(written somewhere over a large body of water)
Revolution just ain’t what it used to be. We missed out on the epoch where all you had to do was kill the king, and you instantly became king, the castle and kingdom became yours. or when all all you had to do was get enough of your buddies and storm the Bastille or the Parliament or the Palace, and the powerful would tremble before you and flee in in a panic; or why not roll up like Che & Fidel waltzing into Havana with a celebratory swag, the revolution declared complete. Like you could win a war just by staging photo op in front with a “mission accomplished” banner.
The revolution isn’t coming. Sorry.
What, is in not gonna happen now because I said it isn’t? Like it’s something invisible we have to just have faith in, like afterlife and easter bunnies? Okay. Fine. The revolution is coming.
In the mean time, while the hours clock onward waiting for the revolution that isn’t coming, we’ve got to find more time to be revolutionaries. And then find time to not have to be revolutionaries anymore.
Time’s a funny thing. It’s been abstracted and grafted to the capitalist rhythms of production and societal programming, but there are still a few vestiges where we can see time for what it really is. Because it’s relative, time essentially stops in certain situations or places like during weather emergencies, in theatres, hospital rooms, jail, and airports. There’s a feeling of stasis that you get when you go to the airport. There’s really no other place that you need to be other than in a line somewhere at the time agreed upon by your boarding pass and your watch. But when you’re taking a plane somewhere, it’s pretty much the only thing you really can’t miss, even if you wanted to. You don’t really have a choice, unless you lose your passport (something I’ve experienced). Flights often take precedence even over funerals (something else I’ve also experienced). And once you’re on the plane, there’s literally nothing else that matters. A zombie uprising could be going on, but you wouldn’t even know about it, and even if somehow you did, you wouldn’t be able to do anything about it except worry until you get through passport control.
I know a lot about Cuba. But the fact that I’ve never been to Cuba really kind of demonstrates that I actually know absolutely nothing about Cuba. Every last bit of information I’ve consumed with regards to Cuba has been filtered through the US of A. Facts traveling through passport control, customs, visa interviews, security checkpoints, baggage check, x-ray scans and metal detectors checking for anything dangerous to a semantic status quo (which is administered by another department). Come to think of it, that’s probably true for just about everything. History’s an airport.
Your dreams of insurrectionary overthrow of the hyperaccelerated matrices of decentralized globalism are as naïve and misguided as a drunk elephant. I’m not sure if it was you who should’ve ever been at the wheel. History’s shown us time and again that what comes after the popular momentum starts to get steered by a narrow minority, and it all starts all over again. There’s no one citadel where power sits, contemplating, waiting to be grasped and uprooted. Even if the masses were to push past all the sentinels who barricading anything that looks even remotely important, we’d find the monuments, the capitals, the stock exchanges to be utterly hollow. The system keeps on churning in the background, moved along by invisible hands so far separated from each other they don’t even know they’re sets of hands. A swarm of airplanes covering the planet, each of them with little groups of people inside, completely unaware or indifferent to what’s going on on the ground.
So we’ve got to stop imagining there’s going to be some huge climax, a giant earth-shattering orgasm called ‘revolution’ that changes everything all at once. If we push it, rush it and blow it all too fast & premature, we’ll all just end up in jail and forgotten. Revolution is like long, slow, mind-blowing sex. When you’re doing it right, it’s not about the climax. It’s about the sweet sweet agony of the resistance.
There is no ‘reform vs. revolution’ binary. We can dream of the liberation party, the ecstasy of dancing in glass and fire and metal and oil, the roar of wild justice casting off fear, attachment, and regret – let’s remember that escapism is an opiate, and that cages are cold and real. Let’s remember what we’re fighting, and that its strengths lie in recreating itself, nestling itself everywhere we try to push it out. But when we start to withdraw our engagement from it, we’re decelerating the flows that power the machine. The old world is dying on its own, we need not waste our energy fighting it – what is needed is to dream of a place that will cushion us when we crash
The revolution keeps on turnin’.