Sunday, February 04, 2007
The Changeseeker's Manifesto
I believe that life is more important than money and that because of this, anything that prioritizes the production of capital over the protection, honoring, and sustenance of life on this planet is not only inappropriate and ill-advised, but insane. If we continue as a human race to sacrifice Life on the altar of Money, we will ultimately commit what Johan Galtung has called "mass, deliberate, collective suicide." Therefore, I seek ways to make this clear and to live my life on a daily basis rejecting as often and in as many ways as possible those principles and practices that maintain within me the continued addiction to consumerism, while placing those who "have" in a position of more value than those who "have not." And I do, thenceforth and forever, ally myself with those who work to live, rather than seek to destroy.
I believe that men and women are not gendered at birth, but that the patriarchal power structure that has been in control for thousands of years socializes us to perceive our Selves as specifically and particularly divided in characteristically stereotypical ways in spite of the fact that there is a clearly visible and widely-ranged continuum of sexuality that manifests itself in ways both bold and delicate. The idea that men are superior to women in any way, which is then used to justify male dominance and subjugation of women, is so couched in error and violence as to be maniacal. Therefore, I seek ways to make this clear and to live my life on a daily basis rejecting this definition of myself and others. And I do, thenceforth and forever, ally myself with all people who seek to present themselves as fully valid in their own personhood.
I believe that the socially-constructed, political notion of "race" was developed in the sixteenth century for the express purpose of the exploitation of people of color by those who inhabited the continent of Europe at that time and that this exploitation continues still--brutally, unapologetically, and with the realization of great wealth. As a person bearing the physical characteristics attributed to Europeans and European-Americans, I accept the responsibility of becoming ever more cognizant of this reality, ever more sensitive to its effects, and ever more committed to changing it. I do not perceive myself as worthy of particular benefits such as are bestowed upon me, often without acknowledgement or even awareness. And I find the pervasive nature of these benefits and the rationalizing forces used to suggest that they are reasonable both egregious and ignominious. The damage that has been done to and continues to be perpetrated against people of color is so unconscionable as to be unforgiveable. Therefore, I seek to make this clear and to live my life on a daily basis most humbly rejecting this system of White Supremacy and privilege in all its forms and manifestations. And I do, thenceforth and forever, ally myself with those who struggle against this system, regardless of what they look like or who they are.
I believe that all life is sacred and that not to honor it--in all its forms--is to disrespect and dishonor not only one's Self, as well as all that came before us and will come after us, but also the very Creative Source from which we spring. I believe that there are solutions to all human dilemmas presented at this moment around the world, once it can be established that life is sacred; that it is more important than money; that men and women and children are not roles to be played, but persons to be loved and respected; and that all humans--regardless of their appearance, their cultures, their differing levels of ability, and their socio-economic status--are equally beautiful, equally vital, equally necessary, and equally deserving of all the earth has to offer. And I believe that our survival is being threatened by those belief systems that do not recognize and codify these realities. I work to change the paradigms that are responsible for those threats. And I celebrate daily those who work with me toward the day when we can know that we are all--finally--free.
The Mara Berendt Friedman poster featured above is available from the Syracuse Cultural Workers collective.