This little film shows Tuesday's simulcast between the London and New York OCCUPY communities. I flew out to the encampment at St. Paul's Cathedral, and we sang the 99% song together, across the Atlantic - what a wonderful moment! That made the whole London visit worth it - when Londoners held up a sheet to show the Stop Shopping Choir from Wall Street. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5cUAr4LT8&feature=player_embedded We want to go to OCCUPY communities carrying a message of courage as we head into the winter - and as Wall Street/police wait us out. Give a loved one this gift: help the Stop Shoppers tour world of tent-cities. We'll make media of it for all the 2000 communities. http://www.indiegogo.com/Reverend-Billy-and-the-Stop-Shopping-TV-Show-3 Yes children - Give the Gift that keeps on Occupying. Revolujah!
This Saturday thousands of people around the country are transferring their money from large corporate banks to small banks & credit unions. We've been doing this for some time, check out our own Dragonfly's amazing stealth video during our (successful!) campaign against JP Morgan Chase and their financing of Mountaintop Removal We begin our day at Union Theological's James Chapel on the Upper West Side, after some fervor and an inter-choir rendition of our OWS anthem We Are The 99% (as we gather together) we will accompany people to nearby bank branches as they begin their money moving. Then we head downtown to the Bank of America in Union Square (14th and University Place) where we will enact ritual glorification on a group of people removing their money from that singularly evil institution. Join Us. Dress is festive, transcendent, outrageous. If you plan to move your money or already have and so wish to be glorified please let us know savitri(@)revbilly.com 11 AM James Chapel btwn 120-122 on Broadway 1 PM Union Square corner of 14th St and University Place RVSP on Facebook: Rev Billys
Tuesday, November 15, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. @ The Tank 151 West 46th Street, 8th Floor, New York City Tickets: $10 at the door RSVP on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=129710553803033 Join critically acclaimed author, KtB editor, and OccupyWriters.com founder Jeff Sharlet and the unstoppable evangelists of anti-consumerism Reverend Billy and Savitri D for a discussion about religion and politics in the Occupy movement and beyond. The conversation, held at the renowned Midtown performance space The Tank on November 15, will be hosted by Killing the Buddha. Savitri D and Reverend Billy lead a New York City-based radical performance community, with 50 performing members and a congregation in the thousands. They are wild anti-consumerist gospel shouters, earth-loving urban activists who have worked with communities on four continents defending land, life, and imagination from reckless development and the extractive imperatives of global capital. Their most recent book, edited by Alisa Solomon, is The Reverend Billy Project: From Rehearsal Hall to Super Mall with the Church of Life After Shopping. You know Jeff Sharlet: the bestselling author of The Family and, most recently, Sweet Heaven When I Die: Faith, Faithlessness, and the Country In Between, a collection of 13 portraits and personal essays on subjects like an accidental anarchist martyr, a hell-house preacher, the last great Yiddish writer, Cornel West, and the nastiest banjo player who ever lived. The Washington Post wrote that Sweet Heaven belongs "to the tradition of long-form, narrative journalism best exemplified by writers such as Joan Didion, John McPhee, Norman Mailer and Sharlet's contemporary David Samuels," and that Sharlet "deserves a place alongside such masters, for he has emerged as a master investigative stylist and one of the shrewdest commentators on religion's underexplored realms." Sharlet is a contributing editor for Harper's and Rolling Stone. (by KtBniks)
Obama compared Occupy Wall Street with the Tea Party, and then called one right and the other left. He doesn't get it. Noami Klein said the Occupy Wall Street is not a place - that it is a state of mind. She gets it. MoveOn made a fundraising offer to OWS, and was turned down by the downward wiggling fingers. Jesse Jackson stood in front of the new medical tent in the square, facing a team of police sent to tear it down. They withdrew. Cornel West must not be a celebrity. Celebrities come once to Liberty Square and then return to their schedules. Dr. West keeps returning. The NY Times says the movement has no anthem. No "Blowing in the Wind" or "We Shall Overcome." Liberty Square emits a roar all day long, singing, drumming, shouting, chanting. Many writers say the movement lacks specifics, as if it is not professional or educated or in the real world of politics. At five weeks, it is still growing across the world. Moral of the story: No-one knows what Occupy Wall Street is. It is a movement. It is in motion. We do know a couple things: We know that public space has been claimed in 950 cities and towns. We know that we have a ritual of consensus direct Democracy that we observe strictly every day. It is functional, but it is also the practice of Democracy, which we know we must learn from scratch. And we believe that 99% of us have a memory of Democracy, somewhere in our lives, and that we want it to return again soon. Rev Billy The Stop Shopping Choir's anthem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgEdrh617qs&feature=player_embedded
WATCH: Anti-Consumerist Preacher Reverend Billy Talen serves up a fiery sermon against the global economic machine at the ongoing Occupy Wall Street demonstration in downtown Manhattan. There's a term for the present American system: "Totalizing." That means that consumerism/militarism comes all the way across the landscape - into every nook and cranny. It kills all the smaller systems, like the neighborhood economies, the gift-economies. This system is self-propelled to come into the arts, into medicine, into libraries, into our intimacy - and into our children's lives at the beginning of identity. At the Occupation of Wall Street you really feel this. Liberty Plaza is a small park where we say we're free of that system. The difference is so dramatic. We are starting a culture here - a way of life from scratch. It is clumsy and beautiful and frustrating. But no-one regrets being here and everyone knows what leaving this small island means. Go back into America and our freedom is portable, hidden near our hearts.
The latest episode of Reverend Billy's Freak Storm, filmed at Liberty Plaza. Reverend Billy connects occupying banks and #OccupyWallStreet Let's get up from our computer, get out of our cars, come down from whatever fundamentalism keeps our America old and violent and profit-taking - and go down to the public square that sits there covered with pigeon shit and the shadow of a soldier on a horse - and sing the 1st Amendment! Start our culture over! REVOLUJAH!
Reverend Billy's Freakstorm #18 Watch more episodes & subscribe: http://revbilly.com/podcast I visited the occupation of Wall Street late afternoon yesterday, after recording this Freak Storm sermon. What an unusual time we live in. Tropical storms and people storms sweep through the public squares. Climate change and national debt are Devils releasing deadly energy. Leaders in politics seem like ciphers, drained of energy. But Earth defenders are flying, Vendana Shiva, Wangari Maathai, Bill Mckibben - and those kids at Liberty Square.
On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the Reverend asks "What happened to peace?" On that impossible day when the skyline of New York City collapsed on its southern tip - I watched from a rooftop across the East River - we entered an unexpectedly peaceful eye of the storm. We all fell toward the terrible scene. We fell through tunnels, over bridges. We were cultural first responders and many of us ricocheted over to a park called Union Square, the site of so much freedom fighting in the history of the United States. There, thousands gathered in candle-light vigils on the first nights after 9/11, and this quickly evolved the park into a "people's republic" without police, with an intense series of sing-alongs, rallies, prayer sessions and circles of traumatized but also liberated citizens, having conversations with strangers, passing the "talking stick" from hand to hand. Around us were copy-shop color reproductions of the faces of the missing, with Magic Marker notes by loved ones, "Hurry home Katherine, Bob and Nancy will wait up for you!" Candles and flowers were everywhere, and mementos of a personal nature were left in little shrines: feathers and diary pages, old record covers from John and Yoko. Artists set up easels and painted images of firemen with angel-wings. Break-dancers took turns. Monologists shouted in the trees. Fire-swallowers. Mimes dressed up like the Statue of Liberty. Professors studied this unfolding "original culture." The vortex of expression continued for weeks and weeks. We stood in circles talking about Peace. We passed the talking stick. We felt Peace was among us, as the missing dead, a parallel world of peaceful smiling friends who died that Tuesday, watched us from every surface. Yes Peace is here, we thought. Something we do here will forgive everyone. A large act of forgiveness is possible - the habit of war can be changed. The bombs haven't dropped yet. In the ten years since then, the official violence has been grotesque. Our taxes kill children, with old dead "freedom" rhetoric spoken over the bodies by politicians. At home here in New York City, the 1st Amendment protections that made the Union Square moment possible are strictly hunted down. We have gone to jail for the simple act of shouting or singing in public. Peace - we are told - cannot come from anything but brute force. This infantilizes the citizenry - into consumers only, victims momentarily safe in a culture of fear, in a culture of apocalyptic blockbusters and Tea Party crazies… This is a very dark time. We can only love and work in a parallel world, in local cultures that we can touch and make sense of. We must carefully select when and how to stand up to an energy company, for instance, that walks into town with bank money and drilling equipment. We do have power from that Union Square world we created.
Believing that the Earth is our god, government, economy and culture - all wrapped into one big institution - that is simple common sense!  When we draw our last breath together, all the functions of living will be mixed together in that one breath.  There won't be separate powers anymore.
Alarmist?  Pessimistic?  Radical?  … are things so bad?
It's not so bad if you ignore the upheavals and century storms and waves of extinctions.  Most of us haven't made a decision about what do to.  The climate is changing and we get through another day.
Individuals in the media-saturated west have mostly made the decision to make no decision.  Our god, government, economy and culture - has made the same no-decision.  The biggest institutions are nearly silent on the question of climate change.  It is not an issue in the Presidential politics of the United States - despite 900 tornados this year, and floods, fires and heat-waves of biblical proportions.
The heads of the nation-states do not comment on the fact that the air, and water and even the ground we stand on - are now radically changing.  (Evo Morales, the native-American President of Bolivia is the only one that comes to mind.) And yet, national identity is one thing we cling to.  It is very Tea Party to say, "America is the Greatest Nation!" - but we all go along with it.
Why?  Soon millions of us will be fleeing the coastal cities.  As the sea rises and the waves get bigger, will we first and foremost be national citizens?  No - the first thing will be:  Save our loved ones from drowning, and seek higher ground.  Will each dry hill be its own self-congratulatory country?  Let's go to the common sense again:  No, things will be a lot more chaotic then that.  It's more likely that a world with a refugee species won't be made of nations anymore.
We shouldn't be made of nations now.  We should be made of what we are really made of - the Earth.  Nations, religions, economies, and cultures should no longer be separate, defensive and competitive.  There is a reason that climate change is not mentioned by the leaders.  We are already experiencing a kind of false drowning - in these many systems of belief that demand our absolute allegiance.  These traditions keep us in our dull inactivity, without access to our own common sense.  This good citizenship will kill us all!
It would be a giant leap for mankind to move forward from these old habits, wouldn't it?  We keep hoping that a new awareness of the level of emergency will rise out of these old institutions, but we can't wait anymore.  Now we must listen to our common sense.  And that means getting down on our knees and praying to the wind.
Then we rise and receive our instructions from the Earth.  Call our neighbors, call our friends.  Run as fast as we can to a coal-fired power plant and shut it down.
Believing that the Earth is our god, government, economy and culture - all wrapped into one big institution - that is simple common sense!  When we draw our last breath together, all the functions of living will be mixed together in that one breath.  There won't be separate powers anymore. Alarmist?  Pessimistic?  Radical?  … are things so bad? It's not so bad if you ignore the upheavals and century storms and waves of extinctions.  Most of us haven't made a decision about what do to.  The climate is changing and we get through another day. Individuals in the media-saturated west have mostly made the decision to make no decision.  Our god, government, economy and culture - has made the same no-decision.  The biggest institutions are nearly silent on the question of climate change.  It is not an issue in the Presidential politics of the United States - despite 900 tornados this year, and floods, fires and heat-waves of biblical proportions. The heads of the nation-states do not comment on the fact that the air, and water and even the ground we stand on - are now radically changing.  (Evo Morales, the native-American President of Bolivia is the only one that comes to mind.) And yet, national identity is one thing we cling to.  It is very Tea Party to say, "America is the Greatest Nation!" - but we all go along with it. Why?  Soon millions of us will be fleeing the coastal cities.  As the sea rises and the waves get bigger, will we first and foremost be national citizens?  No - the first thing will be:  Save our loved ones from drowning, and seek higher ground.  Will each dry hill be its own self-congratulatory country?  Let's go to the common sense again:  No, things will be a lot more chaotic then that.  It's more likely that a world with a refugee species won't be made of nations anymore. We shouldn't be made of nations now.  We should be made of what we are really made of - the Earth.  Nations, religions, economies, and cultures should no longer be separate, defensive and competitive.  There is a reason that climate change is not mentioned by the leaders.  We are already experiencing a kind of false drowning - in these many systems of belief that demand our absolute allegiance.  These traditions keep us in our dull inactivity, without access to our own common sense.  This good citizenship will kill us all! It would be a giant leap for mankind to move forward from these old habits, wouldn't it?  We keep hoping that a new awareness of the level of emergency will rise out of these old institutions, but we can't wait anymore.  Now we must listen to our common sense. And that means getting down on our knees and praying to the wind. Then we rise and receive our instructions from the Earth.  Call our neighbors, call our friends.  Run as fast as we can to a coal-fired power plant and shut it down.
The Christianized Jesus - the turning of a radical into a conservative shadow of his former self - explains our problem of establishing and celebrating freedom fighters today. It is important that our progressive heroes be given a deserved fame, an accurately reported fame. This is crucial in ways that impact our own activism. Jesus of Nazareth was not a Peak Performance Strategist as the prosperity preachers would have it. Nor was he an foreigner-hating patriot as the Tea Party would argue. Obviously American politicians and their lobbyists pursue so many policies that are against the teachings of Jesus but are supported by mainstream Christian opinion. In fact, Jesus' parables and sayings push the spiritual revolution of gift economies, and of justice through radical forgiveness. The Hallmark-carding of Dr. King's life is what gave Glenn Beck the opening to disrespect his Lincoln Center speech. King's basic differences with our present corporate economy needs to be a presence in our lives, especially in the educational materials and media of the young. Malcolm X's spirited defense against the violence of entrenched power - this would help us now, as the security state begins to define 1st Amendment-protected protest as a form of terrorism. Cesar Chavez's creativity and steady hand in unionizing the California farmworkers could be useful now as state employees face labor busting by governors and their wealthy tax-dodging sponsors. These three progressive heroes must be known for what they actually were. It was believed that Jesus could be saved from the distortions of right-wing apocalyptic Christianity by researching the historical man. That hasn't worked, despite the Newsweek (“Jesus - who was he really?”) cover story every Easter. I am writing from the Mayan region of southern Mexico, in the city of Chiapas, where another defense against the predations of the Christianized Jesus has been a success. Here, some of the people subjugated by the brutal conquistadors undermined the Spaniard's god by concentrating their prayers on San Juan Bautista - John the Baptist. San Juan stood in the flowing spirit of the River Jordan as he repeated again and again, "I am not He. I am not the One." The Holy Spirit flowed through him as he baptized new believers in the water. John was in the river, in motion, always becoming. He offered his blessing to the act of belief, the creative power of the individual who approached him. As a result his personality is not so easily used to enforce hardened, violent fundamentalism. The Mayans have outmaneuvered fundamentalism to free themselves from those who rode toward them with the swords of Christ. Chiapas and Chamula, Mexico are far healthier and less consumerized then your average American suburb. This brilliant adjustment on their religion forced on them by the Spanish has a lot to do with it. What the Mayan did to the Spanish God is what we all need to do to the Bank of America. Better approaches to the figures that we revere (and worship) are needed in this time of permanent war, economic piracy, and most of all the Earth's crisis. Let's find ways to be honest about radicals' lives - so that we have clearer courage for our own activism. Photo by Sophie Molins