Survivor's Notebook

Suvivor’s Notebook : Planning Our Escape

Learn to grow your own food

To regain independence from colonial powers, we will first have to learn how to survive without their help.

In today’s world of superfast computers, airplanes and the global economy, it’s sometimes hard to imagine a life of simplicity. It’s interesting that the more technology we develop, supposedly for the purpose of making our lives easier, the more energy we have to put into maintaining these technologies. We then have less and less time to devote to providing ourselves with the basics of life. Our society promotes the idea that people who are providing us with our necessities – our farmers, our seamstresses, our cooks, our housewives, our teachers and our garbage men are less respectable than people who provide things that are absolutely useless like athletes, entertainers, and lawyers.

Let’s take it back to the most basic level. What if we all woke up tomorrow with nothing? What if our money wasn’t worth anything and there was no food in the grocery stores? What if the electricity and gas were suddenly turned off; who would be the most useful to us? Would it be the person who could design a computer program and hook up a whole building with internet or would it be the one who could grow food and build a house? When we look at it from this perspective, there’s not even a question. However, we take on the mentality that we will never find ourselves in this situation. The truth is that we may already be much closer to this than any of us care to admit.

Over the last 100 or so years, there has been a very gradual, yet very deliberate shift away from providing the necessities for ourselves to allowing and even demanding someone else to provide these things for us. This attitude can be seen as an extension of the slave master mentality. A man was seen as fortunate if he could have others provide his food, clothing, and shelter without having to work for it. However, even in the case of the slave master, you can see how he sets himself up to be the victim. If he is ever to find himself in a situation where he has no slaves to exploit, he will not be able to survive!

Today, we have machines to do a lot of the work, but make no mistake, there are still people who work in the fields and in the sweatshops to provide us with our daily necessities and make the machines that are doing our work. Maybe we think that since we are not the ones to crack the whips or pull the chains, we are not responsible, but we are the ones who support the businesses that do, all the time, thinking we are good people. All the time, thinking we are fortunate because we are Americans and we don’t have to live in oppressive, third world countries. We don’t take the time to realize how we are the ones who support the oppression of the very people we are feeling sorry for. While we are proudly claiming that this is the greatest country on Earth, we conveniently don’t make the connection that our material wealth and convenience come at the expense of these “third world” populations. The irony is that even while we’re feeling sorry for these people, these are the ones who will be more likely to survive if we all had to start over. If they weren’t growing all our food, what would we eat?

One of our brothers from Burkina Faso was reflecting on a conversation he had with his mother-in-law from Chicago. He was telling her that with just a few thousand dollars, she could buy some land in Merita (Africa) for her family and go live there. Her response was, “And then what? How will we eat? How will we…” He told her that her response showed how much the system has made her dependent, to the point where, left on her own, even on fertile land, with seeds to grow food, she could not survive. Even out of her whole family, no one would know what to do.

Traditional Hut

We will have to know how to grow our own food, build our own homes, etc.

This is how we are left at the mercy of the system. At this point, whatever the system says we have to do in return for providing us with our daily bread, we will do it. It doesn’t matter if we have to work 60 hours a week. It doesn’t matter if we are so stressed that our hair falls out and our health starts to suffer. Our failing health will only lead to more money for them when we have to pay for their medicine. People have been saying for years that conditions here in the city are only getting worse. It’s getting harder and harder for us to just get by. It’s a wonder why we don’t just get up and leave. The sad truth is that most of us wouldn’t know where to go or what to do when we get there. The condition we’re in is pitiful!

It’s becoming more and more clear to many that, even without shackles, we’re still slaves. If not, why would we be scared for our lives to miss work? Is the work that we’re doing really benefiting us? In most cases, definitely not. We’re working to build their business, in many cases to the detriment of our neighbors; and they throw us the scraps off their table while we’re the ones who grew their food, cooked it, and served it to them. We were even the ones to build the table and the whole house! Why do we go through this? If we don’t meet certain standards at our jobs, we don’t get beaten, we get fired. Then how will we buy food and clothes? How will we pay our rent and utility bills? But some of us still won’t call this slavery. If it’s not slavery, what should we call it?? Let’s have the honesty to call a cat a cat.

It’s time to get back to basics. If we really want to be free, we will have to plan our escape. This escape doesn’t have anything to do with a change in location. We will have to figure out how we will sustain ourselves without the assistance of the colonial system. What do we need to live? Food, clothing, water, shelter, medicine, spirituality, and culture. Where will all of this come from? The way out of our situation is not a mystery. We will have to take the time to learn and develop the skills we need to provide these things. We will have to take this time out after we get done slaving, and during the time we just want to relax and watch tv or go out with friends. It will be hard work, but nothing worth having comes easily.

There is a story of a man trying to cut a tree with a dull axe. The dull axe will not cut the tree but the man feels he’s in too much of a hurry to sharpen his axe. We’ve been in this same hopeless situation for 400 years or more, trying to cut the same tree with the same dull axe. Let’s take some time to rethink our strategy. We will not escape our situation with the same faulty methods that failed our parents. Our oppressor will not give us a sharpening stone that will help us to cut him down. We will only receive this tool from the same culture that we were captured from, the same culture that our oppressor is busy making sure we don’t turn back to.

To improve our situation, we must first realize that we have a problem, but apparently, this awareness alone will not be enough. We will have to be taught the nature of the problem and the proper method to solve it. Let’s have the humility to admit that, up to this point, we have not figured out how to do this on our own… The solutions to our problem have been hidden from us by those who see a benefit in our continued servitude to them, but these solutions exist for those with the honesty and patience to seek them out and apply them.

Let us put in the extra effort so our children won’t be born into a hole that they have to dig themselves out of. It’s time to take back what’s ours: our freedom, for the benefit of generations to come. Let the hand-me-down shackles be buried by us and let the fruits of our work grow from that same soil. Stay alive until next time….

You must be logged in to post a comment.