Put your bodies upon the wheels, upon the levers….

Confronting the ruling powers (government or corporate) over their misdeeds has a long and honored history. Most recently the Occupy movement brought some new approaches and energy if not immediate success to protest.


The Free Speech Movement at U. Cal Berkeley in the mid-sixties provides the famous speech by Mario Savio that included his call:

“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”

In thinking about the present moment with the government’s wholesale vacuuming of our digital lives, it is hard to envision a sit in at NSA. And clearly occupying the halls of Congress or surrounding the White House would be a waste of time. The occupants are either the prosecutors of the invasion of our privacy or completely supine before the god of anti-terrorism.

No, it is time to think again about Savio’s gears and levers, his call to prevent the machine from working at all.

If the government wants to collect emails, text messages, mine Facebook, and all the other social media sites, and don’t doubt for a moment that this is not going on, let’s bury them with information. Let’s create so many messages that the NSA and its corporate agents will choke.