In particularly trying times politically, economically, and so on people have always turned towards magic to help mitigate their hardships and turn tides towards the side they favor. Political action is always accompanied by magical action, and we don’t need to get into stories about occult Nazism to see this in action. Regardless, after last night’s mass witchy ensorcelment of the President there has been a lot of discussion of what place magic has in politics, and whether it can be effective at all. A lot more knowledgeable and skilled sorcerers than myself have already weighed in on that particular ritual, and I fully agree with what they have to say. Despite this, I think we can have a discussion about direct action and magic and that this is going to be increasingly important moving forward.
Direct action is the idea that we should not ask nicely for power to make concessions to us but instead must act directly to force power to yield. As Frederick Douglas said, “power concedes nothing without a demand.” A non-confrontational, permitted, peaceful protest is not a demand, it is a polite request. A petition is not a demand, it is a request. A general strike, where workers across multiple industries all call off work and stop the economy for a day? That’s a demand. A confrontational protest where the people seize the streets and demonstrate their solidarity? This is a demand. Magical action can also be a demand, although it is a very different approach from traditional direct action which is often highly visible as well as highly disruptive. When we take magical action, the result may be visible, but the action itself is usually not. In fact, with most kinds of magical direct action it is significantly more effective if it is done in secret.
Magical direct action is still direct action, so long as you are attempting to directly force the outcome you are desiring. Magically petitioning spirits to negotiate an election in your favor is not direct action, magically petitioning spirits to hex or curse someone so as to force them to take action or not to take action is of course direct action. When anyone engages in direct action, however, they are responsible for what they do. No amount of attempts to mitigate the consequences can really do so. When protesters take the streets, they accept the risk of clashing with the police and acknowledge the possible consequence of being arrested. If someone does not believe in a cause enough to accept the consequences of the action they see as necessary, how can they expect to be magically effective?
Beyond the potential karmic consequences and the inevitability of the resultant fruit of the causes and conditions we create, aggression against politicians does not happen in a vacuum. Most governments are aware of the reality of magic and psychic phenomena and take precautions against it. The magical activist must be ready to defend him or herself when he or she picks a magical fight. A radical activist magical working must be clear in its purpose and ready to accept the outcome. The activist magician must be aware that they are not the only sorcerer in the world, and that others will be working against them.
That said, respect for a diversity of tactics is a cornerstone of radical activism. The magical direct action is still a direct action, and should be respected as such. If you feel strongly about a cause, who can judge you for acting within your capacity to bring it about? Just be aware of the possible consequences. You cannot hex or ensorcel someone without possibly bringing about not just the direct blowback from your actions but calling down the response of protector spirits, of magicians opposed to your goals, and of defenses. When you act, act boldly, but accept the consequences of your actions. If you don’t believe in something enough to be willing to take risks, your magic will not likely be effective anyhow.