In this short essay Salonika relates what resistance personally means to her.
The system is fucked-up. If you are reading this, you probably know this already. You’re here because you know how fucked-up the system is. You know that it is based on the oppression of humans, nonhumans and the entire planet. You know that we need to fight this system, that we need to resist it with all we have. You may already be doing that anyway. I’m going to share some of the ways that I have resisted.
Resistance requires courage.
Resistance means standing up for what is right. It requires the willingness to go against an enemy so powerful that defeat seems inevitable. Sometimes, it may even require standing up to your loved ones. The majority of human beings, including our loved ones and even ourselves, are indoctrinated into this human supremacist, male supremacist, white supremacist culture that hates life. Anyone who dares to go against this culture is likely to be attacked on many levels, emotionally, socially, financially, or even physically. I’m sure many of us have faced this. I’ve faced such attacks for refusing to go along with mindless consumerism, for providing a radical view among non-political groups, and for refusing to conform to the dominant narrative. I have been coaxed, harassed, or threatened into submission. Regrettably, a few of these attacks have been successful. They serve to remind us how powerful the dominant system is, and how much of courage it requires to stand up against it.
Resistance means being prepared.
The system does not serve anyone. It is inherently flawed. Usually, these flaws are covered up by conveniences such as 24-hour electricity, hot water flowing out of a faucet, or the ability to instantly connect with anyone. The genocide and slavery that continues to go into making all this possible is well hidden. However, there are times when the injustices of the system become apparent, times when inherent flaws cannot be hidden anymore. The failure of the global supply chain during the initial parts of the lockdown is one example.
Everyday examples include extreme cases of violence against a person of an oppressed group, especially when the violence cannot be deemed to serve anyone. These incidences open up discussion about systemic flaws, and may lead to structural changes, for better or worse. Resistance means being prepared to notice and utilise such situations, to highlight the flaws within the system, and to direct the momentum for positive changes.
Resistance should also be strategic.
It means considering the best and the most effective means to achieve one’s goals. We are up against a system that has far more resources and more power at its disposal. We cannot be prodigal on our use of time and energy. Sometimes, this means backing off from a fight. It is not possible to win every argument, every legal case, every fight against the system. Effective resistance requires us to identify the fights that are worth spending our limited time and energy on.
Resistance comes in different forms.
Regardless of the nuances in our political ideologies, or the differences in our life situations, there are many ways to resist the system. For me, fighting for my right to planned parenthood is a form of resistance. For a woman who has submitted to patriarchy all her life, fighting against her family’s pressures to abort her daughter is resistance. Every form of resistance against this culture should be welcomed.
I believe Derrick Jensen could not be any clearer when he says:
“The good thing about everything being so fucked up is that no matter where you look there is great work to be done.”