Tuesday, October 9, 2007

PROPOSAL FOR NATIONWIDE ACTION FOR MARCH 19th, 2008 (to be used in conjunction with other actions)

Take geography out of the equation, and provide an entry-level (low-risk) direct action that can be taken by all people, whether or not they belong to activist organizations. Call for a national home-based mobilization throughout all of America, so literally EVERYONE who is interested can participate. Except one key difference: have it run from 9 AM to 5 PM on a weekday.

That'll raise a few hackles and get the attention of a few editors. It will also let us know whether we have anyone in this country willing to do anything to stop the war besides talking, parading, or emailing against it.

That's a key piece of information, because all Republicans and a strong majority of Democrats have been betting against us on that, and so far nobody's doing a thing to demonstrate otherwise. That's why Congress is not motivated to stop the war. Pro-war people are demonstrating they can hurt office-holders for ending the war far more than anti-war people will should they fail to end it. This is odd, since most surveys show that anti-war people outnumber pro-war people by a 2-1 margin.

It must have something to do with the way the two messages get delivered. So let's have our side get real. Let's call a one-day general strike -- everyone takes off the same day.
March 19th, 2008, which is the fifth anniversary of the United States invasion of Iraq, is a Wednesday. Let this be the date for this important action. We could call it the "Sick Of War Sick-Out" and make it known that it's not a one-time deal. Make sure the action is in play with youth as well as adults, since today’s children are being assigned the mortgage payments for the war, even though they were allowed no role in the decisions that created it. “No Taxation Without Representation” was a good cry of resistance in the 18th century, and it will work with today’s youth, too. We must have parents, teachers, and when necessary, legal help available to support minors through any consequences of this action.

We should remind everyone whose occupation is in a life-saving service, such as firefighters, emergency medical workers, food pantry employees, police, and similar public safety workers, that they should attend work as usual, and to wear a peace emblem as evidence of their participation in the anti-war action.

If we don't get a big turnout the first time, don't despair. It's OK if the "Sick Out" doesn't get an overwhelming response on its first trial. Anti-war activists have not engaged in any active measurement of the potential for increased public involvement in war obstruction. That needs to change. We can't choose effective strategies for growth and movement towards our desired destination if we don't determine our point of origin. Should participation be weak, and we take that not as a setback, but as a wake-up call to knuckle down for some genuine community-level, face-to-face organizing work, it'll be bigger next time, and bigger still the time after that. We already have the only two things needed to motivate the effort: enough time to do it, and the necessity that it be done.

There is no indication that anyone in power is considering ending the war at least until after 2012, and in most cases much longer than that, or never -- unless we act now to change what we've been doing, and how we've been doing it.

Let’s hold a nationwide sick-out on Wednesday, March 19th, 2008.

1 comment:

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Organization and mobilization at the grassroots level seems the only viable alternative. This is an except From The Progressive -- Gore Vidal interview by David Barsamian (August 2006 Issue):

Q: Talk about the role of the opposition party, the Democrats.

Vidal: It isn’t an opposition party. I have been saying for the last thousand years that the United States has only one party—the property party. It’s the party of big corporations, the party of money. It has two right wings; one is Democrat and the other is Republican.

Q: What can people do to energize democracy?

Vidal: The tactic would be to go after smaller offices, state by state, school board, sheriff, state legislatures. You can turn them around and that doesn’t take much of anything. Take back everything at the grassroots, starting with state legislatures. That’s what Madison always said. I’d like to see a revival of state legislatures, in which I am a true Jeffersonian.

Q: Do you see any developments on the horizon that might suggest an alternative?

Vidal: Newton’s Third Law. I hope that law is still working. American laws don’t work, but at least the laws of physics might work. And the Third Law is: There is no action without reaction. There should be a great deal of reaction to the total incompetence of this Administration. It’s going to take two or three generations to recover what we had as of twenty years ago.

End of Interview

"Multinational corporations have become the governing institutions – determining for us how our food is grown and distributed, how we heat and light our homes, what poisons we breathe, drink and eat. Giant corporations largely decide what controversies get attention, how wealth is shared and distributed, what solutions are acceptable, who gets elected to public office and how the United States treats other nations. Citizens have lost our authority over the fundamental decisions that affect our lives. We are defined as “consumers,” left to choose between paper or plastic at the grocery store. We think it is time for this to change." (from http://www.duhc.org/)

See How Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County has challenged multinational corporations at the grassroots level -- and won. As Mr. Vidal said, and it's been expressed repeatedly by others, such as Thom Hartmann, our only hope of taking our country back is through the grassroots level. It will not happen through the federal or state level (yet). All good things start small. Adopt this as your base philosophy.