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Greetings from the PAN Minnesota Team,
I’m here, checking in with one last note before the end of the year. I’m so grateful for your support in all that we’ve accomplished together in 2021 – from nurturing relationships and bringing folks together for stronger coalitions, to making ourselves heard by our state legislators, to ensuring clean water for our neighbors.
Speaking of which, if the holidays have you looking for good efforts to support, please consider donating to the Clean Water is a Right fund. A coalition of partners including Toxic Taters, Minnesota Well Owners Organization, Northern Water Alliance and the White Earth Land Recovery Project has been hosting free testing clinics, providing community education, and organizing for clean water in North Central Minnesota. While the state should be ensuring clean water for all, this fund compliments that work by providing emergency water and filtration systems to low-income Minnesotans facing well contamination. The fund is just about 20% of the way to its launch goal of $5k, and any level of donation is very appreciated!
While the winter solstice brings us some of the longest and darkest days of the year, it’s a good time to follow the example of the natural world and use these days to recharge and prepare for when the light returns. An important part of that is the truth-telling we need to center in order to take actions in support of justice and with integrity. I’m so thankful for artists who’ve long since been the great truth-tellers of our times, like Ricardo Levins Morales. Some wise words from him for us to chew on:
“Another year ended in crises. Or should I say a world in which crises long predicted have ripened to the point that they're hard to deny. That doesn't mean that denial gives up; that it apologizes for having been so wrong, takes its bow and exits stage right. Quite the opposite! Denial just doubles down, constructs bigger, louder amplifiers and lets loose on anyone brave enough to challenge the lies.
Keeping up a lie – when reality is staring you in the face – demands deeper and deeper levels of denial until you finally tumble down a rabbit hole of unreality. Admitting the full scale, and causes, of climate change would lay bare the wrecking-ball business model of capitalism. To permit the teaching of non-colonized history would threaten the multilayered system and culture of white supremacy. To truly address the crises in housing, public health, energy, agriculture, street and domestic violence and suicide would require challenging a social model that treats peoples needs as profit centers, land as real estate and the future as disposable.
When facing these direct assaults on humanity and nature it is too easy to fall for the trap of false solutions. While the people who are drawn to the fantasies of the ultra right present a clear danger to the prospects for justice, the inviting glow of the liberal house of illusions presents its own dangers. UN conferences on climate change are not actually response to global warming but rather to popular outrage. The “racial reckoning” that has turned politicians, banks, mass media and foundations into (self-described) champions of justice was not a response to the murders of George Floyd and other police victims but rather to the uprising they ignited. The protest, the anger, the demands for justice are the problem they seek to deal with. Sedation, not solution is their game.
There are practical lessons we can take from this. First, that our ability to tell the truth – about the past, about the world, about who we are – is deeply destabilizing and terrifying to those in power. Make that point one on our action plan. Second, that our organizing and mobilizing triggers the corporate liberal wing empire to go on the defensive, throwing us partial concessions and flowery social justice language so we'll stop pushing for the real thing.
In so many ways, the elites of the system get it wrong. Their fantasy economy and unquenchable thirst for profit render the real, the natural, world invisible to them. But they also happen to believe that we the people, if we were to get our act together and unite around a truth-based program and practice, could bring the system to its knees. On that one point let's prove them right.”
What powerful words to bring inside, to empower our hearts and minds to see what the real work for justice means – I encourage you to check out more of Ricardo's words and work on his website. Wishing the best to you and yours in the new year, I’m excited for what we’ll accomplish together in 2022.
With revolutionary love and solidarity,
Zoe Hollomon, PAN Minnesota Organizer