A headline on ZeroHedge caught my eye:
Non-Participation As An Effective Weapon Against Tyranny
Legitimate revolution takes time, patience and fortitude.Unfortunately, this is a strategic concept that is lost on many Americans today who suffer from a now common ailment of attention deficit disorder and an obsession with immediate gratification. Even some who have their hearts in the right place and who work to defend and resurrect our nation’s founding ideals seem to believe that any action to defeat corrupt oligarchy must be effective immediately, otherwise, it’s not worth the attempt. History, of course, teaches us the opposite.
The American rebellion against the British monarchy was not an abrupt or immediate affair. Anger and unrest over the trespasses of King George simmered for decades.The first British troops stationed with the intent to stifle colonial freedoms arrived in Massachusetts in 1768. The Boston Massacre took place in 1770, and still, the Founders refused to leap into open retaliation. Lexington Green and the “shot heard around the world” did not take place until April 19, 1775. The Revolution took years to culminate into an actual physical war. So what did the colonists do in the meantime? Sit on their hands?
In fact, early Americans employed economic tactics against their enemy long before they picked up muskets and powder. British imports were turned away or destroyed. Clothing and other items normally shipped from Europe to be sold in the colonies were boycotted, while colonists began producing all of their own survival necessities. They refused to participate in the system that was designed to enslave them and this gave them a foundation on which to launch their eventual fight for liberty. Without efforts in economic independence, the American Revolution may not have ever taken place.
The rest of the article was about America, Obama, default, etc. I, on the other hand, was thinking about smokers enduring smoking bans. Because the same reasoning applies there too.
And with smoking bans there have been lots of calls to Do Something Right Now, to get immediate results.
But I’ve always seen this as a long war, being fought against an enemy with vastly greater resources than us, but numerically far inferior.
And the simplest thing we can do is to not comply, not co-operate, not participate.
And, oddly enough, in the UK and elsewhere, smokers are not complying. They’re not giving up smoking. If they had been, there wouldn’t be a Stoptober campaign being run right now, six years after the UK public smoking ban came into force.
And they’re still to be found openly smoking on the streets, or outside pubs, or in their cars. That’s non-participation. Smokers aren’t joining in the campaign against smoking.
And they’re also increasingly buying duty free or smuggled tobacco. Or growing their own. I read last week that one third of cigarette packets found in Irish litter bins were contraband. That’s non-compliance.
And it’s all happening completely spontaneously. There’s no organisation behind it. Nobody’s telling smokers to carry on smoking, and carry on openly smoking, and only buy smuggled tobacco.
And there are also all sorts of other ways of not complying, not joining in the pretence that smoking bans are working, and that everyone accepts them. People can stop spending on going out, watching movies, visiting museums, now that they are no longer welcome anywhere. And some smokers do exactly that. And some smokers keep writing to MPs and MEPs and in comments under newspaper articles. And some smokers stop voting for antismoking parties (i.e. nearly all of them).
Each resists in their own small way. Each does what they feel able to do. For some this is a lot,and some very little. But it all adds up, like millions of grains of sand.
And the Stoptober campaign has prompted Pat Nurse to mount her own Octabber counter-campaign. Nobody asked her to do it. It’s just something she felt able to do. And so she did it. And now she has lots of moving personal accounts about why people won’t quit. And these were in turn written by people who somehow or other felt able to write about their own experience, and did so. And they all add up in their small way.
Furthermore Tobacco Control doesn’t seem to know what to do about these various active and passive forms of resistance, except try the same scare tactics that didn’t work before, using the same mainstream media campaigns (like Stoptober).
What are they going to do when 10 or 15 years have passed, and the smokers still won’t give in? We’re half way there already.
And I resist by writing this blog, and just keep banging on about the smoking ban through thick and thin, just to keep the flag flying, and the little flame of resistance burning. And it’s not that hard for me to do. I’m naturally rather garrulous anyway. I find it very easy to write.
Nothing I write ever quite sets the world on fire, of course. Each blog post is really just another grain of sand, another middle finger to the antis, another shell lobbed across no-man’s-land.
And when I’ press Publish after writing the present piece, I will add another grain of sand to my little heap of posts. To be precise, the 1534th grain of sand.