If you like being a peon, a serf, or a slave, by all means, continue on with business-as-usual. Your corporate overlords are delighted to exploit you. They’re thrilled at the prospect of profiting off your descendants for all eternity. But their hourglass is running out of sand. The planet’s ecosystems are collapsing. We will not last long as underlings. This is a paltry comfort as we slide toward mass extinction.
If your heart rebels against this fate, you must stir yourself to action. You must weigh the peril of our looming future against the dangers of resistance. Your fear of repression from our known tyrants must be measured against the threats coming from forest fires, floods, hurricanes, droughts, famines, and mass poverty. As bad as it is, it can get worse. And it will. To resist is to live. To believe in life and to cherish humanity is survival.
The problem is that many of us have become comfortable with the status quo. The brutalities of the present are as familiar as an abusive partner. Leaving them takes more than courage. It takes vision for a better future.
We must dare to ask – and answer – the question: who and what will replace the corporate overlords?
The answer is a long-cherished dream of humanity, a once robust vision of self-governance and real democracy. History is written by the conquerors, and the dominators’ history books obscure our understanding that we used to govern ourselves. From kings to nobles to plutocrats to corporate overlords, those who pillage, plunder, oppress, and enslave have rewritten the story of humanity. They claim we must be ruled by a wise (and hopefully benevolent) overlord. This is a lie. Once upon a time, in a history forgotten to contemporary humans, we made our decisions together. Archeology points to a time before conquest and violence. It shows graves of egalitarian wealth, no man or woman richer or more noble than the rest. It tells of a time before patriarchy and war. The history books rarely mention this . . . or any other real democratic and shared decision-making systems throughout the centuries. The dominators’ history will wax poetic about kings and emperors, warlords and nobles. It will leave out the history of the Norse “Things“, the randomly-selected government positions of Greece, the Commons of Europe, the consensus-based organizing of movement groups, the longevity of numerous anarchist collectives, and the tribal democracies of the Iroquois, Wabanaki, and others.
We need to know these stories. They are the complex and varied answers to our question of what comes after the revolution. We know if will not be – cannot be – more of the same. The current systems of elitist power have squandered their legitimacy to rule. From the first charters of companies like the East India, they have enslaved, massacred, destroyed, exploited, extracted, starved, impoverished, overthrown, oppressed, poisoned, robbed, humiliated, and murdered anything that stood between them and their greed.
Continuing to tolerate them is a death sentence. Resisting them with organized nonviolent struggle is the most courageous and sensible response. The full arsenal of nonviolence must be deployed: we must build robust alternatives to corporatism and capitalist-consumer culture, organize widespread participation in alternative economies like gifting, sharing, commoning, trade and barter, time banks, local currencies, and more. We must wrest the state apparatus out of the hands of oligarchs and corporatists using electoral, legislative, and direct action to pick away at the structural and systemic injustices that keep elites in power. Problems like voter disenfranchisement, money as speech, the two-party duopoly, gerrymandering, and more must be challenged and transformed.
We must use coordinated strikes and boycotts in the economic sector to limit the power of corporations over people and planet. We must support and join cooperatives, democratizing the means of production. We must make corporations accountable to citizens and citizen legislative bodies. Local communities must be able to halt the poisoning of the land, water, air, and people.
We cannot sustain this predicament of corporate overlords and serfs. It is rebel or die. I know what I choose. Do you?
The Man From the North is a fictional writer in Rivera Sun’s novel, The Dandelion Insurrection and the sequel, The Roots of Resistance. 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. This article is one of a series written by The Man From the North, which are not included in the novel, but can be read here. This essay was originally published on Dandelion Salad and can be reposted with permission.