THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE: A Cyberzine An On-line and On-going Journal of Politics and Opinion #17 20 December 1999



>>>I know I said in JME #16 that the next one would be after the first of the year, but a lot has come in over the cybertransom recently so I thought a few samples the incoming would be of interest; therefore this one last Emailite before the end of the millennium.

>>>Here then, five little packages to put under the Christmas tree, beside the Hanukkah bush, on the Kwanzaa mkeka (mat) beside the kikombe cha umoja (the unity cup) or wherever-else you’d like to put ‘em.

>>>First, a United Nations operated website to visit where you can donate food to the hungry without forking over any cash.

>>>Second, some notes from the WTO Battle-in-Seattle from Starhawk, self-described pagan and witch, who was arrested and jailed in that gentle city.

>>>Third, White Youths Fire on Black School: The News That’s Not in the News.

>>>Fourth, a Holiday Greeting and look at contemporary life from Slam-Poet and Wandering American Shannon Williams.

>>>And finally, a few cranky, millennium-departing words from The Editor.

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In the spirit of the holiday season, here is an easy gift to make. And this one is free.

Go to The Hunger Site at the UN. Click the button and somewhere in the world some hungry person gets a meal to eat, at no cost to you. The food is paid for by corporate sponsors (who gain advertising in the process because you see their logo).

All you do is go to the site and click on the attached link. You’re only allowed one click per day. So spread the word to others. Visit the site, add it to your bookmarks and pass the word.

The web site is:

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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 no place else in the world I would rather be at that moment.

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 and right of me. Cops were throwing protesters to the ground, smashing their faces in the concrete, splitting a head or two. Yet 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 while being beaten, tear gassed and pepper sprayed.

I myself was not 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 in their hearts.

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 violence 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, and 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 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 spokes-councils 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 quickly 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.

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.

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 supersedes 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. And 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.

Love and bright Solstice to you all, Blessed be, Starhawk

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On October 28, 1999, three white youths, ages 15, 16, and 17, fired into a classroom, occupied by second and third graders, at the Moravia Miracle Christian School, an all black school, in Baltimore City, Maryland.

The Reverend Frank Murphy, pastor of the church that operates the school said, the white youths were arrested and charged with reckless behavior. They were released 3 hours later into the custody of their parents.

Except for one brief mention on one local station the news media did not report this story.

Imagine what the media would have done had three black teenagers fired into a classroom of white 2nd and 3rd graders. Imagine also, what the “justice” system would have done with those three black teenagers.

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Dear Friends,

If I characterize DC as tight, establishmentarian, & clique-y with a straight-jacket aesthetic you get as a signing bonus when you buy season tickets to Corcoran special exhibits, then I wouldn’t be telling you anything you haven’t heard before.

Same goes if I exotify & bombard you with images of 2000-bed shelters, District AIDS statistics, and comparing the poverty-pay for which teachers in DC public schools have to endanger themselves daily, versus the entry-level golden salary of a Montgomery County teacher just over the Maryland line.

My DC is more mundane than all that right now. Fine with me. I’ll at least tell you what I’ve noticed has changed since I left nine years ago.

Complaining about the traffic is as popular a local pastime as whining about the Redskins’ season. In any outlying DC suburb, to commute responsibly by metro, you have to get to a station by 8:00 am on weekdays or else every single parking garage within a 2-mile radius, even the ones that charge an hourly rate on which you could feed a small family in Zimbabwe for a week, are closed off with signs that say “Lot Full.”

At local Safeways, in a special case all by their lonesome (mustn’t. . . taint. . . the pure stuff. . .) you can buy organic milk, cheese, and other dairy goodies from the California company that just bought out Vermont’s own Organic Cow, and almost every suburban neighborhood surrounding DC has its own Fresh Fields, subsidiary of Whole Foods, sister to Bread and Circus.

And DotComs have popped up all over the skin of this metroplex like some kind of weird consumer measles. They ooze out of my Morning Edition on NPR. They bleed from the billboards, spring from my mailbox, and infect my fingers as I page through 20,000 classified ads praying silently for that one deep pocket who’s gonna pay me to write poetry.

Moving to this area right before the holidays is one of the strangest twilight-zone experiences a girl could have. My mother backed me up on a recent mall procurement mission: Shannon’s First-Ever Interview Suit. We groaned along with the bitter but impressively tenacious body of shoppers moving through that overlit first-world bazaar like the slow rumble at the beginning of an avalanche. I felt something akin to what poor Tarzan must have experienced when “his people” dragged him out of the green jungle & back to jolly ol’ England. Revulsion, of course, terror & awe, but somewhere under it. . . not sure quite how to say it. . . but have you SEEN the slick jackets they have at Banana Republic? I mean, that’s some HOT leather!

Back up a little: my last night in San Francisco on my poetry-kinda-tour, November 19, was a soul revolution. Living Word Project put on a huge show called Generations. It was a collaboration of visual artists, dancers, poets, musicians, DJ’s, activists, and healers giving testament to ancestry & progeny. Elders and young people wove together on stage & in the audience, building a rich sense of history and a brilliant vision for our next steps.

I tried to carry this with me when I migrated on to The Big D, but I spent too long in Dallas. That bastard wore me down. Stripped me clean of the last of my integrity. At 4:30 am on one of my last nights in town, I dragged my sorry butt back to Gramma’s House after extricating myself from another less-than-brilliant social conundrum in a van with a freshly-shattered window, spent & burnt at the core. Like someone had spiked my Dr. Pepper with high-octane then offered me a Marlboro Red. My soul was in ashes somewhere out on Central Expressway & the woman left in my body was a chick I decided, pretty damn quick, I don’t wanna be stuck co-habitating with till the lease runs out.

So I came back here to DC wrecked & ready to resurrect. Which I’m slowly doing.

But building a window into yrself back up from a pile of grit takes a while. Piece-by-superglued-piece. Dance jams. . . obsessively cleaning house. . . taking care of that InsuranceTicketsBankAccountsDriver’sLicense type stuff I’ve always wished I could hire a secretary to do. . . NOT saying yes to the nineteen-year-old possibility across the street . . . sending mountains of resumes for jobs I don’t want but THANK YOU for your consideration I have a diverse skill-base and would like to highlight for you the experience I’ve had morphing into a thoroughly spineless peon chameleon responding to the pathetic needs of countless incompetent supervisors I would love the opportunity to add my skills and enthusiasm to your team SINCERELY

Shannon E. Williams

I just ain’t sure how to go about reinventing myself. I wanna be happy giggling uproariously at Ally McBeal on Monday nights while my suit hangs obediently in the closet for my 6:30 am jolt into dailiness. But that damned slam-poetry stage is like a good old lover with a mean streak. I can’t even stay away for two weeks before I stride right back in for a whippin. I guess it’s in the blood. Some kind of hyper-immune response to the commercial virus hiding in the water here. Maybe the soul keeps fighting even when the mind seems to give up. I guess that’s something to hold onto thru the holidays.

Love & Kisses & Warm Holiday Wishes (early for x-mas, late for Hanukkah, just about right for today, I hope),

shannon (

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A few months ago I saw a program called GREED on one of the TV networks. It was an open and unabashed defense, and promotion, of pure and simple greed. Ted Turner–not exactly Mother Teresa himself–was on the show as a kind of straw man, a fall guy, to be ridiculed for giving away a few million of his dollars, by other corporate CEO’s who argued that the best thing for everyone in America is for people like themselves to make as much money as possible and keep it all or use it to generate greater profits for their businesses.

The program posited the idea that since profits in the private sector are what make our country prosperous and strong, any notion of anything even remotely approaching the idea of “the public good” is not only laughable but, in fact, actually bad for the economy.

Here at the end of the millennium as the Stock Market soars off into the stratosphere, and the New Rich drive off into A Bright New Day in their Sports Utility Vehicles decked out in their Designer Clothes sipping a double-half-caf-decaf-organic-low-fat-latte, it truly is what Ronald Reagan said it was: It’s Morning in America, and, because it finally truly is Morning in America, finally Free Market Capitalism and “the private sector” can stand up and shout to the whole world what they’ve meant to say all along:

Anything public is not only bad for the economy, it is, in fact, evil and must be eliminated as soon as possible: public transportation, public parks, public agricultural and medical research, public libraries, public health care, public education, public care of the poor and the mentally ill–they all must go.

In other words, when self-aggrandizing greed and personal gratification are all that matter, when Money and Me and an open hatred of “the public good” stand at the center of our society’s philosophy of life–what can we expect from the future?

Not much to pop a millennial cork over, I’d say.

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Best Wishes for The Holidays from all of us here at JME Headquarters and from our world wide network of correspondents also.

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