March 2020 TGCI Blog Post By Reid Friedson, PhD
Note: This piece has been reproduced here with permission
How to Heal with Revolutionary Love
In Revolutionary Love: A Political Manifesto to Heal and Transform the World (2019), Rabbi Michael Lerner draws upon useful lessons of psychotherapy and social theory revealed in the writings of Marcuse, Fromm, Gilligan, and a long line of scholar activists.
Lerner wants you to know you are a first-class citizen of the world with a sacred duty to heal hearts, minds, souls, society, and the planet with revolutionary love. Such a loving society may have not yet existed, but it can with a plan and Lerner has one.
Rabbi Lerner tells us we must learn to listen and empathize with far more than ego and material desire or it will be too late for us and the planet. We face an apocalyptic psychological and spiritual crisis, but there is a solution if we harmonize, transform, and liberate our internal thoughts and external actions to shake self and societally imposed prison walls we all face.
If we are to truly lead ourselves to the Promised Land, we must take a closer look at how we treat ourselves, others, and our environments. Love and justice must guide us not fear and domination. In a world of deep pain and violence, we must respect all people who are hungry for love. Global generosity is the only way to transcend the crippling dynamics of depression and oppression. You are somebody as Our Revolution President Nina Turner would say. Don’t forget.
We need a spiritual, moral, cultural, political, and economic revolution to turn us from the dark path of climate change extinction. Universal consciousness diffuses across time and space and we have the power to transform environmental toxins into sustainable products whose essences are not hidden like the dictated details of a bad business deal. The competitive capitalist marketplace can be replaced by innovative social cooperatives. Sharing is caring and so today the Next System Project, for example, is working to build community wealth thru the Democratic Collaborative.
Visionary founder of the Jewish Renewal Movement and editor of Tikkun magazine, Rabbi Learner invokes the ancient Hebrew mantra tikkun olam which means “heal yourself and the world.” This is what mystical leaders such as Buddha, Jesus, Gandhi, and Rabbis Abraham Joshua Herschel (pictured above with the Rev. Dr. King), and Zalman Schacter-Shalomi taught. Their lessons must never be forgotten. Their teachings are carried on today by leaders of the People such as Bernie Sanders and Rabbi Michael Lerner. Senator Sanders has stated when he becomes president his Administration will be governed by “love and compassion.”
Globalization of greed rapes and destroys Mother Earth at breakneck speed. America must lead humanity from corrupt Establishment practices. Our new “bottom line,” as Lerner calls it, must democratize economics and politics for workers and the poor thru a guaranteed annual income and real universal health care for all. We must return to our roots and extend to the world the awe-inspiring branches of the sacred Tree of Life. Let the holistic Jubilee of international worker solidarity and a 28-hour workweek revive and let the abuses of what Lerner calls the Great Deprivation end.
Demonstrating a strong backbone and a prophetic voice, Harlem preacher and author James Baldwin famously said as a descendant of slaves he criticized his country America because he loved it so. We must not just criticize but repair and transform our landscape thru the exercise of soul power. We must inform ourselves, our politics, and our systems of governance about the power of love and justice. We are all God’s children.
Our best practice now is to implement strategies that prioritize liberty and democracy over tyranny and oligarchy. We must now develop a cooperative and caring legal system based on truth, healing, and protection. Decriminalize what does not hurt others and protect the hungry, the homeless, the powerless, and the refugee as Rabbis Hillel and Jesus taught their disciples in Israel and Palestine.
What we need now is to build the Network of Spiritual Progressives thru electronic committees of correspondence. History can be positively prophetic if we learn to empathize but not emphasize selfishness. Love prefers to give not take. Just as it is prophetically written in the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls, the Sons and Daughters of Light shall overcome the Sons of Darkness. True information is one form of light. The true bright light of love always ultimately overcomes and shines brighter than hate.
One vital strategy Rabbi Lerner, a leader in the anti-war and civil rights movements, proposes now is a detailed Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the United Constitution (ESRA). Its components are simple. Money is not speech. Corporations are not people. Elections must be publicly funded. Corporations would be governed in part by employees and environmental justice organizations. The ESRA involves teaching environmental sustainability, peace, non-violence, empathy, and compassion at all levels of a free education system. A guaranteed annual living wage income and affordable housing for the majority are necessary. No more corporate state socialism for the 1%. Lerner’s ideas are being legislated by social democrats in the 116th United States Congress including Senator Bernie Sanders and proponents of the Green New Deal which I started publicly writing about beginning in January of 2009 when President Obama took office.
Under selfish and integrity lacking President Trump, his law-breaking crime family, and crime ring, America has lost the respect of the world. Stop putting children in concentration camp cages. Stop violating indigenous rights and the rights of Nature and People. Return to your guiding documents, the Declaration of Independence and Constitution America. This nation must now resurrect itself and return to an ancient promise we have forsaken. In Lerner’s words, we are “members of prophetic empathy tribes” who must convert even our harshest ideological opponents across the globe without shame or blame. This is not easy and takes great focus and discipline. Eyes on the prize.
Be true to what you said on paper America. History is watching if we are to save the American Dream and the life system of Earth for future generations to come. Mystics tell us to practice teshuva which means in Hebrew “living the vision of one’s highest good.” Do this regularly with powerful loving intuition, methodical logic, and generous altruism and you will heal yourself and the world. All the Earth is God’s and we are only Lerner reminds us from Torah temporary sojourners here but our words and actions are eternal. We are One. Tikkun olam.
Reid Friedson, PhD (Comparative Religion & Holistic Counseling) edited the Bernie Sanders for President (2016) National Organizing Guides and he is a founding member of Our Revolution. Dr. Friedson was Visiting Scholar in Law and History at Oxford University. A former James Madison Memorial Foundation Constitutional History Scholar at George Mason University and an ACLU Public Educator on Capitol Hill, Dr. Friedson authored the proposed Corporations Are Not People and Money is Not Speech Amendment to the Florida Constitution (2018). Dr. Friedson is a Cornell University Adjunct Faculty Alliance Reformer for a Democratic Union and he edits training guides for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).