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"I need peace right now"

The acute alarms of fear, frustration, rage, and outrage are a necessary and healthy response to the recent election of a braggart sexual predator as president and his appointment of white supremacists, voter suppressors, public school eviscerators, petroleum executives, radical anti-contraceptionists, and purveyors of lies and doublespeak to his cabinet and staff.

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Practicing Peace in the World as It Is

Practical Peace Logo

This seems like a good time to share again some of the things I have learned in many years as a nature mystic, student of the sciences and of wisdom traditions, and activist for peace and justice. Practical peace, as I call it, is both a working model of how change happens and a set of practices for living it out.

Practical peace is about living with eyes open to injustice, heart open to suffering, mind open to take in the complexity of the forces and systems that shape our world. It is not an ideal about a future perfection. It is not an abstract that can turn into an absolute and be used as a dogmatic hammer.

This is a moment to moment practice, a tool that does not desert me in the face of fear or anger as it allows me to be flexible, creative, and effective as a force for justice and peace.

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More than Hurt Feelings

Overt racism is easy to spot. The cotton balls, feces swastikas, and racial epithets at Mizzou (among many other campuses) are ugly. They intend to be demeaning and to strike fear. They mean to establish that there are the “people like us,” and the “others.” That they are not acceptable is obvious.

Institutional racism is more subtle

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In Case We Have Forgotten MLK's Vision of the Power of Nonviolent Direct Action

“To dislocate the functioning of a city without destroying it can be more effective than a riot because it can be longer-lasting, costly to society but not wantonly destructive. Moreover, it is more difficult for government to quell it by superior force. Mass civil disobedience can use rage as a constructive and creative force. …
To have effect we will have to develop mass disciplined forces that can remain excited and determined without dramatic conflagrations.”

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Cameras to the People

All the talk I hear about cameras on police gives me pause.

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Miracles

Horseshoe Crabs

I was walking on a city sidewalk the other day and happened to look up. There, silhouetted against the gray sky, a lilac branch held a small head of buds. The flower buds were still tightly furled, the leaf buds open just a crack. I stopped for the briefest of seconds to take it in. A miracle, I thought, the ceaseless turning from bud to flower to death to rest and then bud again.

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Ferguson Activists: A Whole New World

Ferguson Organizers
Johnetta Elzie, DeRay McKesson, Jabari Asim

Last night I went to a discussion with Johnetta Elzie and DeRay Mckesson, two young Ferguson organizers. Their passion and disciplined commitment were impressive, of course. But it’s their self-awareness, skill with non-violent language, and practice of radical democracy that made it seem like a whole new world. A few examples:

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ONE DROP OF BLOOD

I was approached by the nurse. I recognized her only vaguely, as she worked mostly in the clinic in this building and almost never in the clinic where I received what care I occasionally needed. She broke open a package of finger-stick apparatus, took my hand, and prepared to draw the few drops of required blood. “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?” I asked her past the tears that blocked my throat. “Is this what you went to nursing school for? Does this seem to you like taking care of a sick person? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?” She only looked away.

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About Katherine Power

I didn’t set out to be a terrorist. As a student activist, I moved from protesting the war in Viet Nam to waging guerrilla war to overthrow the government….

Recent and Upcoming Appearances and Publications
1/15/2014 Complexity and Social Change, Occupy Radio
10/31/2013 Surrender, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
10/25/2013 Surrender, Taos Community Theater, Taos, NM

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