Democratic Womanism: By Alice Walker

January 2, 2012 – from her official website:

Wangari Maathai: who remembered the beautiful bountifulness of her land before the colonial invaders laid waste to it and resolved to bring it back to health by planting trees.  Rest in Well Done; beloved sister of our clan.

“Traditionally capable, as in:  ’Mama, I’m walking to Canada, and I’m taking you and a bunch of other slaves with me’.  Reply:  ”It wouldn’t be the first time.” ___from the definition of “Womanist” in In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, Womanist Prose, 1983, by the author.

Democratic Womanism

 You ask me why I smile

when you tell me you intend

in the coming national elections

to hold your nose

and vote for the lesser of two evils.

There are more than two evils out there,

is one reason I smile.

Another is that our old buddy Nostradamus

comes to mind, with his dreadful

400 year old prophecy:  that our world

and theirs too

(our “enemies” – lots of kids included here)

will end (by nuclear nakba or holocaust)

in our lifetime.  Which makes the idea of elections

and the billions of dollars wasted on them

somewhat fatuous.

A Southerner of Color,

my people held the vote

very dear

while others, for centuries,

merely appeared to play

with it.

One thing I can assure

you of is this:

I will never betray such pure hearts

by voting for evil

even if it were microscopic

which, as you can see in any newscast

no matter the slant,

it is not.

I want something else;

a different system


One not seen

on this earth

for thousands of years.  If ever.

Democratic Womanism.

Notice how this word has “man” right in the middle of it?

That’s one reason I like it.  He is there, front and center.  But he is surrounded.

I want to vote and work for a way of life

that honors the feminine;

a way that acknowledges

the theft of the wisdom

female and dark Mother leadership

might have provided our spaceship

all along.

I am not thinking

of a talking head

kind of gal:

happy to be mixing

it up

with the baddest

bad boys

on the planet

her eyes a slit

her mouth a zipper.

No, I am speaking of true

regime change.

Where women rise

to take their place

en masse

at the helm

of earth’s frail and failing ship;

where each thousand years

of our silence

is examined

with regret,

and the cruel manner in which our values

of compassion and kindness

have been ridiculed

and suppressed

brought to bear on the disaster

of the present time.

The past must be examined closely, I believe, before we can leave

it there.

I am thinking of Democratic, and, perhaps

Socialist, Womanism.

For who else knows so deeply

how to share but Mothers

and Grandmothers?  Big sisters

and Aunts?

To love

and adore

both female and male?

Not to mention those in between.

To work at keeping

the entire community

fed, educated

and safe?

Democratic womanism,

Democratic Socialist


would have as its icons

such fierce warriors

for good as

Vandana Shiva

Aung San Suu Kyi,

Wangari Maathai

Harriet Tubman

Yoko Ono

Frida Kahlo

Angela Davis

& Barbara Lee:

With new ones always rising, wherever you look.  Recent writers for instance:

Michelle Alexander, Isabel Wilkerson, and Nancy Turner Banks, M.D.*  Whose books, read together, go a long way toward bringing us up to speed on how our declining country got this way.

You are also on this list, but it is so long (Isis would appear midway) that I must stop or be unable to finish the poem!)  So just know I’ve stood you in a circle that includes Marian Wright Edelman, Amy Goodman, Sojourner Truth, Gloria Steinem and Mary McLeod Bethune.  John Brown, Frederick Douglass, John Lennon and Howard Zinn are there too.  Happy to be surrounded!

There is no system

now in place

that can change

the disastrous course

Earth is on.

Who can doubt this?

The male leaders

of Earth

appear to have abandoned

their very senses

though most appear

to live now


in their heads.

They murder humans and other


forests and rivers and mountains

every day

they are in office

and never seem

to notice it.

They eat and drink devastation.

Women of the world,

Is this devastation Us?

Would we kill whole continents for oil

(or anything else)

rather than limit

the number of consumer offspring we produce

and learn how to make our own fire?

Democratic Womanism.

Democratic Socialist Womanism.

A system of governance

we can dream and imagine and build together.  One that recognizes

at least six thousand years

of brutally enforced complicity

in the assassination

of Mother Earth, but foresees six thousand years

ahead of us when we will not submit.

What will we need?  A hundred years

at least  to plan: (five hundred will be handed us


when the planet is scared enough)

in which circles of women meet,

organize ourselves, and,

allied with men

brave enough to stand with women,

nurture our planet to a degree of health.

And without apology –

(impossible to make

a bigger mess than has been made)-

devote ourselves, heedless of opposition,

to tirelessly serving and resuscitating  Our Mother ship

and with gratitude

for Her care of us

worshipfully commit


rehabilitating it.

Copyright©2012 by Alice Walker

Brought to our attention by Malia, WHealthy Human Village



  1. Annie Ocean January 18, 2013 at 12:40 AM

    Yes, womyn can take over. Who/what would we hurt/maim or kill? I can’t think of anything we wouldn’t try to resuscitate….good word for it. Blessed Be Alice, thanks for saying what so many of us need to hear.

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