�Analysis brings no curative powers in
its train; it merely makes us conscious of the existence of an evil, which,
oddly enough, is consciousness.� --Henry Miller
Everywhere I hear about the need to raise
"awareness." So much so, that awareness and consciousness appear to
have become the goals: ends in and of themselves. If only we were conscious of
�what's going in Darfur� or aware of how �prevalent cancer has become� or whatever
else we need to recognize, it seems most folks would be mighty satisfied.
My question: When exactly does all this goddamned awareness
translate into productive action and tangible change?
�I expected to die,� Black Panther Huey Newton said back in
the day. �At no time before the trial did I expect to escape with my life. Yet
being executed in the gas chamber did not necessarily mean defeat. It could be
one more step to bring the community to a higher level of consciousness.�
Was Huey right? Would his death have done anything more than
create another T-shirt icon, another excuse for Sean Penn to take out a
full-page ad in The New York Times?
Che Guevara, Ken Saro Wiwa, Fred Hampton, Rachel Corrie, Sacco and Vanzetti,
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Leonard Peltier, Aung San Suu Kyi, Mumia abu-Jamal,
Tookie Williams, Brad Will -- the list grows and grows . . . as does the
homicidal/suicidal human culture that we cannot or will not change. We�ve
raised our consciousness to such a high level that we proudly own hybrids and
use only recycled toilet paper. But what are the results?
We�re aware of global warming and its causes, factory farms,
war crimes, environmental degradation, political corruption, fixed elections,
the health care crisis . . . blah, blah, blah. We know about it. We talk about
it. We write about it. We complain about it. We hold meetings, talks, seminars,
and classes about it. We march about it. We make signs about it. Nothing
Lesson #1: Awareness is overrated.
Lesson #2: The current patterns of dissent in America are
long overdue for re-evaluation and overhaul. The powers that be have long ago
figured out how to either marginalize or co-opt dissent. Until our tactics
evolve, we are accomplices to the perpetual global crime we call civilization.
Z. can be found on the Web at www.mickeyz.net.