[Fwd: starhawk letter]

unclescam (unclescam@buskers.org)
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Subject: starhawk letter
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Hi folks-
Just wanted to pass on  this message that my friend Laura forwarded to
me-
about the recent "festivities" in Seattle.  Sounds just a bit like the
60's- at least to
anyone else who remembers the 60's as I do.  Back then, items like this
were routine.
Hope they don't have to become routine again!

Eric


"Hi friends-here's an open letter I'm putting up on my web page about
the WTO experience. It's aimed at the broad, Pagan community--so
please help me circulate it where it needs to go, you who are more
web
savvy than I--

love
Starhawk
------------------------
Open Letter to the Pagan Community

Dear friends, I want to thank you all for all the energy, healing,
and concern I've felt from you over the past week. I'm out of jail now,

and recovering rapidly from bronchitis. I've been through one of the
most intense and powerful experiences of my life--and I've had a few!

Physically, it was often very hard. But over and over again I would
look around at the other women I was locked up with, and realize that
there was noplace else in the world I would rather be at that moment.

Magic works. So many people were sending me protection that I had
some very surreal experiences. Just one example: When we got
arrested, clubs were smashing down on people to the left an right of
me. Cops were throwing protestors to the ground, smashing their
faces in the concrete, splitting a head or two. And I was arrested by a

reluctant young man who I could tell picked me especially so he could
be sure I wouldn't be brutalized and asked me politely after I was
handcuffed if I would like to sit on the curb. I saw incredible acts
of courage around me. On Tuesday, our group held a blockade line in
the only section that remained peaceful and festive all day. We
received whiffs of tear gas blowing in from afar, but were never
attacked by the police. Around the corner, however, was a war zone,
where groups of blockades held their lines against horses and while
being beaten, tear gassed and pepper sprayed.

I was not myself hurt or beaten or roughed up. But I was locked up,
for five days, in a high-security real live jail, complete with
concrete cells and iron bars and lights that never turn off, even
when
you're sleeping. Along with over five hundred other people, I was
handcuffed, shackled, stripped of all my personal possessions, and
subjected to the force and control of other human beings who let's
just say did not have my personal welfare at their heart.

What criminal act did I commit to warrant this treatment? I walked
in a peaceful procession to exercise my constitutional right to freedom
of speech, and refused to relinquish that right. When ordered to
leave, I sat down.

The media is working hard to portray the protests as a violent riot.

Do not believe them. In reality, there were thousand and thousands
of peaceful protesters in Seattle and a tiny handful of people who broke

windows. The police did not pursue the windowbreakers--in fact, when
one of them was surrounded and subdued by a group of nonviolent
protesters the police refused to arrest him. While the police
complain that they "were not prepared for the violence", in reality
they condoned and possibly instigated the vandalism that did occur,
and that is dwarfed by the immense violence of the police, who used
tear gas on peaceful protesters, pepper sprayed handcuffed women in
their cells, shot nuns with rubber bullets, beat seated blockaders
with billy clubs, ran amuck and terrorized whole neighborhoods.

What the police were truly unprepared for was the power of
nonviolence--not to mention magic! None of the media seem to have a
clue as to how the blockade was actually organized. The Direct
Action
Network, the group I worked with, had been preparing and training
people for months. Thousands of people went through nonviolence
trainings, to learn how to respond peacefully and courageously in the

face of brutality. I helped to give some of the trainings and have
the deepest respect for the organizers. We practiced ways to protect
each other in dangerous situations and prepared for jail solidarity
to
prevent individuals from being singled out.

Those who took part in the blockade on Tuesday and the civil
disobedience on Wednesday were organized like the Craft has been
organized for centuries--around small groups, affinity groups--kind
of
like covens-for-the-action. Each group made its own strategic
decisions by consensus, and included both people willing to risk
arrest and those who wanted to offer support. Groups sent
representatives to spokescouncils where the actions were co-ordinated

and overall decisions were made. There was no top-down leadership
telling people what to do--and in emergency, high stress situations,
small groups could quicky make their own decisions and take action.
The power of this model, I've come to believe, is that the police
simply cannot see this kind of organization. Our plans were made in
public meetings, there was no way to keep our strategy secret--yet
after months of preparation we were able to completely surround and
blockade the Convention Center and hold it closed for the first day
of
meetings.

Magic helped. We were, of course, working magic on every level,
from
rituals we offered before the action to a mditation on shared intent
that Margo Adair taught us to the trancework some of us did in our
own
circles to the WTO spell (an ice sculpture that melted throughout the

ritual) we had as an altar at the Spiral Dance.

We worked magic in jail, as well. We sang songs, told stories,
shared
meditations and learned to ground and call on the elements. About
fifty of us held an impromptu ritual while waiting in a holding cell
for arraignment and later danced the spiral dance. We practiced "the

art of changing consciousness at will"--and it worked. The guards,
the threats, the violence and the concrete could not keep out the
love, commitment and true joy we shared. The women I was with in
jail
were mostly young, but amazingly strong, caring, thoughtful,
intelligent and politically aware.

There were also a sprinkling of older women whose courage and humor
were an inspiration to us. I was hungry, sick, exhausted and in pain

a lot of the time--but I was never for a moment unhappy to be where I

was. Instead, I experienced a depth of almost radiant happiness like

a pure current in a roiling river that I could tap into whenever my
spirit started to flag. In one of our rituals, my friend Willow had
invoked the Green Man and reminded us that oxygen is his breath and
he
is everywhere. When I lay in my airless, torturously overheated cell

at night, coughing and feverish and struggling to breathe, I could
call upon him through such air as there was and visualize the cool,
moist scent of the redwoods by my home. I'd close my eyes and see
the
ancestors marching with us in great rivers, turning the tide. And I
could feel a depth of strength in myself that I didn't know I had.
It
was the most powerful initiation I've ever experienced.

Why did we do it? I did it because I am a Pagan and a Witch. I know

that in the vast, broad Pagan world out there, we don't all share the

same politics--but I think there are some core things that we do
share
and the WTO touches all of them. We worship nature. The WTO is part

of a global attempt to elevate profit as a value that supercedes
nature or any other value. It overrides the laws we have made
through
out own democratic governments, and in fact becomes a metapower that
makes elected governments ineffectual. Although I've been a
lifelong
pacifist, I know there are many Pagans in the military and I trust
that they believe they are there to defend our democracy--which the
WTO makes null and void. I don't know any Pagans, regardless of
politics, who enjoy being bossed around by outside forces and told
what to do. The level of police violence and repression that was
called out to attempt to protect this ministerial is an example of
the
kind of force we can expect to face in a corporate controlled world.

We won. The WTO will never, now, be able to quietly assume power and

consolidate its rule outside of public awareness. Whatever happens
with it, and whatever new strategy they devise to meet the same ends,

the issue has been brought to the public table. And a new generation

of young activists have been through a life-changing experience. A
few uncomfortable days in the company of heroic and beautiful women
seems a very small price to pay.

Again, thank you all for your energy. I was deeply touched to
realize
how many people were concerned for me. I truly believe that were it
not for all the energy and healing, I would have been much, much
sicker--and I've never gotten over a case of bronchitis so fast in my

life!

Love and bright Solstice to you all,

Blessed be,

Starhawk

F D G"





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