As Ralph Waldo Emerson observed, "All our thingsare right and wrong together. The wave of evil washesall our institutions alike."
3. Side Each Day in Every Way With Anti-Authoritarians
We can recover our self-respect and strength byregaining our integrity. This process requires apersonal transformation to overcome our sense of powerlessness and fight for what we believe in.Integrity includes acts of courage resisting allillegitimate authorities. We must recognize that invirtually every aspect of our life in every day, we caneither be on the side of authoritarianism and thecorporatocracy or on the side of anti-authoritarianismand democracy. Specifically, we can question thelegitimacy of government, media, religious,educational and other authorities in our lives, and if we establish that an authority is not legitimate, we canresist it. And we can support others who are resistingillegitimate authorities. A huge part of solidaritycomes from supporting others who are resisting theillegitimate authorities in their lives. Walt Whitmanhad it right: "Resist much, obey little. Onceunquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved."
4. Regain Morale by Thinking More CriticallyAbout Our Critical Thinking
While we need critical thinking to effectively questionand challenge illegitimate authority - and to wiselyselect the best strategies and tactics to defeat the elite -critical thinking can reveal some ugly truths aboutreality, which can result in defeatism. Thus, criticalthinkers must also think critically about theirdefeatism, and realize that it can cripple the will anddestroy motivation, thus perpetuating the status quo.William James (1842
1910), the psychologist,philosopher, and occasional political activist (memberof the Anti-Imperialist League who, during theSpanish-American War, said, "God damn the US forits vile conduct in the Philippine Isles!") had a historyof pessimism and severe depression, which helpedfuel some of his greatest wisdom on how to overcomeimmobilization. James, a critical thinker, had littlestomach for what we now call "positive thinking," buthe also came to understand how losing belief in apossible outcome can guarantee its defeat. AntonioGramsci (1891
1937), an Italian political theorist andMarxist activist who was imprisoned by Mussolini,came to the same conclusions. Gramsci's phrase
"pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will"
hasinspired many critical thinkers, including NoamChomsky, to maintain their efforts in the face of difficult challenges.
5. Restore Courage in Young People
The corporatocracy has not only decimated America'slabor union movement, it has almost totally broken thespirit of resistance among young Americans - an evenmore frightening achievement. Historically, youngpeople without family responsibilities have felt mostfreed up to challenge illegitimate authority. ButAmerica's education system creates fear, shame anddebt - all killers of the spirit of resistance. No ChildLeft Behind, Race to the Top and standardized testingtyranny results in the kind of fear that crushescuriosity, critical thinking and the capacity toconstructively resist illegitimate authority. Rebelteachers, parents, and students - in a variety of overtand covert ways - have already stopped complyingwith corporatocracy schooling. We must also stopshaming intelligent young people who reject college,and we must instead recreate an economy that respectsall kinds of intelligence and education. While thecorporatocracy exploits student loan debt to both rakein easy money and break young people's spirit of resistance, the rest of us need to rebel against studentloan debt and indentured servitude. And parents andmental health professionals need to stop behavior-modifying and medicating young people who areresisting illegitimate authority.
6. Focus on Democracy Battlefields Where theCorporate Elite Don't Have Such a LargeFinancial Advantage
The emphasis of many activists is on electoral politics,but the elite have a huge advantage in this battlefield,where money controls the US electoral process. Byfocusing exclusively on electoral politics at theexpense of everything else, we: (1) give away powerwhen we focus only on getting leaders elected andbecome dependent on them; (2) buy into the elitenotion that democracy is all about elections; (3) losesight of the fact that democracy means havinginfluence over all aspects of our lives; and (4) forgetthat if we have no power in our workplace, in oureducation and in all our institutions, then there willnever be democracy worthy of the name. Thus, weshould focus our fight more on the daily institutionswe experience. As Wendell Berry said, "If you cancontrol a people's economy, you don't need to worryabout its politics; its politics have become irrelevant."
7. Heal from "Corporatocracy Abuse" and"Battered People's Syndrome" to Gain Strength
Activists routinely become frustrated when truthsabout lies, victimization and oppression don't setpeople free to take action. But when we human beings