The Occupy movement has been challenged to answer to the question “What are your demands?” – this article offers a central and fundamental basis for answering this question. If you agree with this central basis please share this article and/or the short video with which it concludes………
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you….and then you win”
Behind these deceptively simple words, attributed to Gandhi, is a body of experience drawn from a life-long struggle to protect the liberty, rights and empowerment of ordinary people through peaceful activism – such root principles can, when denied, catalyse a powerful uprising of the people. For us, in our historic moment, the stakes are no less high, in fact, at root the fundamental nature of the current resurgence of the power and voice of the people carries a profound urgency and realism never before seen on our planet. The truth that can be felt with increasingly concrete tangibility is that it is not only our own, but, the protection of our children’s liberty, rights and empowerment to enjoy and experience Life itself that is at stake.
We have seen many uprisings and revolutions before. Historically, there is a passion at work in such uprisings, an unflinching power that arises from within the hearts and minds of ordinary people. For such power to become unflinching it requires the fuel of an indomitable and over-riding realisation of necessity. It is a passion that invokes and manifests the fundamental courage of individuals who have woken up to and become aware, within the manifest energies of the historical moment, of who they are and why they are here, and who have subsequently realised that the immediate predominant forces and circumstances prevailing within that moment run counter to this embodiment of self-knowledge, self-awareness and self-determination.
In confronting all that alienates us from the self-determination that comes through living by these innate human powers such courage and awareness have the capacity to unite people within a common voice that says ‘Enough’. Such is the measure of the growing realisation become increasingly manifest within our historic moment, on a global scale, and now symbolically carried by the world-wide emergence of the Occupy movement. Although not confined to the western democracies, and the ongoing struggle of the people in the North African and Middle Eastern countries associated with the ‘Arab Spring’ clearly demonstrate the multi-layered and multi-valent nature of this manifest realisation, the essense of this movement points directly to the over-arching rulership of people’s lives by predominant forces whose manifest agenda’s and effects on the liberty, rights and empowerment of the people run counter to and alienate the vast majority of people from their realisation world-wide.
How is it possible to say that this is truly world-wide……if there is one uniting factor that reflects this back to us with shocking and astonishingly pervasive clarity, such that it leaves absolutely no room for doubt, it is the ethically and morally bankrupt exploitation and destruction of our planet’s natural resources and environment. We are all affected by this, every person on Earth, without exception, and regardless the localised contexts within which this reality concretises, the root causes of this urgently visceral fact of Life on our planet are now the common focus of our current historic uprisings and resurgence of the people.
This is not just about us, here and now. The centrality of the Children as a symbol of the future towards which the vast majority now have our attention turned forms the indomitable foundation of this resurgence, again, regardless the localised nature of the movement and its manifest actions. Within this is a great and profound opportunity to reclaim the sane and realistic identity that we share collectively as humans within community, both locally and globally. Intrinsic within this, this is a matter of nothing less than reclaiming our indigenous humanity amd wisdom, and realising its true collective potential as one people united on this Earth in our common nature……
In Gandhi’s lifetime, for the people of the Indian subcontinent the denial of that nature was intimately bound up with release from British Rule. India had been under governance of an occupying power for too long, the people subjected to the laws and rule of the British Crown and Government to the detriment of those basic rights of self determination of, for and by the people. The colonisation of ordinary lives and land by controlling forces whose interests bore no natural relation to those of the indigenous people of India brought about a revolution that won the people their freedom, restoring their identity and independance as a nation. Gandhi’s example goes much further, embracing the co-operative philosophy with manifest effectiveness, but, for us now it is as an example of a revolution led through non-violence and civil action that it stands out. It does so for the ostensibly peaceful imperative through which it was inspired, enacted and pushed through, but, more importantly perhaps, for the fact that Gandhi’s example and legacy has become firmly established in our collective consciousness in its wake, and the full import of that example has never been more pertinent than it is now.
Liberation was achieved, but, history shows us that it is peace itself that remains the real challenge to maintain. And for us the challenge is present on every front…….the Empire seeking impulse has not receded, however, and it is through the ‘second wave’ of colonisation, industrial and economic by nature, but, no less political or exploitative in reality, that it has been making deeper its insidious inroads into the cultural, social and environmental fabric of our lives and home planet.
No less for us is the question of occupation by the colonising forces of an alien hegemony the focus of our uprising, in fact, this comes as a natural reaction to the relentless and unrelenting incursion of that second wave, specifically as it manifests unaccountability and usury that runs counter to the health of our planet, our ability to thrive through balanced and fair means and self-determination. The impulse for justice may have historical precedents, but, its global nature has never seen the like of our times, and the Occupy movement, though still young in many senses, has the vast power of a global awareness behind it.
‘Occupy’ has been ignored, laughed at and we are now seeing the first signs of the fight, in direct physical acts of indiscriminate suppressive aggression towards courageous individuals who are now collectively raising the cry ‘Enough!’ and taking it to the streets. It is a crucial moment, once the fight phase begins to manifest. Our collective connectivity, through mass communications, highlights the importance of maintaining the peaceful, non-violent approach to this activism. One image, one iconic moment of deviation from this essential quality and its balanced, realistic power in the face of such aggression, can be broadcast globally and can damage the image, identity and energy that this movement embodies. It is encumbent upon every individual who takes up the cause and carries it forward into action to remember the importance with which this moment is loaded and make a commitment to carry it further through peaceful means into our future, and, the symbol of the Children can serve us now as the unifying, sobering and yet empassioned reminder of this sacred duty. But, it goes much further…..
“What are your demands?” is the rejoinder to the protests – a fundamental challenge is present in responding that will take time to answer coherently and collectively. Yet, it is here that the call of the future can be most constructively and realistically brought to bear in the form of that powerful symbol, The Children. When we put them, the children and the present young and coming generations, at the center and foundation of our demands for justice and self-governance the vision that our mass movement seeks to embody becomes unquestionable. There is no more pertinent reality or reminder of the value and meaning of peace and justice. And there are answers……
There have been ways of governance of the people, by the people, for the people that have given complete respect to this overwhelmingly pertinent reality within the indigenous wisdoms of the human community. I will leave you to ponder this with a video that explains how such a vision can and has been realised, and can work for us now. This is Tim ‘Mac’ Macartney explaining the importance of the ‘Children’s Fire’ and how this can restore the sanity and realism of a human community in its self-governance, both in business, in politics and in our communities……please take the next ten minutes or so to watch and listen – it is a strong, very real example of what happens when an inspired and courageous individual, an Elder, gives voice to truth…….in a way ‘Mac’ is saying ‘keep it simple, keep it real’ – if you are an activist the Children’s Fire may change your outlook or help to build a coherent and solid foundation for answering to the question of ‘demands’; it may inspire you to continue the work off-street with profound effect; and it may bring passionate belief in our human future that is supported by a hope that is deeply realistic and rooted in all our lives……
For more information about the Wheel of Law and the Children’s Fire as it is championed and put into practice through the great example of Embercombe follow the link here and in the sidebar.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Our economic problems cannot be solved by economic solutions alone. We know that, on the global scale, simply putting things in order is not enough……there must be complete change that reaches down to the roots, change that also rises with fresh vitality from those hidden channels of fundamental sustainence that we call ‘our roots’……the protests emerging around the world against economic and political usury and subjugation are vitalised ‘grass-roots’ movements of the people that carry the full awareness of this need. The People want Change, We want it Now, and We will not stop until it is fully Realised!
The Wall Street protests, that are now seeding parallel movements of the people across the USA and around the globe, are picking up on the continuing collective realisation that, if the plutocrats, corporatocracy, politians and governments won’t engage with this imperative for radical corrective and healing of the pervasive disfunctions of power and its concomitant wounds, the People will.
At this time, the underlying dynamic is one of growing tension. We are seeing an emphasis on peaceful demonstration that is crucial, but, if there is no change, how long will the peace remain? Remember, for example, in the UK we saw mass demonstrations when 1 million people took to the streets protesting against the Iraq War – it was ignored. However, politicians would do well to pay attention and realise that the people do not forget and will not take accumulative rebuttal and denial of their will and perceptions without consequence. The so called ‘Arab Spring’ rumbles on. Soon enough, will it become the ‘Winter of our Discontent’. Ever more our governments resemble the very entities against which they claim to be fighting, as Shakespeare so clearly articulated with biting irony in Richard III…….
When governments ignore the voice of the people, over the years, the tension builds. It is a tension most clearly expressed now, on the one hand between the rigid opposition of the political and financial establishments to any form of change, that falls in line with public perceptions, and on the other hand with the open demonstration of public awareness and will that demands that change must happen. This is a dynamic that is expressing a shared sense of endemic dis-function that we cannot ignore. There are dangers here as well as opportunity…….we would do well to look deeply and unwaveringly into the eyes of danger if we are to continue finding our way to opportunity.
It may seem strange to begin an article on the Wall Street protests with this particular visionary poem, but, its message carries deep resonances within the midst of the great global changes that are now unfolding. W B Yeats poem “The Second Coming” was written in the wake of the Great War of 1914-18. Millions of lives were lost in the that war, an unprecedented scale of human violence within a single conflict in which ordinary people were used as cannon fodder, a sanctioned mass murder that ultimately did nothing but serve the ends of the ruling classes and politicians.The poem is loaded with imagery rising from this wounding of the collective soul, for that is what it unequivicably was, constellating millenia of destructive usury. The reverberations precipitated an awareness of the global nature of the human potential for destruction and usury, that has been growing in consciousness ever since. It was not enough to prevent a Second World War, infact the trauma, the deep psychological wound and its attendant disfunctions grew out of, were compounded in and carried forward through and beyond that time…….we all live in this collective shadow, none are exempt from the responsibility to face it.
The consciousness we lacked one hundred years ago is now, however, increasingly shared collectively. A tipping point has been reached in our collective consciousness; our destructive potential now stares us in the face, we cannot deny it. And yet we find the wound remains and has deepened, reaching into all areas of life. It is seated at a fundamental level, has spawned greed beyond imagination, and there are a small minority who would seek to maintain its death dealing vampirism within our world. Only, now, it and its perpetraitors are in the dock. I do not think that this is what Yeats had in mind when he spoke of ‘conviction’, any more than fundamentalism being pointed out through him saying that ‘the worst are full of passionate intensity’, but, a frisson of certainty is carried beneath the surface of his words which we all recognise. We, the 99%, know that this is, at a fundamental level, behind the focus we have now chosen to act upon. The roots of this protest are deeply ancestral……our passions run deep.
It is surely right to focus on the plutocrats at this time, especially with widening cracks showing in the global economic infra-structure over which they rule. However, if we want to see the change we are calling for truly come about, as true as our perception of abuse and usury is, it surely cannot be restricted to economics alone. And, we know that governments are ‘bought’ by the corporate plutocracy.
As Yeats had it in 1919, in the wake of the Great War, ‘the blood dimmed tide is loosened, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned’; western governments engage in war in the name of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’, always seeking to over-ride its destructive and violent nature by claiming the moral high-ground, and, it has ever been so. With the Great War, war itself became funded by mechanisation and became the provenance of industrial expansion. In a world dominated by industry and commerce it is no wonder that war has proliferated, that never a day goes by when there is not war being fought somewhere in the world. Yet, do the governments express the will of the people in this? The industrial complex feeds our culture while destroying our humanity and the world we live in. How culpable are the governments? Obviously their version of the morals and ethics that we are now bringing into question are of a quite different nature to those held by the vast majority.
For our grandparents, the Great War came as a terrible and deeply traumatic shock – a shock out of innocence. Their awareness was very different from our own in many ways. With the advent of global communications we can no longer claim innocence about the presence of war and violence. Equally, we are no longer innocent and unaware of the continued damage done in the name of power as an instrument of oppression, governance against the will of the majority and downright destructive exploitation. It is an energy of conflict, conflict of interests as well as conflict between the dominant human culture and the natural world.Yeats poem addresses this with visceral poetic perception. It is also an energy of dissociation. Have we become the Hawk? We now see the roots of this energy of conflict and dissociation being exposed – but, as well as the import that Yeats words carry for our times they also highlight the morals and ethics behind the question of “who are ‘the best’ and ‘the worst’”? This is a collective question that we must find a personal answer too.
The psychologist and astrologer Liz Green says in citing Jung, ‘if there is something wrong with society, then there is something wrong with the individual, and if there is something wrong with the individual then there is something wrong with me’(1). Many might take issue with this, but, the prerogative is to ask the question, and to not assume ones own immunity to the problem. In our own individuality we may find the answer to the question about ‘best and worst’. We have to be prepared to come clean with ourselves, our lifestyles and our own personal dark side. Any values we may hold may otherwise become distorted, and simply continue to feed the very thing we reject. And here, retaining ones own sense of values in the midst of collective action is key – a collective that is made up of awake and aware individuals who are commited to being the change they want to see has a very different dynamic to one that is responding to collective impulses rising from a herd mentality, below the horizon of personal consciousness, the realm of the shadow.
It is a sign of the intelligence innate to us at this time that two important factors are present within the current public uprisings against the plutocracy. The first is the call to simply gather in peaceful protest, the second, the emerging independance of each new protest, united by a common awareness of the reality experienced in each of our lives. The first, so long as peaceful protest prevails, is a defiant and charged refusal to engage with the destructive energies percieved to be the instrumental modus operandi of the ‘feudal’ power base; the second is a reflection of the strength of innate shared intelligence that each of us is motivated by, through self awareness as a part of the greater whole. One of our greatest safeguards at this time is that the emergent collective movement for global justice is based upon much more than a copycat reflex to unite in opportunistic anarchy – there have been exceptions, as was the case in the recent UK rioting and looting. We do need to learn from this.
While the outpouring of public unrest seen in those lootings may well share a common root with the current demonstrations, they manifested a totally different dynamic to the Wall Street protests. The key danger that we saw in the UK looting was exemplified in its cynical and yet indiscriminate destruction of individual business – many small businesses, the labours of individuals serving the community, built through hard work and determination, were destroyed. There was no intelligence in this – this was a collective act of individuals overcome with the very lack of conviction that Yeats talks of – the insidious wound of a sick society, a society lacking the cohesive glue of conviction towards upholding our collective well-being. For Yeats this was the picture of a broken dream belonging to the human spirit. For us, this is the picture of a community eating itself through ignorance and lack of fundamental sustainance. Justice flew out of the window as each shop window was smashed. Even if there is any sense of justice to be drawn from the UK insurrection, it will only become manifest once that lack is fully addressed and made the central tennet of a collective healing in which we are All involved, with awareness, honesty and insistance upon, central amongst other things, the complete redistribution of power amongst individuals, communities and nations. For this to happen, and this is perhaps also at the common root, economic inequalities must be transformed……democracy and economics within the living politic of the people embodying the equal sharing of power. Many economists argue that the ‘free-market’ offers equal opportunity to all, as if this enshrines the sharing of power, reality says otherwise. The lack of social cohesion is exacerbated by the absence of responsibility demonstrated by those who operate within the ethos of free-trade and nowhere is this more visible now than in the defered responsibility of the financial institutions in the wake of the 2008 market crash.
In the Wall Street protests we see intelligence awareness of this lack and the accompanying need for fundamental change becoming the incontravertable expression of a shared truth amongst humanity – we want our inalienable rights returned to us, to be free of serfdom, such that those responsible are held to account – we see over and again the flag of ‘Democracy’ being raised. “Democracy implies that (humans) must take the responsibility for choosing (their) rulers and representatives, and for the maintenance of (their) own ‘rights’ against the possible and probable encroachments of the government which (they have) sanctioned to act for (them) in public matters.” [Ezra Pound, “ABC of Economics,” 1933] Democracy must equal and be equal within Truth.
It has been said that ‘the Truth shall set you free’, however, it is the passion with which it is carried forward and sustained that will ensure the democratic freedom we all seek now……but, raw passion by itself is not enough. ’Intelligent activism’ is the obvious means, and, however it manifests it must, but must, be based upon and always have Peace at its core. The uncompromising ‘plutocratic power bases’ against which the protests are aimed are entrenched so deeply within a vampiristic hegemony of usury within our world that the chips may seem stacked against this imperative. If we see no change, in time, the alternative is an unthinkable escalation in the ‘blood-dimmed tide’ and a following confrontational clampdown that will require more than ‘mere anarchy’ to overcome……..our passion too must be intelligent and aware, and all the more charged with certainty for it. This speaks to the raising of our collective consciousness, not as an ideal, but, as a pragmatic manifestation of the will of the people.
If the raising of our collective consciousness to an higher level of realisation is to become manifest we must be able to bear witness to our own home truths, reaching down to the very roots of power within each of our lives – Yeats might well be right in implying that, whether secular or spiritual, nothing short of ‘Revelation’ will carry us through.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
Yeats ‘vast image’ emerges from the Spirit of the Earth, and here too, the prophetic vision carries the trauma of the global turmoil and destructive fury of the Great War to a new level of meaning for us. For us, as we are all too well aware, while the human war has never ceased the concomitant war on Nature has become the crucial expression of the fundamental nature of the wound. Would a ‘second coming’ be peaceful anyway in our current world? The rampant fundamentalism and dogma of terror belongs to a world at war with itself.Yet, no matter which form War takes, how innured have we become against its furies and psychoses as a result. How horrified would Yeats be, what rhetoric of the visionary poetic spirit would do justice to the wound. But, it were never the more so that the roots of conflict out of which his vision arose hold sway….and his vision holds true.
Amongst the culture of war’s greatest perpetrators, and present to a sickening level, cultural integration of the reality of war is also now reduced to a virtual fantasy, literally – this is, in plain speak, culturally endorsed conditioning. It serves the western hegemony well. We all know the devious misrepresentation of reality that the Media disseminates, and how it innoculates us against the visceral impact while feeding our emotional bodies with fear and disquiet – but, especially amongst the young, the game is being played at a much more damaging level. Online war games, for example, provide conflict as ‘entertainment’ and, unless we are unfortunate enough to be caught within the violence and conflict in the ‘real world’, this symptom of collective illness remains a virtual reality, projected into fantasies that lack the visceral lessons of War itself. We give ourselves the message, the reality of our condition, while keeping the reality of its effects at arms length – it is a form of denial, but, as with all the neurotic dynamics of denial, it does nevertheless have very real effects. For any child for whom this neurosis is the norm, who knows no better, we now are also called to hold ourselves responsible for their future, and this goes far beyond war and its concomitant traumas alone. Earth is reflecting the trauma of violence and destruction back to us in every moment…through our culture of consumerism and personal profit we have been and continue to engage in destroying Life with an equal lack of conviction towards our collective well-being. Again, is this a true reflection of the public will, our ethics and most heartfelt desires? If we are to be truthfull, ‘Wall Street’ is an expression of this collective realisation too and, we hold the plutocrats responsible for wanton destruction of our environment as much as we do the indiscriminate erosion of our freedoms. When will the corporatocracy be held to account for their environmental impact – when will their pact with government be broken? Let us remind ourselves of the relationship, as played out through two infamous events that betrayed the ineffective and superficial lip-service which our governments pay towards this responsibility……
The Copenhagen Environmental Summit of 2009 produced a document that simply put stated that ‘action should be taken to keep (global) temperature increases to below 2ºC’ – there are no provisions for limiting CO2 production. Period. That was all. The document is not legally binding. It was ‘taken note of’, but not adopted by any of the participating countries, every one a UN member State.
Now, remember September 2008, the Global Stock Market Crash – almost immediately international differences were forgotten, within days world leaders had rallied and achieved a sense of unanimity, and the call that went out was to ‘save the banks’……..
Since then the perpetrators of the crash as well as the culpable governments have gotten off scot-free – until now.
Obviously, the defence of capital (the new god) is of much greater concern than the bio-sphere to our governments. Money, and its reward of power, is more important than Nature. A true rebalancing of our relationship with Nature is no small thing, could easily be put on a par with a ‘Second Coming’ – but, surely, unless our Earth says otherwise, we cannot reverse our culture – it has to evolve as well, beyond the mechanistic age. It could be said that behind this is the notion that science will provide the solution to the results of our environmental vandalism. For this to be the case, again, a thorough transformation of the ethical and moral use of Science must come about. Science in itself is benign, but, the power with which it invests the corporatocracy, governments and ‘sanctioned’ violence of warfare is immense – and it funds the subjugation of our freedoms as much as it facilitates them. The internet and communications systems we now enjoy are crucially empowering to us.
And yet, regardless the fact of how much Big Pharma contributes to the global market, the drug market is flooded with pharmaceuticals that are designed to treat the symptoms and continue to bypass the root causes of our illnesses, are often withdrawn having been found to be ‘dangerous’ to humans and the whole industry, for that is what it is, is driven by blind irresponsible economic profit – the Hippocratic Oath? Forget it!
And, regardless of the fact that many significant contributions in cutting edge scientific advances are made in service to the ‘military/industrial complex’, we usually don’t get the benefits at the public level until some years after their application within the war/space ‘programme’, if at all, and well beyond the point at which they have become integrated within the power base.
It could be argued from this standpoint that the free-trade market ethos, its enshrinement of ‘freedom’, as applied within its cultural, political and economic context, is the very thing that has been and is destroying our bio-sphere. The message is obvious. We should first be seeking to dismantle such a destructive system. Perhaps Natural Law is irreversably doing this for us, but, at what cost if, after the dust has settled, we only seek to find a new form for the same old problem? As said, our economic problems cannot be solved through economics alone…….Yeats desert vision is all too familiar, haunted by the harpies and carrion birds of our culture. The creeping spectre of genetic modification and the image of a savage humanity that he envisaged, its ‘gaze blank and pitiless as the sun’, are one and the same.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
And, if the plutocrats were to remain untouched into which nightmare would we be rocked….we should be under no illusions…..
….it is early days yet, the protests we are seeing now are a foretaste, the opening salvos of a conflict in which ultimately we are either all victors or all losers……there will be no compromises. The choice is obvious, only the heartless and truly insane and will see it otherwise……Yeats vision was the stark unflinching call of a poetic heart that was fully capable of embracing visceral beauty, and, in the wake of so much destruction and insanity perhaps for him the moment of choice had taken on an ominous import in this respect – he was addressing both the wound and its effect upon our ability to rebuild the world out of the wreckage of human carnage, power crazed confrontation and usury…..is it any different for us now?
I do not wish to end on a note of pessimism; the signs are that We the People are increasingly rallying to the call for Change, and this can only be good. Pragmatism says we must change, that this must happen across all scales, from the individual outwards, and that we must be prepared to go to any lengths and use any means to achieve this, but, only so long as those means do not go counter to the spirit of Equality, Justice, Co-operation and awakening Peace at the heart of our human affairs. It is the Peace of being at one with Life, with our Earth, with each other and our truths that we have thirsted for over so many millenia…….each of us have this within us, at the most fundamental level of the goodness that is the truth of our human heart and destiny – now is our time to bring the Truth to bear. Be of good heart……each of us is capable of realising that destiny and each small step we take towards it builds the change that we want to see, that we are.
Don’t be daunted by the scale of the task, it speaks volumes, and nothing but all out peaceful persistance will prevail. We hold responsibility to set the example by keeping the peace, to not be goaded into confrontation. We are abundant with resources great and small – remember collective silences? supporting small scale local producers? mini strikes? flash occupations? community currencies? barter or swap? remember giving plastic packaging back to the supermarkets? remember LETS? community co-operatives? remember random acts of kindness? etc etc – think of all the small as well as great means by which we can undermine the plutocratic hegemony while the public movement of the People continues, everything and everyone counts…….from the small to the great, we build the power of change.
(1) Liz Greene – ‘The Outer Planets & Their Cycles’ : CRCS Publications 1983
Support is growing for HH The Dalai Lama in his peaceful mission to help bring about the return of freedom to the Tibetan people. Currently visiting Canada, HH is revealing a significant growth in interest from a surprising source….could the solution to Tibet’s enforced occupation at the hands of the Chinese State finally be making visible the crucial critical mass – is the turning point in sight?
MIND OVER MATTER
China took control of Tibet through seizing power, ‘power over’. Although, prior to the Chinese occupation of Tibet, both countries had been negotiating an agreement on Tibet’s status within China as an autonomous region, the two sides had failed to resolve their differences. The People’s Liberation Army crossed into Tibetan territory on October 7th 1950 and by October 19th, 60 years to the day at the time of writing, the Tibetan army was defeated defending its homeland. Although the Chinese state ordered the army to halt its advance towards the Tibetan interior, proclaiming the “peaceful liberation’ of Tibet, thus was initiated, by use of force, the occupation and subjugation of Tibet. What followed changed everything……
Freedom cannot be enforced…….it is a natural state, manifest within the scope of human rights, and ‘diversity’ manifests the field within which it becomes defined. In the interim period up to the Dalai Lama fleeing Tibet in 1959 the country became divided and internal conflict undermined the pragmatic negotiation of peace. Following the 1950 defeat the Dalai Lama had the chance to oppose the ensueing Seventeen Point Agreement of 1951 that China negotiated with Tibet, and in doing so he would have had the backing of the USA – but, the USA, through the CIA, had been arming Tibetan militants who strove to resist land reform and the imposition of the treaty. The Dalai Lama chose to go with the 17 P A. With emergent indigenous opposition both to the Tibetan government and to the Chinese occupation erupting, HH’s decision looked to be catalytic – ironic, as his long term view must have told him that preservation of the Tibetan spirit, in keeping with his pursuit of peaceful means, above physical confrontation, would be the only way forward, towards freedom. In fleeing Tibet he repudiated the agreement saying it had been made under duress and was not valid (there are specific grounds upon which this claim can be upheld) and entered the path towards collecting global support for the Tibetan cause. It is a path that has become a powerful transformative and enlightening example to the world – HH has been described as the most influencial person of the C20th (Time Magazine). This influence is pervasive and manifestly continues to grow.
Albeit cautious, a significant and optimistic wave of support for the Tibetan cause is now emerging from within the heart of China itself. In an hour long interview with Rick Westhead of the South Asia Bureau at Canada’s Star newspaper online the Dalai Lama spoke of his meetings with several hundred intellectuals, academics and high ranking officials within China who expressed the desire to align themselves with his ‘way’. The Dalai Lama advocates ‘the middle way’. Autonomy for Tibet can be achieved, HH believes, while his homeland remains a part of China – the freedom to protect and cultivate the self determination of Tibetan culture and identity within this context is central to this path of development, a path that Chinese State policy towards Tibet continues to block. And yet, for those respected free thinking individuals within China to express their support for the Dalai Lama in this context is to expose the internal discrepancy between State policy, attitudes and thinking, and the quality of mind that will produce a peaceful, intelligent and realistic solution to the Tibet problem. The Dalai Lama seeks to restore the balance of power to the Tibetan people through sharing, ‘power to’. By comparison this approach is very revealing.
The ‘middle way’ offers a bridge…….
The emergent support within China is a sign that, at its heart, amongst the people, China’s sentient and intelligent soul, is waking up to the truth – change will come. The announcement of China’s deputy premier Xi Jinping being given the key post from which he is likely to succed Hu Jintao as premier in 2012 has been greeted with great interest globaly, and provides further indications that reform may infact come to China. Little is known of Xi Jinping – he is credited with cleaning up corruption, which is equally a code for enforcing top down control – the need for internal reform is likely to be high on his agenda. However, at present this looks likely to be focused more on maintaining internal stability rather than making sweeping structural changes. Within China the tension between centralist and regionalist tendencies, as well as the struggle between elitist and populist factions is likely to come to the fore – many regions choose to develope individualistic relations abroad through trade agreements. The speculative view is that Xi Jinping will be more open to developing foreign ties, particularly through trade. Infact, openess is a word that has already been attached to his personality and approach. And he will not be alone in bringing change to the face of Chinese officialdom – seven out of the existing nine members of China’s core decision making body will be replaced.
The coming two years will be pivotal as we head towards the time when the Chinese leadership changes hands. Internal struggles are considered unlikely to subvert the regimes overall control – the continual increasing growth of the military’s influence both as enforcer and agent of inland security (particularly in the face of natural disasters and the regionalisation of business and industry) will make sure of that…..the next generation is going to be key.
Latest news; since this article was published, unrest amongst students at restrictions upon learning the Tibetan language is coming to light – a language belongs to a people, it expresses their soul and, as we know from internal reports, Chinese control upon Tibetan culture is very strict – watch this space!
In the recent past China has deveoped a reputation for standing back from engagement with and exerting influence directly upon world relations outside of its borders, and this has born criticism. However, with China’s profile in the world increasing, environmental events and issues hitting the country directly, the focus on human rights and increasing scrutiny of how this nation influences and relates to the rest of the world, the pressure for change will, inevitably, increase. How at home with impermenance are the two sides?
QUALITY OF MIND
Even in the most mundane sense, the impermanence of the manifest world is an understanding that is at the foundation of the Buddhist approach.
Quality of mind has the power to bring change, great change. The Chinese regime has a tremendous determinist grip on change within its borders, control through the implimentation of political ideology, an ideology that may appear to be diametrically opposed to spirituality. And yet, the ongoing conflict of interests is not about Communism v Buddhism – it does, however, highlight the inherent differences in quality of mind. ‘Quality of mind’ as an expression of the use of ‘power’ contrasts with ‘quality of mind’ as the means of liberation from suffering.
While China has only been under communist rule for 71 years it is the power of communist politics to eclipse all other ideologies within its borders that shows clearly how the Chinese State mind exercises and relates to power. Inspite of apparent inclusivity there is a puritanical streak to the State’s mundane methodology and orientation – this is conservatism as control, structure that seeks to contain change. Astrologicaly Saturn plays a significant role within the natal chart for China’s communism, as it does in the Dalai Lama’s chart – we will look at the significant synastry between these two Saturn placements in the upcoming second part to this post.
For all the well defined intellectual qualities of the authorities within China there is little humour present within the public face of the Chinese regime – by contrast, the Dalai Lama, while he is known to be both astute and intelligent, is also known for his humour and mischevious nature. And they do say that humour, as well as money, makes the world go ’round.
Intolerance towards independant free-thinking that goes counter to the Chinese regime’s ideologies is indelibly burned on our consciousness – remember Tianamen Square. Little evidence of compassion is ever displayed. For Buddhists worldwide compassion is at the root and is the vehicle for dissemination of its own ideology. Compassion, as the manifest face of an enlightened mind, recognises the impermanence of attachment.
There is no doubting the power of the ‘simple monk’, as the Dalai Lama has described himself. His ability to maintain a relentless schedule of meetings with world leaders, giving talks, continuing negotiations and meeting spiritual obligations speaks of a tremendous energy at work. When we look at the astrology of the man the source becomes clear – for example, his first house Sun is conjunct the brightest star in the skies, Sirius – the ‘Dog Star’. This star has been known as the harbinger of fame. It is also connected with doubling the heat of the Sun and fearlessness within nature – we will go into the significance of this in more detail in the next post.
Chinese traditional belief considers dogs to be fortunate, the ‘Fu Dog’ bringing good fortune and happiness. Infact Chinese culture abounds with spirituality and pragmatic superstition. This is a culture rich in an indigenous heritage that has been successfully carried by Chinese people to all quarters of the globe. This has been one of China’s greatest exports. The domesticaly embedded a-spiritual nature of the communist regime would at first appear at odds with this heritage. It is perhaps because of the resiliance and astonishing depth of the old culture, as well as the wiley adaptability of the Chinese people, that the spirit of ancient China remains so virile an underlying presence. There is also within this a propensity to embrace change…..
The internal paradox does find expression though – the Dalai Lama has been labeled as a ‘devil’ by the Chinese authorities. This, in the light of the roots of Chinese culture, is a clear projection of ‘shadow’. First accounts of Buddhism entering Tibet include the marraige of the Tibetan king Songtsan Gampo to the Chinese Tang dynasty Buddhist princess, Wengchen; Chan Buddhism came to Tibet from three sources, including China. Tibetan Buddhism continues to this day to be practiced within North East China and Mongolia, whose own struggle for independance from China is well known – the roots of this conflict run deep. A main feature of Chinese assertions that Tibet is a part of China rests on the idea that the region has been under continuous Chinese governance since the C13th Yuan dynasty. And for all the history that is claimed as an integral part Chinese claims on Tibet we are faced with the reality of our changing world – borders change, politics evolve, peoples continue to be subjected to the imposition of ideologies that do not reflect their true nature.
The Dalai Lama fled the country in 1959 – faced with the immediate threat of incarceration and the inevitable consequences. Amidst the increasing destruction of Tibetan culture, freedoms of its peoples and the stifling of the Tibetan spirit, he chose to preserve the potential for his role as spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, a role which has enabled him to win the support of millions worldwide – undoubtedly this has been crucial in keeping alive the spirit of Tibet and ensuring that the plight of the Tibetan people remains a pertinant issue within our global consciousness. Interestingly this factor is also revealed in the astrology and we will return to this too in the next post, the other side of the upcoming October Full Moon.
In the next post we will bring the astrological examination of this meeting of minds more into focus and look at how the stars reveal the inner tensions and dynamics of the situation. We will focus on some of the intrinsic characteristics of the charts for China and the Dalai Lama and look at their synastry for further indications of the Tibetan solution, a solution for us all.
“We are all indigenous, equal in essence, the sons and daughters of the Earth and yet, for some, many infact, to be Indigenous means to suffer at the hands of our brothers and sisters, to be persecuted, to be stigmatised as less than equal – until balance is restored the suffering will continue; the world will remain out of balance until this is put right.”
There are many in the world who are already doing everything they can to support the struggle of indigenous people to become equal and free citizens, within the world, on their own lands, within the contexts of independant Nation States – if you are such a person, THANK-YOU – please continue to shine your light in the world, to let it shine brighter, to be the example, the exceptional individuals who make the difference – and, may we join you……and, of course, lets remember, indigenous ‘issues’ in the world do not only apply to human-kind……
Re-balancing can happen – it is happening as we speak – and yet, the suffering continues. The message is that we need to ‘up the energy’, sustain our focus for ‘positive change’ and be ready to change our POV as the view changes. Let us examine, under the powerful lense of this Equinoxial Full Moon, some of the ways in which this imbalance persists in the world today, the better to navigate a way forward, a way of healing and bringing an end to the suffering………but, first, lets set the astrological scene :
It is Equinox, the time of the year when we adjust to the changing rhythms of day and night, darkness and light, in fluid equilibrium – it is the fulcrum point at which questions of balance can be brought into focus, given a new appraisal and a healing time prepared from what we find.
There is also a very potent Full Moon the day after the equinox, filling out this theme with passion and emotive energy – opposite the Moon, the Sun re-figures Saturn’s recent entry into the Libran influence of Justice, balance – the weighing of our soul’s path-work on Earth against our love for Humanity. Under these influences our focus becomes intensified, grounded with passion and deeply pragmatic meaning.
Uranus and Jupiter are conjunct within the equinoxial zone of this Moon and the FM itself falls exact on their previous meeting point (June 8th 2010) at the first degree of Aries – time for expansive change, emotive re-evaluation and charging up our heart-felt potential for radical healing.
Full Moons can also cause us to loose our heads, turn us into gibbering lunatics and, with the energies of Jupiter amplifying and Uranus electrifying the Full Moon, we need to be-aware of rash and over the top impulses – Neptune and Chiron continue to challenge us to work for the higher good while also letting go even though our hearts may still be in the right place – even as we allow the power to flow through through us – its as well to be in safe and sacred space if we are working intentionally with these energies as there is an unpredictability in the mix and the possibility of becoming ungrounded.
Put all these energies together and you can see that it creates a great wave, of soul focused healing, and the dynamic re-balancing that releases us from the shackles of the past – riding it will help us to grieve old wounds, even ancient ones embedded in our DNA, clearing the way for a clearer connection with each other and the cosmos – we can bring about the change that we percieve is most sorely needed, so, it is a good time to ‘ask the question’, of what is closest to our hearts.
Applying these energies to persistant and deep wounds will bring about equally deep and lasting change – and, Human Rights is amongst the most pressing and pertinant issues that we face, day after day, in our time – what happens when the world moves WITH the cosmos in consciousness on these issues – lets find out…..
Returning to the focus of Indigenous People’s Rights in the world and, at the risk of inciting you to duck behind the sofa or run for the nearest fire hydrant, let us ask an emotive and difficult question , in keeping with this Full Moon :
‘Are the conquered and divided, missionised, dispossesed, raped, murdered, stigmatised, ethnically cleansed, dishonoured, disrespected, criminalised, Indigenous victims of genocide, enforced enculturalisation, enslavement, marginalisation, imported disease, non-indigenous values, illegal invasion, ‘legal’ subjugation, deportation, starvation and corporate greed expected to say :
“yeh, OK, you’re right, we’re wrong – go ahead, do as you will, destroy us, control us, our land, our culture, our way of life, our communities and families – make of us a diaspora, an example of undesirability, less than worthy members of the ‘Free World’ – disregard our rights to, by your own Laws, Free Speech, self determination, equality, liberty and the basic fundamental rights of human existance, on and within the land that we, our parents, grandparents and ancestors, who so desire the nourishment of our grief shed tears, call our Home, going back longer than you can, in all likelihood, possibly remember, and would willingly shed yourselves, were YOU also vitaly in touch with your deepest roots, with the land that has given you and your kin their roots, meaning, culture and very bodies, has fed and envigorated your spirits and given you the unalienable right to say “I AM INDIGENOUS”?’
NO! I DON”T THINK SO……………DO YOU?
Indigenous peoples the world over continue to this day, in our time, to suffer exploitation, oppression and the abuse of their inalienable Human Rights – and this, despite the best efforts of the UN, the ILO, national governments and their representatives, countless dedicated organisations, lobbying, pressure, support and resource groups, campaigns, communities and inspired individuals to bring balance and equality into the world on behalf of and as representatives of Indigenous Peoples worldwide. This raises many questions – such a state of affairs is itself a persistant and pertinent question waiting to be fully answered.
Pertinent questions can be powerful motivators – they persist and remain active until resolved……..for example :
The United States and Canada are the two most prominent countries not, to this date, to have fully endorsed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – Canada, at the time of writing, is still moving towards ratification – at the time of initial adoption eleven other countries abstained – WHY?
The ILO Convention C169 that gives Indigenous Human Rights a global legal condition of recognition, as well as giving Indigenous Law a valuable degree of parity with National Law, is, to date, ratified by ONLY 22 nations worldwide, despite having been in existance for more than 30 years, and in force for 29 years – notable absentees from ratification include the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, China, Japan, the UK; infact every single European country except Holland, Spain, Norway, and Denmark has so far refused to ratify this noble and crucial convention – WHY?
France’s government is in the process of expelling Roma peoples; Germany’s government is heading in the same direction, with their sights on even greater numbers of expulsions than France, including large numbers of children – WHY?
Then, please consider the fact that, even when they do ratify Articles and Conventions that protect the equality of First Nations within Nation States, giving them legal rights that protect their Human Rights, Nation States the world over continue to demonstrate a liability to show harsh disregard for the same fundamental rights of aboriginal, indigenous peoples, when it comes to issues of State policy, land rights, legal rights, education and health, the abolition of poverty and particularly the Humanitarian rights of peoples whose very existance is under threat from Corporate Development of their homelands – WHY?
Given that, inspite of all the advances and immense efforts that have been initiated, embedded and enacted on behalf of and in support of the indigenous peoples of this world, that they continue to suffer, are we then to stand back and do nothing? Are we to remain passive observers of the horrors faced by indigenous peoples, day after day, the world over?
If you find that the answer is NO please take time to think on this, make a pledge to yourself, renew your old ones, to, at least one time in your life, but, better still, once a year, a month, even everyday, do at least one small thing that will help change this totally unacceptable state of affairs within our present world. And, if you find that the answer is YES……..then, thank-you for making it this far, and, having done so, just allow yourself to go one step further……
The smallest thing can make all the difference – a gift, message, prayer, dedication – even just ‘thank-you’ in some form adds more substance, more energy to the wave of change that we can and are generating in support of the indigenous and oppressed First Nations of our world – Our World…..think on it….there is so much more we can choose to do
Whatever your choices the following organisations and articles will help you make your choice an informed one – illuminations and blessings of this Equinox Full Moon be with us :
IP SURVIVAL FOUNDATION
UN INDIGENOUS FORUM
ISSUES AND RESOURCES
A I MOVEMENT