The Man From The North: How to Fight a Tyrant by Rivera Sun

The Essays of The Man From the North by Rivera Sun
Writer, Dandelion Salad
December 8, 2013

Olympia Port Militarization Protest - November 10th, 2007

Image by theunabonger via Flickr

The Man From the North is a fictional writer in Rivera Sun’s novel, The Dandelion Insurrection. The novel takes place in the near future, in “a time that looms around the corner of today”, when a rising police state controlled by the corporate-political elite have plunged the nation into the grip of a hidden dictatorship. In spite of severe surveillance and repression, the Man From the North’s banned articles circulate through the American populace, reporting on resistance and fomenting nonviolent revolution. This article is one of a series written by The Man From the North, which are not included in the novel, but can be read here.

It is not enough to hurl your rage at tyranny . . . every bully knows how to dodge a hothead. Anger is the alcohol of emotions. We flush, courageous in its drunken heat, but our blows miss, we flail, and our opponent easily dispatches us.

I’ve had my share of schoolyard skirmishes. I’ve been provoked and beaten soundly. I’ve swung my fist in honest rage . . . and missed. More times than I would like to count, my temper tripped me into fights. I won some; I lost others.

I’ve come to this . . . anger is a weakness.

Some claim it has its purpose. “Righteous” anger is often lauded. Righteous or not, experience warns me that while my anger has served me little . . . my loss of control has aided my opponent greatly.

My days of playground scuffles are over, but the gang of bullies who now harass me are the greatest tyrants in the world. Their weaponry of authority, military, police, legalities, and money far outstrip the fistfights of my younger days. I cannot afford to take a swing and miss. Yes, I often feel my anger rising; their affronts are worse than when they made catcalls at my mother or whistled at my lover; they’re forcing my fellow men to slave for them, kicking children in the ribs, smacking women across the cheek, starving old ladies, forcing families out of homes, refusing healthcare to the sick – the causes of fury are real and just. Anger boils in me, volcano-like, but I will not let it erupt.

Tyrants easily endure eruptions. Fury falls as impotent as ash. Our opponents will simply flick it aside with self-satisfied smirks, order our people to clean up the broken glass and pools of blood on sidewalks, and continue on as if nothing happened.

No, I will not merely inconvenience them with my eruption. Anger is a force, more powerful when held in check. I’ll convert it into determination, send its pressure underground, shake the foundations of their empire, and create hairline fractures in their fortresses. I will study the structures of their social skyscrapers, find their weaknesses, and erode the pillars that allow tyranny to reign.

Channel your anger into determination for change, my friends. Become a force, unstoppable. Pull fury’s heat deep down inside you. The blaze of anger’s fire can blind you; its smoke obscures the mind. Become a master smith of your emotions. Red flames cannot bend iron . . . but white-hot coals melt steel. This is the intensity that is required to fight these tyrants. Stark clarity of mind provides power to our actions. The rational mind is our weapon – never let it go! Only a fool would fling it aside and leap at a tyrant with bare fists.

You are no fool, and neither am I. Nor can we call our opponents such. Callous they may be, greedy, cruel, but let no one call them fools. They are sharp, educated, intelligent, cunning, but I will tell you a secret . . .

The tyrant’s intelligence can count up people; but only wisdom explains what moves them. Brains can order brawn around; but only wisdom reveals what makes people refuse orders. Any tyrant can send soldiers into battle; but wisdom can convince them to lay down their guns.

Intelligence never conquers wisdom . . . and at this we shall excel.

Coming up next from The Man From the North: Wisdom: A Force Unstoppable

Rivera Sun with her new book, Dandelion Insurrection

Image by Dariel Garner

Author/Actress Rivera Sun sings the anthem of our times and rallies us to meet adversity with gusto. In addition to The Dandelion Insurrection, she is the author of nine plays, a book of poetry, and her debut novel, Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shooting Stars, which celebrates everyday heroes who meet the challenges of climate change with compassion, spirit, and strength. Website:

from the archives:

Rivera Sun: Non-Violent Insurrection! interviewed by Cindy Sheehan

The Man From the North: Liberty and Strategy for All by Rivera Sun

Chris Hedges: The Role of Art in Rebellion

Violent Revolution is Not the Solution by William John Cox

Shutdown Solution: Opt Out of Tyranny by David DeGraw

14 thoughts on “The Man From The North: How to Fight a Tyrant by Rivera Sun

  1. Pingback: How to Fight a Tyrant – Dandelion Salad

  2. Pingback: The Man From the North: Police State Blues | Dandelion Salad

  3. Pingback: The Man From The North: Blowing Up The Armory | Dandelion Salad

  4. Pingback: The Man From the North: Three R’s They Don’t Teach In School | Dandelion Salad

  5. Pingback: The Man From the North: The Open Hand by Rivera Sun | Dandelion Salad

  6. Pingback: The Man From the North: Impossible Courage by Rivera Sun | Dandelion Salad

  7. Pingback: The Man From the North: Wisdom: A Force Unstoppable | Dandelion Salad

  8. I just read a great Open Democracy article by Stephanie Van Hook (Metta Center for Nonviolence) on anger that contained this Gandhi quote: “I have learnt through bitter experience,” he said, that “the one supreme lesson is to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power that can move the world.” Sounds familiar to the Man From the North, hmm?

    • “Fury falls as impotent as ash.” What a wonderful sentence.

      I have often found anger to be an accomplice of impotence, exacerbated by the frustration of not knowing the foe. For those who often afflict us most grievously, we can never even identify, let alone actually get to know, because of their inscrutable remoteness & aloof anonymity; dependable allies.

      Our bewildered rage only swells their smug sense of dollar-clad immunity, of entitlement to extortionist comfort & impervious control, from whence they project their carefully crafted images of serenity and self-righteousness.

      We need to expose their hollowness & make them mad, not from fear but from envy; for we still retain what they have foregone ~ our essential humanity.

Comments are closed.