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.
Tis the Season to Wage Boycotts
Boycott Season is now upon us. Let every citizen take careful aim. Your target is the corporate empire. Your weapon is your wallet.
For decades, corporations have defined the battlefield of shopping malls, box stores, mail order catalogues, and online sites. They have set the timeframe back each year; Halloween currently kicks off the battles. You can see the preparations: the lights rolled out, the anthems played, the trees set up like cannons. The enlistment fliers have been posted far and wide: on billboards, in newspapers and magazines. The radio sends out the call: all shoppers to the front! Every family must support the effort and do their patriotic duty. The costs are high; savings must be sacrificed. The debts pile up like soldiers’ bodies, unspeakable.
But it can’t be helped – the holidays fuel our country. Like wars for oil, it’s unavoidable. The politicians break out patriotic speeches to sugarcoat the truth. They profess the noble sentiments of generosity, charity, the gift of giving; they tell us to show our love for home and country by buying useless, needless trinkets. The recruitment posters of Uncle Sam have been revamped; Santa – with the same white whiskers – in a suit of Coca-Cola red, now laughs and smiles, but delivers the same old message:
“I want YOU!” . . . to fight this war.
It’s a corporate war – like every war – fought for profit and commercial gain. Superficial sentiments pour out like propaganda, but the real reasons are the same. Behind the scenes of jolly storefront holiday displays, massive machinations control the spoils of the war. At the end of it all, there is no winner. We’re in the era of modern warfare now. Borderless, pointless, endless warring is a hallmark of our times. By New Year’s though, the casualties are high, and, as always, ordinary people pay the highest price. January finds us crippled, shell-shocked, broke, and not a jot happier or healthier or closer to our families.
And here it comes again . . . hear the little drummer boy calling you to the battle?
Come, they told me, pa-rump-pa-pa-poom.
Religion, remember, is the most touted reason for sending in the troops. You’ll be conscripted under the guise of many beliefs. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa . . . all the celebrations serve to get you shopping. Once you enlist, you give up all sovereignty as a citizen. You’re a consumer-soldier now, under orders to raise your credit card and fire the dollars out like bullets.
Grab your machine guns, shoppers! Black Friday is at hand! The big box stores open up at midnight to send forth the dogs of war! Cry havoc! Riot! See the people trampled, shelves plundered, looting, pushing, shoving, noble sentiments forgotten – that’s how it goes in war!
Does this appall you? Good. I call you to my side. An army of resistance is forming of citizens who refuse to take part in war. Our flag is the Dandelion Insurrection; our cause is the well being of all.
Life! Liberty! Love! That is our rallying cry.
Be kind, be connected, be unafraid! These are the principles that guide us.
We spring up in the cracks of corporate empire. We break through the concrete of control. When the wealthy order us to fight rich men’s war . . . we simply will not go. We boycott greed and tyranny. We put our wallets down. We have no ammunition in them. We refuse to borrow it from their banks. We won’t go into debt to line their pockets. We are citizens first; soldiers never; and consumers only when the cause is just. We remember the oft asked, never answered question: what if they held a war and no one showed up?
The Holiday Season is now upon us, but it’s Boycott Season for us. The corporations have lined up their legions. They have invested their billions in battle. They have poured in their efforts to prepare the parades, ready the marching tunes of carols, and arm the command of salespeople. But the Dandelion Insurrection is ready. Our trump card is in our hand. When they amass on the edge of the battlefield . . .
We simply will not be there.
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.