Before A Man Can Become Free, He Must First Choose Freedom (He begins by de-conditioning his own mind)
"The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."
~ Stephen Biko, anti-apartheid activist tortured to death by State police (D. Jensen, 2006)
If I lose my mind in love of life, how will they employ it to kill?
If I don't pay taxes, then I am not an accomplice to the murdering State. I have become free to respect the lives of others, and to love.
Earth – And All Beings – how do I love Thee? Fiercely, with all of my heart and mind. With my body, should the occasion arise, and until then with whatever words and action I can muster, I will try to protect and nurture and conserve Thee, knowing full well my shortcomings.
I write out of my longing for relatedness and meaning, and that I may contribute something to prevent the suicidal self-destruction upon which our human species is embarked.
No species which destroys its ecological life support system can survive long term. To survive, a species must enhance both itself and its environment.
Two roads lay before us. The one we are now upon, which leads to selfishness, greed, war and destruction. And the one less traveled, the path of love, which beckons to generosity, kindness, compassion, peace and survival.
We have lost control of our lives, our liberties, our labor, and our destiny. We have indentured ourselves to the Corporatocracy – the Corporate Warfare State (as coined by John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man). We have allowed ourselves to degenerate into cannibals, consuming the lives of others. Rapidly now, we kill off and consume whole species of animals, birds, fishes, trees and plants. We are shredding every living being in the way of our greed. Coerced and manipulated by the Corporatocracy, we are killing ourselves in a mad scramble for diminishing resources, instead of learning to share. The life of our own human species has now become "the tragedy of the commons."
The corporations make more money designing, building and employing the machinery of murder than they can by enhancing the true beatitudes of life such as wisdom, restraint, compassion, kindness, respect, and nurturance. We are the market to whom they sell. Our young are the cannon fodder sent to die, presently as volunteers openly recruited on the steps of our schools. The market for murder is there, and we are selling ourselves into it. On the scale of the Corporate State, murder is no crime, it is just another business deal. Life itself has become a consumable, bought and sold in the marketplace.
Mindlessly, as programmed machine robots, 24×7 we kill, moving to the war drum's dirge of death. The dead eat the living. We leave behind rivers of blood and poison as our effluent. As the inheritance of our grandchildren, we leave these.
We must evolve to a higher level of consciousness. Change begins in the mind. In complex human societies, institutions such as corporations and State are tools employed by the minds of the powerful to maintain power and its emoluments at any cost, including unspeakable atrocities against humanity.
The battleground of our struggle for survival is the mind of man. Nothing about ourselves can be changed unless it is first accepted. In an alleged democracy – where voting can supposedly stop this carnage – where does the buck stop, if not with us?
My suggestion is that corporate-controlled democracy doesn't work. This essay hopes to make a small contribution to conceive and persuade the peaceful deconstruction of the Nation-State Corporatocracy which is destroying us. The following perceptions of fact, moral hypotheses, and actionable suggestions are placed before the reader, with an important caveat as introduction.
I draw attention to the fact that I write as a person with at least some access to modern facilities.
My suggestions are likely far too mild for those savagely oppressed people of the "third" and "fourth" worlds from whose bent backs and starving children my writing equipment is extracted. Readers in circumstances similar to mine, gentle and nice people, may refer to Subcomandante Marcos in his Declaration of 1994, responding to an offer of amnesty by President Salinas de Gortari: "And what are they going to forgives us for? For not dying of hunger? For not keeping quiet in our misery? For not accepting quietly the gigantic historic burden of contempt and abandonment? For not rising up in arms when all other roads were closed to us?" The armed protestors of Nandigram, India, recently defending their ancestral lands from government confiscation – intended to create a "Special Economic Zone" in which MNC manufacturers would be granted tax exemptions – is another example.
First Premise. The Nation-State is the sword over our collective heads. This system of organizing a society of six billion human beings doesn't work. Its institutionalized structural violence is destroying humanity and the earth. States have murdered more than 230 million human beings in the past 100 years. A system that places the power of planetary incineration into the hands of a few psychopathically aggressive tyrants is clearly insane. It is impossible to reform a system whose very foundation is organized criminal violence, lies and deceit. It must be abandoned, as a sinking ship. Don't fight it. Just quit supporting it, quit cooperating with it, quit paying taxes to it. Simply leave it. Build your own ark, or look for like-minded others to join, forming islands of light in a sea of darkness.
Second Premise. Origin of the problem is fear caused by the paradoxical, ambiguous, unsolvable inevitability of the human condition. Institutions such as State arise in response to fear.
Third Premise. A solution exists. All beings love life and fear death just as I do. Therefore it is good that respect for life guide my actions, that I should take not life, but that I should nurture and enhance life, if only for my own self-interest. If the precept is not to kill, and the means employed is always nonviolent, the end must be peace. Let go of fear in order to love.
That said, now that our actual situation is that of pilgrims lost among fearsome killing fields, what to do? I am unable to propose a solution as a "roadmap." However, it seems obvious that the road we are upon leads deeper into darkness. If we can recognize and admit that much, then we can try to find the way together. Rather than a "solution," I offer my one-step-at-a-time actions. Like a man on the road in the dark of night, I walk to the edge of the light cast by my lantern, and then again, and again to the edge of the light, keeping faith in reaching the goal.
Fourth Premise. The means of solution. Here I offer myself (value unknown, and without warranty), in the form of a few footprints on my own path of civil disobedience, and in my stated intentions. I have chosen tax refusal and exile in a foreign land, together with a radical renunciation of rules and laws – a renunciation that is escalating with time. I have set myself against blind obedience to traditional authority of patriarchal domination, as well as bureaucratic legalistic usurpation of individual rights. I renounce the State and declare my right to ignore it. I renounce any "authority" that demands violation of my conscience.
In a culture where true madness masquerades as sanity, my public denunciations in a foreign nation of the U.S. war are likely to be labeled as "treason" by the State, and "crazy" by the Establishment. Against whom shall I commit treason? The brotherhood of man? My own rational mind and conscience? The universal commandment against murder? Or the State?
Why should I have more faith in war criminals – like George Bush and Dick Cheney – than in my own conscience, to make life and death decisions? Why should my life, and yours, and uncountable others, be subject to the decisions of money power, of who to kill and who to let live? Who is criminally insane – these psychotic nuclear-weapon-brandishing tyrants, or us?
If I voluntarily violate my personal integrity and abdicate my conscience to these war criminals, and keep on financing their mass murders and torture by paying my taxes, what does that say about me? And if I participate in a sham election – by secret ballot, so there can be no contract, no acknowledgement of responsibility – to pick one of the next two carefully groomed war criminals-to-be, put up and financed by the Corporate Establishment, what kind of fool am I?
How does one come to peace with his hiring of murder? How does one negotiate with liars?
How does one find truth from the propaganda spun by corporate media as "journalism?"
Is it the angst of facing ourselves that forces us to sit in front of the TV every night? Does this mental-moral anesthesia help maintain the denial of my own complicity? Or, does it just make endless mass murder "normal?"
To work against the State, one must begin with himself and his local sphere of influence. Nonviolent methods include tax refusal, boycott of State services, withdrawing to the extent possible from participation in all functions of the State. Become independent and self-reliant. Avoid identification documents, work for barter or cash, shun credit cards and banks. Convert depreciating fiat currency into physical gold in personal possession: quit letting the State embezzle your savings with its printing press inflation. Form local service organizations, community support groups, and local direct unregulated exchange markets. And, importantly, educate others. Spread the word. Return self-government control to the local level, beginning at home. Ignore the State. Live by your own lights and your own wits, and face the consequences. You will enjoy the happiness and freedom of the brave.
Each must work out his own destiny if he is to reclaim his personal identity. One must never give in to power. Walk the talk.
"Once the people have made up their minds to be free, there is nothing that can stop them."
~ Desmond Tutu, in the video A Force More Powerful
In my case, the next point of intersection with Power is the expiry of passport, which I will not renew, foreign domicile notwithstanding. Since freedom of movement (a basic human right) is required to maintain a livelihood, these are tantamount to permission-to-live documents. Without them, in many ways your life is at risk. The State has usurped my right to life itself, and placed it in the hands of some faceless bureaucrat.
I don't know what the Nice Government Men will do, but my working hypothesis is this: if they detain me, imprison me, harm me, or kill me – any or all of which are possible if as planned, I put up unarmed, unaided physical resistance – then they will have advanced my cause.
The face-off amounts to this test. Does a physically more powerful individual have the right to put a collar on me, track me, restrict my movements except by his permission, and extract from me the product of my labor? Does a group of thugs have this right? Does a group of "lawmakers" (a significant number under indictment for major crimes), placed in power over me, against my will, have this right?
Paraphrasing Lysander Spooner (circa 1882), a Constitution has no inherent authority unless as a contract between man and man, and obviously can be binding only upon those then living who acknowledged it. No man can give to another any right of arbitrary dominion over himself, for that would be giving himself away as a slave. No man can give to another any right of arbitrary dominion over a third person, for that would indicate a right in the first person to make the third person his slave. The fact that no man can delegate or give away his own natural right of liberty, nor any other person's natural right of liberty, proves that he can delegate no legislative power whatever – over himself or anybody else – to any man or body of men. Each man owns only himself – he owns no other. Nor can any other, or group of others calling themselves a "constituted authority," own him.
Maybe it is time to stop being nice to these thugs who rule us. "Nice people" have fomented two World Wars, built a nuclear arsenal that threatens planetary incineration (quite possibly by accident or technical failure), created corporations that are devouring the earth, and launched a world-wide "war on terror," more accurately described as a war on life.
These monstrous atrocities are not possible because of the evil of a few, but the weakness of the many. Because so many will not face the darkness of their own hearts, a few can destroy all of us. We must come out of denial.
Partly borrowing in broad terms from Professor J.D. Forbes (University of California, 1972): imperialists, rapists, exploiters and warmongers are not just on the wrong road. They are diseased, insane, mentally unclean, deranged. It is a soul sickness that is communicable and has become global. People like Stalin, Hitler, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Ferdinand Marcos, Augusto Pinochet, Richard Nixon, George Bush – mass murderers all – cannot stay in power without public acquiescence, and cannot operate the machinery of power without technocrats and civil servants who collect revenues and maintain the government. Henry David Thoreau said he had no quarrel with a piece of parchment (the law), but with the man he faced (the tax collector).
Well educated, "civilized" people in power arrange for land confiscations – such as "Special Economic Zones" – in Brazil, Columbia, India, and elsewhere, the development of which annihilates the lives of countless tribals and villagers. Although these "refined" gentlemen of the elite do not personally point a gun and pull the trigger, the effect is the same, and they know it.
Behind them is the Corporate Warfare State, operating through MNC's and Central Banks. But, and note well, they are using – and destroying – our land, our water, our forests, our wild creatures, our ecology, our human commons, and they are doing it with our labor, our money, and our acquiescence. We succumb to the media propaganda and buy their rubbish and finance their wars and send our children into their man-made inferno.
Forbes points out that the disease of exploitation has been spreading for several thousand years. It gets worse across time. As people catch it, they pass it to the young, who are taught more by immediate relatives, peers, internet games, movies and TV than by schools.
Exploitation is thriving – of children, of love, of women, old people, the weak, the poor. Different body parts, odors, illnesses, insecurities, desires, fears, religion, the desire for enlightenment, our DNA genetic code, consciousness itself, all are exploited. Everything is for sale, including the life of every creature, and every woman, child and man. In the "free world," the buying and selling is carried on through the inhuman agency of the corporation, an abstract legal construct excreted from the legislative bowels of the State.
With blood have we built the heartless, bloodless corporate machine which now enslaves us. Life itself, the whole of the human species, is at risk of extinction by the machine's inhuman, electronically controlled, metallic cutter-crusher-pincers. By this machine does life get converted to ciphers reporting to the bottom line of a balance sheet. Wasted human lives – when flesh meets steel – do not report to this ledger.
The legal construct of Limited Liability of corporate owners and managers, and the raw power-of-the-gun protection of Sovereign Immunity granted to agents of the State, are the shields that protect these malefactors from accountability for their heinous actions. So long as they are thus free of responsibility, they will continue, protected by "law" from retribution. What "law," this?
We don't know who, or what, created this Universe, what Intelligence connected Spirit to breath and flesh. But we do know that its physical manifestation on our behalf is this precious blue-green planet that allows us to play in the Fields of the Lord.
We might be wise to consider some attempt at gratitude and respect for this Great Benevolence that supports us, rather than tearing it apart and smashing it to the last atom in a vain and arrogant attempt to gain control over life and the Mystery. To what end our mad destruction? Why not live, and let live, and love?
Said Mohandas Gandhi,
"Parliaments are really emblems of slavery… …civilization is that mode of conduct which points to the path of duty." (Hind Swaraj, 1908)
And what is duty, if not to serve and nurture life?
"Anarchy could never get a man to the moon, but it may be the only way we can survive on earth."
~ Sheldon Kopp (1972)
We will need some well-controlled, highly focused righteous anger in order to survive. Since the present course, unabated, clearly risks suicidal extinction, we must risk "unknown" cut and try solutions, as many as we must, for as long as we live, until we get it right. Some of these ideas are further developed at my website, www.statelessfreedom.org.
"Civilization does not mean electric lights. It does not mean producing atomic bombs, either. Civilization means not killing people."
~ Nichidatsu Fujii, Buddhist Nihonzan Miyoji Temple, quoted by J.D. Forbes, PhD (Professor Emeritus, University of California), 1992
We must let go of fear in order to love. It has been done. It can be done. Let us do it.
May you live long, live free.
August 4, 2007