rn: update from Jan, intro to next message


Jan Slakov

Dear RN list,                

Richard wrote today to ask me when I was planning to surface... I've been so
busy I've hardly bothered to feel guilty about letting this list go for a time.

Happily busy: much of my time has been taken up with the white poppy
campaign I told you about (on Oct. 4 '99). It has gotten a lot of media
attention here in Canada and it looks like the tradition has put down deep
enough roots now that even if I were to give up on the campaign, it would
keep on of its own accord. I'm delighted because this campaign has given us
activists a great way to help people see security in a new light, and a
great way to get some truths about war and militarism into the public arena.
I was talking with Janet Eaton (known to many netizens for her MAI-not,
peace (eg. documenting the ecological consequences of the Kosovo war) and
other activism) the other day, and she underlined the usefulness of GRAPHIC
IMAGES in our work. Images, like some key quotes, can act as landmarks on
our journey to a more livable world. (I can't resist the temptation to share
with you a couple neat examples:

"Be realistic, demand the impossible!" from a leaflet being used by the
HOMES NOT BOMBS group, which plans to do a "conversion" of Canada's War
Dept. to a Housing Dept. on Nov. 12

"Do not wait for leaders, do it alone, person to person. "   
                       --Mother Teresa

Nov. 26 '99 - International Buy Nothing Day (brought to you by Adbusters:
Journal of the Mental Environment and the Barnard B.C. Foundation
<•••@••.•••> "Remember - many of the world's people won't be buying
most days anyhow because they are too poor or they live in self-sufficient
subsistence communities. We can work with them to change ourselves and the

Anyhow, so much for the "update from Jan".
The posting I want to send you tonight invites us to think critically of our
ani-globalization strategies. It comes from Marjaleena Repo, who has been
working closely with David Orchard (who you may remember as the organic
farmer/anti-free trade politician introduced to this list on Aug. 9 '98).

Marjaleena urges us not to fritter away our activism by neglecting the
official (party politics) political process. She suggests that taking to the
streets and other largely symbolic actions are not likely to help us make
the changes we want.

Actually though, I know that Marjaleena herself sees real value in activism
that is not overtly political in the "official" sense, because she is
engaged in some herself. (I especially appreciate her solidarity intitiative
with the people of Yugoslavia: She once wrote to me:  "I personally hope
that we Canadians can undertake the rebuilding of Yugoslavia, completely
independently from "our" government. Perhaps we can work with projects where
Canadian groups and communities will work to help build bridges,
schools, hospitals, maternity wards, libraries, daycare centres, and any of the
many damaged facilities and institutions. People to people, so we can focus our
energies andthrough solidarity give the Yugoslavians hope. Something like what
many Canadians did during and after the war on Vietnam.

All the best,


Similarly, although Richard recently wrote that 
"Activists  are realistically bypassing the bankrupt national political
process...", he was supportive of David Orchard's efforts to use the
precisely that political process to resist corporate globalization.

My own feeling is that "to everything there is a season" and that we can use
largely symbolic campaigns (such as the white poppy campaign) to our
advantage in certain circumstances, but also use conventional party
politics. And we can also act simply and directly to "be the change we seek
for the world" as Gandhi said. (For one of my dear friends, this meant
earning and saving enough money (at the tender age of 26 or so!) to buy an
old farm here in Nova Scotia, now called Gandhi Farm, and turning it into
what is quite probably the only  open, off-the-grid, radical, organic, vegan
community in North America, and possibly the world. (GF, Brookfield Mines,
NS B0T 1X0 <http://members.rotfl.com/GRim/gandhifarm> )

all the best, Jan

PS One more thing: a message urging us to not assume that Mumia Abu-Jamal is
completely innocent - 

From: •••@••.•••
Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999 21:58:58 EST
Subject: Re: Stop the Execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal

In a message dated 99-11-01 21:43:30 EST, you write:

 > Spend 20 seconds of your time to send a free fax to Janet Reno
 > expressing your outrage over Mumia's scheduled execution:
 > http://www.bckweb.com/mumia/
 > Or visit - http://mojo.calyx.net/~refuse/mumia/

Some of us liberals in Philadelphia know there is more to the Mumia case. 
Certainly his trial was unfair and he deserves a new trial. For sure. 
However, his brother has never stepped forward to testify in Mumia's defense. 
Nor has Mumia ever spoken in court, I believe. While Philadelphia police are 
notoriously corrupt, they did not put a gun in Mumia's hands. He was not an 
unarmed man suddenly accused of murder. 

Creo que el mundo es bello, 
que la poesía es como el pan, 
de todos. 

(I believe the world is beautiful
and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone)

Roque Dalton

Jan Slakov, Box 35, Weymouth, NS, Canada B0W 3T0  (902) 837-4980
 CDR (Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance) home page ->


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