Writing is the first act of rebellion

As we see the launch of a new one, it is an oft-seen criticism of British political weblogs that they only ever complain. There is so much that is broken that needs to be fixed, and however good weblogs might be at pointing it out, they do very little to generate physical acts of change in the real world. So, what is the point of yet another weblog when there is so much to actually do? What is the value of just writing, or just presenting information instead of doing something?

My answer is that writing is doing – but there has to be an additional element.  As a sort of grand illustration (but one that still offers valid comparisons) let’s examine the genesis of the American Declaration of Independence.

Even after the outbreak of war in 1775, most Americans wanted to remain under the Crown. However, having had no joy with a petition of peace to George III, the Continental Congressmen had to end their denial; the King was hostile to them, and they would have to renounce loyalty to Great Britain in order to obtain foreign help to prevent their being beaten into submission. It was the means by which they could escape the unjust rule of the tyrant. Independence was a necessity for survival, and they were entitled to it by their God-given rights. Like the Parliamentarians of 1642 before them, they were entitled to rise up against the King to preserve their own lives, and the common good of the people.

Having finally resigned themselves to what was needed to be done, they set about making the case for the cause through the instrument of the Declaration of Independence. Arguably, then, their most decisive act of rebellion was an act of writing; transcribing their ideas to a communicable form where they catalogued the wrongs against them, and justified their actions, and asserted their own authority and intent.

Their ideas didn’t just come out of the ether; they were based on long-developing notions of Liberty which had also been converted into the written form and had arrived through posterity to Thomas Jefferson (and others). Raymond Polin, Professor of Government and Politics (no less) describes what he believes is the extent of the derivation:

Jefferson’s role as the author of the Declaration seems securely established and likely to endure. However, there is little or nothing in the Declaration in concept or language that had not been previously written by Spanish and Italian Jesuits of the seventeenth century, John Morin Scott (1730-1784) of New York, James Otis (1725-1783) of Massachusetts, Filippo Mazzei (1730-1816) of Italy and Virginia, Richard Bland (1710-1776) of Virginia, Thomas Paine (1737-1809) of England and Pennsylvania, and George Mason (1725-1792) of Virginia.

Of course, the Virginia Declaration of Rights of Man penned by George Mason itself drew upon the English Bill of Rights. What I like especially about the Virginia Declaration is that (and there is some debate, but as far as I can gather) it was first printed in the Virginia Gazette (page 2) while under consideration by the committee responsible for its commission, and of course for anyone to look at. Remarkably, this edition of the Gazette opened with an apology to its readers for the physical size of the paper due to the scarcity of that material in the vicinity; a shipment, readers were promised, was due in anytime from New York or Philadelphia.

What the American Declaration of Independence enabled the American colonialists to do is now famous history. But before the time of writing, things were obviously not as clear-cut; its emergence was galvanising, and its genesis shows the great value of having ideas written down and collated, and published, in whatever provincial, irregular or rustic way is available, in order for general consumption.

In our age the internet is the irregular form of publication that reaches the masses and that has become a kind of immediate repository for a mash of ideas that can potentially at any time later be refined and presented as significant  authoritative texts to be used to elucidate and motivate. These texts will not come from the established media, and writers of books will rarely be permitted to try and find audiences by publishers mostly interested in their commercial gain; besides which the mindset is nowadays rarely present in the establishment to produce them. All this is why “yet another blog” is not automatically a bad thing.

Now, this is not to give “citizen journalists” any special significance in the revolutionary movement that is required in this day and age – and one is indeed needed; we may not yet have German mercenaries burning our villages, but our liberty is definitely as much under attack from our government as was the Americans’ from theirs.  Our circumstances differ from the Americans’ in that we haven’t had Parliamentarians or Congressmen who are interested in acting on our behalf to protect our lives and the common wealth against tyranny. As our politicians abdicated their responsibility in that regard, the burden fell upon every citizen. The process of uptake of duty has been gradually accelerating, and going forward many more will realise that they too are the founders of a new destiny should they choose to act. Some people have taken it upon themselves to form political parties in order to get elected to office; important because the pattern for a successful revolution seems to involve one portion of government wrestling to overturn another corrupt portion. Other people changed their voting habits in response to the new options, and others became activists in one way or another.

Though it is not yet Parliamentary, the revolutionaries do now possess some kind of viable power base. The next step is to end the denial that we are – in quite real terms – at war with a hostile power and identify the things that need to be done to ensure survival. There will be subsequent matters to attend to (all necessarily radical), but by far and away the most pressing need is to realise the sovereignty of the British people (if necessary as an entity without any reference to a Monarch) and rescue it from our own politicians. If this is to be done as a matter of urgency, it will entail support for and service in one party in particular – UKIP – which is best placed in our current system to do it peacefully (and with growth, the harder way too).  If we continue to imagine that any other party is either capable or willing to obtain the ground that needs taking in the short time available to do it, then it will very likely never happen at all.

The citizen journalist’s part will be as both contributor to and the filterer of the literary mash so that writing becomes the same decisive act of rebellion as it was for the American revolutionaries. Writers need to set down the injustices, state the case for change, justify the means and ends, assert authority, and nourish enough popular appetite for a revolution.

As I mentioned at the top of this, plenty of internet writers already identify a lot of what is wrong and what needs to be done on a bit-by-bit basis, but invite criticism of impotence. The missing element is a subscription to a certain objective and a unity of method; the recognition that nothing less than the wholesale rejection of the current British establishment is required. In the delivery this manifests itself in using the very constructs by which the establishment elevates its ideas and its agenda as supreme. Many who think they offer an alternative only serve to reinforce the establishment.

Instead, we should set the agenda. Instead of worrying to what extent the establishment has worn us down or restricted us or thinking that we need to refer to the establishment for approval – which makes us limit the extent of our vision of what is possible – we should deliver this message: our will gives us limitless vision; anything is possible, and if you are a criminal in the cold light of natural law (which is inherently the case for members of the establishment), for you it is all bad.

15 comments for “Writing is the first act of rebellion

  1. WitteringWitney
    April 25, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Well, in my opinion, what a superb, well-crafted ‘official opening’ post. All credit to you luikkerland!

  2. April 25, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Many thanks – an excellent opening for the official launch. I like the American reference. Also, the pamphleteers of previous eras is another analogy. So, too, the Samizdat of the USSR. Writing is a potent tool – we should use if effectively and wisely.

  3. April 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    I third that – it gives us a direction to be looking in.

  4. William
    April 25, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    What really changed between 11.59 on July 3rd 1776 and 12.01 on July 4th 1776 was the beliefs people held in their minds, nothing more.
    The ‘Declaration’ is just words on paper nothing more.
    The fact the King funded both sides in the ‘rebellion’ is just a fact nothing more.

    Something to ponder in these ‘sophisticated’ times?

  5. April 25, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    “…we should deliver this message: our will gives us limitless vision; anything is possible, and if you are a criminal in the cold light of natural law (which is inherently the case for members of the establishment), for you it is all bad.”

    /applause

  6. William
    April 25, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    A bit ‘new age’ possibly but it certainly made me think about WHY.
    http://www.sunrise-production.org/temp/LOA_Movie_promo.html

  7. westcoast2
    April 25, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    An interesting piece, although it does seem to make the case for writing being a secondary act and an initation of a flow of ideas, through the conduit (medium) of the written word, rather than being the first act.

    As William asks “what changed as the result of the writing?” Do ideas, beliefs, values and thoughts came first? Of course, though once written down they can be refined. It is this refinement, simplification and communication of shared values that lays the foundation and where wrting plays a role.

    Writing “This is the first act of rebellion” is not enough and secondary to the possible thought “Something needs to change”. Writing words is one medium for thought exchange. A place where “something” becomes “some thing”. By mutual identification of the “thing”, or maybe “things”, this becomes the basis for the act (or acts).

    Thus, one way the thought is transformed into the act is via the medium of the written word. Writing aides this transformation by allowing the flow of and refinement of ideas. It may also, which relates to the title, be the first awareness a person, other than the originator, has of the idea.

    “Writers need to set down the injustices, state the case for change, justify the means and ends, assert authority…..”

    Or just write down and add a thought or idea to the flow and allow those “with a way with words” to integrate the idea? In this way perhaps it could really be that “Writing is the first act”.

  8. David Jones
    April 25, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Excellent post!

    Would it be possible to have links on a sidebar to the actual wording of some of these important documents from our, and US history? I’m thinking of the Bill of Rights (1689), Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence and so on.

    • April 25, 2011 at 4:49 pm

      We’ll discuss that. We’re already planning to put links in to fellow sites etc. and this would just go below those. Stay tuned.

  9. David Capman
    June 4, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Submarines act differently on the surface than they do underwater.

    When submerged, they ‘fly’ like an aeroplane – they ‘bank’ into turns. On the surface, they act like a traditional surface vessel. When they turn, they list away from the direction of change. There is a stage in the act of surfacing therefore, where they are unstable, uncontrollable. Their course is set and committed and cannot change until the waters around are suitable for the controls to act.

    In a political change of the profound nature you’re alluding to, it will be the same. At the point such a movement takes hold and breaks the surface, will be the point of maximum vulnerability. It will be at risk of the laws of unintended consequences and if the political class extant recognise the danger, they will separate into two groups, those who oppose, those who recognise change when they see it, and will opportunistically try to get on board – but they will insist on changing the direction upon embarkation.

    The preplanning for that instant of instability has to be plotted prior to that period, therefore. UKIP’s organisation is well-placed, but once in place, UKIP representatives have developed a habit of erratic behaviour. I myself vote UKIP but I have to be honest about the risks in placing them with power they could all too easily let slip to other agendas.

    • luikkerland
      June 7, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      Thanks for your excellent comment. I too am not sure that UKIP have got the sort of all-round vision to bring about the real deap-seated change required – at the moment at least. But, at the moment, it is the prefectly placed vehicle to bring on the circumstances where change can occur. It is useful in this purpose by the way it reminds us of our unlawful EU membership – an aspect of otherwise abstract constitutional matters – and threatens to put a huge spanner in the political elite’s works.

      The growth stimulated by this most obvious sign of LibLabCon intransigence as regards to the will of the British will hopefully be enough to create a wider leadership candidate base. As I maintain – and you can perceive – the revolution will only come when the LibLabCon look like they are about to lose everything. This is when you hope that UKIP has the right leadership in place (the excellent thing about the best sort of leadership is that you don’t see it coming). You are correct to say that the surfacing non-LibLabCon political party will be infiltrated, but this can be guarded against with a constitution, and the setting out of a clear case for why these deserters actually are better suited in a jail cell.

      The bottom line is that the only way that English liberty is going to be restored is building an alternative power base to the LibLabCon within the existing institutions – this will legitimise a final act of bringing the criminals to justice. The only way that we can continue to build the alterative power base is to dismantle the Establishment control grid i.e. undermining the media.

Comments are closed.