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Earth Walker
August 13th, 2001, 03:47 AM
by Jeniva

The idea that power and responsibility reside in the individual
is a central concept to both feminist spirituality and anarchism.
Some of us have combined feminist spiritual and anarchist
ideas to strengthen our analysis of individual power and
responsibility and to increase our energy for political work.
We've found that our spiritual and political beliefs start from the
same place. In view of this, to deny the spiritual while doing
political work, or to cultivate the spiritual at expense of another's
political and economic well-being seems a contradiction.
It is always difficult to intellectualize something which is most
meaningful on a gut level. Spiritual truths are known with the
intuition.
To see how our work is rooted in the spiritual, we need to discuss
the beliefs that we, as political activists,hold intuitively.
These are the convictions which motivate our work, which show
us power imbalances between individuals, within society, and
within the ecosystem.
At the root of radical feminism, antiracism, environmentalism,
and anti-authoritarianism is a wholistic view of the world as made
up of elements which are interdependent, equally valuable, and
ultimately harmonious in a state of freedom.
This is in opposition to the right-wing spiritual perspective which
sees both nature and human emotion or passion as being
essentially chaotic, evil, and in need of control by a structure
imposed by authoritarian gods through men, their agents.
There is a spiritual element to our activities as well as our beliefs.
As a political community we have myths, rites, and symbols which
remind us of who we are, where we are going, and the values
we share.
For example, we often gather together to study a common
heritage of ideas and to hear stories about past struggles,
defeats and victories. At other gatherings we demonstrate,
singing, chanting, and marching together. This lets us sense our
collective strength, build networks of solidarity, and raise our
energy.
When we see an anarchy or women's symbol or a fist painted on a wall anywhere in the world, we draw strength from a sense
of community.
Once we acknowledge this dimension of politics, we can consciously use spirituality to become stronger personally and to
direct our efforts so that we become more effective politically.
Spiritual work has both tangible and intangible effects on
political struggle. As we visualize living autonomously and
responsibly in the world, we practice this new way of being.
This helps us to keep us based in reality by reminding us of what we're struggling for, not just what we're struggling against.
Our spiritual/political committment demands that we move from
envisioned goals to possible strategies and tactics to be enacted
here and now.
The process of envisioning a better world gives us a deeper
understanding of our potential and so increases the possibility
of realizing that potential.
Anarchist mistrust of overt spirituality sometimes seems an attempt to protect our credibility as a movement.
The accusation anarchists most often get is that we're
'unrealistic' or 'too idealistic.' And it's true that our theory requires
a strong belief that people can be nonoppressive. This idealism
is sometimes hard to admit. So we go to great lengths to show
how rational and realistic we are.
In the name of being realistic we fall back on the Western
scientific establishment to provide criteria for truth and knowledge. At the same time, we claim to recognize this
scientific establishment as a tool of the elite uses to carve up
our Mother Earth and divide her people. In the name of being
rational we suppress hope and become obsessively cynical.
This cynicism is not only unwarranted but frequently leads to
political arrogance.
Spiritual practitioners are also responsible for separating
spirituality from politics. Having the time and opportunity to
raise power and not acting to re-empower others is
irresponsible.
Segments of the women's spiritual movement ignore crucial
struggles against oppression. While providing us with
inspiration and important ideas, they stop short of the political
activism their spiritual philosphy implies.
For instance, white women must look at the racism inherent in
taking from native and black spirituality only what feels
comfortable while ignoring the rage of people whose survival
is based in linking spiritual and political action.
Taking responsibility for our privilege means even more than
providing tangible support for oppressed people's struggles.
It means that our spirituality is never taken out of its political
context. As spiritual/political activists we must talk about war,
strategies and direct action.
We need to find a way of living as spiritual warriors.

Illuminatus
August 13th, 2001, 02:53 PM
Interesting article. She's describing a fusion between the feminist movement and a sense of spirituality, with a dash of
anarchy for good measure.

Anyway, I really can't comment on any of her ideas, because they are built upon some pretty ridiculous premises. Like anarchy. News flash: anarchy really sucks. Just watch any post-apocalyptic movie for evidence: mad max, mad max beyond thunderdome, waterworld, any generic post-apocalyptic scenario. Anyone who thinks anarchy is a viable option to government has convienantly ignored or miscalculated the critical "Roving band of well-armed thugs" variable.

It's a moot point anyway, since government is inherent to the human condition. TRUE anarchy cannot exist.. Even the basic family unit has a dominant male (or female!) who runs the show. A town elder is just a step up from that. A step up from that is the basic feudal lord, who extends his grasp over several towns. From feudalism you can look at the history of Europe to see how that leads to Imperal governments, Republics, then Democracy and Socialism and Capitolism. etc... Hell, even those post-apocalyptic movies had "governments" of a sort, just small, localized ones as to be negligable.

Earth Walker
August 13th, 2001, 03:58 PM
I am not suggesting that we use violence in our protests,
I am a semi-pacifist, meaning that we shouldn't initiate
violence against our oppressors, but on the other hand, I am
not advocating being a door-mat either!
For example, In Genoa, police, without warning, burst into a
room of SLEEPING protesters and beat them violently. Many
were taken hospitals with severe injuries. The police shot a
young man to death because he was going to throw a 20 lb.
fire extinguisher at an armoured police vehicle. The cop put his
gun barrel through the port, and shot Carlo twice, killing him. Why??????????????
Why would the police "worry" about such a small article hitting
an armoured vehicle???? The cop said later that he "was fearful"
for his life. Really? Oh, puuuleeeeeeeeze! :rolleyes:
I believe in peaceful, non-violent protests, but how much longer
should we remain peaceful, as police violence is growing, as
they protect FTAA, G8 Summit, WTO, NAFTA, PNWER, GATT, etc?
We should not initiate violence, but we also need to protect ourselves.


Only my Cat understands me.
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