Muster courage to resist. Outrage is a mere spark; it must ignite the flame of courageous determination or else its light dies swiftly. You will need the stronger fuels of love, hope, and vision to sustain you through the struggle.

Build up your muscles for the marathon of change. Drill and train. Focus your mind. Release the illusion that a normal life is possible. It’s not. Life-as-usual is a race toward extinction. You may not be the first lemming toppling off the cliff’s edge, but you will hurtle over by the time this madness of endless profit-driven growth is done. We must break the chains of expectations and turn the strides of our life in a different direction.

When all of life is at stake, our lives must be thrown into resistance to tip the scales of the world toward life. Assess the patterns of your day-to-day life. If you find yourself spending more time watching movies than at organizing meetings, make a shift. Show up at protests more regularly than parties. Participate in boycotts, strikes, divestment campaigns as often as you go to the grocery store, the bank, or the post office. Train for change as frequently as you exercise your body.

The pull of normalcy and the status quo is strong. Like an undertow, it will try to drag you under and suck you back into the current of our destructive culture. Floating along in complacency is a sure way to be thrust over the waterfall onto the smashing rocks below. You must swim against the current of what our society, workplaces, entertainment, and advertisements call normal. Everything will try to drag you back in line with enticements, burdens, debts, pressures, warnings, and even threats. But remember where this culture is headed: we are hurtling toward death. You must have the courage to step out of line and resist.

Hope, love, and vision can strengthen you for the struggle. A few good friends can thwart the loneliness of the path. Clarity – inner and outer – can bolster you against the mockery of others and defy those who call you crazy for speaking truth about our dire situation.

Our lives – and the future of the Earth – depend on your courage to resist. Cultivate the fuels that can sustain the sparks of outrage and propel us through the long-haul of the struggle we face. Shift the pattern of your life into training and action. Remember that many others are striving to do this as well. Across the country in the hearts and minds of thousands, people like you are turning against the tide, swimming against the current, breaking free of the stampede, and racing toward the chance of life!


Read more from The Man From The North in Rise and Resist: Essays on Love, Courage, Resistance, Politics, and Democracy from The Dandelion Insurrection

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 have been collected in a book of essays Rise and Resist which can be  read here

Author/Activist Rivera Sun has written twelve inspirational and hope-filled books that celebrate our human ability to create change for the better. Rivera’s writing is syndicated nationally and her articles have appeared in over one hundred journals. She speaks and teaches strategic nonviolent civil resistance inter-nationally. She was co-host for five years of several popular radio shows and can be reached through her website: