“ You Have to Go “
It was a cold early morning, frost on the ground as Farmer and I pulled out of a traditional Dine homesite in Teesto, a small community on the Navajo Nation, those words spoken to me that prior evening around a fire by a young Navajo youth “ you have to go, because we canʼt “ resonated in my head. I in a fairly new pickup, farmer in a old beat up van, lumbered down the rutted, dirt road. Iʼm thinking about the 20 plus hours drive ahead, the decision to try to make it to Seattle. For context, my involvement in doing support work for traditional Navajo ( Dine ) elders facing relocation on their lands ( but that’s another story for another time ) was part of the reason for bringing me to Seattle. My support for the Zapatista uprising ,an Indigenous community in Chiapas. Mexico ( another story for another time ) opposed to NAFTA and the WTO was another reason for my desire to go.
After a weary journey, pulling into Seattle , I could not help but think about the Navajo Grandmother who 24 hours prior had blessed ( smudged ) our rigs and did a prayer for us. Farmer, an organic farmer from the east coast and I Marcos , a contractor from the Rockies, after a brief rest were up and excited about what lay ahead of us. I knew of some groups from Colorado , my home state at the time that had traveled to Seattle. We joined up with one affinity group, farmer as a medic, I as general support and media. The night prior to the Shut It Down day found me busy in the organizing space , 420 Denny Way used by the Direct Action Network ( DAN ) and others. Using my cordless drill and sharpies kept me up most of the night, helping with the making of signs, props and what not.
N30……. Wow !! A cloudy, gloomy and rainy day, perfect for what was to transpire. What unfolded that morning and in the next few days was beyond my wildest expectations. It shaped my perspective for the next 20 years, guided me in the direction I still ( wavering at times ) travel. Unbelievable, inspiring , hopeful, the best of people, the worst of people, the world stage. Globalization in the spotlight, trade agreements, but also the validity of the economic ismʼs , the exposure of the exploitations of Human Resources and Pacha Mamaʼs resources by the worlds elite. Section C was ours that day , holding down that corner with locked down street blockades and arms locked human chains. The energy , the dialogue , the people, the music and song ……a true festival of resistance !!Laws were broken that day by both sides but of course laws were broken. Laws written and enforced by the ruling elite , the hegemonic powers system of control, laws that they hypocritically break, bend and change to their needs. Laws that the exploited , abused and oppressed , the controlled are surely going to break. That week we won the battle, continued the anti globalization movement , propelled it onto the spotlight of the world stage, woke up the sleeping, reenergized the active, inspired dreams and hope for a better and more just future. …….a truly historical event !!
That was one battle of a much bigger and longer war……a war that were still in. Some may question the notion of war but we are at war. Humanity is being attacked, directly and indirectly, Mother Earth is being attacked, her mountains are being mined, her streams are being polluted , her pristine waters are being sucked up, her plains and grasslands mono-cropped to soil erosion, her forests are burning, and oceans are warming. Absorbing so much CO2 that itʼs making the modeling useless. The oceans may soon become the source for CO2 in lieu of being the sink. We have a lot of good intentions , divesting from fossil fuel, transitioning to EV vehicles , wind and solar for energy , veganism, reduce reuse recycle, the recent legalization of the growing of hemp, all common sense changes. Were in such a different place than 20 years ago, the technological leap has been astounding. Some believe technology will save us, give us the tools to weather the storm. I believe we are at the tipping point of irreversible crisis but do we have the desire, the courage , the will to make the hard decisions, to make the change of life styles that will inevitably be needed. A true paradigm shift in evolution. The 1999 Seattle WTO Shutdown proved one thing. It showed that a diversity of people , with different views, perspectives and backgrounds using a diversity of tactics and methods can come together, can stop the machine for a day. We need a new Battle of Pacha Mama, we need a machine stop and reset, for you, your children , your grandchildren , for humanity !!