‘I can use my Ability to Manipulate the System’

November 14, 2007 at 3:43 pm 2 comments

Continuing in my mini-series of Starhawk‘s observations about our war-based society and how to challenge it, today’s blog summarizes effective modes of resistance:

“Unless we can grasp the reality in which we find ourselves, we cannot change it. … When we withdraw, our gifts, our perceptions, our energies are lost. The realities of domination go unchallenged.
“To resist is to engage reality, to act. Awareness, emotion are not enough. Resistance is only real when it is expressed through action.
“In turn, the action we take nourishes and strengthens us, for acts of resistance against systems that destroy us are ultimately acts of survival, creation, and nurture.” (pg. 86)

“Resistance is hard. We find it relatively easy to commit a single act of resistance, but to sustain that resistance over days, weeks, over a hundred minor issues and constant confrontations, requires a diligence and stamina far beyond what most of us possess. Our admiration increases for those who hold to resistance against greater threats, extremes of pain, privation, and fear, for months and long years. For we find that resistance demands enormous energy. We cannot resist all the time, in every area of life. We must choose our battles and the priorities of struggle.
“But knowing that resistance is a possiblity makes all our choices real choices. They become part of our resistance, not opposed to it. We can say, ‘I will obey right now because this issue is not where I choose to make my stand.’ We can say, ‘I will rebel not by harming myself but by making trouble for the authorities.’ We can say, ‘I will withdraw now to conserve my strength but I will return tomorrow with eyes open.’ We can say, ‘I can use my ability to manipulate the system to prepare the ground of struggle.’ We can be conscious when we put on a mask that we are not wearing our true faces — and so retain the ability to take the mask off.” (pg. 89)

Read Part 1: Punishment and Value in our War-based Society
Read Part 2: Awareness is the beginning of all Resistance


Entry filed under: reality, society, spiritual, Uncategorized, vision. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

‘Awareness is the beginning of all resistance’ ‘She knew that she hadn’t been wanted’

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Srini Kumar  |  May 27, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    But see isn’t that exactly how Madison Avenue thinks ? I say that not to criticize starhawk or the argument, but it is interesting how we in the counterculture have a toolkit in common. When one’s will eclipses the inherent magnetism of the idea itself, a turn towards advertising and marketing methodology seems to suggest itself. Even a “protest” can be considered a “marketing event” once this paradigm is accepted.

    There’s a revolutionary opportunity in the offing, and I fear that those revolutionaries on the “right” – e.g. white power groups – have the ear of those millions that US capitalism has newly disenfranchised. Sadly, all the countercultural agitation of the last two decades has left those of us opposed to militarism far away from these masses, while Rush Limbaugh has turned these masses into an absurd militia for his own pinhead point of view.

    People who are serious about social change from the segment of the ideological spectrum from which Starhawk speaks have two choices. The easy way is what Murray Bookchin calls “lifestyle anarchism” – go vegan, bike to work, start a blog, network at protest events, and retreat into smug superiority. The hard way is to figure out a bridge to communicate with the masses, who are right now suffering at the hands of the shadowy figures behind global capitalism and militarism.

    Sadly, you must probably leave the few enclaves of happy libertarian liberalism in order to properly do this – you must invade the broader society with your ideas somehow if you don’t want your set of ideas to be just another wall of the ghetto. Thanks for the thought provoking article !

  • 2. May  |  May 27, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    I don’t think Starhawk is talking about anything other than a personal decision to resist the powers one sees in the world working for ill against society. At least, that’s how I read it.


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