They are attacking you. They are offending you. They are hurting you. They haven’t killed you yet for one reason only: they prefer to humiliate you.
Because when you keep quiet and remain inert in the face of everything they do to you, the only thing left for you is humiliation. The social and environmental crises spread in every corner of the planet remind you every day, in every situation, that you are losing. You’re losing when you wake up at a set time, you’re losing when you complain about having no time, you’re losing when you buy what they tell you to buy, you’re losing when you are happy with a financial goal they told you to achieve.
Just look at the name they have given to the era in which you live: Anthropocene.
A noun created by the union of the ancient Greek words Anthropos, ‘man’, and Kainos, which means ‘recent’.
In essence, it is the age dominated by man.
But wipe that smile off your face: that man is not you.
It cannot be you, you who have allowed the disaster that is before your eyes, you who have made sick the people you say you love, you who have poisoned the river you drink in, you who kill to feed yourself. You who measure your success on the success itself and do not pay attention to its meaning. You who at any moment decide, in a more or less wide faculty of conscience according to the degree of privileges you enjoy, to let yourself be humiliated. Because it is good for someone to tell you: the greater your privileges, the higher the degree of humiliation you are undergoing.
What’s up? Are you getting tired of reading these words? Can’t stand it anymore? Does it bother you being told how low the quality of the life you defend is as if it were something so precious? Are you surprised that you suck?
You’re right because you don’t have many opportunities to know this state of affairs that concerns you first, your existence, your affections, your desires, your passions. You cannot know all this if you pretend to know what is happening to you through those who are making it happen, or through press releases dictated by large companies to the major media and signed by governments.
Anything you think you are looking for has actually already found you.
In every corner of the globe they are privatizing every possible good, every basic human activity, monopolizing the most profitable ones, and they are doing it with your approval, your approval for their ability to have ‘apparently’ solved a crisis that in fact, they created…
It is called Capitalism: a system aimed exclusively at the profit of a small number of people through the exploitation of the majority, based on the private ownership of resources and means of production, and all possible thanks to the control of the financial, media and institutional subsystems.
Even to the climate emergency, they have applied their capitalist logic: first denying it (initially taken by surprise), then making it appear imaginative (just to buy time), and now that they can benefit economically, they impose their patents.
The same mechanism you see being used for viruses: pandemics of unprecedented proportions that are countered with the most atrocious measures in history.
Although you have contributed financially to getting generations of doctors and scientists to study, they take your money again to pay private individuals who have kidnapped those same doctors and those same scientists capable of discovering and inventing the necessary countermeasures.
Not having requisitioned vaccines from pharmaceutical companies to produce them with public money and distribute them for free to all 8 billion human beings is a crime for which those responsible will never pay. Yet another humiliation you have suffered. As well as ignoring the inevitable need to act strongly on the current environmental crisis.
In 1985 Carl Sagan, the great American scientist and author of some of the most important studies in astrophysics, alerted governments that human activities were causing unexpected and lethal climate change. In particular, he had pointed the finger at fossil fuels and land use; he explained that the way in which homo sapiens were moving and feeding would lead to their extinction.
This allows me to explain something to you about one of the stupid theories (which you call ‘opinion’) with which you defend your even more stupid way of surviving (which you call ‘life’). The extinction of human beings is absolutely not a way to preserve the planet, nor a naturalistic approach: extinction is not a nanosecond of the Earth’s implosion, it is instead a long and painful series of interrelated events…
Increase in maximum temperatures and increase in minimum temperatures both in the atmosphere and in the seas with consequent acidification of the oceans. Worsening of extreme climatic phenomena such as storms and hurricanes, long periods of drought, a decrease and retreat of glaciers, and melting of permafrost with consequent release of toxic gases into the atmosphere. Increased food famines and water crises. Worsening of the state of health for all due to the different temperatures, the appearance of new viruses and the greater spread of parasites and pathogens. Loss of biodiversity in all countries. Frequent famines, even in latitudes that had never experienced them. Armed conflicts for the conquest of the few territories where human activities will be possible. Intensification of migratory phenomena and subsequent demographic pressure on a few and restricted geographical areas. Reduction of purchasing power due to the scarcity of food products. Higher taxes for damage removal commitment.
Extinction is a very long process in which atrocious individual and social sufferings are foreseen (scientifically foreseen) across every inch of the planet.
Your privileges may allow you to avoid some or mitigate others, but only for a limited time.
Your privileges will offer you the opportunity to enjoy more space, finally free from many of your family, friends and colleagues who will die in the meantime.
Your privileges will give you more time, as you will no longer be able to occupy it with those goods that can no longer be produced in the regions farthest from your home, first hit by the destruction.
Your privileges will allow you to die of an old age spent cursing your inaction, other than extinction.
other than asteroids.
What awaits you is far more horrifying than your foolish expectations.
Yes, it’s silly.
Why continue not to directly connect wars, labor exploitation, and pollution to humanitarian crises, migration, and social crises. You continue not to see the perilousness of forced indoctrination in young people who resort to violence and addiction as a refuge from the existential crisis. But that is the key: the crisis of existence, the collapse of the reason you exist.
You don’t know it. And you don’t know it because you don’t ask. Because they imposed that on you too, especially that one: Don’t ask yourself questions.
One of the greatest thinkers of our time, Jeremy Lent, makes it clear that the real danger is that of answers. Human beings have been progressively induced to look for the answers, the solution for their ailments, while the opposite is true. Answers can only be reached by asking the right questions.
Look at you… You don’t ask yourself any more questions. You have lost the meaning of your individual and collective instincts that lead you to doubt, to be afraid of dangers, to imagine alternatives.
Yes, alternatives. The fact that things are heading this way doesn’t mean they have to be like this forever. Without you, a part of humanity has already declared that it does not want to accept this state of affairs. Not wanting to accept these things or the state that imposes them.
By converging on this instinct in every corner of the planet, people meet, gather, confront and tell each other their experiences, starting with the negative ones, and they begin to no longer feel alone, no longer feel powerless. European students and South American peasants, North American workers and small Asian entrepreneurs, all finally look each other in the eye. The trade unions of the North and the indigenous movements of the South recognize each other in the battle for the other. Together they understand, from tragedy to tragedy, that there is no need for a class struggle if the class is represented by 99.99% of the population.
By talking to each other, they learn, one misunderstanding after another, how to stay away from the struggle from the apparently related but profoundly distant and misleading causes, such as those aimed at protecting their borders or their national identities.
Day after day, this blanket of smoke with which they have been enveloped clears; the vile colonialism that did not want them to meet so they could be enemies forever, clears up and in the cooler and more serene air they found the necessary vigour to reach the golden walls of imperialism where a new, definitive challenge awaits them.
It is first necessary to ensure that this global and transversal crisis becomes a crisis of the capitalism itself that generated it: none of the forms with which it manifests and imposes itself must be saved and after having stopped them, all the subsystems must be questioned: from the financial one to the media one, up to the institutional one.
At the same time it will be necessary to make it a crisis of capitalism of an epochal and non-evolutionary type, in order to prevent the system from transforming into something different in form but equal in substance: to be clear, there cannot be an overcoming of this emergency if, to arrive at the desired outcome of obtaining clean energies, the exploitation of human beings will be allowed in order to produce them, or if only some countries or groups within the global population can afford the use of these new technologies.
And only after having done this, start rethinking the priorities of communities that should be oriented by natural instincts in order to help reorganise the production process based exclusively on real needs and not on heterodirect consumerism (through, for example, the abolition of financial speculation, the introduction of the crime of ecocide and the inclusion in the constitutions of the obligation of public management of the primary human activities: education, care, transport, energy), the composition of a defence structure of the media that makes them completely free from any governmental constraints and private interests, and finally the formation of new decision-making processes even more important than a new representation-making process through the introduction of citizens’ assemblies in national legal systems, as well as the removal of borders that prevent competition between states and promote cooperation between them.
A leap from Egocapitalism that has reigned undisturbed in recent centuries to the much-invoked but ’till now not applied Ecosocialism.
Because, mind you, you have no way of knowing that this big transformation cannot work; for one simple reason: you don’t have proof. Conversely, you can spend your next few years fighting to the death by listing all the failures of the current system one after the other.
In this regard, a fundamental aspect of this indispensable transformation of society is particularly close to my heart: the initial one, which we all usually identify as a Revolution, or rather the drastic and sudden upheaval of the established order.
The same order forces you to study dozens of revolutions in schools and then try (and succeed) to convince yourself that revolution is impossible.
The American Independence Struggle, the French Revolution, India’s Independence Struggle, the Russian Revolution, the Struggle for the End of Racial Segregation in the United States, the Sung Revolution of the Baltics, the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, the Arab Spring, just to name a few.
And then the one that most of you are afraid to mention because it puts you in front of the evidence that the affirmation of new technologies can lead to an impoverishment of values in the population and an exacerbation of social conflicts: the Industrial Revolution.
Not to mention the wars, especially the two world conflicts which forced a very rapid upheaval of priorities and a whirlwind reduction of fundamental rights in the name of death and certainly not of life.
This one that lights up the sky is now the dawn of a new revolution that will have to use all the intelligence and experience possible to win. Cleverness and maturity will have to accompany the courage to undertake it.
Only in this way, for example, will it be possible to avoid using entrepreneurial and institutional sponsors who will want to ride it in some way; after all, the capitalists see precisely in emergencies the greatest opportunities for their profit.
The capitalists are in fact equivalent to the crises themselves.
Look what happened with the pandemic: drug companies and governments complacent to capital violence represent equally deadly viruses.
Given the global framework, the historical context in which it is placed and the scientific evidence of the state of emergency, starting a civil resistance is a must.
Avoiding this duty is tantamount to being complicit in genocide.
I know well, “people do not want to hear the truth because they do not want to see their illusions destroyed” as Nietzche said, but it is better that the destruction reaches your illusions as soon as possible and not the world you are part of. Those illusions of a comfortable life, of economic well-being, of a quiet everyday life, must all necessarily be trampled on before they produce further damage than those already past and present.
Stop and breathe.
And leave, one by one, all the burdens that have held you down all your life.
Think and rethink these words: money is an invention, the Planet is real.
The Planet is real.
While it burns, you burn too. And money holds you in the fire.
As it drowns, you drown too. And money pulls you to the bottom.
While it suffocates, you suffocate too. And money squeezes your neck.
The Planet is real.
So you wonder what you should do…
Hide in anxiety? Deliver yourself to fear? Lock yourself up in apathy?
Not at all.
You can, and must, listen to that same courage that comes knocking on the door of instinct and allow it to save your life as it has done so many other times, when your innate sense of conservation (for your body and for the nature surrounding you) suggested the right move to take.
It is such a normal act as to appear strange because it is a call to which we first respond and only afterward makes sense according to the artificial order of things. A push for salvation that despite coming from your deepest inner state is devoid of any relationship with your personal interests. And the confirmation of this altruistic physicality is given by the collective adrenaline that is created when more human beings leave these impulses exposed and shared.
These are the same motives of the scientists who in recent years have been refusing to put their brilliant minds at the disposal of capital and instead dedicate themselves to saving billions of people.
Do you really want to refuse to listen to them forever?
Do you really want to refuse to listen to yourself forever?
And stop accusing those who stand up and scream their dissent of not having a clear strategy for the immediate future: first of all it is not at all easy to break free from the chains of consumerism and venture out there, where until now it was not allowed to go, and then breaking those chains is already a good plan…
Do we want to talk about your program instead? Focused on surviving just to gazing to extinction… Yep, good idiot program.
Based on the certainty of small satisfactions, if we really want to be honest, so as to never aspire to bigger ones, on apparent peace without friends as long as without enemies, on the truth that burns on a torch that you do not have the courage to hold and lift.
As Julian Assange, who has been prosecuted and persecuted by the self-styled democracies of the United States of America and the United Kingdom for 11 years for wanting to reveal war crimes to the world for 11 years, said: “Courage is not the absence of fear. Only fools have no fear. Rather, courage is the intellectual mastery of fear by understanding the true risks and opportunities of the situation and keeping those things in balance”.
Crushed by extreme forces, this time and space require extreme gestures for them to be released. They require brave minds, ready to challenge false friends even before sworn enemies, ready to be attacked by those they are about to save, and more concerned with the salvation of the Planet than with good manners.
In the face of scientific evidence, in fact, diplomacy, compromise and kindness are luxuries that only the rich, powerful and foolish can afford.
Just by way of example (and there could be dozens of topics) there is not much to talk about nor time to waste with those who allow children to be hungry, for banks to take houses, for people to die for want of the health system, but which are opposed to the hypothesis of higher taxes for the big capitalists.
They have been, are and will be as harmful as the problem they say they have a solution to. Rather, what we need to bear in mind is that they are organized in business lobbies, in associations of entrepreneurs, in parties, in institutional forms in some cases, and for centuries they have taken advantage of supranational networks that multiply their investments with two types of elements: opportunities and risks.
That is, they unite at certain times and in specific places for the exploitation of lands and human beings, or they do it to oppose those lands and those human beings if and when they arise in the form of trade unions, independent journalism, movements, activism.
They are strong, huh? They seem mighty to you, don’t they? With their armies moved by money, with their money moved by armies. Like the advert for the slimming cream after the hamburger. A machine that is as powerful as it is unstoppable.
To confirm what you think, I tell you that at this very moment none of the owners of these companies that have polluted or have violated human rights are in prison, have been persecuted by the judiciary or have been killed. While we cannot say the same for thousands of activists around the world.
The capitalists are scary, or certainly try to be. And often they succeed, as with you.
But I understand you.
Indeed, only I am able to understand you. And do you know why? Because I was like you.
And I had the same tension on your face when I read these same words that now are written by me for you, but which you would have written first if you could.
I understand you well because I have observed you. I have seen that you’ve tried everything.
You followed the rules.
You have signed petitions.
You even did some charity.
But they fucked you.
Or maybe not.
Because they left you with nothing else to do.
They left you with one last thing to do: disobey. Rebel.
And does it seem little to you?
It is the same, clear, shining opportunity that a few million people in the history of humanity have had. And that which they have grasped.
On December 25, 1831, slaves working on the plantations in Jamaica made a request to the representatives of the British Empire for a salary for their work, since they were paid simply with an unsanitary place to sleep and only the food necessary to keep them on their feet.
The following day, December 26, when this request was rejected, the revolt began which lasted for months and saw a dramatic toll (14 whites and over 500 slaves killed) and an unexpected outcome: in 1838 slavery was abolished across all the colonies of the largest Empire in history.
That rebellion was not started by all the millions of slaves of the British Crown.
Nor was it initiated by the 800,000 slaves of the Caribbean colonies.
Nor by all the 300,000 slaves of Jamaica.
But “only” by 60,000 of them.
Just like you, I always had certainties about how it would end if we kept lowering our heads. But at some point, I also began to have a precise understanding of how it could end if we rise up.
Do you believe that your status as a citizen only attributes you to duties as a consumer and taxpayer? This is a limiting belief like another one: Justice and Law are one and the same. Not at all, they are two different realities that in the best of all possible worlds can walk hand in hand, but for the Law to work it must always be Justice that paves the way.
Those who in 1947, among the rubble left by the Second World War wrote one of the best constitutions in the world, the one for the newborn Italian Republic, had formed themselves in the clandestine political struggle, in the resistance to the established order, in the imprisonment to which they had been forced by regimes that the overwhelming majority of the population obeyed.
Our carelessness has caused those regimes to evolve into this expansionist and destructive capitalism that can be replaced by only one thing (the sustainable economy) in a given time (as soon as possible) and with only one method: non-violent rebellion.
To the practice of domination, we can contrast the domino theory traced by the English journalist and writer George Monbiot in a recent editorial based on a scientific research of 2018 entitled “Experimental evidence for tipping points in social conventions”.
Based on this sociological analysis supported by empirical data, an active and resolute minority can initiate dynamics of social change if it manages to reach a turning point. This turning point is represented by no more than 25% of the population, a point from which social conventions are suddenly overturned.
A fundamental note of the researchers’ considerations accompanying the data is that “the power of small groups does not derive from their authority or their wealth, but from their commitment to the cause”.
And the commitment comes from awareness.
The awareness of how unique and insignificant we are at the same time, because in order to truly understand what we can do we must recognize our own limits.
Those of the resources available on the planet that we share with an unspecified number of living species (between 4 and 10 million, while we only know 1.8 million, and only 1% of bacteria have been catalogued).
As Sapiens we are only 7% different from the hominids that preceded us, while we share 50% of our DNA with bananas.
We obey natural laws.
Extinction is not an instinct. Whether imposed or induced, it must be removed from the plans of multinationals, from financial laws and from the desires of surrender or indifference of the majority of the population.
In order to remove the extinction of our own species from our habits and those around us, you can use your awareness to merge your existence into a different energy, obstinately contrary to the destructive one that has guided your life so far.
And start with the first of the steps I illustrated to you earlier: questioning all the systems and subsystems of capitalism. How? With a protest. A different protest. A protest that has three characteristics: peaceful, intelligent, annoying.
Peaceful because you strongly believe in pacifism, you would never want to hurt anyone, and in your heart you feel guilty that your tax dollars are spent on bombing innocent people.
Intelligent because you like to make sense of what you do, and you don’t like demonstrations for their own sake; on the contrary, you are happy to get results with your actions and demonstrate the effectiveness of your skills.
Annoying because you know that when a stalemate is disturbed by external elements it will inevitably change, and the only way to provoke a reaction in the majority of the population which then results in approval is to distract them from hypnosis to which they are subjugated.
The modalities of this type of protest are different and all extremely natural…
Withdraw your money from your bank that invests in fossil fuels and weapons and put it in an ethical bank.
Unsubscribe from mainstream media and support independent journalism.
By necessity or for leisure, travel more sustainably.
Look around you and look for people who need help and support.
Vote, but stop doing it as it’s the only thing that matters.
Because you know it well, but I want to repeat it: none of our fundamental rights have been obtained without actions of disobeying the power.
So even before you’ve performed one of these gestures, perform one that will make them even simpler than they already are: make yourself available. Make your body available.
Join an international movement fighting for human rights and the environment, and take to the streets for individual or collective action that puts you in an extreme situation.
Block a road. Stop an activity. Get in the way of an institution.
Your breath will become precious and collective.
You will find yourself alive, but what matters most is that you will be decisive in Life.
They will no longer try to humiliate you.
Nor to hurt you.
Nor to offend you.
Nor will they dare to attack you.
The new way to rebel is you.
Thanks for making the first step to get here.
Now let’s move on together.
This piece was authored by Manlio Pertout, co-founder of THES (The Human Exploring Society); a creative storyteller and passionate environmental & political activist striving to broadcast the stories of those living on the frontlines and those finding the solutions to the climate crisis.
Manlio is the author of a number of articles including Defund Armies, Defend People & The Forgotten People of Tigray. He has also most recently been part of the COP26 Coalition, covering events of the People’s summit and communicating the messages of the representatives from the indigenous, frontline, and Global South communities.