The greatest battle in life is the struggle within you. ~ Nathaniel (Nick) Abdul Kaliq
September Full Moon 2022: Pisces Moon calls on you to speak your dreams into reality. ~ Maria Sofia Mamanides
Tell the truth and shame the devil.
~ An African American proverb
Hello Monitor readers,
August was a beautiful and refreshing month. It also seemed like a blur or flurry of activities and wonderful outdoor events, like the Great MN Gathering at the State Fair. My highlight of the 2022 fair was the launching of the Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights (COBR). The COBR vision is a state where all Minnesota children and families are inspired to engage with the natural world in ways that support physical activity, mental well-being, creativity, and appreciation for nature. Please take time this month to learn more about the COBR and how you can actively pledge to support the principles of the Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, https://mn.gov/children-outdoors/.
The MN Renaissance Festival is celebrating its 51st season. This traditional family-friendly festival is another great way to enjoy the outdoors with wonderful people. I am also looking forward to this year’s special Selby Ave, Jazz Festival! This is a favorite family festival of the Rondo Community hosted by Golden Thyme Coffee Café. This is a don’t miss event! For more information, http://selbyavejazzfest.com/. Many other summer and fall events are occurring this month, particularly outdoors events and fun adventures. Please let me know if would like to assist with harvesting rural or urban farms and/or community gardens. Many hands make light the work!
We Live in Perilous Times ~ Part 2
And now, part two of my brother’s small meditation on our current state of affairs. I felt that his thoughtful reflections needed to be shared and discussed with a greater number of open-minded people.
White Supremacy is a key factor that holds everything together. As the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond describes, “Racism was done.”It was an intentional strategy to divide and subdue natural allies against wealthy landowners and became institutionalized throughout the USA. As I am looking at it, in addition to skewing institutional behavior to favor White people, the system is based on very strict and powerful methods of constraining the behavior of Black people and communities of color. These methods are violent and militaristic.The police and national guard come to mind. Police, to me, are state sponsored terrorists. Since the founding of this county, citizens have lived under a system of constraints (called civil and criminal law) that have worked well enough for White people. Today, people of color are challenging these and rising up to protect and assert their humanity and to challenge this authority. At the same time, (as Ms. Walter describes in “They are preparing for war”: An expert on civil wars discusses where political extremists are taking this country – interview with Barbara F. Walter - https://wapo.st/3bWV2Tc) a big chunk of White people are feeling disconnected from the social, political, economic etc. systems (these are disintegrating) and their “freedoms” and privilege are disintegrating too. White Supremacy is not working for them as well as they expect it should. The reaction of many of these is to double down on White Supremacy and bring back ORDER. As White Supremacy is challenged and deteriorates, Mr. Brooks describes the messages they receive from the world around them. This attacks their identity and they want to strike out, back and “make America great again”.
“The stressors build up: bad at school, bad at work, humiliating encounters with others. It feels shameful to be so unworthy of human attention. We see ourselves as others see us, and when no one sees us, our sense of self disintegrates. They are ill-equipped to deal with their pain. And here’s where victimhood turns into villainy. The ones who become mass shooters decide they are Superman, and it is the world that is full of ants. They decide to kill themselves in a way that will selfishly give them what they crave most: to be known, to be recognized, to be famous. They craft a narrative in which they are the hero.The world is evil, and they will stand up to the world. Or, the world is in catastrophic danger. The Blacks/Jews/women are destroying us, and they will strike back. These internet-fueled narratives have an arousing power. They make them feel righteous, strong and significant. People whose lives are dissolving into chaos will grasp any black-and-white story that provides order and purpose.” (Why mass shooters do the evil they do by David Brooks – https://www.startribune.com/why-mass-shooters-do-the-evil-they-do/600189003/ ).
I believe that the above is an accurate description of the dynamic that is occurring with the Trump/Republican authoritarians. It is more general than the factors that coalesce into mass shooters.
The great disruptor has been a worldwide pandemic. This changed everything. How we work. How we socially interact. How products of our economy were distributed. How families connected. What we did for entertainment, leisure or diversion. Even, what we thought was true. Nothing has been the same since.
Before the pandemic a new force for our common humanity was building power. The Movement for Black Lives articulated a vision of humanity counter to White Supremacy. The uprisings around George Floyd’s murder unleashed much energy asserting humanity of Black people and communities of color. In some quarters, conversations and policies happened that furthered recognition of peoples’ humanity.
So, where will we go from here?
Ms. Walter describes one scenario as insurgency. “Here it’s called leaderless resistance. And that method of how to defeat a powerful government like the United States is outlined in what people are calling the Bible of the far right, ‘The Turner Diaries,’ which is this fictitious account of a civil war against the U.S. government. It lays out how you do this.” According to the CIA manual for insurgency, we are in the second of three stages. “That’s when these groups begin to build a military arm. Usually a militia.” The signs are here: “They use unconventional tactics. They target infrastructure. They target civilians. They use domestic terror and guerrilla warfare. Hit-and-run raids and bombs.” To me the mass shootings fit into the disintegration and are acts of domestic terror and guerrilla warfare as described by Ms. Walter. They have recruited veterans who fought in the wars we have perpetrated over the past 30 years. They have recruited members of law enforcement and are sending members into the military to get trained. Remember Charlotte, Jan. 6?
As I see it, this is the default. It is the direction in which this country is lurching forward. The supporters of Trump and the Republican party want their White Supremacy back. They are ready to sacrifice what little democracy we had to enforcing ORDER. Looking at the laws passed in many states, the Republican controlled senate at the country and state levels, we are clearly moving toward authoritarianism. If the owners of capital have anything to say, this would transform to fascism easily. These people are organized, trained and moving their agenda now.
The only counter I see is The Movement for Black Lives and other pro-human movements in communities of color. Right now, I do not see unity nor do I see actual visions of a humane society and humane governance. I strongly believe that leadership needs to come from communities of color. We’ve had some uprisings, demonstrations and protests. I do not see a movement and these countervailing forces therefore are feeble.
It ain’t pretty. In the words of Dr. King, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”
Art Serotoff is a community activist who lives in south central Minneapolis. Currently his focus is on the Bryant and Central neighborhoods, and he co-leads a group of White residents who want to deepen their understanding of White supremacy and develop into anti-racist allies in the neighborhood. Art was programs director for Sabathani Community Center for 16 years and funds distribution director for the Minneapolis United Way for 14 years. He learned about his place as a White man in U.S. society from the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. This was a life changing moment 33 years ago. Since then, Art has been working to undermine systemic racism in whatever manner he could. Art is married to Sandra Richardson, and has two children who are in their 30s. He grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. and came to Minnesota 45 years ago.
A FULL MOON THIS MONTH
I end on a light and hopeful note: Happy Harvest Full Moon Month! “The stars have aligned with the September Full Moon 2022, bringing us a lovely lunation in the dreamy, creative, and spiritual sign of Pisces… this Full Moon is offering all of us the opportunity for emotional release, especially around areas where we’ve felt pressure to perform or meet overly perfectionist standards”, wrote Maria Sofia Marmanides of womenand home.com. And, if you need a little inspiration to let go and release unwanted energy, Dr. Valentine from Hamline-U offers this garden song/video link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BP-qh4cTrlc.
Keep the good thoughts and stay optimistic. Things are getting better in an updated and equity/fair manner, which is different from the bias manifest destiny of White privilege at any cost including lying to be right and letting corporations be in control of everyday people, like us, the Monitor’s neighbors and readers! Thank you.
May Peace Be In the Rondo, Frogtown, Hamline/Midway, Como, and Surrounding Communities...
May Peace Be In Our Homes & Communities…
May Peace Prevail On Earth (MPPOE)!
BE SMART! DO YOUR PART! Get Your vaccination shots and booster shots if you feel comfortable doing so!!!
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