A Question for Subcomandante Marcos

Dedicated to Paolo Freire

author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed

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Isn't it perfectly clear that we are destroying ourselves? After all, the government of the USA continues to make weapons of mass destruction. Using a nuclear weapon anywhere is destroying life everywhere. Because of our unsustainable development pattern, thousands of plants and animals are going extinct yearly. With each passing day, Gaia, the name for the scientific theory given by Earth systems scientist, James Locklock, for the Earth's physiological system, becomes more polluted with carbon dioxide and other green house gases. Mass consumer culture has dehumanized people to the point where they are unable to shed tears for the dying world. Profit which holds no ethical relationship with Gaia, rules over the needs to the people.

My partner Wayne Sumstine and I are making a video documentary about Lovolution, a non-violent world wide revolution for world peace through social transformation. To make this documentary, we have been scanning the world for people who have better visions of the way the human race could be organized for discovering our collective vision. One person who we want to interview about this collective vision is Subcomandante Marcos. He is a revolutionary leader of the poor and indigenous populations who started the Zapatista revolution in the southern most tip of Mexico twelve years ago.

The Health Clinic

Many of the indigenous who live in Third World Mexico live in Fourth World conditions meaning that they are destitute. Now Marcos is traveling around Mexico stopping at indigenous settlements, networking tribes together in their common struggle for entitlement to land and human rights.

When we heard about a stop he was to make at a ranch outside of the Sonora town of Magdalena, we didn't hesitate with our decision to travel across the border from Tucson to hear the Subcomandante. He uses the “Subcomandante” to describe his role because he says his commander is the will of the people.

We arrived early enough at the ranch to take a tour with our contact person, Ron, to visit a Tohono O'odham health clinic located on a hill outside of Magdalena. Ron and his friend, Maria, have been working to build the clinic for indigenous people who have no access to health care. They were given a ten thousand dollar grant from the Ford Foundation which they used to build part of the foundations for the clinic. Now, the money has run out so building has stopped.

There is controversy whether or not building clinics where villagers have to travel to them is the best way to bring health care to people when many of them do not own cars. Other ideas are to support health workers who would live in the villages. Perhaps both are necessary. Another controversy surrounding the foundation of the clinic is what kind of health care to provide. Ron thought that Western medicine, good at fighting infections, is needed. Maria thought that alternative medicines and herbal treatments are better cures for the illness of the indigenous. Perhaps it should not be an either/or solution to disease because we need to look at what both methods offer patients. However, for now, the indigenous populations of Sonora are not getting any adequate health care. Ron told us stories of going into villages to find people dying of diseases that could have been easily cured if there had been basic medicines to fight infections.

Maria said that she felt that if they could get the clinic built, then doctors would come from both sides of the border to help staff the clinic. But without a place to practice their healing arts, doctors and healers have no place to treat the sick.

Someone had written on the bricks of the various uncompleted rooms at the unfinished center: “computer center,” “massage center,” “herbal garden.” The ideal health clinic is more than sterile rooms where doctors treat the illnesses of patients as quickly as possible so that the poor can go back to their poverty-stricken lives. True care means building relationships between people. It means spending the time required for doctors and patients to get to know, love, and trust each other. It requires us to build health care communities or perhaps to see an even greater vision of building environmentally healthy cities that have eliminated poverty.

Dr. Patch Adams, a physician and clown who has been the subject of a major motion picture, has been studying what makes people happy for his adult life and how happiness contributes to health. He notes that, “Excellence in health means devoting your life to ending poverty.” Patch is building a place where love and free medicine is the foundation of a health community. He calls this place in rural West Virginian, the Gesundheit Institute. When his institute in completed, practitioners of alternative medicine will work side by side with allopathic doctors. Medical care will be free and there would be no need for doctors to have malpractice insurance. Describing aspects of the community he says, “There will be 30,000 square feet devoted to the arts in a fully arts-centered hospital. There will be a school for social change and in-depth agricultural programs.”

For twenty years, Patch has traveled the world spreading his vision and hoping to raise the necessary funds to build a good model of a health care community. If he, a North American who has been the subject of a major Hollywood movie, has not been able to raise the necessary funds to build a health care community based on love, then what chance do indigenous people in poor rural Mexico have of building a health care center? Not only do they need health care, but they also need to be lifted out of poverty and reconnect with the sacred Earth.

Restoring health is creating a new lifestyle where we have time to connect with our universal essences, find our meaning and purpose of life, and live out our unique creative stories that invigorate the life-force within us. It is this enthusiasm and deep connection with life that causes us to be healthy, complete human beings who are in daily contact with the mysteries of Nature. To do this, we have to have the freedom to do the work we love to do.

Now the question for the indigenous health center in Magdalena is where will the money come from to finish building and maintaining the clinic? Our party got back into the car and returned to the ranch. Maybe Marcos will bring answers on how best to engage in the struggle against poverty.

Back at the ranch, the sound equipment was being set up in the manger. We set up our video camera to record the meeting.

The Marcos Meeting

At dusk, Marcos's caravan arrived through the gates of the ranch. The media bus traveling with him. His car was painted with slogans about liberation. As soon as the car parked, people swarmed around it in a frenzy hoping to get a glimpse of the masked man. Wearing a black ski mask had become his signature.

Making his way through the crowd hungry for his revolutionary wisdom, Marcos entered the hostel on the ranch where he and his traveling companions were spending the night. About an hour later, the meeting began. He entered the manger and took his place at the center of a long table where delegates of the indigenous people were seated.

The meeting was conducted by local indigenous leaders who called on the representatives from the various tribes to give their testimony on tribal problems. After hearing one tribal leader after another talk, it became clear their problems were similar, from toxic waste dumped near their villages to land being taken way from the tribes by the Mexican government. One issue brought up by the Tohono O'odham nation spokesperson was about how the Mexican/American border had disrupted their community, dividing it into two physical sides.

I love hearing the representative of Navaho and Tohono O'odham nations speak in their native tongues. Perhaps this is the true sounds of a world without the domination of colonization. Most of the testimonies were translated into English. With so many different people present speaking in different languages and coming from vastly different cultural and economic backgrounds, how would we ever find the common voice that allows for “unity in diversity” needed to transform our world?

Representatives from US human rights groups also spoke. University of Arizona students as well as individuals talked about living in a world of social inequality, racism, nationalism, capitalism and how they wanted to live in a world without these obstacles to happiness. They wanted to break down the border wall and help each other rise out of our barbaric ways that were destroying Gaia. They, too, were being oppressed by the dominant elite.

People in the First World are drawn to the wisdom of the indigenous people because we [European-Americans] have lost our connected with our true loving natures. Our sense of community was stolen from us in a car-dominated culture where one's material wealth is the basis of social status. If the First World has proven anything, it has proven to the world that material wealth doesn't bring happiness. Instead, it has brought massive depression, drug addiction, obesity, war, crime, and the threat of nuclear Armageddon. It has created a world infested with radioactive wastes and poisons foods. The once mighty and pristine Colorado River has become polluted with carcinogenic chemicals. The water table is shrinking so that now when waters from the Colorado River reach Mexico, it is only a trickle.

I thought the indigenous leader (it wasn't Marcos) who was presiding over the meeting asked if anyone else wanted to make a statement. Since what he said wasn't translated into English, I wasn't sure if that is what he said. I asked myself, “Is this my opportunity to ask a question to Marcos? Since no one else had asked him a question, would it be inappropriate to do so?” Not knowing whether the forum was actually open to anyone, I remained silent.

After everyone who wanted to speak had a chance at the microphone, Marcos, who had been passing the microphone to others throughout the meeting, stood up and spoke.

Since I didn't know Spanish, I could only pick up the tone of his message. What I understand from Marcos' past is that he has devoted his life to helping the indigenous people, who have undergone hundreds of years of genocidal policies by both the Mexican and American governments, to receive a voice locally and globally. For hundreds of years, their lands have been stolen from them; their way of life destroyed; their religions prohibited; their languages forbidden and forgotten because the essence of their being has been cultural dominated. Subcomandante Marcos understands the forum as an essential element in creating a revolutionary democracy that could work to reclaim their lives.

As he spoke, the sheep penned in an area beside the manger that had turned into an auditorium started speaking in their animal tongues. The bells around their necks sounded like church bells ringing for their voices, too, to be recognized for their sacredness. They were not things to be used and inhumanly slaughtered, but creatures to be loved. All life needed Marcos's message that we are one inner-connected species of plants and animals cohabitating on Gaia. Western Civilization can't hear the voices of the suffering indigenous populations because it didn't want to. Translation isn't the problem in hearing the needs of the indigenous people. Wasn't the problem the lack of love, looking the other way when people are in need?

Trying to Get an Interview

As soon as his speech ended, the meeting was over. It was late and people were tired after more than five hours of testimonies. I was drawn to the sacred fire that had been lit during the opening ceremonial circle dance before the meeting began. I asked someone who knew Spanish what Marcos had said during his speech. A man recalled that Marcos warned leaders of the movement to resist being seduced by neoliberals who want them come to conferences, sign papers, and stay in luxurious hotels. He said these were diversions that would not lead to the people's liberation.

Overhead the twinkling constellations were crystal clear in the desert night sky. I was grateful to the Cosmos for allowing me to be present at this important meeting. When I first heard about the Zapatista movement in 1994 and learned about how they were building community through open forum meetings, I wanted to see first hand how it worked. Now, I was seeing the liberation process, and it was giving me a better sense of the way a true revolutionary democracy works, the love, understanding, and respect it generates.

We spent the night in our truck at the ranch and woke up at dawn. There would be no hot showers for us this morning. Before getting out of our warm sleeping bags, we reviewed our task for the morning. Recently, we had read several of Marcos' books, so yesterday, while drive to the meeting, we formulated questions to ask him. We got up and headed to the front door of the hostel. We put in an interview request with Marcos' personal assistant, David. Also, the owner of the ranch went to arrange an interview with him on her behalf.

Several hours later, we met David who was wearing a hat with a Virgin Mary painted on it. He was not hopeful that an interview could be arranged. As the time for Marcos' caravan departure drew near, it was apparent that there was not going to be time for a personal interview. I told Wayne that we had only one chance to ask him a question when he came out and got into his car. I examined my list of questions to pick out the most important question for him.

I looked through thte list: what is the “new kind of revolution” you speak of? What role does the Internet play in manifesting this new kind of revolution? Do you have thoughts on how to destabilize the corrupt US government without using violence? Do you think indigenous people want to be assimilated into the mainstream Mexican culture? What do you think should be done about the wall between Mexico and the US that divides tribal lands? Do you have a religion or spiritual practice and how does it affect your revolutionary work? You write that a shaman told you that only by asking questions do we change. What questions do we as a species, need to ask in order to evolve towards aglobal order based on human rights? What kind of cities/villages need to be build to provide human rights for all?

Looking at the questions I asked myself, “How do I combine these questions into one idea?”

A Question for Marcos

It was after 11:00 am and their bags were almost all packed on the bus for the caravan's departure. The owner of the ranch, photographers, and comrades waited at the door of the hostel for Subcomandante Marcos to exit. As soon as he exited, he was swarmed with supporters. He stopped to pose for pictures with indigenous leaders. I waited for an opportunity to ask him my question. Next, he walked with the swarm over to the ranch owner's house and stopped again to pose for pictures with the ranch owner's family before going into the house for a short visit.

In a few minutes, he exited the house and walked towards the car waiting for him. The swarm walked with him in silence until a Mexican middle-aged woman journalist broke the silence by praising his work. Then as the door of the car opened for him to jump in, I shouted, “Marcos, what is your vision of utopia?” He answered me in a low voice with a laugh and a node of the head, “I don't know.”

Does anyone know? That is the reason we are working on a documentary on Lovolution and utopian thought. Perhaps no one knows because establishing utopia is a collective knowledge, a “cocreative” activity created through the dialogue process. In Pedagogy of the Oppressed , Paulo Freire writes, “Dialogue with the people is radically necessary to every authentic revolution.”

We will not give up on interviewing Subcomandante Marco. Walking with the poor and marginalized, he walks in the foot steps of Gandhi, Martin Luther King and all the other great social lovolutionaries.

Border Crossing

After Marcos left, Wayne and I hung around the ranch telling people goodbye, networking, and thanking the ranch owner for organizing the meaningful event.

We had an hour's drive to the border. We approached it through the city of Nogales, Sonora. There was nothing blocking our view of the shantytown growing on the edge of the city. There is nothing beautiful about the site of a plywood and plastic slum that had grown into the size of a “shantycity.” How can so many people be oppressed?

We knew are wait to cross the border was going to be a long since we couldn't even see the border station. Slowly, we inched our way forward to the border station as a walking shopping mall of trinket vendors approached car after car with their plastic status of Mary and Jesus, stuffed animals, puzzles of Mexico, and other tourist trinkets. Then, there were the junk food vendors and the handicapped beggars, many of them had with serious physical problems such as blindness or lost limbs.

I was determined not to ignore the elderly, sick, and physically handicapped beggars when they tapped on the window asking for money. I dug into my wallet for change until all that was left were worthless pennies. I know what I was giving them wasn't much help in terms of their material needs. It was more like a token gift that recognized their misery and their humanity.

Did I really think that when I crossed over the border and was back into the First World this hellish reality of the Third World was going to go away? Beggars were also living on the streets of Tucson. The whole world is becoming the Third World. Every nation-state has its First World elite who live in their private enclaves with walls surrounding their property so that they don't have to see the suffering masses.

At the border crossing, the U.S guards put us through the obligatory questions like if we were US citizens, and if we had brought anything back from Mexico. Police dogs passed by the car doing their job sniffing for drugs and hidden Mexicans attempting to cross the border illegally. Seeing our Caucasian skin and hearing that we didn't speak English with a foreign accent, the guard allowed us entrance into the First World superpower, nation-state.

Twenty miles north of the border, we passed along the Santa Cruz River near Tubac, an arty-farty town through which the river still flows. The American dream houses built on its banks where sucking up one of last riparian areas in Arizona. The workers who built the houses were more than likely illegal "aliens." Underpaid Mexicans would never be able to afford to live in the houses that they built. Not being able to enjoy the benefits of their labor, they experience the alienation of labor. Paulo Freire writes “Men are fulfilled only to the extent that they create their world (which is a human world), and create it with their transforming labor. If their work doesn't belong to them—men cannot be fulfilled. Work which is not free ceases to be a fulfilling purpose becomes an effective means of dehumanization.”

Rich and Poor

When we got back to our home in Tucson, I began searching for answers. I had been reading a book by James Martin, The Meaning of the 21 st Century. I flipped through it until I found the chapter on Rich and Poor. He said there is vast Third and Fourth World poverty because when indigenous people built their houses by hand --brick by brick—they built them on lands that didn't have land deeds. Without legal contracts to the land, they are not able to get loans and mortgages needed to raise capital to start entrepreneurial businesses. Thus, they remain in circles of poverty unable to spiral into a higher standard of living.

His solution to poverty is to set up Internet sites administered by governments that will quickly allow people to file for land deeds of the lands that have been in their possession for generations without legal land titles. With these property loans, they would be able to fund training, education programs, or start businesses that would allow them a way to join the entrepreneurial system.

The Nobel Prize Committee also recognizes that an obstacle to peace is poverty. Hence, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize went Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank which he started. It is an effort to create economic and social development from below by providing microcredit to poor people. Yunus says, “The one message that we are trying to promote all the time, that poverty in the world is an artificial creation. It doesn't belong to human civilization, and we can change that, we can make people come out of poverty and have the real state of affairs. So the only thing we have to do is to redesign our institutions and policies, and there will be no people who will be suffering from poverty.” Microcredit is one way for people to break out of poverty and find a way to join the “real state of affairs.”

Securing property rights and microcredit for the poor is a step in the direction of lifting them out of poverty, but does such a strategy free them from the cultural invasion of the oppressors who put a price tag on the land? How does this liberate the people to a place where their labor is used in a creative way that brings positive results to the planet? How does it lift us out of the consciousness (our lack of consciousness) that thinks that everything including the Earth is for sale and that everyone in order to survive in the world has to have something to sell on the global shopping mall? Isn't one of the main indigenous values before the conquest of the Americas that no one owned the land, that it is part of the Great Spirit that needs to be used in terms of seven generations to come? Isn't another value that everyone in the village is to be taken care of?

The problem with this avenue to peace is that the poor accept the value-system of the dominant elite and support the faulty system rather than work to transform it. Freire explains the way cultural conquest works. He writes, “Cultural conquest leads to the cultural inauthenticity of those who are invaded; they begin to respond to the values, the standards, and the goals of the invaders. (150)

I comprehend Freire's words to mean that the oppressed have been overcome not only by their lands being stolen from them, but by the essence of who they are, their humanity has been stolen from them. They become submerged in the oppressors' way of life, unable to remember any other time. An example of cultural inauthenticity can be witnessed with Native American tribes running gambling casinos. What could be more inauthentic to your original way of life?

Creating environments of real opportunity is what transforms poor people into valuable citizens who have a spiritual connection with the work they do for humanity. If we move into building ecological cities-- arcologies--on these principles of equal opportunity for all in relationship with the sacred Earth, then we have a chance of creating an authentic cultural revolution that transcends the polar opposites in the rich/poor dialectic by creating a new foundation for our relationship with Nature. Without a new container to house these values, the over-populating poor simple fall into the empty life-style of the status quo as more and more wilderness is destroyed and more finite resources are depleted. Freire says, “the oppressor is “housed” within the people.” He is speaking metaphorically, but this house is literately the single family house of the American dream.

When Europeans first came to the Americas why didn't they seek to learn indigenous wisdom? In front of them on the shores of the new world, they had the opportunity to establish a more profound relationship with the Earth than was possible in Europe. It was their moment to create a utopia that allowed everyone access to the wealth the continent provided. Thomas Berry writes in an essay, “The Universe as Sacred,” We [white men] wished to teach them [the Native Americans] our ways, we would never have thought that they had something to teach us of the intimate ways of this continent, to guide us in our settling here. We never saw ourselves as entering into a sacred land, a sacred space. We never experienced this land as a living presence primarily not to be used but to be revered and communed with.” Now, the ecology of North America has been devastated as the gap between the have and the have-not widens and wars in the Middle East continue to be waged. Not only are the masses living in poverty, but the planetary ecology is losing its vitality to sustain life.

The structure of domination is the icon of the America dream. It is the basic dysfunctional economic unit of Western Civilization. Actually, it was Thomas Jefferson who chose the romantic classical architectural style, imported from France, as the style to define the new nation. So, there was nothing new about the “New World." Berry points out that the Constitution of the United States and its Bill of Rights “is a perfect instrument of the devastation of this continent.” We the People of the United States” didn't include the territory itself as needing rights. It was a document that legitimized the exploitation of nature to the point of threatening our life support system.

Still holding on to the house within, the men of the revolution became the oppressor. Freire writes,

Their vision of the new man is individualistic; because of their identification with the oppressor, they have no consciousness of themselves as persons or as members of an oppressed class. It is not to become free men that they want agrarian reform, but in order to acquire land and thus become landowners—or, more precisely, bosses over other workers. It is a rare peasant who, once “promoted” to overseer, does not become more of a tyrant towards the former comrades than the owner himself. This is because the context of the peasant's situation, that is, oppression, remains unchanged. (30)

The poor who are working their way up the system in order to have their own “private revolution” leads them to want to build their own walls around their property to block out the oppressed starving masses. Such a road doesn't transcend the rich/poor dialectic. The poor have only identified with the oppressors' lifestyle. The oppressed class simply joins the system of oppressors and nothing changes except that alienated labor builds millions of tacky track houses resulting in more of the world's resources being depleted and the ecology destroyed.

As long as the oppressed class wants the unsustainable and ultimately unstable lifestyle of the American dream, there is no chance to create the much needed cultural revolution, or shall we call it, a quantum leap into constructing an evolutionary architecture. I use the phase quantum leap because a design/science Lovolution is a leap from a wage-slave industrial city to an automated free economy within an arcology. Incremental steps are not necessary much like the leaps that have been made in Asia, jumping from agrarian society to information society. One of the biggest barriers to achieving this leap—or paradigm shift-- is, of course, commercial TV that brainwashes the oppressed to want the unobtainable lifestyle of the rich and famous.

Consequently, a cultural revolution cannot occur as long as the model of development that is desired by the oppressed class is the image of what the oppressors have: the American dream house and all the consumptive goods that go into them. For the billions of people throughout the world who live in inadequate housing or no housing at all, any roof-over-your-head that has running water and electricity seems to be a dream-come-true until the bills start rolling in.

The reality of low wages/long hours makes one realize the condition of being a “wage slave” in order to keep the bank or landlord from repossessing the shelter. Constant fear of losing the house if unemployment or illness strikes is not a state of true liberation and only causes high levels of stress that lead to physical and emotional diseases.

The capitalist myth, that if one gets a good education and works hard enough one can work her way out of poverty, is dangerous. It keeps the oppressed oblivious to the structure of their oppression. They fail to reach the consciousness that in order to be liberated means not to fall into the trap of individual obtainment such as a house as a way to liberation, but to see that in order to be liberated means that everyone's needs must be met.

To fulfill this universal need we must see shelter as a basic human right and that there is no way to provide shelter for everyone without building evolutionary architecture. Such a goal means we have to redefine work in terms of how it relates to the survival of the human species emancipating the labor force to work for the common good. Un-alienated construction workers freed to work on the project of their own survival, begin building ecological cities which they will inhabit. They are building their own future as well as the future of all people, no longer serving the unsustainable housing market of the oppressor.

Freire writes: “The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines, are fearful of freedom. Freedom would require them to eject this image and replace it with autonomy and responsibility.” The image that must be ejected is the private property model of the single family house or apartment, and what needs to replace it is an image that brings sustainable shelter for all, a network of evolutionary, ecological cities, arcologies, throughout the world.

A New Image for Education

Education needs to steer students into channels that allow them to find a place within the new architectural model that takes responsibility for the fate of the Earth. In other words, the edifice of education needs a radical change. The real purpose of education is thus to build a network of arcologies. The mission of universities and all levels of education are to bring the arts and sciences together in the service of building the new world of conscious evolution.

The Internet evolves in the “Global Brain,” the nervous system of the Earth by becoming a world-wide interactive blueprint and data base for the building of the arcology network. This data base is opened to everyone and it is the duty of planetary citizens to plug into the new planetary order by finding their creative role within the Lovolution much like that of Richard Stallman's free software movement for open-source software coding.

The Internet is part of the Noosphere, the thinking layer of the Earth, or the sphere of human thought where archetypes rule over our imaginations. Now, it has a lovolutionary vision in which to reprogram educational centers to prepare people for the lifestyle change required to live within the evolutionary structures. Led by the guidance of the Global Brain's survival blueprint, the Internet connected to universities and learning centers through the world, re-educates people in the skills, talents, and genius needed to construct and live in arcologies. Children no longer play meaningless computer games that are war orientated because games are now programmed to teach and train children to serve useful and creative purposes within arcologies.

James Lovelock predicts from his scientific data that the shift in the climate has begun. He writes, “the sun is now warmer, and as a consequence the Earth is now returning to the hot state it was in before, millions of years ago, and as it warms, most living things will die. Once started, the move to a hot state is irreversible, and even if all the good intentions expressed at the Kyoto and Montreal meetings were executed immediately, they would not alter the outcome.” Lovelock writes that this “morbid fever” of our sick planet could last as along as 100,000 years. He continues, “The great party of the twentieth century is coming to an end, and unless we now start preparing our survival kit we will soon be just another species eking out an existence in the few remaining habitable regions.”

We have reach the point where building a new civilization strong enough to withstand dramatic climatic changes is upon us. Designer Jacque Frecso, cocreator of the Venus Project, calls for moving into a resource based economy. We don't even ask ourselves if we have the money to build such a network. The question is do we have the resources and the will?

Does such an image have the power to transform rich and poor dialectic? Is the destruction of our life-support system due to the global climate change enough to wake up both groups to the great task of social and architectural transformation? Can the oppressed class wake up in time to see the follies of living in McMansions and gated communities to build a truly transformed architecture where the authentic woman and man—whom futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard calls the universal human-- can work for the creative whole of humanity? Isn't it time that we move beyond “white collar,” “blue collar,” “pink collar” jobs to seeing ourselves as “green collar” workers for the new society founded on the love principle? For the majority of planetary citizens who are living in the disease ridden stantycities, doesn't it make sense that we need a new pattern of both physical and social architecture that allows everyone the shelter and resources needed to work for the divine source of life?

The Falsehood of Charity

It is fashionable these days for rich celebrities and celebrity politicians to select social causes and promote their favorite charities. Some are very generous to the downtrodden. But as Paulo Freire points out such charitable giving isn't going to move us beyond the rich/poor dialectic. Charity organizations, within the capitalist world economy, do not eradicate the causes of poverty. Freire writes, “Solidarity requires that one enter into the situation of those with whom one is solidarity; it is a radical posture.” (34) How do the rich enter a situation when they are in solitary with the poor?

In an article in People Magazine it reports that Brad Pitt worked along side of President Jimmy Carter in India for an afternoon to build two Habitat for Humanity houses. Is this in the spirit of solidarity with the poor? When there are billions of people throughout the world who live in substandard conditions, when shantytowns have become shantycities, solidarity with the poor can no longer be thought of as building a single family houses here and there. This wouldn't work even if they built millions of houses everywhere because there are not enough resources in the world for everyone to live in a sprawled-out land development plan.

The problem requires a far more radical and creative approach. If the rich and famous are sincere in wanting to end poverty and transcend the lifestyle that has caused resource depletion, wars, and global warming then we need a new vision of the city and a lifestyle that restores the natural capital, forest and wilderness areas that are need for Gaia to remain healthy. We need solidarity with the poor rather than charity to the poor. Charity to the poor is a way the system works to protect the image of rich without addressing the problems. It creates a warm and fuzzy image, not a solution. Freire writes, “True generosity consists precisely in fighting to destroy the causes which nourish false charity.” (29)

Freire writes:

In order for this struggle to have meaning, the oppressed must not, in seeking to regain their humanity (which is a way to create it), become in turn oppressors of the oppressors, but rather restorers of the humanity of both. This, then is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well. (28)

He continues,

Liberation is thus a childbirth, and a painful one. The man who emerges is a new man, viable only as the oppressor-oppressed contradiction is superseded by the humanization of all men. Or to put it another way, the solution of this contradiction is born in the labor which brings into the world this new man; no longer oppressor or oppressed, but man in the process of achieving freedom. (34)

Let me explore this concept that the “solution of this contradiction is born in the labor which brings into the world this new man.” The labor to birth this new archetype in architecture is to manifest the building of a world of arcologies, a place where poverty has been eliminated. We move into an ecologically sound labor force, one that is guided to develop green technologies to be used within arcologies.

I'm including part of the translation of the speech made by Subcomandante Marcos because he expresses the dire situation the indigenous people face in front of big capital. Like he says, it is not only the indigenous people who face extinction, it is the Earth.

Magdalena de Kino, Sonora - October 21, 2006

In the story we are telling -or that we were sent to tell you- the earth protected us after the Spanish invasion, and allowed us to survive and resist the North American invasion, and we continued to live. And then came the invasion of money, or Big Capital. And the earth allowed us to survive, but now it is at the point of death precisely because of the people “up above”. If you think that they will be contented to see us poor, without schools, without medicine, you are mistaken: they want us to disappear completely.

For many decades we've been living with sicknesses, without education, working the earth to be able to get something out of it. Now they also want this earth. The Escalera Nautica will mean the total disappearance of the Yoreme people, the Mayo people, of the Yaquis, of the Cucapas, and of the entire coast of Sonora and Sinaloa, and of Baja California and Baja Sur - for businesses, hotels and tourists. There will be nothing but deceit from the government for the Yoreme, for the Yaqui, for the O'odham, for the Cucapa and for the Kiliwa.

The governments -and those who run them- want this land in order to convert it into a marketplace. If we permit this, this earth will be destroyed. And everything that has protected us, that has allowed us to survive, will die also. And if this land and this earth dies, there will no longer be any reason to fight, nothing to live for, nothing worth studying.

What we are trying to plant here is that we have to unite as indigenous peoples. The earth dies the same in O'odham territory, Navajo, Cherokee, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Purepecha, Nahuatl, and we must unite - not only in Mexico , but with the entire continent. Those that are already high up, “up above”, have already demonstrated throughout the centuries that the only thing they are capable of is to destroy the earth. No more –(EN)-no more that's enough- (end EN). Now we are going to take the destiny of the earth and its defense into our hands. We won't leave it another minute in the hands of the rich.

Those that are already high up, “up above”, have already demonstrated throughout the centuries that the only thing they are capable of is to destroy the earth. No more –(EN)-no more that's enough- (end EN).

Now we are going to take the destiny of the earth and its defense into our hands. We won't leave it another minute in the hands of the rich.

And the earth is like a human body; you cannot inject poison into one part without effecting the rest. They think they can poison only the O'odham land or the Navajo. They are going to poison everything, and they are going to destroy it.

Like the compañero from the National Indigenous Congress said: "we came to invite you, not to make requests of the government, but to remove it." Not to beg the North American and Mexican governments to respect the O'odham territory, which is split by the borderline. We know that this border line crosses through the peoples' ceremonial centers.

We want this border to disappear, we want the O'odham nation, the Navajo nation, the Cherokee nation to live again like our people, because those “up above” have demonstrated that they can't run this world and bring it to a good end. We have to do it, not only for our Indian people, but for all of humanity. This is why we say that this fight is against neo-liberalism and for humanity.

A Healthy World

After 5,000 years of Native Americas suffering through the genocidal practices of Western Civilization, Marcos knows the end is near. If Western Civilization extinguishes or absorbs the last reminding indigenous populations that hold wisdom on how we can live sustainability with the planet and at peace with each other, then we are extinguishing ourselves. What is the model that will restore health to Gaia? How can we bring health care and education--a happy and creative world-- back to indigenous peoples and to the rest of humanity?

Addressing this on a larger scale, Dr. Patch Adams is now calling for the creation of a love platform. He writes, “ What's a love platform? It's a set of policies that shows compassion for the elderly, the mentally ill, the homeless, the poor. It's a platform that treats the environment with the loving respect it deserves. A love platform would call for kissing, not killing. You switch two little letters and you get a whole new outlook on life. Kissing, not killing.”

He continues, “We need to create a massive global movement for loving. It would be like the Peace Corps times 10,000. People who have resources would go, en masse, to help those without. People with skills would teach those without. People who are healthy would take care of those who are sick.”

When the people of the United States start to wake up to this “love economy,” they will put an end to developing trillion dollars Outer Space war technologies with the purpose of world imperialistic conquest. They will be in deep remorse for having spent 10 million dollars an hour on the war in Iraq plus loosing thousands of precious lives so that America 's consumption of oil can continue to pollute the air. They will mourn the loss of their Native American brothers and sisters who died as a result of the American conquest.

By engaging in Lovolution, funds can be channeled to where they belonged all the time, to building a network of holistic arcologies-- were the sick have a chance to be cured, the mentally ill have a chance to experience sanity, aliened workers have a chance to find the work they love and were meant to do for the good of society, and the poor and homeless no longer exist. It allows young people to be pioneers having a firm ethical base to guide their research in 21st Century technologies in such areas as biotechnology, hydroponics, regeneration medicine, nanotechnologies. Arcologies allow the land to go back to wilderness and predator animals have a chance to secure again the balance of nature. Indigenous populations will have opportunity to revive their languages and cultures.

During the social upheaval of the ‘60's a famous architectural critic coined the slogan: “Architecture and Revolution.” Thirty some years later, we need to update this concept: “Arcologies and Lovolution.” This planetary awakening radically changes both space and society as a new world is born.


Last week I attended an “ Intenders Circle.” It is a gathering of New Age people who meet once a week at an art gallery that showcases sparkling crystals and dazzling spiritual artswork to inspire each other to vocalize their intentions. Unlike at the meeting with Subcomandante Marcos where he passed the microphone to speakers, they use the Native American tradition of passing an eagle feather to the one's whose turn it is to speak.

When I received the symbolic microphone, I vocalized how I intended to finish my Marcos essay. The meetings aren't about dialogue about one's intentions, nor is it about developing collective intentions. Highly individualistic, the forum offers no ethical guidance to help people with manifesting one's dreams. People wanted the usual: houses, cars, wealth and peace on Earth.

After the meeting, I got into a discussion with two intenders who were planning a trip to Mexico to look for a piece of beach front property to buy from the Mexican government located on the northeast coast of the Seas of Cortez. I knew this region to be the indigenous lands.

The issue Marcos was addressing during his Magdalena speech was presenting itself right in front of me. However good their intentions were to have a vacation house on the coast for their family and friends to privately enjoy, it wasn't going to contribute to the liberation of the indigenous. It was going to contribute to them to becoming more impoverish and displaced from their land.

I informed them of the Congress of the Indigenous that Marcos had called for on Columbus Day along the border in Baja , California next year to address the problem of “big capital” buying up the stolen sea coast. They paused, taken back. But then said if they didn't buy it someone else would. Beach front property is too valuable to not be part of the marketplace. These good intended New Agers had no intention of being oppressors. It was simply business as usual. Do you see how important an educational Lovolution is to save our humanity? Genocidal practices are business as usual.


Human Extinction or Lovolution?