December 13th, 2012

What can they do
to you? Whatever they want.

…How can you stop
them? Alone, you can fight,
you can refuse, you can
take what revenge you can
but they roll over you.

It goes on one at a time,
it starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again after they said No,
it starts when you say We
and know who you mean, and each
day you mean one more.


From The Hunger Moon, New And Selected Poems, 1980-2010 by Marge Piercy.


  1. Jeff Hess says:

    Good morning all,

    Reading Ms. Piercy’s poem yesterday caused me to recall this piece by Glenn Greenwald published early last week.

    For me, the second paragraph jelled much of my thinking on the subject. Greenwald wrote:

    In a free society, those who wield political power fear those over whom the power is wielded: specifically, they harbor a healthy fear of what will happen to them if they abuse that power. But the hallmark of tyranny is that the opposite dynamic prevails: the citizenry fears its government because citizens know that there are no actual, meaningful limits on how power can be exercised. A nation in which liberties are systematically abused – in which limitations on state power are ignored without consequence – is one which gives rise to a climate of fear.

    This climate of fear, in turn, leads citizens to refrain from exercising their political rights, especially to refrain from posing meaningful challenges to government authority, because they know the government can act against them without real constraints. This is a more insidious and more effective form of tyranny than overt abridgment of rights: by inducing – intimidating – a citizenry into relinquishing their own rights out of fear, a state can maintain the illusion of freedom while barring any meaningful dissent from or challenge to its power.

    A near constant refrain for me in the last dozen years has been to ask, what are you afraid of?

    Clearly, we need to be asking, who’s afaird of us?

    Do all you can to make today a good day,


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