A call for a spontaneous universal uprising on Leap day
2008 is leap year — a fantastic opportunity to leap into something new. Are you gonna to use your extra day like you use so many other days — toiling away at your job to make the bosses richer? Using up more of the earth’s resources while the forests, the oceans, and free communities are being killed? Watching it all go on around you — an “information consumer” — feeling helpless to do anything to resist it?
Life is far too short to spend days, weeks, years just getting by — getting treated like an object. How much of your life do you really get to control? How often are you really fully alive and free?
If you wish things were different and dream about a better world, you’re not alone. Vast numbers of people from all walks of life realize that life as we know it isn’t satisfying our real needs and has to change. But hoping and dreaming isn’t enough.
Lots of people have developed and articulated ideas for how life could be transformed. We need to love each other, take care of each other, share and cooperate, live with the earth instead of destroying it, and embrace diversity, not hatred and violence. Social structures that promote power and inequality need to be dismantled, and arrangements that promote freedom and sustainability constructed in their place.
So if things are to change, how can each of us be part of creating these changes? Most people feel like they’re too isolated as individuals to really do much of anything effective against a massive, entrenched system. This collective feeling of individual helplessness and inertia is a self-fulfilling prophecy. But it isn’t real — it is just a collective illusion.
Those in charge encourage feelings of isolation, helplessness, and passivity in a million ways. They want everyone to individually conclude that nothing very big or important can change — that the big things have to be the way they are. They love cynicism, resignation, and isolation. They fear community and discussion about alternatives. But most of all, they fear action — the moment when individuals take matters into their own hands and stop just hoping for a better world.
Anyone and everyone can take action. Taking action means moving from wishing things would change to changing them — in your family, in your neighborhood, in your workplace, in your school . . . in your own mind. Change in your mind is the most accessible change and yet often the most difficult — we’re all embedded in deep patterns that hold us back from building change out in the world. We’ve learned to feel powerless and take for granted lots of fucked up power relations. Working on changing our internal mental state goes hand and hand with taking action to change the external world. As we take action in the real world, we help liberate the parts of our mind that hold us back. Each new action experience — creating change ourselves — helps open possibilities for even more action and change.
Action in the world can mean living differently yourself in a variety of ways — the way you relate to others, the way you communicate, the way you eat, the work you do, the transportation you use, etc. And it can mean organizing with others to build new ways of living — creating community gardens, cooperative houses, collective businesses, neighborhood councils, and revolutionary organizations. And action also means rising up to fight those who dominate power and try to prevent change — joining protests, sit-ins, riots and strikes. The historical dates in this organizer chronicle all the amazing ways people have taken action through the ages: non-violently and violently; on a local level and on a global level; alone and together, in every year, across every place on earth. When you take action, you are far from alone! The key is for each individual to make the leap from hopelessness to action in as many ways as they can in any particular moment.
This leap day — February 29 — imagine everyone who feels smothered living a mediocre life within the current insane system rising up to resist in whatever way they can. Take leap day off work and live life like it really mattered. Spend the day as a free and whole being. Maybe that means spending time alone, or maybe it means with friends, or with your whole block, or even the whole city. Maybe it means tearing down the forces that seek to crush your dreams and force you back to work on March 1. Maybe living free for a day means spending the day creating new structures, new ideas, new forms of cooperation, and a whole new reality which makes you happier and freer. You don’t have to wait for tomorrow, and you don’t have to ask anyone for permission. Leap for it!