When I was at the peak of my activism – somewhere around two years ago – I would scoff at family members and friends who considered themselves revolutionaries. These were people who would hear a story about a battle with the police or see me in the paper for something and say “I used to be like you” or “Thanks for joining the fight”, but they wouldn’t actually be doing anything positive in my opinion. They would attend a rally, holding a sign, they would write letters to the editor on occasion and mostly they would sign online petitions or other things they didn’t have to leave their couch for. During the last semester of my schooling (right around the time I was beginning to feel slight burn out) I opened up a business. Between actually running the business, trying to protect my anal canal from partners, and writing a thesis (and living in a two bedroom house with seven people) I fell off the activism scene. At first I felt bad, I didn’t know what to do to get back into things, but then I started reading the emails from MoveOn and the likes. I would read about some horrible new legislation ready to pass and I would – with just one click – sign something saying I was against this potential new law. It didn’t give me the same feeling I received after sabotaging a potential power tower or seeing a police officer cry when presented with the truth, but at least I was doing something. I began to understand the direction the older “sell-outs” had taken. Shit, I was thirty years old and had bills to pay; activism isn’t real life. I have since – slowly, but surely – come out of my stupor, but I see quite a few friends stuck in the same rut I was.
Micah White captured my attention today, with this piece. I am not against using the internet as a tool to promote events. If posting a march on Facebook gets 1,000 people there instead of 500, then it is a positive thing. I find out a lot about what groups like Ruckus or the MST are doing, through email updates. I can give money to EndCiv because of the internet. However, I think that some people use it as a crutch. There are some among us who have a calling; who cannot sit back and ignore all the unnecessary suffering happening in the world -, people who know they are here to at least make a dent in the machine. All it takes is a spark – meeting the right person, reading the perfect book, stumbling upon a meeting with like-minded people – and a revolutionary is created. If that fire inside, instead of being directed at live people, is instead quelled by signing an online petition, a lot of people will end up in suits at desks instead of on the streets and in classrooms spreading revolution