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Empowered people can be mighty force

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Things are changing. Most of us are aware of globalization, of climate change, of new social norms and scientific advances that change our lives.

But alas, a change is occurring that has not yet been fully recognized by our leaders, but that can change our world. It’s the empowerment of people everywhere.

Methods to empowerment are still evolving. The widespread availability of weapons has perhaps been the obvious and first method chosen. Weapons have been used to attain redress from situations no longer felt to be acceptable, situations of repression and discrimination, for example.

Unfortunately, this has led to much suffering and distress that often outweighs the hoped-for results. People responding in this way are called terrorists; nations responding to them call their actions “the war on terror.”

Other methods are nonviolent movements: street protests, outspoken support for just causes, takeover of buildings and meetings, civil disobedience.

People responding in this way are called activists. This movement is growing. As yet, world leaders have not awakened to its power. Examples are far-reaching.

The people of East Crimea took to the streets. They expressed their wishes through a referendum that world leaders have called illegal. The people of East Ukraine boldly spoke out against the coup-installed interim government of Ukraine in support of what they want, and they too have scheduled a referendum. Asked by Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, to postpone this referendum, they have not yielded.

World leaders futilely and foolishly impose sanctions upon Russia as if Russia has influence in these situations. Their real motivation is obvious: an opportunity to advance their own ends – economic and military power.

In 2012 the people of the Middle East rose up in an Arab Spring against corrupt and repressive leaders. The people of African nations are also revolting against their inept and often cruel leaders. These movements have left world leaders in a quandary, and they have not known how to respond.

Unfortunately, their half-responses have been, for the most part, faulty and regressive. Stability and a friendly regime have been their main considerations.

The movement has come to Albuquerque. This is isn’t new.

Albuquerque has had an Occupy/UnOccupy movement. For years there have been street demonstrations and rallies, meetings and actions on behalf of various causes and against injustices, but with little or no effect upon the powers-that-be.

This police situation is different. The frequent and indiscriminate shooting of persons, many of whom are mentally ill, has aroused the general population. The May 5 action at the City Council meeting got nationwide publicity. It was necessary, it was peaceful, it was organized, it was effective.

With continued public pressure, perhaps something will change.

The lesson of our times is that people are starting to demand change. They have hoped and asked and fought for it in the past, but a nonviolent movement is taking shape that is a better way, and it can be successful.

It depends upon the education of the people to the truth about local and world situations, to organizing for change nonviolently and to understanding by the people that change will not come from above. It is up to them to join together and exert people power.

There are many local, national, and world problems. All of these affect us as individuals so we must all be part of the movement for change.

It’s time to tell our local, national and world leaders to wake up! Not just for ourselves, but for providing a better world to future generations.

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