Sunday, May 25, 2008

freebellions part three

The endless stream of ecological and social catastrophes wrought by authoritarian civilization can be stopped. When you’re in a battle you don’t have many choices: continue to fight, surrender or retreat and regroup. It would probably be wise to honor all the paths that can take us to an oasis, that offer us euphoria, that refuse coercive authority and exploitation, that will help end our rule by a Humorless and Unimaginative ruling ideology. If we exclude surrendering, what’s left?

Fighting includes riots, sabotage, insurrections and other forms of self-organized revolt. Some may be spontaneous, like waves that seem to swell up suddenly wherever you live that you can participate in. Others might involve instigation and intent like blockades and occupations.

We can withdraw, drop out, encourage absenteeism, stop participating, refuse various forms of conscription. We can regroup, build trust, come to some agreements, and then lay some plans. We’ve been barely escaping with our lives, but we can do more.

We can also plant seeds for the future. This sometimes involves making attempts at creating a different world here and now. Other times it means acquiring skills and tools that may be useful for sustenance should a cataclysm turn the world upside down. This would help ensure that the Old World doesn’t immediately return, preventing genuine New Ones from taking hold. It often prioritizes withdrawal over direct attacks. Deskooling, growing your own food, hunting and fishing, permaculture, studying, learning convivial skills, temporary autonomous zones, pirate radios, ‘zines, gatherings, shared child rearing are just some examples of this approach.

Finally we can share our world views, put alternative perspectives in the public arena for debate.
There is no strategy that guarantees that we can realize a more just and authentic world, a world without commodities or money, without states or wage labor, without prisons and politicians. In fact, the most we can likely hope to intentionally accomplish is to free, temporarily or permanently, our home, the place where we live, of these institutions and ways and values. Of course we want our rebellions to be global because our adversary is global, yet we must avoid being paralyzed by an attitude that views all local attempts and activity as marginal and ineffective.

One thing for sure, waiting, either for ecological or economic collapse, for global rebellion or local insurrection, for objective conditions, shouldn’t be the main choice. We can change the world because we can change our world, the place where each of us lives.

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