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I’m too tired to respond to the article, but I thought the link was worth posting for discussion. The author, Leonard Shumard, argues that protesters and activists are “tearing apart the very fabric which binds our society.”
He gives more credit to demonstrating than I. I’ve attended far more marches/demos than I could hope to recount, and I tend to think they suffer from a sort of inflationary effect of diminishing returns. I’ve argued in the past that demonstration should be organized only as part of a comprehensive political strategy, with clear goals in mind, but to many activists the demonstration is the end. If it happens, it’s effective just because it is.
But the TS op ed piece suggests that activism is bad precisely because it is effective. There is an ultra-libertarian argument that all altruistic behavior is bad for the economy because it undermines the beneficial greed which sets the parameters for an effective supply and demand system of economics. Everyone acts in his/her material interests and we all float to the top under a Newtonian market force utopia. When you act contrary to your material interests you upset the oh so delicate ecology of the free market. And certainly if you frustrate those forces with any kind of intervention or “do gooderism” you set everything out of whack and tumbling towards social chaos where life is “nasty, brutish, and short.”
Life is simple.
But decided that the demonstrators were just a bunch of irrelevant 60s radicals. At least that’s what he told the faux Koch when he got punked by a liberal blogger (whose blog appears to have been removed from the net).
He also revealed to “Koch” a plan to bring the Democrats back to talk under false pretenses to get them in session, apparently assuming that the Democrats would not realize that the quorum is good once the session begins so that if they walked out again the Republicans could vote as if they were there. I don’t know, maybe it would have worked. But it won’t work now.
Walker later held a lively press conference, which ended on a petty note.
You can listen to the prank phone conversation through the first link above. And this Kos poster has some transcribed excerpts.
And this post may have the whole transcript.
So I won’t judge. But the TS’s “Toasts and Roasts” editorial does not have kind words for those who showed up to oppose the pending naval military drills off the west coast.
To many of the people who showed up just to hear themselves talk at the U.S. Navy’s meeting last week to discuss its plans to increase training off the West Coast. While all viewpoints are welcome, the seeming lack of interest in learning about the project means that many didn’t get much out of the meeting. The theatrics didn’t help people understand the real concerns — and there are plenty of real concerns — over the Navy’s plans and likely made many wonder if the dissent was just a sounding board for radicals.
I received a much different report from a caller on my radio show last week, so I won’t assume the accuracy of the TS perception. But I do think that progressive activists do have to rethink their methods. Right or wrong, demonstrations and rhetoric without focus can be detrimental to a cause, and certainly to rational discourse. It’s not enough to be loud. We have to learn to persuade. It requires engagement and a rational understanding of your opposition sans demonetization and oversimplification. We aren’t heard if we don’t listen and don’t engage.
It’s true of other debates as well, including Richardson Grove. Demonstrations, whether street or at planned attendance of public meetings, have to be thought out in terms of specific goals and overall strategy. And as I’ve suggested, action should not be about personal gratification as some sort of therapy to feel important. It must be about the issue at hand.
Fox News coverage (not bad actually).
Glen Beck’s pre-event commentary.
And here’s a right wing video showcasing all of the socialist groups present to the tune of the Internationale.
I’ll post more as I find it.
Addendum: Here’s another photo diary. So far no pictures of Sara Palin with a Hitler mustache.
It’s a national event to oppose offshore oil drilling. There’s a map of all the planned events through the link, but Heraldo has already looked up three events in Humboldt County, including one near Garberville (to protest drilling in the river I guess).
- Westhaven at Moonstone Beach.
- Arcata at Mad River County Park.
- Garberville at Southern Humboldt Community Park-Tooby Memorial Park.
They want you to show up at 11:00 to be ready to hold hands at noon.
Please post reports. I’ll be out of town.
Here’s a clip from a February event in Florida, before the gusher.
So, last Friday afternoon I had to run an errand to the Paper Mill and as I’ve done so many times in the past I walked by the weekly anti-war demonstration which takes place at the sidewalk in front of the mini-mall. The demonstration took place at the curb, but on the sidewalk behind them were a couple of very angry women trying to sell rocks and gems. By the time I arrived the conflict had been well under way, and the rock sellers were screaming obscenities and such, and showing impressive stamina in a constant barrage of noise.
The dispute: the demonstrators have been there for years. They had been at a spot closer to All-Sport, but it was a small portion of the sidewalk between the driveway entrances to the mini-mall’s small parking lot. Sometimes the demonstrators tended to wander into the driveways and so they were asked to move over to the stretch of sidewalk between the mall and the gas station, where they’ve been for some time.
Enter a couple of women who have been selling rocks at the same location on weekends, and decided to expand their time to Fridays. They were there when the first demonstrators arrived, and the demonstrators set up right in front of them.
Dilemma: The rock sellers were there first on Friday, but the demonstrators have been there for many years. The rock sellers say that the demonstration is preventing them from doing business (although the yelling may have played a role, and I’d be curious to see if they sold rocks in its absence). The demonstrators deny that they’re interfering in any way, and they are not blocking the foot traffic, which they argue is where the rock sellers will make their money anyway. But really, it comes down to which takes precedence as an issue – who arrived first on the day in question, or who has been using the same space at the same day and time for years.
The Sheriff was called twice, the second time because one of the rock-selling women thought she saw one of the demonstrators smoking marijuana. The second time around the Sheriff deputy was a little short with the rock seller, saying “I have better things to do with my time.”
Certainly either group could move, but it is the most visible spot in town from vehicles. Who’s right and why? Kind of like a real life Socratic ethics exercise of the sort we used to get in high school back in the 1970s (“you only have one spare heart and the potential donees are a pregnant mom, 14 year old talented musician, a brain surgeon at the dawn of his career, etc.”).
Either due to poor organizing (such as it is) or poor reporting, I have no idea what’s going on here. But that dance goes on. Windows were broken, but it looks like the assault on police officers was thankfully limited to plastic bottles and pizza.
“We had the old left, we had the new left, and now we have the what’s left.“ – Pat Scott of KPFA talking about the Peoples Park protest sequels of the early 1990s.
There’s been a little bit of a stir over the tea bagger signs on the Capital steps yesterday comparing the anticipated victims of health care reform to Dachau victims, complete with photos of bodies found in the famed death camp. Republican after Republican scrambled to speak in front of the crowd, but nobody bothered to comment on the sign until today, following pressure from Jewish groups. Senator Eric Cantor has now deemed the sign “inappropriate” and even gone so far as to criticize Rush for inflaming the debate by comparing Obama to Hitler.
It’s in the Friday afternoon dump, but tea baggers don’t take kindly to criticism of their icons or the perceived weakness of apologies (to liberals). Anybody want to start a pool on how long it will take Cantor to recant his anti-Rush heresy?
TPM has put together a list of the ritual apologies made to date, entitled “Forgive me Rush for I have sinned.”
Meanwhile, some Democrats are seizing the moment to make the wingnuttiness the story of the protest. Fair game? You decide. Rep. Steve Israel:
“I can’t believe that Congresswoman Bachmann would stand where she stood, and see those images, and not have the common decency to say, ‘I disagree with the use of those images.’ I think that she owes the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust an apology. She owes us all an apology. And I’m waiting. We’re all waiting.
Don’t burst former Rep. Tancredo’s bubble! “You bet it’s appropriate” he says. And he blames anti-Bush demonstrators. As previously noted, the right wing approach these days is: Don’t apologize. Always attack. Don’t worry about how lame it sounds. They’ll praise you for “straight talking.”
From someone who emailed it to me.
WE NEED A REVOLUTION!
Oppose the Government’s ruinous foreign wars
U.S. Out of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq
Rally at the Courthouse in Eureka
Saturday, October 17th at 1 PM
Here’s an idea to help make demonstrations and protest marches more effective and meaningful:
As I thought about the difficulty, for myself and others, of attending rallies (got to work that day…the big rally is in Washington DC…etc), this idea occurred to me. A few friends and I have used the statement “I MARCH FOR 10” on two occasions and we would like to encourage individuals and other groups on the web to join with us in popularizing it.
THE IDEA IS SIMPLE:
Make a sign or a T-shirt printed with this 2-piece I MARCH FOR 10 logo (see downloads).
List the names of 10 people that you have contacted in your community who are unable to attend the march but who are willing to commit to expressing their views by way of a letter, email, or fax, or by signing letters of concern on one of the web activist networks.
Thus when you attend the rally you will be representing their commitments.
This has proved to be a very effective graphic in photos of a rally and sparked great conversations. I will be using it when I go to Washington for Universal Health Care NOW demonstrations in September. The involvement, by extension, of hundreds not at the rally but who have expressed their support and feel represented in name will have positive effects: it will involve them more, make them aware of press coverage and perhaps be a first step to becoming more active. For those of us who are active, it is a rewarding way to support our friends and garner support for our efforts.
Yes, I MARCH FOR 10 can be used by groups with opposite opinions. But this is not just another bumper sticker; the idea is to maximize participation and expression. This is a democracy! HEY, DESIGN YOUR OWN IM4/10 LOGO!
Here is the sample LOGO . It can be downloaded and printed on an 8.5 X 11 sheet of paper. The second sheet (the reverse) is laid out to receive names. A poster is simple enough, a T-shirt works great and can easily be made on a home printer using transfer paper.
Call friends and family! Tell them if they can not attend a rally, you would like to march with their names and help them send a fax, e-mail, letter, etc. expressing their support.
THANKS. SEE YOU THERE. EVERYBODY IN. NOBODY OUT.
Richard E., Frank C., Bishop M. and friends.
Photo: Bishop Mayfield modeling IM4/10 t-shirt
This project is dedicated to the late Frank Cieciorka.