Monday, March 28, 2005

21st Century Emma 

Late at night. Rain. In a funk. Awakened by a nightmare. God’s own drunk. Fuzzy tongue and moldy brain. So, reach over in the gloom and find the “on” switch for the radio, hoping for late night jazz. And behold! What voice through yonder three-inch speaker breaks?

Why, it’s Arundhati Roy, of course. No mistaking that soothing voice.

And no mistaking that, behind that calm voice, is a fearless recipe for global unity on the issues nearest and dearest our hearts.

First, they replayed an old favorite: Instant-Mix Imperial Democracy (Buy One, Get One Free)

Then, they played her Sydney Peace Prize speech: Suman's Realm " Arundhati Roy in Sydney

Basically, Arundhati’s recipe for fighting the one-dimensional machine of destruction is an auld one, but one proven effective time and time again over the centuries: Direct Action Brings Satisfaction. (Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

First, she points out how easy it is for her and me, and others who comparatively have it made, to avoid direct action. She points out that typically, people only resort to direct action (occupying corporate/government offices, boycotts, strikes, etc.) when they are desperate and fearless. When they have nothing to lose. Corrente has frequently noted the phenomenon of the frog warming in the pan, unaware of its own imminent demise in a boil. Religion and teevee are the opiates of the people, and all that. Then she points out that that much of the population of the planet is in exactly that position—nothing to lose. Hence the tactics they employ. She rejects armed revolt, and points out that demonstrations and rhetoric that have no financial consequences for the one-dimensional machine of destruction are of limited value, and fearlessly suggests that only by bringing the system to its knees financially can success be achieved. Then, she goes so far as to suggest three shocking things:

It CAN be done.
And those champions of peace and justice in the wealthiest nations are best positioned to do it through direct action.
We don’t have to wait until the pan is boiling and we are scalded.

I fell back to sleep with that sweetly-accented voice, sprinkled with the passion for justice of Emma Goldman, murmuring in my ear through the weak signal from our beloved public radio station, and when I awoke this morning I realized I had to start taking this direct action thing more seriously. I’m going to start, as she suggested, with a simple first move: inventory all of the shit lying about the farm here that in one way or another supports the corporations that are strangling the planet, and find a way to do without them. Maybe I can start trying to brew my own ethanol for the truck. How hard could it be? It's basically Everclear. I dunno. It’s a beginning. There has to be more action to take. You know, that whole act locally, think globally thing.

If you haven’t heard these speeches, take a look. Better to hear her speak them, but reading them will do. If you have heard them, you know what I mean. First time I heard “Instant Mix Democracy,” I was glued to the seat of the truck in front of the café; couldn’t leave until it was over.

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