Follow the Soapbox
Mickey Z.

“Analysis brings no curative powers in its train; it merely makes us conscious of the existence of an evil which, oddly enough, is consciousness.”

- Henry Miller

In defense of the recent People’s [sic] Climate March, I’ve often been told: “But at least it raised awareness.”

Awareness (noun): knowledge or perception of a situation or fact; concern about and well-informed interest in a particular situation or development

Everywhere we hear about the need to raise "awareness." So much so, that awareness and consciousness appear to have become the goals: ends in and of themselves.

If only we were conscious of “what's going on” in some place like Syria or aware of “how prevalent” this or that disease has become or whatever else it is we need to recognize, it seems most folks would be mighty satisfied.

My sincere question: When exactly does all this goddamned awareness translate into authentic solidarity, productive action, and tangible change?

"I expected to die,” Huey Newton of the Black Panther Party once said. “At no time before the trial did I expect to escape with my life. Yet being executed in the gas chamber did not necessarily mean defeat. It could be one more step to bring the community to a higher level of consciousness.”

Was Huey right? Would his execution have done anything more than create another t-shirt icon? The list of revolutionary martyrs grows and grows but the omnicidal dominant human culture remains.

We’ve raised our consciousness but where are the results?

We’re aware of climate change, factory farms, war crimes, police brutality, political corruption, fixed elections, the health care crisis, ubiquitous oppression/repression/depression… etc. etc. etc.

We know about it. We talk about it. We write about it. We complain about it. We hold meetings, talks, seminars, and classes about it. We march about it. We make signs about it. We post about it endlessly on our social media echo chambers.

Nothing changes.

Lesson #1: Awareness is overrated.

Lesson #2: The current patterns of activism [sic] in America are long overdue for re-evaluation and a complete fuckin’ overhaul.

The powers-that-be have long ago figured out how to either marginalize or co-opt dissent. Until our tactics evolve and much bigger connections (between concepts and comrades) are made, we remain accomplices to the perpetual global crime we call civilization.

Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.

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