Resistance: the Remedy for Fear


The French students and workers force the repeal of a law that would have provided employers complete control over the work lives of French youth. Immigrants and their supporters maintain a growing series of protests across the United States to oppose proposed legislation that would criminalize the existence of any US residents without the proper papers and those that assist them. On a smaller scale, students and other young people organize nationwide challenges to the concerted attempts by recruiters to entice them into the military and the empire’s wars.

In the theater of those wars, the resistance continues and expands, while the warmakers in Washington and London deepen their lies about its success. In Washington, the Empire’s strategists begin to look more closely at Iran as a potential target, perhaps believing that a war there would be more popular with the US people. The Iranian government, meanwhile, continues apace with its nuclear research, alarming northern governments in the East and the West with its announcement that Iranian scientists have enriched a small amount of uranium. No matter how loud and often Tehran states that the research is for peaceful purposes, few believe them. Back in Iraq, the popular Shia movements distance themselves further from the US elements in the Green Zone government. In the West Bank and Gaza, Hamas continues to consolidate its popularly elected government despite threats and reprisals from Israel and the West.

Despite the varieties of philosophies in the resistance movements mentioned above, one thing is clear from this list. There is a growing portion of the world that is tired of being playthings of the empire of US militarism and capital. And they are tired of their countries being used as playgrounds for that empire’s war toys. Even though many of the aforementioned resistance elements would find themselves on opposite sides of any table when it came to philosophies of politics and religion, they all share in their opposition to being manipulated like so many plastic pieces on a game board. They also share a belief that they can win. Indeed, resistance is not futile. Of course, as soon as a victory is reached there is another challenge. Oftentimes, that challenge is even greater than the previous one. That’s how the rulers work. Already, there are certain rightwing politicians in the United States (Newt Gingrich being the most recent to come forward) that are calling for the US military to leave Iraq so that it can attack Iran. That is truly jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

More importantly, this sentiment is perhaps the baldest expression of the low regard the apologists for Washington’s empire have for the people of the world, especially those in the Middle East and Asia. In essence, Mr. Gingrich is saying that since the US military has destroyed the lives and countryside of the Iraqis, it is now time to do the same to the Iranians. The fact that any attempt to overthrow the government of Iran would most likely make the mess in Iraq look like the proverbial tempest in a teapot does not seem to matter to those that threaten war on Tehran. The callousness of these folks, whether they support Mr. Gingrich’s call for a troop movement from Iraq to Iran or whether they just want the war to envelop Iran as well, is more than callousness. It is hatred. Whether they know it or not, it is a hatred that stems from their fears.

Fear. That is what motivates the thoughts of many of the folks that support the deportation of all undocumented workers and and the armed actions of the Minutemen. It is why people support the torture of the men and women locked up in Gitmo and other US prisons around the world. It is what causes people to vote for politicians who openly call for legislation that directly counters the voters’ own economic interests. It is why George Bush and his administration has gotten away with spying on US citizens, locking up people without charges, attacking countries based on lies, and eliminating much of the Bill of Rights. 911, terrorism, Al-Queda–the refrain of fear. A refrain that many in the US (and elsewhere) have incorporated into their most intimate consciousness.

Fear not only stems from ignorance, it helps enforce it. That is why the powers that be utilize fear. If we are afraid, than we will not act. If we do not act, those in power grow stronger until there is no room to act. Resistance is not only an andidote to this potentiality, it is a restorative remedy–for the individual and the planet.

RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs’ essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. He can be reached at: rjacobs3625@charter.net



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Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

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