rn: WTO: stories, direction


Jan Slakov

Dear RN,

Richard's posting from earlier today is already receiving accolades; I
hesitate to send you yet another lenghty posting but this is good too!

Since this posting is so long I have edited it drastically. Worth it I think
because it reminds us to distinguish the important from the urgent, in other
words, to build and protect life and beauty and justice/shalom and to
remember that trying to be right or better than someone else is a bit of a
waste of time!

I'm also posting it because one of our regular contributors, Mark D.
Whitaker, wrote earlier that we should not be too quick to cut down the
"anarchists" who commited acts of vandalism. This posting is the first that
really showed me the wisdom in what Mark pointed out.

So much I might want to say to you, as we cross into the 2000's. For now,
how about an electronic "group hug" and good wishes to all of us and all
those we care about, which I think might just about include every being in
the universe :)!
all the very best, Jan
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 22:21:46 -0800
From: Randy Schutt <•••@••.•••>
Subject: A View of WTO from a Cultural Transformation Perspective

Here is another view of WTO (and many other things) from  Vicki 
Robin, co-author of the bestseller YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE. Though 
Vicki is very wise and experienced in cultural change (especially in 
the voluntary simplicity movement), it sounds like she is relatively 
new to political and social change, especially nonviolent direct 
action. So this essay has a different focus and tone than others I've 

Dear friends,
Gratitude first. Gratitude to all of you who responded from
your hearts to my last letter about September in India. I
felt deeply met and encouraged by all of you. These update
letters have grown from sharing my "unedited life" with a
close circle of amigos to messages that are hopscotching
through cyberspace to friends of friends of friends. 
<snip> I feel you out there - and it feels good.

These last two months have been so rich that one letter can
barely contain it all. So I'm breaking it in two. This
letter will be Vicki trying to make sense of the vast event
focused around the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Seattle. In a
subsequent letter I'll makes sense of the rest of the
richness of the past two months. From now on I will be
posting these letters (perhaps with some edits for brevity
and clarity) on our web page (http://www.newroadmap.org ).
You can forward them to friends if you like, or just direct
them there.

Daunted by the sheer volume of this letter? Here's a map:

 Okay, let's roll…


For an excellent summary of the WTO, please go to
http://www.rachel.org "Making Sense of the WTO" #679. An
interesting factual account of the command chain that led to
the police action can be found at
Beyond this, you're on your own. I'm sure you have your own
sources and are forming your own opinions. Rather than offer
another personal account of events I want to make three
simple observations.

The WTO thrives on selling the idea that there are no
alternatives to globalization. It's an ideology nicknamed
TINA - There Is No Alternative (Trekkies, sounds like the
Borg, doesn't it?). It's ironic that the acronym turns out
to be a woman's name. Most women I know are much more
inclusive of a range of opinions than TINA is. The world I
live in, however, could be called TATA (There Are Thousands
of Alternatives - a term used at the IFG teach-in). I like
that. It sounds like a kindly grandmother. And it is.

I admire and participate in a myriad of successful, common
sense design strategies for a world that works for all of
life. I'll name a few to indicate my meaning, but the list
only points a finger to a rich, diverse and densely
populated territory. The Natural Step. Ecological Footprint.
Non-violent Communication. Barter Networks. Indigenous
wisdom. Meditation. Engaged Buddhism. Appropriate
Technology. Results. Mindful Markets. The Universe Story.
Beyond War. Holistic everything. Natural foods. Community
Supported Agriculture. Biointensive Gardening. Permaculture.
Citizen Juries. Consensus. Home Schooling. Ecological
Economics. Town Meetings. The Genuine Progress Indicator.
Ballot Initiatives. Boycotts. The Ceres Principles. The
Earth Charter. And yes, Your Money or Your Life. You get the

Globalized free trade could be seen as putting the economy
on steroids and amphetamines. TINA is having delusions of
grandeur and is in the midst of a serious psychotic break.
If "she" were a person, we'd institutionalize "her". The
lock-out of the WTO in Seattle was the beginning of her lock
up by the citizens of the world. TATA is respectful, humble,
curious, sincere, ethical, devoted to the common good - in
other words, sane.

The teach-ins, marches, rallies, workshops and NGO meetings
in Seattle marked the beginning of the many alternatives
finding one another and making common cause and commons
sense. Hallelujah!  Every place I went I met wonderful
people, heartened to know one another. We listened to each
other's views, learned, shared stories, exchanged email and
web site addresses and generally shifted from the loneliness
of the long time-frame critic to the knowledge that we are
legion and we aren't gonna let TINA run the world by
default. There is every indication and reason to hope that a
new global grassroots citizens movement was born at the end
of the second millennium.

One of my favorite teaching tales:
Two monks sat in contemplation by a river. Suddenly they
heard the cries of a baby and saw the infant struggling for
breath as it floated by. They waded in, brought the child to
shore and revived it. Satisfied, they returned to their
peaceful state. Again they heard cries, saw a struggling
infant, fished it out, revived it and settled down for
meditation. But the tempo of drowning babies increased. Both
men shuttled from river to shore, saving babies as fast as
they could. Soon they were soaked and exhausted and totally
out of peace. Suddenly one monk ran away. Now the other was
REALLY out of peace, angry at being abandoned. Hours later
the stream of babies stopped as mysteriously as it had
started. Then the second monk returned. "Where were you,"
cried the first monk, "when I really needed you!"  "I went
upstream to see who was throwing babies into the river," the
absent monk replied.

Fishing out babies is a front lines holding action,
necessary for immediate survival. Such actions take courage,
commitment and a willingness to get waist deep in the
torrent of the times. A great deal of activism is just this
sort of heroics. Shutting down the ministerial meeting was,
among other things, a holding action. It was like lying down
in front of a tank or climbing a tree in a threatened
forest. As I said, many times during the week I felt the tug
to this moral high ground, but I was there on another

For years I've "battled" the blindness and manipulation at
the heart of overconsumption. It's as far upstream as I
could go. I have been deeply distressed by the whole tempo
of trashing the planet to fill the pockets and presumed
needs of those who already have more than enough. <snip>

The WTO is merely the handmaiden of a worldview that is:
1. materialistic (profit is our most important product,
economic growth = well being)
2. undemocratic (of, by and for the people with wealth)
3. cut-throat (do what you have to do to compete
successfully today - even at the cost of compromising the
future - or you're history)
4. cynical (purporting to be for the poor - a rising tide
lifts all ships, y'know - but actually fueling the
increasing rich/poor gap) and
5. sociopathic (greed is good; altruism is suspect; cynicism
is de-rigeur).

It is a self-organizing system that would, from its own
point of view, work better without the constraints being
placed on it by worry warts.  It has removed as many natural
and artificial controls to its ascendancy as possible,
against all good sense. Money isn't tied to any form of
natural wealth. The natural world is a subset of the economy
and, if any natural limits are transgressed, technology is
called in to fix it. The ability to overturn national laws
that limit free trade is a completely coherent demand of
such a worldview. Never mind that global warming, water
shortages, loss of topsoil, overpopulation, rising inequity,
collapse of fisheries are flashing "red alert". The
worldview cannot let this in without cracking its internal
logic. My favorite recent example is that Clorox, the
leading global manufacturer of dioxins, has purportedly
bought out Britta, the counter-top water filtration system
to make our drinking water pure again. Do I hear double
speak?  Hate is love. War is peace. Instead of "polluters
paying" (a sensible principle of ecological economics),
polluters can profit from both ecological destruction and
remediation. We need this world view like we need another
hole in the head. But, as Seattle demonstrated, worldviews
die hard.

Think of it this way. If you are a farmer and your farmland
is taken away, you don't only lose your land and your
livelihood - you lose your identity. Even if you are given a
job in the new prison facility built nearby or given a
pension for the rest of your life, a hole in the center of
your being has opened up. And if you are a rich person
profiting from the Industrial paradigm you will be hard
pressed to change.  Even if you have no time for your
family. Even if you have had to do things that violate your
original sense of fairness. Even if your doctor says you
have to slow down. Even if you learn that your company's
product is doing harm.

In fact, I suspect that the faithful followers of the
dominant economic paradigm are as much its victims as are
the voiceless. The managerial class is being milked for its
productivity like forests for their logs and chickens for
their eggs and sweat-shop workers for their labor - and they
know it. Perhaps this is why YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE appeals
to people in every income bracket - it's a defector's
manual.  Yet, if you are a winner in the casino where the
future of the biosphere is being gambled away, it's still
hard to push away from the table.  Aside from people
influenced by compelling moral figures like Mohandas Gandhi
or Jesus, few privileged individuals in history have
voluntarily given up their advantage.

So, in my view, the materialistic mindset is what's throwing
the babies (living systems) in the drink. The WTO is just a
visible representation of a mindset that puts profits over
people and the planet.

The emergent worldview, in my opinion, has it all over that
old one. It starts in the vastness of the unfolding story of
the Universe, cracks open the future by showing that
evolution is still going on. It affirms that spiritual
values are as determinative of outcome as material ones. It
lifts up the non-economic side of life (laughter,
generosity, dance, intimacy, caring, art, music, philosophy,
inquiry) and embraces the economic side of life like a
cherished younger brother. It wants the economy to do what
economies do well - meet real material needs. And it wants
the rest of life to flourish. It honors democracy, decency,
civility and law as part of what it takes for humans to live
together. It honors the earth as the home of all life, the
only home we have. It is practical, sane, common sensible.

In terms of worldview activism, I believe that my recent
choice to devote more time to writing will be my primary
form of demonstration. But I'm not sure. Is the keyboard
mightier than the sword?  Or, for that matter, than the
commercial culture…

As we face this as a culture, I imagine we'll indulge in
blame ball for a while. Blame ball?  That's when everyone
will want to shed the full weight of responsibility and toss
blame to another party. The rich. The poor. The government.
Advertising. The corporations. Inflation. Truly, since
over-consumption comes out of a paradigm that's dying
(there's always more where that came from) we're all
innocent and we're all to blame. The question is: Who will
have the strength and sanity to say, "the buck  - literally
- stops here."  Will it take breaking the eco-bank before we
face our predicament?

If I fault myself seriously for anything, it was not seeing
how necessary this point of view was to the whole challenge
to the WTO and at least passing out some printed jeremiad on
street corners. Because at one level, it doesn't take a
rocket scientist to see that as people and as a planet, we
need to live within the means of our productive capacity.
And it's obvious (to me, at least - what about you?) that
the less dependent we are on the economy, the more we can
challenge its core premises.

Remember, no matter how much we criticize the global
economy, we are tied to it.  Fans of Monty Python may
remember the scene in THE LIFE OF BRIAN, set in the time of
Jesus, when the small political cabal is stoking their
revolutionary ire. "What have the Romans done for US
anyway???" one cries defiantly. "The aqueducts?" another
tenders, sheepishly "Yes, but besides the aqueducts?"
"Sanitation"  "Yes, but…" "Education" "The roads"  "Yes, but
besides, aqueducts, sanitation, education, the road, what
HAVE the Romans done for us."

What HAS the global economy done for us, anyway?  It turns
out it's done a lot, and not just for us but for many people
in the two-thirds world as well. We need and appreciate some
commerce to support ourselves and meet our needs. But what
needs is the economy - global or local - good at filling and
for what needs is it just gross and clumsy?  For some things
I need money. I won't bore you with an accounting of how I
spend my $850 a month income. I know that even if I were
more of a gleaner or gatherer than I am, I would need
aspects of the money economy to survive in today's world.

Many other needs, however, are met by my own
self-responsibility, creativity, struggle to learn,
willingness to feel, and, of course, by my relationships.
Once basic needs are met, most real human emotion is
centered on the joys and sorrows of living itself.  Birth.
Marriage. Death. Overcoming challenges. Missing out.
Achieving. It's more about love than a Lexus, no matter how
much advertising tries to sell the latter with the former.

In YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE, a daily practice is established
of distinguishing between purchasing to meet real, tangible
needs and buying to try to fill non-material needs. Quantity
is differentiated from quality. Calculating real hourly wage
and the fulfillment curve (simple analytic tools used in
YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE) illuminate the true cost of the
product-intensive American way of living. That's why
people's expenses drop like a rock. What if we could
energize such a process globally?  What if we put serious
restraints on advertising (c'mon folks, that ain't free
speech!)?  And what if we taught media literacy so that even
toddlers could differentiate between commercially stoked
needs and a wet diaper?  What if we reclaimed some of the
air waves from commercial interests, used them to inspire,
inform and empower, and made citizenship a better game than
"more" (consumerism)? What if we established a really
progressive income tax again, just like in the good old
post-war days when the poor were getting richer faster than
the rich were?  And what if we actually started a national
and international dialogue about the big "R" word -
redistribution of wealth?  What if we overturned the Supreme
Court ruling that gave corporations the rights of personhood
to corporations? Initiatives in all these areas are already
underway. So this isn't idle chatter.

Now, what about the two thirds world where basic needs are
still not met for billions and those that are entering the
middle class are clearly better off. Am I advocating
voluntary simplicity for the poor of the world who've had
their appetite for consumption whetted by our media?  Am I
saying that the billions of poor shouldn't have their crack
at the good life?  Fortunately, a great deal of research has
been done about how to provide room for the poor to expand
their consumption while the rich moderate theirs. Studies by
Friends of the Earth Netherlands, among many others, reveal
that consumption fairness can be achieved while still giving
the wealthy (us) as high a standard of living as we had,
say, in the 1950's. Implementing such a system, of course,
will take much political will and courage, but in times of
real need people have shown a remarkable willingness to pull
together for the common good. Do you think polluting our
scant water supply, for example, might be a crisis worthy of
making some adjustments?

My favorite chant in the marches was, "This is what
democracy looks like!"  Free speech. Right of free assembly.
Freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. Of course
democracy is more than marching in solidarity against the
WTO alongside people who might disagree with you on a host
of other things. But there was a whiff of citizenship in the
air - especially heartening during the Christmas shopping
season in a country where consumerism has all but supplanted
the quaint virtue of civic participation.

The police and National Guard, in their frightening array of
force, was the old paradigm baring her teeth. The temporary
loss of democratic rights in Seattle demonstrated vividly
the undemocratic nature of the world order the WTO is
designed to enforce. It was the WTO's version of "This is
what democracy looks like." Of, by and for the people who
have the wealth (and want more of it). I've designed a test
for WTO supporters (up to and including Michael Moore) who
tell me they're doing it all for the poor, who still believe
in the trickle down theory. Let's have a lottery, monitored
by the likes of Vaclav Havel, Desmond Tutu, Thich Nhat Hanh
or other respected moral voices. Every child between the
ages of 10 and 13, say, will draw the name of a family
somewhere in the world and go live with them for a year.
Suburban jocks could end up in a barrio in Mexico City.
Indian farm kids might join city sophisticates in Paris. And
maybe some of the millions of kids who die daily of
malnutrition diseases could end up dining for a year at
tables heaped with luscious, plentiful food. The kids might
all love it. But what adjustments might the well-heeled
parents in the North make if their own children were the
recipients of their corporate policies?

The problems weren't specific bad cops or "anarchists". The
problem is that we thought we had a democracy and we may
not. Worse, I think many of us have forgotten how. I've not
thought much about democracy, just like I hadn't thought
much about the economy until 10 years ago.  I learned in 7th
grade that we have one and left it at that. Now, I'm
reassigning myself to Poli Sci 101 (I actually never took
that class in the first place). The beauty and hope from all
this is that there are, I believe, millions like me who have
been rudely awakened from a civic laziness. My guess is that
once I catch hold of what democracy really is, I will be in
awe of its beauty and proud to be part of the species that
invented it.

Luckily I had a couple of anarchist friends staying with me
or I might have dismissed their cause as incoherent at best
and counter productive at worst. We stayed up late into the
night talking. Amber saw in anarchy a utopian ideal - self
responsible, aware people making considered choices that
benefit the whole. She was quite aware that pulling off a
functioning anarchist society would take a level of maturity
that humanity might never achieve, or only after some
profound growth at a species level. Mike saw anarchy as an
appropriate response to an insane world. "I don't have to
understand the phonebook-fat trade regulations to know they
don't work. Just look around. Injustice. Unhappiness.
Uncaring corporate power."  For him, crimes against property
aren't like crimes against people. Only those corporate
outlets that exploit people and nature had been targeted.
Their property, in his view, was ill-gotten. Those plate
glass facades literally come out of the hide of underpaid
workers and abused ecosystems.

I thought of my own sentimental affinity for Luddites and
Monkey Wrenchers. If I believed that smashing things would
actually work, I might do it. But I'm just far enough along
in life to know that in some perverse way such acts are good
for the GDP (the clean up and repair WILL happen) and
ultimately bad for the natural world (more resource
consumption to tidy up the mess). But what struck me about
Mike's argument was the fact that the world he's expected to
inherit and uphold makes no sense to him. He doesn't want
it. And he's no "trust fund hippie."  He rides the rails,
dumpster dives and plants trees for money - embracing a
marginal existence as the only thing that's consistent with
his stark view of reality. While the ones who did the
tagging and window smashing were few, I suspect there are
many Mike's out there, and this is as much a by-product of
the consumer society as deforestation.
A dear friend of mine - a man enamored of truth and beauty
who happens to be a Republican - wrote me last week saying:
"The worst thing about highly contentious situations is that
they can come between friends."  People I cherish are strung
out along much of the spectrum of opinion about the WTO. I
wonder who might feel required to distance themselves from
me because I haven't taken quite the right stance.

During the year I lived in Spain, I remember long,
eye-opening conversations with an older friend over
Galoise-like cigarettes. She told me about her recollections
of the Spanish Civil War. There was no electricity, much
less telephones, in rural Spain at that time. News of the
war filtered into the hinterlands via word of mouth. And
people, who'd harbored ancient enmities, having nothing to
do with the issues of the war, grabbed the occasion and
started killing each other. That image of war releasing the
beast of hatred has always stayed with me.

Listen to the rhetoric. The Battle of Seattle. The war being
waged by the global corporate and financial institutions.
These are fighting words.
I recall the woman in a "WTO for Beginners" workshop with me
who on Monday hadn't even heard of the WTO. She'd been at a
bus stop and struck up a conversation with someone who gave
her an earful. By Tuesday she was at every teach-in she
could find. By Friday she was in the March. By the next
Wednesday she was front row center with her tape recorder at
the first City Council hearing.  She'd gotten radicalized -
along with many other people on the streets and in front of
their TV's that week.

And I recall an old folk song about the civil war: "Which
side are you on? Which side are you on?"  If lines get drawn
and sides picked, which way will all the people I know and
those I met on the streets go?

Something in me wants to stand up for the perfection of the
whole pageant and all of the passion and outrage and courage
that flushed the old paradigm out of hiding. I want to stand
up for the camaraderie and bridge building I saw happening
outside the "war zone."  I want to have those who were
locked down give respect to the people for whom the greatest
act of courage was just to show up at a rally. I want us to
celebrate those who were disobedient and got arrested, to
remember what we learned dutifully in American History books
- it was the SHOT heard round the world, not the teach-in or
march. At the same time, I want all of us who protested to
remember the humanity of the delegates and ministers. I want
us to heed people like Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel and
playwright Anna Devere Smith who have had the patience and
vision to tell the whole stories of horrors like the
Holocaust and the LA riots. I want the precious possibility
of new alliances to flourish and not get beaten down by
ideological hair splitting. If "Turtles and Teamsters" are
going to have more than a fling, they will need all the
courtesy and respect they can muster to deal with their real

I'm not just being nice in this call for respect. I'm being
practical and fierce. And true to my own conviction that all
elements have information that will lead to unheard of
solutions - if we will listen deeply. Demonizing is running
rampant now, filling column inches and email boxes globally.
It won't help. Having trained in many forms of Aikido, on
and off the mat, I am deeply concerned by my colleagues
demonizing the WTO and what it stands for. I was especially
troubled when this attitude spilled over into subtle and
not-so-subtle put downs among the broad range of citizens
and NGO's who formed common cause for a few glorious days. A
few folks engaged in direct action seemed to be wearing a
bit of "You Wimp" cologne that the rest of us could smell.
Any choice short of battle mode was capitulation. But there
was other polite sniping going on. I literally fear that
after years of careful work we will arrive at the crest of
the hill, see the "whites of the eyes" of the old paradigm,
stand up and turn our guns on one another for some obscure
differences of analysis and strategy. (Monty Python could do
this skit up good.) The battle lines need to be drawn
between paradigms, not between people or preferred tactics
for change. We are choosing the rules for the future. Let's
do it eyes wide open. In a way, the ideology of greed and
growth thrives because it is simple-minded and single-
minded. How can we, diverse as we are, be of one mind too?

Some of the people who impressed me most for their inter-NGO
bridge building were representatives of Alliance for
Democracy, United for a Fair Economy and Sustainable
America. They said… We need to watch out for the turf and
leadership and funding wars that break us apart in petty
ways. We need to take reflective time to scout upstream for
the source of drowning babies so we don't repeatedly solve
the same problem. And we need to keep our eye on the prize -
healthy people on a healthy planet - and not just the next
phone call or campaign. Can we do these few simple things?

I have annoyed my enviro friends by asserting that the
future belongs to the press agents. Surely science, public
policy analysis or ethical debates should guide our cultural
conversations. But they don't. Publicizing YOUR MONEY OR
YOUR LIFE taught me that the media mediates reality and
bestows validity much as the church or royalty did in bygone
eras. If it's on TV, in the papers, in a book, well, it must
be true - or at least worthy of forking over some my limited
attention span to consider.

The media isn't recognized as a player in these pageants,
but it's got the central role. In this century's
revolutions,  guerrillas have learned that they must capture
the media if they want to capture the state. Campaign
finance reform is really media manipulation reform -
politicians use soft money to capture the minds the media is
adept at delivering. How can activists for the "new
paradigm" capture at least their fair share of the media?
How can we cut through the palaver and trivia that the media
churns out?  "Alternative" media is marginalized and serves
only the already converted. Mainstream media seems to be
such a huge fortress with commercial interests in every gun
turret (as well holding a pistol to the heads of Station and
Program Managers). So part of a measured, coordinated
strategy post WTO Ministerial meeting has to be, dare I say
it, a good media strategy.

YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE was, in a way, a media strategy. A
life free of financial constraints yet strangely dismissive
of traditional wealth and status symbols had enough
curiosity to capture media attention. It irked and attracted
people all at once. And I got hundreds of hours of air time
- very frugally I might add. Then I used my thousand hours
of fame to educate people in a new way of thinking about
money, success, savings, status, freedom, purpose and stuff.
Ironically, I would gently use the sponsor's ads on
interview programs to enhance the points I was making.
Somehow, no one recognized this work as subversive. And
somehow I have a feeling that this experience has educated
me in as yet untapped ways for the kind of transformation I
believe we all yearn for. Many friends call me when they
want media contacts (especially Oprah!). But that's not
what I am talking about. Rather than getting our messages
out singly, we need a two-prong media strategy. We need the
grit and moxie to reclaim some rightful space on the media
for the leading cultural edge. AND we need to Aikido the
current sick set-up to give us power (air time) using the
very tools (shock, celebrity, style, sound and video bites)
they use to make news. We can change the rules by playing
their game better than they can. I know we can. I already
know people who are doing it.

Say what?  Where's the link?  I only bring it up because I
am determined to integrate my devotional side and my
activist side. And, as I do that, to seek this
reconciliation in outer events. We all look with dismay on
how religion and war have made common cause with every side
claiming God is with them.  Result: a lot of suffering. So
what is the role of spirit? I am not a contemplative; I
don't believe that prayer alone is sufficient to change the
course of events. I am also not a materialist; I distrust
any process conducted in the absence of the sacred. Perhaps
it is with the natural love of a mother for a newborn that
we need to hold the affairs of the world. His Holiness the
Dalai Lama, when asked about evil in the world, spoke about
the centrality of teaching happiness. Everyone wants it, yet
to achieve it ultimately requires that everyone's happiness
be assured. Peace Pilgrim, our American "saint", said,
"Overcome evil with good."  Saint Paul said love was the
greatest force. So perhaps along with all our strategizing,
we need to just love the shit out of the WTO. Here's a
wonderful story I recently got over email:

In the Babemba tribe of South Africa, when a person acts
irresponsibly or unjustly, he is placed in the center of the
village, alone and unfettered. All work ceases, and every
man, woman and child in the village gathers in a large
circle around the accused individual. Then each person in
the tribe speaks to the accused, one at a time, about all
the good things the person in the center of the circle has
done in his lifetime. Every incident, every experience that
can be recalled with any detail and accuracy is recounted.
All his positive attributes, good deeds, strengths and
kindnesses are recited carefully and at length. The tribal
ceremony often lasts several days. At the end, the tribal
circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the
person is symbolically and literally welcomed back into the

I can see the faint outlines of Direct Spiritual Action.
Blockade the entrance.  Form a human chain. Then praise the
WTO functionaries for all the good the global economy has
given us and for all their hard work in making it happen.
Thank them for the cell phones and computers that make our
civil society hum. For the planes that brought us to the
demonstrations. For donations to Universities where we got
the training in law and medicine that allowed people to be
protected and defended and healed on the streets. For the
factories that make the bricks and mortar that make our
homes. For our cars and trains and televisions, because we
use them to bring us together and bring our message to the
world. For providing some of the food we cannot grow
ourselves anymore. For their good intentions. For being
parents who want the best for their children. For standing
up for their belief that they are doing the arduous work of
stitching together the world economically so it doesn't fall
apart politically. For every unknown act of kindness and
courage they have ever done. For…

Too improbable. Too idealistic. Every religion teaches such
love. I suspect it will take incredible courage for me and
everyone else to be boldly wise and fiercely loving in the
face of all that needs repair in this world.

With love,