Holistic Activism, the One Percent, and the BP Oil Disaster
The lie that we are consistently fed in this society is that in order to find happiness, we have to have lots of stuff -- that if $1 million makes us happy, $2 million will make a person ecstatic. This concept is inaccurate. We know that because many of the richest people in the world are miserable and lonely creatures.
Well, the lie to non-profit groups, or caring and activated citizens, is that you can only affect change if you have major funds with which to do it. Yet we all know of grassroots organizations that have, with very little money, been highly effective as a social resource in their community. Additionally, we can all name specific people in history who made a lasting impact on the human condition with very little funds.
We must move past this perceived victimized notion that we cannot get over the money mountain of BP or any other entity causing harm to mankind or the ecosystem. If that were the case, some of these large national or global groups, who are constantly competing with each other for funds while raking in millions of dollars a year, would have everything fixed by now.
Money is not the answer to the problems we all face.
Another perspective that has become destructive in this fight for justice is the idea that your enemy is above humanity. Long before Citizen’s United, corporations have become, in the eyes of Western society, an entity larger than life.
BP has become a dragon to many. The idea that this corporation is too large to slay is the definition of defeatist.
We must begin to understand that this business is not a natural source of nature, it was created by man.
Literally, this corporation is merely a large group of people, divided into three categories: the most -- the “small people” working to provide for their families; the many who have invested in BP with hopes of retiring in their old age with comfort, and the few who work with one goal of creating profit for themselves. It is the latter group that is dangerous.
The last group is a handful of people who seem to consistently manipulate the other groups into feeding their desire for money – their illusionary “happiness.” They are no more than poor hapless souls who actually think that acquiring and stockpiling money is more important than their connection to the earth and each other. They suffer at the hands of their own misguided mental illness.
How else would one describe a person who would befoul their own home, even take the life of their own brother, for paper and coin?
Photo: A 2012 ceremony on Grand Isle, Louisiana commemorating the BP oil disaster two years after it began. Photo by Cherri Foytlin.
Identifying each category is in our favor, because the first two groups have a conscience we can negotiate with, and once enlightened, they may be encouraged to help us to provide pressure to the last. To borrow from the Occupy movement – the first two categories are mostly the 99 percent – “they” are “us.”
All of these parts of BP must be liberated.
Understandably, it is hard for many who continue to suffer at the hands of this corporation to see this -- that we must save the people of BP, and other dragon-like corporations, from themselves and their own demise.
If the planet were to fail, would they not all die with it? Therefore, have we not been fighting for them all along?
For those who cannot reach that level of compassion, which is understandable, perhaps historical strategy, spiritual, and/or scientific relevance will shine a light on this concept of holistic activism.
Martin Luther King, quoting the Bible, once said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you.”
He added, “This is an extremely difficult command, far from being the pious injunction of an Utopian dream this command is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization – Yes, it is love that will save our world and out civilization, love even for our enemies.”
Historically and strategically speaking, this was a key point of success in the Civil Rights Movement. In fact, it gave the movement national power. It was with that compassionate, loving, respectful, non-violent, yet steady and unyielding action practiced in a long series of small, blueprinted and impactful steps, that whole battlefields of progress was made.
And science now catches up with this concept as well. HeartMath, among other scientific organizations, is consistently proving that compassionate outreach has far greater success than hate and anger.
Basically, science is just now learning what indigenous and ancient Eastern cultures have known for most of time, that negative emotion and action stops the mind from thinking clearly. In other words, when in a state of anger strategy goes out the window.
This, science dictates, is due to a physiological change inside of us. We as humans simply function better in a state of compassion, therefore we must wipe intense anger from our approach.
Further, we must now come together in a spirit of cooperation and make a plan for global accession. By doing so, we are setting in place a more effective vision of action regarding the BP oil disaster, our continuously disaster-ravaged region, and beyond.
Cherri Foytlin is a journalist, oil worker's wife, mother of six, and Louisiana resident whose family has been deeply impacted by the BP Oil Disaster and consequential moratorium on deep water drilling. She co-founded Gulf Change, blogs for www.BridgeTheGulfProject.org, and walked to Washington D.C. from New Orleans (1,243 miles) to call for action to stop the BP oil disaster. She has been a constant voice, speaking out to the Obama Administration's Gulf Oil Spill Commission, and in countless forms of media. Cherri will continue her fight for the industries, people, culture and wildlife of south Louisiana and the Gulf Coast "until we are made whole again."