Truth Will Bring Down the Empire

Truth Will Bring Down the Empire
Photo: 'Callumny of Apelles', tempera on panel. Sandro Botticelli, 1494-1495.

Truth telling is not a vague or abstract thing. It does not have to descend into the bottomless pit of postmodernist relativism. It is a pragmatic and identifiable act. It is the speaking and acting on the truth that you believe to be true at any one point in time – and expressing the whole of that truth - spiritual, emotional, and political. It is to state nothing but that truth, without fear or favour. It is the opposite of expediency, defined as saying not what is true but what you believe will result in a desired outcome: such as personal advancement, political progress, or avoiding negative consequences for oneself.

‘Messaging’ is the opposite of truth telling. It is soaked in expediency: speaking and acting in such a way as to “get a message across”. It is instrumental. It is speaking and acting with an aim in mind. Truth telling aims to tell Truth. Period. It is its own reward. Messaging is a polite word for lying. The decay of a political culture comes from the normalisation of “messaging”. In normal times messaging is seen as a fact of public life: people want to get on. Truth telling is seen as an exotic idealism, old fashioned and outdated. In emergency times “messaging” becomes complicit in evil, and truth-telling becomes the handmaiden of revolution. It literally brings down empires.

For decades we were in ‘normal times’. Now we are in emergency times. Probably our final emergency. To make this clear is the first and most necessary act of truth telling. But bad habits die slowly. The argument persists; ‘if you say that you will lose credibility’, meaning the path to power is lying. But those days have gone. In revolutionary times the path to power is to tell the Truth. The logic is reversed.

Truth telling exposes the implicit violence of the emergency. It brings that violence out into the open for all to see. Those who would profit from the emergency are exposed. Those people try to silence you, but they fail because what you are saying is the Truth. If they destroy you, they simply enrage those who know what you are saying is true, but do not yet have the strength to tell the truth openly themselves. Your truth telling and your sacrifice creates a new social courage. More come forward, more are repressed, but the tipping point is passed. There is a social flip. Truth telling and resistance trump messaging and appeasement. The Empire falls. The more truth told, the faster the fall. It shows up what an empire always is: a social construction. An empire exists only to the extent people believe it exists. Its power is derived from the extent people fear they cannot believe in and act for something else. Revolutions come out of nowhere because beliefs are not solid – they can change overnight.

There is no strategy in an emergency: there is only one path. It is an emergency after all. There is only one obligation: to tell the truth and act as if it is the truth. Truth telling does not separate the act of speech from the act of resistance. Neither are credible without the other. Words and Actions are two sides of the same coin. The joy of living in truth is the overcoming of inner tension. The truth literally sets you free. No more agony of bargaining and calculation.

Emergencies require revolutions: the absolute non-cooperation with Evil. Traditionally this means violent revolt. Today we have learnt a more effective way: civil resistance. The present emergency is the mother of all emergencies: it is universal, existential, and expediential. Global ecological and social breakdown affects everyone in the world, it threatens to kill everyone in the world, and the speed of that danger increases with each month and year. We have no time.

As we enter 2021, living in truth requires each person to enter into civil resistance. As did those who came before us did many times to provide for our liberties today. We are obligated by our love and duty just as they were. Anyone who is not caring for the very young or very old, who has good mental health, who is not required by skill or talent to provide essential support, is absolutely obligated to join the frontline: to break the laws and damage the property of this treasonous government to the point of imprisonment, and, on being released, to repeat the process. A nonviolent army has to be formed – led by generals who are the best amongst us at directing a War Without Violence. As Gandhi said, “Nonviolence is not for cowards”. This is what the Truth today demands: to force emergency decarbonisation so as not to condemn billions of people to indescribable pain and suffering. There are no greater crimes being committed than what we face today, and so there is no greater call to act.

Burning Pink is a direct action movement and anti-political party. Living in Truth is our aim, not to be successful. Because we live in revolutionary times, paradoxically, we will be successful to the extent we are not concerned with success. As Larry Kramer of ACTUP put it, “We didn’t give a flying fuck what people thought of us and that was our strength”. We are preparing for power by overcoming our desire for power.

We are organising people for prison on a number of upcoming campaigns. We all need to speak to our families, to our fellow workers, and make community support preparations. We are marching to that war without violence. It has come to this.
Escape the mental prison of complicity, cowardice and contempt. Give yourself a break. Join those who will sing the songs of freedom from behind the bars, “Free at last, free at last”.

Friends, this is not a drill.

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