“Throw sand in the gears of everything.”

[Alderman Chambers, City Hall, Somerville, MA 2016]

Read this post-election, forget-signing-petitions article last week; unfortunately, it makes perfect sense. And so I’m left with The Question—What does resistance look like? For me?  How do I gum up the works? Non-violently.

Here’s how far I’ve gotten: 1. Need to mobilize, hopefully with others at my Quaker meeting, around the sanctuary movement. 2. Need to get civil disobedience training. 3. And I need to remember that sometimes the gears get jammed when a bunch of people, wearing brightly-colored tee shirts, maybe, show up to pay close attention to how a particular machine works. Sometimes this close, unblinking attention allows the machine to see itself through these activists’ eyes. And to pause.

What does resistance look like for you?







Join the Conversation


  1. Dear Patricia,

    Greetings and greetings and greetings and salutations to you and to you, Patricia, my so, so very awesomely precious and dearly special soul sisterfriend who you’re For Always so, so very much!!!!! Wow, I’m just so, so very thrilled, overjoyed, and happy that I am able to FINALLY respond with my very heartfelt, thorough, and detailed thoughts, ideas, and comments to this absolutely emboldening, inspirational, and very insightful blog post article of yours here, sister!!!! I haven’t been at home as much and away from my computer more often. Wow, Patricia, I just love this so!!!!! What an enlightening and empowering article here which not only renews, reinvigorates, re-energizes, and rejuvenates me to resist and fight the good fight in non-violently “throwing sand in the gears of everything” but also with this powerful quote from the title from brilliant Frances Fox Piven’s very telling it like it is article which you have so aptly used here, Patricia, that you are also calling other of our sisters and brothers to be bold and to act in enacting change and co-creating together our great noise in fighting the good fight in the unity of the spirit, sisterfriend!!!!! Yay!!!! Sister, I thank-YOU so, so very much, so, so very profusely, kindly, dearly, and deeply for how you have as usual as always provided such great links with such relevant and great information here for each and every one of us in such a very gracious and generous manner that is also so helpful, sister!!!! My friend, our Frances Fox Piven has hit the very stroke of genius with her very superbly super article here with such astute and acute sagacity, Patricia! She is very right on when she shares and declares here that even as she signs petitions that we all need to do more in our resistance in not only gathering together to protest and to march but also in a very definite, intentional, and concrete manner to non-violently use force in resistance to defy the ordinary rules and ways of things that keep oppressive systems running and functioning using civil disobedience to as she says “throw sand in the gears of everything.” Wow, this woman is an absolute genius and with her awesome writing here, Patricia!!!!! And because of you, my absolutely inspirational and emboldening dearest and darling sister and friend, Patricia, I am ready and willing and wanting to suit up and to show up and to report for duty in the very good fight and resistance, too!!!!! I just wish that I could do as much as I’d like, my friend. With my permanent and chronic physical disabilities I have a lot of walking and standing issues which act up a lot and I have really bad issues with chronic pain which act up quite a bit. Also, I suffer from severe chronic fatigue syndrome and just a lot of other stuff going on which makes me so sadly unable to do a lot of the activism I’d so love to do. Even with what I deal with considering a lot of my permanent, chronic physical disabilities and my other disabilities, I am very much a cheerful person and an eternal optimist, and I try so hard to have such a great sense of humor about all that I deal with concerning my medical stuff and general health. When I have my excruciating pain instead of getting all mad I try to laugh it off even as I kind of moan with the pain, sisterfriend! It helps me so, so very much to try to see the bright side of things, sister! I am very active at my awesome church here where I live in Iowa City, Iowa at my Faith United Church of Christ. Very often I am the lay reader for Scripture at service, and I am also a lot of the time the greeter at the entrance of Faith smiling and saying hello and good morning to the folks as they come into the church. Sometimes I lead worship and even give a sermon, and I help to prepare our hot coffee and the hot water for those folks who are hot tea drinkers for our time together after service. We have something at Faith called Shared Ministry in which the actual lay people at Faith are involved in the church service, even leading the worship and giving the sermon, and not only having our official minister do all of those very fine and excellent duties. I am also involved with our Open and Affirming Committee in which we as a church within our own church but also spreading wider than our church reach out to persons who are LGBTQQIAs!!!!! I love doing this!!!! I usual work on our Pride Committee every June and work at Faith’s booth at the Pride Festival here in Iowa City, Iowa. I try to go to the Take Back The Night rally every year as well, sister. On very rare occasions when I am able I volunteer at the Women’s Resource and Action Center which has its offices on the campus of The University of Iowa there not only for the university community but also for the entire community itself, sisterfriend of mine. I just wish that I had much better health and could even do more activist stuff as I so long to do and so, so very much yearn for in my very, very heart, and my very, very heart, mind, soul, and spirit!!!!! As well, I try to stay as active as I can on all sorts of social media as a way of reaching out. I’m a member of very, very many, multiple 12-Step Programs of recoveries, and when I can I’ll chair the meetings and help to prepare our hot coffee and hot water for hot tea drinkers at the various meetings. Wow, dear, dearest Patricia, you have me just percolating and percolating and just so, so very much inspired and emboldened to do whatever I can to help in the resistance, in our very undaunted quest to “throw sand in the gears of everything.” I feel even better and brighter with more cheer after joyfully reading this very absolutely awesome blog post article of yours here, sister, and joyously responding with my very heartfelt, detailed, and thorough thoughts, ideas, and comments, Patricia!!!!! Wow, Patricia, you are just so, so very good for me and help me very blessedly with my very walk with Spirit!!!!! You are For Always my very joy and blessing, Patricia, and I thank God continually for YOU!!!!!! Yay for YOU, Patricia!!!! Yay for our friendship and sisterhood, Patricia!!!!! Yay!!!! Patricia, please have such a totally terrific and thrilling Thursday and may all of your days be so, so very especially blessed!!!!! Spirit so, so very much loves and cherishes YOU, Patricia, and so do I!!!!!! :)!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my so, so very dearly special and precious soul sisterfriend Christian Quaker white woman who you’re For Always so, so very much, Patricia, with Such Peace and Love For You For Always, friend of mine, and with Such Blessings and Such Very Even More Blessings For You For Always, sister of mine,

    Yours For Always soul sisterfriend Christian black woman and For Always in the very great spirit of unity and solidarity, Sherry Gordon in Iowa City, Iowa

  2. We don’t have to know how to solve a problem in order to participate in solving it. We can’t let our need to find a solution and our inability to figure out how to find it completely paralyze us. Other people, equally smart and equally sensitive, are working beside us or in front of us.

  3. Hello, I’m a suburban mom from the Atlanta area, and a google of Frances Pivens Cloward’s article in The Nation led me to your blog. We are ten months into President Trump’s administration, and I was just wondering if you are still in agreement with FFPC’s instructions to figuratively throw sand? Now that you have seen the violent leftist Antifa bloodying and brutalizing anyone that gets in their path, stabbing police horses, calling for violence, I just wondered how a good Quaker from Mass. feels with the events staged by followers of Ms. Piven? My ancestors were Quakers, some came to the Philadelphia area with the first Quakers. I have other ancestors who were Rogerenes (not sure if you heard of them, but they were a small sect in New London, CT). I myself am a methodist, but my ancestors founded the Baptist church in America and my husband’s 10th great grandfather was Elder William Brewster of the Mayflower, a religious exile and peaceful man. We take our history very seriously in our family and our patriotism and country as well. I have great respect for Quakers and their anti-violent stand, however as the descendent of Quakers and also a military family and former newspaper columnist for my local paper, I’m interested to know also how you can side with a Marxist revolutionary like Ms. Piven, really, she’s an admitted communist, when her political philosophy over generations has been responsible for so much death, so many murders, displaced and imprisoned people and outright destruction of lives? (not her, to be clear, but her philosophy). I’m not here as someone trying to tear you down, but as someone who is truly interested in how a modern day Quaker reconciles these facts enough to be able to choose the side of the Marxists rather than the conservative, largely Christian political moderates in America? And to take it one step further….I surely understand your possible activism in the anti-war movement, but how do you then take things a step farther and literally become a “revolutionary” by actively doing things that stop the wheels of our society? Whatever “resistance” you have planned or take part in (I suppose as a protest against the last election?)….at what point does “resistance” become actively harming your community or fellow citizens? How do your activities trying to tear down, undermine or destroy the country’s traditions and systems reconcile with your faith’s non-violent, PASSIVE beliefs? In other words, how do you sanctify the violent left with whom you are siding…the Black Lives Matter violence, the Antifa marchers with brass knuckles and pikes, the murder of police, the destruction of property (for example, my tires were slashed at our suburban mall here, simply because I had a Trump bumper sticker on my mini-van, endangering my children and me)? What about the anti-Trump “resistor” who targeted Republicans and shot them in cold blood on a baseball practice field a few months ago? Is this what you have signed on for? Campaigning for your candidate is one thing, but “driving out Trump’s regime” and following a revolutionary disguised as a sociologist is something completely different. And disregards our country’s historically peaceful transfer of power. I thank you for reading this far, and would love to actually hear from you somehow and get some answers. There are way too few real conversations these days between people of differing political philosophies. Most respectfully, Laura

  4. P.S. David Myers, I would just say to your comment, that, for some people the ends justifies the means. For leftists, they don’t care how they get their utopia. History shows the leftist political philosophies are built on the murders of real people. How far are you willing to go?

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