The word resistance conjures up different meanings for different people. For the purposes of this exposition, I’ll go with the classic Merriam-Webster definition of resist.
“RESIST- transitive verb: to exert oneself so as to counteract or defeat.”
So to resist, one must exert oneself. How does this differ from protesting, boycotting, or any of the other forms of expressing discontent with an idea or institution? Resisting means to place oneself outside of our comfort zone and to push back or exert of energy against said idea, entity or institution. I’ll give an example. Let’s say that you have an issue with the practices of the Imperial Federal Bank. You can:
A. Protest – stand outside with a sign, attempt to sway their customers and cost them business.
B. Boycott – refuses to do business with the bank. Organize others to do the same in an effort to do economic harm to the bank. OR,
C. Resist – do all of the above while also resorting to whatever it takes to bring the bank down.
Resistance techniques have been honed throughout the ages. Behind every successful revolution in history there has been an organized, persistent and methodical resistance that wore down the status quo and was the agent of change. The key phrases here are “successful revolution,” “organized and methodical” and “agent of change.” The revolution cannot be successful unless it is organized and persistent. By persistence I mean by exerting constant increasing pressure on the thing that we wish to change.
We have come to a great nexus in the evolution of our civilization. Market forces have conspired to open a great chasm between the few that have and the many that have not. A false economy has sprung forth, an economy that uses commodities and currencies, stocks, bonds and yes, even debt as its engine, rather than the products of man, the cars, planes, wheat, corn, computers and buildings. At the same time technology has started overtaken the engine of people-power, meaning that industry can be more productive with fewer people, thusly putting those people out of work in lieu of the machines that take their place. Much like the laid-off worker training his outsourced replacement, men and women are building the machines that make them obsolete.
As if this were not enough, the same market forces are exerting their own pressure on the very people who their tactics have victimized and impoverished. Bought and paid for politicians are cutting the strings out of the safety net that was carefully constructed at the time of the last great nexus after the Great Depression. Funds like Social Security and Medicare were created for just this type of crisis. Had they been left alone they would be self-sustaining for the foreseeable future. Instead, the last thirty years have seen a methodical de-funding of all these systems through borrowing against and deregulation. Now the far right is attempting do deal each with a deathblow by privatization and austerity. All so that can maintain their Military and Pharmaceutical industrial complexes.
So how did this happen? How did we take our eye off the ball and let it get stolen? There no one easy answer for this. The very technology that we take for granted today, the Internet, reality television, video games, sports, music and movies have conspired to keep us occupied and comatose, while the same medical technology that allows us to live longer over-medicates us to control us. The natural resources that sustain and allow our ecosystem to survive are being gobbled up at unsustainable rates. Renewable energies like the sun, wind and water are demonized when they should be embraced. Meanwhile, the captains of industry have siphoned off every penny that they could, secreting away into a matrix of multi-national interconnected corporations that are beholden to no sovereign nation or government. The buying power of the people is rendered useless by a shadow economy independent of tangible retail goods.
But they made a critical mistake. They discounted what happens to a human when she can’t feed, clothe or house his children. She gets angry. Over the course of the last three years people have begun to awaken. Eyes are opening to the reality that everything is not going to be all right. The bills are not going to get paid. The house is going to be foreclosed. There is no job waiting at the end of college. There is no longer such a thing as the American Dream.
So what does this mean Brother Terry? Should we just give up? If it’s all over then why not just die in our sleep?
I feel your pain. I feel the pain of the mother in Sub-Saharan Africa who children are starving because of the man-made drought. I feel the pain of the father in Detroit who has his son gunned down because he had to resort to crime to survive. I feel the pain of the couple that has to decide between food and medicine at the checkout counter. For each of us there is a different story, a different level of misery. I’m luckier than most. I have never been out of work. I have never been particularly productive. I’ve been more of a consumer than a contributor. Maybe that’s why I write these words.
I don’t believe that the war has been lost. We have lost many battles and we are under siege, but there is still a chance for humanity. As for the United States, I’m a little more skeptical. I believe that we have ceased to be the nation of the principles that we were founded on. I think we have a certain pride or hubris that is difficult for us to acknowledge. I think it would be illuminating to all of us if we could just step outside for a second, see ourselves as a European or Asian national sees us. Many of them think, and rightly so, that we are the problem. Our tendency as Americans is to believe that we are the solution. With that being said, I believe that we are the solution, not just Americans per se, but the people of the world at large. We are all the agents of change, but only if we organize and act as a community. As individuals, we are powerless against the machine. But as a community we are larger and stronger. As a community we can RESIST.