[imc-nyc-audio] BTL Q&A 8-30-04: Starhawk Draws Connection Between
Spirituality and Political Activism
sharris at snet.net
Mon Aug 30 22:05:16 PDT 2004
Between The Lines
Between the Lines Q&A
A weekly column featuring progressive viewpoints
on national and international issues
under-reported in mainstream media
for release Aug. 30, 2004
Pagan Priestess Starhawk Draws
Connection Between Spirituality
and Political Activism
Interview with Starhawk,
pagan priestess and
nonviolent direct action organizer,
conducted by Melinda Tuhus
Listen in RealAudio:
<a HREF="http://www.btlonline.org/starhawk090304.ram">Click here!</a>
Starhawk is perhaps the best-known pagan priestess in America. She
defines pagans as those who understand the earth as a living entity of
which all life forms are a part, including human beings. She believes
the earth and its inhabitants are under assault largely due to policies
being carried out by the U.S. government.
Starhawk's spiritual work is focused on trying to bring about social
justice through her writings and participation in non-violent direct
action at summit meetings of major political and economic powers, such
as the G-8, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, the World Trade
Organization and the upcoming Republican National Convention.
Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus recently spoke with Starhawk in New
Haven, Conn., before she spoke at an event sponsored by Democracy
Uprising, a march of more than 60 people that began in Boston at the end
of the Democratic National Convention in July, and which is due to
arrive in New York City a few days before the start of the Republican
Convention. The group promotes local activism and independence from the
two-party system. Here, Starhawk discusses the relationship between
spirituality and political activism and her work on behalf of the
non-violent struggle for justice in Palestine.
Starhawk: Before I was a pagan, I was born and raised a Jew, and very
much identify with that as a tradition and my ancestors -- very steeped
in Jewish culture and history, Jewish love for Israel, the youth group
tour to Israel when I was 15. As I became more and more aware of the
injustice that was going on in that part of the world, I felt very
called to do something. And when I learned about a group called the
International Solidarity Movement that was actually doing non-violent
resistance in Palestine, and supporting the forces within Palestinian
society that wanted to wage a non-violent struggle, that wanted to
develop civil resistance. I felt like that was a little ray of light, a
ray of hope. So Ive been over there four times with the ISM in
different situations, basically attempting to do things from helping
support people who are organizing demonstrations against the wall, most
recently -- the wall that Israel is building that cuts deeply into
Palestinian territory. I was there in situations in refugee camps that
were under siege, trying to be kind of a protective force, walking women
to the clinic when they had to go out and there was still curfew and
tanks in the street, sitting with people when their homes were being
searched, just trying to be a witness and a presence to help lower the
level of violence that was going on.
Between The Lines: What kind of impact do you think that work has had?
Do you think you were in fact protecting people?
Starhawk: It seemed at times like our presence was helping to
de-escalate some of the potential violence. Certainly people there
seemed to feel more protected when we were there. I think its also very
important for them to see that internationals are there, that someone is
witnessing this. They would always ask, "Come, take a picture. Go home,
tell people whats happening." They very much want the injustices to be
Between The Lines: Have you appeared at any other point along the way
with the Democracy Uprising: DNC2RNC march?
Starhawk: This is the first time Ive been able to come up here for the
Between The Lines: What do you think about the approach theyve taken
and the effort theyre making to raise awareness along the way?
Starhawk: I think the march is a beautiful thing. Its very impressive
that people have the dedication and the commitment to go so far and walk
so far. And certainly in this age where everything goes on the Internet
and on TV and on sound bites, and done electronically, theres something
very powerful about saying, "Were going to just walk and talk to
people, and raise awareness that way." I think it has a very powerful
impact on people.
Between The Lines: Do you have time for one more question? Where do you
think the spiritual core is for a lot of people? Do you think that more
and more people are coming to see that as an important piece of what
would make their lives fulfilling? Or do you think people, in America at
least, are getting more and more caught up in survival, or collecting
more toys? Do you see it going one way or the other?
Starhawk: I think a lot of people here in this country are really hungry
for something deeply meaningful and deeply spiritual, and honest in
their lives, and deeply, deeply hungry for community. And I think its
important that when were doing political work that we understand that
what were talking about is not just which face were going to see on TV
for the next four years. Were talking about the deepest values that
people hold about what life should be about and how we should organize
our lives and how we should be living together and living on this
planet. And when we speak to people on this deep level, I think people
do respond. When we look at our own movements and say, well, we have to
be a community for each other if were going to welcome people into a
community and into a vision of a world thats going to offer something
better than what we have.
Starhawk's latest book is "Webs of Power: Notes from the Global
Uprising," published by New Society. For information on her writings and
current activities, visit her website at http://www.starhawk.org.
"The International Solidarity
Melinda Tuhus is a producer of Between The Lines, which can be heard on
more than 35 radio stations. This interview excerpt was featured on the
award-winning, syndicated weekly radio newsmagazine, Between The Lines
(http://www.btlonline.org) for the week ending Sept. 3, 2004. This
Between The Lines Q&A was compiled by Melinda Tuhus and Anna Manzo.
AOL users: <a HREF="http://www.btlonline.org">Click here!</a>
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