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How to Stick it to The Man

A Genteel Guide for the Rest of Us

Lisa Renee
7 min readDec 3, 2017

“Most activism is brought about by us ordinary people.” Patricia Hill Collins

The world, it’s getting the better of me. I wake heavy and resigned, defeated by the headlines, the madmen, the grime and the gristle. Rage fires and shit beds, kitchen’s a mess and dinner’s ruined.

It’s like a horror funhouse, all mad clowns groping and puppets stark raving with grinning, greedy glee. Someone has turned the volume ALL THE WAY UP and no one knows how to work the machine.

We need to do something about The Man. And, oy, the men. Honestly, I love a lot of you guys, but can everyone just put the swords away? Fingers on noses, boys. Feed the pigeons privately, unless someone says, oh god yes please I’d love to watch you feed the pigeons.

Do they have power because they wield willie like a weapon, or do they wield the weapon because of the power? A chicken/egg question for another time.

Anyway, The Man. Resistance is not futile, but it doesn’t need to look like canines and combat boots. I marched in my youth, I screamed at the capital and wore rebel messages on my tees. I was filled with youthful vigor and indignation at The Man and I channeled it with crowds and loud music and a fair amount of marginally informed mouthing off. It provided me with a fleeting frisson of power, a false sense of my own ability to affect change. It was largely a lie.

Nothing changed and things are worse.

I have friends who have been jailed for their activism; friends who have thrown their bodies in front of The Man, chained themselves to fences, splattered blood in official spaces, hammered on bombs. These friends have devoted their lives to resistance and I admire their work and am in awe of their fortitude. I don’t think they’ve accomplished much, however, other than living their truth.

The Man is self-generating — cut off his head, he’ll grow two more.

I am not screaming, or bleeding, or chaining myself to trucks. I’m largely finished with message tees and I am hoping to stay out of jail for the remainder of my life. I’m not running for office — I love policy and research, but public speaking and sensible clothes would drive…