I haven’t heard get “woke” used for some time. Maybe because Barack Obama said being “woke” doesn’t mean anything unless you do something in response.
It’s been disappointing to witness how many people have slept and fallen into belief regarding many things.
Also disturbing occasions, and there have been several, when I realized I had slept and fallen into belief. I needed to be “woke”. A recent occasion for me was to realize everything has a spirit. Having considered myself to be a spiritual person but not to see the spirit is not limited to human beings. That was a rude awakening for sure. And made me realize one reason it is hard for people to wake up is the embarrassment of admitting this to others.
Perhaps the first time I considered this concept was when, as a child, I learned many people had fallen into the belief that war could be justified.
Or that the color of one’s skin could make some people feel superior to others.
Or that land and resources could be owned.
This is one of the most important things our faith community can do for us. To help us awaken when we have slept. And deal with the pain that comes from these realizations of how we slept.
It is a challenge to see how our faith communities have slept, and fallen into belief. It has been a constant disappointment of my life to see how Quakers have slept regarding the use of fossil fuels. As Rae Armantrout says, ““The first section of ‘On Growth’ began while I was babysitting my young granddaughters and suddenly realized that everything in our immediate environment was a petroleum product.“
My own process of waking up involved a vision of my beloved Rocky Mountains hidden behind clouds of smog. Among other things that led me to live without a car for most of my life. That’s what President Obama meant when he said being ‘woke’ must lead to change.
I was led to read this poem this morning because the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light fundamental beliefs many have fallen into as we slept.
- A belief that corporate capitalism works well
- That the commons, water, air and land can be owned and access restricted
- That corporations are beholden to their stockholders, even at the expense of the rest of us and Mother Earth
- That all goods and services must by paid for
- That society should no longer provide free education and healthcare to all
- That the imbalance of extreme wealth while billions live in poverty is a sign of success
- That spirituality has no value
- and many more
With this action, we demand an end the colonial-capitalist economy supported by institutionalized white supremacist and heteropatriarchal systems that have devastated our lands, climate, and peoples through ceaseless resource extraction, land occupation, border imperialism, misogyny, homophobia, enslavement, and genocide. This viral pandemic is part of a much larger problem as explained by Buffalo-based media artist, Jason Livingston, who conceived this action, “The crisis began before the virus, and the crisis will continue beyond the vaccine.”#CapitalismIsThePandemic
As we are ‘woke’ by the COVID-19 pandemic, what do we do in response? What is emerging is a campaign of global mass strikes. see: https://kislingjeff.wordpress.com/2020/04/30/the-era-of-mass-strikes-begins-on-may-1/
The action described above is one of many that happened, and will continue to happen, as part of global mass strikes. Now is the time to learn and organize.
On GrowthCopyright © 2020 by Rae Armantrout. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 8, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets
Dressed all in plastic,
which means oil,
we’re bright-eyed, scrambling
for the colored cubes
on the rug’s polymer.
is a tiny car.
When we can’t unscrew the tops
we cry for help.
To sleep is to fall
our worst suspicions
may be pleasurable;
we are carried,
the body can heal,
Creatures that never wake
can sprout a whole new
This may be wrong.
Rae Armantrout reading ‘On Growth’
“The first section of ‘On Growth’ began while I was babysitting my young granddaughters and suddenly realized that everything in our immediate environment was a petroleum product. The second section brings together some uneasy ruminations on sleep/unconsciousness and growth. ‘To sleep is to fall/into belief’ and also, sometimes, vice versa. It is in sleep that the young grow and that ‘lower’ animals transform. In our toxic environment, we can’t necessarily expect growth to be benign.”—Rae Armantrout
#CapitalismIsThePandemic #SeedingSovereignty #COVID19 #Coronavirus #ReturnStolenLand #GND #GeneralStrike2020