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Webs of Power: notes from the global uprising.
Starhawk.
 New Society Publishers. 2002  Pb $17.95.


In the past few issues of Wood and Water, we have published articles by Starhawk about actions taken by the anti-globalisation movement, taken from her Web pages. This book is about this movement, which she prefers to call the movement for global justice. It contains many of the articles we have published, and other pieces originally written for the discussion groups within the movement.

The first part of the book is about actions and demonstrations on various occasions against meetings of organisations such as the World Trade Organisation or the World Bank, in places as diverse as Seattle, Quebec City, Prague and Genoa. The second half is more general, with its visions for a future world and strategies for action. She argues that there are many different forms of action and methods of change that are all valuable (I kept expecting her to quote “Let a hundred flowers bloom.”) She uses the analogy of permaculture, an approach to gardening and agriculture — she is herself a gardener using these methods. She says (p. 257) that a movement is like an ecosystem, that it needs the full spectrum of diversity, both revolutionaries and reformists, and she shows great respect and support for the black-clad anarchists.

If you are looking for a book on magic, with descriptions of rituals, guided journeyings and the like, you will not want this book, which is written by Starhawk the activist rather than Starhawk the witch — a better choice, but still with a political angle is Dreaming the Dark (see my review) or her earliest book, The Spiral Dance. But it is informed throughout by the insights of Starhawk the witch. It is her spirituality which leads her into activism, and it is her training in ritual that enables her to help devise original actions and forms of inspiration and solidarity. For anyone interested or potentially interested in actions in support of global justice and the rights of peoples, and for any pagan who wants their spirituality to have an effect in the wider world, this is a vital book.

Wood and Water 81, Winter Solstice 2002 
© Daniel Cohen

 

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