Social Gospel Is Coming to the Democracy Movement; How Cool Is That?
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Good Kwanzaa, everyone,
I wanted to bring you some glad tidings this morning about a development that’s near and dear to my heart, and I hope you’ll enjoy hearing about it. To avoid any misunderstanding, I will say that I’m neither a believer nor an atheist, and don’t mind that it’s not an issue for me.
Many of you know that I’ve been writing a series on Tipping Points toward (first) Civil Unrest, which has since morphed into Tipping Points Toward Revolution. One of the key turning points that I had imagined would be when Social Gospel became integrated into the movement.
I’ve been working on Part V of the series, but since today is Christmas, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek into a potentially valuable and significant development along those lines.
I’ve been involved with some of you in discussions about the importance of minorities being part of the democracy movement. There have been, as you may know, calls at several prominent websites for the movement to essentially prove that minorities will ‘benefit from it’, which is a difficult task. Glen Ford has made some suggestions toward demonstrating that ‘proof’ in his piece ‘The Occupy Movement, Gentrification and Black America’s Ancient Struggle’.
There are divergent opinions on whether or not black churches were key actors in the Civil Rights movement in the fifties and sixties; I tend to ballast the side that says yes; iconoclast Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report disagrees rather vehemently. You can click the link and let him make his case to you, though Jared Ball’s and others’ demands that the imprisonment of Abu Jamal and other black prisoners should be front and center in the movement are arguably…crap, IMO. I agree with this commenter.
On the boards I’ve held that marginalized minorities can rightly be suspicious of #Occupy if they see it as a ‘white movement’, which is certainly not true in many big cities. I’ve hoped that many have enough understanding, faith and instinctive sense of solidarity to include themselves, choose themselves to ally with us; to trust that Occupiers seriously are representing their interests, too. Or that leaders in the faith movement would step forward with a clarion call to their minority brothers and sisters to join the resistance. And here it comes, ‘Can I hear a hallelujah?’
This is today’s Good News. The video below is an announcement by the newly formed ‘Occupy the Dream’ at the National Press Club on Dec. 14; Truthout.org carried it. It’s a call for all people of color, and all people of understanding, to come together for a National Day of Action on Martin Luther King Day – Monday, January 16, 2012 – when they will “Occupy the Federal Reserve,” in multiple cities nationwide, focusing attention on the gross injustice visited upon the 99% by the financial elite. More actions every thirty days are in the works.
The 25 minute version which includes DeGraw, et.al. is here. Sadly, during the Q and A, and African American reporter made a lot about Hispanics being included in the call to join #Occupy, since blacks were suffering far worse unemployment, yada yada… Jamal answered her softly, but with moral authority. I hope she was a bit ashamed, frankly. Will we ever learn the meaning of brotherhood? I get how hard it is, but isn’t it a supremely worthy goal, or a least process to pursue?
In case you skip the video, over thirty Occupy organizers came together to form ‘Occupy the Dream’ and issued a statement, which says in part:
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for social and economic justice with a deep moral commitment to non-violent civil disobedience. His legacy inspires many of us on the front lines of the Occupy Wall Street movement. [snip]
Our political, economic, and legal systems have become wholly corrupted through a system of political bribery. Through campaign finance, lobbying, and the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street, our wealth has been consolidated into the hands of the few at the expense and suffering of the many. [snip]
Our families have endured economic oppression for too long. The Occupy Wall Street movement draws its strength from people of all different walks of life, with opinions across the political spectrum, coming together to find common ground and unite against the global financial interests that have bought control of our government.
Dr. King’s vision of economic justice is an edifying example of what we intend to achieve. The Occupy movement has become a powerful force by occupying communities throughout the country. The time has now come for us to embody the spirit of Dr. King and for us to “Occupy the Dream.”
We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the African-American Faith community in this campaign for economic fairness and justice. We are all in this fight together. We all want a healthy and secure future for our families. In the absence of a government that will defend and represent us, we are now taking it upon ourselves to stand up and defend our own families.”
It might be easy for us to worry about the celebrities involved, and the possibility of cooption given that they are issuing three demands that involve the same government many of us see as irrelevant now. I don’t know many of these folks, but I have come to respect and trust Dave DeGraw, founder of AmpedStatus.com and more recently his sub-site, which seems to have taken most of his energy and focus now, www.owsnews.org. He was in on the ground floor of the movement.
I hope you join me in understanding how important it is that the faith community be involved, and especially relevant are MLK’s and Malcolm X’s understanding that without economic and social justice, there is no justice.
Additionally, the 24 Hour “Occupy Christmas” Prayer Vigil, Sharing of Food, Prayer and Music is being held today:
“On behalf of Occupy Faith and Occupy Dignity, the New York Civil Liberties Union hand-delivered letters on Monday to the NYPD and Brookfield Properties alerting them to the plans.
This event is aimed at bringing all people — Christian, Jew, Muslim, Sikh, Theosophist, Marxist, Capitalist, Atheist, Agnostic — together to learn about each other and to see that essentially we are different faces of the same being, existing in light and love, and that the time where we had to remain separate and suspicious of our subtle differences is over, said Zabinski.
We are taught to close our doors and retract into the nuclear family, into our faith groups, into our nationalism,” said Atiq Zabinski of OWS. “Let’s do something truly revolutionary and celebrate, meditate, pray, play, and eat together!”
(Today’s schedule is included if you know anyone who might want to attend.)
It’s about 7:15 now, I’ve been up for hours, and I need to get this posted. I need to get on with my day, but I’ll come back to tweak some stuff here and there. Oh, and edit it, too, LOL!
Love to you all, stay strong and hopeful; we’ll win, because we must, and the time is now. Our time is now.
“Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number ~
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you ~
Ye are many ~ they are few.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley