Ruby Dee & Me and My Arrow’s Point

“The costs of our empire are in general… are distributed over this unhealthy society and the immiserated, frightened world as a whole, while its profits revert to a few within.” — one of the author’s home schooled teenage charges quoting Noam Chomsky as best she can, her point and his — regardless — being spot on, and rare as flawless chrysolite.

“I am sorry for everything. The horror of America.” — Bowe Bergdahl

Ruby Dee & Me and My Arrow’s Point
http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=me+and+my+arrow+nillson+video&FORM =VIRE1#view=detail&mid=421037610A27859EAFCA421037610A27859EAFCA
by Ox

Now she is gone from this earth… as per http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/06/12/us-people-rubydee-idINKBN0EN1 XK20140612. [Pause.] But she is with me. Rather, I am with what was dear to her heart.

There is a gut-wrenching cry near the end of the documentary Sing Your Song that comes from Ruby Dee: “GIVE ME AN ASSIGNMENT!” It is one of the most moving expressions of anguish I’ve ever witnessed on film. [And I'm a former Professor of Cinema History who's been around the celluloid block a few times.] It comes at a meeting of leading activists, pioneers and writers (”The Gathering of the Elders”) which was convened by Harry Belafonte and Connie Rice*, trying to deal with youth-related horrors, attempting to come up with a plan for action that would make a difference.

*NOT the former Stanford University Provost War Criminal who served under Bush.

I can no longer give her the assignment she cried out for, for her family — everyone who felt responsible for protecting her in her last years — kept me from connecting directly with her. [Pause] No matter. Like I said, she’s very much alive, embedded in everything I’m still trying to do. Along with Paul Robeson, James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry and her longtime companion Ossie, among others. All in my quiver… but at the rock bottom.

So… let’s now look at some select arrows left in my living quiver.

A few who I’m waiting on in no special order:

a) Dr. Jason Williams http://www.hamptoninstitution.org/cj.html#.U5pRCmdOV9M;

b) Shannon Hoffman of http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/06/12/lets-not-fool-ourselves/;

c) Tom Hastings of Portland State University http://www.pdx.edu/conflict-resolution/tom-hastings [Part of "the point" of my posting is that sweet souls like Tom (numbering in the thousands) keep writing pieces like http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/06/13/dear-america-its-over/... in lieu of responding to new grassroots ideas or even general outreach, like mine. Alternative outlets are pretty much exclusively dedicated to such documentation, entertainment and 'release'. "Actions" recommended/spotlighted are 'obsolete', all begging for some supplement... whether or not it's what I'm offering up.];

d) Tom Bibiyan http://www.tombibiyan.com/ who has been really supportive of Cecily McMillan http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/20/occupy-activist-cecily-mcmillan -sentenced/ [Cecily's direct action never received the supplement it required. Her protest, though valuable, took 'obsolete form' in the sense that it was embraced as the primary or exclusive means for bringing about institutional change sans strong solidarity blended with others' efforts. I can elaborate on that 'difficult' notion upon request.];

e) The Mayor and Vice-Mayor of East Palo Alto (and Councilman Ruben Abrica);

f) TONS of others too… collected just within the last few days… including The Innocence Project http://www.innocenceproject.org/about/Contact-Us.php and many intriguing souls associated with http://www.anunrealdream.com/… and several environmentally-socially conscious documentaries.

BUT… Courtney Hanson, a local activist/artist who was featured in a Santa Cruz newspaper piece I picked up this morning is the arrow that I think will work. Hit my oxeyes’ bullseye. She’s an organizer for http://sinbarras.org/. [She just telephoned in response to my feverish outreach, directed to her quarter throughout the day today.]

Every other arrow will remain in my quiver, and I’ll be adding to them as each activist moment passes, but methinks that Courtney — such a good listener on the phone just now, and for other reasons — will get it, understand that something truly fresh needs to be embraced to supplement what she’s doing, and what everyone else is doing.

I look forward — especially since she’s in my backyard — that she’ll set up a rendezvous post haste… so that I can delineate the whole kit and caboodle of what I have to offer with Howard Zinn’s imprimatur. [Pause.] An assignment.

What I see as absolutely necessary at this juncture.

That’s my point.

Addendum: I trust that Courtney will check out what’s under the ‘About Us’ banner above… and, then, telephone to set up a meeting… like yesterday. O bailan todos o no baile nadie.

6:30am Addendum
: When one works 24×8 on something every exchange seems to move at an arthritic snail’s pace. Nothing yet from Japan (http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/06/innocent-pleas-vs-plea-bargains/), North Carolina Veterans for Peace people (preparing for their counterproductive July conference), or any of their counterparts nationwide, John Raley, the big attorney in Houston who worked to free Michael Morton, NC’s Stop Torture Now, or — get this — the World Can’t Wait ‘peeps’ in San Francisco. Right, the world can’t wait, but… what(?)… I can? Fail. Fail again. Fail again better. I had a dream with Ruby in it last night, a very positive vision respecting the incarcerated. I trust that I’ll hear a word from Courtney this morning.

While well-intentioned, highly educated and deeply experienced people like Garry Leech continue to document us all to death (with fine pieces like http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/06/13/americas-new-apartheid/)… in lieu of taking fresh kinds of action in solidarity, and I wait and wait and wait to hear from the likes of Michelle Alexander, hoping to circumvent the people who are preventing access (much along the lines of what Ruby Dee’s family members did)… I keep hopeful that Courtney will give me a chance to spell out why we should move in solidarity immediately, taking advantage of that window of opportunity which will not come again. The one that is presently open in Santa Cruz County where we both live. [No confirmation of receipt yet.]

8:12am PST: I just wrote to Sonia Nazario http://www.democracynow.org/2014/6/13/children_on_the_run_us_detains et alia; see http://www.enriquesjourney.com/about-sonia/bio-2/ too. But… what of Courtney? [It's 9am now.]

Approximately at 10am PST
: Two brief emails came in, touching base with me, the well-meaning sweet souls on the run. I responded trying to move things along meaningfully around 10:30 or so. This is a very typical dynamic. Usually, follow-up drags horribly slow. What do I mean by slow? Permit me to show… what I mean from one of many angles possible. Let’s take Sonia (the prize-winning author referenced above) as one example. It would be an honor to engage her in discussion — as requested — centered on what options we have for creating the necessary watershed in history which is now called for post haste. The one which everyone is either talking around, or talking about in lieu of doing anything new; lieu, do, new… I love that kind of thing. Much more I love moving in solidarity. If one looks at what’s listed as Sonia’s “Past Events” http://www.enriquesjourney.com/events-and-appearances/past-events/ you’ll see that loads of heartbeats have been expended so that she’d be able to spread the word in a few different senses, all of which are important. Important, but in a way that will not help to achieve her ultimate aims unless a supplement is added to the mix. One example of SLOW is making the rounds on the lecture/bookstore circuit. Slow in terms of getting around to movement in solidarity along lines that have a chance at making a difference. Really, think about how many people — how much energy and time and heartbeats — had to go into all of those appearances. And, then, couple that impression with thoughts about what’s been accomplished above and beyond the incessant planting of seeds… which never seem to bloom sufficiently, in a healthy enough way. Seeds which lead only to unsatisfying engagement. Fighting the good fight along lines which were appropriate for the 30s and 60s, but which are sorely wanting today. Activism which has been limited by a lack of vision, an unwillingness to open up to leisurely discussion of new options. I ask everyone why — with my having written to Sonia, using the email provided by her people — I cannot gain access to her. And why NONE of the other people mentioned (and not mentioned) are even confirming receipt, for the most part. Why those who do get back at all do so on the run. I am like Chicken Little, yes, with my sense of urgency. But I get the impression — with all due respect, please believe me — that the targets of my outreach are running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Where is everyone running to? What are they accomplishing? And why do they not seem to be interested in grassroots (educated/experienced) feedback (form someone who is a potential volunteer for their mundane purposes)? [It's now almost 11am PST... with nothing additional to report.]

Noonish update: Received a phone call from Michael Simmons; see http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/06/13/carlene-carter-and-the-unbroken -circle/, which is particularly germane by virtue of its focus on music. Ideally, music should be at the core of what I’m proposing. He promised to read this posting… even though he’s very busy in general, and has his fingers in political action already. I asked him, as I always ask everyone, WHAT “activism” they’re engaged in. He’ll probably tell me once he gets to know me better. And I’m hoping that he’s not involved in obsolete forms of protest, trying to bring about change with old models.

It’s after 9am PST the next day (6/14/14) and not a word from anyone. I did receive a prematurely dismissive email from Michael Simmons… one of the many people who have claimed to be too busy for the likes of me and my agenda (without taking the time to really absorb what that agenda is all about). Claiming to be “too busy”… oblivious to the fact that EVERYONE says the same thing (and what that means). Directly below is my immediate response to Michael. I name him here, but he’s not important, no individual is. The dynamics are what’s important. Both our horrid momentum and the Ostrich Syndrome which is enveloping one and all. That’s the point.

Thanks for writing. I can easily provide a telegraphic sound bite. But I’m guessing it would be a waste of heartbeats… unless you see two things. One, our having dire collective deadlines which are not being acknowledged among concerned citizens. Two, our documenting, debating and entertaining ourselves to death (partly with articles, conferences, petitions, recordings, books, interviews, etc.) in lieu of DOING anything in solidarity following a fresh paradigm. IF you don’t feel both of those as being spot on, it won’t do much good to delineate my new paradigm for action. I don’t mind your not having the patience for the particular form I used in the Ruby Dee tribute, but RUBY WAS SCREAMING FOR ONE AND ALL TO EMBRACE SOME NEW PARADIGM FOR ACTION, and I have that for the kind consideration of… interested parties.

Everyone is busy with what they’re doing, Michael, and so… we’ll be doomed as per our horrid momentum. It doesn’t have to be that way. Thanks for your “best of luck” gesture, but I’m looking for movement in solidarity from people who understand that we are faced with deadly momentum.

Blessings,

oxman