As a polar bear, I want to clear up some misconceptions about nonviolent struggle.
People say to me “Pete! You’re a hypocrite. You claim to believe in nonviolence, and yet, you’re a carnivore!”
Indeed I am. I eat seals, not salads. But I’m am a disciplined advocate of Nonviolent Struggle.
Perhaps I can explain best by illustrating what Nonviolent Struggle is not.
Nonviolent struggle has nothing to do with passivity. We do not believe people should sit back and say “Gosh, I wish they’d do something about climate change!” First of all, what’s this “They”? WE. We’re going to do something about climate change. THEY are gonna follow. Capice?
Nonviolent action is a means of conflict where you conduct a struggle on your terms. Those in power WANT you to use violence because they can easily trounce you with the police and the military. But with nonviolence you emphasize your strengths, which puts them at a disadvantage. You use people power, or, polar bear power.
Nonviolent struggle does not depend the assumption people are good. And I can tell you right now people are not always good. Sometimes they’ve even been known to shoot polar bears just to put our heads on their walls! Gawd!!!
Also, people think to do nonviolent struggle right, you need to be a saint, like Gandhi, or the Reverend Martin Luther King. How many people are like THAT?! Not bloody many! We’ll be waitin’ forever for another guy like that to come around, and climate change needs to be dealt with NOW!
Take me, I’m a polar bear. I sneak up on seals, maul them, and eat them. Then with blood staining my face and dripping from my muzzle, I go out and try to seduce lady polar bears. This disqualifies me from being Gandhi, who never ever mauled a seal or tried to seduce a lady polar bear! But, hell! My Arctic is melting! I’m gonna do the smartest, fastest thing possible to stop that. Just so happens that smartest, fastest thing is Nonviolent Struggle!
Here’s the main ingredient of nonviolent struggle: Stubbornness. “Massive stubbornness can have powerful political consequences”. Well, I, for one, am stubborn. Once, I even fought off a pack of wolves who were trying to steal a narwhal kill. You have any idea how hard it is to catch a narwhal? It’s like wrestling a unicorn! I wasn’t about to give that thing up. And I’m not about to sit meekly by as my Arctic melts away and the rest of the world heats up to catastrophic levels, and neither should you!
No one knows how bad climate change’ll be, but if the permafrost melts it could trigger the sixth Mass Extinction Event EVER! On the planet! And the collapse of civilization. Other than that, it’s not such a big deal!
Compromises and mild solutions aren’t gonna save us! Nature is spinning out of control faster than anyone ever expected. We need drastic solutions now!
But the fossil fuel industry and their allies are gonna use every means at their disposal to keep things the way they are. They don’t want to hurt their profit margins. They don’t mind putting the entire world on the precipice, but nothing must touch their precious profit margins!
But ya know what? As powerful as they are, they depend on lots and lots of people to supply them with lots and lots of things. If we can make it uncool and unacceptable for those people to do that, we can strip away the power of the fossil fuel industry, and save the world from catastrophe.
Which, I would say, is even better than a nice, juicy narwhal.