Saturday, March 12, 2016


For the first issues of the Political Activist's Guide To Saint Louis, please go to this page:

This is a re-post from the Occupy Public Transportation In St. Louis blog (

"Voting and calling representatives won't do any good, we need a revolution! The whole system has to change!"  I have said this myself in the past, and I have heard this from other people countless times.

"They would rather kill us all than change the system!" Said about the 1%.

I spent ten years in a revolutionary movement. I've never lived through a revolution, but I have talked to many people from Central and South America that have, and read about many revolutions in history.

Violent revolution is not a solution.  It does change a lot of things in a seemingly "quick" fashion, but only because of  years of work by a few individuals that were prepared for the moment of a mass uprising, and had a plan to take power.  These people- for the most part- had their own agendas, and just ended up replacing the faces in power, and making cosmetic changes to the power structure.  The masses of people have never been in power.  There has never been a "people's government."  (Iceland might be, but I haven't researched it enough yet.  They did make a lot of changes without violence.)

And revolutions are wars, and wars are a nightmare.  Everybody suffers.  (A few psychopaths, like George H.W. Bush, prosper and thrive, and usually live to propagate more wars.)

There are 7 billion people on this planet, twice the population of all the civilizations before us, twice the population of the world in 1970, and we are running out of drinkable water on a global scale.  Any mass death requires disposal of the dead, and treatment of wounded.  We really don't have the resources for this. Our species can't afford to solve problems with violence anymore.

The American Revolution created a kind of Republic that is unique in the world.  Freedom of and from religion, democratic mass voting (except for the President), the Constitution, all of these things were created after the revolution against the monarchy.   People had to think up these new modes of government and bring them into existence.  There was debate and disagreement, countless discussions.

None of the bloodshed and sacrifice of the revolution would have made a damn bit of difference without the work that came afterward.

For the first time in history, we could actually accomplish everything WITHOUT the violent uprising and war.  We could create a whole new mode of government power, run by and for the people, without killing each other.

From roughly age 16 to age 26 I advocated armed revolution in the U.S. I sold newspapers and talked to people and went to demonstrations and organized conferences and rallies.  I don't hold the same beliefs anymore but I learned a lot and talked to a lot of people about politics and things that really matter in their lives. 

Back then (the 1980's) there was no internet and no cell phones.  I remember trying to get information on the MOVE massacre in Philadelphia.  I had to go to different libraries, look in card catalogs and at microfiche, track down people that had videotaped news segments.  (Video machines were still very new then, and personal video cameras were cumbersome and heavy.) Then a leaflet had to be written and photocopied and distributed on the street in my spare time.

To talk to people I had to have all of the facts in my head or on a piece of paper in front me.  Most people don't really want to know about things that are happening because it is disturbing.  (Most people in our country have the luxury of avoiding political interaction with their government. This is very different than avoidance in poor countries where leisure time of any kind is very limited, and simply questioning politicians can mean imprisonment and/or death.)

Even in areas that were responsive and sympathetic - in the MOVE example we went to South Central Los Angeles- we were encountering people when they were out shopping, or running errands.  They could buy the paper or take a leaflet, but to find out more, they had to keep in touch with us, calling the bookstore to find out when an action might be, or we had to call them.  

It was a lot easier for people in power to lie and cover up dishonest and deadly actions.  And many people who didn't want to be disturbed by cold, hard evidence of their governments misdeeds were able to dismiss the few people like me that they might encounter.

Research that took months and even years in 1985, can be found on line in minutes. Tens of petitions can be signed on line in an hour.  Hundreds of elected officials can be emailed instantly in the time it took to write one letter and mail it.

A lot of people that say "there has to be revolution" really mean "I am not going to do anything until it gets so bad that I can't ignore it anymore."  But a lot of people really don't think that anything can be done unless we overthrow the existing power structure, with violence.  Which means they have to wait around until enough other people will revolt with them.

Which means things have to get really, really bad.

This is the first time in 35 years that I have felt like a revolutionary uprising might occur in the U.S.A.  The only other time was in Los Angeles after the police that beat Rodney King were acquitted in 1992.

The revolt that is brewing is another sign of a new world.  It's not the usual suspects this time.  It's the Good Ole Boys that are taking over government buildings and hoarding guns and ammo.  As someone said to me at a Ferguson protest "Equality feels like privilege or special treatment to the oppressed, and it feels like discrimination to the oppressor."

In Ferguson it was the mostly white Peacekeepers walking around with guns, not the Black Panthers. The paranoid delusions of the Dylan Roof's and the Donald Drumpf's are not completely paranoid or delusional.  They are losing their privilege.  America is not "Great" for racists anymore. The status quo no longer serves them first, because the rest of us demanded a more equitable and fair society.

The Armchair Revolution and Phoning It In are more effective now than an armed uprising.  For the first time in history, we can make revolutionary change without making revolution. We can, literally,  "call them on their bullshit." Make them answer to you and work for you.

Make this country great.  Not "again", but for the first time.  Your mind, your time, and your phone (or computer), are the only weapons you need.

No comments:

Post a Comment