Chapter One

by Shazz

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You think you’d like to start a REVOLUTION – actually, you know you want to start one. So just how do you get cooking? In this part of the book, we’ll take a look at the major reasons why people revolt. The more you know about why you want to change the world, the greater your chances for doing it successfully.

I’ll also give you a comprehensive look at the different political personalities and how they measure up. When you’ve found your cause, you’ll get a close-up look at the history of civilization and where you might fit into the textbooks. From antiquity to the modern, from the Roman Senate to the U.N., you’ll learn how to ground your REVOLUTION in human values that can’t lose.

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In This Chapter

  • The best reasons to revolt
  • The future of revolution
  • The importance of LOVE
  • Why you can leave your guns at home
  • How you’ve already won

Congratulations, you’ve taken a big, big step. You’ve gone out and bought yourself a book on starting a REVOLUTION. And that is exactly what you will learn in the following pages: how to start a REVOLUTION.

Just imagine the legacy you could leave as a historical revolutionary: a world free of war, free of taxation, free to cross borders unhindered, free to live in a stateless society, free to use drugs of choice for purposes of their choosing, and free to build public monuments…to you! Ah, the world will owe you a great debt!

Well, it may owe you a debt – or there’s a very good chance that it may just ignore you. In many ways this book hopes to both motivate you (let’s get going!) and wake you up (whoa there cowboy). Take it from a guy who knows: REVOLUTION is no place for self-delusions. Spurring on an evolution of civilization is a lot of work and effort. Changing the world will require more than heart and more than courage; it will take all of you and leave nothing in reserve. But before I jot down your name in the history books, let’s step back to ask a critical question: Just why do you want to start a REVOLUTION? Overhauling an entire society is a near impossible task. What’s in it for you?

 

What’s Your Reason?

To borrow a phrase from Russian author Leo Tolstoy, conformists are all alike; every reactionary rebels for his or her own reason. Is your reason on the list?

  • I’m compelled by injustice
  • I want to leave my children a better world
  • I’d like to advance a personal cause
  • I feel I should do my part
  • I hope to achieve world peace
  • I’d like to end poverty
  • I want to be free
  • All of the above

I’m Compelled by Injustice

Some people revolt because they are driven by an innate sense of justice. These people must give a voice to the voiceless – they can’t just stand by and watch as others are abused. They are the prescient that stood on their local streetcorners and protested worldwide against the Iraq invasion when America was whipped into a post-9/11 frenzy. A generation ago they brought the Vietnam War to a screeching halt by catching bullets at Kent State University, occupying Berkeley’s People’s Park and bringing the reality of the human cost of war to a somnolent American public. For these people, doing what’s morally right just comes naturally. They have no other choice.

Are you familiar with a saying about liberty or death by a guy named Patrick Henry? Or how about Simón Bolívar, who 50 years later had liberated a half-dozen Latin American countries from Spanish colonial rule? These leaders, uncompromising in their pursuit of justice, have rightfully carved their place in revolutionary history. If heroes like these are your role models, then you’re someone who’s compelled to start a REVOLUTION. Gaining pragmatic victories may be your primary goal and becoming famous would be nice; but you live to defend the little guy and persecute the asshole.

The revolutionary fights to promote justice.

 

I Want to Leave My Children a Better World

Having a child can be very fulfilling. And by the time they’ve grown up, you hope to have instilled in them some of the wisdom you’ve earned from life. Instead of worrying about whether their son or daughter will be successful, every parent wants the comfort of knowing that they’ve prepared their progeny for the wild world out there.

So it only makes sense that some are reconsidering the world we are preparing to leave for our children. Not only do the sins of the father visit the son, but his son’s son and his son’s son’s son and so forth until someone finally gets it right. A large measure of the pride and satisfaction of tackling today’s social ills comes from the relief of knowing that your children won’t have to deal with the same issue. Think about it: do you really want to fetter future generations to the chains of our myopic policy decisions? One out of every two people is projected to get cancer in one form or another over the next generation. Do you think that humanity should wait until it’s two out of every three, or three out of every four, before we start seriously addressing the carcinogens that we mindlessly dump into our environment?

Perhaps the condition of the world your children will inherit keeps you up at night. Perhaps it even keeps you from seriously considering raising a child in the first place. If so, translate this anxiety into a reason to revolt.

The revolutionary fights for the sake of future generations.

 

I’d Like to Advance a Personal Cause

Do you have a pet cause that is close to your heart? Do you wish the government would get out of your sex life, or drug life, or life in general? Can you boil your resentment down to the fact that you have to pay income taxes (a relatively modern US invention), or that our politicians con us into these endless wars generation after generation, or that the world still doesn’t know the truth about 9/11?

A personal cause is not a great foundation for a REVOLUTION, but it can be a great source of inspiration. Bobby Seale co-founded the Black Panthers, a revolutionary community service organization, after living through the assassination of great leaders such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr and the Kennedy brothers. But Bobby didn’t start off by envisioning a national movement, he started by arguing with his college professor. When she would use the term ‘negroid,’ he’d insist that she also use the equally inflammatory ‘caucasoid.’ He participated in bobycotts to demand the inclusion of African American and Native American studies in his college curriculum. Bobby took a stand in school, and remained standing until he had created an organization whose social programs were so effective that the only way the government could undercut their success was to adopt Black Panther initiatives as their own.

Bobby Seale addressed what immediately bothered him and then expanded from there. You don’t want to come waltzing onto the world stage as a tourist picking up pet causes left and right. Take a minute to think about what really bothers you as an American. Think of a specific injustice or perhaps an instance where you were made to feel like less of a person. How did you feel? Were you ashamed, frustrated, angry? Use this passion as fuel for your revolutionary ambitions.

The revolutionary fights their own personal crusade.

 

I Feel I Should Do My Part

Is there a part of you that feels guilty when you hear about the troubled state of the world? Do you sometimes wonder if there’s more you could be doing to help? Maybe you feel guilty that you did not serve in Iraq, even if you suspect that the war was always a fabricated colonial lie. I know I do. I never served overseas, but I’ve had to witness my Army buddies and family members come back with strange rashes and stranger delusions. And those are the ones who came back, to say nothing of the Iraqis who’ve suffered the genocidal obliteration of their country.

I remember watching that second plane crash into the tower from an Army rec room. I remember saying goodbye to my battle buddy shipping out to Germany. I remember my cousin enlisting only to be discharged within 2 years, 100% mentally disabled. I remind myself that there but for the grace of God went I.

Everyone has a role to play in the REVOLUTION, and many will come to the REVOLUTION not sure how they are even going to contribute. But they know that now’s the time to do something. They are tired of sitting on the sidelines of history. They want to contribute something, anything, to the good fight. As people’s historian Howard Zinn put it, ‘You can’t stay neutral on a moving train.’ The movement will pick up steam and more people will come aboard with the sense of relief that they finally have an outlet for their idealism, their guilt, or even just their common sense. If you feel a need to do your part, there’s a place for you in the REVOLUTION.

The revolutionary fights to be on the right side of history.

 

I Hope to Achieve World Peace

Killing to achieve peace may seem as ridiculous to you as having sex to promote chastity. But since the dawn of civilization, unscrupulous leaders have used this very argument to defend their wars of aggression. Do you ask yourself when all the wars will end, if they even can end? Perhaps you wonder, as French statesman Georges Clemenceau did, ‘whether war is an interlude during peace, or peace an interlude during war.’

America secured her first external colonies through one of these ‘savage wars of peace’ over one hundred years ago, by way of the Spanish American war. Advising America to do good by her new subjects in the Philippines, celebrity author of the day Rudyard Kipling prodded Americans to ‘take up the white man’s burden’ and improve the lives of ‘your new—caught, sullen peoples, half-devil, and half child.’ The wings of the war eagle spread out over Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines and we haven’t looked back since

A generation later, Marine Corp Major General Smedley Butler published his infamous book War is a Racket, detailing the profiteering he witnessed during his military career. In his day, Smedley was the most decorated Marine in the Corps’ history, and he remains perhaps its most honest. Five short years after he began a touring career as a full-time pacifist, and only one year after testifying before Congress regarding an industrialist coup to overthrow the US government, Smedley checked himself into a naval hospital. He died weeks later from what was believed to be cancer. The date was June 24th 1940, less than a month before his 59th birthday. Pearl Harbor struck a year and a half later and America was once again at war.

For every Smedley Butler, uncompromising in their moral convictions, there are countless more talking heads selling us moral convolutions. In the 2003 build-up to the invasion of Iraq, a viewer of network news was 25 times more likely to see a pro-war propagandist on their television than an anit-war patriot. Don’t be naïve enough to think that against such odds the rationality of peace can be its own advocate. War is always profitable for the few at the expense of the many. If we are ever to earn a meaningful peace on earth, the many are going to have to rise above the cultural static. We are going to have to go after the profiteers of war.

The revolutionary fights to bring warmongers to justice.

 

I’d Like to End Poverty

Maybe you care about peace on earth, but for you ending poverty is a more immediate concern. Before you fight to eliminate hunger, let’s first examine why it exists. Despite the fear mongering of the modern-day Malthusians, the world remains a rich and spacious place. As John F. Kennedy once remarked with typical common sense, ‘our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man…No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.’

If the world’s current population were crammed into Texas, you would have roughly the same population density as New York City. And as a 2007 study from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor points out, ‘even with the doubling of the human population in the past 50 years, more than enough food has been produced to meet the caloric requirements for all; if food were distributed more equitably.’

Do you empathize with the withered faces that stare blankly at you from the television screen advertizing hunger in Haiti or Africa or some other dark corner of the world? Sadly, we suffer from the age-old problem of distribution, not scarcity.

Funny enough, Rome, the classic empire to which the United States is often compared, struggled with these same issues. In the early days of the republic, the brothers Gracchi, Tiberius and Gaius, tried to pass reform legislation that would have redistributed land, in excess of the legal limit of 330 acres, from the powerful few to the impoverished many. Their naïve idealism in trying to enforce a law that was already on the books cost them their lives. Tiberius was bludgeoned to death by the Roman Senate, his body thrown into the Tiber River along with 300 of his supporters. It was the first recorded political murder since the Republic’s founding. A decade later, Gaius, following in the footsteps of his reformist brother, was hunted down when the Senate declared martial law. The word was out: Gaius’ head for an equal weight in gold. It is said that a soldier scooped out his brains and filled the skull with lead before collecting a reward.

This is the price that would-be social reformers continue to pay when they challenge the economic interests of the few in the name of a fairer society. A year before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King Jr. exclaimed that ‘true compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.’ Martin’s struggle for civil rights had matured into a struggle for human rights, leading him to ask hard questions like ‘who owns the oil…who owns the iron ore…why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that is two-thirds water?’ This isn’t the benign Martin that dreamt in Technicolor, but a bloodhound on the trail of injustice. A year after these statements, Martin received the institutional response: a single bullet that pierced his right cheek, smashed his jaw, traveled his spinal cord and finally lodged itself into his shoulder.

Who owned that bullet? A 1999 wrongful death civil trial proved that it came from the US government’s Covert State Paramilitary. What was Martin’s capital sin? Restating the wisdom of King Solomon, who in Proverbs 22:7 pointed out that the ‘rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.’

Ending poverty requires you to question the entire economic system. It is going to require you to use your brain, a brain that someone could put a price on. It is going to require you to have a backbone, a backbone that might take a bullet. It is going to require you to take on a corrupt government, a government that may try to kill you. This type of interrogation extends beyond charity and into the realm of REVOLUTION. You want to end poverty?

The revolutionary fights to create an equitable economy.

 

I Want to Be Free

Do you believe that starting a REVOLUTION (or joining a REVOLUTION in progress) can be a path to freedom? My cousins, who marched with me through downtown Los Angeles in May of 2006, share this hope with millions of other. Before becoming a part of one of the biggest protests in US history, they wrote a sign for their dad to put on the window of his business: “Closed for May Day.” Having grown up in America, they speak and write perfect English. Having no social security numbers, they have never moved beyond their humble family business, or even out of their suburban Southern California neighborhood.

They subsist in the shadows as second-class citizens, much like the Roman Empire’s tiered citizenship or Hindu’s caste system. cruising into LA that May morning I did the driving and left the flag-waving to them. Three years out of the Army, I had long-since fallen out of love with the star-spangled banner.

From a young age we are coerced into a cult of patriotism. Where else but in a cult do you make children recite a ‘pledge of allegience’ every single day? This is the day’s first priority, so important that children are forced to stand as if they were young cadets and a military officer had just entered the room. They pledge allegience not only to a nation but also to its symbols. Not only to a republic but also to its religion. Not to a federation of states each acting as ‘laboratories of democracy,’ but to an ‘indivisible’ nation-state.

With liberty and justice for all.

This loyalty oath was originally composed six years before the Spanish-American war and formally adopted six months after Pearl Harbor. Originally it was accompanied by the ‘Bellamy solute,’ a zombie arm-raise almost identical to the Nazi solute. They eventually decided to drop that part. What if patriotism was not forced on our youth, on us? Perhaps then countries would be judged by their merits and not propped up by coersion and we would have had our REVOLUTION generations ago. Are we not all ‘sleeper cells,’ programmed our entire lives for American conquest? How else can you explain our disregard for human life? American commanders state proudly that they don’t count deaths that aren’t red, white and blue and the American public acquiesces. What horrible human beings.

What were we before we we inculcated to be good Americans and bad people? What are the freedoms that the idealist espouses? Freedom from taxes? Freedom from government meddling? The right to bear arms? To make a profit? What about the freedom to think critically? Your right to an unobstructed historical record? Your right to make up your own mind about America during your formative years, without all the propaganda?

Part of the reason that I joined the military at the naïve age of 18 was that I was denied my country’s real military history. I was not familiar with the name of Smedley Butler, or that of Randolph Bourne who warned a century ago that ‘war is the health of the state.’ I trusted my country and offered it my life, pre-9/11, with the sincere belief that few served to provide the freedoms many took for granted. I did not know that since childhood my country had robbed me of my most important freedom: access to enough facts to make up my own mind. James Madison said that ‘a popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both.’ My country conned me into military service, and I suspect I’m not the only one who has suffered this farce, this tragedy.

If you value freedom, for whatever reason, side with men against systems, organic movements against hierarchies, and openness against obstruction. The true libertarian, anarchist of history and scalpel to bureaucracy, will always find a place in the REVOLUTION. After all, whom did those colonial revolutionaries dress up as when they wanted to send a message to England by dumping British tea into the Boston harbor? Anarchist Mohawk Indians.

Recognize the game board of history. There’s only one reason to label someone ‘illegal’: to make them a slave. The same corporate class that lays you off here dumps its products in Mexico, causing farmers to abandon their crops and flee north to feed their families. The same state that takes away your liberties here criminalizes the economic refugees it helps to create. George Bush Sr. writes NAFTA and Bill Clinton knocks it out of the park. George Bush Jr. sells the Wall St. bailout on national tv and Barack Obama hurries it through Congress. While they give you the freedom to pick between the two.

All the while a new generation of little zombies sans Nazi solute are indoctrinated, pledging obedience. Do you love freedom? Then use your indomitable spirit to recognize who your enemy truly is and who your friends are. Lend your strength to those who still struggle under the yoke: whether physical, legal or mental.

The revolutionary fights for the freedom to think for themselves.

They fight for the freedom of all of mankind.

 

All of the Above

In summary, the revolutionary fights for many things:

  • to promote justice
  • for the sake of future generations
  • their own personal crusade
  • to be on the right side of history
  • to bring warmongers to justice
  • to create an equitable economy
  • for the freedom to think for themselves
  • for the freedom of all of mankind

Few revolutionaries have one single reason for starting a REVOLUTION. Most of us combine a personal need to revolt with a social cause worth fighting for.

Why should you know what motivates you? Because your resolve is going to be tested, your very life may be endangered. The revolutionary who is able to focus on what motivates them forges the armor they then wear into the arena of the public eye.

Is war the one issue for you that can create Robert Frost’s ‘lump in the throat’ that begins the poem? Have you been forced to shoot at children who were merely defending their country and come back from the Middle East scarred? Have you ever gone to bed hungry as a child, wondering why your parents have to work so hard? Do you have hardworking family members without papers who are unappreciated and maltreated in our society? Does it upset you to acknowledge that we live in a world where good men are assassinated while dictators like Pinochet or Suddharto are allowed to live out their golden years in exile, receiving glowing obituaries when they finally do die from the likes of the Wall St. Journal?

The revolutionary minister William Sloane Coffin once said that ‘when you see uncaring people in high places, everyone should be mad as hell.’ Do the people currently in power care about anything other than their personal enrichment? Does this make you mad as hell? Because if not, perhaps REVOLUTION is not for you. REVOLUTION is not for the tourist. You need to find a reason that brings color to your cheeks and gets your blood boiling. Before you inspire anyone else, first you have to inspire yourself.

Strength of sincerity is strength of identity. Actively seek out what motivates you and use this as the engine of your REVOLUTION. The purposeful revolutionary becomes invincible, at least mentally… you’re still going to want to protect those brains and spine.

 

Do People Still Revolt?

‘Starting a REVOLUTION will take me too long. By the time I know enough or am prepared to act, the time for popular revolt will have passed!’ It seems like every historical analysis puts major events in the rear-view mirror, in history, painting over the present with a drab grey of uneventful denouement. Perhaps you wonder why anyone would attempt to start a REVOLUTION in the ‘modern age.’ We have approached ‘the end of history,’ the political scientist Francis Fukuyama scolds, and this was back in 1992 no less. We are past REVOLUTION.

My well-informed and revolutionary stated response to these herders of history: ‘Not exactly.’ Straddling the pinnacle of civilization is not only confining but also uncomfortable, as you can imagine sitting atop any pyramid would be.

If you shrunk the earth to the size of a basketball it would feel as smooth as glass to the touch. But what does this mean to someone living under the shadows of the Himalayas, or the Hollywood Hills for that matter? Perspective sets the parameters of discussion, and one’s imagination. Don’t be fooled into borrowing someone else’s view of the world, especially when that person has a vested interest in your self-awareness. In a world filled with injustice, self-awareness can be a weapon of mass destruction. South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko admonished that ‘the most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.’

What is the world in which you live? What is the reality you experience every day? Are you polishing planets like marbles? Or do you suffer in the shadows of mountains? In the next sections we explore how REVOLUTION is not only possible today but in many ways already on the move.

 

Lulz, Laziness and Spring

Have you ever voted in your life? I am 30 years old and I haven’t. There, I admitted it. We live in the most powerful nation on the planet, making us the most powerful citizens in the world, yet people don’t vote. Why do 30-60% of citizens consistently decide that voting does not matter? Short answer: because, individually, it doesn’t.

Why have I never voted in my life? Because I have never been properly organized. I distrust the party machines that shout for my attention every election cycle. Chances are, you distrust them too. These institutions are created to escort a voter from first political blush to the ballot box. They indoctrinate you to believe that your only option is a blue or red political chaperone, the donkey or the elephant. Those of us who have reservations are excluded as wallflower “independents”, which translates into potential democrats or republicans. The richest 1%, on the other hand, flaunt royal purple and double down on both sides of the political isle.

Don’t let the media fool you: apathy is not laziness. It is a vote of no-confidence for a political system that we suspect is run by cronies who are putting their own interests before that of the public.

But around the world and now here in America, people are starting to organize themselves outside of political parties. Heck, they’re outside of political systems, ouside in general, camping out in public places across the world. The masses are starting to dance to their own music, the chaparones be damned. But before we get into the political lambada going down worldwide, first let us address that issue of non-confidence. If you are to lead a REVOLUTION, you have to understand what makes voters not participate. After all, you are eventually going to have to bring them back to the table with real alternatives, or else it all was just an extended picnic.

 

Apathy as Protest

If you are perfectly honest, you’ll admit that laziness IS one of the major reasons that people don’t go to the polls. As I’ll discuss in Part 2: Strength in Numbers, however, your job is not to judge people, not even your lazy author. But no matter how much one would like to blame a slothful John Q. Public, failure also perpetuates apathy. Our political system is failing us. Perhaps those who abstain from politics agree with Charles Bukowski when he said that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later, while in a dictatorship you don’t waste your time voting. Coming from a glass-house democracy of poverty and perpetual war, that’s a hard statement to throw stones at.

Some of the smartest people I’ve met refuse to vote because our political system disgusts them. In 1950, a Swiss patent clerk who achieved fame in other fields noted that ‘we should strive to do things in [Gandhi’s] spirit: not to use violence for fighting for our cause, but by non-participation of anything you believe is evil.’* The question then is: are politics evil? To put it another way: in any given election year, are people rallied to vote for or against candidates? Your guy might be tepid, but that other candidate is a nutcase/fascist/socialist/insert pejorative here. American comedian W.C. Fields captured this spirit when he remarked ‘hell, I never vote for anybody, I always vote against.’

Don’t allow yourself to be herded into prearranged political pens. As the political strategists say, frame the issue and you win the debate. As the boy-scouts train, if you’ve lost your way the best thing to do is to stay in one place. As research has proven, a man in an arctic whiteout will eventually favor one foot over the other. Not having any environmental markers to orient himself, he will walk in circles forever thinking he’s getting somewhere. The funny thing about that guy: he can walk in circles to the left just as easy as to the right.

Non-participation is a perfectly ethical and rational response from citizens lost, in this case, within a ‘greenout’ of corporate-funded narratives. The absence of voter participation in America is a testimony to the state of its democracy. Don’t let anyone manipulate you into feeling guilty about not participating in a system you neither have faith in nor control over. And don’t lose sleep over the apathy of others. Misanthropy is not a helpful revolutionary trait. Trust that there is a wisdom to the sleeping giant. People act when inspired and follow those who inspire them. This is why we need a REVOLUTION in the first place, because politics as usual are broken.

Act from your heart to forge something sincere and watch America get up off the couch. Give them something to believe in, with which to orient themselves, and you’ll be able to lead them out of the wilderness.

 

*Albert Einstein

 

The Online Resistance

Perhaps you’ve noticed that people are getting up off the couch all right, if only to sit right back down behind computer screens. Yes, internet activism is alive and well. One of the remarkable things about the last few years is that the internet is returning to one of mankind’s earliest lessons, collectivism. The principles of cooperation, communication and the common good reign supreme among the netizens of the world. This electronic collective-conscious does not take subjugation lightly. They are the online resistence coding a digital REVOLUTION in defiance of oppressive systems.

Don’t worry, we are going to devote an entire section of this book to discussing what the electronic frontier means to the REVOLUTION. For now, below is a brief timeline of American internet activism:

1990: in what’s considered the first online protest, 30k people organize to opt out of a controversial consumer listing.
1998: two entrepreneurs create a digital petition to censure Clinton and “move on” to other issues. MoveOn.org is born.
1999: 50k activists organize WTO protests in Seattle. The Independent Media Center alternative news source is created.
2006: 40k high school students across California organize walkouts in opposition to changes in U.S. immigration law.
2010: a Wikileaks video shows a U.S. helicopter gunning down civilians. The site goes on to release the ‘Iraqi War Logs.’
2011: taking a cue from ‘Arab Spring’ protests in the Middle East, protestors occupy Wall St, garnering online support.

Bill Gates once derided open-source advocates as ‘new modern-day sort of communists.’ Now they are bringing their distributed-architecture guns to the table. As of this writing, Wikileaks source Bradley Manning is still in military prison but the ‘Anonymous’ collection of internet hacktivists remains at large. The natural marriage of internets and idealism has created what is being termed ‘the Streisand effect.’ Named after the eponymous American entertainer who’s efforts to suppress photos of her Malibu mansion only generated further interest, it is the electronic equivalent of gasoline for the fires of activism. When the government tried to shut down Wikileaks, it only succeeded in multiplying their mirror-sites a thousand fold. They generated enough publicity for hundreds of thousands of dollars of fundraising. This is what has the establishment running scared: you can’t outgun populism on its home turf.

The internet belongs to the people.

In a society that values the hoarding of information so much that corporations patent plants, cures for diseases and even ideas, the open-source model is revolutionary. Bureaucracies seek out and retain power, while innovation abhors closed systems and begs for open-source. The United States has 1,000+ military bases suffocating the world. Do you think they want oversight? There is a privately-owned Central Bank in nearly every developed country in the world. Do you think they want the public to audit their books? If we are to innovate our democracy and revolutionize America, we are going to do it using an open-sourced model. We need to cast light on the dark shadows, and secrets, of our opaque society.

So when US Senator David Rockefeller is captured on C-SPAN describing the ungovernability of the internet as a “fearsome awesome problem,” pondering aloud whether it should have even been invented, as a revolutionary now you understand why.

To have a successful REVOLUTION, you will not only have to surf the net but stay abreast of an organic, anarchic swelling of online activism. Do so with humility, for as any surfer or 4chan frequenter will tell you, forces of nature cannot be tamed. But this does not mean that they should be condemned. Snarled features mouth a lack of control and fear of vulnerability, as technology ferries the rest of us into an open-sourced future. Ride the wave to create the REVOLUTION of tomorrow.

 

Revolting Spring

Have you noticed that the democratic anarchy of the internet seems even to be invading the outernet? Throughout 2011, both the Middle East and North Africa have been a cauldron of populist action. It’s too early to tell whether populism will prevail or countries will be divided and conquered on behalf of private interests. The ‘Lybian Rebels’ are perhaps the first ‘revolutionaries’ in history to, while still fighting, both privatize their country’s oil reserves and establish a Central Bank. A century earlier, Iran was partitioned by outside powers after its own constitutional REVOLUTION. A predacessor to British Petroleum (BP) went on to drill what was then the first oil well in the Middle East (interesting note: Winstill Churchill at the time served as a lobbyist for this company). Current reports quote BP as looking forward to resuming their operations in Lybia ‘when conditions allow.’ They have already returned to Iraq, some say ‘gaining a stranglehold’ over its vast oil reserves.

Suffice it to say the people gaining power in these populist struggles might not have the purest of intentions. REVOLUTION, although often started by the people, doesn’t always guarantee power to the people.

But the techniques of today’s civil resistance have nonetheless been inspiring. Youth-led and technology driven, real populism has been mobilized across the world. In the section Chess Not Checkers we will discuss the more complicated goal of how to win the revolutionary war and not just its opening battles. But as battles go, 2011 was a year for historical openings.

Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Jordan, the protests spread like wildfire. Mauritania, Sudan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, democratic fever ran rampant. Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, Bahrain, prime ministers ousted, political police dissolved, state of emergencies lifted, wages increased, females gaining suffrage. Libya, Kuwait, Morroco, Western Sahara, Syria, even Israelis joined in on the protest action.

But what started it all? Who took the first stand in Tunisia, when food prices were rising and unemployment was skyrocketing? Who spoke out in a country without freedom of speech or other political outlets? Mohamed Bouazizi, one man, set himself on fire in a protest act known as self-immolation. REVOLUTION is serious business. Do you think that the banker or politician would set himself on fire for the sake of his privilege? Would Barack Obama put on a kerosene suit the next time he snuck a smoke if he didn’t win re-election?

For all the travesty of history, all of the bad things that have happened to good people, all of the assassinations and genocides, take comfort in knowing that when you fight for REVOLUTION you fight on the side that has a monopoly on sincerity. Which is why the title of this chapter is so important. Why revolt? Ask yourself this time and again. You don’t have to come up with an answer worth flaming for. But at least bring enough conviction to honor those who felt they had no other choice.

Another person of history, Hiraoka Kimitake, also martyred himself for REVOLUTION. A man of incredible physical fitness and talent, a warrior poet who was both a martial artist and accomplished writer, Hiraoka created his own private army called the Shield Society. In 1970 they invaded the headquarters of Japan’s Eastern Ground Self-Defense Force. Perched on a roof, he pleaded for the soldiers to return to Japan’s honorable tradition of the Samurai.

They laughed at him. Hiraoka promptly withdrew and commited seppuku.

The lesson? Passion can fuel a REVOLUTION but passion alone cannot create social change. The beauty of these modern protests lies in people acting on emotion first, hurdling institutional barriers faster than they can be set up. Impulsive action is an organic tactical advantage over entrenched bureaucracy. But the revolutionary should be grounded in a mature understanding of the world. Why is modern society the way it is? Who had a hand in its creation? Who are the beneficiaries? Who are the losers?

Where are the battles being fought and how can they be won?

These are the questions that you should be concerned with; theirs are the answers that demand REVOLUTION.

 

Viva La Résistance!

‘Nous ne sommes plus vos macaques!’ (We are no longer your monkeys!) With these words, Patrice Émery Lumumba ended his Independence Day speech. The date was June 30th, 1960, a mere two days before his 35th birthday. He had just been elected his country’s first Prime Minister. Within ten weeks the Republic of the Congo would suffer a coup, and by early the next year Patrice would be killed: executed by firing squad, cut up by hacksaw and dissolved in sulfuric acid.

Belgian King Baudouin no doubt felt uncomfortable sharing the stage with Patrice. Baudouin had just given a speech of his own in which he had lectured the newly independent country not to ‘compromise the future with hasty reforms.’ Almost a century earlier, Baudoun’s great grand-uncle King Leopold II of Belgium had created the International Association for the Exploration and Civilization of Central Africa. Leopold’s Congo became such a gotesque tragedy that it inspired the world’s first large-scale human rights movement. But by the Berlin Conference of 1884, the African pie had already been divided among the empires of Europe. Now impetuous young men of the 20th century, like Patrice Lumumba, were daring to question those portions.

Malcolm X once said that there has never been a bloodless REVOLUTION. More important for you to consider is whether there’s ever been an empire without blood on its hands. As a revolutionary, don’t let your critics shift the stigma of violence onto your shoulders. REVOLUTION is not brutal. It is the history behind these geopolitical lines in the global sandbox that are sickening. This is the reality that people all over the world experience. The very foundation of civilization is faulted. All that was left of a man that Malcolm once called ‘the greatest black man who ever walked the African continent’ were a few teeth and bone fragments. These are the cruel fragments of history. Where is the justice?

It is this ugly bedrock of society that is now fissuring with populist tremors. Resistance to empire is resistence to inhumanity. REVOLUTION only sounds extreme to those who don’t aren’t familiar with the rotten underbelly of Western Civilization. Long before the Belgian government finally apologized in 2002 for its role in Patrice’s murder, and before CIA documents implicated ‘the agency’ in the crime, Malcolm X and others suspected the truth. Che Guevera warned his fellow revolutionaries that ‘Lumumba’s murder should be a lesson for all of us.’ As Fidel Castro once remarked, history has a habit of vindicating the righteous.

No, we can’t fight the battles of the entire world. As Americans it is our moral obligation to untie our own patriotic knots. It just so happens that in doing so we will achieve the greatest good. When we dismantle the American Empire we will shut down most efficient killing machine in the history of ‘civilization.’ Don’t worry about having a global perspective. The new American REVOLUTION will be the world REVOLUTION because our actions here in the most powerful nation in the world have global gravity, for better or for worse.

In 1960, America’s Covert State Paramilitary flew a master chemist into the Congo packed with poison syringes. This macabre assassination plot was abandoned, but the CIA is suspected to still have partaken in Patrice’s eventual murder. To this day, they continue to strangle populist uprisings the world over. Being a part of the resistance means you’re going to have to uncover real history. A historical struggle against empire has transpired, is still transpiring. Your country does have blood on its hands. Things are going to get heavy.

Which is why before we go any further let’s make sure that your heart is in the right place. As they say in the military: time to check your intestinal fortitude. REVOLUTION is no place for a weak stomach or other internal organs.

 

Love Is the Answer

Back when I was in the Army I bought a guitar and started teaching myself how to play. One afternoon, my bunkmate claimed that my guitar was out of tune. I countered that the 5th frets all sounded in sync. ‘Yeah,’ he replied, ‘it might be in tune to itself but it’s still out of key.’

Regarding morality, we are born with perfect pitch into a society tuned to itself. This is why American history is a trail of broken strings. Our country’s self-deception is the height of intellectualism; tone-deaf sophistication. State violence uses a multitude of criterion to justify its actions. The messy answers that don’t square receive euphemisms like ‘collateral damage,’ or outright lies such as ‘hero.’

Can you identify the heroism in dying for another man’s deception? Who is born without empathy? Who offers you an excuse to objectify your fellow man? Which excuse has been used to justify more carnage: racism or nationalism? Was the former born of the necessity of the latter? Malcolm X figured as much when he told a reporter that, as fast as Uncle Sam rallied Americans to first hate and then forgive the ‘hun’ and the ‘jap,’ he could propagandize racial peace at the turn of a broadcast.

But the broadcast of empire is tuned to profitability, not peace.

On November 21st, 1945, during the opening address before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, United States Chief of Counsel Robert H. Jackson read a report tabulating Jews slaughtered by the Nazis: ‘in Shitomir 3,145 Jews ‘had to be shot’ because, judging from experience they had to be considered as the carriers of Bolshevik propaganda.’

In his memoir Body Count, U.S. Army officer and convicted American war criminal William Calley said that he and his troops weren’t in Vietnam to kill human beings, but ‘to kill an ideology that is carried by – I don’t know. Pawns. Blobs. Pieces of flesh. I was there to destroy an intangible idea.’

Where is the International Military Tribunal for the Vietnamese? Where is their holocaust memorial? Do the architects of that genocide, those who currently enjoy their lives as free men, show any remorse? What right did they have to call down chemical hellfire on the sovereign people of Vietnam?

How many know that the British press likened the environmental damage during America’s ‘pacification’ of Fallujah in Iraq to that of Hiroshima? You can find the twisted babies with tumorous heads for yourself on the internet, cradled in the arms of weeping, broken Iraqi mothers. Anti-semitism is no longer socially acceptable, at least among the educated classes. Unfortunately no such social sanctions exist for anti-communism, anti-Arabism, or any other stigmatization by the powerful against innumerable identifiable classes, people who usually stand between those in power and increased wealth.

Novelist Ayn Rand, in her usual forthright manner, frequently demonstrated this pattern of excuse-making: ‘the Arabs are one of the least developed cultures’, mere ‘primitives’ and ‘savages’; and while before West Point Cadets in 1974, ‘any white person who brings the element of civilization has the right’ to conquest.

These are tough subjects to broach under a heading of ‘love.’ But love is the only solution to inhumanity on this scale. To drown out your natural empathic pitch, society needs to make a loud enough noise. The powers of deception are tasked with changing that other man into merely that ‘other,’ to be discarded like that tree or that animal or any other object that modern society defines based on its utility rather than its inherent value. Lumber, meat, collateral damage. An object that you can then take advantage of. Or ignore.

When my cousin drove his butterbar through the streets of Iraq he was told not to stop no matter what was in the road, dog or child. 100% mental disability.

Dignity, empathy, the inherent rights of man, these are the universal truths which the masters of war must overcome. The playwright and Nobel laureate Harold Pinter asked us from his wheel chair, in haggard gasps, to ‘come and see the blood in the streets!’ President Barack Obama, in contrast, used the same Nobel platform a couple years later to lecture the world on ‘just war’ theory. You can’t counter this degree of sophism with argument. As Martin Luther King Jr proclaimed, you must simply choose love, ‘not emotional bosh…but a strong demanding love,’ because ‘hate is too great a burden to bear.’ The historical cycle of violence has been acknowledged by many, but perhaps by none as succinctly as English poet W.H. Auden, who pointed out that ‘I and the public know what all schoolchildren learn: those to whom evil is done do evil in return.’

This is why Che himself said that ‘the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.’ You don’t have time or energy for self destruction nor endless debate. Love is its own reason and its own reward. You can’t afford to risk becoming that which you are fighting. The enemy is the objectification of man, as manifested through violent institutions and defended by cowards. Your task then is to, as another junior Kurt Vonnegut put it, place man at the center of the universe ‘whether he belongs there or not.’

If you don’t, you run the risk that someone, something or some institution will come along and create an excuse to once again abuse your brother. Don’t commit the same error modern society has by abstracting man out of the picture. Maintain love as your highest value and preserve the dignity of your fellow man. This truth has been ringing in your ears since you were born. Utilize it to make sure your REVOLUTION stays not just in tune with itself but in key with your heart.

 

Organize! Organize! Organize!

Have you ever found yourself caught up in a strange conversation with an ‘interesting’ person, not sure how you got there? If so, congratulations! You’ve been practicing for the REVOLUTION. If you’re going to change the world, you’re going to have to change people. And yes, that means you’re going to have to talk to them.

A couple years ago I stayed the night at a beautiful hostel nestled into the Redwood coast of Northern California. You could see the waves crashing along the shoreline from the dorm-style rooms, beautiful place. The first night I was there I got into it with a guy I’ll call ‘Glockuser’, from part of the email contact he later wrote down for me.

At first, I had actually avoided Mr. Glockuser. Sitting on a couch in the cozy communal living room, I chose instead to chat up a vacationing elementary school teacher. She was saying something vaguely positive about Barack Obama and I was trying to, politely if I remember correctly, disabuse her of the belief that an establishment politician would ever bring any meaningful change to America.

That’s when Glockuser started sniping. He, evidently, was not an Obama supporter either. A Vietnam vet and rugged outdoorsman, I could tell he had been looking for an outlet to vent. ‘Hold on,’ I waved to the school teacher with usual modesty, ‘I’m sure that you’re wrong but this guy’s interesting.’ And I started tearing into the Glockuser.

We let each other have it with both barrels. At one point he questioned my patriotism, daring me to admit that I didn’t support the troops in Iraq. ‘They’re victims,’ I countered without missing a beat. ‘They’ve been taken advantage of, nothing more. People like me are the only ones trying to help them, by telling the truth and going after the war criminals. But no, I won’t defend their actions.’ Glockuser then went into how modern terrorism is like an all-permeating fog, motioning with his hands close to the floor. So I went into a description of clinical paranoia, motioning with my hands close to my head.

Silly story, but it’s the reality of organizing. You speak to people, you have discussions that lead nowhere, you build relationships. In the last section of this book we’ll go over communication styles and how to minimize having your words fall on deaf ears. But the cliff-notes version is simple: learn from others. Actively try to discern where the other person is coming from. You don’t have to pull any punches, just be willing to take as well as you give. In order to do this you must divorce your identity from your politics. I know this sounds like contradictory advice, but the identity of the true revolutionary is the REVOLUTION, not his own beliefs. Individually, human beings are frail. It is when we act collectively that we release our fullest potential as miracles of creation, a brotherhood of man.

Harvey Milk, the fated, genius populist from 70’s era San Francisco, didn’t stand up before every crowd and say ‘I’m Harvey Milk and I like the penis.’ He said ‘I’m Harvey Milk and I want to recruit you.’ If you are fighting for the people, you can’t afford egoism. Your first job is and always will be recruitment.

In the end I don’t know if Glockuser agreed with anything I had to say. But we had fun talking, while in the process clearing everyone out of that poor living room. As a parting shot, he offered me some advice. Yes, America needs a change. It’s like a mighty ship sailing on the ocean. Just don’t be the asshole who tries to make a u-turn. Nudge her gently and she’ll get back on course. Just nudge her gently.

REVOLUTION doesn’t have to be the u-turn. It can be the nudge. It can be whatever the people want it to be. REVOLUTION is the people, because it won’t come without their support. The REVOLUTION will be won or lost on in the battleground of recruitment. You need not only your own ideas but the wisdom of both the school teacher AND the Glockuser. You need them to make this their REVOLUTION.

So before hitting the streets and signing people up, it seems like the right time to briefly discuss this loaded ‘R’ word we’ve been throwing around.

 

But I Don’t Own an AK-47!

REVOLUTION, REVOLUTION, REVOLUTION. What exactly does it mean?

noun
1) a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system. See UPRISING
2) a dramatic and wide-reaching change in the way something works or is organized or in people’s ideas about it

Common sense, especially in light of the previous section on love, dictates that we choose the latter definition. So you can leave the AK’s, berets and bombs at home. The REVOLUTION will address how America works, is organized and is thought about. There’s too much to be done for you to waste time playing commando.

In the same way that people today might associate the word REVOLUTION with violent extremism, revolutionary activists are often remembered for their most incendiary actions. To paraphrase Woody Allen, you can build a thousand bridges but blow one person up and you’re not a bridge builder, you’re a terrorist.

Real REVOLUTION is about politics, not flashy action. Bobby Seale said it best when he urged that ‘politics starts with a hungry stomach.’ And that’s coming from a guy who advocated using firearms to monitor your local police. It is no coincidence that the Black Panthers’ most successful program was their school breakfast initiative. Just making sure that poor inner-city youths didn’t start the day hungry, a simple but revolutionary act. By putting the bible’s Matthew 25:40 into practice, doing for ‘one of the least of these brothers of mine,’ the Black Panthers did for the REVOLUTION.

People are going to remember you for what you do, not what you destroy. Don’t give them an excuse to ignore you. Violence is an act of desperation from a person ungrounded morally and mentally. I am not disregarding the very real need for self-defense, which we will get into later, but when you hold all of the advantages you shouldn’t begin strategizing from your heels. You have the numbers on your side. You own the moral higher ground. You can lay claim to the trajectory of history: the struggle of mankind to control his own destiny. It is not a matter of if there’s a REVOLUTION, only when. It looks like that time is now.

The way something works, is organized, and is thought about. Sounds like a pretty good checklist to me. Now on to the masses.

 

Consumers vs Citizens

If we’re going to address the masses, we’re going to have to tackle their most debilitating sickness: affluenza. That’s right, mass consumption. The simplest way to encourage REVOLUTION is to expose the history of how America has replaced its citizens with consumers. Most people don’t know that modern consumerism is a fabricated ideology created shortly after the first World War. Many reasons to revolt including pollution, injustice, war and poverty can be traced back to this feat of social engineering. So what exactly was the cost of trading our politics for purchasing power?

A whole slew of anti-democratic initiatives were pushed during the first part of the 20th century. The control of America’s monetary system was once again privatized. Congressional representation was capped at 435 delegates. The military-industrial complex was institutionalized by two World Wars. Wall St. lawyers created a Covert State Paramilitary system. But of all these events, consumerism was the most devastating. Through one propaganda campaign, the corporatists were able to cement their position as both the base of increasingly efficient production and the beneficiaries of increasingly frivolous consumption. They created a beautiful cycle in which man could chase his tale forever: increase productivity to increase production to increase consumption to work harder to pay it all off, increasing productivity.

It is a closed loop that denies all but its own internal logic, approaching an oxymoronic ‘artificial intelligence’ that reinforces itself. It is a hamster wheel in which you can’t slow down, let alone stop, without getting run over. The benefits that one would expect from mankind’s technological innovations are sapped first by the masters of a debt-based economic system (the bankers), next by the managerial class (the technocrats), and finally by the worker’s own cannibalism through the mantra of conspicuous consumption. Since as recent as WWII, labor productivity had more than doubled. Why isn’t our life easier then? Where has this efficiency dividend gone?

The way of the supposed peace-dividend after the fall of the Soviet Union. It was absorbed into a rapacious system that cannot be satiated, run by men who will never be able to quench their greed. In other words, this public treasure was purposefully stolen from the commons. The truth is as plain as day for all to see, if you ignore the smoke and mirrors of religions posing as economic theory. Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime. Lease that man a fishing pole, sell him the bait, secure the property rights, demand an equity position – man what man but what an enterprise!

To add insult to injury, the devil’s gift of consumerism replaces old-fashioned civics, which used to be at the heart of American life. Cities are now planned around strip malls and big-box Chinese retailers, not town-squares. People have less leisure time for their own families and interests, let alone their civic duty as American citizens. For the first time in history, people are working harder than previous generations for less pay. And this perhaps may be the crucial mistake of the rich elite.

They’ve taken too much out of the cycle and pushed people too far. In doing so, they’ve done most of your revolutionary work for you. Creating an army of unemployed, they’ve given people the time and reasons to revolt. Making spectacles of their greed, they’ve painted targets on their back. Despite the general ignorance of the American public of their own history: the international violence of their Covert State Paramilitary, the aggressive class-warfare tactics of their rich, the private control of America’s money supply; despite these narratives being absent from the cultural mainstream, Americans are still out in the streets protesting.

Hunter S. Thompson once exclaimed that in a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity. These masters of men, whom President Herbert Hoover praised as having ‘taken over the job of creating desire and transformed people into constantly moving happiness machines’, have acted like imbeciles. In doing so they’ve lost control of their happy little machines. The robots are revolting.

Your job now is to remind the public that they aren’t, as Charlie Chaplin decried, ‘machine men with machine hearts.’ They are the straw for the fires of REVOLUTION that will restore their democracy. The master’s house is going up in flames and our affluenza fever is about to be sweated out. To paraphrase a certain corporatist snow-princess, burn baby burn.

 

100,000,000 Americans Support You!

But before the call for REVOLUTION goes out, lets lay down some numbers. What is your recruitment goal? How many people do you think are on your side? To begin with you can claim 100,000,000 supporters just by doing nothing. Remember the swollen ranks of the apathetic? We’ve just turned them into a classified constituency. Thank you for welcoming me and my lazy friends to your REVOLUTION. Of course, I’m still going to stand on the side-lines and wait for something to inspire me to act. But at least you know that myself and the rest of the third of the voting population that regularly avoids the polls on election day is not going to oppose you, which is a start.

A person who’s made up their mind not to follow your enemy is half-way to where you need them to be. Look at that, your job’s already half-done! Now to work on the other half, and to start the war of attrition against the loyal opposition. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, dissecting the political spectrum is the subject of our next chapter. Let’s look at historical models of apathy first, the cool kids of history who turned their backs on the state before it even offered them the choice of suffrage.

That’s right, I’m talking about our dear friends the pirates of the high seas. Similarly criticized for not participating in the institions of their day, pirates wrote their own rules. In creating their own alternative to the dominant society, they pioneered many aspects of modern democracy. Unfortunately, their general illiteracy denies them a voice in the historical record proportionate to their innovations.

From what evidence does exist, we know that they developed pirate ‘checks and balances’ that allowed them to have a captain who wielded authority during fighting and a quartermaster who was elected for non-battle issues. They had constitutions, injury compensation and the right of secession. And most interesting in a world of bigotry, runaway slaves were welcomed and considered equal to other sailors.

This is no small feat. Surrounded by predatory, ugly role models, pirates were able to carve for themselves a small space for sanity, even if it was sequestered to the high seas and punishable by death. I don’t mean to make light of the real atrocities of these profiteers. Sure Roberto Cofresí, Puerto Rico’s early 19th century Robin Hood, took from rich traders and gave to his island’s poor. He also had a habit of nailing captives alive to the deck of his ship. But compare actions like these to the world in which they lived. For all their faults, pirates were some of the most decent men of their age.

Spiritual philosopher and adamant independent Jiddu Krishnamurti once warned that ‘it is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.’ The rebels of society are often our canaries in the mineshaft, their rebellion alerting us to dangers that we might not be sensitive enough to perceive. Ever candid, American novelist Mark Twain pointed out that ‘there never was a REVOLUTION unless there were some oppressive and intolerable conditions against which to revolt.’

Instead of writing these social outcasts off like so many others, make them your first recruits. They knew probably before you did why one should revolt against modern society. The reasons for REVOLUTION suffocate us to the point that some people are born gasping. Seek these uncomfortable people out. The non-participatory. The non-conformists. The counter-culture. The freaks and geeks. The weirdos. In responding to an inquiry about drugs, John Lennon once turned the question on its head: ‘why do we…have to have these accessories to normal living, to live? I mean, is there something wrong with society that’s making us so pressurized that we cannot live in it without guarding ourselves against it?’

Bulls-eye, John. Your natural insight might have been one of the reasons they had to vote you off the island early.

 

Revolutionaries Wanted!

Don’t ever lose sight of the fact that the world needs revolutionaries so that it can cleanse itself of oppressive systems. Corrupt governments needs overthrowing, oppressed people need liberating, criminals deserve to be brought to justice, and the world deserves an accurate historical record – no matter what those in power may tell you. Don’t be intimidated or discouraged by those who might call REVOLUTION unreasonable. As an Irish playwright, journalist, economist, and the only person to receive both a Nobel prize and an Oscar, George Bernard Shaw was exceptionally prolific. He was also an idealist, believing that ‘all progress depends on the unreasonable man’ who, rather than capitulating, ‘adapts surrounding conditions to himself.’

So why revolt? Because you can change the world!

Fifty years after the last Gracchi brother was murdered, reform again stormed on the Roman scene. Or perhaps vengeance is a better term. Spartacus, the Thracian soldier/ gladiator/rebel, started his revolt with a mere 70 men. After a quick succession of victories, his ranks swelled to an army of 70,000. More amazing, he wasn’t just recruiting the slaves he freed but herdsmen and shepherds as well. It seems Rome had committed the same stupidity sin that Hunter S. Thompson warned about; it was caught off guard. Eventually it would take the wealthiest man in the Senate leading eight legions of professional Roman soldiers, as well as division within Spartacus’ own ranks and his betrayal by pirates, to put down the uprising. Spartacus’ body was never recovered.

You never know who’s going to heed the call for REVOLUTION until you put it out. The military likes to talk about how many ‘boots on the ground’ a given imperial campaign will require. As a revolutionary you need troops as well, people to act out your aims, whether it’s an overhaul of the political, economic or cultural systems you’ve identified as oppressive. Remember your checklist: the way something works, is organized, and is thought about. You need to start thinking about how many ‘feet on the street’ it will take to achieve real change in America. 1,000? 10,000? 100,000? More?

A WWII veteran himself, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. once commented that ‘the triumph of anything is a matter of organization. If there are such things as angels, I hope that they are organized along the lines of the Mafia.’ By no means do you want to replicate the systems you’re trying to transform. But if you don’t at least attempt to match their organizational sophistication then you’re history, and not in a good way. Like so many other populist movements, you will be outmaneuvered and eventually co-opted or destroyed.

The goal isn’t, as so many activists capitulate, to gain enough attention that your platform is incorporated into the political spectrum. Imagine the kind of world we’d live in where activists didn’t just punt but went all the way; if they didn’t just adapt to but transformed the systems they rallied against. This type of boldness is how your REVOLUTION will recruit not only the slaves but the herdsmen and shepherds as well. This is how you will create a Spartacus-size, Spartacus-strong rebellion. This is the mindset that you need to bring to the REVOLUTION.

Be uncompromising in your demand for justice, unwavering in your focus, and watch the ranks of your movement grow. The public has been waiting for something, anything, to come along that they can believe in. Don’t subscribe to the nihilism of a final junior, George W. Bush, who when asked how history would judge his actions replied ‘History, we don’t know. We’ll all be dead.’ Don’t just read history, BE history. Be that something that suffering people the world over have been waiting for. Be the REVOLUTION you want to see in the world. Be a realist. Demand the impossible.

Beloved children’s author believed that nothing compares to pure imagination. Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it. Now our goal over the next 24 chapters is to make sure you have the wisdom to change it for the better.

 

Postscript

Pulitzer Prize winner and prolific lover, American poetess Edna St Vincent Milay wrote ‘the world stands out on either side, no wider than the heart is wide.’ These words are excerpted from her poem Renascence, meaning to revive something that has gone dormant, published in 1917.

A maxim that we are going to come back to often is beauty, truth, in simplicity. The world is not that complicated. And it’s not that big, in fact not wider than the heart is wide. We don’t need to study for years to learn how to free ourselves. We don’t need specialization, or special leaders, or a right time to act. The wisdom of history surrounds us begging to be revived, more accessible than ever before.

With the geography of the world no bigger than your heart, you can be your own cartographer. Explore the world into which you have been born. Just as disease spurs on the creation of antibodies in an immune system, you will find that you are being called into action by an injustice which demands an answer. The alternating hot and cold choices of Republicans and Democrats are symptoms of the same fever. Luckily, you hold the cure.

REVOLUTION: the open-sourced, human, laughing, playful, honest, empowering, do-it-yourself medicine.

With your help we can heal a sick society, or at least write the prescription for it to heal itself. You are a human being with inherent, inalienable rights. Stand and claim your inheretence as a miracle of creation living in a plentiful, beautiful world. YOU are a revolutionary. Now lets get on with creating your REVOLUTION.

 

Yours for the REVOLUTION,

S.B. Baric