The Coastal Post - December, 1996

Against The Current


One of the miracles of nature is the migration of salmon. Against almost overwhelming odds, they fight toward their headwater birthplaces. How these small creatures can confront and conquer boiling rapids and waterfalls capable of generating thousands of watts of electricity is a marvel to us all. Their leap up a cataract requires strength, endurance, and unyielding determination (humanly speaking).

When the survivors finally arrive at their goal and deposit their eggs, they have fulfilled their destiny. A new generation is ensured.

Human society has it currents, its trends, leading at times to human survival and betterment or toward tragedy and woes. A trend may lead toward economic depression or war. Or it could lead toward a Golden Gate.

Today the long-range trend of human activities is ominous at best. We have designed, created, and have on hand ready to use, weapons which could destroy most, if not all, of human life. There has been no substantial change in our acceptance of these weapons.

A major enterprise presenting high rewards to its owners and administrators is the trade in weapons, fueling massive killing and destruction in many lands.

We are in the midst of a virtual class war, with continued concentration of wealth and power on the one hand, and desperate poverty on the other. Child slavery is widespread in some lands, feeding sweatshops and brothels.

World unemployment grows as human labor is replaced by automated machinery and computers. Spreading unemployment and poverty feed social unrest-revolution, terrorism, and crime. These are part of the trend of our time.

Machines proliferate that greatly increase the ability of humans to destroy forests, deplete sea life, overlay and disrupt arable land, and pour poisonous wastes into air, water, and soil. A possibly harmful change in our global climate is aggravated by human activities. Our environment is in the process of deterioration to the extent that it may ultimately become hostile to human life.

All of these human activities form a dangerous current flowing toward unprecedented calamity.

Against this current are those aware of its destination, those who would slow or stop the downward flow. These are the individuals and associations opposing militarism and the plundering and polluting of the environment. These are activists opposing concentrations of wealth and power who are working to uplift the disadvantaged. These include activists who demonstrate reverence for life by condemning, resisting, and non-violently impeding deforestation, factory fishing, slaughter of wildlife and destruction of habitats.

Unfortunately, the thundering torrent of weaponry, plundering and polluting of the environment, exploitation and neglect of the helpless and suffering, growing unemployment, poverty, crime, and terrorism has continued to overwhelm their efforts. These upstream strugglers, valiant and committed as they are, make little headway when they confine their efforts within the conventional political system, to petitioning and protesting, to avoiding confrontation and controversy.

Urgently needed is a Movement of powerful resistance along with public celebrations of life-affirming alternatives. Those who would succeed in conquering the current of killing and destruction, and fulfilling humanity's high destiny, must have not only the will to overcome, self-sacrifice and persistence, but especially grand vision and boldness of thought and action.

They must look to the roots of serious problems rather than being distracted by their fruit. They must search for and treat causes rather than constantly reacting to effects.

In the non-violent, life-revering spirit of Gandhi, King, and numerous others in earlier centuries, the following are some of the necessary actions of a humanly-fulfilling counterthrust:

1. Firmly and publicly condemn, reject and resist all militarism and all its honors and excuses. Militarism must go!

2. Teach children that all weapons, from guns to tanks and warships, are shameful-grounded in fear, not courage.

3. Shift our highest political allegiance from nations, religious sects, cultures, tribes, gangs, etc., to world community. Work for a world constitution, world law.

4. Refrain from glorifying or especially honoring the rituals, flags, violent anthems, and other symbols of nations, religious sects, etc. Honor and celebrate all symbols of world community and homeland Earth.

5. Resist and condemn the plundering and polluting of the environment. Boycott the products of such activities. Wherever appropriate, non-violently impede these actions.

6. Whenever there is a real threat to forests, seas, wetlands, the atmosphere, etc., profits and jobs must be of secondary importance to the environment. However, we must establish systems of essential support for workers adversely affected by environmental protection.

7. Replace pride in having many children with embarrassment for begetting more than two.

8. Replace reliance on punishment and threat for maintaining social order with attention to the causes of harmful behavior. We must emphasize prevention instead of ineffective "cure" actions.

9. Reject the death penalty and other retaliatory punishments as grounded in hate, not justice.

10. Devise and establish an economy of abundance devoted to filling human needs rather than aimed at rewarding greed.

11. Form small groups-circles, cells, etc.-dedicated to CARING for human and environmental well-being, for flexibility in action and mutual support in commitment.

12. Create and propagate symbols of all kinds for the social change Movement-logos, slogans, songs, costumes. Celebrate publicly special days, events, heroes, martyrs honoring a CARING NEW WORLD ORDER and the Movement to achieve it.

13. Emphasize outreach to religious and educational leaders and institutions. (Politicians are followers, not leaders of change.)

14. Outreach worldwide via Internet, mail, media to organizations and individuals active in the fields of the environment, peace, healing, and filling human needs.

The men, women and youth who succeed in arriving at the life-affirming destination against the destructive, wasteful flow of today's Greed Society will have succeeded by exerting all their strength and commitment. They will strongly confront, not apologize nor temporize. They will have ensured the well-being of generations to come.

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