For a while in 2001-2, I worked the night shift at a midtown Manhattan corporate gym (cue the shame and self-loathing) at which I met several interesting characters.
One evening, for example, I was wearing a Yankees t-shirt with the name “Justice” emblazoned on the back (for former Yank David Justice), when a woman named Mary — perhaps in her late 60s — asked me if I were a Yankee fan. I told her I was…but my real reason for wearing the shirt was all about the word “justice.” She smiled and declared that justice was a “noble idea.”
This was shortly after 9/11, so I braced myself for the inevitable “we need to show those towel heads some justice.” Instead, Mary told me — albeit in a very low voice — she was going to Washington soon to march against the impending invasion of Iraq.
After this confession, Mary looked genuinely nervous. Had she gone too far in the alleged land of the free? I just smiled and said in my best underground resistance voice: “Don’t worry, I’m with you.”
Mary and I proceeded to talk in depth each time she’d come to work out. The company eventually phased out the gym and let me go but just before so, I saw Mary and complimented her on how hard she was training.
She leaned close to me and whispered: “When the revolution comes, I’ll be ready.”
Which brings me to a good question for 2011: Are you ready for the revolution?
Being a revolutionary needn’t require one to sleep till noon, dress entirely in black, and sport a rail-thin, heroin addict physique. Then again, neither should Michael Moore ever serve as anyone’s role model for healthy rebellion.
If you agree that fitness — both mental and physical — is a crucial component for any serious subversive, read on…
Four Steps to Radical Fitness
1. Condition Your Body
For example, having your arms yanked and bound behind you before being tossed onto a street corner or jammed onto a detention bus can potentially cause damage to the muscles of the shoulder and upper back. To better prepare for this seemingly inevitable scenario, you might wanna seek help from the camel.
2. Free Your Mind
As Ralph Nader sez:
Once we stop growing up corporate and grow up civic, we will be much more focused on nutritious food, rather than junk food; we will be much more inquiring about different kinds of products; we will look at pollution as a form of violence, not just something that is nasty and dirty; we will demand the mechanism so we can control what we own and use these great resources for an enlightened, just, prosperous, happy society where the pursuit of justice is filled with such joy it itself becomes the pursuit of happiness and the pursuit of happiness becomes the pursuit of justice.
3. Green Your Eating Habits
An activist’s eating habits offer the best opportunity to put theory into practice. If you consume a plant-based, whole foods, locally grown diet (organic, if and when possible), you’ve virtually taken yourself out of the equation, re: animal cruelty, environmental devastation, corporate welfare, and a growing health holocaust.
4. Learn How to Defend Yourself and Your Planet
The inherent message being: if we were to appreciate our unbreakable bonds to other humans and the entire natural world, we’d be more likely to act in “self defense” when engaging in green activism. I see it as sort of a literal and metaphorical left hook.