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Seeds of Change

By Grace Lee Boggs

I was privileged to participate in the great humanizing movements of the last century, but I can’t recall a time when the issues were so basic, so interconnected.

How are we going to make our livings in a society becoming increasingly jobless because of hi-tech and outsourcing? Where will we get the imagination to recognize that for most of human history the concept of Jobs didn’t even exist? Work, as distinguished from Labor, was done to produce needed goods and services, develop skills and artistry, and nurture cooperation.

How do we rebuild cities like Detroit that were once the arsenal of democracy into models of 21st century self-reliance and sustainability?

How do we redefine education so that 30-50 percent of inner-city children do not drop out of school, thus ensuring that millions will end up in prison?

What will move us to care for our biosphere instead of using our technological mastery to increase the speed at which we are making it uninhabitable?

Can we build an America in which people of all races and ethnicities live together in harmony, and Euro-Americans, in particular, celebrate their role as one among many minorities constituting the multiethnic majority?

And, especially since 9/11, how do we achieve reconciliation with the two-thirds of the world that increasingly resents our economic, military, and cultural domination?

These are the times to grow our souls. Each of us is called upon to embrace the conviction that despite the powers and principalities bent on commodifying all our human relationships, we have the power within us to create the world anew.

We can begin by doing small things at the local level, like planting community gardens or looking out for our neighbors. That is how change takes place in living systems, not from above but from within, from many local actions occurring simultaneously.

Actions like these seem insignificant because we judge progress in terms of quantity. But, as the decline of GM suggests, the time has come to rethink the way we think. In the words of organizational consultant Margaret Wheatley (Leadership and Modern Science):

“From a Newtonian perspective, our efforts often seem too small, and we doubt that our actions will contribute incrementally to large-scale change. But a quantum view explains the success of small efforts quite differently.

Acting locally allows us to be inside the movement and flow of the system, Changes in small places affect the global system, not through incrementalism, but because every small system participates in an unbroken wholeness. We never know how our small activities will affect others through the invisible fabric of our connectedness. In this exquisitely connected world, it’s never a question of ‘critical mass.’ It’s always about critical connections.”


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GREAT SUCH INSIGHT AND WISDOM WE WERE BLESSED TO HAVE HER IN OUR TIME

Not long ago, the minimum wage was increased somewhat from $5.15 an hour. Unfortunately, it still is not where it should be – $15 an hour. While we’re at it, how about new legislation for a 30 hour workweek? The Senate approved of the idea and the House was all set to sign on as well, but Franklin D. Roosevelt didn’t feel it was a good idea. Shame on him! The year was 1933. At one time the Congress actually worked for the people who elected them.

This Page Intentionally Left Blank – Just like the Paychecks of the Workers was a finalist in the Indie Excellence 2007 Book Awards and is my soon to be published book on work. It puts forth evidence why these two revolutionary concepts not only will have side effects – good ones! – are reasonable and necessary, but they can also increase the bottom line of the businesses that implement them. I can send you a complementary copy on publication and would be willing to provide multiple copies for at slightly over my cost. I’d give them away but I have to pay for shipping and publication of my next book. My intention is to have as many people read it as possible. Any thing that you can do to help would be greatly appreciated. We are all in this together!

There’s more information at the website I designed and maintain, bobcooks.com. Click on “available October 2007 – more info,” just below the image of the cover on the home page. Then fill out the form by clicking on "order now" so I’ll know where to send the book so you'll get it.

Thanks and keep up the good work, Bill. We need more people like you..

I've watched the interview now several times (on my mp3 media player - marvels of technology!). Mrs. Boggs, you are a divine inspiration. All that you had to say about focusing on the local, empowering communities, revolutions from above as failures, it's all happening right here in New Orleans. And the odd thing is that I think you're right. In the future, we're going to have to find new ways to survive. We're entering the 1930's depression again, except that this time, the money is moving overseas. In New Orleans, Detroit, and other places which are on the leading edge of the decapitalization and abandonment of America -- we're going to have to learn to do it for ourselves all over again. That's a good thing, but we have a lot to learn all over again. God bless you.

The interview with Grace was terrific. From all she said, I see the need for more truth and no lies. I opened the paper today to see that, according to Bush and Republicans that the "Surge" is working so they, the Republicans, are going to give Bush another 12 months and by then eveything will be just perfect in Iraq and Afganistan. General P is doing a great job; however, as soon as he and his troops leave an area, the insurgants just move back in like before because the Iraqui army and/or police forces neither have the will or desire to do their job for the sake of the Country. It is a foreign concept to them. All we have heard in the last 5 years is, give Bush another 6 months or 12 months to make it happen. Well folks, don't you think it is time to accept the realty that it "ain't going to happen". You cannot make a democracy out of clay of the 14th centuary. And that the people now have free voting,doesn't mean a damn thing, the people in the Mid-East life, in their minds, in their beliefs and in their actions are not going to change in 5 or 10 years time. I believe the only reason Bush wants to drag this out is until after the 08 elections so it can be dumpted onto someone else's lap, probabaly a Democratic President. How many more are going to lose their lives or suffer untold mental and physical damage before the end? The VICTORY that Bush keeps talking about shouldn't even be in anyone's vocabulary when talking about the Mid-East. There is no such thing as a Victory. I am so furious that this game is starting again and again that, the "give Bush a few more months and it will work out" stand. I have become convinced that the common trait among all members of Congress, House and Senate, is blindness and just plain stupidity!!!
As it seems this is never going to end, it is definitely time to start a Draft again; No, absolutely no, deferments unless an individual is so physically or mentally sick that they can't function. Draft every man and woman from the age of 18-35, including a family members from everyone, including the Executive branch; they can give first hand accounts on how the war is going; having some family member now have to serve in the Armed Forces is a great idea. It is time to spread the responsibility around to everyone, especially those who are so hotdog to support this fiasco; the Bush girls would be good candidates, they have degrees and should be off to Officers Training School so they can be trained to "lead" and get out there in Iraq or Afganistan and fight for America's freedom and keep us safe. Anyone who tries to flunk out, should have to work at the lowest civilian job for Army, Marines, etc and put their 3 years in that way. It is time we all bear the burden; in addition there needs to be a surtax placed on everyone, 10% surtax on anyone, single or married, making over $40,00 per year. And every and billionaire, should be required to pay 20% tax because I would bet they are somehow making money on this War, especially Halliburton. All members of Congress and the Executive Branch should take a 15% cut in pay to help pay off this exploding deficit. Let's see how popular this War is when everyone has to pay a price. In the final analysis, we can never have a Victory, as envisioned by Bush; read your history, it will just never, never happen. A Draft needs to be instituted today and I don't care who thinks we should not have one because young people don't want one. I say bull..., most of us didn't want this war either. Draft, draft, tax, tax; those in the "voluneer" army have given enough, as have their families. No more free ride.

When Bush invaded Afghanastan and felt he had succeeded in controlling the country he should have taken that opportunity bringing change to the entire world. He could have ceased fighting and dropped millions of tons of building material,clothing and food into that country. He could have sent knowledgeable people over there to find what they could grow in that desolate country. He could have communicated with all leaders, compromised. When millions of people over the world are aware of what many countries are doing globilization is starting to move in . It's time to get along with your neighbors by verbal communication, not bombs. He could have instigated seeds of change instead of wars

I was just mesmerized by this interview. So simple, so powerful. And then I read the credits and saw that the director was Mark Ganguzza. I had worked with a Mark Ganguzza who was an independent producer who worked with me, while I was a communications director with IBM for a number of years, and wonder if this could be the same person. Or perhaps his son? If you would direct this note to Mark, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

Great interview. Thank you for introducing me to Grace! It was a pleasure listening to her. Incredible how basic and universal truths can be refreshing at the same time when spoken so well.

Grace sounds almost like a Hopi Indian Elder. Her wisdom at the end of the Bill Moyers webcast:

GRACE LEE BOGGS: I don't see any leaders, and I think we have to rethink the concept of "leader." 'Cause "leader" implies "follower." And, so many-- not so many, but I think we need to appropriate, embrace the idea that we are the leaders we've been looking for.

It seems she's talking about the BIG PICTURE.

By the way, the North American Native Hopi Indians were able to maintain their tribe and teachings (and famed prophecies) before and after the Indian Wars. …The Hopis would traditionally build their villages on the high mesas, away from rivers and water sources. If they were to have water for their crops, it would appear as rain, and only by their faith in the GREAT SPIRIT, by their prayer. This was the kind of discipline that allowed the Hopis to survive the arrival of the White Man in the West...


And now...


A Hopi Elder Speaks:

“You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.
Now you must go back and tell the people that this IS the Hour.

And there are things to be considered:
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.

It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said,
"This could be a good time!"
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 they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.
Know 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 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.

WE ARE THE ONES WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR…!”


(Thank you.)

I was very impressed by the work of this activist. In particular about her recurrent question on the link of revolution and evolution. It is a topic that, as a biologist by training, I have been wrestling with for a few years. I have written this essay regarding this issue. I believe that as a biologist I have a better understanding of evolucion than most people who discuss social changes. I wrote this essay (http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/article_24876.shtml) discussing the topic and I would like to see the response of Dr. Bogs to this analysis (wish I had her e-mail)

Jesus

This interview was sugar coated communist revanchism. Grace Lee Boggs took great pains to suggest that the failure of the communists in the U.S.S.R. was simply due to their corruption after taking power. Like most marxists today, she whitewashes marxism by retailing the lie that communism isn't faulty, it's the implementation which got it wrong.

This is a hideous distortion of reality -- but I'd expect nothing less from a frustrated 90 year old communist operative, one who just can't let go of her nightmares, or admit that her ideology was the author of hundreds of millions of dead and enslaved people across the planet.

The loss of faith in the great world views on which the social systems of our world are founded is not confined to one part of that world; it is universal. Whether those systems of thought are pseudo-scientific like Marxism, or purely pragmatic like capitalism, or humanistic like Liberal Democracy, or quite pathological like Nazism and Fascism, they have lost their hold on the minds of millions of the rising generations and millions of those who once worshipped at their altars.

Unlike all the systems of old what is required is a system which embraces not only the entire diversity of the human race, but the entirety of human experience. Nothing that is truly human is alien to it.

As we ourselves come to understand this reality more clearly, we will be able to communicate its message to society in general, a society whose search for such a vision will become ever more urgent. I would expect that in the decades and centuries ahead such a vision will begin to engage serious minds everywhere and, in popular forms of expression, the attention of the general public. Once this process begins, the eventual outcome is as certain as tomorrow's sun.

It is not merely the prevailing systems of thought that have broken down, but human values themselves. We live in a world that has entirely lost its moral moorings, in which all of the ethical reference points of the past have been entirely swept away. The effect on the masses of humanity, leaders and led alike, has been to create the deepest anxiety of which human beings are capable. We can not return to the past--indeed who would want to--but truths that are perennial but not archaic will be part of that vision.

In a famous passage of his writings, the Irish poet W.B. Yeats described our age as one in which "the best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity". Questions that touch the human heart most deeply, that cry out for reflection and a spirit of consultation, are transformed by battling groups of extremists into rigid formulae and cookie-cutter tests of human decency. In such a world, the majority of society's members withdraw into helplessness and increasingly desperate silence. The road ahead is long, stony and tortuous, but there is a road; it will be travelled and this dark heart of civilization will be traversed.-Ron Price, Tasmania
_________

I have watched with careful concentration. She is amazing! There is a reason I live here from Greece.

Sorry but I had a stroke recently and it makes it very difficult to find the correct words. But it gives me hope that a 90 Year old fights for the human rights. Now I thank God (or whatever) she is alive and continues fighting.

Every time I become desperate I watch something on PBS and change my mind.

Bravo Bill Moyers!!!!

A Seed Of Change
Is only a simple change of thought.
Imbalance to me is inequity or difference, a state of mind created by the process of measure, that in most cases divides. That same process of measured difference can be reversed so that what we measure as imbalanced, can be balanced, what we find inequitable, can be equated, and what we see as different, can be the same. It is also true that inequality exists beyond our measured choices of thought, a sad example is that there are real starving people, and many that are not. It is also true that we have the capabilities to equate or balance those imbalances too, either mentally or physically, and that it is only the right or good that we do. The beauty of nature, the power of thought, the goodness of our deeds, is that we ourselves get to choose. The choice of equality is self-evidently up to you and up to me.
Choose well, equate, and all will be too!

Thanks,
=
MJA

What a wonderful and uplifting interview. What common sense and what courage. Mrs. Boggs is my newest heroine.She truly gives fire to the heart.
September 1, 2007

I loved your interviews with Robert Bly and Grace Lee Boggs. This was my first exposure to Grace Lee Boggs. I do a television called Women's Spaces in California and want to post a poem that is driving my comittment to continuing my own work.

I Am Woman, I Am All Women
By Elaine B. Holtz

I am woman, I am all women, and I go beyond color, religion, country or political party.

I am woman, I am all women and in my womb since the beginning of humankind I have provided a space for the children of the earth to grow and develop.

It has been through my pain that a child is born and it is through my body and nurturing that those born of me have survived.

I am woman, I am all women and I am tired.

I am tired of the polluters who take away from the health of my children, my grandchildren and all future generations.

I am tired of the warmongers who take away my young children who are born pure and innocent and turn them into killers.

Killers who kill their own kind and are killed in the name of I do not know what anymore.

I am tired of the greed that creates lack for far to many and abundance for far to few.

I am tired of those who rule continually telling me what is right for my body and that they know what is best therefore making choices for me.

I am tired of the women who sell their souls so they can participate in a mans world, one that is full of fear and destruction.

I am tired of seeing my off spring in countries close and far away destroying all that is needed to sustain the life of all my children.

Those innocent children who are born free only to fall into experiences that create hunger, disease created by humankind’s greed.

A man plants the seed of life deep within me; the great mystery takes that seed into my womb and creates all that has been created.

I am tired of men taking the pleasure in the planting while denying all that I have created what it is entitled to.

I give birth to human beings, not Jews, not Catholics, not Muslims, not Buddhist, not black, not white, not yellow or red.

I am tired of those divisions and I want life to be cherished and valued, I want all life on this our Mother Earth to be cherished and valued.

My soul gets weary and tired and my being becomes angry as I think about those huge bellies and blank stares of children subject to lack because of greed their needs go unnoticed and are deemed unimportant.

Who decided there should be have and have nots when we all belong to and have a stake in our home, our Mother Earth.

All goods, all profits come from our Earth and I ask all mothers, “How can you allow your son or daughter to deprive another mothers sons or daughters their right as humans, as children of this earth, their right to freedom, food, water and shelter?”

How can you allow your son or daughter to kill another mothers sons or daughters in the name of what?”

I ask women, I ask mothers, I ask grandmothers, I ask fathers, tell your children to drop those guns, tell your children to work for love and peace and equality.

Tell your children who are dropping bombs on others mothers children to STOP and STOP NOW.

Oh what it must feel like for a mother to hear the planes overhead and watch the silver bullets drop from the sky.

Oh what it must have felt like for a mother to see her child die because of lack of water, begging for help on the bridges of Louisiana during hurricane Katrina.

Oh what it must feel like to be a mother listening to her children cry for food or water and none is there.

Oh what it must feel like to be a mother watching her child die because there is no medical treatment or money for that treatment.

As women we must rally together and see there is no them, there is no us, there are only women and children just like us.

We are all one in need.

I am woman, I am all women and in my womb a child is created.

©2005 Elaine B. Holtz SeeLight Productions

As a new student, beginning just yesterday, in a master's degree program in Transformative Leadership at Bethune-Cookman University, I am inspired by Grace Lee Boggs. Her interview with Bill Moyers on PBS last evening. I am not a television watcher, so why I turned on the TV last evening and happened across Bill Moyer's Journal is a divine mystery to me. I have been blessed by what I saw and what I have now read about Grace Lee Boggs.

As a new student, beginning just yesterday, in a master's degree program in Transformative Leadership at Bethune-Cookman University, I am inspired by Grace Lee Boggs. Her interview with Bill Moyers on PBS last evening. I am not a television watcher, so why I turned on the TV last evening and happended across Bill Moyer's Journal is a divine mystery to me. I have been blessed by what I saw and what I have now read about Grace Lee Boggs.

The dream of the beggar-child in Calcutta is to be a beggar-child in America. Be thankful every day that you awake in America.

Beginning in 1972, I worked at creating local community action events.
My biggest opposition to success came from local government sources. In one case, I was targeted as a consumer fraud operator by the prosecutor of Michigan's Genesee County (Flint, Michigan). That action just about ruined me financially.
But, I struggled to put it back together and developed "Community Field Day" in Kalamazoo County. We held several annual events but we were opposed by the local government even though we enjoyed the endorsement of police and fire fighter's unions.
I would be happy to share my experiences with any interested parties.

The next step in the revolution is direct democracy and entrepreneurial action on the part of every person who wants economic equality.

Hello America,
I wished everyone could have heard this interveiw with a gentle and yet brilliant women. Mrs.Boggs wants everyone to know that they too can take a leadership role (small or large). We must fight for economic justice for our children and grandchildren to have empolyment opportunities in this country. The rich continue to seat the dinner tables eating "Prime Rib",while countless children go to bed hungry in this country.When are we going to take a stand or will there be a "Living for Chance" for our future?

Seeing the interview with Grace Boggs makes me:

1. Want to see more interviews with people like Will Allen, who are doing amazing inspiring work and...

2...Makes me think about what she said about how this change will come about, that it will take discussions countless people positively connecting, as are connecting all over the country and the world. It will take more than anything else and want and willingness to listen and consider those opinions that are so extremely different to our own.

Please bring more inspiring individuals that are involved with change to us, it makes it easier to deal with all the shit that is going on everywhere around us!

Thank you!

The Grace Lee Boggs interview has continued to inspire us to accelerate one of our FlavoredLayers' movements of creatives and artists in DC.

It's been a long time since I have had the honor of seeing an interview as moving and uplifting as that of Grace Lee Boggs by Bill Moyer. I am deeply grateful to have experienced such a luminous spirit and humane intellect at work and I thank Bill Moyers for giving us this oppportunity. What Grace Boggs offers us is the real option to think outside the box. Instead of trying only to change a self-reinforcing system of government; instead of looking for ways to humanize and invigorate a system which has sealed itself inside an almost inpenetrable shell, and manifests as an autonomous entity, a self-perpetuating structure that continues to lead those outside its barriers to frustration and hopeless outrage, she recognizes this as futile, and generates instead, increment by increment, the empowerment of a grassroots movement. How inspiring to see a woman who has spent a lifetime passionately devoted to the social, political and economic welfare of "the people" by facilitating large and small communities in their regaining of personal dignity, and power for change. Working from the inside out, Grace Lee Boggs has shown us an alternative - not ready-made or easy, but one in which personal investment, an essential requirement, has the greatest rewards. We are ever indebted to her wisdom and humanity. Her contribution will resonate for generations.

Moving out of our comfort zones, connecting with people in neighborhoods on the other side of the highways. Creating our own commons, even while our cities are trying to destroy them. No matter how hard the government tries they will never kill our need to communicate, our will to force change when it's in our self-interest and our determination to create a system to sustain ourselves and our neighbors. It's forcing us to come back to life, and we're doing it, and not all that slowly, either, considering how sloth-like we've become over the last few decades.

The Harlem Renaissance Is Moving to Milwaukee

What a wonderful gift to the people was Bill's interview with Grace!

I have been following the great works of Grace Lee and Jimmy Boggs since the early 1970s. It was one of my life's highest moments in the winter of 2005 to walk into Will Allen's Growing Power workshop for the Beloved Community Initiative and meet Grace in person! I have exchanged notes with Grace since and today she honored me by requesting I post news of the Milwaukee renaissance and Will Allen's Growing Power she mentioned on Bill's show, along with a poem I wrote called "The Harlem Renaissance Is Moving To Milwaukee."

Here are some links that offer news of some of the good things happening in Milwaukee:

Urban farming and community gardens at Will Allen's Growing Power:

http://growingpower.org/

General news about "some kind of renaissance" in the "Holy City of the Sweet Water Seas":

http://www.milwaukeerenaissance.com/Main/HomePage
http://www.milwaukeerenaissance.com/DailyAgoraAnnouncements/HomePage

Here's "The Harlem Renaissance Is Moving To Milwaukee":

The Harlem Renaissance is moving to Milwaukee,
But that’s not all.

The people have learned some
Since back in that day.

Lot’s of new players,
From absolutely
All over the world.

And not just one renaissance.
Not just a Harlem one.
Not just Milwaukee.
Not just Great Lakes.

A myriad of simultaneous ones,
Like folk blues and jazz
Background to our
Self constructing
Arts and crafts.

Lots of re-birthing underway.
Lots of new births.
Lots of parenting.

Some kind of planetary stirrings.
Primal.
Utopian.
New fresh food
For all!

We are food
For our friends!

We will grow our selves!

Very, very intensely.

With hard work
And fun for all!

Lot’s of fun.
Lot’s of work.

On the shoulders
Of large and small
Yin and yang
Giants!

Olde
February 9th, 2007

Grace Lee Boggs stands for the hope that one day we will recognize that each one of us represents three thousand generations of known human development. Down through the millennia we have evolved through small actions which reflected not only who we were but who we could become.

Today we are living like lifeless commodities, to be bought and sold to the highest bidder, thinking and acting as if our problems and contradictions dropped out of the sky. For four hundred years we’ve asked blacks to act like decent human beings while we were giving them the boot. Most jobs in this country came from family-owned business which hired and continue to hire their own kind. Yet white folks view the frustrations of blacks as just “acting up.” “ I never owned slaves. Why can’t they get over what’s past?”
The word ”nigger” still echoes in the burbs.

Now black folks are continuing in the American tradition of putting their hopes in economic growth and politicians.

The death-values of this culture have kept blacks and poor whites in a state of under-development and ignorance. Now that the high paying jobs of industrial society are gone, we need to go beyond middle class values and mad consumerism and develop alternative ways to live outside the mainstream. As Jimmy Boggs used to say, “We have to make a way out of no way.”

How do we make the past serve the future? We need the courage and imagination to recognize that, in our post-industrial nuclear age, just picking up the trash on your block and/or looking out for your neighbor is a revolutionary act.
.
We have to go beyond using racism, sexism, homophobia as excuses for why we can’t do anything new. As a gay white man, I know that becoming the new man of the 21st century means sharing, caring, gifting to each other.

Larry Sparks Ferndale, MI

Wars start with governments? Do they really? Is it the government that starts the war or it our willingness to buy into enmity? Is it our willingness to trust blindly or an inability/ too busy to sort through information and news independently?

One of the biggest gains of all these grassroots organizations is the spreading of a critical consciousness and awareness. The dissemination of an awareness that evades both victim mentality and go-along-with-the-program mentality.

In Detroit there is the beginnings of a cultural revolution, in that there are hundreds if not thousands of people who are taking the time to initiate discussions, create sustainable patterns of consumption, volunteer to mentor, inspire, or organize youth. We are not waiting for a minister or an individual leader to be radical enough to challenge the powers that be. We are working so that we will be organized, rebellious, and critical enough to disentangle our lives from these powers.

We’re learning how to be in sync, how to tell when we are out of sync, how to restore what is broken. Detroit has already been a destination of the Underground Railroad, a stop for those looking for freedom. How do we free the young brothers and sisters who think that killing Iraqis will ensure their freedom? How do we free the young college graduates who think that 10s of thousands of dollars of debt will secure their future? How do we free the gay brothers and sisters from demands on what love, marriage, and being a “real” man or woman is-- that often lead to physical or emotional violence? The 13th Amendment prohibits slavery except after conviction of a crime. Now prison labor is a billion dollar booming business. How do we learn to offer freedom to each other?

Part of what this grassroots activism does is nurture communities of folks who don’t just say “get rid of em” "at least it's not me" or “kill the enemy” when faced with difference or pain. It creates not only an awareness of oppression; but also, a willingness to struggle for someone else’s benefit. Today our daily lives are influenced by suburban sprawl, out-of-sight/ out of mind, and gotta-get-mines materialism, this is the necessary baseline for change. Please continue to highlight what's happening
on the ground.

I really enjoyed your interview yesterday with Mrs. Boggs. This was my first time hearing of her and her husband. I was thrilled to see this 91yr. old still mentally sharp and working towards a better America. I will do all that I can to follow her excellent path.

I was mesmerized by the grace and wisdom of Mrs Boggs. I agreed when she encouraged Bill Moyers, my favorite interviewer, to use the word rebellion rather than riot. I was in college in Detroit in 1967 and I remember that expression of frustration at the ravages unemployment and drugs had meted out to the African American community. I was also in Miami in 1980 when that tinderbox blew up over job discrimination when many felt it was ignited over police brutality.

Bill Moyers, about the disgusting display of sympathy for Scooter, I wanted to add one more thing:

Why didn't a loud cry arise for the pardoning of two Border Patrol agents Compean and Ramos?

Bush appointed US Attorney Johnny Sutton demonized and sent them to prison for 11 years for trying to stop a drug smuggler from Mexico. he also is helping the drug smuggler sue the US for his civil rights being violated.

BP Agents are fighting the war on terror too. They knew whatever was in the van he drove could have been drugs, meth, or illegal aliens OTM's here to cause more American deaths. Luckily for US it was just 800 lbs of pot.

140 BP agents have been sent to Iraq now to teach them how to defend their border.

Are they also going to teach them how to stay out of jail if they fail in an attempt to catch someone?

Bill Moyers, you are my new hero of the press! You said it so well, the deaths of our fallen, remembered on this Fathers Day. Scooter Libby Legal Defense team is headed by the Presidential hopeful Fred Thompson. He will never get my vote for being on the side of a Neocon traitor. Ron Paul is the real deal, and he saw through this Neoconspiracy to fool the public. Thank God for the freedom to speak your thoughts and ours too in your writings. I wish Scooter would be sentenced to 30 months policing the streets of Baghdad at midnight to sunrise. Then and if he survives, I will believe he is a real patriot.

The wisdom that Ms. Boggs shares with us is an ancient and spiritual wisdom practiced in many faiths. It is a fundamental part of Islam, and part of the reason the hierarchy of Christianity is scared of Islam (and must continually cut it down and make it something it is not). Islam shares the wisdom that submission, humility, and local grassroots change are the most powerful thing any person can ever do in their lives...the same exact wisdom which Ms. Boggs shared. I think its funny that so many Westerners of Christian background are just now thinking like this when Native Americans, Africans, Middle Easterners, and many, many other cultures and religions understand, as a core belief system, the power of local and individual change. When is America going to realize that Capitalism does not work (just as Communism did not work!)? Will it take the collapse of this system for people to wake up and see that the selfish, arrogant values needed to support Capitalism are hurting every single person in this country? America: WAKE UP!

I just watched the interview with Ms. Boggs online (thank you for the ability to do this, by the way). It was indeed a very uplifting interview; especially for someone like me who is embarking on my third attempt to unseat a 10 term incumbent in Congress so that we can take a fresh approach to the tremendous challenges we face. Her comment that we are the leaders we've been looking for was a "Yes!" moment for me - the wisdom and hope of the people here at home needs to be channeled up through the person elected to speak in Congress. For too long, we the people have been satisfied to let our Representatives write the script and even their own reviews. We the people know what our values are and what we value - we need to convey these to our elected officials and hold them accountable if they stray. Being a good citizen doesn't mean we all have to become political junkies. In fact, just the opposite, we need to continue to be the doers in our communities, solving problems and doing our part to to make it possible for more people (as a previous writer said here) to live a decent life. Ms. Boggs' continues to do just that; let us strive, each of us, to contribute to that larger purpose in our own ways. Her patience with humanity is inspiring.

What a stunning interview. There's no replacement for the grand sweep of time, as embraced by minds such as Ms. Boggs' and your own. Her juxtaposition of our day with the 1930s was particularly illuminating (albeit sad, from the political perspective).

It would be great to think that righteous leaders will save us by doing sensible things like capping the trade deficit and reversing tax regs that reward companies for offshoring, rather than investing and hiring here, but our bought-and-paid-for governmental system does mitigate against it. If all we can do to save ourselves is secede from the game, I hope that we can find the joy she sees in attempting to restructure our economic lives locally.

There was a similar underlying (dare I call it?) despair of leadership in the interview with Mr. Stern. Is it really impossible to hope for more than crumbs off the transnationals' table? Do we have to accept the TINA (There Is No Alternative) principle? Are there no longer any leaders willing to protect us from the greed of those who want to produce goods or acquire services wherever they like, at the least cost possible, yet continue doing business here without penalty for the defection?

When Mr. Stern made it sound like service jobs are immovable, BTW, he was way off-base. Beyond all the technological help-desk jobs already sent overseas, even we journalists are now at risk, not only from the private equity vultures but from offshoring. I read recently of two California publications that hired writers for a pittance in India.

Just wanted to say what a grassroots person feels from getting overrun by all those desires to help make things better.

I’m tired of hearing and trying to respond to a thousand calls for money and support from every candidate who puts profit ahead of the society they want to govern. Here’s a word from the HEART and SOUL of America:

Don’t just ask nice. Be nice.

Don’t just say good things. Do good things.

Or else.

The 1% who own more than the rest of us do not need me and others to vote to increase their feudal dominance over all of us in the name of freedom. They claim the right to have no one tell them what to do. They need to understand that all we want is to live a decent life without them making it impossible for anyone but them to live a decent life.

The word for living a decent life doesn’t exist.

We have to create it.

Then say it.

And live it.

Is that too much to ask?

Is living a decent life too much to do?

Today?

And tomorrow?

And tomorrow and tomorrow?

Or is the idea just completely gone now?

Not worth the time it takes to think of it,

Not worth the fatalist’s murmur,

Nor worth the cynic’s understanding,

Unworthy of even the optimist’s hope and the child’s dreams for a life that makes sense in every part of this world?

I don’t need to ask why I’m here. I already know what I am doing here and what I want to do.

I just want to ask what are you doing here?

I’m not asking “Why are you here?” But, what are you spending time doing that keeps the rest of us from doing what we want?

Are you doing it just for you or for you and the rest of us?

That’s all it would take, you know.

And we’d help you do it.

That’s right. If you wanted to make your fortune making and selling things that are useful and good in an ethical way for people pursuing decent lives we’re all for it and we’ll do what works to help you make your fortune that way.

But if you want to make your fortune by hurting others, starving others, in any way disturbing anyone else’s chances at a decent life, then we don’t want you to have that kind of fortune. In fact, we’ll work against any attempt to create such unethical, anti-humane fortunes from ever happening again.

It’s not socialism. It’s still very much capitalism. It’s just that the capitalism America and the world needs now is an enlightened capitalism.

All the millions of issues and talking points that keep swirling around are just parts of this one overriding idea. We can negotiate the small stuff, but this is the big stuff. And we all ought to agree on it.

No wars for commodities. No abuse of others for your profit. No unfairness in the way opportunity is available.

You want us to fight and die for your right to innovate and make profit? Fine. We will like we always have, but you have to remember one thing:

It’s only in fairness that we join you in this. You can have all the profit you can handle but only on things deemed worthwhile to the world and you are not allowed to take unfair advantage of anyone at any time.

We are the heart and soul of America and this is what we want for ourselves and everyone else:

Honor is the only way to conduct business, ours, yours, the town’s, state’s, and nation’s.

Equality means no one, even someone in power, has more rights than anyone else.

Affinity means, no matter our differences, we need to work together for community.

Representation is for all, from all, so all politics must start from the local to the top.

Truth is always going to come out, so we all may as well start with it to create real trust.

And

Security means social security and personal security to live calmer, better lives.

Opportunity for all gives people an even chance in life, for life.

Universality of health care and education will enable all to take that even chance.

Liberty is what this country means and every American has the right to deserve it.


Decent life.

For all of us.

We need a word for it. How can we make it fashionable in the world to do good rather than ill?

Greetings,

The best interview thus far.

we need more people like Dr. Grace Lee Boggs. Our world is on fire (fire of hatred, division, prejudice) and she is like water. I wish both Grace and Bill a healthy, prosperous, and happy life.

with kind regards to both Bill and Grace.

I met Grace 9 years ago. Because of her and the connections she has given to my family, I have traveled to Detroit 9 times to get my hands dirty in community gardens, to paint murals, to renovate abandoned houses, to dance, to meet amazing activists from Detroit to Appalachia, and to refill my spirit. One of the great things about Grace is that she is constantly looking at our cities and our world in new ways. Thank you for spotlighting her on your show.

The interview was an insightful time-capsule of grassroots leaders of the world. History begins within the great Asian and African Continents where their peoples were subjects of colonial, dictatorial or monarchical rule. I loved the respected utterance of those names of past and present.

While reading an earlier posting regarding India's colonial indenture-ship, by the way, thanks for the numbering system that we us today which was devised so long ago by a mathematical wizard of the golden era of India and the Pasha and rule that finally did in all peoples of the known world.

Then came America a couple hundred years after the establishment of international banking, the Dutch East India Co., Henry Hudson and his stolen ship log by the English. Crazy thing about petrified forest of Antarctica and tropical fossils along the Arctic rim... must have been about 65 million year ago when the earth did a 90 degree tilt correction. Oh ya... that real chill that happened some time ago and then began to recede about 15,000 years ago. DNA studies of American Natives indicate that populations West of the Great Mississippi(major width and depth as all that ice melted) are of East Asian decent and the populations East of the Mississippi are of Mediterranean (lower western Europe) decent, the early ancestors of the caucasian populace of today. Whoops. a divergence, it must have been the company man!

Ms Boggs and my business class confirmed the element of man and Power... he works for cheap or he's dead. The entities of power weighed their muskets and steel and came to be America as many died and many more came to live and thrive. From those came individuals of great innovation and invention that made their fortunes and unfortunately as Pres. Regan uttered phrases that made silver spoons and neo-con elitists trill with glee... "voodoo and trickle down economics", that made America what it is today.

Grassroots leaders of America... oh ya... the Leather Aprons(B.Franklin) of the Revolution, the slave owners and abolishionist of the Civil War era, the anarchist of the late 1800's that raged against child-labor, 12+ hour work day etcetera and women's lack of voting rights etcetera. Temperance and rights and FDR gave the people social security and the Montgomery Act; therein the Southern political body who filibustered and defeated his civil rights amendment.

After WWII the veteran went to college on the Montgomery Act, the common man got educated. The first World Oil crunch of the 50's (the Japanese thought it was the late 30's), Beatniks Rosa Parks Hippies more oil problems Vietnam Assassinations began then john bobby and martin but the off shore Camen Is. accounts and the Global thing is keeping the whip in hand of the managers and everyone's edicate; brown nosed and silver spoon wannabe... most say why not, it is the way it is and the rest manage and prosper. Real Class.

Grass Roots? The energy crunch is real and the big guts are wrangling to maintain their market and maintaining the Status Quo. The Quorums answer is the fuel cell/car and Enron crashed. Every house would become independent of the grid... Can you imagine all the additional copper that would be required for new electric vehicles throughout the world? The Hybrid is nice though I like Toyota's Low pressure solid hydrogen storage system that provides hydrogen for a modest internal combustion engine with a electric kicker.

Grass Roots is also the Quorums dilemma regarding production of hydrogen that powers the fuel cell or the hydrogen internal combustion engine. Major infrastructure for dispensing and production (Oil profits are huge lately) isn't likely anytime soon soooooo no new vehicles, got to be fructose hybrid flexible, shucks the cow can't eat cheap anymore, $5 milk anyone?

There is a saying... there is no excuse for ignorance of the law... like to the hilt... tilt, like things that most don't know. Ben invented though didnot patent a outside draw fireplace and then came the franklin stove. Nikolas Tesla invented and patented Alternating Current, its generation, transmission and transformers and fixtures to provide outlet, AC motors of many types as well analog radio that Marconi ripped off. Tesla immigrated to America and went to work for Edison who rejected Tesla's ideas. Tesla partnered with Westinghouse and Niagara... flick a switch.

Electrolysis (splitting of water into its components of hydrogen and oxygen) requires reversed osmosis H2O that is ionized (energized with electricity, sorta like electro plating) and then tank'd with anode and cathode excited by a low volt higher amp current. Gas is then captured over each of the anode and cathode one being hydrogen and the other oxygen. Then a diaphragm type capture and compression into low pressure solid hydrogen storage. See Ovonic.com and how its done,

Socialism is alive and well in America... it is all about us, it is in the constitution... We the people... though Sam likes to point and earmarks are rampant as elbow rubbing goes, it is the law/codes that has given faith in the our system and now the global economy that our invention has give so much to is importing junk agin.

The condensed conclusion is that a hydrogen economy that would require converting the present vehicles and introduction of the new model could be accomplished within a few short years. CNN ran a special denoting sheer chaos by late 2009 as the world runs out of gas.

Grassroots! Get educated and be concerned, there are a lot of businesses that need to develop in-order too proof the evolution and everyone needs to be part of the change.

Thank you for introducing me to Grace Lee Boggs. Such a fascinating and eloquent woman! The interview left me with a smile on my face and a strong desire to stop just hoping and wishing for change but to actively seek ways to help promote positive change in my own little corner of the world.

Powerful. Her words remind me of the work and spirit of many in Louisiana and Mississippi rebuilding their lives one day at a time. Many are participating in a civic engagement for the very first time. This story confirms the reality and the need for reaffirmation of courage, conviction, and wisdom of everyday people. Gracie epitomizes Hope.

Grace is inspiring. The world needs more great thinkers. As a Sociology graduate, I love to hear what the activists of the world have to say. As she said, we are the leaders we have been looking for. It's easy to make small changes with big impacts. These may be the key of the shift in our world. Grace offers a positive message we can all benefit from no matter what background we come from.
Thank you for introducing me to Grace.

This is the Best story on the Journal to date! Thank you for sharing Grace's involvement with the social justice movement. I hope to continue advocating at 91 =) very touching

Thanks to the journal for bringing Grace Lee Boggs to the screen. Grace asserts that there is a need for us to construct a new kind of leader(ship). Might this form of leadership be the emergence of the dialogical leader? That is, a leader who's primary conviction is to create space for the voice of all to be heard? Might this be the better understanding of a leader in lieu of what we, by being passive, continue to allow -- that is the non-dialogical projections of a few priviledged individuals? How would things be different if we decided to be served by a dialogical leader?

It just baffles me why grace and bill crying
about Outsourcing, are jobs for americans only.
So you want the world to buy your crap.
So why did America fight so hard against communism,
in order to sell your crap to us. Weill if you
want to sell your crap then your companies have
to open factories over here. it is that simple.
Did Indians cry when britain stole cotton
from India and produced clothing in their mills.
obviously they couldn't compete 400 years ago.
Did Indians cry that you are taking our jobs
when britain setup sugar plantations all over
the world using Indian labor. This hypocrisy
is so thick it is not even funny.
I can give additional examples if you are not aware
of what happened to us. What East India Company did
to us, We are just using your tactic to give back.
It is called competition. You guys sure use to
lecture us on how the brown people weren't smart, etc.

As far as I am concerned West has emitted CO2 for 150 years.
and now are asking India and China to not pollute
simple solution is to give reparations to China
and India after all you stole our jobs first.

Grace Lee Boggs simply wants us to understand that the answers to the problems we perceive as insurmountable and that too often anaesthetize our good intentions do not and cannot come from those in positions of power. Rather, Ms. Boggs asks us to look inside ourselves and to our own communities for those answers. Thanks, Bill Moyers, for introducing us to a remarkable woman whose profound wisdom comes not just from the experience of years but from passion for and belief in the human spirit.

Wayne Saray
Montreal, Quebec

Thank you for introducing me to Grace Lee Boggs, someone I had not heard of but wish I had much sooner than now. I felt so motivated to provoke a "change" in my little community.... to rise up and say, "No more of remaining quiet!" I especially liked it when she said we must not look to those in government as leaders....but to each of us among the grassroots. Absolutely! "We the people..."

i could not agree more. and until ms.boggs'segment on bill moyers' journal, i thought i was the only one who was seeing (and feeling) the disconnection, isolation, and resourceless-ness.

ms.boggs is right. it is time for fundamental change within ourselves.

the "me" generation must give way to the "we" generation.

this will take some re-education and re-awakening from our all- consuming consuming.

we must re-learn to listen to each other. we must re-learn to talk face to face rather than screen to screen. we must reconnect human to human again even if it's in the grocery store line, at the bus stop, at a community meeting to get a red light at the corner.

i believe that only then will we regain some balance, some sense of self determination, some sense of control, in our society and in our lives.

Grace Lee Boggs is remarkable. Have never heard of her. Thanks for the interview which makes me think of Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea)who responded to the need of a remote Pakistani village and began building schools for girls, one stone at a time.

Thanks so much for the wonderful and in-depth interview with Grace Lee Boggs and for introducing me to such a fascinating and brilliant woman. To hear her speak with such conviction and optimism about the future was a great lift, and to know that she is still working hard to make our country a better place was very inspiring.

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