Town Hall Meeting Nov 20

Most all of us have jobs, families, hobbies, health conditions, or something that competes for our time.  But every single one of us needs to make room for activism if we are to emerge from the next four years with a shred of a hope for the future. We Retook the Roundhouse, now let’s Retake Our Democracy.  Let’s gather Nov 20

protestDear Friends,

The New Mexico House was the only state legislative body in the United States to flip Democratic. That is something to be proud of and to build on. Gather yourselves and let’s get organized.

We are in need of conversation and action, so on Sunday, November 20, from 3-5 pm at the Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos, we will be holding the first of a series Town Hall Meetings, this first one focused on: What Next?  And What Will YOU Do?  Click here to RSVP. And please RSVP so we can plan better. The meeting room at 1420 Cerrillos needs to burst at the seams with people. We will have a one-pager of very specific and important things that you can do to oppose Trump and advance democracy in New Mexico. You will leave with tools. But you have to come to get them. No excuses. If you have plans, please change them. We need each other now. All of us. This post includes information on the coming meeting and other actions, as well two specific things you can do today. So if you are angry or sad, channel that emotion into action. You will feel better. The blog ends with a message from Hopi elders sent to me by my friend Tracy Neal. Healing words and advice about how to function in these challenging times.

I met with the New Mexico Progressive Coalition last night, a growing group of progressives with representatives from grassroots groups throughout a growing number of communities throughout the state. A statewide, half-day progressive convening is being scheduled for Dec 10, 11 or 17 in Albuquerque and a group of us are working to create an integrated communication system using FB, MailChimp and WordPress blog posts like this one. I’ll keep you posted.

This is not the only call to action next week. At the end of this post you will find information on a National Day of Action in Solidarity with the resistance at Standing Rock, information on the process for providing input into BLM’s planned fracking near Chaco Canyon, and information about a day of reconciliation planned by a number of local organizations at El Museo this Sunday (tomorrow). But first some good news and more information about our Town Hall Meeting on Nov. 20.

Grassroots organizations throughout New Mexico, and their thousands of volunteers, overcame tens of millions of dollars of out-of-state, corporate-financed PACs. We retook the Secretary of State, retook the Roundhouse, and strengthened our hold on the Senate. The New Mexico House was the only state legislative body in the United States to flip Democratic. The only one! In the national groundswell of conservative revolt, that is quite an achievement. And there is a lesson here:  People talking with people on the phone, on porches, and over dinner can overcome the shameful PAC-funded hit pieces that landed in our mailboxes daily. We need to take a moment and feel good about that. And learn from it. People talking with people; it can work.

But as much as we achieved, we lost and won several legislative races by a fraction. With more grassroots activity, we would have secured even more seats and by greater margins. And too many readers of this blog could have done more. Including me. On Nov 20, we will discuss how each of you can contribute. But that contribution can begin right now by:

  • Forwarding this note to 10 friends, asking them to sign up for Retake the Roundhouse, and encouraging them to get active; and
  • Making it a personal goal to get five friends to attend this meeting. Call friends and personally ask them to join you, including an invitation for dinner to debrief on the meeting and discuss how you all can sustain your involvement.

I have often asked folks to share blogs and bring friends to meetings. Since Bernie’s race ended, the response has shrunk. Too few are doing too much and we need more of you to join in now as the challenge is enormous and the stakes very high.  

I’d also like readers to initiate this conversation by going to the end of this blog and offering your own comments. Please address these two issues:  How did we get here?  What do we do next? I want this blog to become more interactive with ideas flowing back and forth among a community of activists committed to a shared vision. I only ask that comments be respectful and recognize one thing: No matter how angry we are with the entire election process, please make comments respectful. We need each other now and anger and accusations only serve to divide, not unify.

I think the national election results reveal that we have to expand our conversations and we need to engage and listen to those who voted for Donald Trump. While far too often Trump rage translates into racism, misogyny, and xenophobia, we need to understand the roots of this rage: for 40+ years, the Democrat and Republican parties have served their corporate masters, not the people. The progressive expression of rage against this reality is Bernie Sanders and Our Revolution; the conservative manifestation is Donald Trump. But both of these rages come from the same deeply felt sense that our government is not serving our needs. There may be more common ground than we ever imagined and we would profit from exploring it honestly and compassionately. Together, we need to insist that government places people and our planet before profits. This link will take you to an excellent Guardian article by Naomi Klein. She articulates brilliantly how neo-liberalism has failed us and how wed must proceed. A very good, short read.

Never before in the history of this country have we needed to get together, stick together, work together, build bridges, engage the unengaged, and talk with and listen to our neighbors, our friends, our families, and our colleagues. This note is a call to action. Our victories in NM are a lesson, and we need to expand our work to oppose the Trump agenda nationally and to advance a progressive one here in NM. Most all of us have jobs, families, hobbies, health conditions, or something that competes for our time.  But every single one of us needs to make room for activism if we are to emerge from the next four years with a shred of a hope for the future.  And there are roles to be played, even by the busiest among us. No excuses. We need each other; we need you to show up; and we need to persist. We have so much to do, it will take all of us to do it. I really hope to have the meeting on Nov. 20 spilling out the doors. It would make the meeting challenging, to be sure, but it would do all of our souls good.

In closing, I want to thank the 80+ individuals who recently expressed their thanks for the work I’ve been doing the past 18 months. I was floored. Prior to the Hawk and the Owl blog, I think the most responses I received to any one email was 4-5. Thank you all very much. On a very low day, it was a much needed boost. I hope most all of you join me on Nov. 20.

Lastly, I want to thank my wife, Roxanne Barber. Throughout the Bernie and Retake processes I have been the one getting most of the credit. But behind the scenes, Roxanne has been my editor and far more important my thought partner, soul mate, and anchor. Our daily discussions of strategy, what to write, what to do, and most importantly, what not to do or say have informed every word written and every meeting organized. Without her sage advice, constant support, and endless patience, I would long ago have made a mess of this. Thank you, Roxanne.

And so, let’s start the conversation by clicking here and offering your comments. Click here to RSVP for Nov. 20, and tell every progressive you know that you are planning to attend and hope they will too. In the next post I will share my views on how we got here and where we might go next, but first I want to listen to the wisdom coming from you. So click here and add a comment.

Coming Actions

Standing Rock.  Retake the Roundhouse has devoted significant attention to supporting the resistance at Standing Rock. Click here for a link to actions you can take to support the Water Protectors. November 15 is a national DAY OF ACTION, with actions planned at Army Corp offices and banks throughout the country. Below are the locations and links for more information on a number of these actions on Nov. 15.

Albuquerque – 350NM – 11:45 – Army Corp of Engineers

Albuquerque – Solidarity #NODAPL – 12:00- Army Corp of Engineers

Santa Fe Water is Life Event -10:30 -Railyard Water Tower, walk to Roundhouse

Santa Fe – Pueblo Water Protectors at Roundhouse – 1:00

Santa Fe Event – New Energy Economy – 4:30 – Bank of America—We will protest the Bank of America’s support for and investment in the Dakota Access.

Not in Albuquerque or Santa Fe?  Find an event near you:

Chaco Canyon.  A public comment period has begun on the proposed sale of public land to oil and gas companies. Public comment ends Dec 20. Yesterday, the BLM walked out on Navajo at public scope meeting. Fracking is planned only a few miles from Chaco Canyon. For information on the campaign to stop these land sales, this website has good background information and information on actions planned.

Higher Ground Healing and Reconciliation.  A post-election sharing, healing, and realignment.  Sunday, Nov 13, 1:30-4:30pm at El Museo Cultural Center, 555 Camino de la Familia. For more information, contact John Meade, 505-470-9740.

And finally, some sage words from my friend Tracy Neal, sent to me after my Hawk-Owl blog.

Message from the Hopi Elders    New Year 2000

To my fellow swimmers,
There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel that they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.

Know that the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open and our heads above the water. And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate.

At this time in history we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves.  For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over.  Gather yourselves! Banish the word “struggle” from your attitude and your vocabulary.  All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.


Again, thanks for your continued support.


Categories: Actions, Activist Organizations, Four Corners, Indigenous Rights, Standing Rock, State Elections

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24 replies

  1. Looking for comments on How we got here and what we do now. Your wisdom is needed to inform our direction. Comments?

    • How did we get here? By not being ‘here.’ Pavlov’s initial experiment was not about canines, but about how similar most mammals are to each other – easily conditioned by exigent stimuli. Thinking fast or thinking slow – which is easier, more fun, quicker to accomplish, easier to get a correlation that satisfies, and then releases one to move away from fear and insecurity and on to the next stimulus/distraction?

      We are lazy. We are outrageously distracted, self-absorbed, hyper stressed out by our own addictions and affectations, arrogant because we cannot admit to failing, and compulsively compelled to act dramatically when it comes to one-ups-man-ship. Competition, an ancient mental error, has entirely supplanted contemplation, which could reveal this error for what it is,

      In short, we fear being nothing, of having no essence.

      There always have been personalities that have known this about humanity, and early on created a culture of followers to take supreme advantage of this fear, called by Daniel Quinn as the ‘takers.’ Other labels might include: psychic vampires; parasites; demagogues; bullies; rapists; narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths, particularly sadistic, perverse sociopaths. Fear and envy have created the followers of this cult; true believers, zealots, wannabes, weasels, sycophants of all kinds.

      And then there is us. The alter ego of the wanna be crowd. Still prone to the same distractions and addictions as the other members of our human group, but possessed of a more moderate temperament, prone to curiosity, skepticism, averse to blatant violence, more thoughtful of the ‘other’ as kindred spirit rather than victim. Hopeful to a severe fault. Animals with some sense of ‘essence,’ perhaps obtained from some intuited image of consciousness or innate spirituality, or archtypal genesis. Quinn would label us as ‘givers.’

      So now to this present time. The ‘neo-liberal’ view, which once was the ‘liberal’ view, having been severely seduced by the same sociopathy that created the ‘reactionary’ gangsters from what was once the pragmatic true believers. We all have been duped, seduced, manipulated and enslaved, either both literally and/or figuratively.

      The 20th Century Democrats, now aged monarchs in control of virtually half of the booty of the nation, once again squaring off against the fractionalized, frenzied, terrified victims of what has been termed both the ‘Extreme Centre’ or the ‘Dark Center.’ Both sides shamelessly arrogant and impotent, both duped into perpetual idiocy, playing the endless feedback loop of drama that identifies terminal cancer in this species.

      Except our complacency toward self-analysis led us to this myopic vision that we, finally, could have the cake, and eat it too. After all, those cretins on the other side really didn’t have a clue. And we were right. And it did not matter.

      Why? Because we, also, did not have a clue.

      Now I know that the adherents to the blog in which I write are not so prone to this illusion as the mainstream neo-liberalist. We are, after all, the rogue lone wolfs, with many scars, many ideological skirmishes and numerous defeats, but also with an awareness that the competitive paradigm was NEVER worth one dime. First it was gleaned through discomfort in the heart center, then later in the intellect after being made aware via the heart center. And we have labored, most of us for decades, to trail blaze a path through the wilderness of drama and sadism, to reveal to ourselves and others the existence of a palpable, verifiable, enviable existence we all knew was profound. This reality, we have discovered, is based upon long-practiced behaviors of all the amazing biota that have come before us, and who, without any guile, have donated their time, energy, intelligence and wisdom forward in time/space continuim in an heroic effort to educate what is most assuredly the most erratic, twisted, contorted yet artistic offspring that Earth has yet to extract from the womb of biotic life.

      So, this leaves we who are the misfits with the necessary question: what do we do now? The neo-liberalists are, of course, asking the same thing, if they are asking anything at all, other than ‘how do I keep from losing all the booty I have obtained while I ignored the vastly grander question?’

      Since I am a field ecologist, biologist and forester, by profession, I can tell you what we CANNOT do. Capitulate. Freak out. Flee at any cost.

      Get a grip. In our guts are biota in the billions who have endured, via the quantum field, terrors that we cannot imagine. Really.

      The other side has no clue of any of this. And I have mentioned just ONE phenomenon of trillions. Yes, trillions. That is 12 zeros.

      If your need, or your wish, or your desire, is to VERIFY that you actually are worth the trouble, then take command of all that now exists and all that has come before you, and learn from it, and emulate it, and expand it, and take command of every moment of every day that you still live and breathe. That behavior is ancestral, and it is what you have borrowed from in order to exist, until now.

      Make NO mistake, this moment in time is no less important than any other. Our careless deviance as humans has taken us so far afield that we actually believe we can live on Mars, or go to Heaven, or live forever.

      Brain dead is just dead. The illusionary winners will die, the unaware losers will die, the planet’s biota will die, the atmosphere will diminish, the oceans will be lifeless, the soil will become barren. This will take a little time, but the cascade effect will not only astonish you, but strike terror into your and your children’s and grandchildren’s shrinking lives.

      This little corner of this galaxy is the only one we know. We are the newest, the youngest, the dumbest, the most chaotic lifeform that we can yet determine. Do not count on other people in other nations to do our work for us. Contrary to what Joan Baez once said, we are not only the biggest, we are the worst. Why? Because we are not now, nor have we ever been, special.

      Be absolutely resolute. Never back down unless the strategy dictates you cannot seize the moment, and then get really ingenious, and take advantage of the same folly that led you here in the first place. Learn from all our ancestors. In order to create an evolving and diverse existence, the community of Earth must be protected, at any cost. Balance must favor the fermenters, not the decomposers. This is a biological certainty.

      Courage, clarity, wisdom, compassion, humility, sadness. If this is a game, there are no winners, no losers, no survivors. Legacy is something that endures whether or not you had a grand vision, dumb luck or no clue at all. It is not now, and never has been, about us.

  2. If I am back from standing rock I will be there. E

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. Where in the rail yard?

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. Just to let you know, the House Democratic Caucus is meeting on the 20th at the same time.

  5. Paul and Roxanne–thank you for your leadership, guidance, passion, energies, wisdom thus far. And thank you for stepping forward NOW. Thank you for providing this place and organization for Northern New Mexicans to become active. It’s particularly important to me that passionate progressive New Mexicans coalesce. Dissipated activities will further the Trump agenda. I hope the coalitions you’re working with will continue growing as One. But that can happen only if individuals choose to do so. Without that power Trump will truly have won.

  6. Thank you for pulling this together quickly and for networking with others around the state. We should plan to take over the Democratic Party, organized groups in key areas will be able to make it happen. We need strategic planning for long-term opposition actions at a national level. We need to be integrated as activists across the state. NM is a great place to organize because we have manageable numbers, we all know each other. Thanks again, I look forward to what we can do together.

  7. Art and creativity is essential for our humanity and for any kind of movement to succeed. We must make a place for this in all we do.

  8. My strongly felt suggestion is that this be a true town meeting. Open to everyone. Democrat, Republican, Independent, Green. We are currently a dangerously divided country. We all need to come together now, and listen to each other. Not just likeminded folks. That’s how we got INTO this mess. How we get out of it is by coming together. If we could model this locally, and have many more town meetings arising from it, and get a true conversation going between all those who feel disenfranchised now (which is many more of us than before the election), we can be FOR something–our collective humanity–and not against something–Trump. Thanks for listening.

    • It is the goal of this meeting to hear from many sides, ages, genders, cultures, but that may take time. The list I work with is progressive democrats and truthfully I know very few Conservatives personally, but I agree that we need to listen to those with whom we disagree and especially those who voted for Trump. But I am puzzled how to engage people I don’t really know. I hope you make on the 20th.

      • Actually, I know of several people who voted for Trump. One is a neighbor and one is my dentist. What I do not do in these cases, so far, is I listen to their thoughts without stating my own position on anything. This is because I want to know their reasons for voting for Trump. So far, I know one reason my dentist voted for Trump is because he thinks everyone should be taxes 15% no matter their income. Another person voted for Trump because he believes Trump will stop partial birth abortions.

        At one time I was the coach for a high school forensics team. As a coach, I encouraged my students to defend the side they, personally, may not agree with.

      • Over time we will begin developing responses for most of the “reasons people voted for Trump,” but first we need to assemble them. For some, like the partial birth abortion ban, there really is no response that will satisfy that person, but for many ‘reasons’ there can be thoughtful responses. Until those are developed, our recommendation is to just listen and then forward ‘reasons’ to this site. By listening empathically, you at least open the door for future conversation. Thanks so much for commenting.

      • We need to continue those conversations. Thanks for sharing.

  9. OK, trying this again. Please forgive me if my first comment went through–I don’t see any sign of it. Basically, I feel very strongly that we get everyone together, in the nature of a REAL town hall meeting, in which everyone is included, all citizens, in order to hear the gamut of opinions and questions from our whole community. The thing I believe we could best benefit from learning out of this entire election process, especially its outcome, is that so many feel disenfranchised, not listened to and ridiculed. Please consider inviting the whole gamut of our community, not just the “progressives.” Not just the Democrats. Not just the English-speakers. Thanks.

    • I am sorry you saw no sign of your first post. I was out at a meeting and sometimes do not check this for hours. I need to approve all comments because I want to make sure it says civil. So sometimes there are delays between comments being posted and their appearing. I hope you understand.

      • I am not interested in spending time right now listening to angry Trump voters or to people who want to rehash the election. We are seeing unprecedented increases of attacks of all kinds and horrific displays of racism, etc by vainglorious Trump supporters. I want to talk about what we are going to do to protect each other. The planet is at greater peril than ever. I want to spend time on strategic planning for re-forming a progressive Democratic Party. The country is now, except for New Mexico and a few other blue states, in the hands of Republicans who are going to use the opportunity to continue the transfer of capital upwards, give public lands to corporations to develop, preach in public schools and deny science. We need to be organized in our response.

  10. I agree with you Barbara–not wanting to rehash the election and its precedents. I’ve been looking forward since Tues night. I’m hoping that the break out groups at our Nov 20 mtg will let each person identify at least ONE special interest of theirs to which they can commit ONE hour/wk. While that may not sound like enough energies, given all the demands we face, if each person actually does invest in one target for one hr/wk we will be accomplishing a great deal. AND all of those responses do indeed need to be organized lest we fragment further.

  11. i am really sorry i will be out of town for the meeting on the 20th. but i’m all in after i return mid-december. i realize nothing i am saying is at all novel, but some recent thoughts…I admit that i’ve been slowed down by feelings of revulsion and disgust. but, forging on….

    We happen to be living at a certain juncture in history. As on the river, sometimes its nice and sunny and sandy… other times there are rapids and the rocks are scratching your back. We’re there! The USA is going to change fundamentally, I think, over the next ten years. HOW it changes depends on what we do!

    The work ahead is to continue at macro, micro, and middle levels. Just a partial list of what, for me, this includes:

    MACRO, which is in process, the coordination across groups and interest areas. This could include a commitment to show up, to sign or join an action, whenever possible for another group. We cant all organize everything, but the very least we can do is show up with our bodies. Macro includes changing the Structural deficits, which is also a national project. The coalition should put out a big, bold, visionary ASK, asap. The whole tamale, no timid plea. But also no splintering as the left often has done. And keep repeating it ! often, everywhere. Plus a unified umbrella…”No to hate. Love trumps hate. No to trump. THIS is the world we want instead.”

    MICRO, how do we make this real right here? let the state and local legislators know what the Ask (Tell) is, and we track them, hold them accountable. Promulgate what we find. (And i say if after six to nine months they seem more interested in their careers than being responsive, its time to build a new party.) Ralph Nadar has ideas about how to influence elected officials, as one possible model. Also, at the saturday events on the plaza, many people i spoke with wanted to do something. There Are many many groups and initiatives already going. But that information needs to get out there. I wished i had flyers in my bag! and a sign up sheet! Very important is ongoing outreach and communication with the community. Not just at election time. The freak out over trump is palpable, but it will seal over with time. We need to keep it alive and keep letting people know what they can do. Including how to contribute to the positive alternatives. Building public opinion. possibly smaller group discussions across lines. bringing in speakers. media access. And, the artists and musicians are the most powerful tool to speak to the public imagination and heart. The photo project on saturday was brilliant! More public art, please.

    MIDDLE: this is going to be reacting and taking action where needed to blunt the trump disaster. Do what we must. and we must. this of course pulls for much energy and attention. but i think in time, putting the macro and micro together is the real deal.

    Again, i regret missing this first meeting. very grateful for this space to participate a little.

    (plus, cathartic to boot)…

    ginny dwyer

  12. My next door neighbor told me about the Nov. 20 meeting the night before. I am so pleased that I was able to attend. I am now down loading and providing information from this site to other people who want to be involved and plan on attending the next meetings. I signed up for the media group. Please let me know when I will be able to participate with that group. Also, I think we can find ways to make future meetings more “multi-generational” than the on November 20th was.

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