A Revolution By Any Other Name

Fear Nøt!

Image by steve lyon via Flickr

The Essays of The Man From the North by Rivera Sun
Writer, Dandelion Salad
March 9, 2018

There are some who mince their steps and words, who hush the bold and outspoken, who advise moderation. But, a revolution by any other name does not smell as sweet. Reform does not cut it. Resistance is not enough. Massive change is vague. Transformation calls to mind change, yet does not invoke the burning urgency, the gritty intensity of the tsunami of change we need. Evolution implies an unrealistic image of our corporate political pawns awakening, growing, evolving.

A revolution casts the corporate politicians out of power and replaces them. It is specific. It is accurate. It is the word we need.

To the credit of those who urge caution in our language, there are times when a metaphor, a code word, a subtle substitution is wise. But there are also times when horses and spades must be called by their true names. We must be brave enough to let the word we need cross our lips and be the word we mean.

Revolution. It is not a comfortable word. We must get used to it. The scope of change we need is not comfortable. So many of us cling to the familiar structures and systems, but these are the exact mechanisms of our suffering and our destruction. We need to be uncomfortable, thrown off balance, shoved out into unknown territory. For all that is known is corrupt, unjust, and dangerous. We must learn to dance in the upheaval of revolutionary times.

And, we must learn to live with revolutionaries, as much as with revolution. We have grown uneasy with such things. We are too accustomed to passivity, too accepting of abuse, too addicted to our minor comforts. We are afraid of the effort it takes to change. The dire necessity of crisis should inspire us to extraordinary greatness, yet we shrink like snails back into the shells of our individuated, permissible existences.

The revolutionary must be fearless enough to cry out that the emperor has no clothes. She must dare to live awake in the living nightmare of a crumbling and terrifying empire. He must be willing to speak honestly about the scope of the dangers. She must be visionary enough to propose solutions. They must be committed to the rigors and challenges of the journey toward change.

The revolutionary must dream outside the permitted corrals of the system. He must color outside the lines of societal definition. She must imagine the unimaginable. They must believe the impossible is, indeed, possible.

The revolutionary rejects stale myths and patriotic lies. Their loyalty is offered only to the long quest of humanity for dignity, respect, equality, justice, freedom, compassion, and peace. The revolution will wrench those values from the false platitudes of the powerful. She will rock the boat of the world, not the lulling cradle of the status quo. He will face the scorn of stability-loving opposition undaunted, for the revolutionary is ever tempest-tossed, laughing in the winds of the change.

The revolutionary grows lean with hunger for change, impassioned with yearning for a better world. They make the defenders of the status quo as frightened as chickens in a coop while the wolf song of revolution howls in the night.

Does this make you uneasy? Does the revolutionary spirit stir discomfort in your soul? Good. Complacency is a death sentence. We all know it. That which is comfortable to humanity today becomes the demise of our species as tomorrow dawns. Only the revolutionary spirit offers hope – and it is a hard hope, a bucket of cold water in the face of blind, drunken addiction to a destructive way of life.

These times of revolution and revolutionaries will not be comfortable. Get ready for them. They are here.

Author/Actress Rivera Sun syndicated by PeaceVoice, is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection and has just launched the sequel, The Roots of Resistance, and is the cohost of Love (and Revolution) Radio. Website: http://www.riverasun.com

The Man From the North is a fictional writer in Rivera Sun’s novel, The Dandelion Insurrection and the sequel, The Roots of Resistance. 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.

from the archives:

Now Is The Time For Revolutionary Change–Reject Greed-Based Destruction

Make No Mistake: The Rule Of The Rich Has Been A Deadly Epoch For Humanity

We are Hurtling Toward Death–Step Out of Line and Resist

End the Occupation of the Corporate State

What If Workers Ran Society? by Elizabeth Schulte

When The Revolution Comes by Gaither Stewart

8 thoughts on “A Revolution By Any Other Name

  1. Pingback: The Roots of Resistance: An Intense Journey Into The Vibrant Complexity Of Nonviolent Change by Tom Atlee – Dandelion Salad

  2. Such purple prose is from a gone world. Move forward. Time for some real traffic problems in a corporate capitailist state.

    • I think that purple prose is useful when it says something, but it rarely does. I think that the man from the north is trying to say something but is missing the mark. I agree that we need to imagine the imaginable (I’ve been worrying over this same issue myself), but specifically what are we asking people to imagine? You really need to spell it out, because different things are obvious to different people. It is tempting to not spell it out, and to just hope that people will figure it out on their own if left to their own devices, but I’m now convinced that most of them won’t.

      Fredric Jameson said that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. Personally, it is my own view that capitalism is leading to the extinction of our species by ecosystem collapse (call that “the end of the world,” if you like), and to avert it we need a lot more people to start imagining the end of capitalism. In our present culture, that is beyond most people’s imagination, so yes I’m calling on people to “imagine the unimaginable.” So at least for that one phrase I’m agreeing with the man from the north. But these things aren’t obvious, so they have to be spelled out. Different things are obvious to different people. To most people in our society it is =not= obvious that capitalism is rapidly taking us toward the extinction of our species. — Of course, some people don’t even =care= that our species may soon be extinct. Their apathy is another consequence of capitalism, and hearing that fact may or may not partially abate their apathy. If it does not abate their apathy, then I don’t know what can be done for them. (But fortunately, it’s generally no worse than indifference; there are extremely few people who are actually rooting for the end of the world.)

      • Thank you for sharing those thoughts. The Man From the North has looked more in depth at particulars in other essays. The take on where to go overlaps your views. The intention of this essay was to look at the willingness (or lack thereof) to even cultivate a revolutionary spirit. Dandelion Salad readers, as a whole, tend to have plenty of it.

  3. The man from the north is not quite radical enough. “Revolution” is not enough. “Casting the corporate politicians out of power and replacing them” is not enough. If we dethrone and jail the crooks, but we do not change the culture that generated them, then it will quickly generate a new batch of crooks. We need cultural change. We need AWAKENING to a new way of seeing the world. It is not enough to give new answers to the questions; we need new questions.

    I agree with the man from the north’s call to “imagine the unimaginable.” Too many people who call themselves “revolutionaries” are not doing that. Too many of them call only for regime change, not for a change in the fundamentals of our way of life. For instance, John Lennon sang “imagine no possessions — I wonder if you can,” and I think that most self-described “revolutionaries” cannot.

    • The plea from the ‘man from the north’ sounds like a call for one of those colored revolutions, where mobs fill the streets waving some kind of identifying token, and whatever change results has no relationship to the yearnings of the mob. A real transformative movement needs to begin with a vision of how a better world would operate. At the heart of that is a new kind of self-governance.

      • Thanks for sharing your perspective on this piece. In other essays, the Man From the North both identifies problems and proposes solutions. The specific problem being looked at in this essay is the discomfort with the basic concept of revolution (not even the more nuanced versions), almost irregardless of its nature or context.

    • I think the Man From the North would agree with you on the need for a culture shift in what gives rise to crooks and corporate greed (or any greed). This has been the subject of some of his other essays.

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