Tuesday, 23 January 2018

"A demonstration's been announced... Against the draft, war taxes, the rise in food prices..."

"It was good to be outside, after the rooms with locked doors, the hiding places. It was good to be walking, swinging his arms, breathing in the clear air.... To be among so many people, so immense a crowd, thousands marching together, filling all the side streets as well as the broad thoroughfare down which they marched, was frightening, but it was exhilarating too.... The singing at the front of the march, far away up the street, and of the endless crowds coming on behind, was put out of phase by the distance the sound must travel, so that the melody always seemed to be lagging and catching up with itself, like a canon, and all the parts of the song were being sung at one time, in the same moment, though each singer sang the tune as a line from beginning to end....

"There might have been a hundred thousand human beings in Capitol Square, or twice that many. The individuals, like the particles of atomic physics, could not be counted, nor their positions ascertained, nor their behavior predicted. And yet, as a mass, that enormous mass did what it had been expected to do by the organizers of the strike: it gathered, marched in order, sang, filled Capitol Square and all the streets around, stood in its numberlessness restless yet patient in the bright noon listening to the speakers, whose single voices, erratically amplified, clapped and echoed off the sunlit façades..., rattled and hissed over the continuous, soft, vast murmur of the crowd itself....

"When he spoke, speaking was little different from listening. No conscious will of his own moved him, no self-consciousness was in him. The multiple echoes of his voice from distant loudspeakers and the stone fronts of the massive buildings, however, distracted him a little, making him hesitate at times and speak very slowly. But he never hesitated for words. He spoke their mind, their being, in their language...

It is our suffering that brings us together. It is not love. Love does not obey the mind, and turns to hate when forced. The bond that binds us is beyond choice. We are brothers. We are brothers in what we share. In pain, which each of us must suffer alone, in hunger, in poverty, in hope, we know our brotherhood..... We know that there is no help for us but one another, that no hand will save us if we do not reach out our hand. And the hand that you reach out is empty, as mine is. You have nothing. You own nothing. You are free. All that you have is what you are, and what you give...

We have nothing but our freedom. We have nothing to give you but your own freedom. We have no law but the single principle of mutual aid between individuals. We have no government but the single principle of free association. We have no states, no nations, no presidents, no premiers, no chiefs, no generals, no bosses, no bankers, no landlords, no wages, no charity, no police, no soldiers, no wars. Nor do we have much else. We are sharers, not owners. We are not prosperous. None of us is rich. None of us is powerful. If it is [this] you want, if it is the future you seek, then I tell you that you must come to it with empty hands.... You cannot take what you have not given, and you must give yourself. You cannot buy the Revolution. You cannot make the Revolution. You can only be the Revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.

"As he finished speaking the clattering racket of police helicopters drawing near began to drown out his voice...."

-- from The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. Le Guin, 21 October 1929 - 22 January 2018

Link | Posted by Edward on Tuesday, 23 January 2018, 19:35 ( 7:35 PM) | TrackBack (0)
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