Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Dec 18th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Peace Man

news2_EllsbergRobert Ellsberg, son of the man responsible for ‘The Pentagon Papers,’ speaks in Santa Cruz
In 1971, at 13-years of age, Robert Ellsberg helped his father, Daniel Ellsberg, photocopy thousands of classified U.S. government documents, later dubbed “The Pentagon Papers.” These papers revealed to the world the government’s conscious pursuit of a losing the war on Vietnam, and earned his father, a former Vietnam War strategist, the title of “Most Dangerous Man in America,” according to then-National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. More recently, Daniel Ellsberg’s story was the subject of a 2009, Academy Award-nominated documentary.

“I was an early witness to my father’s act of conscience, and the factors that helped inspire him…the power of truth, and the power of non-violence and civil disobedience, particularly the young men who were going to prison at that time to protest the draft, which inspired my father to ask himself to question what he would be willing to do, if he were prepared to go to jail to help end the war,” says Ellsberg, who is currently the editor for Orbis Books in New York. “That set in motion questions I would pursue in my own way, as a writer and editor.”

Ellsberg will publicly share his personal story about growing up within the U.S. Peace Movement for the first time at the local Holy Cross Parish Hall in Santa Cruz on Thursday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m., free of charge. Donations will benefit the St. Francisco Soup Kitchen and Holy Cross Food Pantry. “I hope [the stories I share] can challenge other people and enlarge their own sense of responsibility and possibility,” he says.

Pax Christi and The Social Justice Ministry of Holy Cross Parish, as well as the Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV), will host the event. The speech is entitled “One Candle Lights Another: The Pentagon Papers, Ghandi, Dorothy Day, and My Life with the Saints.”

“Sometimes in a dark time it is important to show that not everything is darkness, and that there is a candlelight of justice and truth,” says Ellsberg. “Even just in the telling of those stories that candle is kept from being extinguished, and can travel across decades and centuries and light others.”

Like his father, Ellsberg is heavily influenced by Mahatma Gandhi. Ellsberg dropped out of college in 1975 at age 19 to travel to India. When he was unable to move to India due to a national declaration of “state of emergency,” he stayed in the states and joined the Catholic Worker, a pacifist movement that participates in nonviolent direct action, and provides food and shelter to the poor and homeless. There, he met Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement. Day's cause for canonization or sainthood, as one of the most inspiring figures of recent history, remains pending in the Catholic Church.

“I was largely inspired by the lives of the saints and heroic people I met and worked with in the community [of the Catholic Worker],” Ellsberg says. “People like Dorothy Day, who also introduced me to a much wider tradition of prophets and witnesses—not just in the Catholic church, but artists, philosophers and peace makers. ”

Ellsberg is now a devout Catholic and firm believer in the power of saints. However, veering from tradition, he celebrates the humanity and reality of everyday saints. His book, “All Saints,” depicts the lives of saints both ancient and modern.

“The system wants people to think they don’t have much power, but we all have a lot more power than that, and a lot of responsibility,” Ellsberg says. “In the Catholic tradition, we spend a lot of time talking about the saints, but we tend to put them on a pedestal … It makes it harder for us to challenge ourselves in our own call to be our best selves because we think there is some special standard that applies to saints.”

Ellsberg attempts to challenge this perception by showing the humanity in the saints he writes about: “They weren’t perfect people, but struggled really hard to understand what God was asking from them in their own moment in history.”

Ellsberg was the managing editor of The Catholic Worker newspaper for two years, and worked closely with Day for five years. After she passed, Ellsberg became the official editor of her Personal Papers. He has also edited writings by Gandhi, Flannery O’Connor, Thich Nhat Hanh, Charles de Foucauld, Fritz Eichenberg, and Carlo Carretto.

“We’re all exposed to so many different examples all the time of people that we admire and model ourselves after,” says Ellsberg. “It’s important always to be aware of examples that display the highest possibilities of human-being—our capacity for compassion and sense of solidarity with others, sense of responsibility—so that we don’t just see ourselves as powerless consumers, but that each of us has a really enormous power to choose what it is that we will honor, what we will obey, and who we are responsible to.

“In my father’s case,” he continues, “although what he did had far-reaching implications, he was very influenced by the example of individual young men who had no access to security clearances or government influence, but simply the power to withhold their consent to the selective services. [They were] willing to pay that price without the knowledge or assumption that [they] would have any enormous impact on anything—that had an enormous influence on him.”


The Robert Ellsberg “One Candle Lights Another” event will be free of charge, at the Holy Cross Parish Hall on Thursday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m. Donations benefit the St. Francisco Soup Kitchen and Holy Cross Food Pantry. For more information call 831.423.1626 or visit rcnv.org.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire