Blazing a Path Through Reality To Our Dreams
By Arthur J. Miller:
I have been homeless walking the streets with nowhere to go. I have known the bitter coldness that seemed without end as the night turned to day. I have been a tenant of run-down dwellings that no person should ever have to live in. I have known the jails filled with despair in cities across this land. I have known the labor of a fruit tramp, of the assembly line, the hard rock mining industry, oil rigs, shipyards, long haul trucking and hazmat cleanup sites. I have seen the forced poverty on reservations, those places that America never seems to see.
And through it all I have learned that our liberation is not just about removing those that profit from the misery of others. Our liberation must also be about healing the suffering, and we must do this for every living person. This is about leaving none who live in want behind.
And our precious Mother Earth, there too we have much healing to do. For throughout the lands of the world, our Mother Earth has been fouled and abused. In that alone all of our labor is needed. Not only must we heal our Mother Earth, but we must relearn to live in balance with our provider. And we must reshape our society for the well being of all.
Long ago when I was very young I held a young girl in my arms trying anything I could think of to keep her living. She had seen life as being hopeless and tried to kill herself with pills. I told her that things were bound to get better and I tried to keep her wanting to continue to live until the authorities would come and take her to the hospital. I told her things that I knew were untrue. And after she was recovered enough, in their view, they took her to Juvenile Hall and placed her in isolation. Later they passed her off to an institution because she had no one to take her home. Her only crime was wanting that which no one was willing to give her, love and a home.
Though my rage was almost blinding, partly at the system and partly because I felt that I had betrayed her for giving her false hope, I then made a commitment that never again would I tell of false dreams. Reality had to be faced and dealt with no matter the situation.
My background may be a little different than most others in the struggle, but it has given me something that drives me with purpose. I have an understanding of something that I don't seem to be able to put into words that others can understand. I don't have a correctness, an answer, or a new age, just an understanding.
When I was young and lived on Guam, my family had a student that lived with us from Saipan. He took me out into the jungle and asked me what I saw, so I started to name things. He then said that I was not seeing what was really there. And then he spoke of how everything was connected. He explained to me how I just viewed everything individually without seeing how everything individually is also connected to everything else, everything has its effects on everything else. He said I had to look at everything to understand the individual thing. I never forget what he said but it was pushed back into my mind.
Later when I lived in Houston, Blackie Vaughan (an old time Wobbly) told me about the same thing but rather than talking about a jungle he was talking about human society. Well I read all the books and thought I had a good understanding of things, but I had not connected it to what I had been told.
Then later fate placed me in a Kiva in Hotavilla in Hopi land. There each day the three eldest spiritual people came together. On that day I sat there and heard knowledge that had been passed down for thousands of years. I heard some of the same stuff I had been told before, with something new, all that we call human and natural history was also all connected. With that experience everything else I had been told came back to me. And those three experiences became my outlook. It did not rid me of my faults, I had not seen God, I did not have a blueprint answer, rather I just had a different way of seeing things. All things are connected and each affects everything else.
The world is off balance: capitalism, the state, wars, and so on. The direction to restore the balance is to reconnect to all things, to struggle together, real solidarity, No Separate Peace or how ever you want to say it. Each has a responsibility for their effects. And what we call the history of the struggle is nothing more than a continuous path connected to the past, present, and future. Living in reality.
For me the IWW can be a big part in reconnecting because it sees the real power that it will take, it builds connections (IUs and whatnot, OBU). It is a way of looking at things and seeing a direction.
One Elder said to me that the problem is that people try to see with their eyes closed. They see what they want to see and thus they fail to see the whole reality. The reality is that our world is a very troubled place. And we must see the reality of that in order to change our society. Only in seeing the truth of the human existence will we ever be able to improve it. And the truth is that we cannot just change the conditions of a few, but we must struggle to change the conditions of all our suffering sisters and brothers and Mother Earth too.
We should not sell pipe dreams of fantasies that cloud the minds of our people as I once did to that young girl. Yes, we need dreams of a better world, but we must blaze a path through reality to get to our dreams.