Lacy MacAuley

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a home for my pen, projects, and passions

The Sabbatical. The Pilgrimage. The Fallow Year.

AnahataBlooming

Anahata ~ Heart Chakra Mandala

Six months in, finding wisdom in the land of the heart

I’ve been living in the mountains now for almost six months now, a break from almost a decade of a life of activism, advocacy, and institutionalism, crusading for good causes. Or so I thought. Taking this respite has caused me to rethink everything about who I’ve been and what I’ve been doing, working of late in the policy and activism trenches of Washington DC.

In defense of my leaving Washington. Right now, I have never been happier. This happiness is coming off of my skin, in the star-like sheen coming off of the plants in my garden, in the eyes of those who I hold with my smile. I didn’t actually realize that happiness could be this attainable in the life of one whose eyes have been opened to all of the injustices of the world. Even as these injustices, pain, deaths, occur each moment, there is a way to move forward in happiness. Humans have been doing so since the beginning of time.

I had to put down the burden I’d shouldered — one that activists know well. That burden to somehow fix everything, to help everyone, that feeling of urgency to chase every injustice as if it were the last, greatest fight on earth. I was starting to really falter under that burden. Like a hiker stumbling wildly under a heavy backpack, my legs were giving way. I wasn’t able to clearly see where I was going. I wasn’t able to make sense of the map. I was going to die out there in the wilderness. Something had to be done.

After six months of meditation, yoga, and daily connection with Mother Earth, I am actually getting somewhere. Now I walk every day through forest full of birdsong, the sound of rushing water, and nothing else. I do not carry a backpack at all. I have less responsibility than I’ve had since high school. Of course, I also have no money, but that’s another story!

Ten years ago, as I meditated in a feral corner of the Pacific Northwest of the US, overlooking redwoods and ferns the size of grizzly bears, I heard Mother Earth clearly speak to me. She told me that I should be a warrior, acting in her defense and on her behalf. I’d never felt so certain about anything in my life. I commenced in organizing everything around that singular purpose. This took me in so many unexpected directions, and, truly, I do not regret any of them.

Then, this past autumn, I climbed a mountain alone, again in the Pacific Northwest. It was raining and the small cedar trees clinging to this rocky mountaintop were swaying gently in strong winds. Mother Earth again spoke to me in an undeniable voice as loud as an avalanche. It was time. I was released from her service. It was time to let myself go deeply into my own soul and beyond, to learn the secrets of the universe and keep them as a monk keeps temple secrets. At least for this year. Or more. Or less. But now, until I hear again that clear voice louder than sound.

Every activist should take a fallow year. A year to let your soil recharge, to let the plants grow feral. See what flowers grow there. See what enchantments lie in the wild, undisciplined spaces in between. See what you can learn.

I know that this requires privilege. I am of course not blind to that. I was lucky to have friends who live far out in the country, in a little spiritual intentional community where my work is my rent. I have no children. My family has been a bit flustered by my bold moves, but they did not stop me.

I hope that we can all work toward a world in which all of us have equal opportunity to live our dreams. I still believe in the mantra “live your dreams.” The fact that the oppressive status quo denies many people from doing that does not mean that I believe that no one should be living their dreams. It means that we should all demand the right to live our dreams.

Busting apart the oppressive mega-system will take time and bold moves. Me, I’m starting to understand the trajectory of my life’s work, and how to live in a holistic way that nurtures real wisdom and real understanding. I’m starting to see that my life had been conducted in a way that made me feel like I couldn’t truly be myself. I couldn’t indulge in living my dreams, I thought, my dreams are too far out, too wild. My version of utopia, seen in my far-flying meditations, was just too good to be true, I thought. And even if we as a society could get there, wouldn’t it take too long? Humanity can only change so fast, after all…

My true activism seemed too far fetched. The things that I felt were worthwhile as causes were being denied. I wound up working on things I didn’t actually believe in, that reinforced the status quo. I told myself that our movement was taking baby steps, like the healthcare program and working toward immigration reform. Meanwhile I thought that making the changes that were really needed, like seeking to live truly in healthy bodies and physical expression, and eliminating borders altogether, were just asking too much. These changes might take a long time, but we must move towards them. And we’re not going to do so in the same old institutional ways that we’ve been working.

On a personal level, the fantasies that swirled through my mind for my own life, ways of housing oneself, feeding oneself, loving others, and all of the beautiful, creative ways that one can live, were dismissed as unattainable. I’m no conformist, but even my romantic life had veered way off course and I found myself in odd pairings, living as someone completely different.

Like a true warrior, I had subverted my true desires and true self in the service of the greater cause. And again, I have no regrets. But the other me was just under the surface. The huntress who hears plant spirits and knows how to wield a sword. The deeply radical anarchist who longs to live in true connection with community and the earth, whose great-grandfather was spoken to by fairies and who might just be keeping the family tradition. The spirit-dancer who can spend all night in qigong trance under the moonlight, being spoken to by ancestor stars.

So now, I’m starting to truly understand that living a life of fantasy starts within, and starts by simply stepping away from that institutional way of living, and galloping fearlessly in the direction of that which makes your soul sing. Taking a departure, a sabbatical, a pilgrimage to the land of your own heart.

Happiness might just be waiting there. Here. In the depths of your own soul.

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metamorphosis path

god_particle

a poem by Lacy MacAuley

Glass cage that I cannot see
You will crack under pressure, break into a hundred pieces
As I shattered all those that came before you
My hammer knows the joy of your obliteration
My eyes know that freedom looks like the sun glinting off of
your shards casting themselves in a thousand directions
My ears know the fast-wavelength music of your destruction

You did not see my necklace of skulls?
You did not notice the blood upon my lips?
You did not hear the song of lush verdance that I leave in the hollow of each footstep?

If you think death is near
you’re right.
Something unfamiliar exists beyond.
It pulls you forward whether you will to go or not.

You are the object that began in a star furnace
Fate cooled you, made you rock and soil
Ignited by the fire of life, you became animal
The wheel of time will turn again
and you will become another miracle

And you are afraid to take one more step
upon the path?
This path has carried you through
super nova explosions, lava flows
being breathed in and being breathed out
by countless creatures that gave you life

This sacred path has been your destiny until this moment
It has been yours alone ~ your unique strand through time
Expansion is inevitable
though breaking through the next cage will exact blood

Place that beautiful foot in front of you, creature of so many sacred forms
We await your next joyful metamorphosis
join your way of enlightenment

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light and your source

starpictureMy skin reflects the natural light well.

I am beginning to understand in a new way how the use of artificial light is something that impacts us, all of us. We all look more holy, more beautiful, in light that shows us for what we are ~ a part of the natural world.

The celestial bodies ~ the sun, the moon, the stars ~ are the first forms of natural light. Our bodies are made of particles which came to us from the stars. We are all made of star stuff.

When you acknowledge the divine, celestial origins of your own body, life becomes easier, and more sacred.

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how I exposed an undercover cop

She was an undercover cop who called herself “Missy.” When I first met her four years ago, I couldn’t have known that the small-framed woman with spiky brown hair and intense eyes was anything but a fellow activist showing up for a protest in Washington, D.C.

I certainly didn’t know she was actually Nicole Rizzi, an undercover cop ordered to secretly spy on peaceful protesters, violate our freedom of speech and assembly, and disregard our right to privacy.

Sure, I thought something was odd about her. She stared just a little too long. Her irreverent sense of humor made the hair stand up on the backs of a lot of necks. Her favorite t-shirt read “OBEY” and it wasn’t clear that she wore it for the irony.

A "selfie" photo of Nicole Rizzi, a.k.a. "Missy," posted to her own Twitter account on March 21, 2013. She posed as a protester at a Keystone XL pipeline demonstration that day.

A “selfie” photo of Nicole Rizzi, a.k.a. “Missy,” posted to her own Twitter account on March 21, 2013. She posed as a protester at a Keystone XL pipeline demonstration that day.

When I looked at her rippling arm muscles, I wondered whether they came from workouts at some spy academy or a downtown yoga studio.

So sure, I did suspect from the start that she could be an FBI agent, a police officer, or something else. But if you start being suspicious of newcomers, every honest newbie will look like an infiltrator. I kept my paranoia mostly to myself.

It turns out that hanging out in bars every so often can make good things happen. One late night in November 2012, I was in a bar in D.C.’s bustling U Street neighborhood when a friend of a friend from out of town pulled up a Twitter account on her phone, @snufftastic. It belonged to a humorous motorcycle enthusiast and cop. She lives in the area, she said, asking if my friend and I knew her.

“I absolutely know who that is,” I said.

The Twitter account was shocking. Read the rest of this entry »

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quark love.

quark love.

I’m charmed. Will you be my strange Valentine. QUARK LOVE.

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we are the edge

Long to Become Song 02-14-2013 2

If I say that I’ve always loved you

Please trust that it is true.

I’ll ring that Tibetan bowl

that calls you home
to the red, thumping place

that’s in your chest.

If someone has to say the code
speak the password
that splits the particles
to cause your personal explosion
then I will find that bright red button
that says “Unauthorized – Do Not Push.”
I’ll burrow that one tunnel
that allows the sunlight to pass deep inside
and beneath the earthen mound
and let the light inside
to warm the bones of your neglected hope.
I promise to come every solstice

with rays of light that are yours only

to fall on your lips and tongue.

My people, if we are not the branches that hold each other
we will fall

if we are not the roots that gently cradle each other,
we will erode to the sea.

Read the rest of this entry »

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we will endure

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A year ago, police brutally raided Occupy DC and tore down the Tent of Dreams. They punched us in the gut, hit us in the head with batons, trampled our tents, and threw our furniture around. All for sleeping in tents and dreaming of a better world.

They don’t understand that we are flowers who grew from concrete.
They don’t understand that we will endure, and someday they will join us.
They don’t understand that we are learning to use our voices and look within.
They don’t understand that we will all learn to flex our muscles.
They don’t understand that YOU CANNOT STOP AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME.

We, all of us, will be back, and we will be stronger.

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video: i disrupted the corrupt, secret negotiations for Trans-Pacific Partnership

VIEW VIDEO ON YOUTUBE (YES, THAT’S ME FRONT AND CENTER!)

Today I disrupted negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a NAFTA-on-meth trade deal that’s being made in secret, behind closed doors. With two other Occupy DC activists, Marc Smith and Christopher Bartlo, we snuck into this secret meeting in its faraway conference center in Leesburg, Virginia, and performed a “mic check.” We were escorted from the building by security and police, and threatened with arrest. After being detained by police for about 30 minutes, we were given an official stay-away order from the conference center where negotiations were taking place. We were not formally charged with any crime.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will impact 40% of the earth’s population, says the office of the U.S. Trade Representative. As an international treaty, it overrides all of the domestic law that’s currently being negotiated in Congress. It will raise Medicare and Medicaid drug prices, as well as prices on life-saving drugs  in all countries who are part of the agreement, give corporations and Wall Street banksters even more unlimited power, and encourage more terrible destruction of the environment.

Read the rest of this entry »

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g20 summit update: g20 is illegitimate, says mexico

From the streets of La Paz, Mexico, two hours away from the Cabo G20 Summit

G20 protests, Mexico City

Today Mexican President Felipe Calderon, speaking in a press conference to conclude the G20 summit in Cabo, Mexico, reinforced why so many people oppose the G20’s neoliberalism, austerity, and corporate elitism. Austerity measures, he said, are like “bullets” that need to be “reloaded” again and again. His metaphor was appropriate. G20 policies promote systems that lead to suffering, destruction of communities, and destruction of the environment. These policies are like bullets, killing the people of the world.

Here in La Paz, Mexico, a two-hour drive north along the coastline from Cabo, Mexico, the people held their own summit, as the G20 leaders and rich corporate elite met inside a militarized security barrier, in posh hotel rooms with shimmering seaside vistas. It was impossible for protesters to get closer to the official summit, though some tried to find a bus driver willing to brave the checkpoints and the security guards with automatic guns slung over their shoulders. Locals were told that no one could enter Cabo unless they were a documented resident.

Students with “Yo Soy 132″ at G20 Protests, Mexico City.

Activists with the Peoples Summit, Cumbre de los Pueblos, went on a colorful march down the main tourist strip in La Paz on the evening before the official G20 summit was slated to begin. Several hundred strong, the march poured into the main plaza of the town, La Kioska, and held a rally and a rock concert. The Peoples Summit also contained two and a half days of energetic panel discussions and workshops on topics like capital flows, offshore tax havens, and climate change and adaptation. Read the rest of this entry »

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g20 summit update: “Alternatives to the G20″ summit

In a luxurious beach resort on the West Coast of Mexico, presidents and finance minsters from the “Group of 20” countries plan to meet inside a fortified security barrier to strategize over financial decisions that impact us all. The people of the world have to suffer the G20’s actions, but meetings are held in secret. I’m here in Mexico to join the resistance outside the G20 summit.

“We have to fight together globally – to fight the corporations and the government,” said Armando Robles of UE Local 1110 at Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago, USA. The union’s inspiring shutdown their factory in 2008 has given way to the prospect of a worker-controlled cooperative in place of a mega-corporation. He was speaking at the Alternatives to the G20 conference in Mexico City, June 14-15, organized by the coalition Our World is Not For Sale. “We see it in the US, we see it in Wall Street, we have to fight all over the world. We need solidarity.”

Reasons to hope are everywhere in Mexico City. The Alternatives to the G20 conference brought together people from a variety of NGOs and movements from Colombia, Peru, Russia, the Philippines, Canada, Germany, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, India, Spain, the UK, the United States and others. Mexico City events also put people from the Indignados movement in Spain and the Occupy movement in the United States and the UK in touch with the inspiring local student movement, “Yo Soy 132.”

The conference included panels on the illegitimacy of the G20, the financialization of nature, global agriculture challenges, capital flows, and more.

An overall longing for justice is coursing strong in Mexico, as is an opposition to the neoliberal economic model – the type of economic model that tells Mexico it must lower trade barriers, promote foreign investment, and all the things that greedy corporations want countries to do so they can continue to exploit them. Many Mexicans boldly state that “Mexico is anti-neoliberal.” This has given me hope. Read the rest of this entry »

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g20 summit update: right to energy

I discussed the false choice between “jobs vs. the environment” at the Energy Rights Forum in Mexico City in advance of the G20 summit in Cabo, Mexico.

The Forum on the Universal Right to Energy was held loud and strong today in advance of the G20 summit. The meeting was held at the incredibly large and posh electrical workers union building in Mexico City. I was one of the “international delegates” speaking at the conference, the only speaker from the United States. Inside the giant auditorium inside the hall, there were about 500 workers and activists, being spoken to from the stage. Many listening were not hardened activists, but electrical workers paying a visit to their union hall.

I arrived at 9:30 AM sharp with a Russian energy advocate, Vladamir Slivyak. Indian union leader Ashim Roy, Javier Echaide of Argentina, and others, chaperoned by the fearless organizer with Our World is Not For Sale, Pierre Yves-Saint. As we arrived at the event, Pierre walked us through the giant auditorium, now almost empty except for a few camera men just setting up, and marched us right up on the stage, which was graced with giant fresh flower arrangements and bottles of water. We shook hands with an official of the electrical workers union, who said, “Voyen a esparar,” We are going to wait.

We were walked up to a top floor waiting room and offered coffee and internet. We made small talk and discussed the scenery, then popped open our laptops and went to work. We waited for about two hours. I guess this is what they say about Mexico. You can’t come to Mexico unless you are ready to wait.

Finally we were brought back to the auditorium. I had prepared remarks on the “jobs vs. environment” false choice that is often spun to us by the media. The right wing uses a variety of strategies to make people believe that you support unemployment if you oppose coal, oil, natural gas, oil pipelines, or even filters on smokestacks to keep pollutants out of our air. I believe this choice is ridiculous. We need to be investing in wind energy, solar energy, and other renewables – some studies show that government investment in wind energy creates three times more jobs than the same number invested in dirty energy. I believe we need bold, visionary campaigns to get people to want, to demand, renewable energy jobs. After all, who doesn’t want a clean, honest job that makes the world a better place for our children and grandchildren? Read the rest of this entry »

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police beatings and fran

On Sunday, I was hit with police batons on the head and side while shielding this woman, Fran, from police brutality during NATO summit protests in Chicago. News contains photos of “clashes” with police, but beating random antiwar protesters is an assault, not a “clash.” I was pushed away from Fran by police and she fell over as I was holding her up. (Her walker had been knocked away from her.) She fell and went to the hospital, but was out in the streets to protest Boeing with a new walker on Monday! We will not be silenced.

Filed under: activism, antiwar, police violence

we will always remember anastasio hernandez rojas

Anastasio Hernandez Rojas was tasered to death in May 2010 by authorities at an immigration checkpoint between two countries that people like to call Mexico and the United States. According to Counterpunch, Mr. Hernandez Rojas came to the US when he was a teenager and had lived here for 27 years. He was married with five children. In the heat of the economic crisis, he lost his construction job. He was caught shoplifting in May 2010, and was deported. When he tried to re-enter the US to be with his family and community, he was brutally beaten and tasered. He died soon after.

This injustice is beyond words. The murderers go home to wives and children, while the family of Mr. Hernandez Rojas mourns, weeps, goes deeper into despair — the poverty of having no control over your own destiny, the oppression of being swept up in unseen forces of authority — and the sadness seeps into the next generation. This has happened to so many people swept up at the border, souls whose names we will never learn.

Borders are an inhumane design. Before borders, the earth was free and open to the migration of all. That is how humans came to live everywhere. Now, borders claim territory and create laws and systems of oppression so that the rich, corporate elite pulling the strings can siphon work and wealth from the rest of us. The wealthy manipulators build walls to increase the hate. They develop systems that broker and limit our interaction, to keep other human beings an arm’s length away, on the other side of a wall or, better yet, a locked door. Then they develop systems to control our hate, and pit human against human for their benefit.

This is not how real human beings are supposed to live.

Filed under: activism, global justice, immigrant rights, indigenous rights

the police can’t raid our dreams

This past weekend, I stood in the rain at Occupy DC as police in riot gear trampled through the camp at McPherson Square. I ran as they charged the crowd with police horses. I watched as they grabbed clothing, books, tents, shoes, and other personal property, and tossed it all into dumpsters.

Some are asking how the Occupy movement will accomplish anything now. I say, it already has. It has already changed our world.

OccupySign-300x199

I marched through New York in September of last year on the first day of Occupy Wall Street. I laid down my sleeping bag in the open air in Zuccotti Park on the first intense nights of the occupation. Then, I brought my sleeping bag back to Washington DC, where I live. With some hopeful companions, I began occupying McPherson Square on K Street, home to some of the most corrupt lobbyists in the world. We held meetings in the cool October air, not yet the biting chill of winter. And we went to work building a library, a clinic, a kitchen, a media center — a small village. A second camp quickly emerged in another part of town, within sight of Congress.

I occupied because the rich are too rich, because Wall Street and the corporations control too much, and because all of our governments won’t even begin to seriously address some of the biggest challenges of our time, like climate change. I occupied because, like so many in the 99 percent, I am fed up with the status quo. I occupied because people are suffering all over the country and all over the world, while the power to build a better future is in our hands.

Now, most of Occupy DC has been emptied. Many occupiers were made homeless. Miraculously, the cops spared my humble little tent, with a newly broken pole, but sleeping in the park would now likely get me arrested. (I hadn’t slept at the park recently anyway. Another occupier was staying in my tent.)

Was it all worth it? Yes, and I’ll do it again.

This week, the Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing about inequality and social mobility, hearing from experts like Sarah Anderson at the Institute for Policy Studies, who has published studies on the CEO-worker pay gap for 18 years. Would the Senate be doing this before Occupy? Probably not.

Mitt Romney is struggling to shed the stigma of being a “one percent candidate,” because his Richie Rich image continues to harm his campaign. Even Newt “Huge Tiffany’s Tab” Gingrich is making jabs at Romney’s wealth. Would this have happened before Occupy? Probably not.

One of President Barack Obama’s favorite stump speeches these days is on making the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations pay their fair share, which would reduce inequality in this country. Would this have become a favorite presidential refrain before Occupy? Probably not.

A thousand plans are afoot to “re-occupy” this spring. But even if the camps were to end now, the Occupy movement has made millions of Americans think harder about our economic, environmental, and political realities, and that has the potential to change everything. It has created spaces for us to bring a bold new world to life. It has sparked conversations and ideas that no police barricade can hold back. And it has opened dreams that we are all still dreaming — whether we campers are allowed to sleep or not.

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riparian zones and clean rooms

This is a forgotten poem I scrawled on a page for a lover as I was packing up and moving from one city to another. That lover recently got back in touch with me, typed up the poem, and sent it. Here it is.

Why are you here?
So that, in a moment,
as you expressed a simple idea about cleaning
and empty rooms
I could look at your radiant eyes
the color of an aged mahogany tree
who has seen generations of people walk beneath it
but remains standing alone
in that moment I understood fully
exactly what I was letting go.
All the richness of your person
and the solidity of your comportment
the tapestry woven by your experience
and the will to survive
that is stored in the creases your eyes trace
as your smile spreads out across long-ago happy skies
the smoothness of cinnamon-colored rolling skin
and long graceful fingers that plucked the strings of my future
singing songs into the flesh-colored cavities of my hopes
accompanied by a wholly unwarranted humility.

And there are no clean lines in this world.
Did I love you?
I knew in that moment that I did.
But if you look closely at any line
the edges blur into ugly grayness
that transform into vagabond pigeons and escape
muttering things both true and insane
turning the ordered pragmatic life
into a circus of madness.

I try to catch them, calm them
smooth the lines back
but this is a riparian zone, a flood plain
A green-yellow edge of slash-and-burn
where machines scratch and tear at the earth
where wild creatures are exposed
and they get lost and die
in a world not their own.

And there is love between us still, despite him.
Despite my imminent migration.
Love to soften your rough voice
laid over delicate silken guitar
Love to forgive many missteps

Please don’t believe for one moment
that you are not unique, indeed cherished
regarded more highly than him in so many ways.
But I am not in a position now to receive you.
This is the edge of a wave
a changing zone of calculated destruction
as the mother ocean draws the sand into her depths
I will find waves to ride to solid ground.

This is cleaning
and this is my empty room

Filed under: lacy's life, poems

churches and social services: things to remember this Thanksgiving

Churches and places of faith used to offer programs that fed the poor, took care of needy children and the elderly, and healed the sick. But as people have become less religious, these programs have closed their doors one by one, leaving the needy with government programs to rely on.

There is a myth that America became great solely through rugged individualists who never had help from anyone. But I don’t think this is true. Pilgrims like the ones we remember on Thanksgiving cared for each other and shared their common wealth. Religious programs were there for our forefathers and all generations of Americans to pull them through hardships. They provided a way for everyone to share the common bounty, including a way for wealthy Americans to donate their bucks to help those in need.

Now that churchgoers have disappeared one by one, and now that places of faith have stepped out of the center of public life, we especially need to protect the government programs that provide services to people in need. These programs are now in Republican lawmakers’ crosshairs as they seek to cut social programs — while they continue to allow wealthy Americans to avoid paying their fair share in taxes.

This Thanksgiving, as Americans everywhere sit down to share a common bounty of turkey, stuffing, and good cheer, I am going to be thankful for social programs offered by places of faith and by our government. These programs were there for us when we needed them, and helped America become the country that it is.

Filed under: activism

A letter to an unemployed activist: Occupy.

I got a letter today from a young unemployed activist, a recent college graduate from New Jersey. He wrote to my office address, looking for a job at the nonprofit organization I work for, the Institute for Policy Studies. We’ll call him Brian.

Brian writes:

I don’t know if I have stood out in any petitions or other forms of advocacy you have promoted, but I am an avid supporter of all of the work you perform. I haven’t found a welcoming place within our grandiose job market to grant me a livable wage or compensation package since my time, effort, and student loans spent receiving my Bachelor’s Degree in 2009. Because of this, I was inquiring about any possible employment opportunities and/or assistance needed with anything you guys have in the works. 

Brian has spent a little while canvassing for a local environmental organization. Disenchanted by the idea of going to work for a “major banker,” he’s looking for a job with a livable wage somewhere in the progressive movement.

I wrote Brian back:

Dear Brian,

The job market is very tight right now. Many young progressives are looking for jobs, even those who are qualified like yourself. I’m sorry, I am not aware of job openings.

My advice to you: Keep up the job search. But in the meantime, find Occupy Boston, Occupy Wall Street, or Occupy DC. Take a bus. Ride a bike. Ride a pickle. Whatever you need to do. Occupy.

Lend your skills to the progressive movement full-time for the winter. The connections you’ll make at the occupation, the friends you’ll meet, the things you’ll learn, and the experience you will build, will be invaluable to finding a job in the progressive sphere once the economy looks up a bit. Come join the movement where it is now: In parks, plazas, and squares all over the country and all over the world.

Good luck to you, and hope to see you down the road!
~Lacy

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What I’ve Learned Occupying Wall Street and DC

"We are the 99 percent!" is a favorite cheer among the occupiers. People like the Koch Brothers are a good example of the 1 percent. (That's me in the bottom left corner of the photo!)

In squares, parks, and plazas all over the country, we’re taking the time for true democracy to work.

I was standing on a street one evening near my home in Washington, DC — it seems like ages ago now — with a chatty friend who travels often to New York. He mentioned that a few New Yorkers were planning an “occupation” of Wall Street.

Not knowing what I was getting myself into, I said, “I’m there.” A few weeks later, I boarded a bus, backpack and sleeping bag in tow. I was there when Occupy Wall Street began.

After some chilly nights in Liberty Plaza, I returned to Washington to help plan an occupation in my city. Others in Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta, Denver, Seattle, and so many more cities have begun their own occupations. Occupy DC started October 1, and is still going strong.

(Sarabeephoto / Flickr)

Many people are asking why. While the occupation of city squares all over the nation is inspiring many people, others are (understandably) a bit perplexed.

But I think people understand more than they know. Something is very wrong with our country and our world. The rich got richer from our economic crisis and the poor barely got the crumbs from their banquet table.

Now big corporations are asking for a new tax break, a tax holiday that they say will create jobs – while the last time Congress granted that tax break the main result was layoffs and downsizing. Corporations are sitting on over $2 trillion in cash but aren’t hiring. Our environment is under assault. Natural disasters are laying waste to towns like Joplin, Missouri, and some lawmakers even held up relief efforts by threatening to trim education, health care, and other vital services to free up money for emergency aid.

We keep paying for wars and people keep dying in them. About 50 million Americans have no health insurance, and too many of them go bankrupt paying for health care. Agribusiness is destroying family farms. Poverty is rampant. Congress can’t stop squabbling. Corporations have too much control. About 25 million of us are unemployed and underemployed and can’t find jobs. Too many college graduates can’t find jobs. Our children’s future is uncertain.

So, many of us are fed up. We’ve brought our anger and hopes to our city squares. We’re not leaving until we see real movement toward change. More people are arriving every day and joining us. In liberated squares, parks, and plazas all over the country, we’re discussing challenges and talking about solutions. Every voice is equal, and all of us are expected to raise our voices, our ideas, our concerns. We’re reaching consensus. We’re figuring it out as we go.

All I can say is that true democracy takes time. At Occupy DC, we meet daily to discuss why we’re there. The unemployed, the foreclosed, and the sick-of-it-all are coming together to discuss the world that we want to see and how to get there. We have big problems. We need big solutions. And those big solutions take time.

While on Wall Street and on McPherson Square on K Street in Washington, I’ve learned how to change my clothes in my sleeping bag. I’ve learned how to run a generator, which keeps us in electronic touch with the outside world. I’ve learned the best methods for hauling plastic bags of donated bread, pastries, and bagels nine city blocks. I’ve learned to appreciate tarps.

I’ve also learned that when we all raise our voices together and work in the spirit of true democracy, we can work toward real solutions and real changes to our world. We the people tend to agree on a lot more than we realize. It just takes coming together, talking things through, and not leaving until things change.

And that’s what the occupations are doing: We’re staying put, and taking the time for true democracy to work.

Filed under: Uncategorized

wealthy elite, jump ship!

They have always optimistically said that a rising tide may lift all boats, as if the invisible hand of capitalism were anything but a closed fist. But now the tide is receding as the United States and much of the rest of the world drops down into a recession that may never end. It is time that the rich jump ship and join the rest of us, or we may pull them off their boats and repurpose their luxury accommodations to serve all of us. We are tired of the rich getting tax breaks, offshore cheating schemes, and bailouts while the rest of us are left to tread water, however we can.

The tea party has been created to save the rich. Most of them don’t know it, but they are working to bail out water by the buckets while the yachts of the corporate elite sink under the tides of public opinion. The orchestrators of the tea party have them calling for corporate freedom, for deregulation and privatization, under the guise of supporting personal freedom. They have them calling for lower taxes for corporations under the auspices of reducing the federal budget.

We are chucking the tea party as well, like overpriced tea being chucked into the Boston Harbor. Like taxed tea from Britain, the tea party is nothing more than a tool to keep us under an imperialist, colonizing system.

Filed under: Uncategorized

fluffed up into news: the royal wedding spectacle

So, two of my family members are certifiably anglophiles. They love all things British. Seriously.

Last night I was having drinks with said family members, which somehow spiraled into a plan to have a slumber party at one of their homes, and wake up at 6:00 AM in order to watch the British Royal Wedding in its entirety on network television. Just a little preface to explain why I am posting about this absurd public event.

ABC News, CBS News, and USA Today all headlined today with the royal wedding. It was hard to think about anything else this afternoon when viewing their news websites, as each site housed dozens of articles, features, videos, and photo slideshows were popping out from all directions. MSNBC at least shared their “above the fold” space with a feature about the storm damage in the southern US. “Faux News” (or Fox, which doesn’t really count since it’s not news,) had the wedding sharing headline space with some favorite right-wing topics: Donald Trump and stem-cell research. The New York Times was among the few news outlets this afternoon in headlining with the storm damage and President Obama’s visit to the US South, forcing the reader to pan down the page to find coverage of British royals.

The absurdity was overwhelming. I think it’s great that two people who like each other a whole lot want to strengthen their commitment. Love is beautiful. However, it’s not news. There is nothing about this wedding to merit so much time and resources of every major news network, yet it was somehow fluffed up into a major television event that had the play-by-play analysis of an event that none of us have any business caring about anyway. It made me think a lot about our news media’s culture of spectacle. Things that aren’t really news become news because the television networks tell us that we should care about them. It is news for news’ sake.

Which is tragic, especially when there are actually very important things happening all around us that actually do matter, and that we should be hearing about. There are hundreds of people dead due to the storms in the southern US, and thousands upon thousands of people displaced. There are people struggling for their independence in Bah’rain and Libya, not to mention Afghanistan and Iraq. Japan’s under-reported nuclear disaster still threatens to disseminate some of the deadliest toxins known to science.

News networks should cover real news. Not puffed up spectacles like the royal wedding.

Filed under: lacy's life, media, thoughts and philosophies

Lacy MacAuley

I'm an activist, dreamer, media relations professional, life dancer, and student of the unknown living in Washington DC. If you stand for something, then stand up! Listen, envision, and act.

tweets from the street

  • Jesus went to the desert. Buddha went ascetic, meditated under a tree. I've been in the mountains for 5 months now. I'm learning :) 3 months ago
  • And you are afraid to take one more step upon the path? This path has carried you so far already. lacymacauley.wordpress.com 4 months ago
  • "Throw yourself like seed. From your work you will be able one day to gather yourself." ~Miguel de Unamuno 5 months ago
  • Your task is not to seek for love, but to seek the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. -Rumi 5 months ago
  • Let it go Let it out Let it all unravel Let it be And it shall be The path on which to travel ~Song heard at Anahata Bio-Community :) 7 months ago
  • Friends, there's nothing inevitable about capitalism or "the market." This form of meeting our needs is brand new in the grand scheme. 7 months ago
  • AMAZING VIDEO. Anarchy as a Spiritual Practice. htl.li/un17T 7 months ago
  • Very proud of the fact that I've successfully ignored the #Olympics... Not living vicariously. Living!! :) 7 months ago
  • Heading to Dance of Universal Peace at the Floyd Eco-Village. #danceofuniversalpeace #Peace #Floyd. Giving it a whirl ;) 7 months ago
  • Just drove out from gravel road in Floyd, VA after being there for a week. Here's what awaited me! http://t.co/d8eGB93dmF 8 months ago

Building a better world starts with just raising your voice.

I support justice. Earth Justice, Civil Rights Justice, Peace and Justice, Economic Justice, Democracy. Join the movement. You are part of the solution. Learn more: lacymacauley@gmail.com

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