For the past couple of years, I have mainly been working on trying to get folks in my community together to do positive things together and address the terrible things happening in the world right now, locally and globally. This has been my first big goal as an "activist": to effectively organize some sort of radical or "alternative" culture in West Bend.
It has pretty much been going great in terms of what I wanted to accomplish. We almost have a community social space (Candlelight Collective). We have a community garden plot. A couple of us more "radical" folk have made friends with other, more "main-stream" activists in town. I'd say that community is being built.
But, lately I've been thinking about this:
Derrick Jensen has this great quote that goes "dismantle globally, renew locally". This means that we need both an above-ground and under-ground resistance movement. The under-ground do the dirty work of things like tearing down industrial infrastructure and directly confronting power structures, while the above-ground support those doing the under-ground work and simultaneously create a new culture. This is what Derrick calls "A culture of resistance".
In West Bend, there is definitely a new culture springing up, but i would not say it's one of "resistance". At least, it's not one that's resisting the larger cultural machine or one that's effectively creating political change in the area.
My issue with all of this is that I don't know if this is the type of community that I really want to be putting my efforts into creating. I mean, yes i want folks to create good relationships with each other and yes i want for there to be a positive space that nurtures people's creativity and dissent. I especially want for all the kids to befriend and start to learn from all the older folks. I want for all the humans here to start to learn and love the landbase and all it's non-human creatures. I want all of this. BUT, I don't know if i want to work towards creating an "alternative" culture that still exists within the mainstream and isn't doing much to alter the mainstream. I want a culture of resistance.
There's this group called Fertile Ground from Bellingham, WA that really inspires me. They explicitly say that they are "an above-ground arm of a culture of resistance". This means that they do educational work: informing as many people as they can about the destructiveness of this culture, the need to bring down civilization, and how to get involved in "deep green resistance". To me, this is vitally important. I could see myself, an organizer, doing things like that for the rest of my life (or civilization's life, preferably.)
My issue is that while i feel so strongly about protecting the natural world from industrial civilization and communing with the landbase, not many folks in my town are on the same page as me. They are great people and of course i want to keep discussing things like this with them and make it relevant and apparent locally, but it's tiring and sometimes makes me feel ineffective.
The big thing for me is that I know civilization for what it is and i know it's coming down sooner or later. I know in my bones that i want to spend my whole life fighting on the side of the living against this culture. I want to make this my life's legacy. I have already started by the simple act of pitting myself against the lies and alienation that this culture imposes upon me and trying to tear it out of me from it's roots. I no longer want to hold these life-affirming truths to the side as i submerge myself in denial and pretend the situation doesn't really concern me or isn't urgent. Of course I still want to be comfortable and have nice, relaxed friendships and just hang out in town and have fun, but i think my life (and the lives of others, including the whole fucking planet) is worth more than that. I feel a calling in me: i know these things and i need to act on them.
My situation is: i need to find how and where will i be most effective. I guess that's what i'll have to figure out.
(note: When talking about resistance in this post and on this blog, I do not mean participating in illegal activities. I have NEVER and will NEVER participate in any of the under-ground actions of the culture of resistance.)