non-profit arm, Team TMR, has jointly authored two books (with two more on the way) leveraging their combined experience and knowledge. In addition, TMR cuts across all boundaries on their quest for healing knowledge and truth, where nothing is off limits for healing that works. TMR’s quest has educated other parents about the success of cannabidiol oil, eliminating GMO food from their children’s diet, advanced detoxification methods and much more, all while the mainstream medical community played the sidelines. The group’s presence can always be found at alternative health conferences, medical presentations, protests, regulatory hearings, and state houses to influence legislation. Even the mainstream media has been forced to take notice.

The distinct advantage of this revolution is that it is solely focused on effective, efficient, and healing truth. Mothers of damaged children have no time, energy, or care for politics, egos, and finger pointing. Perhaps this is why TMR has stood the test of time with their focused message. In 1998, the mainstream media and medical community turned their back on the correlation between gut health and the autism spectrum, originally demonstrated by Andrew Wakefield and 12 of his colleagues, when research published in the medical journal The Lancet was retracted. The members and participants of TMR were among those to see the truth behind this research and make intensive efforts toward gut healing with great success. There is no doubt that the efforts of TMR was key to an often stubborn mainstream medical community’s acceptance of revolutionary, game-changing research on gut health, and on vaccines and their connection to autism.

 Open Sourced Solutions  

On November 1st, TMR is launching the first and only interactive online TV Network, called TMR Nation TV, consisting of 10 channels, all geared toward helping families thrive and achieve health and medical freedom in today’s world. Topics that TMR has always championed on the way to recovering their children’s health will now have the opportunity to be open sourced online for others to weigh in on. Clean food, expert interviews, siblings and family stories, politics, prevention and recovery can be built upon and added to by those with valuable, everyday experience.

The importance and timing of this network and its information is essential. We are living in a time when families and communities are looking for real information that can be implemented today. The fallibility and trust of major medical studies has come under heavy fire in the face of corruption and inaccurate findings. The peer-reviewed process, once thought to be sacred, is crumbling before the public’s eye, often revealing conflicts of interest and theories that don’t always translate into reality. Trust is becoming a scarce commodity among the political and mainstream medical communities as the idea of health freedom is being pressured out of the public dialogue. The age old tradition of everyday mothers and families directly sharing what works can now be supercharged and focused, bringing effective solutions from people embodying healing and medical freedom, minus any corrupting influences such as corporate pressure, political conflicts, and plan old lies.

People Helping People 

Team TMR is a 501c3 organization that provides help to families struggling with medical, emotional, educational, and financial hardship due to complex medical needs faced by their children diagnosed with autism and other developmental disabilities. Mainstream medicine has effectively ignored autistic children and their families with their lack of clarity, answers, and overly expensive treatments. The alternative medical community, thinking outside the box, along with dedicated families, know how to recover autistic children and are doing it on a regular basis. Team TMR is supercharging that effort by handing out grant money quarterly to families in need of these proven treatments. Funds are gathered from TMR’s book sales and donations. See the Thinking Moms’ Revolution Facebook page for more information on TMR Nation TV.



On GLobal Transformation

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Keynote Address at the 2nd Edition of the DEEEP Global Summit: Towards a World Citizens’ Movement – Learning from the Grassroots [Johannesburg, November 19, 2014]

Yesterday, holed up in a stubborn chair somewhere in the reception of this hotel, I was casting about for an appropriate title for my speech. I knew what I thought I’d like to say, what I’d like to conduce to today’s rather unwieldy discourse on global transformation, but I wasn’t comfortable with the ways my mind sought to frame it. Something nameless and deep within resisted my frantic attempts to simply chug along with rather unremarkable options like ‘The Urgency of Slowness’, ‘A Different Politics’, ‘The Utility of Shared Inquiry’ and so on. That same ‘something’ invited me to wait. So I left the matter unresolved, and entered into a ‘Whatsapp’ text-based conversation with my wife, who is in Richmond, Virginia at the moment. Just as I made to leave the conversation, Ijeoma – my wife – sent me an undecipherable series of alliterated alphabets, smiling icons, and nonsense syllables, patched together with the enigmatic abandon only a non-adult could master. It was Alethea, our 1 year old daughter. My wife told me she had grabbed the phone from her, typed the ‘message’, and returned it to her – saying ‘Dada! Dada!’ as she did so.

I got the message.

Perhaps the universe sought to sanction my conditioned fondness for tame and manicured titles – and, in doing so, hoped to broaden my vision of what is possible; perhaps there is more to be learned from that which resists representation, coherence or meaning – what Foucault called the ‘unthought’, what I call ‘the wilds beyond our fences’; and, perhaps, it is true after all – that the crises of our times invites us to acknowledge our imprisonment to the politics of adulthood by listening intensely to our children, to the weak, to those who have failed, to the so-called stupid, and thus learn from their expansiveness.

So this is my title. I fought the urge to stick in a subtitle beneath, or to reduce its rawness by bracketing it with quotation marks. I do not think it is an appropriate title, but I think it is powerful because it means nothing, because it has no immediate utility – except maybe to introduce a little turbulence to our treasured cognitive rituals, to humiliate our established ways of knowing (and thus to humble us), and to trick our exhausted minds into relaxing a bit. Into slowing down.

Last year, at the first edition of this fine gathering, I ended my talk by sharing the insights of some West African elders: “The times are urgent”, they say. “Let us slow down”. I have since echoed the same words wherever I have been invited to speak – and the responses from my audiences have been somewhat similar: there is a collective sigh of recognition and appreciation, the kind that is attended by a closing of the eyes, as if to acknowledge that a deep elderly truth has walked across the room. Then later, much later, there is confusion and there are furrowed eyebrows – and this happens when people seemingly try to activate this sentiment in their lives, as is the case with my brother Tobias, the convener of this event, who wrote to me shortly after the first Summit expressing his frustrations with slowing down. ‘How do you slow down when there are so many memos to write, so many reports to put together?’ I didn’t have the clearness of mind at the time to respond convincingly to his queries. Today, however, I am going to try to honour those unvoiced and wordless feelings, the greying elephants in our rooms we are trying our hardest to avoid. In doing this, I hope not only worry the convenient binaries and orthodoxies of activism, but to deepen the conversation and weave a poetic scheme that might nurture our imaginations about a world citizens’ movement – and what that could look like.

I am not an activist – at least not in the conventional sense of the word – but in the past four years, I have increasingly found myself in the midst of conscientious people, wise people whose work and writings have inspired our shared intention (Ijeoma and I) to live an enchanted life in a wider spectrum of values.

Once safely ensconced in the academic bubble of the intelligentsia, I am awakening to a wild world that does not easily fit into the neat boxes of a questionnaire. From the stern mountain faces of the Himalayas to the tired suburban mazes of downtown Chicago, the concerns – the questions – are thematically the same: ‘what needs to happen for a more humane world to arrive?’ ‘What do we need to focus on in order to usher in a social arrangement that is conducive to our deepest aspirations as a species – a world that is home for our children?’ How can we realize the world Alethea dreamed of?

Around the globe, the responses to these questions are as varied as the stars in the sky – though there are important convergent points, constellations if you will. For most active organizations today (or those in nations caught up in the globalizing currents of economic growth), the traditional response has been to ask what ‘we’ can do, or to point out a mutual enemy to inspire collective action. The logic of this advocacy framework – in broad strokes – is to articulate a superior argument, to mobilize popular support, and try to force the hand of those with the power to make decisions on behalf of the populace. The recent large-scale climate justice march of September 21, a colossal gathering of more than 300,000 people, is a case in point.

Some of the implicit (and not so hidden) assumptions of this theory of change are that we can change the system – because the system is merely a passive epiphenomenon, a dead mesh of regulations and laws that no longer works in our favour. This assumption coincides with another – the idea that the world is out there, the problems are out there, that we are quite removed from it, and that all we need to do (as my brother, Charles Eisenstein, often says) is apply this Newtonian force of will in order to rearrange the blind billiard balls on the table. And yet another kindred postulation is the myth of human rationality: the notion that people will change if they understand the facts. The bare facts. Let’s get practical, we often insist. Hence our growing obsession with statistical reduction computational analyses and convenient expertise. With tables and spreadsheets and reports and memos. With our eternal infatuation with the correct answer.

But the final popular assumption about social transformation I emphasize here is perhaps the most invisible – and therefore, potentially, the most insidious. It is the idea that only conscious effort, more doings, can get us out of the mess we find ourselves in. It is the tyranny of human agency, the human will to power – or what Jane Bennett calls the ‘fantasy that we really are in charge of all those ‘its’’, a denial of vibrant materialities with agency and action that flow within and around us.

Maybe this partly explains the exhaustion and disenchantment I am seeing in activist circles around the planet, the themes of cynicism I am listening to in the stories of the once chivalrous army for good. I have also felt this numbing despair, this irredeemable feeling that we are doomed beyond our best efforts to save the day. More recently, in New York, I listened to a seasoned environmental activist from Brazil as she shared her insights about the shadows of the World Social Forum, about the establishment of carbon exchanges where emission credits – or the right to continue to pollute the environment – are traded. She chuckled when she noted, with a hint of despondency, that these regulations are a direct result of climate justice movements pressing for low carbon emission rates. She also noted how young, well-intentioned persons dressed like hippies infiltrate villages in Brazil to teach them how to value their forests, their trees, under a carbon metric system – thus imposing an ideological standard that is in cahoots with today’s economic monoculture of mind, and devaluing the indigenous wisdoms that taught those people the mystery of the ancestry and their affinities with the nonhuman world. As I listened to her, it became clearer to me how our best efforts often end up being coopted by the dominant logic, how continuing with the same linearity, with the same rituals, with the same presumptions – while commendable and necessary – can often be counterproductive.

I think it is also becoming commonplace knowledge that the ongoing professionalization and bureaucratization of counterculture means that our voices are losing their subversive tones. We are learning slowly that the system endorses its own critique. That the more assiduously we resist the empire, the more like the empire we become.

Where does this leave us? Where does this leave our assumptions about the world, about our dreams for fonder landscapes, about the value of the work we do to realize those dreams and urge them towards realness? I think today’s widespread despair, today’s disillusionment with change, is the amniotic chamber, the alchemical depths where our vision of what is possible is being transformed, where we are being remade…slowly. Where we are realizing that our theories of change need to change. Where we are seeing that our reality paradigms – the ones that burden us with the sole onus of transformation, with heavy halos that impel us to ‘otherize’ the enemy, the faulty logic, the wrong answer – are no longer enough to bear the weight of our multidimensionality and incredible diversity. The genius of today is that we no longer know what to ask, speak less of knowing the right answers.

And this is how the invitation to slow down makes sense. Because our notions of agency, action and vitality are being stretched – so that we cannot continue to claim that the world is a corpse graciously animated by our presence. Because we are active conspirators with, and participants in, the system we resist – and, though we might like to deny it, this!, this pageantry of exclusion, this auto-erotic quest for supremacy, is our story, our saga. And to deny it is to deny a part of ourselves that needs to be heard. Because there are many ways of knowing and being in the world, and the myth of rationality is not enough to comprise them all.

We need a different kind of politics, one that resonates with the leitmotifs of our ongoing emergence. We need a meta-movement of some sort, not one that necessarily is caught up in the highfalutin, media-enhanced, neon-lit, caricaturization of the ‘top’; not the 100 million dollar movement with a set agenda; not one that is caught up with debates about gun laws and the sins of the ‘other side’; not one that necessarily has a logo, a stringent budget and clear outcomes, but one that is based in lived experiences, one that is underlined by a lot of ‘we don’t know’ moments, and one that is dependent on the gifts, the voices, and the place-based wisdoms of people. As Chris Hedges noted, quite recently, at the launch of the International Alliance for Localization in New York, ‘politics is no longer the concern of traditional political institutions. The chatter about guns, borders, and gay rights is not politics – it is the manipulation of emotion for corporate interests.’

I call this ‘grandmother politics’ – inspired by my brother and ally, Manish Jain, whose disenchantments with global education and schooling motivated him to seek out and learn from his grandmother how to live wisely with oneself, with others, and with the world. This notion of politics suggests we adopt a ‘more’ sacred kind of activism, a big picture activism which is so called because it allows us focus on the little things more keenly.

A world citizens’ movement, activated by a ‘compass’ of shared reflection and mutual inquiry seems more in tune with my feelings about what needs to happen. By a compass, I mean a techne that facilitates local practices of inquiry, an unfurling of questions, a reluctance to govern or impose standards, a willingness to observe and listen to circles of renewal and their explorations of how to live life more fascinatingly, a scaled down trans-local sharing of plural wisdoms.

Does this mean we no longer need spreadsheets? Does this mean we must do away with macro-level advocacy practices seeking to alter exploitative policies? Does this mean that those good people involved with articulating anti-fracking laws, correcting income inequalities, fighting the monolithic superintendence of corporate power in ecological devastation, countering the upsurge of whaling and desertification, insisting that genetically modified foods be properly labeled as such, and arguing for debt relief for less industrialized nations are wrong? I cannot bring myself to think that.

We need spreadsheets and, perhaps, civic advocacy will continue in its present form for a long time to come. But they are not enough. As noted earlier, it can be counterproductive and even dangerous to continue to act out the fiction of the practical as what ‘we do’ to the ‘world’, as the conquest of the right answer, as consensus, as monologue, as a silencing of what many might call the trivial, inchoate non-issues.

A compass reinforces the wisdom of localization, and restores the confidence that people themselves – not their representatives, not lobbyists, not agencies, not policies, and certainly not corporations – can be social actors, not merely social outcomes. If such a technology beats at the heart of a citizens’ movement, it might inspire a more subversive, creative, playful, and elegant hack of our current operating system. Instead of a declaratory documentation of consensus, a compass invites participation, supports diversity, valorizes uncertainty, and initiates community.

This is, as I see it, the ‘heart’ of the matter. Of course, how we make a ‘compass’ actionable is somewhat different, but not too severe a task if we can hold the spirit of the technology close to our considerations. A world citizens’ movement or ‘big picture activism’ can be something radically different, coexisting with orthodox advocacy, but operating from different assumptions. I am led to think that even if we could win all our counterculture wars, it would matter little if we have not evolved a politics that acknowledges the little things, that helps us heal together, and that engages us in ways that trusts us to find our own way through the messiness of human sentience.

We must slow down today because running faster in a dark maze will not help us find our way out. We must slow down today because if we have to travel far, we must find comfort in each other – in all the glorious ambiguity that being in community brings. We must slow down because the correct answer is not adequate. We must slow down because trust, the emerging currency of the ‘next’ story, is not an issue of efficiency, but a creature of intimacy. We must slow down because that is the only way we will see – in a series of alliterated alphabets, smiling icons, and nonsense syllables, patched together with the enigmatic abandon only a non-adult could master – the contours of new possibilities urgently seeking to open to us.


Kids Making A BIG Difference

8 Courageous Things Harry Potter Fans Did to Fight Real-Life Dark Forces

If Harry Potter were a real person, he’d fight child labor, voter suppression, and poverty. Here are our favorite ways Harry’s fans have taken his values from the page to the real world.
posted Nov 22, 2013
Lego Harry Potter

Photo courtesy of Alex Eylar / Flickr.

Andrew Slack finally read the Harry Potter series when he gave in to pressure from his students who were obsessed with Harry, the teenage wizard who uses magic, courage, and wit to confront dark forces and save the world.

Though the plot is fantastical, Slack, like millions before him, couldn’t stop talking about the books. But then he realized that if Harry Potter were a real person, he wouldn’t just stand around talking about himself. Harry Potter, Slack said, would “fight injustice in our world the way he fought injustice in his.”

Rowling created a world that made “fun of normalcy as an aspiration” and believed that “the weapon we have is love.”

That’s when Slack had the idea to mobilize Harry Potter fans around real-world problems—and it was easy for Slack to find parallels between the fictional stories and real-life issues.

In the Harry Potter series, author J.K. Rowling, who worked at Amnesty International prior to writing the books, wrote about inequality and even ethnic cleansing between pure-blood, half-blood, and muggle-born wizards, as well as non-magical people; werewolves forced to conceal their true identities from a culture that shames them; house elves that are enslaved and inherited down through generations; prisoners tortured in Azkaban, the wizard prison; and the use of consolidated media to control public opinion.

Most of all, says Slack, Rowling created a world that made “fun of normalcy as an aspiration” and believed that “the weapon we have is love.”

Just as Hermione Granger started the activist Society for the Promotion of Elvish Welfare (SPEW) to try to end the slavery of house elves and Harry started Dumbledore’s Army to fight Lord Voldemort, Slack started the Harry Potter Alliance—a movement of Harry Potter fans turning their deep love of the stories into real-world action in order to “fight injustice in our world.”

Today, the HPA has 190 chapters in 35 U.S. states and eight countries and participation in the group spans all ages.

Slack and the HPA believe in the power of story to change the world and they believe that activism can be fun and lighthearted, even when the societal issues they’re confronting are serious. Slack calls this method of making the world a better place through popular culture, “cultural acupuncture.”

“Imagine people working to end global warming, racism, and genocide as energetically as they flock to movies,” wrote Slack for the Huffington Post. “Imagine them walking out of Avatar with an organization that says, ‘Here’s how we can band together to protect Pandora by fighting the “Sky People” in the Coal Industry.'”

Here are eight issues the HPA has already taken on:

1. Labor rights

The Harry Potter Alliance took off when Slack and his friend Seth Soulstein, from their traveling comedy group, the Late Night Players, joined with the group Walmart Watch and created “Harry Potter and the Dark Lord Waldemart” YouTube videos.

The featured main character is a cloaked figure with a Walmart smiley face for a head, the evil Waldemart. The videos describe Walmart’s unjust labor practices and how their low prices force local shops out of business.

Just as Lord Voldemort treats his servants poorly (for example, SPOILER ALERT!, he chops off Wormtail’s hand and murders Professor Snape), Walmart, the world’s largest private employer, treats its workers unfairly.

2. Fascism and genocide

The group rose in popularity when Slack and Soulstein combined efforts with Harry and the Potters, a rock band based on the books. Their first move was to mobilize already existing Harry Potter fan groups around ending genocide in Darfur.

This theme shows up in the books when, controlled by Voldemort and his Deatheaters, the Ministry of Magic establishes a policy of ethnic cleansing, believing people with impure or non-wizard blood have no worth.

The group worked with Sifa Nsengimana, a Rwandan human rights activist. With her help, in addition to creating a podcast, raising awareness, and sending letters to end genocide, the group established a library in Rwanda for children who were orphaned because of the genocide.

3. Disaster relief

With the help of the Wizard Rock community, HPA raised more than $123,000 in two weeks for Partners In Health following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. With this money, PIH was able to fly five planes full of emergency medical supplies to Haiti. Four of the planes had Harry Potter names—Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Dumbledore—while the fifth was named DFTBA (Don’t Forget to Be Awesome) in honor of Nerdfighters, a group that joined with the HPA on the campaign.

4. Education

The Harry Potter series largely takes place at Hogwarts, the school of witchcraft and wizardry. In the books, education plays a central role and the lead heroine is Hermione Granger, a young witch who demonstrates the role of books and education in fighting injustice and empowering people.

The Alliance has donated more than 120,000 books to kids in Rwanda, the Mississippi Delta, and New York City through its “Accio Books” campaign. They also helped build libraries at the New Beginnings Charter School in Brooklyn and in community centers across the Mississippi Delta.

5. Modern-day slavery and child labor

Dobby the house elf, one of the series’ most beloved characters, is a slave who has been passed down through generations in the Malfoy family. When Harry tricks Lucius Malfoy, the family patriarch, into freeing Dobby, Harry earns the elf’s undying loyalty. Dobby, as a free elf, achieves self-realization.

And Harry Potter fans have made the connection between house elf slavery and modern-day slavery.

HPA is currently pressuring Warner Brothers, which sells Harry Potter chocolate frogs (a common sweet in the books), to prove there is no child slavery in their cocoa supply chain. The Alliance even sells their own version of chocolate frogs made from fair-trade chocolate.

6. Voter registration

The Harry Potter books demonstrate the importance of civic participation by highlighting the government’s role and its potential to overreach. More often than not, Harry Potter and his friends are at odds with the Ministry of Magic.

The HPA has used this connection in their “Wizard Rock the Vote” campaign. At 70 Wizard Rock shows across the nation, HPA volunteers walked around with clipboards registering more than 1,100 Harry Potter fans to vote.

7. Immigration and marriage equality

In the Harry Potter series, many “people have to live in the closet for simply being who they are,” explains Slack. “Lupin has to live in the closet for his identity as a werewolf, Hagrid has to live in the closet for his identity as a half-giant, and Harry Potter is forced to live in the closet for his identity as a wizard. We all live in closets for multiple reasons. No one should have to, including for their immigration status or for their sexual or gender orientation.” That’s why the HPA raised more than $94,800 for equality initiatives.

In the 2012 election, club members helped in phone banks to add 900 calls to the Maryland DREAM Act to grant an in-state tuition discount to undocumented college students and to add support of marriage equality in Maine. In 2011 they made 6,200 phone calls and processed 214 digital postcards in support of marriage equality in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The HPA also currently has a “Superman Is an Immigrant” campaign to support immigrant rights.

8. Structural poverty

The HPA is branching out into other books too. The “Hunger is Not a Game” campaign joined with Oxfam and the Hunger Games fandom to help end hunger. Their newest campaign is “The Odds Are In Our Favor” to raise awareness about inequality.

Katrina Rabeler headshotKatrina Rabeler wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Katrina is a freelance reporter and writer.


Taking on Student Debt

A Student Debt Strike Force Takes Off

Debt—and the shame that surrounds it—is the tie that binds the 99 percent. Can young people reimagine it as something productive, rather than a tool for profiteering?
posted Jul 19, 2012
ONE, we are the zombies! TWO; we are indebted! THREE; this occupation is… om-nom nom-nom…”

You are not a loan by Yates McKee 555x295

Photo by Yates McKee

Playfully infusing a familiar Occupy Wall Street chant with the mindless noshing of zombies, last month around 100 costumed protesters undertook a small but significant “Night of the Living Debt” march around the New York University campus and Washington Square Park. The event was organized by All in the Red, an initiative of student activists which grows out of the nocturnal marches that began last month in solidarity with the massive popular mobilization in Quebec against austerity-related tuition hikes. Equipped with an arsenal of felt red squares, red banners, red balloons, red confetti, and pots and pans, the young organizers—recent graduates of the OWS Summer Disobedience School training program—undertook the first coordinated march in New York to translate student-specific struggles surrounding tuition and education debt into a broader discourse concerning the perpetual condition of indebtedness in which the 99 percent currently finds itself. With its necromantic pop-cultural reference, the march suggested that zombie-like servitude to Wall Street creditors is a basic condition of life for the majority of the population—a point driven home with a cathartic “debtors’ die-in” at the conclusion of the event.

The simple act of speaking built community and solidarity based in a shared experience of breaking with debt-shame—the insidious sense that to be indebted is an individual moral failure rather than an enforced condition of life under contemporary capitalism.

The Night of the Living Debt march was just one sign that debt is emerging as a connective thread for OWS organizers and their allies as they begin to build toward the movement’s one year anniversary of September 17, variously known as S17, Black Monday and Occupy Year One. More than just a commemorative ritual or one-off day of action, many organizers in OWS plan to use the media spotlight surrounding the day and its buildup as what Sandra Nurse calls a ”launching pad” for a new kind of political movement in the United States—a movement of debtors identifying themselves as such.

This is not an entirely new focus. Some of the most prominent initiatives of OWS and the Occupy movement more broadly have revolved around the foreclosure crisis, and the Occupy Student Debt Campaign (OSDC) succeeded in drawing national attention to the student debt crisis with 1T Day in April, marking the fact that outstanding student debt has reached $1 trillion. However, these organizing efforts have tended to treat different sectors of debt as single-issue campaigns in isolation from one another. And yet when one looks back to early OWS platforms, such as the 99 percent Tumblr, one finds that indebtedness of all sorts was already a self-conscious motivation for many participants and sympathizers of the movement. As the one-year anniversary approaches, a key question for many organizers is how alliances might be forged among groups suffering from and organizing against different kinds of debt-servitude. As OSDC organizer Pamela Brown put it in a recent article:

We are faced with a broken American social contract, and have reached a critical moment for the 99%. Under these circumstances, it seems obvious that a political movement to build a new dream should take debt as its focus.

A major development in the past month was the staging of the first NYC Debtors’ Assembly in Washington Square Park on June 11. The format was simple, and the facilitation was minimal. Seated around a banner reading “Strike Debt,” affixed with the red felt square familiar from student struggles in Quebec, those assembled were invited to step up to publicly share their “debt stories” through a cardboard “debtors’ mic.” Over two hours, several dozen people from a wide range of backgrounds and generations delivered emotionally charged, first-person testimonials about the experience of debt-servitude to Wall Street and its intermediary institutions. Whether speaking of the ruinous effects of student debt, credit card debt, health care debt, or mortgage debt, almost all of the speakers remarked that this was their very first time speaking publicly about their status as debtors.

To speak as a debtor, and to address others as debtors, was an empowering process in its own right; the simple act of speaking built community and solidarity based in a shared experience of breaking with debt-shame—the insidious sense that to be indebted is an individual moral failure rather than an enforced condition of life under contemporary capitalism. As Shyam Khanna put it, the assembly created a space for “debtors to find each other, for debtors to become a political subject.”

debt square by Yates McKee

Photo by Yates McKee

The Debtors’ Assembly was an important development in the overall trajectory of OWS. Lacking a General Assembly or a Spokes Council empowered to make movement-wide decisions, OWS as it currently stands is a dispersed network of working groups, affinity groups and project groups that sometimes overlap intensively and other times remain at a distance from one another. Some have lamented this “structureless” condition as contributing to a deadly lack of focus and dispersion of energies, leading some to claim that Occupy as a both a trope and movement has itself been exhausted. Others have seen the post-May Day interregnum as a fruitful period of reflection and reinvention on tactics, strategy, alliances and goals.

How debt became the focus

Among the most interesting post-May Day experiments were a series of outdoor, outward facing “thematic assemblies” hosted on a weekly basis at Washington Square by the group Occupy Theory (OT), publishers of Tidal magazine. Avoiding the unwieldy decision-making apparatus of the Zuccotti-era General Assembly, as well as the often insular culture of OWS working groups, the OT assemblies prioritized open-ended reflection on specific political problems. In late May, an assembly was held on the concept of global solidarity in light of the intensifying struggles of student activists in Quebec. Among the participants in the thematic assemblies were members of Occupy University, Free University Think Tank, F The Banks and the OSDC; in an organic process attuned to developments in New York and around the world, it was agreed that the subsequent assembly would be devoted to the topic “Education and Debt,” with a focus on the building of a political movement specifically around the intersection of these terms.

The student-loan bubble is regarded by many analysts as analogous to the subprime mortgage bubble that led to the crisis of 2008.

The initial OT Education and Debt assembly—which preceded the full-scale NYC Debtors’ Assembly by a week—was remarkable for the kind of space it opened up. It wove together the testimonial format with a highly focused conversation about the strategies, tactics, messaging and coalition-building it would require to make the condition of indebtedness the galvanizing focal point for a full-scale political movement rather than a single-issue campaign. As indicated in the notes from the meeting, which were circulated online throughout OWS social networks, several major questions that have long preoccupied OSDC are in the process of moving to the forefront of OWS as a whole.

Debt is the tie that binds the 99 percent. Almost everyone in the United States is a debtor of some sort. Even those excluded from mainstream credit systems are still preyed upon by lending institutions, exemplified by payday loan sharks and pawn shops that dot poor neighborhoods. Rather than a supplementary facet of the overall economy, the personal debt system is a primary engine of Wall Street profits, and it is prone to crisis. Indeed, the student-loan bubble is regarded by many analysts as analogous to the subprime mortgage bubble that led to the crisis of 2008, with a trillion dollars in unpayable loans bundled together and resold by banks through exotic financial instruments. The debt system is a highly tangible way in which the predatory logic of Wall Street impacts the lives of families and communities. And yet, as Chris Kasper of the OWS Arts and Labor group put it in the inaugural assembly:

Even as it connects us all to global capitalism, debt isolates, atomizes and individuates. The first step is breaking the silence, shedding the fear and creating a space where we can appear together without shame.

Messaging in the making

In a “debt fairy” campaign, groups of private citizens would pool their resources to purchase defaulted debt for pennies on the dollar from banks —who typically sell to collection agencies—liberating the debtor from their burden.

In the first assembly, analogies were drawn to the notion of “coming out” in the history of the gay rights movement, in which a new sense of political identity was forged by collectively embracing an otherwise stigmatized individual condition—a play on the famous ACT UP slogan, “Silence = Debt” has been put forward as a meme, alongside the slogan “You Are Not a Loan” coined by student debt activists in earlier phases of organizing. Another well-received propaganda project to emerge from the debt assemblies has been a sticker reading “Hello, My Debt Is…,” designed in the manner of the “Hello, My Name Is” identifier that would be worn at a conference or convention. A large banner has also been produced featuring this design; participants in the debt assemblies are invited to sign the banner with the dollar amount they owe to creditors, with each signature in turn supplemented by a safety-pinned red felt square of the sort typically affixed to the clothing of protesters.

According to artist Leina Bocar, creator of the participatory banner:

The felt square is increasingly recognized in New York as a signature not only of student struggles, but of debtors more generally. It mediates between the intimate scale of the body and the collective scale of the banner, the assembly, and indeed the movement as a whole.

Looming over these discussions of debtors’ movement has been the question of a debt strike, a deliberate withdraw of consent by debtors from the system designed to keep them paying in perpetuity. Millions already do not and cannot pay their debt anyway, and are by default on strike. These de-facto debt-strikers constitute what has been described as an “invisible army of defaulters” with massive political potential. Debt strike—or debt refusal, as OCSDC describe it in an online pledge—is a significant alternative to the notion of debt forgiveness, which has been advocated by some groups rallying around the Student Loan Forgiveness Act. In the words of OSDC member Christopher Casuccio:

Forgiveness, while certainly a noble idea, implies a guilty debtor asking to be freed from its sin. Refusal, on the other hand, is an empowering, collective challenge to an illegitimate and predatory debt-system.

However, organized collective refusal is a project requiring long-term research, organizing, and support. To simply call for a debt strike without significant groundwork is unlikely to resonate with debtors already living in fear around their credit ratings and day-to-day survival.

Hello my debt is by Yates McKee

Photo by Yates McKee

An alternative messaging framework that has emerged from these assemblies has been “Strike Debt”—variously telegraphed as #strikedebt and DEBT. Playing on the metaphorical possibilities of the word “strike,” in the words of Amin Husain, “Strike Debt opens imaginative space for a wide spectrum of thought and action without limiting a politics of indebtedness to any predetermined model.”

Striking debt here can mean many things; it conjures images of a physical blow against a specified target, or crossing out the tabulation on which crippling debt is registered. Strike Debt propaganda has also emerged depicting the striking of a match, an image that lends itself naturally to the spectacle of burning debt-statements in an echo of draft-card burning which began in earnest on 1T Day and is likely to be scaled up in the form of debtors’ bonfires later in the summer. Further, an image of the iconic Quebec red square supplemented with the DEBT sign has started to go viral on Facebook.

Even as it carries with it a tone of negation or attack, the call to strike debt also has an affirmative dimension attuned to OWS principles of mutual aid. To strike debt in this context would also be to create infrastructures of support and care—legal, financial, and cultural—for those suffering from indebtedness or deliberately taking the risk of debt refusal. Mutual aid in this sense would be the prefigurative opposite of the atomizing, predatory, and fear-mongering debt system of Wall Street.

An intriguing mutual aid pilot project is the idea of a “debt fairy” campaign in which groups of private citizens would pool their resources to purchase defaulted debt for pennies on the dollar from banks —who typically sell to collection agencies—liberating the debtor from their burden. While not a structural solution — and not applicable to student loans — scaled up it could become what David Graeber imagines as a “moving jubilee” capable of both garnering media attention around debtors’ struggles and taking business away from the intermediary companies that profit from hounding and penalizing those unable to pay.

Strike debt matches by Yates McKee

Photo by Yates McKee

If debt is a gateway into a radical conversation about the capitalist system itself, strategic and analytical questions arise about the role of the state—questions that have always haunted OWS as a movement grounded in anarchist principles. What can we learn from the debt cancellation forced upon the Icelandic government by citizens earlier this year? How do we connect the dots between “personal” debt and the public debt of municipalities and governments subjected to corporate bondholders and credit-rating agencies? How do we link struggles against budgetary austerity with the grievances of the indebted? In the words of Andrew Ross, “How might debt be rethought as something socially productive and collectively managed, rather than as an engine of predatory profiteering for the 1 percent?” Can we think beyond existing models of public finance, planning, and infrastructure toward something closer to the ideal of “the commons”?

As activist and New York University professor Nick Mirzoeff has asked, in a speculative vein, if “slavery” to debt were abolished, what would a subsequent “Reconstruction” process look like? For ordinary people to delve into these questions is empowering in its own right, and for OWS they will continue to be explored through public assembly and direct action of the sort that began at Liberty Square 10 months ago.

Toward September

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Occupy Gaia – The Gaiafield Project

Occupy Gaia in 2012: Subtle Activism Meets Street Activism


In early October of 1939, one month after Germany invaded Poland, British esotericist Dion Fortune sent a letter to her network announcing the start of a magical project to support the war effort by opening a channel to allow spiritual influences to uplift the “group mind” of the nation. The project came to be known as the “Magical Battle of Britain.”

The letter contained instructions for a specific meditation practice that all members were asked to perform each Sunday from 12:15-12:30 p.m. and then again daily at any regular time of their choosing. A small group of experienced practitioners under Fortune’s guidance formed the focusing point for the meditation work, sitting in circle together each Sunday at Fortune’s home in London.

The meditations involved visualizing certain symbols believed to attract and focus spiritual forces that acted through them. Although the symbols were first created through the imagination, Fortune describes them “coming alive” early on in the group’s work, as though taking on independent forms that maintained themselves of their own accord and that developed organically over time. A set of symbols eventually emerged that were associated with key figures from the Arthurian tradition (King Arthur and Merlin) and from Christianity (Christ and Mary). It was understood that, through meditating on these symbols, the network helped to transmit to the collective British consciousness the archetypal ideals of chivalry and bravery associated with both Christianity and the myth of King Arthur, crucially strengthening the nation’s resolve during its hour of need. Because the myth created by the network was in deep harmony with the British national tradition, it was thought to have been especially accessible to the national mind. The theory was that individuals would pick up the ideas unconsciously and bring them to consciousness by thinking about them. Experts in various positions of influence would then give concrete expression to the ideals through action in the world. Indeed, Fortune claimed that the editorial pages of The Times — widely regarded at the time as the mirror of the national mind — came to give expression to the ideals of the work in a way that was “not only adequate but verbatim.


Subtle Activism

The Magical Battle of Britain is a striking example of what I call “subtle activism” — the use of spiritual or consciousness-based practices for collective (rather than individual) transformation. Subtle activism is a bridge between the inner world of spirituality and the outer world of activism (as normally conceived) that emphasizes the potential of spiritual practice to exert a subtle but crucial form of social influence. It arises from the recognition that there are many creative ways to support social change and that shifting collective consciousness lies at the heart of any successful campaign. History is replete with examples of victories by armies or social movements that were badly outmatched by their opponents in technology and size, yet which prevailed because they possessed the superior will. Subtle activism feeds the will of a social movement by making it more conscious of, and permeable to, profound evolutionary and spiritual currents that underlie it, adding deeper dimensions of meaning to the movement and inspiring greater levels of motivation and commitment among its participants. It works on the assumption that, beneath the appearance of separation, we are profoundly connected to each other at deeper levels of consciousness, and that the focused spiritual attention of even a relatively small group can subtly and positively affect the collective consciousness of an entire community, nation, or even species.(1) It is not a substitute for direct physical action, but it can play a vital role as part of a more integrative approach to social or planetary change.

While the “Magical Battle” example illustrates a western esoteric approach to subtle activism, it can be practiced in a variety of spiritual forms and traditions. A notable form that has emerged since Fortune’s time — facilitated by the development of the Internet, the growing global interfaith movement, and the increasing hybridization of spiritual traditions — is a global meditation event involving many thousands of people engaged in synchronized spiritual practice in different parts of the planet. In whatever way it is practiced, subtle activism can be seen as one of a growing number of creative spiritual responses to the challenges of our times that recognize the need to integrate the paths of inner and outer transformation. 

Looking at our present moment, how might we engage in the practice of subtle activism to support the Occupy Movement and the broader movement for global transformation it represents?



The Spiritual Dimension of the Occupy Movement

From the beginning, there seems to have been a certain magic to the Occupy Movement. Whereas most interventions by progressive activists in recent decades failed to make hardly a dent in mainstream awareness, the Occupy Movement almost instantly struck gold. It was quickly recognized as something more than just another protest, a movement of potentially historic significance. Whether it was the brilliant marketing meme of “Occupy,” the simplicity of the “We are the 99%” message, the strategy of setting up encampments, or just the stars lining up right, it evidently tapped a red-hot vein in the collective psyche and inspired a widespread excitement that fundamental systemic change might actually be possible.

At the time of writing, with many encampment sites largely abandoned for the winter or having been shut down, the movement seems to be in a liminal phase, trying to ascertain its next move. Some are already writing eulogies, arguing that the movement has failed to channel its early momentum into a mission specific enough to gain political traction. Perhaps this is true. Yet the seeds of revolution planted in the fall will inevitably sprout forth again in new ways, and probably soon.

The injustices highlighted by the movement have not in any way been addressed and, with the events of the Arab Spring, the emergence of the Spanish and Latin American indignados, and the proliferation of Occupy sites world-wide, it is obvious that we have entered one of those rare historical periods in which the zeitgeist supports revolutionary action.

The bigger picture is that the issue of economic injustice targeted by the Occupy Movement is just one symptom of a multidimensional global crisis that is exerting enormous evolutionary pressure on humanity to make a fundamental shift. To acknowledge the multiple threats of climate change, peak oil, massive species extinction, calamitous loss of topsoil, overpopulation, and potential financial collapse is to recognize that the current form of our civilization is rapidly approaching its demise. In this context, the Occupy Movement represents an inevitable uprising of the life force on the planet to attempt to initiate a new way forward.

The transition we are called to make goes far beyond incremental policy changes within the current system, positive though such changes might be. We are called to re-imagine and re-create our world around fundamentally new organizing principles. The old world is essentially on life support in any case. Our choice really is to participate consciously in the birth of the new era, or to have it forcibly and painfully delivered to us.

At the heart of the transition lies a shift in consciousness from the modern trance of experiencing ourselves as somehow separate from each other, from nature, and from the cosmos to a mode of awareness in which we acknowledge and live the truth of our interdependence and interconnection. Ecologist and cultural historian Thomas Berry succinctly summarized this shift as one in which we will experience the universe as “a communion of subjects” rather than as “a collection of objects.” For human civilization truly to become a benign and sustainable presence on the planet, we will need not only to develop a global culture of cooperation, rather than competition, to solve the many planetary-scale challenges that affect all humans, but also to fundamentally transform our relations with the entire community of life on the planet.

Although the Occupy Movement has focused its attention on the inequities of the financial system, I believe that much of the excitement it initially generated was because, in the diversity of its participants and in the generality of its aims, it also represented a long awaited public stance for a fundamentally new and more inclusive world on every level. The General Assemblies and the practice of making decisions by consensus, for example, can be understood as an evolutionary experiment to create new, more participatory governance processes that could serve as models to better harness the collective wisdom of a society. The spiritual significance of the movement can thus be seen in the way it has created an opening in the socio-political domain through which the seeds of the new consciousness can enter.

Whether the new consciousness will actually take root and flower through the Occupy Movement is an open question. As noted, after the initial eruption of energy in the fall, the movement has entered a more introspective phase, an in-breath, to pause, gather energy, and reflect before making its next major outward push. And the movement does face many challenges: how to resolve internal conflicts about whether to adhere to non-violence as a strategy versus ‘a diversity of tactics’ that includes property damage or even physical violence; how to avoid becoming overly focused on disputes with police and local authorities regarding the encampments at the expense of highlighting the primary issue of economic injustice; how to embrace the complexity of protesting against a financial system we still use and depend upon.

Yet this period of inner reflection and dialogue represents an ideal time to channel energy into the movement to help realign it with the deeper impulses that provided it with its power and relevance in the first place. This is the work of subtle activism, accessible to almost anyone. Again, it is not a substitute for more obvious or direct forms of action — which are necessary and to be encouraged — but it represents a creative response that allows many people to become engaged who might otherwise remain passive. Out of the wide spectrum of actions that can be undertaken for social change, frontline engagement does not call to everyone (and of those called, not all can respond). Indeed, in relation to the Occupy Movement, for every person who has camped out in tents and marched in the rallies, there have surely been hundreds, if not thousands, or even millions who have sympathized with the protesters, yet who would not or could not join them in the streets. Through subtle activism, we can link together with all who share our sense of the underlying promise of the Occupy Movement (including those on the streets) and build a global field of awareness that holds a space for the highest possibilities to emerge from the movement. 

Here is a project that provides a way to do just that.


Occupy Gaia

Occupy Gaia is a subtle activism program convened by the Gaiafield Project ( to help build a global field of support for the Occupy Movement. (2) It is one of a surprisingly large number of initiatives that have been developed to link the transformative power of spirituality to the Occupy Movement (other examples include meditation flash mobs, Sit for Change, Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Zen Peacemakers, and various interfaith coalitions). Occupy Gaia involves two free one-hour teleconferences/audio webcasts per month, in which participants engage in a simple subtle activism practice. After callers introduce themselves, the practice starts with a short guided meditation to connect participants to themselves, to others on the call, and to subtle and overt dimensions of the natural and spirit worlds. Then a period of silent meditation follows, usually about 20-25 minutes long, during which participants bring their inner attention to the Occupy Movement while remaining open for any guidance that might arise from the field. In the final stage of the practice, participants are invited to share any insights or experiences that came to them during the meditation. The call becomes like a multi-dimensional planetary oracle, with a field of deep collective wisdom about the current state of the movement emerging from the intersection of our human awareness, the inner and outer ecology of Gaia, and subtle dimensions of spirit. Personally I almost always experience the calls to be profoundly meaningful and am usually struck by how quickly an atmosphere of deep intimacy develops from participants sharing their inner worlds with each other.

This article is a call to action for all who resonate with an inner approach to collective transformation. To those who feel the call, we invite you to join us on the second Wednesday of each month, from 5.30-6.30pm Pacific time and/or on the fourth Friday of each month from 8.30-9.30am Pacific. For the call-in details, please visit

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Portland, OR Nixes Corporate Personhood

Portland City Council approves anti-war and corporate-personhood resolutions

Published: Thursday, January 12, 2012, 4:48 PM     Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2012, 4:51 PM
councilphoto.jpgBeth Slovic/The OregonianPortland City Council chambers on Thursday afternoon as commissioners and the mayor listened to testimony on two symbolic resolutions.
Portland City Council chambers overflowed this afternoon with supporters of two resolutions that grew out of the Occupy Wall Street and anti-war movements.Both are largely symbolic.

The first measure takes aim at military spending and responds to a call from local peace activists in October.

It establishes “that the City of Portland praises United States troops and their families, applauds the end of the Iraq War and supports the further drawdown of troops in Afghanistan with funds being redirected to domestic priorities.”

One element of controversy?

Although it was declared over by the federal government in December, the Iraq War hasn’t ended, a few people testified. American troops remain in the country.

A second resolution, piggybacking on efforts in Los Angeles and elsewhere, establishes “that corporations should not receive the same legal rights as natural persons do, that money is not speech and that independent expenditures should be regulated” in political campaigns. It takes aim at the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, which allows unlimited corporate spending in elections.

Mayor Sam Adams, the sponsor for both measures, introduced the second rule by noting that not all corporations act the same. And, he said, “the world would be a better place,” if more corporations in the world behaved like Portland corporations.

“This is about what kind of electoral system we want to devise for ourselves,” Adams said.

Both resolutions passed 3-0. Now, according to the second resolution, the city attorney’s office will “determine the legality and process of referring an advisory vote to the citizens of Portland on the issue of corporate personhood, and refer their findings back to Council for further consideration.”

Two commissioners, Nick Fish and Dan Saltzman, were absent.

— Beth Slovic

Spirituality & Society

Pythia Peay

Author and writer on spirituality, psychology and American psyche

 Spirituality And Social Change: An Interview With Corinne McLaughlin
Posted: 5/18/11 08:38 AM ET

Those who despair over the gap between their vision of a more environmentally sustainable, just and peaceful planet and the world as it is can find inspiration in Corinne McLaughlin’s call to become practical visionaries: Those activists, she says, who remain steady in their work over time by keeping their “eyes on the horizon, their feet on the ground, and their hearts on fire.”

McLaughlin, a spiritual and political activist who has taught politics at American University, is coauthor of “Spiritual Politics”with her husband Gordon Davidson (author of the forthcoming “Joyful Evolution”). They are as well founders of The Center for Visionary Leadership and The Sirius Community, and are fellows of The World Business Academy and The Findhorn Foundation.

The following is an edited version of my interview with McLaughlin on her recent book,“The Practical Visionary: A New World Guide to Spiritual Growth and Social Change”.

Pythia: I’d like to start with a simple question. What is your definition of a “visionary”?

Corinne: A visionary is someone who sees the future with both insight and foresight: Insight into the deeper causes and meaning of events in the world, and foresight, or an intuitive grasp of the big picture, such as the trajectory of politics and popular culture.

Pythia: You write in your book that you’ve seen many visionaries fail to manifest their inspiring visions. What do you find is the biggest obstacle most visionaries face?

Corinne: The problem I find with a lot of visionaries is that they’re too far ahead — perhaps their vision won’t happen for another hundred years. That’s why I like to help people focus on “next step” visions that are more doable.

Pythia: Why is being too far ahead of one’s own time a problem?

Corinne: Thinking that something that is far in the future can come sooner leads to unrealistic expectations, as well as rigid and dogmatic perspectives. It can also prevent visionaries from seeing what’s possible right in front of them. Our work is to translate what we might receive from a flash of insight into things that are useful today.

Take for example the recent uprising in Egypt. I could hold a positive vision of how this could all turn out, but I know it’s not going to be as simple as that. It’s one thing to get rid of a dictator. The harder part is to create a viable democracy that empowers people. But what I found inspiring in Egypt is how, during the revolution, the people organized their neighborhoods, created street clinics to help the wounded, and cleaned up after their demonstrations. These may seem like small things, but to me they are examples of practical, effective visionaries at work.

Pythia: You write that as a young woman in the sixties you were inspired by people in government and their dedication to public service — such as President Kennedy and Robert Kennedy — to enter government service yourself. You then went on to work at various Federal agencies, such as the Social Security Administration and President Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development; you’ve even taught meditation to some government agencies. How did these first-hand experiences shape your development as a practical visionary?

Corinne: I believe strongly that social change isn’t just about demonstrations in the street against the wrongs in society. There is also the path of the social innovator who creates new institutions and the path of the reformer who goes within an institution and makes incremental changes. Based on my own experience, I learned that implementing a vision in an institutional setting involves working with conflict resolution and a whole systems perspective. It’s important, for instance, to have a multi-stakeholder perspective — in other words, you can’t just go charging in with your own ideas, you have to appreciate people’s different perspectives, then work to find common ground and bring the various parties to the table in a respectful dialogue.

Because I frequently encountered obstacles such as old, entrenched ideas, ongoing power struggles, or the lack of staff and money, I also learned to develop patience and detachment. In federal, state and local governments, administrations, philosophies, and policy initiatives change. If your vision aligns with the values of the current administration you’re working with, you can make some progress — but that could all change in four or six years.

Pythia: Together with your husband, Gordon Davidson, you’ve also taught the path of “Ageless Wisdom” for many decades. What has this spiritual perspective brought to your calling as a practical visionary?

Corinne: What I’ve taken from my spiritual study is the wisdom of living a balanced life. My spiritual path has also helped me to be more emotionally centered, to be more understanding of those that disagree with me, and to learn how to let go of some of my power issues so that I can be more effective and bring a sense of humility to my work — while still having the self-confidence to be effective.

Pythia: You write about how easy it is for activists to burn out, and list different ways that they can stay “spiritually sane.” What contemplative practices do you teach activists that can help prevent disillusionment?

Corinne: Many activists just see what’s wrong: they want to stand up to injustice and educate people about it. But I think it’s equally important for activists to hold a more positive vision of what’s right with their country: what’s going well, and what they’d like to grow or see more of. I also like to encourage activists to take some time each day to sit silently or take a walk in nature as a way to be in touch with their inner wisdom and peace — and to remember why they are on this path in the first place.

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