Essays at the intersection of spirituality, activism, and radical psychology.
One Hundred People - a Radical Act
What a radical act it would be to bring together a hundred people under these conditions:
(A) no government or corporate sponsorship – an honest-to-goodness grassroots event that doesn’t rely on “co-sponsors” for finances, publicity, etc
(B) no alcohol or drugs
Maybe it’s a way of justifying that I use my time and skills to organize pagan rituals (as opposed, say, to organizing spontaneous uprisings of the disgruntled working masses, as my activist ancestors would have wished).
But these days, it seems like a radical act to bring a hundred people together in public without relying on either corporate sponsorship or cheap alcohol.
Try to think of exceptions. Kids do it for sporting events, at playgrounds and swimming pools, and the like. But when do adults do it?
A movie theater? Now there’s a social forum that really brings people face to face, that draws from us our creativity and social engagement. Sure – if by social engagement you mean complaining that there’s not enough butter on the popcorn. Maybe we could circulate a petition demanding more!
Concerts, dances, or nightclubs? Alcohol, drugs, and often corporate sponsorship.
I’m not anti-alcohol. It’s fun from time to time. But I wonder what it means that in order to “get together with friends,” we need to drink or we wouldn’t consider it a good time? Is alcohol my social lubricant? Or are my friends an excuse to drink?
On the other hand, I am opposed to for-profit corporations. That’s a topic for another essay, but in any case I don’t see it as a cultural advantage to have profit-grubbers leeching onto a social event under the guise of “sponsoring the arts.” Remind me which San Francisco festival has benefitted from a corporate takeover? Seems like the main cultural advantage is that the sponsors pay for more portajohns than we could afford. There’s something poetic about that.
Here’s where I’d like to make some headway:
– bringing people together without need for cars – Solstice in Streets, park rituals, use of spaces near transit
– sharing simple food – priestessing a feast vs tossing food on a table
– more people committed to simple logistical tasks – “I’ll bring a table to each ritual,” or ” I’ll bring a trash bag to the protest.” Some simple way I can contribute to the event.
– attention to diversity of ages, genders – inclusive activities for different ages and genders.
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