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JustPeace: A Psalm of Pandemic Peacemaking

As of January 2021 over 300,000 prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19. "Imagine that in a cell" writes Mumia Abu-Jamal. According to the Sentencing Project, tracking COVID-19 Diagnoses in Juvenile Facilities, the number of known cases reached 3,753 youth February 22. Their report finds, "Most troubling, facilities in Ohio, Louisiana, and elsewhere have placed youth into quarantines that is little different from solitary confinement in violation of international human rights standards."

On Day 32 of her Lent of Liberation, Mills points to the prophet Amos's worship of the God whose love for Black Lives is today fulfilled in our hearing. "Are not you Israelites the same to me as the Cushites?" declares the Lord. "Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?"--Amos 9:7 NIV

Note: The Cushites are Black people. The word cush means "burnt face."  


"Is there hope for history?" writes Henri Nouwen in his 1981 foreword to The Risk of the Cross. Though the Biden Administration initiated New Start negotiations with Russia, since entry into force of the International Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, certainly one of the signs of the times that has enlivened us in hope. Meanwhile key negotiator Dr. Ira Helfand said to our working group last Sunday, he puts his hope in the request put to the National Academy of Sciences for a study of what would happen to the planet if a nuclear weapon is used under numerous real scenarios (to be released to the public like last year showing that even a regional war using a nuclear weapon would effect global food security, exceeding impacts caused by historic droughts and volcanic eruptions.) While many will focus attention to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), particularly the ICAN Legislative pledge for the TPNW, it is with hope that I hold my first asides. While expressing commitment to an intentional community-building model, I had promoted Art Laffin's book The Risk of the Cross. I was moved and humbled by the recap given by our facilitator, introducing her pronouns and her reading An Indigenous People's History. Sofia Rose Wolman:

the relationship-, values-, and practices-based model(s) or framework(s) Diane and Christopher described supports and serves the goals of abolition, as radical change in how we structure society necessitates and invites us to be intentional, praxis-based, and reflective about how we work together, to liberate us from dominant culture dynamics, and support our effective and efficient work together! 

The dynamic inclusive-interconnected and movement building analysis of Sofia's construal humbles me. It is a process I need and yearn to support, and one I will put my hope into for her to lead! None of us can do it alone. I recall the Festivals of Hope held in recent months for Patrick O'Neill, Clare Grady, Carmen Trotta, as each in turn prepared to report for the time they will serve out on our behalf. Joining Fr. Steve Kelly, Martha Hennessy in prison. Liz McCalister having served her 17 mos. Next, after several strategic nonviolent wrenches thrown in the works, Mark's Sentencing comes due April 9. 

The Kings Bay Plowshare 7 uniquely advocate we all plug in; their website urges anyone interested to get involved in organizing to better the world for frontline impacted communities. They list "First Nation peoples, Blacks Immigrants, Poor Communities, the Poor People's Campaign, BLM, SURJ, Georgia WAND, Pax Christi, and other groups. 

With that as my excuse, almost imagining we could all be in one place for an immediate hearing. 

Tonight, I attend a gathering focused on radical Black lives. "We need to build a culture of resistance"--said Johanna Fernandez, professor at Baruch College (CUNY) and author of the recent book, The Young Lords, a Radical History. "That's what happens in history, consciousness shifts, significant many are going to see the light. The environment. There is going to be a cataclysmic crisis and the government is going. to respond exactly the way it did to the COVID pandemic, 'Let them die.'"--spoken at tonight's event hosted by Shelter and Solidarity, "Black Revolutionary Thought for Our Times?"

"I want to just raise up Black Rage and say, That rage is important, culturally, politically, economically, and it isn't just a getting there." --Kazembe Balagun, author, artist and organizer with Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.

"Nothing happens in America without the black riot. If the people in Minneapolis had not riot, we would not have come out. When it went up in flames it was the signal for marching and organizing, endlessly. The Black Panther Party tried, in cities like Boston, but also Oakland and Chicago, was redirect the spontaneity of the riots into organization, and radical militant organization. In its style and its militancy and unrepentant critique and denunciation of the system, was the embodiment of black rage and they were committed to it."--Johanna Fernandez

In the chat, a dozen resources got posted. Note to self, and you, if you're into the agitprop and popular education organizing. In no particular order:

1) Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos into Community From Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 1967.

2) What the Left Today Can Learn from Paul Robeson. An interview with Gerald Horne, author of Paul Robeson: The Artist as Revolutionary by Keisha N. Blain.

3) Cedric Johnson's "Don't Let Blackwashing Save the Investor Class" Jacobin. 24 June 2020. Article proposed in chat by UMass scholar activist Joe Ramsey when Kazembe Balagun was saying "I'm a Black Nationalist...We have GM saying 'We love Black people' and they never used the words "Black people" before. We have these corporations like Home Depot saying Black Lives Matter and using Hollywood to integrate..." 

4) Alan Minsky, 12 June 2020, KPFK 90.7 FM "Defund the Police: A New Vision for Public Safety Comes into Focus" in which he writes "No serious analysis was offered that placed contemporary police violence as part of a continuum of domestic racist oppression, which it always has been--except on KPFK." It further boosts Sojourner Truth Radio hosted by Margaret Prescod. Two days after the murder of George Floyd, Margaret spoke with Dr. Melina Abdullah, professor, BLM co-founding organizer, and mom. In their conversation "We have to be outraged by the the firing of those officers, the elevation of those names is not enough; we want the officers prosecuted. Murders right here Kenneth Ross Jr  by Gardena police as if he were being hunted like a wounded animal." "We have talked about disaster capitalism, this moment is being used to harass, brutalize and kill us."

5) John Brown by W.E.B. Du Bois. Project Gutenberg ebook  the one biography written by Du Bois, pointed out tonight by Eric Mann.

6) William L. Patterson, We Charge Genocide: The Crime of Government Against the Negro People. International Publishers Co. 2017. (3rd edition). Over 70 years ago William Patterson authored this historic petition, and presented it with Paul Roberson to the UN General Assembly.

7) From Eric Mann, director of the Labor/Community Strategy Center in LA, and author of Playbook for Progressives: The Sixteen Qualities of the Successful Organizer. New York PenguinRandomHouse, 2011. See Eric Mann's Katrina's Legacy: The Black Nation, Black/Latino Alliance, Indigenous People's Movements, The Third Reconstruction, Nations of Africa, Asia and Latin America, Third World Women, and the People. of the World Confront the U.S. Imperialist White Settler State and its Genocidal Climate Crimes. Also Eric Mann's Taking on General Motors A Case Study of the UAW Campaign to Keep GM Van Nuys Open. 

8) Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth. Translated by Constance Farrington. New York: Grove 1968 (Evergreen edition 1991) online. Emphasis given by Joe Ramsey to fourth chapter "The Pitfalls of National Consciousness."

9) Theodore W. Allen's The Invention of the White Race: Racial Oppression and Social Control. Verso, 2012. 

10) The Multiracial Unity Blog "will explore the origins of racism and nationalism, the history of multiracial struggles" edited by Karyn Pomerantz and Ellen Isaacs. An article 6 Jan 2021 titled "American Pipeline: Immigration-Imprisonment-Infection" points out in ICE detention 21 people died, the worst year since 2005, at least 8 from COVID.


 This month is Women's History Month, so a plug courtesy March 25 issue of Workers World followed by announcements, and then the psalm of peacemaking:

On March 18, 1871, women seized cannons belonging to the popular militia, who refused to fire on the women. In 1880 a universal pardon was issued for all those sentenced in connection with the Paris Commune, such as women Beatrix Excoffon, André Léo, Elisabeth Dmitrieff, Nathalie Lemel, Anna Jaclard and Sophie Poirier. Many along with Louise Michel, were put on trial and had received harsh sentences, including banishment to a fortress, a life sentence of hard labor, years of imprisonment, or exile.

4pm, March 27 #AntiAsian Racism Town Hall: Solidarity Is Our Survival

Treasury Deputy Secretary Adewale "Wally" Adeyemo has been confirmed, announces Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA: "Adeymo is uniquely suited to work with world leaders on the debt, transparency, aid, climate and tax solutions that we need." 

#ShareMyCheck: if you've received a stimulus check that you don't need urgently

Nati Linares of the New Economy Coalition writes "Solidarity Not Charity--Grantmaking in the Solidarity Economy

A Psalm of Peacemaking (Recite together)

We live in a time of kairos

when humanity stands on the border of a promised time,

when God's people are. summoned to obedience and faithfulness

to preserve God's creation,

to stand with the poor and oppressed everywhere, and 

to stand together as the people of the earth;

when with confession and with humility we repent of 

our blindness to the division and war in our own hearts and in our own land,

our obsession with money and our pursuit of power,

our irrational belief in security through weaponry, and

our worship of secular gods.

We are called to be obedient to Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace,

who loves the whole world and 

who invites us to be stewards of the earth and servants of his people,

to be co-workers in the new Creation.

Let us be peacemakers.

Let us be called the children of God,

speaking boldly with moral conviction to the nation and to the world,

building, with God's grace, a new moral order in the world community; and

acting now for world peace, an enterprise of justice, an outcome of love.

From "Peacemaking: The Believers' Calling," The United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, 1980--reprinted in The Risk of the Cross, eds. J. Christopher Grannis, Arthur J. Laffin, Elin Schade. New York: The Seabury Press, 1981.

Now thanks to the roundup from New Economies Coalition, another time-date-stamp.

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