Revolution is About Critical Mass

February 13th, 2011

Published on Global, by Kelly Coote, February 11, 2011.

What Would It Take For Me to Join a Revolution?

“Revolution is about critical mass”. As I personally embark on my own journey towards understanding revolution this comment triggered many things for me as I thought about its meaning and I wanted to share with you what I’ve discovered. “Critical mass”, I thought to myself, “what does it mean?” … //

… But, I think to myself, what if I were seventy million strong, representing the workers and other oppressed people of North America, coming together in solidarity, surrounding these same government buildings containing these same criminal rulers in every capital city on this continent to boldly proclaim our noble and just demands? Nobody would be laughing then. So, how do we reach critical mass for revolution, both collectively and on the individual level? Maybe it all just comes down to the old slogan,”no pain, no gain”. Or, in this case, no revolution.

Collectively, it seems we don’t care about what’s going on. Last time I checked parliament hill in Ottawa I didn’t see too many hordes there torching giant posters of the prime minister, chanting the national anthem and setting up camp. But now I’ve come to believe that perhaps the apathy in my society for political justice is just a symptom of a deeper apathy artificially planted within each of us when we were just kids and then reinforced throughout our lives by the masters that rule us. “Don’t worry, be happy. Spend. Obey.” Now as adults, cocooned within our own personal wealth and our various denial mechanisms, we are oblivious as they fleece us and exploit us over and over again, we are content to wait for and watch the next round of TV commercials and mindless content so we can laugh it off. Bottom line is I believe that as individuals we just haven’t suffered enough, at least enough to move us to take action in solidarity with others and in the numbers that are needed for real revolution.

I am reminded of the current Egyptian struggle and how some of the Egyptian protesters have been reported as saying that they now feel different somehow since joining the protests, that there’s no turning back, that things will never be the same for them. Could it be that the radical revolutionary transformation of that country that we are now seeing, symbolized with the tens of thousands of protesters standing their ground in Tahrir square, is also occurring simultaneously within each of them as individuals? As these proud and noble people struggle to shake off the shackles of oppression in return for emancipation perhaps an internal paradigm shift is also occurring within them, a critical mass having been reached. Even with none of their demands yet having being met and with hundreds of peaceful protestors having been killed all around them by their oppressors, maybe these brave people, by joining the revolution, are finding a way through their own pain and suffering into peace, freedom and a space into which real healing can occur.

Personally, I admit that I have no real experience in an actual revolution. In fact, I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never participated in any movement or protest, big or small, ever, in my life. But you see, I never had any need to, or at least I didn’t know I had a need to. Today, as I struggle to make ends meet and to try to prevent my life, my family and my family’s future from going all to hell, I have started to feel the pain and it’s not going away. And for all of you hardcore veteran activists and protesters out there in the vanguard wondering where the hell the masses are that are needed for your revolution, I think I can tell you. They’ve been here with me, hiding out, safe and sound in our ‘other’ world. But times are changing and struggle is occurring and I and many, many others are starting to feel the pain and it’s not going away. So please hang on and hold your ground. We’re coming.

Kelly Coote is an ex-working class Canadian citizen struggling to live a decent life with his wife and two children in rural northern Ontario. This is his first published article. (full text).

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