rough draft of a never-ending process1

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” 2
so let us Begin:
to disbelieve in any system claiming to have a “monopoly on the truth”3
to make Noise – and to listen
to Eat great food – but not too much
to Work – but not too much
to make Art without limit
to have a place to Sleep – and someone to keep us warm
to be Untiringly Human
we refuse to be embarrassed about hope or to have dreams about checking
our email
we refuse to continue to see the world in the black and white stark contrasts of Manichean design
we refuse to confuse Education with Capital, in which:
Chemistry is for Hotdogs
History is for War
Writing is for Contracts
Language is for Free Trade
Physics is for Bombs
Math is for Surveillance
we want to be free from the weapons of sugar and fat that they load into our
food to make us too groggy to notice the newspaper
when we go to the doctor we want to be free from the paper-work that
entangles us in the dirty details of bills and suing
we want to go to Farmers Market and know that they do not have to throw
away their greens at the end of the day
we will resist
then build
a not TOO perfect utopia
a space to share with others and a space to go back to on our own,
to think thoughts that no one else has put in our heads
constructively changing together
daring to use imagination to invent alternative rationalities (instead of just
buying them at the mall)
to agree to disagree, to share an understanding to be misunderstood
that we may drive out guilt and replace it with social responsibility 4
that we may experience all there is to experience
that we may triumph over the doubts that cause us to not share a piece of
chocolate with someone else
that we may know what it is to have children because we are not afraid to
burden them with our mistakes
that we may enjoy a January thaw but not forget its disturbing implications
that we may experience what it is to be in control and outside of control
that we laugh
and laugh at ourselves
that we will go outside not just to talk on our cell phones
that we may make bread and eat art together
that we may absorb something other than ourselves
that we may have someone to protect us
from those who are trying to protect us5
that we may not have followers
for everyone needs to write their own manifesto
we will do this through militant humanism
by looking at how power operates and functions
we will break down the facade of an all-encompassing “ism6
government is only able to operate as long as we continue to consent to be
governed
by recognizing the emperor is wearing an invisibly sweat-shopped suit
we will find the state merely “an abstract concept, one that we cannot shake
hands with”7
by using humor and the politics of listening
caminamos preguntando8
we will walk while questioning
Endnotes
1. This piece which resembles a manifesto however incomplete, was not written so much as a
call to action as a reflection on new thoughts and ways of thinking that I encountered during a
class I took with Vivek Bhandari in January 2006. Inspired by readings and class discussions
about resistance and social change, I felt compelled to set out in my own words, in simple
language, what my own political vision was, what I was fighting for and against, what is important
to me? What kind of world would I like to see? May it inspire my reader to ammend, elaborate,
collaborate, and/or write their own!
2. Martin Luther King Jr.
3. Mahatma Gandhi
4. Jessica Benjamin from “Terror and Guilt Beyond Them and Us”
5. A quotation from Banksy, an underground street artist from the UK who challenges the everincreasing
boundaries of privatized spaces. http://www.banksy.co.uk/
6. A reference to an in-class comment made by Vivek Bhandari
7. A reference to an in-class comment made by Vivek Bhandari
8. A Zapatista saying, which means “walk forward, but while questioning.”

By Siena Mayers, shared to us by Shake! volunteer Anna Lau. Thanks Anna! We LOVE it!