Mentshes/4

Andrew, on the left, with Benny

Share the Wealth with Andrew Wimmer:
Julian Assange in Conversation with John Pilger

“You have to start with the truth. The truth is the only way we can get anywhere. Because any decision-making that is based upon lies or ignorance can’t lead to a good conclusion.”
–Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks

In the last several years, my friend Andrew Wimmer has paid close attention to the work of Wikileaks and the subsequent arrest of Bradley Manning as well as the threats against Julian Assange.

We invite you to join us this Sunday 13 January to view a recent interview with Julian Assange by veteran journalist John Pilger at Andrew’s home (4542 Gibson Avenue, 63110). Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 p.m., and the interview begins at 6.40, with discussion to follow.

Please bring a friend!

Mark

Some background:

Julian Paul Assange (born 3 July 1971) is an Australian publisher, and internet activist. He is best known as the spokesperson and editor-in-chief for WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website. Before working with the website, he was a physics and mathematics student as well as a computer programmer. He has lived in several countries and has told reporters he is constantly on the move. He makes irregular public appearances to speak about freedom of the press, censorship, and investigative reporting; he has also won several journalism awards for his work with WikiLeaks.

Assange founded the controversial WikiLeaks website in 2006 and serves on its advisory board. In this capacity, he has received widespread public attention for his role in the release of classified material documenting the involvement of the United States in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. On 28 November 2010, WikiLeaks and its five media partners began publishing the United States diplomatic cables leak.

The following is from John Pilger’s website:

The attacks on WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, are a response to an information revolution that threatens old power orders, in politics and journalism.

The incitement to murder trumpeted by public figures in the United States, together with attempts by the Obama administration to corrupt the law and send Assange to a hell hole prison for the rest of his life, are the reactions of a rapacious system exposed as never before.

The US Justice Department has established a secret grand jury just across the river from Washington in the eastern district of the state of Virginia. The object is to indict Julian Assange under a discredited espionage act used to arrest peace activists during the first world war, or one of the war on terror conspiracy statutes that have degraded American justice.

Judicial experts describe the jury as a deliberate set up, pointing out that this corner of Virginia is home to the employees and families of the Pentagon, CIA, Department of Homeland Security and other pillars of American power.

Share the Wealth:
Soldiers’ Stories

There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you. -Zora Neale Hurston

Last July at Fatimas’s, Christine Wallach did a Share the Wealth on her father’s experiences in World War II. She read aloud letters he had written his parents when he was a young marine in the Pacific theater. Her sharing was profound, heart-breaking, and all too contemporary.

We–Andrew Wimmer, Suzanne Renard and I– took notice of a recent announcement by the Boeing Company of its promotion of “Soldiers’ Stories video gallery, which features male and female veterans describing their experiences in service.” The stories will focus on “courage, commitment and sacrifice.”

We are considering a local project in response to Boeing’s narrative partnership with the Army. We invite you to gather with us to explore the permissible range of soldiers’ stories.

Sunday 12 January
This week our Potluck dinner begins at 5:30
Sharing/discussion begin at 6:15 till 7:30
At Andrew’s home
Gibson Avenue
(Across the street from Sophia House)
Forest Park Southeast
63110

Share the Wealth with Andrew Wimmer:
“Where Can I Invest My Life?”

As a young graduate student, I had the good fortune to be exposed to the thinking of Bernard Lonergan. Lonergan, who died in the mid-eighties, was a Canadian Jesuit philosopher and theologian. Many of my teachers had been students of Lonergan, and through them I had my eyes and heart opened by what Lonergan called his “method.”

There is a certain mystique around the man, often lauded as the finest philosophical mind of the twentieth century, etc., etc. But he wasn’t interested in any of that, and said simply of his big work Insight, that it is “a way of asking people to discover in themselves what they are.”

And what we are, he believed, are creatures born with “a pure and unrestricted desire to know.” A desire that gets thwarted, screwed up, and shut down in all sorts of ways, but which always wells back up in us in the form of questions.

As we’re bombarded by propaganda (and so-called fake news) from every direction, we might find ourselves asking, “How the heck can I know what’s really going on?” “How can I evaluate the competing narratives?” and “What can I do about anything?” or “Where can I invest my life?”

These are Lonergan’s questions. And he offers a concrete, practical, and I would argue life-changing way of moving through them, beginning with his first precept “Be attentive!”

Lonergan taught that self-discovery demands considerable individual responsibility and that honest care for the world is always rooted in self-transcendence. “Concern for the future supposes rare moral attainment,” he wrote, “It calls for what Christians name heroic charity.”

I will enjoy sharing how Lonergan has shaped my own thinking and being, and look forward to seeing how each of you responds to what he has to say.

Join us
Sunday 24 March
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 p.m.
Andrew begins sharing at 6:45
4400 Arco Avenue

Share the Wealth with Andrew Wimmer–
The Solar: A Bridge from Here to There

A decade ago I began reading and thinking in a more focused way about the economy. About money and how it works — and how it could and should work.

I would like you to join me for a conversation that is part theoretical but mostly practical. I’d like to share my plans for a building in the Forest Southeast neighborhood that I have begun to rehab and transform into an inviting space where we can work together on envisioning and creating the new. I’m calling it The Solar in part because I’ve put solar panels on the roof but mostly because I’m looking forward to living together in the warmth of the sun!

Some of the ideas for the space are classroom, art gallery, music venue, neighborhood cafe, library, theater, shared work space, conversation/organizing space. I’d like to hear your thoughts. And as far as money goes, I’d like to introduce you to the notion of public banking and the role a public bank could play in transforming life for all of us in St. Louis.

Join us Sunday 4 March
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 pm
Andrew begins sharing at 6:45
At the home of Susan Clark
St Louis, MO
63105

1077 South Newstead, Forest Park Southeast

December 10 Sunday Share the Wealth with Andrew Wimmer:
Reckoning with Torture

In November 2005, Stop Torture Now, a project of the Center for Theology and Social Analysis in St. Louis, delivered a Peoples’ Indictment against Aero Contractors and the commissioners of the Johnston County airport in North Carolina from which Aero operated extraordinary rendition flights to Guantanamo and CIA black sties. We dubbed Aero’s operation the Torture Taxi.

Watch for two minutes to get a sense of what Aero was involved in.

A dozen years later, and after sustained work by a dedicated group in North Carolina, The North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture held a two-day hearing before a board of commissioners with witnesses from around the world, including those who were rendered, psychologists, military interrogators, international legal investigators, and journalists.

Take a look at the NCCIT website to see the scope of their work.

The question on everyone’s mind and the one voiced repeatedly throughout the two days of hearings was “And now what do we do?”

The commissioners have been given the task of writing a report and action plan within the next six months. They want to hear from all of us during that time.

Come this Sunday 10 December to hear some of the key moments from the two-day hearing, including a remote testimony from Mohamedou Slahi, only recently released from Guantånamo after twelve years of detention.

Potluck begins at 6:00 pm
Andrew begins sharing at 6:45
At Andrew’s home
Arendes Drive
St. Louis, MO 63116

Share the Wealth with Andrew Wimmer:
Practicing Loving Kindness Meditation

I’m looking forward to talking with other meditators about my recent introduction to Loving Kindness Meditation as taught by Bahnte Vimalaramsi during a ten-day retreat at the Dhamma Sukah Meditation Center in southern Missouri. I began meditating in 1973 when I was introduced to Transcental Meditation and made what seemed like a natural transition to Centering Prayer (as taught by Basil Pennington and Thomas Keating) during the twelve years I spent living as a Benedictine monk. I have continued with that form of meditation ever since, waxing and waning in my faithfulness to it over the years. On the first night of the retreat I was struck by two seemingly simple tweaks offered by Bahnte Vimalaramsi’s Loving Kindness method that led to a radical transformation for me. I’d like to share the merit of my experience with you. No background in Buddhism is needed, and the conversation will be quite practical.

Andrew Wimmer’s years as a Benedictine monk included time teaching seventh graders in St. Louis, working in a parish in Nicaragua, and pursuing doctoral studies in Boston. He taught courses in social justice and peacemaking at St. Louis University and has written about and organized nonviolent opposition to U.S. use of torture. He’s the father of two sons in their 20s and lives in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood.

Join us!
Sunday 29 October
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 pm
Andrew begins sharing at 6:45
At the home of Christine Wallach
Fenton, MO
63026

Share the Wealth with Andrew Wimmer:
Re-envisioning the 2020 Election

It’s one of the great fortunes of my life to have regular discussions on things that matter with Andrew Wimmer. Recently, he has shared with me some intriguing perspectives on the 2020 election that I think are worthy of community consideration and discussion, especially given the gravity of our national and global situation. Come hear Andrew’s vision and add your insight to the mix…

Join us Sunday 8 September
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 p.m.
Andrew starts sharing at 6:45
At his home—4400 Arco

Finished!

Saturday 1 August 2015

Dear Hermano,

So I finished a novel, ain’t trained or certified to do so, but what the hell. Kerouac: “Something you feel will find its own form.” You assisted me in all kinds of ways, some conscious maybe, mostly unconscious. We inter-are.

Don’t let Nava know that it exists. She’d high-tail it on a 747 all the way from Haifa just to come to Chouteau and kick my ass, probably saying, “OF ALL MY EXPLOITS, why did you choose something so minuscule? THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER SHINING MOMENTS YOU SHOULD HAVE PUT IN THERE! !!!!!!!!!”

Once again, I am Ugarte and you are Rick Blaine. Though many will despise me, I know you won’t.

Sure, why not let Left Bank Books know it exists, they’re like everybody else, wanting to make another buck in this infernal system. Maybe it’d be easier for the 42 people in St. Louis who’d be interested.

People ask me if I’m “excited” that the book is done. Like you said about Mev tome (“it’s full of death”), Dear Layla is full of misery. Shoulda read way more Henny Youngmann and less Chomsky. Kerouac, again: “Write for the world to read and see yr exact picture of it.” You also said there was a lot of joy in Mev tale, and there is a lot of quiet dignity and radical adhesiveness (thanks, Walt) in this one.

In the grand Buddha scheme of things, this book is a dewdrop, a bubble, a flash of lightning.This is what I could do. So I did it.

Mark

This page is part of my book, Dear Love of Comrades, which you can read here.

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