Sanguinet, August 23
Day 29 of the March on Brussels. From Pontenx, 30 km.
The march is at a critical point. It has to succeed, but it could also break down. In trying to explain what is going on, I have been thinking today about the concept of privilege.
Privilege gives structure to society, and this structure is vertical. In contemporary society privilege is based on money. In a feudal society it’s based on land. In ancient warrior tribes privilege was based on valour, in other tribes it was based on age. In a nomad tribe on the march privilege is based on means of transport.
I imagine the pioneers of the Far West who spent months to cross mountains, rivers and plains. Some of them went with wagons, others had a horse or a mule. The rest went on foot.
In our society on the march we have a van and a couple of support vehicles. Then there are people on bikes, and people marching. The support vehicles serve to transport backpacks and the kitchen, and the people who are unable, or unwilling, to walk.
Privilege can easily be abused. It can lead to envy, confrontation and strife.
Among us there is a hard core of walkers, people who take the idea of marching all the way to Brussels dead serious. Then there are people who work in organisation, kitchen, infrastructure or propaganda. They walk occasionally or come by bike or car. This group seems to be growing, even though the organisation and communication haven’t improved lately. Quite the contrary. People have been waking up when they wanted and started marching if and when they wanted. The group spirit is suffering.
We entered France pretty much unprepared, and Bayonne became a setback. In Dax we lost almost the entire international brigade. The Pole, the Germans and the Americans. Moreover, the daily marches are very long, and they will be that way for more than three weeks to come, at least until we arrive in Paris.
If in such a situation it’s always the same people who await you at the end of a long day, then it’s normal that some of the die-hard marchers start murmuring that this should be a march for all of us, and not ‘Camp Krusty’ for some.
The prehistoric nomadic tribes didn’t dispose of domesticated animals or the wheel, the roots of modern privilege. They had to arrange themselves as best they could when they were on the move.
If our march were to be truly revolutionary I think it should have been undertaken without any vehicle support at all. Everyone would be marching, with their gear and a minimum of food weighing on their shoulders. It would guarantee the horizontality on which our movement claims to be based.
Such a march would be heavily dependent on the goodwill we harvest, which would undoubtedly be even more than it is now. On the other hand it would be so difficult that not everyone would be able to join. So for the fact that we present ourselves as an inclusive movement, and for practical reasons, our support vehicles are vital.
With or without them, we are faced with lots of problems. We want to change society and overthrow the current structure of privilege. But to do so, first we have to change are ourselves, profoundly. This is probably the hardest part of all. But once we succeed in doing so, changing the world will be easy.