Curse the war culture! It leaves us at a loss for words, bereft of metaphors to describe our situation. Our minds become blank slates, unable to recognize dangers at the door unless they carry assault weapons or drop bombs on our heads.
Poverty and poverty-related social factors will kill more of us than terrorism – one hundred will die each hour. And yet, our politicians scrounge up bogeymen to scare us! They need simply look around at the bloodsucking greed that leaves us dry as dust and crippled from unending debt.
What more do we need to rise into action? Do we need bombs instead of bank policies to make this crisis clear? Do we need soldiers with bayonets pounding down our doors instead of lawyers and bill collectors in suits and ties? There is nothing metaphorical about a danger that robs the breath from 2,400 citizens each day! There is no excuse for political inaction that fails to protect and defend the hundreds of thousands who will die from poverty and poverty-related social factors each year!
Mobilize! Gather the hot-blooded and cool-headed in your community. Drill and train in nonviolent action with all the ferocity of traditional boot camp. Turn out the ranks – young and old – of people who can wield a boycott, build a blockade, charge in with a divestment campaign, sound the clarion call to march and protest, and more.
With the tools of nonviolent action in our hands, we, the People, become a force to be reckoned with. Strikes, shutdowns, walkouts, noncooperation, civil disobedience, and more: these tools are twice as effective [see video below] as violent means at overthrowing tyrannical regimes, repelling foreign invasions, and ending occupations. And what is poverty, but an occupying power that dictates cruel edicts that cause suffering and oppression in our lives?
The danger prowling our streets thrives on violence and is fed doubly when war robs the bread from our children’s hands. Poverty cannot be stopped by bullets, but it can be halted, pushed back, and sent running by organized nonviolent action. We can challenge and transform the systemic underlying causes of concentrated wealth, lack of real democracy, oligarchic rule, corporate greed, unjust laws, the shackles of debt practices, lack of economic justice, and the corruption of cultural values that give rise to the permissibility of hoarding, greed, plundering, looting, and stealing. We can wage nonviolent struggle against each of these on every level from national politics to massive corporate policies to local businesses and the hidden workings of the human heart.
We need not wait for bombs or bullets to see clearly where the danger lies. Today, thousands of people will die waiting for us to mobilize and succeed. Tomorrow, thousands more will die if we do not rally to stop the danger pounding on our doors. Day in and day out, the casualties mount while we flounder. Those who feel the tightening stranglehold of poverty crushing the life breath from their chest are crying out. The tools of change are at hand! Wake up! Seize the day, organize, train, resist and build to chase the tyranny of poverty away.
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.
Author/Actress Rivera Sun is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection and other books, the cohost of Love (and Revolution) Radio and the Programs Coordinator for Campaign Nonviolence. http://www.riverasun.com
The success of nonviolent civil resistance: Erica Chenoweth at TEDxBoulder
TEDx Talks on Nov 4, 2013
Between 1900-2006, campaigns of nonviolent civil resistance were twice as successful as violent campaigns. Erica will talk about her research on the impressive historical record of civil resistance in the 20th century and discuss the promise of unarmed struggle in the 21st century. She will focus on the so-called “3.5% rule”—the notion that no government can withstand a challenge of 3.5% of its population without either accommodating the movement or (in extreme cases) disintegrating. In addition to explaining why nonviolent resistance has been so effective, she will also share some lessons learned about why it sometimes fails.
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