How did we save ourselves
How did we save ourselves, they will ask, and we will tell of a great awakening. The water was rising, and we saw that it was our last chance to save our island home, and our planet, from the greed machine. It was hard, we had to form coalitions with people who did not always see it the way we did. We had to organize, house by house, demonstration by demonstration, to fight back. We raised our voices in song, as Liko Martin wrote, “to save our land.” We got arrested. We were not alone.
In movement building, we knock on doors and organize. In theory building, we argue and write. In radical imagining toward our fullest possibilities, we make art. The Peace Orchestra, and its connected artistic, intellectual, and movement practices, is about the beauty and joy we all deserve in our lives. We can leave behind, now, the world made by markets, violence, greed, and status defined as having more than others. We will make, now, the world of mutual celebration, creative practice, and status defined as giving more to others. Feel free to laugh at this orchestra, it does not take itself seriously, it only wants to play Bach, however poorly, and to show that not everyone is joining the authoritarian’s march toward human self-destruction.
Mari Matsuda is a law professor, artist, organic gardener, and critical race theorist who grew up in Los Angeles and Honolulu. She built the instruments of this orchestra, but she makes no original claim to its concept, an idea that is as old as art: we need beauty, joy, and surprise in our lives, and we are at our best when we work together for those things.