Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Almost Vomited When This Arrived In My Mail. The Words Lack The Full Truth And As Usual Sound Like “Casper Milk Toast.” (Milquetoast)

I Almost Vomited When This Arrived In My Mail. The Words Lack The Full Truth And As Usual Sound Like “Casper Milk Toast.”


(easily dominated; extremely mild; ineffectual; namby-pamby; wishy-washy.)

Why Can't We Do to DC What We Did to Seattle?

Submitted by davidswanson on Wed, 2009-11-18 20:57.

I've been reading a brand new book called "The Battle of the Story of the Battle of Seattle," which is in large part an analysis of what worked in the protesting of the World Trade Organization 10 years ago. Why is it, I wonder, that activists were able to shut down the center of this major city in Washington state, but for years we have been unable to shut down the center of Washington, D.C., in opposition to wars.

Certainly, we've turned out more people to march around DC on a Saturday than took part in the Seattle action. But we've never shut the place down on a series of weekdays and prevented congressional, White House, and military staff from getting to work. And we've never tried to do so -- not with the sort of broad-coalition, grass-roots, strategic organization that led up to Seattle. Handfuls of dedicated activists, sometimes including some of the same people who organized Seattle, have made feeble attempts. Here's an effort that I coordinated, which failed: A couple of Iraq War Anniversaries ago, peace groups engaged in creative nonviolent action in DC, but with a different approach from Seattle, and with meager results. As side-shows to marches, or as independent actions, we've gotten arrested, including at the Capitol, but we haven't closed the place down.

Now there are plans for major protests in Copenhagen, but there are also plans to shut down DC in March: Unless this effort grows dramatically very soon, it too will not match what was done 10 years ago. It may be worth our while to look at the lessons in this new book by David Solnit, Rebecca Solnit, and other contributors. One obvious point is that the WTO was scheduled to meet briefly, and a limited protest could actually prevent that meeting. Even if we know that Congress is scheduled to vote on war funding, we could shut Congress down for a week and then watch it pass the war funding on the 8th day. But the WTO, too, could have delayed or moved its meeting. If we were to shut things down for a week and convey the popularity of our cause, we might shut the wars down for good. The popularity of our cause depends on good communications strategies and strict adherence to nonviolence, and therefore also good strategies for countering false charges of violence.

We have to invest months of hard work in planning and coalition building. Seattle was built at the grass roots for months through educational efforts and the facilitation of creative planning by diverse groups. A coalition was built that included communities directly impacted by the WTO's actions. And it was a diffuse, decentralized coalition of affinity groups and clusters using open democratic decision-making and collective leadership. People were trained, and trained well, in nonviolent resistance, including in the use of locks and other equipment for the creation of human barriers. The city was divided into pie slices with the WTO meeting place at the center, and different groups had the responsibility to shut down their slice of the pie.

There is a myth that Seattle had the advantage of surprise. On the contrary, it had the advantage of extensive publicity. Plans were heavily publicized and, therefore, mainstreamed. Labor unions participated. Taxi drivers and longshoremen and warehouse workers went on strike. And a great deal of energy went into art and street theater used to energize and communicate messages, as well as to block streets. People were presented with very clear and immediate reasons they should participate. A flyer that was used is reproduced on the last page of the book. It explains, very succinctly, the damage done by the WTO to anyone who eats, works, breathes, goes to school, or lives. That's pretty inclusive.

We can easily create a powerful message for war opposition. Here's a rough draft of one:

Wars kill innocent people.
Wars kill soldiers and mercenaries.
Wars wound, injure, traumatize, and brutalize.
Wars take our resources away from food, housing, healthcare, jobs, education, clean energy.
Wars take our civil rights away in the false name of national security.
Wars make us less safe, enraging people against our country.
Wars poison our environment.
Wars encourage racism and bigotry at home and abroad.

We can identify a time for action, such as the week of March 22, 2010, following the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. We can identify a demand: no more money for foreign wars and occupations. But do we have the institutional structure to organize a broad coalition? Can we reach the unemployed and homeless already on the streets of Washington? Can we persuade a single labor union to take part? Will the nonprofit industrial complex engage in resistance of our government's actions when the president has a D, instead of an R, after his name? These are all major hurdles, but we are helped by the lessons gained in past struggles. We are helped by the hard-earned knowledge of what does NOT work. We are helped by the current public debate over the insanity of war in Afghanistan, which is certain to be followed by more war in Afghanistan. We are helped by the fact that the Iraqi people will be denied again in January an opportunity to vote on the occupation of their country. We are helped by the growing awareness in our own country that we cannot survive economically while paying for these wars.

If you think it's time we shut down the empire at the heart of the WTO with tactics so effectively used to weaken the WTO, pick up a copy of "The Battle of the Story of the Battle of Seattle" and get in touch -- and get your organizations in touch -- with this group of dedicated citizens in order to coordinate your own independent efforts to close off a pie-slice of Capitol Hill:

I have put up with a lot of bad mouth and silence as regards my distain for the sham political theater of “alleged advocacy” organizations who put on occasional shows in the fair weather of Washington DC and have to self-film to have something to show for their time on You Tube. They write; they talk; they solicit money and everyone comes and has a good time as if they were attending some Medieval Carnival or Festival, and they all go home and nothing has changed! There I said it again.

I think if you read Mr. Swanson’s words, which I rarely do anymore, you will once again find WORDS filled with the type of questions vacillation and equivocation that I have to absolutely despise. If these are the words of leader; spare me please. A clarion call to action they are not and Seattle was not all “peaceful and proper.” There is a “once-upon-a-time” quality!

I republish here my remarks of May 1, 2008 as the Truckers rolled into DC in protest of fuel costs. The entire nation took note and DC FELT the action! We have all the grievances that entitle us to act and the moral high ground is ours. If we are going to act in March let it be nationwide, and let it be definitive and unyielding !

Resistance, Rebellion, Revolt and ………….. There Is Nothing As Powerful As An Idea Whose Time Has Come.

May 1, 2008

I have long held that the day of polite protest, the barrage of words, and the relentless petition signings would come to an end as this nation, like an alcoholic, hit the bottom.

The bottom of the bottle is in clear view. I know many do not like to be reminded that not every battle can be won with words and public protest gathering. Those who would resort me with the words of Ghandi, and plead for “peaceful protest” find in me now profound deafness. “The Pen is Mightier than The Sword” is nice altruistic expression that does not account for the reality of the human experience and human nature.

This nation was born in a Revolutionary War fashioned of “The Word and the Sword”! We were once a nation when the unity and solidarity of the voice of the people meant something because it was fortified by the willingness to ACT! When John L. Lewis said: STRIKE! ... The shovels were heard hitting the bottom of the mine pits and grim, determined faced American workers marched to the picket line and there was going to be hell to pay if someone confronted that line.

I dare say anyone reading this would have fool enough to do so to suggest to those workers that, they should be patient and passive. Sam Adams. “The Grand Incendiary”, Father of the Revolution was no pacifist, not Henry and not Jefferson who declared that:

“Every generation needs a new revolution”; “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.”

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”

“Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

“"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." --Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, 1776.’

“God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.... And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

and “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government”. "I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." --Thomas Jefferson—

We are again at the point in our history where a paradigm shift is demanded to merely preserve the foundation of the nation, that is; we are on the verge of revolution, the only question remaining to be answered is whether it shall take the form of blood, fire and steel in the streets or massive upheaval in such a way as this government cannot continue to function in the corrupt fashion of the moment, a massive upheaval that demands that criminally guilty be driven from, resign from power and or to be prosecuted by every applicable law of this land and international law.

Let us assume that you wish the transformation to be accomplished without massive violence and conflagration. Your answer is a national strike of such proportions that this administration cannot survive nor its supporters and collaborators.

What is be offered. Proposed for May 1 is indeed only the first step to such an action. All other avenues have failed and while I will not suggest that anyone abandon their personal and local efforts it is time for a serious change in direction.

It is time to call together the leaders of all activist organizations: peace, impeachment and immigration, all American Labor Unions in marshalling a comprehensive national strike on heretofore unheard of proportions. Failure to do so and to execute such an approach will leave no other course of action but that thought of a traditional revolutionary approach.

The ports and harbors must be closed. Trucks must be parked, there rotors removed blocking thorough fares and bridges across the land. Railroad traffic must cease. Unions must strike and workers disbursed to other meaningful tasks of shutting the nation down. The streets must be filled with the masses so traffic and commerce cannot flow. Those who are now working should surround the offices of every major media outlet in America so that cannot ignore the people. The management and workers of those “institutions” should have to attempt to wade through a sea of humanity to get to their desks and microphones, and they will try as they have the consciences of scabs and the integrity of Judas.

The police powers should be reminded that they are Americans first before they are the Blue Line of puppets, and if they insist on macho enforcement of silly proportions they can expect that they will never see another voter levy to support their salaries for the next twenty years at least. Yes, that is a call to leave their posts and join the masses!

Mall parking lots should be empty, stores, hotels and theaters empty and silent. The teachers of America, public private and collegiate should leave their classrooms and students should join with adults in the demand to restore this land to the people.

The Halls of the Senate and House should bulge with Americans swarming into elected leaders offices delivering a few simple messages. The message: “Shut up and bring our men and women home from the Middle East; plan and execute now…no more talk and excuses about staying another 20, 50 or 100 years until we are satisfied and they are pacified. That is an illusion, a delusion, a lie and a formula for raging terrorism and warfare that must end in a nuclear confrontation sooner or later, a formula for insanity.

They should get the message that if they are not going to abide by and uphold and enforce The Constitution and International Law by bring Bush, Cheney and all other guilty parties to justice, that they will never see another red cent in campaign contribution and will never enjoy your vote again because they will be removed from office. Say it; mean it; do it. Finish them off. Bring the work of the House and Senate to a stop until they are ready to Impeach!

We have seen in recent days that actions in DC which disrupt everyday business and traffic get attention, so swarm on DC and bring it to a standstill. Work to get every Metro employee in every major city to strike. Shut down the trains and buses. Enlist taxi drivers to strike. Get to the pilot’s union and airline employees union and get them to strike. Silence the air, silence the roads, silence the rail lines…shut it all down.

While you’re not working swarm on the nearest defense contractor’s office and manufacturing sites; Blockade them. If you have a major store Wal-Mart, Penny’s, Sears. K Mart, Target, whatever… that attempts to stay open swarm pickets on and block the parking lots….shut them down.

We have yet many who need to be brought to justice from the Bush Administration, many corporate criminals who have crippled this land who need to be behind bars and wars that need to brought to conclusion; the war criminals of those wars need to stand before The Hague Bar Of Justice.

Resistance, Rebellion, Revolt and ………….. There Is Nothing As Powerful As An Idea Whose Time Has Come.

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