Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Still Doing Our Very Breast

There is a national dialogue going on right now regarding Breasts Not Bombs act of Civil Disobedience which took place on Election Eve, November 7th at the California state Capitol to protest Arnold Schwarzenegger's special election. (As the world has seen, his offensive initiatives were summarily rejected.) We came to Sacramento to exercise our First Amendment Rights in a political demonstration. That we did.
Article 1
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the people to peacefully assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Many are caught up in the fact that we bared our breasts and whether that was illegal, indecent and obscene, or an ingenious, intelligent, magnificent, courageous action. We find this conversation inspiring and important at this time. We have chosen this dramatic, urgent expression because these are matters of life and death. We are outraged and appalled at the amount of indecencies and obscenities being perpetrated by the U.S. government and agents thereof. We think this vigorous dialogue in a democracy is essential at this time.
Breasts Not Bombs is an affinity group. An affinity group is made up of people who choose the same type of direct action to bring about political and social change. It is decentralized and non hierarchical but the strategy is agreed upon and members come to decisions based on consensus. In other words, any woman or man who believes that breasts are decent, wholesome and natural can bare them in a political demonstration in an effort to shed light on the glaring indecencies that we are subjected to in the name of American Imperialism and aggression.
We find that going to Corporate headquarters, Government buildings or Military installations and holding up very clear signs of what truly is indecent while we bare our breasts brings about extraordinary results. We have taken our message to Union Square in San Francisco, The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa and even the Gates of the White House and have never been arrested. During our demonstrations we distribute the Bill of Rights and a handout on Ten things you can do to stop war everyday.
There are many different ways to demonstrate against repressive regimes, war, environmental devastation and disappearing civil rights. Some people choose to march in protest, some write letters, make phone calls, sign petitions, some blockade buildings, streets. We have done all these things in an effort to wake the sleeping people and arouse their sense of outrage. When all of those efforts fail some resort to extremes to get their message across. Some even cross over into violence including destruction of property or even bombs. We took the other extreme, total non-violence with big emotional impact.
We also believe that our actions serve to protect definitions which are slowly being altered by sophisticated right wing think tanks along with media complicity. For example, when Bush uses the term "liberation" describing the status of people in Iraq, we would like to remind people that liberation connotes freedom and relief. What the American Military in Iraq are doing is called "occupation" which means having jurisdiction over, power over. In Breasts Not Bombs we are challenging the court on the word "decency". In the act of doing so we safeguard it's definition for generations to come. Decency is kindness, grace, truth, humility, purity and humanity. We believe breasts fall under that definition.
As mothers, grandmothers, and young women we are finding that we are more threatened than ever as far as sustaining life on this planet. We are using this simple act of nature to remind folks that we all come from the mother. We are doing our best to make the world a bit safer, better. We believe that the image and presence of breasts in the world is a healthy image, a loving image, a normal image. We believe that if women were safe to walk the streets bare breasted we would all benefit from that safety. We found it comforting that many of the beautiful state buildings were adorned with bare-breasted statues. Some towered above us. Some stood as guardians at the doorways. I suppose that as long as women are made of stone having bare breasts at the Capitol is acceptable.
It is our responsibility as decent, peaceful Americans to make extraordinary and creative statements against the reckless behavior of our government and the multinational corporations who profit from our collective losses. In the act of baring our breasts we hope to bring attention to the dire situation that mothers and children find themselves in here and abroad, when all of our attention and finances go to bombs instead of breasts. If we subsidized women's health and safety what a world it would be. If the police at the Capitol saw it as their responsibility to protect us in that arena instead of arrest us that would indicate a devotion and respect for the mother, a society that knows the value of life. We can choose to support the mother so that she may raise her children in an environment of sanity and abundance. This is fundamental to our survival. If you create a secure home for the mother she will inevitably raise her children to mirror her values which naturally sustain life. If we used the entire war budget (or even half of it) for the benefit of women and children instead of the military industrial complex imagine the kind of world that would be. We could focus on healthy food, universal healthcare, education, clean water. Women and children first.
We must certify true acts of obscenity like a president who relies on fixed intelligence to drag the whole world into war, Indecent we shout! Over 2000 American soldiers dead and tens of thousands of Iraqi's: tragically indecent. A government that has secret detention centers throughout the world to be able to conduct torture without the meddling of the International Red Cross; Indecent! A senate who nullifies the Writ of Habeas Corpus. Obscene! A secretary of State that is shoe shopping in New York City while people are drowning in the wake of Katrina. Indecent! Tampering with elections in Florida and Ohio, Obscene! Gutting the clean air act, clean water act and adding genetically modified ingredients to our food supply; Indecent! Priests in Catholic Churches molesting innocent children; Obscene! Weapons manufacturers and private security firms making enormous profits off of war; Indecent! Energy companies that shape energy policy in secret meetings with the Vice President Cheney; indecent! Operation "Steal Curtain” resulting in at least fifty civilians dead on the Syrian Border? White Phosphorus! Horror! Who profits from this? What pigs are eating at this sickening trough? Obscene we say! Arrest them.
We were arrested on indecency and obscenity charges. Our action did no harm to anyone. No, all we did was show our nipples in public and we were arrested in ten seconds. Wow, wouldn't it be a miracle if that had happened to any of the folks who perpetrated the aforementioned crimes? Think of all the precious lives that could have been saved. Who gets arrested? Does it have to do with Class? Race? Power? Money? We must ask ourselves as a nation, when are we going to demand that those responsible for truly obscene, indecent and murderous behavior be arrested and go to prison?
As mothers we are answering the call of a spirit that moves us. We defend our rights to act in a non-violent civil disobedience in a time when so much is at stake. Baring our breasts is a non-violent radical remedy to our imminent demise. Honor the mother in all her forms and we can reverse the course of history perhaps awakening a culture that nurtures and protects its most vulnerable. It is up to the women to claim their power in all its forms. As one blogger wrote, "Aristophanes would be proud". That is a reference to Lysistrata, the tale of Greek women, so tired of war refused to have sex with their husbands until war was done.
In the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. we say: If we are indecent then nature is indecent. If we are indecent birth is indecent. If we are indecent, babies are indecent. If we are indecent, life is indecent. If we are indecent, then God is indecent. We beg to differ.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Breasts Under Arrest on the Capitol Steps

It really did come down to the (under) wire whether or not we were to Bare our Breasts on the Capitol steps.

As most of you know our family suffered a tragic death on Sunday morning. Our best friend and brother Procoppio died in his sleep.
Wracked with grief, Renee and I had to decide if we were going to forfeit this tremendous moment in Herstory and stay home to grieve and prepare for the arrival of his family from the midwest. We searched and searched our souls. We were definitely influenced by the fact that Procoppio was going to come with us to Sacramento. He had been a few of our demonstrations before, dazzling the crowd with his dark scicilian skin and curly black hair and pierced nipples over which he wrote in black ink "nipples not napalm". It seemed that it would best serve his spirit to carry our grief with us to the steps of the capitol. Today we scattered his ashes into the Pacific Ocean. I say here in the name of Procoppio...BRest in Peace.

First, I'd like to thank my children. Imagine what it must be to have a mother like me (especially if you are a teenager). Their love, patience, understanding and even their frustration and disapproval at times are essential to my life and work. I have the ultimate respect and admiration for them. It is for them and all the children of the world that we do this work. We are committed to protect their future and their rights to live in this world in safety, peace, abundance, and sustainability. We believe that if women were safe to be bare breasted in the world that children would benefit greatly.

Now, I'd like to thank all of the beautiful people who participated in Monday's demonstration on the west steps of the State Capitol. There were the core four who drove from Mendocino County. Renee, Margaret, Motherbear and myself.
Margaret and Motherbear were eloquent press liasons in our absence speaking to major news networks like ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, etc. They also saw to the safety of our belongings and waited all night for us to be released from Sac County Jail. Our gratitude to them can't really be measured. I hope everyone has that kind of love and support in their lives during times of crisis.

I want to thank the media. I think they were quite respectful and considerate in their point of view. I appreciate them showing up for whatever reasons they came. Whether it was to get to see our breasts or to protect our right to do it, or just report on the fact that we were doing it at all, we thank them.

Deep gratitude to Matt Kumin our Civil Rights attorney who was articulate and passionate in his arguments in Federal Court. On very short notice and his own personal challenges he went above and beyond the call of duty. His love and support propelled us into epic proportions. We look forward to a long and productive relationship.

I want to thank Alan Moore and Laramie Crockertt and his family and Diane Patterson and Kelly. Diane was singing a most sacred song she wrote called "Ceremony" when we were being "Busted". Check out her amazing work on her CD...Hip The Hip.

I want to thank our friend Grace who does inspiring work to bring out the truth about nuclear weapons being manufactured out in Livermore, who drove a long way to stand with us. I want to thank one of our new members "tantra" Her photo on the LA Times site is Brilliant!!! I want to thank the beautiful Marine wife who had the courage to hold our banner. Her story, her husband's recent return from Iraq as a destroyed human being suffering from terrible anguish broke our hearts. There were others who joined us that I met briefly and some not at all. I thank them all for their courage and solidarity.

There were others that joined us from the crowd to hold signs and those who stood among the audience in visible support. The man with the fuzzy boobs and the beautiful woman with the mesh shirt that carried a sign that said "war is indecent". The beautiful Papa with the Baby on his belly.

Of course we owe a great deal of Gratitude to Senator Gloria Romero D-LA the Majority Leader in the California Senate. Senator Romero delivered a passionate, intelligent, and stunning speech in the name of equal protection under the Law. She is preparing legislation to protect these specific rights in California. If you have a chance to look her up and maybe get a copy of the speech, you should. It rocked our world! Especially the "tape measure". She has our eternal support and gratitude. The last words of her speech were directed to the CHP, "Do not arrest these women." I say Bless her and keep her well. A special shout out to her assistant Margaret who was extremely understanding and helpful.

Here, I must say a special thanks to Renee. In her unique physical nature she enacts an extraordinary courage. Baring her breasts was a revolutionary act. She would not allow me to be arrested by myself. I had never been arrested before (well I was arrested in 2003 the day before we invaded Iraq for blockading an Exxon station, but they just wrote me a ticket and released me) so I'd never been through the procedure. Her love and devotion to me is stunning. The risk she took is impressive and her commitment to radical change inspires me to even consider doing this work. As I said at the Demo one of the most offensive acts of Herr Schwarzenegger was to Veto the Rights Of Gay and Lesbians to Marry. So, he'll have to deal with us again for sure because love is decent and he has no right to deny our right to love and be married.

I want to thank the Goddess. It's gorgeous irony that all of the state buildings had stone replicas of Ancient Goddesses like Athena, Demeter and Ceres joyfully and flamboyantly bare breasted. We truly felt protected and nurtured in their presence. We opened the day with a sacred ceremony because we considered this a spiritual act and we were blessed with our Ministers Presence in Motherbear.

I want to thank myself, and my breasts.

I must confess as I did before I dis-robed this act was terribly frightening. Not just because there were police ready to arrest me and media surrounding me not to mention registered sex offenders, but because my breasts are huge, I know. I don't have to tell you that. I do not fit into the acceptable, popular culturally desirable body type. I'm more like every woman. Every woman who has doubts about her body. Every woman who is afraid to undress with the light on for fear that her flaws will overwhelm her beauty. Everywoman who blossoms at middle age into her full power and voluptuous sexuality. Every woman who is afraid some man will judge her as ugly or fat. Every woman who is afraid that she's just not right. So it took a mountain of courage for me to do this act.

Standing before the world in that extremely vulnerable state was an ecstatic act of non-violent revolution. I use the word revolution to mean, the turning of the wheel. To make change in a good direction. We revolt against tyranny, lies, corruption and oppresion and turn toward understanding, compassion, forgiveness, beauty and hope. That was my intention. It is an awesome power I hold in my body. We all do. What more do we really have? Without it we're dead, but sometimes we act like it's the least important thing we have and trash it completely. I am grateful for mine. That Creator blessed me with this beautiful, soft, expressive vessel. One through which I have borne two sacred daughters. I am grateful for it's size and strength and the pleasure it gives me.

Well, It seems the whole world has seen my breasts. And....well...really. What's the big deal? My mother's proud. She just thinks I'm the most courageous person she's ever seen. So, it my mother approves then it must be allright. I mean we're all naked, we just pretend we're not. It's true, just look at yourself in the shower sometime...naked. Born that way...die that way.

Women's breasts are constantly used and abused for so many reasons. They use them to sell us stuff, from sex to cigarettes. (Our theory is that people smoke because they didn't get enough breast feeding). So take away the tit and sell them a pack of cigarettes. Our breasts are used for profit.

I used my breasts as a power tool. They are mighty. You better stand back you might put an eye out.

In reading the comments on this blog and some of my e-mails the biggest argument against our movement is that we're not pretty enough, young enough, and I should shave my armpits. Not one critique has a merit of intelligence. It is merely fear and hatred.

I was awed by the positive and brilliant analysis of our work. Thank you for those passionate and wise commentaries.

I loved the Renee's tactic of sticking the Peace Flag into my skirt like she did when they Busted us. The CHP was so flustered during the arrest, they didn't know how to cover me. The simple act of grabbing my hands to cuff them, pulling them behind my back, just served to accentuate my breasts. They just weren't expecting that. They didn't realize that with my hands bound they couldn't get a shirt on me.
Ha! That was funny. They did end up using the Peace flag to wrap me in. You can see fabulous photos of that on the LA Times site. (I should put a link here, but I haven't really figured out that part of the cyber blog world. I trust you'll figure it out for yourself). Anyway, I was escorted to one of the chambers in the capitol by a very respectful female Officer, who I must say I'm very grateful to for being gentle with me. I was allowed to dress and then recuffed. I was alone. I assumed that Renee had decided against the action for her own sake, or whatever her reasons were, it was okay. But moments later the door opened and she was ushered in wearing a floorlength yellow plastic bib. Ridiculously funny and such a relief. She guided me through the very terrifying experience of losing my freedom with great compassion, dignity, humor and tenderness.

The next twelve hours were spent in custody of the state. I will tell you more about what I feel are gross violations of our rights, some other time.

What I will say is that. We were within our rights to demonstrate as we did on Monday November 7th. We also showed great respect for the process when we filed suit in Federal Court for an injunction to get our restraining order. The judge who took the Broad Strokes of the First amendment and narrowed it down to the size of a nipple and then asked "What the Breast Expressed?" Well
I guess the obvious answer is...milk. Mother's milk, the milk of human kind. The source that connects us all. The original expression of love and survival on this planet. We believe that is Universal Law. That is Natural Law not the narrow minded position of a Republican Judge who winced at the having to even say the word breast in his court room. His narrow definitions speaks volumes to his small minded and unconstitutional behavior. He was busy diminishing and defining "speech" when he should have been protecting our freedom.

We had our day in court and were denied. We felt the restrictions were wrong and so exercised civil disobedience in order to demonstrate our grievances. They said "Oh, No." We said, "Oh Yes!" The simple ordinary act of baring our breasts had power over the state and their panic in trying to cover me, made them look foolish.

We have been charged with two misdemeanors as you know. We are in counsel with our amazing and benevolent Attorney Michael Chastain. Stay tuned for our strategy.

I find the First Amendment so encouraging here. The most important word in this amendment is: Freedom. It's so nice, they say it twice.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

And as for Arnold...well...it appears the people of California have have exercised their Right to Vote and said NO! to every indecent initiative

Power to the Teachers, Nurses, Firefighters and Unions!!!

Hey, I've got an idea. How 'bout a recall election

A million thanks to all who voted on November 8th and still believe in Democracy and the power of the people, for the people and by the people.

Oh yeah...see you in court.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

To Bare or Not to Bare? That is the question.

Breasts Not Bombs will be demonstrating in On the steps of the Capitol on Monday because we find that spending $8 milliion dollars on this special election is indecent, and harmful to the people of California.

We were asked in Federal Court yesterday by Judge Garland Burrell, what Exposing our breasts have to do with free speech.

We choose this manner because exposing our breasts speaks louder than signs and banners and marching. We feel that Our breasts express the most powerful, non violent, simple statement to the threats, lies and corruption that dominate the political scene. We say that our bodies are decent and nurturing and wholesome and that interfering with a woman's right to choose is indecent, that blaming teachers for the mess our public schools are in is indecent, we say that gerrymandering political districts for politcal gain is indecent.

Our attempt to get a restraining order against the CHP was denied.

The Women from Breasts Not Bombs are being threatened with arrest for obscene and offensive behavior when we are looking at government official that lie to grand juries, leak top secret information that compromises the security of the United States, Launder money, fix intelligence to justify invading a sovereing nation, maintain secret detention centers, exercise torture which violates which violates the geneva convention. I ask you what is obscene? What is indecent?

So he $64,000.00 question is, will we bare our breasts on Monday?

Well, that's for us to know and you to find out. See you there.