Eco-Defense = Self-Defense

SUBHEAD: Let’s not be afraid to open our hearts and minds and start caring caring for our "Collective Soul".

By Micky Z on 8 November 2013 for World News Trust-
Image above: Occupy sign "Solidarity - Community - Resilience". From original article. Photo by author.

“I don't even call it violence when it's in self defense; I call it intelligence.”
- Malcolm X
Let’s say you’re a handy man/woman/human and you get hired for a job. I’m guessing you’d bring your full toolbox to the worksite. After all, you can never be sure what might pop up and it would be illogical to decide beforehand that certain tools are off limits.

Lesson: Keep all your tools at your disposal -- even if some remain untouched -- just in case.

Some Tools
Perhaps, as citizens/consumers/taxpayers in the most culpable nations, we can begin by accepting reality: Due to our compliance and/or silence and/or inaction, we’ve played a role in bringing our planet to the brink of social, economic, and environmental collapse. But remember:
  • We’re not being “attacked” for our choices when fellow activists suggest we change. For the record, I prefer to save the word “attack” for, say, those being targeted by U.S. predator drones (subsidized by our tax dollars and thus launched in our name).
  • We’re not being judged as guilty. It’s a little too late for that.
We’re not being judged as innocent either. We’re all participants and/or witnesses.
  • We may think it’s not “fair” that we’re the generation that has to change everything about the way we live… but to paraphrase Clint Eastwood in The Unforgiven: “Fair’s got nothing to do with it.”
  • We are not alone. There are more of us than you ever imagined. As Utah Phillips reminds us: “If you can’t change (your community), if you can’t make this place where you work and live better, then where can you? Just get busy.” If you feel like you don’t have a community, create one.
In the book (and movie), The Grapes of Wrath, the Tom Joad character ponders something along these lines: “Maybe we’re not all individual souls, but maybe we’re all part of one big soul.”

Incredibly basic, yes… but within that simplicity lies what I see as the secret: If we were to view all living things -- along with ourselves -- as part of one collective soul how could we not defend that soul by any means necessary?

By the way, Utah Phillips also sez: “The earth is not dying. It is being killed, and the people killing it have names and addresses.”

The 4 R’s of Defending Our Collective Soul
To be taken as literally or metaphorically as you personally choose…

  • Self-defense “moves” rarely (if ever) work and can cause you to not trust your instincts as you struggle to remember what you’re “supposed to do.” Memorizing a few moves before a conflict is not unlike only learning 20-30 words prior to a spelling bee.
  • The attacker always has the advantage -- at least initially. He knows before you when, where, and how he’s going to attack.
  • Practice awareness of your habits, surroundings, routines, etc.
  • Your first option: run. If you can’t run, create and maintain distance from your attacker(s).
  • Know your enemy: Expect the worst because that’s exactly what you’ll get.
  • Facing a weapon can be frightening but some weapons can serve to “limit” the attacker’s psychological approach and thus, his options. Exploit that advantage.
  • Contrary to popular belief, you are never unarmed. Use your body and/or whatever you can get your hands on.
  • Decide in advance to survive. Ask Derrick Jensen explains: “The Jews who participated in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising had a much higher rate of survival than those who went along. We need to keep that in mind over the next 10 years.”
  • Condition your mind to defend what you love (read: courage).
  • Condition your body to endure -- through exercise, lifestyle choices, and healthy, earth-friendly/plant-based eating habits.
  • Take time to learn some useful tools like kicks, punches, blocks, etc. But never forget: anything goes. There’s no such thing as fighting “dirty.”
  • Memorize these 13 “magic words” when dealing with members of your local Blue Bloc:
    “I am going to remain silent. I would like to see a lawyer.”
Face Up to Your Fears
Participating in sustained activism and/or direct action is not a popular choice. It could put us at odds with our friends, family, and community. It could jeopardize our careers. It could even lead to direct conflict with law enforcement officers. Scary stuff, for sure.

But ask yourself this: What frightens you more, being judged for getting arrested for disorderly conduct or comprehending that 80 percent of the world’s forests are already gone? How will you answer when future generations ask what you did to defend all life on earth?

There are good reasons to be afraid. There are better reasons to be bold.

Let’s not opt for the illusion of safety over the quest for justice. Let’s not be afraid to accept that we’ve been lied to and manipulated and that much of what we’ve been taught is no longer or ever was relevant or real. 

Let’s not be afraid to open our hearts and minds and start caring like we've never cared before. Let’s not be afraid to find out what we’re capable of.


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