Hold It All

Tag: Ale Vazquez

Thinking for Oneself (and Then There’s the “More Sophisticated”)

The audience I try to reach, and to some limited extent do reach, is a different one: partly, activists of a less doctrinaire sort than the mainstream liberal intelligentsia and sectarian Marxists, partly the kind of general interested audience that one finds everywhere: around universities (primarily students), church groups, and so on.

I’m not trying to convert, but to inform. I don’t want people to believe me, any more than they should believe the party line I’m criticizing—academic authority, the media, the overt state propagandists, or whatever. In talks and in print, I try to stress what I think is true: that with a little willingness to explore and use one’s mind, it is possible to discover a good deal about the social and political world that is generally hidden. I feel that I’ve achieved something if people are encouraged to take up this challenge and learn for themselves.

There are a vast number of people who are uninformed and heavily propagandized, but fundamentally decent. The propaganda that inundates them is effective when unchallenged, but much of it goes only skin deep. If they can be brought to raise questions and apply their decent instincts and basic intelligence, many people quickly escape the confines of the doctrinal system and are willing to do something to help others who are really suffering and oppressed.

This is naturally less true of better-educated and “more sophisticated” (that is, more effectively indoctrinated) groups who are both the agents and often the most deluded victims of the propaganda system.

—Noam Chomsky,”The Manufacture of Consent,” 1983, Language and Politics, 389

Ale Vázquez

Advertisements

Disponibilidade

I first learned this Portuguese word from Mev, when she worked in Brazil among so many radical, radiant Christians. Here’s how she defined it in her book, The Struggle Is One: “a disposition of openness in which one is accessible, available and willing to be inconvenienced by the needs or requests of another person or event.”

This came back to mind this morning as I was reading a column by James Mustich, whose recent book, 1000 Books To Read before You Die: A Life-Changing List I browse almost daily. Here’s the pertinent citation he makes from Sarah Bakewell’s At the Existentialist Café:

In his essay, “On the Ontological Mystery,” written in 1932 and published in the fateful year of 1933, [Gabriel] Marcel wrote of the human tendency to become stuck in habits, received ideas, and a narrow-minded attachment to possessions and familiar scenes. Instead he urged his readers to develop a capacity for remaining “available” to situations as they arise. Similar ideas of disponibilité or availability had been explored by other writers, notably André Gide, but Marcel made it his essential existential imperative. He was aware of how rare and difficult it was. Most people fall into what he calls “crispation”: a tensed, encrusted shape in life — “as though each one of us secreted a kind of shell which gradually hardened and imprisoned him.”

May we daily discover the wonders of being available for others.

 

Ale Vazquez

It Was Love at First Haiku

Maria told me to contact you
When you were fresh back from El Salvador

And perhaps needing another shoulder to lean on
After re-entering this meshugah militarized greed culture

There we sat at a table
At Café Ventana

And soon you spread before me
Your final project from the previous semester

You stayed up all night to do it
It had to be that way

Had to cut through the sleepiness
To pour out all that had accumulated—

On each page a water color by you
And a special photo

And a haiku on one page in Spanish
And on the facing page your translation into English Read the rest of this entry »

Give Myself Away

I want to give myself to everyone in this class
(But what if they’ve had enough of your tie-dyed mind?)

I want to give myself to Lindsay
(Who welcomes my odd perspectives on Jesus)
Express with fervor my conviction that by the time she’s 30
She can have a book published that could interfere
With the speed sickness of These States

I want to give myself to Cristina
She took one step toward me
So I’ll take seven toward her
She’s curious about this whole writing and poem-making thing
OK let’s dive right ito it
Meet every other week
Alternating cafés or smokey bars (are there any left?)
Or on the North Kingshighway bus or just outside Saks Fifth Avenue Read the rest of this entry »

Reading Dear Layla/1

Ale Vázquez texted me the following photos and comments

I understand this and feel it

like an aching in my spine Read the rest of this entry »

Gratitude/728

This weekend is commencement
Each day is commencement
Each hour is commencement

I’ve known you
Twenty months
May I know you twenty more

What spirit you manifest!
So many creative powers–
Poetry, art, organizing

Your being is blessing
Your journey is accompaniment
Your career is la lucha por la justicia y la belleza

Share the Wealth This Sunday with Ale Vázquez and Vitina Pestello

For our next Share the Wealth gathering, Ale and Vitina will share their experiences working with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Fair Food Program.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Fair Food Program is a unique partnership among farmers, farmworkers, and retail food companies that ensures humane wages and working conditions for the workers who pick fruits and vegetables on participating farms. It harnesses the power of consumer demand to give farmworkers a voice in the decisions that affect their lives, and to eliminate the longstanding abuses that have plagued agriculture for generations.

The Program has been called “the best workplace-monitoring program” in the US in the New York Times, and “one of the great human rights success stories of our day” in the Washington Post, and has won widespread recognition for its unique effectiveness from a broad spectrum of human rights observers, from the United Nations to the White House.” Read the rest of this entry »

My Purpose Now

My purpose now is to honor the written word
It’s what I’m drawn to
Example:
Invited Maggie to come Sunday night
Do a spoken-word for us
in her own emotional tone

Example: Told Katie Murphy to collect her stirring and sparkling break-up poems
Send to me by Mardi Gras
She did
As a book in PDF
It must be published!!!!
I’ve shared it with three people already this week Read the rest of this entry »

Share the Wealth: “Quiero ver” (Let me see), with Ale Vazquez

“There are many things that can only be seen through eyes that have cried.”
Oscar A. Romero

I will be reflecting on a semester in El Salvador during which I learned how to love others and love myself through the relentless bombardment of unconditional love and hugs. I’ll be reflecting, also, on the teachings of Oscar Romero in light of the anniversary of his martyrdom (March 24) and how they became a large part of my understanding of accompanying the poor.  On paper, I am third-year student at Saint Louis University studying Public Health and international studies. In reality, I spend a lot of time doodling, writing poems, and reminiscing on those Salvadorans who changed the lens through which I see the world.

Join us
Sunday 23 March
Potluck begins at 6:00 p.m.
Ale begins sharing at 6:45
At Sophia House
4547 Gibson Avenue
Forest Park Southeast
63110

Ale Mev

One Thought after Another

Did K’s friend commit suicide in California?
Were Courtney and Lindsay just now talking about Colleen? (You eavesdropper!)
Will someone read aloud tonight and pop the balloon?
Am I going to write another anaphoral litany?
Aren’t you glad you got permission –and for free–to use Abbie Hoffman story in Dear Layla?
How will Lindsay N. fare in Paducahville?
What trouble is now going on in the streets of Caracas? Read the rest of this entry »