24 May 2013

My talk in Baltimore

Stephen Roblin is a Baltimore-based activist and writer. He is a member of the Indypendent Reader collective and the International Organization for a Participation Society (IOPS). He recorded the talk I gave at Red Emma's collective bookstore in Baltimore on April 16, 2013. Watch it here.

01 May 2013

Stumping for Economic Democracy and Prout

What an incredible trip! During 30 days I gave 31 talks in 26 cities in the Eastern United States. The usual theme was "Economic Democracy in Latin America and the United States." I am deeply grateful that the Supreme kept my 60-year-old body going on all the bus and train rides, carting heavy books in my bags.

I got the chance to speak on 10 college campuses: Washington and Lee University, Lynchburg College, Radford University, Virginia Tech, Warren Wilson College, University of Delaware, Washington University, University of Maine, New York University and the State University of New York at Geneseo. The students filled me with hope. At the end I asked what their "take-aways" were from the presentation. Common replies were:
"I didn't know all the positive things that are happening in Venezuela..."
"I learned how successful cooperatives are in Venezuela and the United States..."
"I liked Sarkar's three ways to respond to injustice: silence, reform and revolution..."
"The connection between spirituality and social change seems very important..."
"Now I'm inspired to meditate regularly..."

I also spoke at six and a half co-ops: Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op, the Richmond Food Co-op (just starting up), Newark Bike Project, Down to Earth Food Co-op, Circle Yoga Studio, Red Emma's Cooperative Bookstore and Wooden Shoe Books.

The same message about economic democracy I broadcast in five radio interviews: with Clark Webb on Sunny Gardner's "Lightly on the Ground" in Richmond (WRIR), with Mirra Price on Jeff Messer's "The Revolution" in Asheville (880AM), on "Occupied Territories" with Mike Fedder (PRN.FM), and on WGXC in Hudson, (both in English and in Spanish).

Three articles were published during the tour:
1) the War Resisters League WIN Magazine featured a long review of After Capitlalism in their Spring issue, along with my reply.
2) An in depth interview with The Tartan, Radford University's student-run newspaper.
3) "Latin America Notes and Sister City News" of Blacksburg, VA.

I had a LOT of fun leading five cooperative games workshops: in Asheville, Rockville, at the Peace House in Washington DC, at Washington University, and at the new Master Unit in Cairo, NY. I was able to try out some new activities for the next book I'm writing about Cooperative Games.

What were my personal highlights? Screaming my head off while sledding in the Radford snow, swinging on the Warren Wilson College campus, cooking and bottling maple syrup on Germantown Community Farm, sharing my passion for Prout and economic democracy with young and old, recruiting volunteers who want to come to Venezuela, watching the faces of seven individuals who learned a personal meditation mantra, seeing old friends, making many new ones, spending quality time with my traveling companions Clark Webb (first week) and Brian Landever, a former PRIVEN intern (last week).

What were the hardest things for me? Receiving no income some days because college students almost never buy books or make donations. Traveling almost every day. Long waits in Greyhound bus terminals at night. Of course, none of these were as bad as I feared.

How you can help?
Buy books or make a donation at www.aftercapitalism.org.
Volunteer at the Prout Research Institute of Venezuela!
Write a short or long review of "After Capitalism: Economic Democracy in Action" and post it online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, LibraryThing or any other site.
Contact a radio station and set up a telephone interview for me. (I can send a list of potential questions, and you can tell the station that I can phone them from Venezuela, so they don't have to make an international call.)

What are my future plans? Typing up the several hundred emails of people who want to stay connected. Designing exciting Prout courses. Publishing my book in Spanish. Writing a book on cooperative games.

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to many friends who helped organize programs and who opened their homes to me: Clark Webb & Phyllis Albritton, Alan McRae & Maggie Barton, Debi Ratliff of the Goshen Public Library, James McCullum, Tyler Dickovick, Richmond Friends' Meetinghouse, Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op, Glen Martin & Phyllis Turk, Janaka & Kasturi Casper, Jeshua Pacifici, Laura George of the Oracle Institute, Mirra Price, Anirvan & Uma, Leah Lekich, James Steen, Vishvamitra, John Gross, Felicia Katsilis, Alan Rosen, Dr. Steve Landau, Tapan & Deepa Mallik, Vyasa and the Shanti Yoga community, Dada Vishvarupananda, Randy Goldberg, Nadine Bloch, Andrew Batcher, Feriha Ka, the Peace House community, Annie Mahon, Bette Hoover, Red Emma's staff, Michael Fox, Prakash & Devanistha Laufer, Jonathan McCullum, Audrey Maddox, Fred & Dayabati Wirth, Alex Hall, Kyle Barron, the NACLA staff, Diego & Luciana Esteche, Wiley of Philadelphia, Wooden Shoe Books staff, Brian Landever, Lars Mazolla & Jane Morse, Michael & Loret Steinberg, Briana Gilmore and the Social Justice Center of Albany, Bruce McEwen, Cory Hoffman-Fischer, Sarah Falkner and Dada Rainjitananda.

I concluded every talk and interview with the need for a revolution based on love, and the advice to "follow your bliss." May true happiness and peace be always with you.

Dada Maheshvarananda