Leap day revolt

2012 is Leap Year — could we make someting magical and powerful with this extra day? The corporate/industrial system devours our time, strips life from the earth, centralizes power into a few hands, and extracts the meaning, humanity and pleasure from our lives. How can things keep getting worse and worse year after year, with so little resistance?

While many people are ready to fight back, it isn’t easy to know how to start or what to do that will make a difference. You can’t revolt alone. It’s a lot easier to join a general strike once thousands of people are already marching in the street and occupying the local factory. But to get things moving, someone or a small group of people have to take the first terrifying step off the sidewalk. It’s hard to take risks when you aren’t sure those around you are ready to back you up.

The only way to find out is to try — to take a leap of faith and start something. If you look through the radical dates in this organizer, you can read about revolts around the world and across the ages. Each began with an idea, determination, daring, and of course luck. People who begin revolts are regular people just like you. The day before a revolt, conditions usually look discouraging — the power structure rock solid. Last year’s revolts in North Africa and the Middle East took everyone by surprise. By contrast, it seems like a long time since the last uprising in the US. It’s easy to make excuses.

The right time to begin revolt is now, but the precise day is, in some way, arbitrary — the correct conditions already exist and have been present for some time. Leap day offers an extra day and invites us to shake off our routine, but any other day could work just as well. The global economic/technological system — while vast — is fragile and vulnerable. Alternatives to the system of corporate centralization and economic degredation exist — cooperation, local control, sharing, living in harmony with the earth.

There is nothing quite like the excitement and community with other people that you experience on the streets during revolt. The creativity of an uprising is powerful and can swiftly replace stubborn structures with new values. While many of us have spent years laying the ground work — working in tiny collectives, nurturing gardens and bike coops and art coops — these efforts in the absence of a revolt to challenge and undermine the key structures of the system are not enough.

We need to openly discuss and challenge power. The systems and values of corporations and police concentrate power by reducing individuals to consumers, viewers and objects to be managed. We seek to dismantle power so that each of us can determine what we want to do and figure out what is important. This goes way beyond just the distribution of resources — instead, its time to question whether resources, alone, is what life is really about. We demand a world organized around being awake and engaged — where we pursue intimate knowledge of others, ourselves and the world around us rather than getting distracted by treats distributed by rulers to keep us obedient and on-task.

Shifting the focus from things to experiences is what the world needs now to prevent the technological system from destroying the earth’s life support systems. Life is too short and the world too beautiful to spend more time muddling through accepting the comprimises of the corporate system and waiting for something better — far off in the future.

This year, consider February 29 as an experiment and an invitation. How do you really want to live? What would you do if you were living life like it really mattered? Would you go to work like normal, or can you think of something better? This leap day can be a universal general strike and uprising for a world worth living in, but its up to you, your friends and the whole world to take that first step. Leap for it.