with Chris Hedges
RT America on Jan 19, 2019
The nature and cost of civil disobedience is explored in the play “The Trial of the Cantonsville Nine,” written by the Catholic priest Dan Berrigan.
The tools of nonviolent action and the skills of struggle are as vital to these times as reading, writing, and arithmetic. Training to use them is as essential as learning how to use a computer. The ability to boycott and strike is as important as the ability to drive a car. Every citizen who knows how to use email should also know how to protest, walk-out, shut-down, occupy, blockade, and more. This is the only way the power of the people can hold the power of oligarchs in check.
C.J. Hinke has produced probably the best collection I’ve read of writings by and about conscientious objectors and war refusers behind bars. It’s called Free Radicals: War Resisters in Prison.
“Suppose that some great disaster were to sweep ten million families out to sea and leave ‘em on a desert island to starve and rot. That would be … an act of God, maybe. But suppose a manner of government that humans have set up and directed, drives ten million families into the pit of poverty and starvation? That’s no act of God. That’s our fool selves actin’ like lunatics. What humans have set up they can take down…. Whoever says we’ve got to have a capitalist government when we want a workers’ government, is givin’ the lie to the great founders of these United States….”
(A Stone Came Rolling, Olive Tilford Dargan)
You must believe that pockets of resistance exist. As America plunges into darkness, some people burn with resistance like fires in the night, aglow with respect for the civil liberties that define the modern ideal of freedom. The quiet murmur of their impassioned voices will call to you as they discuss nonviolent strategy and struggle, but you will not be asked to join them until you strike the matchstick of your heart, build a fire of your determination, ignite the blaze of your courage, and reach out to others.
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.
For too long, the women of this nation have been complacent while our brothers, sons, husbands, and fathers are sent to kill, maim, brutalize, destroy and even die in defense of our alleged liberty.
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.
What a good read I said to myself when I had finished The Dandelion Insurrection by Rivera Sun. And unusual. A delicious story with nourishing political content spiced with distinctive characters and served on beautiful prose. Love, adventure, struggle and thrills. What’s not to like? For an old grassroots political fox such as myself I wasn’t about to allow the sweetness of the fiction seduce my perception of bitter realities.
Norman Finkelstein received his PhD from the Princeton University Politics Department in 1988. He is the author of ten books that have been translated into 50 foreign editions, including The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the exploitation of Jewish suffering and, most recently, Gaza: An inquest into its martyrdom. His books include What Gandhi Says, About Nonviolence, Resistance and Courage.
The secret to successful nonviolent struggle lies in understanding strategy and systems. All systems require participation and resources to survive. Deny those things, and the system will wither away … or concede to meet your demands.
[By the latter part of May, 1970, feelings about the war in Vietnam had become almost unbearably intense. In Boston, about a hundred of us decided to sit down at the Boston Army Base and block the road used by buses carrying draftees off to military duty. We were not so daft that we thought we were stopping the flow of soldiers to Vietnam; it was a symbolic act, a statement, a piece of guerrilla the after. We were all arrested and charged, in the quaint language of an old statute, with “sauntering and loitering” in such a way as to obstruct traffic.
by Tom Atlee
March 17, 2018
Rivera Sun always gifts us with usefully creative fiction in the face of daunting challenges to future generations, to current society, to marginalized communities, and to all of us as citizens of our planet. Her Roots of Resistance – the second novel of her Dandelion Trilogy – offers an inspiring story to help guide love-based strategic change efforts during what promises to be a very messy transition to a better world. The novel imagines deeply human responses to our civilizational predicament and to the challenges we (especially as change agents) will face as we try to put such responses into practice.
Not every problem we face can be solved by the magic wands of benevolent legislators. In those halls of power, you’re more likely to encounter twisted curses than blessings and cures. Instead, you must study the interconnected web that weaves our world together. There you will find effective pivot points of change. Every piece of the destructive system is tied to people, workers, supplies, knowledge, money, social behaviors, opinions, profits, transportation and more. Each of these sectors offers many places to push for change.