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From Seattle to Phoenix: A 10 Year Movement Update

This essay, written by B. Loewe in the Fall of 2010, is included in the astonishing anthology We Have Not Been Moved available at PM Press.

In 1999, following the massive demonstrations in Seattle against the World Trade Organization, Betita Martinez shook things up with the simple question: “Why were most of the demonstrators white?”

After the state of Washington ran out of tear gas, after the echoes of bucket drums faded, after the teamsters and the “turtles” (environmentalists) parted ways, and global capital appeared momentarily derailed by a city full of barricades, her short article circulated listservs and email inboxes with penetrating questions for the debut showing of the newly born “anti-globalization movement.” Martinez highlighted the ways in which people of color did participate but asked us to reconcile the apparent divide. If “we are to make Seattle’s promise of a new, international movement against imperialist globalization come true,” she wrote, we must understand and learn from the low-level of participation from people of color.

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Grief, Compassion, and Vision: Reflections on Brueggeman’s Prophetic Imagination

Also published in Auburn Seminary’s Mountain Top Series: Writing in 1979, Walter Brueggeman turned to the old and new testament to reflect on the role of a prophet in a society he observed of waning social movements and a rising cynicism. What he shares in the Prophetic Imagination is dueling imaginations, a god that takes sides, and a legacy of prophets fluent in the languages of grief and hope; criticism and alternatives; compassion and energy.  For those puzzling today at how to spark a new exodus from modern day Pharaoh’s reign, the thirty year old book offers inspiration and insight.

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Catch More Flies with Honey: Toward Visionary Organizing

One does not have to be familiar with the bolt sizes on the wrecking balls that tore down Cabrini-green to oppose the demolition of public housing. One must hold close the comfort of stepping into a warm room from a cold outdoors, the solace of a bed to lie in, and the security of a place called home.

We have become the expert biographers of our own demise. Rather than offering a vision of the world we yearn for, we study and share the machinations of government and capital that harm us. Like doctors who offer diagnoses but no cures, we are the town criers of a sick society rather than the midwives of the world to come.

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