Anne Feeney

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November 2011 - Anne Feeney's Fellow Travelers' Advisory - VOLUME SEVEN, #7

I love it when you write back.  Please understand that right now my energy level is so low that I may not respond... but I usually respond!
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Harare, Zimbabwe!
People's Music Network Winter Gathering - Lawrence, MA - Jan 27-29, 2010

Fellow Travelers' Holiday Shopping Advisory
Link of the Month
Family News
Jailed for Justice
Occupy America!

Hi Folks-

The last time I wrote to you was October 1st...  If I had let November slip away without writing to you, it would have been the first time I missed a month in 91 months!  But, I have never been so exhausted in my life.  I'm working with an endocrinologist to figure out how to wake up my sleeping adrenal system.  In the meantime, I'm a bald version of Sleeping Beauty.

I wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you, that I'm incredibly grateful for your friendship, love and support, and I'm hoping that your year ends up well and is followed by a better year for us all...

Holiday Shopping Advisory

A lot of you will be out shopping, and ordering gifts online... so here are my holiday shopping tips -

Please, don't shop at Amazon this year.  You may have already seen some of the horror stories emanating from the Amazon warehouse in Breinigsville, PA.  It's not a very good place to work. For example, during summer heat waves, Amazon arranged to have paramedics parked in ambulances outside, ready to treat the many workers who dehydrated or suffered other forms of heat stress. Those who couldn't quickly cool off and return to work were sent home or taken out in stretchers and wheelchairs and transported to area hospitals. And new applicants were ready to begin work at any time.

If you want to read more:

So... If you're buying books this holiday season, let me enthusiastically recommend Powell's books in Portland. They have an inventory to rival Amazon's *and* the workers are happy members of the ILWU - a great union. Use this link to shop at the world's best union bookstore!  

And while I'm at it, let me recommend my pal Bill Adler's wonderful book "The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times and Legacy of Joe Hill. (

And if you're buying music, let me recommend  -  They have a great collection of music and you can rest assured that you, the artists, and their employees will treated very well.  And my music makes a great gift for the activists in your life! - the direct link to my music there is  - and Roy Zimmerman( , Chris Chandler (, Four Shillings Short (, Lou and Peter Berryman (  and Evan Greer ( all have new releases. 

The amazing Bev Grant is working on a new CD..  and there are sooooo many other great artists out there - Charlie King and Karen Brandow, Rebel Voices, David Rovics, Si Kahn, John McCutcheon, Kim and Reggie Harris, Magpie, Dan Bern, Anais Mitchell, Nick Annis, Brian QTN, Laura Love, Joey Only, Jan Hammarlund, Emma's Revolution, Len Wallace, Connie Cohen, Jim Page, Joe Jencks, Peggy Seeger, Tom Paxton, Utah Phillips and don't stop there!

And see how much of your spending you can keep in your own community - supporting local artisans, massage therapists, restaurants... why not give your friends gift certificates to local merchants, locally owned health clubs ... or make a contribution to a local charity.

Saoirse on his first picket line at American Crystal Sugar 

And I hope some of you will remember the locked out workers at American Crystal Sugar as you plan your holiday giving.  They've been without a paycheck since August 1st - and the hard-hit workers of North Dakota (a right-to-work state... that's the right to work without benefits...) are unable to collect unemployment benefits because North Dakota considers a lockout to be the equivalent of a strike.  I visited the picket line of these determined workers in October - They are very deserving of your support... They are members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco and Grain Millers' union, Local 167G

BCTGM Relief Fund
c/o Local 167G
100 N 3rd Street - Suite 50
Grand Forks, ND 58203

Or do two good things at once by donating to a local charity, or the locked out workers at American Crystal Sugar, or School of the Americas Watch (  in honor of a friend...

Link of the Month

If you could use a belly laugh, enjoy Debbie Reynolds singing "If I Had a Hammer" - it's pretty surreal... 

Family News

I spent a month in Sweden with my wonderful husband, although I slept through most of it because of this adrenal dysfunction I'm dealing with.  He was so thoughtful and wonderful - and we did squeeze in a visit with Julie's daughter Sara and new baby Levi!

My cousin Bill and I traveled from Pittsburgh to New Orleans for the wedding of my cousin Christina Mumphrey to Michael Schafer - It was totally grand with many many of my cousins from near and far in attendance.

Both of my kids have been spending time in Pittsburgh caring for their dad, Ron Berlin, who underwent a sextuple bypass just before Thanksgiving.  I'm pleased to report that he is at home and recovering well under Amy's loving care.

Halloween - with Monique as Amy Winehouse and Sebastian the Frog!
Daniel is back in Zimbabwe now, waiting for us to come and celebrate the holidays with him, Monique and, of course, Sebastian!  

I can't wait to see them again. My sister and I leave on November 30th...  and I won't be back in the US until January 20th. Amy and her very significant other, Mike Meadows, will be joining us in Zimbabwe too.  On New Year's Eve we plan to be in lodges in Hwange National Park and on to Victoria Falls!
What an adventure!

Jailed for Justice

“Do I refocus and put my energy into exposing the on-going crime of medical negligence in these jails? Do I begin a campaign to highlight the illegal starvation diet in the Blount County jail, for which no one has been arrested? Do I join the effort to condemn the practice of overcharging mostly dirt poor inmates for phone calls, and commissary, so that corporations and counties receive greater kickbacks? 

Should I add my voice to those in this courthouse who show up protesting unjust sentences for nonviolent conspiracy charges? Or should I spend all of my time researching how many prosecutors, judges, attorneys, court clerks and law enforcement personnel who hold stock in the private prison industry, commissary companies, phone providers or medical contractors in these human warehouses? I see so many literal and moral crimes, and I'm just one person. My final answer is none of the above. I will continue to resist the ultimate crime of nuclear weapons and their production  here and around the world.”  

This quote is from a good friend of ours, Bonnie Urfer, who works at NukeWatch in Luck WI. 
 She just received the maximum penalty of 8 months in prison for her nonviolent civil disobedience action of  “trespassing”  at the Oak Ridge TN nuclear weapons plant.  Those of us who have spent time in jail know of the hidden injustice that occurs each day to inmates, especially to the many who suffer from psychological illness. It is symptomatic of how our society deals  with people.  If you have unmet needs, it is your own fault.  If you fail to conform to the mandates of society you are condemned to physical and mental punishment since the belief in our society is that the way to change people's behavior is to physically or mentally mistreat them. Then they will learn right from wrong.  This is a far cry from the belief of Christ, Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day and so many others who believe that only the power of love and kindness changes people to be better people. If you want a person to be loving and compassionate you must love and forgive that person the wrong he or she has done…..even when he or she has not apologized.  The Alma Center in Milwaukee attempts to do this by taking people just out of jail and giving them a place where they are treated with respect, dignity and love.  Most of the inmates have been born and bred in the midst of violence and poverty and, as a result, often go in and out of jail as a matter of course. They are merely responding to their unmet needs with the violence they were taught throughout their lives.  They were taught that violence gets you what you want.  The Casa Maria Catholic Worker community, the Alma Center and other 
communities are trying to teach that only nonviolence and the power of love will change people to be better.  To terrorize the terrorist is being a terrorist.. ------Don Timmerman

This moving piece starts with the words of Bonnie Urfer, whom Evan Greer and I met when we performed in Luck, WI.  Don Timmerman adds the rest of the commentary in the fabulous monthly newsletter that he and his wife, Roberta send out - THE SPARROW SINGS.  You can subscribe by emailing Don and Roberta at


As I listened to all the media pundits declaring that the Occupy Movement is unfocused and has no demands ... I came across this manifesto - I think it's very inspiring - and i think, accurate too.  Something to wish for this holiday season. As the days get shorter, and the darkness appears to be taking over, it's my wish for all of us.

Can You Hear Us, America?
by Randall Amster
We find these views to be mutually relevant…
that all people, by virtue of their basic humanity, deserve the opportunity to live, work, and associate according to the dictates of their own consciences and capacities;
that the exercise of such freedoms is only tenable in conjunction with the ability of all people to do so, in the recognition that no one is free unless everyone is free;
that people situated in place know best how to manage the conditions of their lives, and that the political autonomy and economic self-sufficiency of local communities are the primary means of ensuring the freedom of the individuals in their midst;
that individuals and communities do not exist in isolation, but are interlinked through a global network of communications and cultural exchange that enables the realization of a shared future and a common interest in effectively preserving the continued existence of humankind;
that the integrity of the whole is based on the vitality of its parts, and that the stability and productivity of social relationships is contingent upon and reflective of our collective human interactions with the balance of life around us, upon which we depend for survival;
that the fruits of the earth belong to humankind collectively, and especially to the future generations from whom we merely borrow their blessings;
that no one ought to be bound into the indentured servitude of indebtedness, which coerces people to become complicit with an alienating economy and structures of their own oppression;
that education must be free, open to all, and not merely confined to classrooms and institutions;
that intergenerational justice works in both directions, with young and old alike being equivalent teachers and learners, bringing together the lessons of the past, the challenges of the present, and opportunities for the future into an evolving tapestry of mutual engagement;
that none should be compelled to labor for another except by the inherent desires of conscience and the reciprocal benefits of being served by others through the experience of community;
that collective decisions shall only be taken with the direct participation and informed consent of all those potentially affected by them;
that people, left to their own devices, are capable of self-organizing, self-regulating, and developing mutually beneficial structures of governance and the distribution of resources;
that we live in a world of abundance rather than scarcity, with the problems of inequality being ones of maldistribution and disenfranchisement rather than of quantitative lack;
that the shared spaces of society, including the material bases of existence, cannot be owned or controlled by private interests but must remain the collective responsibility of humankind entire;
that we already possess all of the tools and technologies necessary to create a just world, and that we require only the will to reorient the purposes to which we deploy them in order to realize it;
that what we do matters, that there is meaning to our existence, that we honor ourselves and each other through service and compassion, and that our lives are bound together in a seamless web of destiny;
that our rights and freedoms are equally balanced by our responsibilities and mutual obligations;
that we seek both independence and interdependence as the necessary conditions of social existence;
that there can be no peace without justice, no future without the past, no individuality without community, no opportunity without education, no liberty without equality, and no politics without participation;
that we strive to always create more than we destroy, to produce more than we consume, to give more than we take, to laugh more than we cry, to uplift more than we denigrate, to construct more than we critique, to share more than we acquire, and to love more than we hate;
that we seek a better world not merely for ourselves, our communities, and our allies, but for all of humankind, including those who have exercised their power unjustly and unwisely;
that we acknowledge the urgency of the moment while affirming our willingness and desire to remain engaged in long-term, perhaps even unending, struggles for human dignity and environmental sustainability;
that this task cannot be passed on to others, that we are the ones it has fallen upon, that it is our generational calling, that we have the power to alter the arc of society, and that we are the ones we have been waiting for to bring peace and prosperity to the world;
that the pursuit of material wealth represents a moral and spiritual void, and that the use of manipulation and force to maintain wealth disparity is a self-defeating enterprise based on the failure to recognize the binding principle of interconnectedness in every aspect of existence;
that we can, must, and will succeed in working collaboratively to turn crises into opportunities and to move from the brink of annihilation toward a world of appreciation;
that life is meant to be lived, that we are the creators of culture and not merely its consumers, that our actions and processes are ends in themselves, and that what we do at every moment is the revolution;
that the future depends upon us to occupy place and liberate space on its behalf, and our own;
that we have nothing to lose but our chains, and literally everything to gain;
that the person standing next to you is part of you, an extension of you, a reflection of you, an ally, a colleague, a relative, and a friend;
that the earth beneath our feet creates and sustains us, and that we must do the same for it in return;
that there is one unified race, the human race, and that our inherent diversity provides the strength that will see us through the changes and challenges at hand;
that there are no nations or borders, only peoples and places;
that we need everyone's open hearts, willing hands, strong backs, and keen minds to avert calamity and ensure posterity;
that the sound of a child's laugh casts out the monotonous drone of commercialism, that the wonder in a child's eyes invokes beauty against blight, and that the hope in a child's heart is more powerful than the downward spiral of despair;
that you are important, that your dreams are real, that your needs will be met, that your burdens are shared, that your wellbeing is paramount, and that you are loved.
Affirmed by deeds, to be enacted voluntarily by the people individually and in concert as a living declaration.

Thanks for reading!  See you next month!  Love, Anne
And hope to see you at the People's Music Network Winter Gathering in Lawrence, MA - January 27-29, 2012 - Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the "Bread and Roses" strike!!