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Defiance is not revolution.  Revolution is what Lenin made, what the Founding Fathers of America made; what Mao made, what Ho Chi Minh made, and Fidel, and never forget Che, how he hungered for it, lived and died for it.     No, defiance is a prelude to revolution, it is what comes just before independence, it is what teenagers who have lost their fear of their parents exhibit; it is Rosa Parks refusing to sit in the back of the bus, it is a generation of black and white youth sitting down at white only counters knowing they would get beat up and abused for doing so.  It is no less than the human, the dog who bares his teeth at his abuser.  It is the child who runs away from the home in which she is sexually abused; it is an act of sabotage against the factory machines one is an addendum to; it is saying to someone who has told you what to do day after day, “Don’t tell me what to do anymore.  Don’t tell me what to do ever again.  Don’t try to control me.  Don’t dominate me.  Don’t treat me as if you were my master and I your slave.”  Yeah.

Neither is it resistance, although resistance is its prelude; prelude to the prelude to the revolution that revolves the world, that makes it move in a new direction, in a new way.  One can resist in a thousand subtle way:  passive aggressive and overt, open and hidden; one can resist by slowing down, by not agreeing to what is said, by disagreeing, by dragging one’s feet;  like a dog resisting its leash and collar, sitting on its haunches as it is being dragged down the street;  by turning one’s head away and lying still as one is having sex one does not want to have; a child closing its mouth when it does not like the food being put in it; it is the spitting out, the spitting on, spitting itself in all its repulsive resistance……..yeah.

Silence is sometimes an act of resistance; refusing to answer the questions one is asked…..think here of the brave heart of Chelsea Manning, think of all those who died rather than speak the names of their comrades – the partisans who refused to answer the Nazi’s questions, , the campaneros who refused to answer the Death Squads, the Comrades, the Comrades, the Comrades who died in Lubyanka, who died in Gulags, the Comrades who died in concentration camps, in Vietnam; the Comrades tortured to death in a hundred dark rooms with bloody floors – all those who refused in the face of their own tortures, of their own deaths, who refused to give up the names, who refused to betray the revolution or possibility thereof.

R=efusing to meet the eyes of someone one distrusts, dislikes; refusing to smile when one is not happy, refusing to smile when it is expected of one, refusing to smile at people who have hurt us,  refusing to smile when so much is wrong, when there is such suffering, when there is such injustice, refusing to smile at people who have stolen sometime precious from us, whether it is our innocence or our freedom; refusing to smile at those who expect us to, refusing to smile as an act of subservient acquiescence; the prostitute in the cage in Amsterdam, refusing to smile at the gawking masses.   Think of them, think…

Small moments  in a great act of defiance…individual but strong still.  But not yet Defiance with the capital D….the Defiance of a People, the Defiance of a Nation, the Defiance of Communism, The Defiance of a movement, Defiance itself a movement – marvelous, shining, brave; the defiance of millions the power of defiance….whole and complete and strong.  Think of the headlines, an announcement before the world written in electricity, the energy it consumes, the power it projects:

Think of what it means; know it and feel it: the restless defiance, the defiance that evokes fear in the heart of the defied, the defiance that says no more, the defiance that says I will no longer obey, the defiance that says do not tell me what to do; that defiance, this defiance.  It is the defiance that marks the beginning of the end.  Yeah.

China Defies Sanctions against Iran, Resumes Purchase of Iran Oil

Mary Metzger is a 74 year old semi retired teacher. She did her undergraduate work at S.U.N.Y. Old Westbury and her graduate work In Dialectics under Bertell Ollman at New York University. She has taught numerous subjects, from Public Sector Labor Relations to Philosophy of Science, to many different levels of students from the very young to Ph.D. candidates, in many different institutions and countries from Afghanistan to Russia. She has been living in Russia for the past 12 years where she focuses on research in the Philosophy of Science and History of the Dialectic, and writes primarily for Countercurrents. She is the mother of three, the grandmother of five, and the great grandmother of two.


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