rn: starting the revolution


Jan Slakov

Dear RN,

Richard's posting to us, "rkm re: facing eco-collapse and preparing for it"
is classic rkm: not wishy washy in the least, daring us to see the whole
picture and to make our actions fit with that view.

If we look at "the whole picture", it is not unthinkable that there is
indeed a corporate elite which sees much of humanity, indeed most life on
earth, as expendable. And this is genocide.

Seeing this, we must recognize the imperative we face that we do something
to stop the genocide, (but not just genocide, also ecocide or terracide,
words I have seen elsewhere that remind us that it is not just us humans who

Certainly, some kind of revoution is called for, and while most of us would
probably hesitate to use such a word with friends and family who are busy
trying to land a job or mend their marriage or whatever, and haven't been
thinking much about genocide and ecocide lately :), Richard dares us to do
just that.

And then he suggests that for those of us who see the necessity for
revolution, we need mainly to focus on how-to-get-it-started:

"_Yes, we need to begin planning immediately to rebuild the social commons!
But instead of planning for a post-collapse commons, let's begin building
that commons right now - and let's call that commons a 'grass-roots
revolutionary movement' (for a democratic renaissance?).  For activists, I
suggest, our greatest 'need to plan' is in the area of
how-to-get-the-movement-started.  We can't wait to agree on ideology first
- harmonizing agendas must be part of the movement process.  There is
nothing to wait for - whenever we're ready we can begin.  The job only
becomes more difficult the longer we wait."

...I remember at the workshop/retreat (of the summer of '98) which I helped
Richard organize and out of which this list began, we discussed the
importance of seeing the movement through "web-weaving" glasses. What I mean
is that, when we are conscious of the need to continually reach out and link
up with others working towards a democratic renaissance (and even those who
might balk at tagging their efforts with any such epithet!) then we feel
energized. We see the multitude of efforts and how they could, at least
ptotentially, lead us towards a livable world. But when we see other groups
and individuals as somehow opposed to our view of what revolution is all
about, then we see how feeble our own efforts are and tend to get discouraged.

With "web-weaving glasses" on, I think we can safely say the movement has
already started. Of course, there is still so much work to do! A crucial
part of this work is linking up with others and helping them and ourselves
to see our different types of work as complimentary, rather than
antagonistic. The web-weaving discussion Richard got going with his posting
of Oct. 17 gives us one good example of this.

I would like to cite a few other examples in this posting and the next two,
of how people who we might not at first see as contributing to the
"democratic renaissance" are in fact doing just that.

One example comes right from "close to home", someone who was working with
Richard before I was: Carolyn Ballard. She has lately been really busy with
family-type things and less closely involved with Citizens for a Democratic
Renaissance than earlier on. But we still keep in touch. A while back
Carolyn wrote about how this man who needed a place to stay ended up living
in her home and getting the space (literally and figuratively) to get back
on his feet. I got to thinking about that.... Given that in our time, it is
people like this man who are seen as "expendable" (and, as Richard pointed
out, not just by "the elite" but by people in general), to help someone like
this out is a revolutionary act, similar to the way people in Nazi-occupied
Europe took in Jews and others to save them from the Nazis. (BTW, a
marvellous book documenting these stories of WW II resistance is _Conscience
and Courage_. Don't have a copy with me now so I can't tell you the name of
the author.)

Just as people in the US and Canada made a point of acting in solidarity
with the people of Viet Nam, whose country had been devastated by the war,
this is happening now with Yugoslavia. Here is just one example:

Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999 03:15:17 -0500
To: •••@••.•••, •••@••.•••
From: Mark Douglas Whitaker <•••@••.•••>

>Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999 11:59:51 -0400 (EDT)
>From: vincent scotti eirene <•••@••.•••>
>To: •••@••.•••
>  URL: http://www.notowar.com
>                             yugoslavia
>                           the winter tour
>founder of peace tv and videographer rich fishkin of pittsburgh, pa. has
>recently returned from a two week trip to belgrade, yugoslavia. he is our
>eyes for a blind america.
>the footage he has brought back shows the beauty of the land and the
>determination of the the people. after ten years of sanctions and 78 days
>of intense bombing the infrastructure of yugoslavia is crippled. the water  
>supply, hospitals, farm land, electricity, communications, railroad, and
>bridges are all in disrepair. the continuation of sanctions has cut
>yugoslavia off from needed aide. no one is ready for the coming winter.
>rich will be traveling this fall showing his videos of the people of   
>yugoslavia and how they are surviving the after math of the nato bombings.
>peace tv hopes to raise the neccesary funds and return this winter to
>yugoslavia to spend orthodox christmas with those the US has deemed enemy.
>interested?? schedule a stop on the speaking tour show/videos screening.
>call or email:
>toll free: 1-888-NOTOWAR
>vincent scotti eirene'
>outreach coordinator for peace tv
>  URL: http://www.notowar.com
>  duncan and porter house of hospitality and resistance 
>  the pittsburgh dmz  disarm cmu peace brigade
>  snail/mail: post office box 99332  pgh., pa. 15233  
>  toll free: 1-888-NOTOWAR   fax: 1-412-231-1114  vox: 231-2766  
>  pager: 590-2212  ICQ #5163973  

>* •••@••.•••
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>* Visit our website:                 http://iraqaction.org/students.html
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...I could go on and on with examples. No need to though, for once we have
"web-weaving" glasses on, each of us can come up with lots of examples, I think.

What do all these efforts have in common? I think an essential ingredient is
the willingness to do the work that needs doing ourselves, a taking of
responsibility ourselves. Mother Teresa said it well: 

"Do not wait for leaders, do it alone, person to person. "   

And Hans Sinn recently sent us a message making essentially the same point,
quoting one of my all time favourite pieces, _Neither Victims Nor Executioners_:

Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 11:33:15 -0400
To: •••@••.•••
From: Hans Sinn <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: rn- rkm re: facing eco-collapse and preparing for it

I like Paul's conclusions, they are similar to what Albert Camus avocated
1946 in  Neither Victims Nor Executioners, written for and published by
Combat, the journal of the French resistance:

" Little is to be expected from present-day governments, since these live
and act by a murderous code. Hope remains only in the most difficult task
of all: to reconsider everything from the ground up, so as to shape a
living society inside a dying society."


Civilian Peace Service <http://www.superaje.com/~marsin/cps.htm> 

In the next two messages I would like to introduce you to two efforts that
we can see as part of the revolution, one based in Quebec/Vermont, the other
really close to where I live in Atlantic Canada.

all the best, jan

Creo que el mundo es bello, 
que la poesía es como el pan, 
de todos. 

(I believe the world is beautiful
and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone)

Roque Dalton

Jan Slakov, Box 35, Weymouth, NS, Canada B0W 3T0  (902) 837-4980
 CDR (Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance) home page ->


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