A GULP (!) of Utopia 2
[Part two of A Gulp (!) of Utopia, on Strategy and Tactics. The photo was taken in Melbourne’s Chinatown in 2010. Enjoy.]
B. Strategy, The Ethics of
Our goal, our vision, is also our strategy.
Our means are our ends.
One Spirit informs both.
To get to the social generalization of democracy,
human rights & ecological sustainability,
our actions must strive to contain these themselves,
i.e. be democratic, ethical, sustainable.
This may not always be possible.
(The terrible paradox of democracy’s historical birth
in bloodshed & unethically waged struggles
has already been noted).
We shall endeavor to dance with the differences
between the real & the ideal as they arise.
Bread & roses, reform & utopia.
The real & the ideal need each other.
Too great a gap between them, & we have deadness
or hypocrisy: too many boring committees
manned by the power-seeking or committee-minded (‘the politicos’),
too many Greens jetting to too many climate conferences.
Yet we can drive to that meeting on sustainability.
Our CO2 debt will have increased but, hopefully,
sustainability will also have been furthered a tad.
The contradictions & ironies are real, the daily soul weight
of living with awareness in the 21st century.
Humour always helps, wallowing in guilt
or guilting others certainly does not.
To get to democracy means being democratic now.
Human rights are universal & indivisible, pretty much either/or.
They apply to all, no matter of which persuasion.
Violence is usually the death of both human rights & democracy,
the way our opponents, sometimes internal,
take us over as we fight them.
(Even here exceptions are conceivable:
to assassinate a torturing tyrant
would doubtless be a justifiable denial
of the latter’s human rights in most people’s books).
Violence is not always of the obvious kind, however.
We also understand the silent structural violence
of the economy & oppressive institutions:
the violence of being compelled to soul-numbing labour
or oppressive obedience by the threat of hunger, unemployment,
ostracism. We understand how this breeds
counter-violence, which, when it succeeds,
often feeds into new forms of structural violence.
Our strategies aim to consciously break
with this well-known vicious circle of Power,
with the demoralizing replacement
of old oppressive elites with merely new ones.
Thus our struggle is a double one:
as we struggle with our powerful opponents,
we shall also struggle against our own temptations
& against those supposedly with us
who seek to gain power for their own (always ‘good’) ends.
Embedded in our vision & strategies, our tactics
are eminently situational, flexible,
fluid, creative, humorous & serious,
as diverse as we are, our spirits are, nature is.
Tactics are responses to specific problems & situations.
Millions engage in them everyday, just surviving
the systems they live under. Our tactics are local
& global at the same time. Thanks to the Internet
we can now, for the first time, be truly planetary
in our minds, actions, communications.
We are practising what we want to achieve:
a democratic globalization from below.
We have learned many tactics
from our struggling brothers & sisters
in the past and in the present.
We have learned that empowered assemblies
are the best real way to learn & practise democracy.
We have learned that the self-activity of civil disobedience
is the best embodiment of self-empowerment.
We have learned that boycotts, bans & strikes
are ways of withdrawing our supportive energy from our opponents.
We have learned that go-ins, be-ins, laugh-ins
are creative forms of confronting their institutions.
We have learned symbolic actions & guerilla art forms
as ways of challenging their image hegemonies.
We have learned alternative media, culture & networking,
appropriate, human- & natural-scale technologies,
cooperatives & support networks, subsistence food production.
We have learned bioregional organising & regeneration,
land care, river care, ocean care, forest protection.
All this is not pie-in-the-sky.
All this is happening now.
It simply needs to understand itself.
The revolution is evolutionary:
ongoing, discontinuous, spiral, spiritual.
There is so much more to learn.
Through us Life is trying out new forms,
tentatively stretching out antennae,
making global consciousness as natural
as breathing, world music or the internet.
We need to talk together more,
support each other more, locally, globally.
Freedom, mutual aid & solidarity,
the poetry of bread & the prose of roses.
We need to have times of doing
To be silent.
Let us enjoy
~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on February 9, 2012.