Dead Men on Holiday

“[We are] going through a severe trial. Other revolutionary parties have been through even more difficult ones. The decisive factor is our unbroken will. Whoever now goes soft and weak does not belong in our ranks. Whoever spreads an atmosphere of panic plays into our enemy’s hands. What his motives are in doing so does not make any difference. By his attitude he becomes a danger to our movement, and will be treated accordingly.” – Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon

We are at war — an ideological one, to be sure, but a war nonetheless. The first shots have been fired, and we must confront the reality of the situation in which we now find ourselves. Each of us will wonder if we would be better off turning around and hiding until everything is over, leaving the risky work to others. Each individual must eventually consider this, and if he is to be worth something to this movement, he must decide to press onward.

Not everyone can or should be a foot soldier for the cause, but everyone must find their role. There can be no room for laziness: everyone must be occupied with something productive. Not every role is clearly and directly helpful for our movement, however; the family, as an example, is the centerpiece of community, and must be the first priority for each and every person. To create a strong foundation of family is to create an atmosphere on which to build a movement.

Cultivating a strong family requires constant improvement of yourself, so in benefiting your family, you also increase your usefulness for our cause. Your children must be educated and raised well, so constantly further your own education. You must be able to defend yourself and your children, so prepare your body and mind for such a situation. Neither women nor men are exempt from these tasks — ideally, husband and wife have separate duties, but should an unfortunate circumstance arise, it may fall to the mother to provide monetarily for her children, or to the father to make sure all matters of the home and children are taken care of. No amount of adoration of “traditional roles” will put food on the table if a woman’s husband should suddenly fall ill or die, and neither will it tuck the children in at night should something happen to a man’s wife. Complacency and lack of preparation during easy times, especially in matters of the family, can undermine all the progress of our movement, for the family is where our movement begins.

We must also never look down on others for taking the time to hone themselves into a useful tool — we do not criticize the practice of sending soldiers to basic training before they go to war, because it prepares them to be genuinely productive. Just as you should not send untrained, unarmed soldiers into battle, likewise we cannot send uneducated men and women out into the world to champion our cause. One intellectually well armed man, firm in his beliefs, is stronger than one hundred badly informed opponents, for we fight not to win over our opponents, but to gain the support of those in the middle ground who have not yet chosen a side. This same principle applies to activism, attending rallies, and having children, among other examples; these things should never be pursued without first arming oneself for the battle.

Above all, however, we must not give in to fear. “Fear is the greatest danger we face. It is more insidious than the [opposition] itself. Fear can erode confidence in [ourselves], provoke us to overreact, tempt us to abandon our values” (Jenkins). We enter into this fight with our principles in mind. This is not a war from which we can walk away, shrug our shoulders, and say, “well, we tried.” We will preserve our heritage, our people, and our destiny, or we will slowly but surely become the ending of a chapter in a history book:

“Those who want to live, let them fight…” Times may seem bleak, but we must continue the fight to make our voices heard.

“All over the country existed small groups of people who had survived the catastrophe and continued to conspire… They printed pamphlets in which they tried to convince themselves and others that they were still alive. They stole at night through narrow suburban streets and wrote on the walls the old slogans, to prove that they were still alive. They climbed at dawn on factory chimneys and hoisted the old flag, to prove that they were still alive. Only a few people ever saw the pamphlets… the slogans on the walls were gone by cock’s crow and the flags were pulled down from the chimneys; but they always appeared again. For all over the country there were small groups of people who called themselves “dead men on holiday”, and who devoted their lives to proving that they still possessed life.” – Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon

In times of trouble, we are down but not out. We must gather together and show the world that we dead men on holiday still, in fact, live.

-By M. Walters

Koestler, A. (2015). Darkness at Noon. New York: Scribner Classics.
Jenkins, B. M. (2006). To Counter Terror, We Must Conquer Our Own Fear. RAND Review. Retrieved September 27, 2017, from
Hitler, A. (1943). Mein Kampf. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.