The Meaning Is Love. Occupy Valentines!

Love is something we do. It’s active, it’s action, it’s process, not product. Don’t wait around for love! Be love, do love, fiercely. Love is not fuzzy, it’s not packaged, it’s not pink, it’s as red as blood, it’s life itself, and it’s not for sale. Occupy Love!

 It’s that time of year again ~ love is in the air. Or at least in the shop windows.   A day to celebrate love is certainly a great idea.  Too often love is neglected, forgotten, or misunderstood.   As with everything these days, Valentines Day has become yet another opportunity to turn the sacred into a product.  But if there is one that cannot be sold, it’s love.   The moment it becomes a commodity, it is no longer  love.

So let’s Occupy Valentines Day – and every day – with Love. True love. That fierce love, the love that is justice, the love that is compassionate, passionate, alive. The love that recognizes that all things are connected.

But just what do we mean by that word love?  In the last few years of shooting Occupy Love, I’ve asked many people to explain it to me.  Almost every answer has been different, and yet they all work together. That shows just how big love is. There are many kinds of love – from the love between lovers, to the love between molecules that binds them together and enables matter to exist.  From the love between the stars, to the love between humanity and the planet.  The love from our hearts to the source of creation itself. To the compassionate love that compels us to create a world that works for everyone, a world that works for all life.  Love is the current than runs through everything. Love connects the dots.

Most of the time, when I’m writing about love, I’m talking about the larger love, the universal love.  But personal love is also a refraction of this great love, the love that is the creative source itself. When individuals fully connected to the source of love come together as whole beings, true intimate love becomes possible.  A love beyond insufficiency and dependency, beyond all the many pitfalls on the path to romantic love.

Our society doesn’t offer us great role models – too often, romantic love is depicted as yet another dreary commercial transaction.   I’ll give you this, if you give me that.  Possession, ownership, control, fear, none of this is a part of true love.   True love is not a transaction – it’s a relationship.  It’s a process. It’s ever evolving, it’s ever deepening, it is always calling us to evolution, to authenticity, to liberation. True Love wants what’s best for the other, always.  For we are bound together in a beautiful web of mutuality.

Today my love, Nova Ami, and I, announced our engagement.  Our love is ever evolving, and we have decided to publicly declare our commitment to each other.  Not as a transaction, not as a statement of ownership, but as a declaration that we want to journey through life together, through love together, as deeply as possible. With the support and witnessing of our community.

Nova loves to joke that when I started this film I was Mr. Love.  By the time I’m finished, she says, I’ll be Doctor Love.   If I do make it to that place, where I can truly embody the love I am, moment to moment to moment,  it will be thanks in no small part to her incredible love.  She offers me the greatest gift I have ever received – unconditional love.  Nothing is more spacious, nothing gives me greater strength, nothing is more empowering, than this.  Yes, love is always there within me, but to receive that constant reminder from another, who mirrors and reflects that love back to me, is incredibly expansive.  At the same time, her love is completely grounding, supportive –  a practical rapture. And I offer her unconditional love too.  It is as natural and effortless as breathing.

http://youtu.be/nTOWxxl5P60

We made this video together, our first creative collaboration,  to celebrate and to  share our love.  We wove our personal love story together with the great love story of life itself, through the words of our friend and spiritual teacher, Hawaain Native elder, Kumu Raylene.  She teaches that all life is love. “The essence of one being, or one creation, is love. Through our experiences of life, it at times can be buried deep within. But it is within. It is not something outside of ourselves. It is not something outside of anyone or any thing. It’s a part of who we are, always has been.”

This understanding helps a great deal – because we can stop looking for love. It can never be lost.  So relax! When you recognize that love is the ground of being, everything becomes much less laborious.  There is a spaciousness that emerges.  More than just a thought, you can feel into this, open into this realization.   Roshi Joan Halifax told me that, “being awake, is love.”  To be truly present, to show up, to be mindful, to be here, fully – that’s love.   To let go attachment, and delusion, to participate in each moment, moment to moment, that’s love.

My dear friend and spiritual activist, James O’Dea, formerly of Amnesty International and the Institute of Noetic Sciences (a potent combination, which shows you the breadth of James himself!) compared love to a keyboard, that has all the ranges – from the deep difficult low frequencies, that can very sad, connected to the vast oceans of suffering that we all will experience as part of life on planet earth, all  the way up to the high, ecstatic frequencies.

James emphasized the schizophrenic split that we so often experience, between the head and the heart: “the head is a poor master, but an excellent servant, and the heart is a poor servant, but an excellent master.  And that’s probably BS, because we’re past masters and servants.  It’s time to end that game, and move towards the integral moment, where we have the loving mind, and the thinking heart.”

In this rushing world of endless distraction, there is much to block love.  Like the sun going behind the clouds, it is never gone. It is always there, we just need to remember. Re-connect.  Re-awaken.   Love is a process, as is awakening.  The moment we try to possess any realization, any state, and stage of awakening, it slips away from our grasp.  For grasping itself is not-love.   Spaciousness is love. Trust is love. Letting go is love.   Letting go of what?   Fear, attachment, anger, hatred, delusion- let them go.

Breathe love.  Every breath can connect us with the ground of being.  Occupy love, moment to moment to moment. Not in the past, not in the future – right now. But just Being is not enough.  It’s easy to get comfortable, to want to stay in that perfect state of bliss, but love is a verb.  It calls you to action – loving action.

Love has infinite arms to embrace the suffering of this world.  Compassion calls us to action.   Love in action is a great, limitless source of meaning.   It doesn’t have to be something big – a billion small actions can mean a whole world of change.  Of course, if you are a big dreamer, go for it, dream big!  But if your gift is something small- do it well, do it honestly, do it truly and in the law of inter-being, you will be doing all actions.

Angaanaaq, a Shaman from Greenland, warned me, “to never fall in love.  Because everything that falls, even the leaves, will eventually hit the ground. Instead, we can become love itself.  What kind of love?  Unconditional love.”

Rather than falling, how about we rise in love.  Rise into unconditional love.  Why settle for anything less?  The unconditioned heart/mind is the primordial state, that essential being that we all are, beyond the filtering, beyond the cultural smokescreen that buries the deeper truths. It’s time to reclaim love!  Let us support each other, always, with presence, with mindfulness, with full connection, recognizing and celebrating our interdependence.  May the whole world rise in love. The time is now!

Occupy Oakland’s Declaration of Love

The following resolution was passed by the General Assembly of Occupy Oakland, creating an official Occupy Oakland action on Tuesday, Feburary 14th, Valentine’s Day.

Photobucket Photobucket

In the interest of diversity of tactics, and the spirit of love that we feel for our community, we propose a direct action to take place on February 14th.We encourage our fellow Oakland residents to join with us to express our love for each other, and our beautiful city, on a march through the downtown Oakland area. Participants should wear red and/or pink in celebration of Valentine’s Day, and are encouraged to bring flowers, bubbles, Valentine’s candy to share, glitter, confetti, and flower petals…

This is to be a completely non-violent, family-friendly action, and will be open to all who are interested in joining us in an expression of love for our community and each other.

It has been unofficially titled

Make Love, Not War

in a throwback to the sixties when tens of thousands of anti-Vietnam war protesters confronted police and the National Guard; when “Make Love, Not War” was scrawled all across America on the subway walls and tenement halls.

Those days are gone, but left are the iconic images showcasing this diary. They remind us how any protest movement that dares to take the streets in pursuit of their right to freely assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances will be met by overwhelming, panicked force by the powers-that-be.

Occupy Oakland is adding a new twist to the old tactic, since it is hard to put a flower down the barrel of a tear gas grenade:

In the event of potentially oppressive police presence… couples will be encouraged to stop marching and kiss in the streets…

Which, if some photographer or livestreamer is in the right place at the right time, might well create an iconic image for Daily Kos writers of 2050 to reference!

Time and place information about the rallies and march:

…the rallies starting at 6 PM will be at Fox Park, at 19th & Telegraph, and NOT at the Plaza. This is to include all of our fellow Occupiers who have unjust stay-away orders from the plaza!At 6 PM, we will hold a “Make Love, Not War” rally in solidarity with Syria, Egypt, and other nations whose people are currently suffering from state and/or police repression.

At 6:30, we will hold a “Reproductive Health” rally, complete with safer sex supply giveaways.

At 7 PM, we will have our “Hella <3 Oakland” march through the downtown area.

by jpmassar

Reprinted from  the Daily Kos

All You Need (to Protest) Is Love

Occupy V-Day wants you to challenge corporate conceptions of romance.

BY SADY DOYLE

Occupy V-Day encourages the public to use Valentine’s Day to challenge our cultural (and pop-cultural) conceptions of love and romance and to provide their own definitions.

Love–according to one line of thinking, anyway–is our first and most important education in social justice. To love someone, religions and therapists and poets and various sitcom episodes tell us, is to care about their well-being as profoundly, and as constantly, as you care about your own.

If love works this way, there can be no oppression within it. There can be no exploitation, no stereotyping, no tyrant to hand down laws to the populace, no populace to revolt. There can only be the fact of mutual care; all rules, in this small republic, are consensus-based, and all rights are equal rights. Love does not erase the facts of our social reality, but it illuminates them; through complete absorption in the particular, it reveals the shakiness and incompleteness of our relation to the whole. Everyone you meet could become as important to you as yourself, should you love them. You won’t love them all. But at least you can recognize the particular and human in them, and commit to fight against the structures that degrade or erase it; at least you can work to create a culture that grants each person the humanity that you have learned to see in others by loving.

According to one line of thinking, anyway. According to another line, love is the reason you really, really need to finish shopping–or at least get a decent restaurant reservation–by February 13.

Samhita Mukhopadhyay, executive editor of Feministing and author of Outdated: Why Dating is Ruining Your Love Life, is launching a fight against, as she put it in a phone call, the “corporate or even political systems [that] shape how we think about love and romance.” And she is picking the stickiest, sappiest, most cardboard-heart-prone day of the year to do it.

Her project, Occupy V-Day, encourages the public to use Valentine’s Day to challenge our cultural (and pop-cultural) conceptions of love and romance, and to provide their own definitions: The Occupy V-Day blog suggests that you “shout about the lack of queer visibility in sexual rights politics,” “blog about how traditional ideas of romance perpetuate gender inequalities,” or “have a sexy conversation by candlelight with your partner about structural inequity.”

In practice, the Occupy V-Day Tumblr is wildly diverse: There are signs protesting the idea that “every kiss begins with Kay,” odes to single bliss (“I get the whole bed to myself”), updates on Prop. 8 and same-sex marriage, and vows of love and support for sisters, friends, and pet dogs. And, of course, someone who posts (more than once!) about “sheep-like seekers of romance” and informs the world that people in love are “basically high on drugs” and that “true love is forgiving them” for having a relationship. That last bit may be unseemly, but anyone who has broken up with someone in early February can probably relate.

Mukhopadhyay cautions against a shallow critique of the holiday on one hand–“you can say you don’t like Valentine’s Day, but you can still support heteronormativity”–and the dangers of self-obsession as activism on the other. She sees the project as a way to interrogate intimacy, and illuminate how it’s shaped by the greater social context.

She made the choice to tie this project to the language of the Occupy movement, Mukhopadhyay says, because both movements speak to “the desire to have different power relations in your life, but [while] talking about how larger forces produce these social structures.” When it comes to intimate relationships, she says, this conversation is often neglected.

“We literally do not have the tools,” she says. “And I think recognizing that it’s this larger structural problem where we do have very limited roles… Our power within that is very limited. I sound like such a Marxist! But I feel like recognizing it and connecting it to this larger context helps people feel less alone.”

Where Mukhopadyay is looking to Occupy love and romance, and to open them up for a wider narrative, filmmaker Velcrow Ripper is finding love within the Occupy movement himself. He is making a documentary, “Occupy Love”, about the human connection and passion at the heart of Occupy and other movements.

“I have travelled around the world tracing this phenomenal year of change, of global transformation,” Ripper told me in an e-mail, “and I have found that the underlying thread that connects the dots is really love. It is a love of justice, it is a love of humanity, and it is a deep sense of interdependence.”

Ripper says we live in “a nightmare paradigm of a commodified world, a lifeless world of objects, separation and scarcity. We are awakening to a new possibility, where the true abundance of this Earth is no longer hoarded. Where relationships are not transactions. Where your well being is my well being is the planet’s well being.”

Some of this may seem like an impressively fuzzy way to think about, say, campaign finance reform. But then, it also speaks to the fact that one thing radicals have always done best is to re-envision the relational status quo.

Similarly, it may seem silly at first to focus on Valentine’s Day as a force for radical change–“I’m a media producer,” Mukhopadhyay told me when I asked her why she chose the holiday. “It’s a great hook”–but in fact, Occupy V-Day is part of a long lineage of feminist projects that challenge the conventions of romance by starting with what we take for granted. This line stretches through bell hooks’s popular bookseries on love, through the V-Day campaign against sexual and relationship violence, and even to Emma Goldman’s writings against marriage.

Love, according to one line of thinking, is our first and most important education in social justice. According to another line of thinking, it’s a reason to buy your partner some romance on a certain day of the year. But according to a third, perhaps more truly radical line of thinking, we don’t know what love is yet. We don’t live in a world that has allowed us to experience it freely. It’s only when we all start talking about love, together–pushing the limits of our own imaginations, and challenging each other to take nothing for granted–that we can find it.

Reposted from “In These Times”

ABOUT THIS AUTHOR

Sady Doyle is an In These Times Staff Writer. She’s also an award-winning social media activist and the founder of the anti-sexist blog Tiger Beatdown (tigerbeatdown.com).

More information about Sady Doyle

A Victory for Love! We did it!

http://youtu.be/BcU5I7eua6c

We did it!! In fact, we sent it through the roof! Thanks to you all, we not only met, but we have exceeded the goal of our IndieGoGo crowd funding camapaign! As my beautiful team mate Ian MacKenzie wrote yesterday, “still basking in the glow of human generosity. Over 700 people donated towards our film (6 hours still to go!) and it was not in their “rational self-interest.” Or perhaps, it is… because they understand their Self actually includes the Other. So as you support others, you are enriching and supporting all humanity and all life. A humble bow of gratitude to you all.”

Hear hear! Deep bows, and deep love to you all!

Between our two fundraising campaigns, over 900 people have participated in creating Occupy Love. That’s a lot of love!

481 people took the time to post  comments section of the IndigieGoGo site,  see great evidence of all the support for the project, and the Occupy Love movement itself. That so many people are committed and excited and passionate about compassion, about creating a world that works for everyone, a world that works for all life.

From the three of us producers of Occupy Love – Gregg Hill, Ian MacKenzie, and myself, Velcrow Ripper, please accept our deepest gratitude, and love. We are a community of change agents, and there is nowhere better to be, than right here, right now, a time of the greatest crisis that humanity has ever faced, and at the time of the greatest love story on earth.

Occupy Love!

Love is the movement!

Occupy The Dream – MLK and the Power of Love

“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Today the Occupy Movement will be engaging in global actions centered around the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The heart of Dr. King’s vision offers wonderful inspiration for the movement – one that is deeply rooted in love.  King’s approach to activism was all about “love in action.”

The activists of the civil rights era faced incredible repression and brutality, yet remained firm in their conviction to love, their conviction to non-violence.  This gave them tremendous “moral capital.”   Violence, as an activist tactic, very rarely is successful.  It is speaking the language of the opressor, and they respond with even greater violence.  But the images of loving activists in contrast to brutality, is poignant, moving and transformative. It opens the hearts of the undecided, and calls them to join in the quest for justice.   Those who seek to undermine the Occupy Movement, or any activist movement, invariably point to acts of violence.

King taught that while legislative changes were important, such as desegregation (a focal point for the movement at that time),  unless we also change our hearts and minds, we would end up with,  “a society where men are physically desegregated and spiritually segregated, where elbows are together and hearts apart. It gives us social togetherness and spiritual apartness. It leaves us with a stagnant equality of sameness rather than a constructive equality of oneness.”    He beautifully said that, “we are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.”

Dr. King’s greatest vision was that the world would come together in a “Beloved Community.”  The civil rights movement represented an attempt to created that Beloved Community in microcosm. Today, within the Occupy Movement, we can also create this kind of community, founded on compassion, non-violence and mutuality.  This is turn can help lead to the tipping point, towards that day when we are able to live in a world that works for everyone.  King’s profound dream was to enlarge “the concept of brotherhood to a vision of total interrelatedness.”

 If he were alive today, I believe Dr. King would have recognized the incredible potential of this remarkable time in history.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

By remaining firmly grounded in love, we are practicing “prefigurative politics.”  Instead of waiting for some far off dream of a peaceful, loving world, we are living it, right now, in real time.  The principles of participatory democracy, central to the Occupy Movement, allow us to practice a world where everyone is important.  Having a leaderless movement is also a radical step – we all are leaders today.

Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has said that in this era, “the Buddha is the Sangha.”  This means, the community is the new Buddha.  It’s time for us all to wake up, and tap into our collective wisdom.  We are moving beyond the top down hierarchal structures that have dominated all areas of life in the past – from politics to spirituality, from culture to economics. It’s time for a new era, an era of shared power, of horizontality. This is the way ecosystems work – complex webs of systems within systems, supporting, nurturing each other in webs of checks and balances.  It’s time that we integrate fully into the planetary body, recognize our profound inter-connection, striving always towards mutually enhancing relationships.

The field of possibility expands exponentially each time any one of us truly steps up to the plate, and opens our hearts. How joyous, to live the realization that the greater the  brilliance of any one of us, the greater is the radiance of the whole.  We can go beyond that outdated dog eat dog eat dog isolating, disconnecting model of the corporatocracy, into a new world, where we care for each other in networks of compassion. Let us truly, deeply, authentically occupy the dream, the dream of a world that works for all life, where each and everyone of us is a shining star in a constellation of love.

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

____________

MLK Occupy Events

OCCUPY THE DREAM TELECOUNCIL WITH VELCROW RIPPER

This is an exciting time in history! Let’s make the most of it. Please join me on Martin Luther King Day, January 16 2o12 at 4 pm PST for a a special tele council in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Occupy Movement. I’ll be discussing King’s legacy of the “Beloved Community” emerging all over the world today, sharing my journey from Occupy Wall St, to Occupy Oakland, Occupy London, the M15 movement of Spain, the revolution in Tahrir Square, the meaning of “Occupy Love” and more. Learn more and sign up here – it’s free! 

WORLD WIDE CANDLELIGHT VIGIL FOR UNITY

This January 15th all over the world, Occupy is holding a  #J15 Worldwide Candlelight Vigil For Unity on the  birthday, and in the spirit of Dr. King’s vision for racial and economic equality, peace, and non-violence.  Candlelight vigils will take place at 7pm in each time zone to unite our world in a global movement for systemic change.

Wherever you are, let’s join together and light our flames for  this beautiful vision.  Be creative – you can create your own vigil if you can’t find one near you.   Learn more at http://www.j15global.com/

 

OCCUPY THE DREAM

National Day of Action on January 16.
16+ Cities. Occupy the Federal Reserve!

When: January 16, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM (unless otherwise noted)
Where: The Federal Reserve Bank closest to you

Washington, D.C. • Atlanta • Boston • Chicago • Cleveland • Dallas • Kansas City •Los Angeles • Minneapolis • New York • New Orleans • Philadelphia • Richmond •San Francisco • St. Louis • Wilmington, DE

Members of the African-American faith community have joined forces with Occupy Wall Street to launch a new campaign for economic justice inspired by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Faithful to its philosophical origin, the “Occupy the Dream” coalition has called for a National Day of Action on Martin Luther King Day – Monday, January 16, 2012 – to focus attention on the gross injustice visited upon the 99% by the financial elite.  More info at : www.occupythedream.org

STUDIO OCCUPY

Studio Occupy has a wonderful project related to this: “To honor Rev. Martin Luther King’s birthday, Occupy Wall Street is privileged to welcome African-American clergy as they join the movement to address economic inequality and social injustice. Dr. King’s dream made history. Now OWS needs yours! What’s your dream for your community? For the future? Grab your phone or webcam, make a video of your dream, and upload it by January 16th – Dr. King’s birthday. We can create history together. Let’s Occupy the Dream!”  Learn more at:  Studio Occupy

REBUILD THE DREAM

Van Jones, one of my all time visionary activist heroes, who is featured in Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action  , has launched an initiative called “Rebuild the Dream.”  This weekend, for MLK day, they are calling for meet-ups acrsos the country to celebrate Dr. King and link the Civil Rights Movement with today’s struggle for an economy that works for all. Neighbors and friends will gather to watch the great video they have created, plus engage in a special discussion about how we strengthen our movements in 2012. Find an MLK Meet-up near you, or host one of your own.

 

PS. We need your love! Please give to the Occupy Love crowd funding campaign so we can complete Occupy Love, our feature doc that captures the global (r)evolution of compassion inaction.  Sharing the link and telling your friends helps a lot too. We believe this movie is going to be of tremendous service to the planet. In Theatres 2012 – with your help!

 

2012: Love’s Evolution Is My Resolution

There are no manuals to read, no rules to follow, other than the open book, of the heart.

Love’s evolution is my resolution, my revolution, my solution. The time is now.   2012 is upon us. The beginning is here!

I’d like to offer you an invitation, an invocation, a wake up call.   Wake up!  (Zen hand clap) It’s time to come to our senses, and wake up!  Listen – can you hear the alarm bells ringing? Can you hear the cries of Mother Earth?  Can you hear the cries of Her children? Can you smell the stench of an industrial growth addicted civilization rotting from the inside out?

Look – have you noticed the species going extinct minute by minute, the disappearing bees, the melting glaciers, the rising seas, the expanding deserts, the suffering skyrocketing out of control, the politicians that act like childish lunatics, the greed crazed gamblers of Wall Street throwing dice while the whole world careens on their roller coaster of illusion,  bubbles of hungry ghost money ballooning, ballooning, soon to burst yet again, banks expecting bail outs while millions  lose their homes amidst the deafening roar of collapsing economies drowned by the noise of the dream factories of mainstream media encouraging us all to be selfish children seduced into a cycle of endless consumption by heartless corporations  hellbent on using up everything this sacred earth can offer as fast as possible?

We’re filling our hearts and minds and bellies with  junk food,  junk television, junk video games, junk movies, junk music,  junk toys,  junk fears, junk violence, junk dreams,   junk junk, junk and more junk for a society of junkies.

Wake up!  (Zen hand clap) It’s not too late, it’s never too late to seize the day.  Wake up!  (Zen hand clap) It’s time we realized that this planet is having a near death experience.   And therein lies the hope.

Continue reading “2012: Love’s Evolution Is My Resolution” »

All I want for Christmas is a Global Evolution

Occupy Christmas! With what? How about by giving that which never costs, that which can never have a price tag: Love. The more we give love, the more we receive love. Love is the economic growth we need, not the planet destroying growth of Gross Domestic Product.  Love grows best when given freely. Love is at the heart of global evolution. Love is the expression of our profound interdependence.

For the love of the planet, and each other, we need to awaken from the trance of corporate culture, from the dog-eat-dog-eat-dog world of separation, fear, and mindless consumption, and learn how to create a world of mutually enhancing relationships, of collaboration, creativity, and possibility. A world of love.

I’ve been asking Santa, the earth, the sky, you and me, for a global r~evolution for years now. Guess what? We’re starting to deliver.

There have been some deep tastes of it along the way –  my personal highlights include the Zapatista revolution in Chiapas; the profound creativity and resistance of the anti-globalization movement that began with the WTO protests in 1999; the enormous global day of anti-war marches, organized on the internet, when millions of us marched around the world in the name of peace, simultaneously.  350.org‘s global days of action for climate justice are always spectacular.

South America has seen an explosion of transformation – almost every country is trying some inspirational social experiment. Paul Hawken has tracked what he calls “humanity’s immune response to a planet in crisis”, a kind of Blessed Unrest that is the largest mass movement in history, working for change, that doesn’t even know it exists. We have been part of many beautiful expressions of evolution and compassion in action. (Watch interview)

And then came 2011.   From the Arab Spring, to the European Summer, to the Occupy Movement, to the great strides taken by the Climate Justice movement, and all the other arisings bursting forth, the electric charge of transformation is in the air.  As we gestate through this winter into 2012, my prayers are that as the frost melts, we will burst forth with  creativity, enthusiasm, and love into a global spring that keeps right on blooming into a global summer of transformation.

We need it now, more than ever.   We certainly need it more than another tree full of stuff.

The Eruption of Occupy

Sept 17,  2011 began as a quiet Saturday morning in Brooklyn with my love. Adbusters, media activists from my home terrain of  Vancouver, Canada, had put a call out a few months back: “Occupy Wall Street. Bring Tent.” Someone had posted on Facebook at the time, “are you going?”  I said, “I’ll be there, camera’s blazing.”

But that morning, a part of me wanted to sleep in. I asked Nova,  “Do you think I should go?” She didn’t hesitate: “Go!  Just check it out.  It could be something great.” I packed my camera gear, got on my bicycle and peddled over the Brooklyn Bridge, into the financial district of Manhattan, towards a little park within sight  of Ground Zero,  a park that would soon be re-named “Liberty Square.”

And so began one of the most extraordinary seasons of transformation I have witnessed in my life. It’s as if we’ve taken the famed “red pill” of the Matrix – nothing has been the same ever since.  A pandora’s box of possibilities has been flung wide open, and it can never be shut in quite the same way.  We are awake.

We have been sold a hollow story, of endless consumption, an economic fairy tale that we can have limitless growth on a finite planet, that the extreme wealth of the few would in some way benefit the many, a world where there are no relationships, only transactions.  A world where love itself is a commodity.  We are awake, and we aren’t buying it any more.

On October 15th the Occupy Movement went global.  I was in Times Square at that moment.  5,000 of us took the square, that electric altar to the gods of consumption. The energy was joyous, hopeful, inspired. And then something happened that sent chills down my spine: on the electronic ticker tape that gives the news bites of the day, came the words “Occupy Wall Street Movement Goes WorldWide.” Each time it appeared we let out a cheer. We were occupying the world.

Occupy Goes Global

In the course of making Occupy Love, our feature documentary that charts the global revolution of compassion in action, we have gone deep into the movement here in NYC at Occupy Wall Street, to the epic General Strike in Occupy Oakland, to Occupy DC, Occupy Canada, and Occupy London.

We have filmed with the sister movement, and precursor to Occupy, the Indignado’s of Spain, part of the famed “European Summer,” and with the courageous revolutionaries of Tahrir Square, in Egypt, who helped launch the Arab Spring.

When we first descended on Liberty Square we had the lofty goal of creating our own “Tahrir Square,” a claim that at first seemed outlandish, even presumptous,  but today we have taken – and lost – and taken squares all over the planet, creating a global network of occupiers, and we are only just beginning. What this movement of movements is attempting to do is nothing short of re-inventing the world.

It is both a return to our shared roots – we are all indigenous to somewhere – and a new global cross pollination, which has been helped with the interconnectivity of the internet.  We are falling in love, again, and again, with each other, and the planet. It is the profoundly public love that is justice.  It is the power of empathy and interdependence, of knowing in one’s heart that if your belly is empty, or your home has been foreclosed, then I too am hungry, I too have no  shelter.

It is the compassionate desire, that everyone on this planet, and all life, be offered the opportunity to “live well” as they say in Bolivia. The Aymara indigenous concept of “Living Well” contrasts with the western paradigm of “living better.” We have been taught to want more and more – to consume, to amass material goods at the expense of the environment, rather than to live well, in a world in which everyone’s needs are met while staying in deep harmony with the natural world.

We in the west are living in a deep cultural pathology, addicted to consumption, distraction and destruction. As a result, we are not a happy people. Buckminister Fuller has done the math – we can feed, clothe, educate, and keep well everyone on this planet. No problem – scarcity is a construction of a dysfunctional system.

The crisis we are facing is propelling us into a great love story, the greatest love story on earth. The time is now. 2012 promises to be extraordinary. I can’t wait to be surprised! We are waking up, and love is in the air. Thank-you for all you have given. Keep on giving, keep on unwrapping your gifts and sharing them with the world. My winter wish is for a global evolution of the heart, so that humanity may become a blessing to each other and this earth. Occupy Love!

~ Velcrow Ripper, Dec 24th 2011
Vancouver, BC

PS. We need your love! Please give to our crowd funding campaign so we can continue to make Occupy Love.  Sharing the link and telling your friends helps a lot too. We believe this movie is going to be of tremendous service to the planet. In Theatres 2012 – with your help!

Fanning the Flames of Love : An Interview with Velcrow Ripper

 My films are intended to be both a reflection of the heart of the times, and a catalyst, fanning the flames of love. ~ Velcrow Ripper

 

ALIVE MIND:  Occupy Love is the third film of the “Fierce Love Project.” It comes after Sacred Scared (Special Jury Prize of the Toronto Film Festival), an uplifting pilgrimage through war-torn places around the world, followed by Fierce Light, a film about bringing together spirituality, and activism.  Is there a logical progression to these films? How would you relate Fierce Light to Sacred Scared and Occupy Love?

VELCROW RIPPER:  Indeed there is –  the films are about about the “Heart of the Times”  of this unique period in human history, from the millennium to 2012. It is a time of enormous crisis, and enormous possibility.   The overall theme is, how can the global crises that we are facing lead to the evolution of humanity?

Scared Sacred takes us on a journey to ground zero’s of the world – places like New York City during 9.11, Afghanistan, Hiroshima, Bosnia, Cambodia, Israel and Palestine.   In each of those places, I discovered some of the most remarkable individuals I have ever met.  I found that there were two things that the survivors all had in common, that helped them get through the crises they faced with their spirits transformed, not crushed:  having a source of meaning, which was different for each of them, and taking action.

This lead to the second film, Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action, which  explores the relationship between spirituality, and activism.  There has long been an artificial divide between these two important aspects of human society, and this film explores the power that is released when the two come together.

In Occupy Love  I ask the question: how is  the economic and ecological crises we are facing a great love story?   I have gone beyond the word “spiritual” to the deeper, and more universal word, “Love.”   The last lines of “Fierce Light” are, “another world is here, right now: listen.”  On the sound track you can hear the rumblings of a volcano, the sleeping woman – who is now wide awake.  Occupy Love explores this  awakening, this revelation of  our shared heart, and our shared oppression, and the process of working together to transform the bankrupt system of today into a world that works for all life.  The Occupy movement, and the related movements that are erupting around the world, from the Arab Spring, to the European Summer, are all a part of this awakening. I recently showed Fierce Light at Occupy London and people were really struck by how the movie predicted the arising of Occupy.  The films truly have their finger on the pulse of the times. In fact, Fierce Light was a little ahead of it’s time.

ALIVE MIND: From Desmond Tutu to Gandhi’s granddaughter, from Darryl Hannah to Congressman John Lewis and thousands of anonymous activists around the world, you show that the potential for ‘soul force’ exists. Fierce Light conveys the idea that another world is possible. Do you hope that it will actually contribute to unleash this potential for change?

VELCROW: I have seen Fierce Light transform people again and again.  Real world change begins in our hearts, and a powerful documentary, done with art and the voices of those imbued with true soul force, has the ability to ignite and inspire us to become the change we want to see in the world.   My films are intended to be both a reflection of the heart of the times, and a catalyst, fanning the flames of love.

ALIVE MIND:  Besides being profoundly meaningful and inspired, Fierce Light is an extremely beautiful documentary, in which graceful glimpses of natural light are recurrent patterns. What part does the image play in your filmmaking in general and in Fierce Light in particular?

VELCROW RIPPER: Image, and sound – the language of cinema – has the ability to move us as true art can, at a level beyond only cognition, to the soul level,  the heart level, to our deepest core.  There are many great films out there that move us intellectually, there are great films out there that inspire our outrage, but what keeps me going is the excitement and inspiration I get from  capturing the depths of the times with my camera, editing and sound design.   I aim to create an immersive, heart opening, transformative experience.  And when you watch my films, if you aren’t in a theatre, please use headphones or good speakers!   The sound is very important – sound has a special way of going beyond the intellect.  Don’t get me wrong – the intellectual aspect is also very important.   What excites me is an integral experience that reaches  the full spectrum of the human-  heart, mind, body, and shadow.  It’s all part of us, and when any part is left out you feel a lack.  Non-literal images have a way of reaching a broader range than the same old same old “say apple see apple” approach of conventional documentary production.  I actually come out of an experimental film background, so the imagery of my docs reflect my early,  utterly liberated approach to filmmaking.  Documentary imposes it’s own constraints, but I am always pushing at the edge of those limits.

ALIVE MIND Commenting on the protest that spurred in Quebec City in 2004 against the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, you are asking “What would I do if I did not have a camera in my hands? Would I want to pick up a rock and throw it right back at these dehumanized Plexiglass faces?” What stance do you adopt when you shoot in the midst of demonstrations? Does being an engaged filmmaker mean taking a step back from neutrality in those situations?

VELCROW RIPPER I don’t believe in neutrality.  That comment, which was a rhetorical question, was answered by the film: I would do what Carly Stasko does at that moment – she dances.   My response to repression, violence and corporate dominance is to be as contrasting to that as possible – liberated, non-violent, and creative.  That is the way to transform violence, not by speaking it’s language back at it.  Neutral? Not in the slightest. I am part of the movements I document, I come from the inside. The most biased of coverage is to be found in the mainstream media – they have such a narrow frame of reference, and have had a profoundly negative influence on global society, with their news bites, the fact that they are profit motivated and corporate dominated, and always focus in on the violence of any given situation without greater context.   How many times have I seen reports of “violent protestors,” when in fact the protestors are peaceful, and it is the police that are violent.  Or, as is sadly often the case, there are a few agitators (often police infiltrators) or angry young men, who create the violence, and a whole movement gets tarred with an ugly brush.

ALIVE MIND On Sept 17, 2011, at Zuccotti Park, the epicenter of Occupy Wall Street, you’ve asked a giant FDR dime, “How could the global crisis we are facing become a love story?’ You made a short-film out of it, entitled Summer of Change: Occupy Wall Street.

Have you been personally involved in the movement since then? What are your future plans?

VELCROW RIPPER  I have fallen in love with the Occupy Movement.  I was at Occupy Wall Street since day one, travelled to Occupy Oakland for their epic general strike and just returned from Spain, where I was filming with the Indignados, Egypt, where I was covering Tahrir Square and the Egyptian Revolution, and Occupy London.  I was looking at the roots of the movement, tracing it back from the European summer, to the Arab Spring, and looking at where the movement has evolved.   The film is now called “Occupy Love.”   The original project, Evolve Love, may come out after, or will be integrated into this movie.  Two years ago I asked writer Naomi Klein, “how could the crisis we are facing on the planet become a love story?” And she laughed, and said that her and I do the opposite – she points out how bad things are and I look for the love.  Last week I saw her at an action and she gave me a big hug and said, “history has re-arranged itself to prove your thesis.”

The Occupy Movement, and the much bigger, and deeper global spirit of transformation from which it arises, is the love story I have been looking for, all my life.   In Fierce Light I reference Paul Hawken, who in his book “Blessed Unrest”, talks about a global movement of movements that is emerging all over the world, what he calls “humanities immune response to a planet in crisis”, the largest movement in history.  And the remarkable thing about that movement is that it is self organizing, and it didn’t even know that it existed.  The Arab Spring, The European Summer, and now the Occupy Movement, is that movement standing up, looking around, and discovering itself. And right now, this is the greatest love story on earth. This movement is rooted in interdependence, and is the opposite of the selfish, lifeless, dog eat dog eat dog world promoted through the vast capital of the corporations.   We need to do everything we can to nurture this evolving movement, our ever evolving global society, and keep it moving always in the direction of love, in the direction of life.  Love is the movement. We are the 100%

Occupy Love has just launched an IndieGoGo campaign to help fund the completion of the film. This is a commmunity funded film – if we are to get it made, we need your help. Please support us if you can, or help out by sharing the link.  Thanks!

http://www.indiegogo.com/Occupy-Love?a=315019&i=addr

Velcrow Ripper  is an award-winning filmmaker with dozens of films and videos under his belt, including Scared Sacred, winner of the 2005 Genie (Canadian Academy Award) for best feature documentary, and Special Jury Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival. Bones of the Forest, his 1995 environmental medittion, won nine major film awards, including a Genie and best of the festival at Hot Docs. Ripper’s latest film is Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action. This award winning feature doc’s message of hope and change is delivered via magnificent visuals.  He is currently shooting “Occupy Love” a feature documentary which chronicles the heart of the Occupy movement, and beyond.

This interview with Occupy Love director, Velcrow Ripper, was done by the folks at Alive Mind Cinema, the U.S. distributor of Ripper’s award winning feature doc, FIERCE LIGHT: When Spirit Meets Action.   The original interview can be found here.

Occupy London

This earth is abundant. There is enough for all of us. Scarcity is the construct of a system built on greed. We need to re-recreate this world, from the bottom up, with the only secure foundation: love. With that as a starting place, with compassion as our bedrock, we will naturally evolve a sacred economics, committed to a world that works for all life. (I took this photo last night at Occupy London)

Photo: Occupy London

New video message from Velcrow Ripper & IndieGoGo Fundraising Campaign Launches!

Exciting news! We have launched our IndieGoGo crowd-funding campaign to help finish Occupy Love – our transformative feature documentary. Please share the link as widely as possible!

LEARN MORE & DONATE NOW TO OCCUPY LOVE

Watch the above video message from Occupy Love director, Velcrow Ripper, shot last week in New York City. The march over the Brooklyn Bridge was part of Occupy Wall Street’s N17 day of action and two month birthday celebration. (Includes ground-level footage of the now infamous Occupy Bat Signal!

Occupy Love will be a moving, transformative feature documentary that asks the question: how is the economic and ecological crises we are facing a great love story?

This is a totally community funded film. Crowd-funding is a beautiful reflection of the collective spirit this movie is all about. Join the team and become a community film producer.

In theatres 2012 – with your help!

Open Letter from Starhawk and ACT to Occupy

Open Letter to the Occupy Movement from Starhawk and the Alliance of Community Trainers

The Occupy movement has had enormous successes in the short time since September when activists took over a square near Wall Street. It has attracted hundreds of thousands of active participants, spawned occupations in cities and towns all over North America, changed the national dialogue and garnered enormous public support. It’s even, on occasion, gotten good press!

Now we are wrestling with the question that arises again and again in movements for social justice—how to struggle. Do we embrace nonviolence, or a ‘diversity of tactics?’ If we are a nonviolent movement, how do we define nonviolence? Is breaking a window violent?

We write as a trainers’ collective with decades of experience, from the anti-Vietnam protests of the sixties through the strictly nonviolent antinuclear blockades of the seventies, in feminist, environmental and anti-intervention movements and the global justice mobilizations of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. We embrace many labels, including feminist, anti-racist, eco-feminist and anarchist. We have many times stood shoulder to shoulder with black blocs in the face of the riot cops, and we’ve been tear-gassed, stun-gunned, pepper sprayed, clubbed, and arrested,

While we’ve participated in many actions organized with a diversity of tactics, we do not believe that framework is workable for the Occupy Movement. Setting aside questions of morality or definitions of ‘violence’ and ‘nonviolence’ – for no two people define ‘violence’ in the same way – we ask the question:

What framework can we organize in that will build on our strengths, allow us to grow, embrace a wide diversity of participants, and make a powerful impact on the world?

Continue reading “Open Letter from Starhawk and ACT to Occupy” »