Manifesto for a General Strike for Life

ron cobb old man and pavement

[Written January 2003, just before the US Imperial invasion of Iraq. The General Strike was the key tool in the toolbox of classical anarcho-syndicalism. Image by great 60/70s cartoonist Ron Cobb.]

Manifesto for a General Strike for Life

Martin, I too have a dream
of us coming out of our shells

out of our TV shells, car shells, work shells
fatigue shells, fear shells, mortgage rat-race shells
sex, drugs and rock & roll shells

our shopaholic shells, our party shells
class, age and gender shells
out of our tribe and nation shells
(yep, those especially)

to acknowledge, respect
embrace the others
the others out there
the others in here

the victims
the dark others
the dispossessed, the despised
the downtrodden

the children, women, men
bombed, tortured, starved, exploited
ignored, silences, oppressed
by Empire
on our behalf
in our names
to keep our economies ticking over
the cheap resources flowing
shares and supers growing

I have a dream:
we simply

stop believing in leaders
in pulling our heads in
in private solutions to public problems
in leaving the thinking to others

I have a dream
we finally listen
to what we know already

to the breath of the future
in our bones

unplug our minds from Their sockets
slow down, relax
look, laugh, cry, look again

organise our networks
our debate and dissent
solidarity and solitude

that we use our most powerful weapon:
simply withdraw our support, disaffiliate
from the whole crazy racket

from the powerful, the products
we don’t need, the elections
of different wings of the same Party
media that keep it all nicely ticking over
like a time bomb on speed

that we reach out to each other
and into our deepest selves:
our sisters and brothers
in huts, hovels and high-rises
camps and prisons
forests, farms, rivers

in soil and sea
in the stars of the heavens
in the furthest reaches of the mind
the darkest depths of dream

where we meet ourselves
as others

where we frighten ourselves
as others

where we inspire ourselves
as others

I have a dream
we all sit down
at the table of righteousness

the high and the low
the black and the white
the refugee and the retiree

drink of the wine of compassion
eat of the bread of insight

that we proclaim
a General Strike For Life
for peace, for justice, for solidarity

that we vigorously, seditiously conspire
to wage a very radical peace
against Empire, against the powerful
who threaten our world and our children

that we organise our realised democracy
town by town, valley by valley
continent by continent

till we cover this round blue globe
with the laughing light
of freedom


~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on September 23, 2014.

4 Responses to “Manifesto for a General Strike for Life”

  1. “…conspire to wage a very radical peace…” that truly is my goal, what i aim for…and it seems that most people want that too…it’s reconciling the daily contradictions to achieving solidarity that’s so difficult…the feeling of always being slightly off balance…dealing with the competitive environment…working with good people and good kids and the cognitive dissonance we all endure to get thru our daily lives…backed into those shells…it’s what’s always left unsaid…just under the surface…but no one can admit it’s possible…let alone realistic…just a dream…

  2. thats great…hoping for a “global blossoming” as well… (:
    practically speaking, in the future, i’m gonna pick your brain about renovating neglected fruit trees !

    • No problem, ‘pick’ any time. Am renovating a large, neglected wild apple in the local Bundanoon commmons as we speak: first step was cutting down a pine that was blocking the sun, plus weed species strangling it (privet, honeysuckle). Have started top-grafting a few known apple varieties onto it. This summer I’ll do some more form pruning mainly to keep down the top and open up the centre to light (except for removing all dead wood, don’t prune in winter unless you want to encourage growth). Pome fruit like apples and pears are very resilient trees and will take a lot of mismanagement…Summer pruning is also advisable for other fruit trees unless you want to encourage growth. Also helps stone fruit trees (peaches, apricots, cherries etc) recover better from pruning injury…

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