The Man From the North is a fictional writer in Rivera Sun’s novel, The Dandelion Insurrection. The novel takes place in the near future, in “a time that looms around the corner of today,” when a rising police state controlled by the corporate-political elite have plunged the nation into the grip of a hidden dictatorship. In spite of severe surveillance and repression, the Man From the North’s banned articles circulate through the American populace, reporting on resistance and fomenting nonviolent revolution.
The story below is one of several written by the Man From the North. The article series is not included in the novel and was originally published on Dandelion Salad. We will feature a Man From the North story on a weekly basis through June 3, 2015. You can read the entire series at Dandelion Salad. The Dandelion Insurrection and a companion study guide can be purchased on Rivera’s website.
What Are We Waiting For?
We wait . . . we wait for another scandal to validate our suspicions of corruption . . . as if the abuse of power is not enough to demand impeachment and reform.
We wait for a courageous Thomas Jefferson to declare our independence . . . as if we did not already know the long list of grievances that should ignite our second revolution.
We wait for the outbreak of millions of people rioting in the streets . . . as if we need a mob to find the courage to rebel against tyranny.
Reform, revolution, rebellion; regardless of what we yearn for, we wait. The straws pile high on the camel’s back; we wait. The injustices mount; we wait. The freedoms of our nation crumble; we wait.
Do we seek some further proof that our cause is just? Do we need one more slap in the face? Or another blatant abuse of privilege by the wealthy? Or the next devastating environmental disaster?
No. What we await is the readiness of the people. We look around and at ourselves and see that the populace is unprepared. We are sleepy, sick, reactionary, violent, uneducated, unaware, apathetic, and frightened. This is not encouraging material for waging struggle.
So, frustrated and uncertain, we wait. But, by the time an affront insulting enough slaps the populace awake, it will be too late. Our opponents will be readied and amassed on our doorsteps while we struggle to pull on our pants and stumble out of bed. By the time the next disaster strikes, it will be too late to take the wreck of our populace and rally them to sensible action.
My friends, I applaud your passion and your courage, but the military commanders of our opponents are laughing at us. They know that civilians cannot be snatched off the street and thrust immediately into battle – not if the commanders intend to win a war. Yet, the Dandelion Insurrection seems to think we can sound the trumpet and our nonviolent army will come pouring into the streets.
If we do not mobilize our people and train them in nonviolent struggle as thoroughly as the military builds their forces of violent warfare, then we will be slaughtered whenever and wherever we take a stand against the corporate-political state. We will watch, impotent, as they destroy all that we love.
And so, I urge us neither to act without preparation, nor to wait, but instead to build our forces in three ways:
Reform, which entails overhauling yourselves, your friends, families, and communities, your inner awareness, physical health, and preparation mentally and emotionally for the struggle we face.
Revolution, which requires that we think carefully about the problems of the current system, propose radical solutions, and create a new society, leaving no stone unturned in the complete re-visioning of government, education, economy, and social institutions.
Rebellion, through organizing and training in nonviolent strategy, methods, and philosophy – which is the most effective act of rebellion you can commit at this time. Think of yourself as David slinging practice stones at rocks. Goliath did not fall to an untrained child. He fell to a young man of skill and strategy – a young man compelled to action by a sense of injustice – a young man prepared to fight a tyrant.
The metaphor of David and Goliath does not stop there. Ends are the means in the making; the manner in which we wage struggle becomes the world we will end up in. David was an underdog-turned-victor who murdered a bully and then went on to a lifetime of butchery and conquest, claiming God as his justification, and unleashing centuries of persecution and warfare that continue to this day.
The time of the Old Testament has long since passed. Our Goliath is a many-headed monster armed with drones and nuclear bombs, but we now wield a force far more powerful than slingshots. Jesus has walked this earth, and Gandhi, King, Chavez, and countless more. They brought us nonviolent struggle, which has become the tool of all humanity in working for change. We will be saved not by a chosen one, but by us all.
So, hold off on taking potshots at Goliath. Prepare for struggle en masse. Never has there been an underdog more unlikely than we. Never has there been an opponent more fearsome than this corporate-political empire. Never has the cause been more precious: this earth and all her children – including ourselves, our little ones, and the future of humanity.
Rivera Sun sings the anthem of our times and rallies us to meet adversity with gusto. In addition to her most recent novel, Billionaire Buddha, she is the author of nine plays, a book of poetry, and her debut novel, Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shooting Stars, which celebrates everyday heroes who meet the challenges of climate change with compassion, spirit, and strength. Learn more about Rivera and her work on her website.