The Dragons of Distraction (An Activist Parable)

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Prologue: “The function of the police is social control and protection of property.” (Michael Parenti)

Once upon a time, there was a very evil class of humans that lived in a massive luxury castle on a hill surrounded by fields of (GM) crops. These humans regularly kidnapped, tortured, and murdered those who lived beyond the castle gates—gates diligently guarded by ever-evolving legions of fire-breathing dragons.

The humans outside wanted so badly to rescue their doomed comrades but never seemed to agree on how to proceed. More often than not, they spent more time placing blame on and attacking those non-castle humans lower on the social totem pole.

Meanwhile, the kidnappings, torture, and murders proceeded…uninterrupted.

Every so often, a group of non-castle humans (with the means to do so) would stand outside the castle to express their supreme outrage. Inevitably, the dragons would appear and chase them away. 

Meanwhile, the kidnappings, torture, and murders proceeded…uninterrupted. 

The non-castle humans spent hour upon hour fixated upon conjuring up ways to outsmart the dreaded dragons. Some began to hate the dragons and created unique chants and signs to give voice to this hatred.

Meanwhile, the kidnappings, torture, and murders proceeded…uninterrupted.

The dragon-haters would occasionally grow in number and this subtle show of strength and solidarity usually provoked the dragons to greater and more brutal violence.

Meanwhile, the kidnappings, torture, and murders proceeded…uninterrupted.

Some folks, of course, sympathized with the poor, misunderstood dragons and felt they could be reasoned with, even “converted.” Other folks were obsessed with tricking and humiliating the often dim-witted dragons. Still others felt it was a noble act to stand their ground and willingly allow the dragons to scorch them with their fiery breath.

Meanwhile, the kidnappings, torture, and murders proceeded…uninterrupted.

One day, a dragon breathed so heavily on such a protestor that he was burned to death. This incident led to far more non-castle dwellers than ever to join those massed outside the gates. Some even dared to sleep there (but only in the spaces designated by the dragons, of course).

Meanwhile, the kidnappings, torture, and murders proceeded…uninterrupted.

Meetings were held, petitions were signed, candles were burned, and angry promises were made. More dragons appeared outside the castle.

Meanwhile, the kidnappings, torture, and murders proceeded…uninterrupted.

Finally, the humans inside the castle announced from high that they’d reprimand the dragon in question and talked openly of perhaps removing the beast from its post. Oh, how the angry masses cheered and sang as they danced their victory dances.

Meanwhile, the kidnappings, torture, and murders proceeded…uninterrupted.

All along, the vast majority of non-castle people dutifully paid their castles taxes and some (claiming poverty) even went to work as “procurers” for the castle. The castle ruler would be changed from time to time and these transitions were deemed valuable to the outsiders since they were allowed a chance to help choose their new overseer.

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Meanwhile, the kidnappings, torture, and murders proceeded…uninterrupted.

As time went by, however, the number of humans outside the castle gates dwindled and dwindled—until there was but two of them left. Not even the dragons were around much anymore and when they were, these once-feared demons appeared to be weak and starving.

First non-castle human: “We finally won! We’re holding our ground and those damn dragons are losing strength!”

Second non-castle human: “I don’t know. Do you think it’s actually possible we’re the only two left—”

Before she could finish her question, black hoods had been slipped over both of their heads and off they went as the dragons scuffled amongst themselves for a few remaining scraps of food.

The End

Postscript: “Know your enemy.” (Zach de la Rocha)

#shifthappens

(Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism can be ordered here.)

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