Saturday, May 15, 2010

There's No Time Like Now to Be an Activist

There's No Time Like Now to Be an Activist

by: Mickey Z., t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

Time to be an activist. (Illustration: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t)

Eighty-one tons of mercury is emitted into the atmosphere each year as a result of electric power generation. Every square mile of ocean hosts 46,000 pieces of floating plastic.

Here it comes ... 

Every second, 10,000 gallons of gasoline are burned in the US. Each year, Americans use 2.2 billion pounds of pesticides.

Wait for it ... 

Every two seconds, a human being starves to death. Every 46 seconds, a woman is raped in America. Every day, 29,158 children under the age of five die from preventable causes - every single day.

We're almost there ... 

Ninety percent of the large fish in the ocean and 80 percent of the world's forests are gone. Each day, 200,000 acres of rainforest are destroyed, over 100 plant and animal species go extinct, and 13 million tons of toxic chemicals released across the globe.

What an amazing time to be an activist ... 

No, I'm not being cynical. I'm simply listening to the sound of opportunity knocking ... kicking down the damn door, you might say.

When else in all of human history has there been a time when we were in better position to shape the future? Ecosystems are screaming for mercy and our land base is practically an endangered species. What we do (or don't do) in the next few years could quite possibly tilt us all toward either the point of no return or a far more sane form of society. In other words, each and every one of us can take part - right now - in creating the most important social changes ever imagined. Here's how:

1. How to Be a Good Organizer

a) Spend some time thinking about trees.
b) Imagine what clear cutting looks like, sounds like and feels like.
c) Remind yourself that 80 percent of the world's forests are gone.
d) Be a good organizer.

2. How to Find Like-Minded Comrades Ready to Start Right Now

a) Go to the beach.
b) Smell the salty air and listen to the waves.
c) Remind yourself that 90 percent of the large fish in the ocean are gone.
d) Find like-minded comrades ready to start right now.

3. How to Plan a Protest That Does More Than March

a) Remind yourself that 200,000 acres of rainforest are destroyed each day. Picture a planet devoid of rainforests. Picture a human body without lungs.
b) Remind yourself that a woman is raped every 46 seconds in America. Visualize the terror and trauma of these experiences.
c) Remind yourself that 29,158 children under the age of five die from preventable causes each day. Imagine the feelings of grief, sorrow and loss.
d) Plan a protest that does more than march.

4. How to Give a Rousing Speech That Results in Immediate Direct Action

a) Find a quiet place.
b) Close your eyes and breathe deeply.
c) Think about animals in slaughterhouses and laboratories. Think about humans in prisons. Think about civilians in a war zone. Think about someone you love dying of cancer caused by corporate-created toxins.
d) Give a rousing speech that results in immediate direct action.

5. How to Bring Down the Dominant Culture

a) Ask yourself if you're content with your relatively high quality of life being possible thanks to the poor quality of life of so many others elsewhere.
b) Ask yourself if you're content with your relative freedom being possible thanks to the oppression of so many others elsewhere.
c) Accept that we are all accomplices to the perpetual global crime called "civilization."
d) Bring down the dominant culture.

This isn't about skin color, gender, or what parcel of geography you happen to have been born on. I'm not talking about party affiliations, incremental reform or what sky god you've chosen to worship. It's all about recognizing a crisis and taking the appropriate measures.

We're on the brink of economic, social and environmental collapse. What an extraordinary time to be alive. How lucky are we? We've been trusted with the most vital mission of all time: survival.

Mickey Z. is probably the only person on the planet to have appeared in both a karate flick with Billy "Tae Bo" Blanks and a political book with Howard Zinn. He is the author of 9 books - most recently "Self Defense for Radicals" and his second novel, "Dear Vito." He is a regular writer for Planet Green and can be found on the web at

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


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