Longtime Santa Monica peace activist and agitator Jerry Rubin (no relation to the 1960s yippee activist of the same name) knows about activism-related burnout, having organized over 200 peace-related events in his career. So, lately, Rubin has been trying to reach out to other dedicated activists in a support group setting.
The next gathering of Rubin’s Activist Support Circle (which meets monthly) is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Friends Meeting Hall, 1440 Harvard St., Santa Monica. The theme of the last meeting of 2005 is “What Are Your Activist-Related New Year’s Resolutions?” Participation in the group is free.
The group discusses activist issues of a personal rather than dogmatic nature. Rubin says the purpose of the group is to guard against burnout, share activism-related frustrations, fears, hopes and aspirations in a supportive environment, and turn feelings of despair into feelings of empowerment.
Sound like a 12-step program for activists? It’s not, says Rubin.
“Not at all. We want to encourage, not cure activists. We don’t want activists to remain anonymous,” says Rubin.
Also, Rubin invites well-known activists to the meetings and asks them to give an inspiring five-minute talk to the group before the discussion begins. Well-known activists that have been invited speakers include James Lafferty, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild; KPFK radio hosts Michael Benner and Terrence McNally; environmentalist and documentary filmmaker Sheila Laffey; and progressive California State Assembly candidate Kelly Hayes-Raitt.
“The meetings are meant to reinforce each individual activist and reinforce the progressive movement in general,” says Rubin.
Rubin is currently fasting against the war in Iraq, ingesting only water, vegetable broth, herbal tea and vitamin powder.
Rubin’s long list of acts of civil disobedience include “smooshing” a piece of cake in the face of a hydrogen bomb creator; freezing the American flag to protest a proposed anti-flag-burning amendment to the Constitution; and trespassing on the Playa Vista site dressed as Gandhi. Information, (310) 399-1000.