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This Christmas, give the gift of Corrente (5)

MsExPat's picture

[Just $45 to go for Okanagen's matching challlenge.... --lambert]

[Welcome, New Economic Perspectivicians! Any help is appreciated, and if you want your contribution matched, write "OK" on the PayPal/WePay form, or mail me. For those who don't know, Corrente is not a sideline for me or a hobby; after I pay for the server, it pays some of my bills, too! The PayPal/WePay buttons are to your right. Thank you! --lambert]

[Okanagen's challenge is still (mostly) on the table. Adding, as Okanagen points out... It's still there. --lambert]

I'll start by telling the story of a moment. It is February 15, 2003 and I am in New York City, on the streets with nearly a half million people protesting the threat (it was but a threat then) of the US attack on Iraq.

The MSM--especially the New York Times, under the watch of hawk editor Bill Keller--is banging the drums of war. Saddam, weapons of mass destruction, al-Qaeda. We need to attack. This is a just aggression. Any sane person must understand the need, the reasonableness of it all, right?

But I don't. My guts tell me this is wrong, an arrogant folly, misinformed. My guts tell me I'm being lied to.

A few of my friends feel the same way but are cowed by the media pile on. Nevertheless, after a few back and forth phone calls three of my friends and I decide to attend the planned march protesting US involvement in Iraq. We head out to Manhattan, figuring we'll be part of a thousand strong "army" of the usual anti-war suspects.

It's freezing. Something like 10 degrees. My toes have gone numb inside my boots. But then something happens that makes me forget about my feet. Shoved by the NYC cops into a kettle, we're jammed in a tight pack of other bodies at the entrance to New York's Grand Central Terminal. It takes forever to work our way inside, step by step, into the warmth and space of the station. And when we enter, at last, we realize that something like a miracle is happening: Grand Central Station is filled from end to end. We're not a thousand, we are tens of thousands!

All at once a shout rises up from the multitudes, echoing in the grand vaulted ceilings of the cathedral-like station. It's a slogan from the 60s that I never really liked, but now it rises from my throat, from all our throats, without the slightest irony: "The people, united, will never be defeated!"

And at that moment, my friends and I break into tears. So do the union activists around us. We all lose it. I wish I could say we cried, selflessly, for Iraq. The truth is that we cried for ourselves. We lost our composure because of the pain--and ecstasy--of discovering that we were not, after all, alone. That we were not crazy, or stupid or foolish. That there were many, many others--hundreds of thousands in this one place-- who saw the world the way we did.

Corrente is that march, that moment.

But unlike that march, Corrente isn't a once in a lifetime miracle. It's continuous, here for us to access whenever we need to remember that we do not struggle alone and in silence.

Think about it: how many times have you come to Corrente to wash away the frustration and sadness of listening to the lies, boondoggles and general manipulative blather of (fill in blank) a. the mainstream media b."Progressive" blogs c. "Liberal" politicians d. the "Smartest President Ever" or e. your brother in law at Thanksgiving? How many times have you come here to heal yourself after feeling marginalized for your ideas somewhere else?

I suggest you count up that number, double it for good measure, and multiply that figure by $1 (or $5, if you're feeling flush). Then send the total to Corrente. (Really, a far better bargain than therapy!)

Community, real community, is an endangered species in our time, and in this culture. Oh, we have plenty of pseudo, "monetized" communities, for that is one of the ways late capitalism feeds off our basic human need to feel connected.

But here at Corrente we have something extraordinary: a supportive, smart, engaged (and most assuredly non-monetizing) community based on ideas and spirit. It's a rare thing, and like every garden it needs seasonal tending. This week marks the season where we consider and take stock of what we've taken from the nurturing soil of Corrente. And then, if possible, put a little of it back.

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