On Earth Day the Piglets check in question was, “Earth Day: What do you think of? What does it mean to you?”. Most of us answered about how hopeless we felt at the lack of progress since the day's creation in the '70s.
A Global Climate Convergence for “people, planet and peace over profit!” called for a global “wave of action” from Earth Day to May Day. Olympia had a jam packed schedule of workshops, food not bombs, guerrilla gardening, film screenings, critical mass, and street theater. On Thursday the 24th I coordinated buses to get to Olympia. I met up there with my friend Will who I know from organizing with Free Mind Media and Food not Bombs in Santa Rosa CA.
There happened to be not much going on with Earth Day to May Day during the day time on Thursday but that evening there was a workshop by Bill Moyer of the Backbone Campaign about Grand Strategies. We went to that and hung around afterward for a few hours discussing all the rad things that are and could be going on in Olympia.
The next day was Critical Mass. Critical Mass is a direct action against car culture where people on generally the third Friday of every month in cities internationally take to the streets and (depending on numbers) take over the streets and block traffic, making statements about biking, bike lanes, etc. But it also has a very festive atmosphere sometimes as more of a celebration and excuse to bike around with friends. I do not ride bikes so walked while others biked and met them at the end.
... the holiday of pagans and the holiday of laborers was first celebrated as International Workers Day in 1886 right before the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago. On May Day I got the bus into Seattle to partake in protests for immigration reform, $15/hr minimum (livable) wage, and anti-capitalist/FTP (F**k The Police)/excuse for wingnutty anarchists to take to the streets march(es) and rallies.
On Saturday May 3rd Songaia celebrated the spiritual aspect of May Day with their Festival of the Earth which is a synthesis of Earth Day and May Day, and offers a culture and tradition building approach to the struggle for the earth. The day started at 1pm with a demonstration of the micro ecosystem of soil. Then singing and welcome.
I heard from a friend from Occupy Wall Street who has been living in Seattle for the past few years that the protests start with an immigration march at Judkins Park at 3.
I did not get to Judkins until well past 3 and considered trying to catch up by guessing their route by following the choppers, but it was hot and I am not familiar with the layout of streets in Seattle so decided to get the bus back downtown where I had seen police forces from as far away as Tukwila and some on horseback amassing at Westlake Park.
So I bused back just in time for the rally of different socialist and union groups spouting rhetoric that called for an end to deportations, $15 minimum wage, and to force the system to give us these concessions by striking, stopping the industries they depend upon (but while they are calling for radical successful action why do they not call also for radical systemic change rather than reformist demands that keeps the same power structure just makes it a little less harsh?).
With these critiques in mind I headed up to Capitol Hill to meet up with an anti-capitalist march. While marching towards downtown I ran into a friend who I knew from Ohio and her girlfriend who I also knew but from Boulder CO. We marched to downtown wandered around downtown a bit then back up to Capitol Hill to connect with another anti-capitalist march then walk back to down town and continue meandering around down town. As usual (it seems) the march was a few hundred anarchists “escorted” by cops all around... with more cops than protesters...
Then we started to build the bamboo dome (in the barn because it was raining). We started by making 5 bundles of bamboo poles each bundle 30 feet long and tying them about every 18 inches. While the bundles were being bundled the drummers started drumming in the dinning room with the doors open. The rain was not coming down hard so we continued, and moved the 30 foot bundles to the area that had been recently mowed in anticipation of the dome.
We formed an equilateral triangle in the middle of three poles, that had side lengths of 6 feet then lashed the bundles together and raised it. Then stakes and hammers were gathered and two stakes at each end of a bundle that is at the ground. (By now it was raining quite hard so we finished lashing the bundles to the stakes then went in.)
May ribbons were being set up for may dances, in an improvised revised indoor version of the maypole dance. We grouped around the ribbons hanging from the ceiling and paired off. Then Brian gave simple instructions for a weaving pattern.
The band played and we danced, and the ribbons wove (fairly) beautifully (although they were rather plain “ribbons” so it was not as beautiful as it could have been). We continued to dance at first just in a big circle within the dinning room. Towards the end of the dancing time one of the band members called out a few line dances.
After dancing we ate a delicious potluck feast. Then cleared the room for watching inspiring documentaries of peoples work to restore the earth.
These 10 days offer a ray of hope that serves as an example of successful resistance (to this dominant destructive culture). They offer a ray of hope because of the holisticness of the actions taken within them; from direct action in Olympia (critical mass as well as the workshop on strategy with Backbone Campaign), to building culture and earth based traditions at Songaia, also networking and brainstorming about how to create self reliant communities in Olympia.