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View Diary: [UPDATED]Organizing Buses to Crawford (153 comments)

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  •  Just me? (3.90)
    Am I the only one who thinks this is a bad idea?  I admit it, I am a person who thinks that civil disobedience and protest marching should be used only sparingly, when there is an angle that makes it likely to be covered sympathetically in the media.

    Right now, the focus is on Cindy Sheehan, a heroic and sympathetic figure, and her quest to confront the man responsible for her son's death, a very compelling story.  She is supported by others who have similar stories, are similarly sympathetic and difficult to pillory, and who similarly have the closest possible personal connection to the issue  - gold star families and veterans of this and other wars.

    I cringe to think of Cindy's story and the story of these families being swept aside and swept under the coverage of a spontaneous and disorganized crowd of whoever shows up, doing whatever they do, without any plan or control or discipline, and looking like an archetypical protest crowd.  It would make it so much easier for not only Republican spin-meisters, but also the people watching on TV, to dismiss and ignore.

    The number of people there is not an issue on television.  Remember that "crowd" of half a dozen boys dancing in the street on September 11, that was portrayed as the reaction of the "Arab street"?  The issue is the story.  5000 people may be harder to physically disperse than 50, but who cares?  5000 rabble-rousers are actually a lot easier to dismiss in the media than 50 people with a just cause.

    "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -- Adlai E. Stevenson

    by eebee on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 11:26:55 AM PDT

    •  I tend to agree (4.00)
      The more people that show up, the more things that could go wrong, turning this thing into a nightmare for most people involved.

      However, I cannot and will not try to discourage anybody from going.  All I can suggest is to try to remember what this is about.  It's not about tearing down Dubya.  It's not about demanding an immediate end to the war.  It's not about rioting and protesting and hate.  It's about a mother who lost her son and is trying to gain an audience with the man responsible.

      Don't go there because of Dubya.  Go there because of Cindy.  And be calm, be courteous, and understand that there is a very real chance of you being arrested.  And do not plan on fighting it.  Civil Disobedience requires you to undergo the penalties in order to display their inherent wrongness.

      If you are going to raise a ruckus, protest loudly, or with even the hint of violence, please think twice.  It will cause more harm than good.

      I've got various (weak) excuses for not going myself, but one is that I don't have the nerve to sit idly by waiting to be arrested.

      •  I agree. (4.00)
        Think twice, and if you do it, do it right.  Think about what the picture will be.  Remember that the police and security people are doing their jobs and do not antagonize them.  They might actually be on our side....

        The idea is to keep Cindy's story up front.  "America gets behind one mother's courageous stand." Not:  "Fringe veterans groups draw protest crowd to Crawford."

        I really think the better actions for the vast majority of us are to pester the networks and cable news outlets for more coverage - send emails like:  "What's happening with Cindy Sheehan?  How can they arrest her?  She has a right to speak about this - more right than anyone.  Please tell her story."  

        "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -- Adlai E. Stevenson

        by eebee on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 11:49:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  there (4.00)
          needs to be a "Protester School". too many people don't know how to protest anymore.

          Everyone organizing here should take heed: if we just mill around there shouting slogans, we can be made to look unruly. There needs to be respect here, not for the war but for the mothers and their stand.

          •  Amen, Peri. (none)
            When I was in Boston for the DNC last summer, a dude showed up at an anti-war/anti-Haitian coup/ anti-Bush protest on Boston Common with a humungous poster of an aborted fetus. A bunch of us were tryna stand in front of his sign, then a few energetic young chaps took it on themselves to rearrange his features for him, which was certainly satisfying at the gut level but turned a peaceful demonstration into... well, a big attraction for the tv news cameras.

            This sort of thing happens rarely but does huge damage. Much more common and also damaging are the people who use an anti-war protest to advocate their own personal meme: legalizing drugs, legalizing public nudity, legalizing toadlicking, claiming Dubya fathered their love-child and hasn't paid child support.

            That said, the media is actually paying attention to this. So it's worth looking into how we can get the public to finally hold Dubya accountable.

            The less a man knows about how sausages and laws are made, the easier it is to steal his vote and give him botulism.

            by SensibleShoes on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 01:05:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  There Are Several (4.00)
            The Highlander Center
            School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL)
            The Ruckus Society
            all do systematic training involving a range of isues, tactics and constituencies.

            And lots of other groups, like the War Resisters League, do similar training and have local groups in many places.

            Advance training can make an action much more effective and avoid certain problems. At the same time we often learn by doing.

            "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories." -- Amilcar Cabral

            by Christopher Day on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 02:32:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  For those who want to go (and I admit I'm thinking (none)
        of it), how about coming as a show of support to Cindy and crew by simply delivering supplies to them?  If a few hundred or a few thousand people trickle in over time - coming from all over this country - simply to deliver water, food, bug repellent, etc. it could be a powerful statement in and of it's self.  

        Now that's a story.

    •  potential energy (4.00)
      I would hope the possibility of causing large numbers to go to Crawford would help GWB decide to do the right thing.

      Rrrrrringgg... Time to change the government.

      by Carl Nyberg on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 11:41:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unfortunately (4.00)
        I think all it will do is heighten the "national security risk."

        Announcing the arrest of Cindy may become a self-fulfilling prophesy, if the wrong people show up.  People who are going have to realize they have a duty to keep things under control.

        "Every job is a self portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence." - Unknown

        by marchmoon on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 12:00:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think you're wrong (4.00)
      More people make the administration vulnerable to miscalculation.  Remember Nixon, the more pressure he faced on Viet Nam the more mistakes he made in trying to quell the demonstrations.
    •  fyi, Cindy has asked for more people to come, (4.00)
      captured in an interview last night with laura flanders

      •  Thanks for pointing that out..... (4.00)
        I hadn't realized that.  I still think people need to be careful - joining the vigils and so on elsewhere around the country that she also mentioned might be more effective than going to Crawford.  

        One other thing to consider - the local Crawford paper endorsed Kerry and is not friendly to the Bush administration.  We want to keep them on our side, and not antagonize people in the town.

        "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -- Adlai E. Stevenson

        by eebee on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 11:58:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i agree with you that care is needed, it would (none)
          be great if there was someone willing and able to coordinate the eagerness to help we all feel in the most approprate and effective channels

          i'm very new to political awareness and activism, but see this lack as one of our greatest obstacles

    •  Agree -- very bad idea (none)
      What we have here is the possibility of a large crowd event that is neither carefully planned nor entirely spontaneous. It's a perfect opportunity to send in "plants" who will do something illegal, which will legitimatize the use of "crowd control" techniques that will almost certainly provoke further confrontation. The news story then becomes the uncivil behavior of the protestors. This technique has been used before to undermine protest movements.

      I used to live in the United States of America. Now I live in a homeland.

      by homeland observer on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 12:01:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  agreed (4.00)
        Quite possib ly, very bad idea. Especially since no one here has directly spoken to anyone on the ground in Crawford, notified of them this and gotten the go ahead.  Why not? Because they might get told "No."

        No one here has one ounce of message discipline.

        everone wants to jump in and be part of this story.  

        Crawford is the size of a postage stamp.  it's tiny.  No one here probably gets that.  

        one road in and out pretty much.  A bunch of people coming in, or the even the threat of a bunch of people coming, will play right into the  hands of the cops, feds, whoever it is.  

        Cindy alone or with her tiny group, really is NO THREAT -- that's the beauty of the idea.

        busloads of peple that will literally shut down the traffic and block the road in an extremely tiny town could logically be argued to be a threat by the SS.  There goes Cindy's advantage.  

        imho, everyone should be taking their marching orders from one central place, preferably the organizers of the protest.

        Cindy may have said she wanted more people to join her but someone needs to check it with the folks in the camp.  It's their protest, not yours.

        But, just my 2 cents, so Have fun on your big adventure, kiddos.  I will continue to send money and provide asked-for support.  It's not as exciting as your way, but I know it's needed.

        And, btw,  if I understand the rules of daily kos, diarists cannot mandate who can post in their diaries.  

        •  Isn't Cindy the organizer of the protest? (4.00)
          If she has asked people to come, who else should we check with?

          captured in an interview last night with laura flanders:

          •  Then what's wrong with double-checking with her? (none)
            •  Oh for goodness' sake (4.00)
              Fine. I just called the Crawford Peace House. Anyone who supports and stands with Cindy is welcome to join her, according to a very nice gentleman named John that I spoke with. I called him on his cell phone - the Crawford Peace House's phone is still down, but should be back on tomorrow.

              John suggested that people check in at the Crawford Peace House when they first reach Crawford, then head on out to stand with Cindy.

              Supplies would be appreciated if you're coming. John specifically mentioned that cots and lawn chairs would be appreciated. Also, supplies like water and bug spray are needed.

              In addition, Code Pink Austin has requested the following to assist with Cindy's vigil:

              Food and Water, Coffee, First aid kit
              Tarps/canopy, Table(s)
              Batteries, Flashlights
              Wet wipes
              Banner supplies, Rope (& other things to hang banners and signs), nails & hammer
              Bug spray
              Ice chests/ Ice

              Need to borrow: Ladder(s), Car lighter adapter for electric appliances, Tents, Table(s), anything else you can think of...

              The Crawford Peace House is still working to get their PayPal account set up - it will still take a little more time - they're in the verification stages. Meanwhile, you can send snail mail donations to:

              Crawford Peace House
              P.O. Box 710218
              Dallas, Tx. 75371-0218

              Also, according to the Iconoclast, Cindy is heading to Waco to check her email. Thunderstorms are developing in her area, and it's best that she takes shelter when they hit. Hopefully, she'll be posting here again soon. If she's not interested in anyone coming to join her, hopefully, she'll point that out.

              Oh well, I wasn't using that civil liberty anyway.

              by think2004 on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 02:36:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  If everyone that went down there (4.00)
            conducted themselves as cool as Cindy has been doing
            yes it would be great.

            But I can assure you that if you wind up with a few
            hundred people poping in there all stirred up over
            what is happening things are going to get out of

            These things has to be organized and tightly
            controlled in order to keep any protest from back
            firing on the cause.

            If you read all the way through this thread you
            will see all kinds of emotional responses which
            is great in the fact that so many of us care and
            are upset over this. However it is not so great
            to get these emotions all together in a group of
            hundreds of people in a situation like this
            unless you are wanting to hurt your own, and Cindy's cause.

            It has been stated many times already here and on
            the other related blogs that the effect will be
            lost when this is turned from A mother wanting
            answers into a crowd of unrully and threating
            people imported into the town of Crawford to
            cause cival disorder.

            It appears that no matter how many times that
            precaution is offered it is simply thrown aside
            by many here.

            I sure hope that you know what you are risking.
            Not talking about you risking going to jail,
            I am talking about you people are risking turning
            a great effort for her's and our cause into a negative.


            I dream about waking up and finding out Bush has fell through his own Butthole and hung himself :)Popeye

            by eaglecries on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 09:28:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Cindy's words-- she wants more people there (4.00)
        "We need more people here...we're getting a lot of press attention and it would be nice for as many people to come whenever they can come. To show them that, truly, 61% of American people want this war over and believe it was a mistake to begin with. So lets show them that. There's also vigils and protests and demonstrations being organized around the country. People should go to the Progressive Democrats of America site, or After Downing Street. Daily Kos is posting a lot of events that are happening and ways to support us."

        "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

        by bewert on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 04:24:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  DIS-Agree (4.00)
      A larger protest will amplify Cindy Sheehan's message, not diminish it.  We need to also think about reviving the anti-war movement and this is the first, best opportunity.  

      Disciplined self-censorship is the HEART of the problem for Democrat starting in 2002.  The more the left spoke out against the war in Iraq, the harder it's been for the GOP to claim some sort of national consensus in support of their flawed policies.  Anti-war dissent gave democrats a better chance in 2004, and will continue to give democrats a chance moving into 2006 as Bush's senseless war drags on.

      Of course, some of the coverage will be negative-- it always is.  One solution there is to urge marchers to act in a peaceful and respectful manner at all times, including all dealings with law enforcement. I personally recommend dressing in conventional ways, bringing the kids, and waving American flags to symbolize our commitment to the bill of rights.

      Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho Marx

      by markymarx on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 12:23:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not suggesting no dissent.... (none)
        I'm NOT suggesting that we suppress our disagreement with the administration's policies.  But there are numerous ways to express it, and I strongly believe that Cindy Sheehan has found a particularly effective one.  I'm simply saying that in THIS instance, we should be very careful that everything we do supports, rather than detracts from, her message.

        Supporting her at a distance, through locally organized events, local media, and (acting as news consumers not anti-war activists) encouraging the national media to covering her story would - I believe - be more effective than gathering in Crawford.  A dispersed show of support for her counters the perception of a national consensus in favor of the war better than civil disobedience in Crawford.  We will never get the numbers and diversity of people to travel Crawford that would demonstrate the broad skepticism of the administration's war that actually exists in the nation.  Another more physically dispersed approach might do that.

        "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -- Adlai E. Stevenson

        by eebee on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 12:44:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But hasn't this arguement (4.00)
          been used to supress all public protests regarding Bush?

          At what point is it simply being used as a tool to quiet dissenters, as opposed to a legitimate security measure?

          Sometimes I get the feeling no one is protesting simply because they don't see it happening anywhere  -- and I don't know if giving up the right to protest is worth what is leveraged in preventing security risks.

          We have essentially given up the right to protest, assemble, in light of 9/11.

          That has enabled Bush and his administration to further hide from public accountability and maybe it isn't worth it....

          •  no, I don't think so.... (4.00)
            Cindy Sheehan is, as we speak, making a powerful statement against the Bush administration that is being heard louder, longer, and by more people than any other non-politician voice against the war to date.

            All I'm saying is don't fuck it up.  Don't dilute her message.

            Discipline, media savvy, and understanding the image you are projecting is what makes civil disobedience work.  Not having those things is what causes civil disobedience to backfire.

            This argument has not been used to supress anti-war dissent.  (Other arguments have, but not this one.)  This argument is being used to encourage people to EXpress anti-war dissent in a constructive way.  I said above - gather in your town to support Cindy Sheehan.  Get a diverse crowd - young, old, all races and classes.  Get others to do that in their community.  Call your local paper and tell them to show up.  Call your friends and relatives in other cities and organize similar events where they live.  Keep it simple and on message.  "We support the troops.  We support Cindy."

            "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -- Adlai E. Stevenson

            by eebee on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 01:52:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I like your thinking...but (none)
              Cindy Sheehan is fantastic but just one person.  She has the potential to build and revitalize the anti-war movement movement.  

              Democrats need to build on the energy of the grassroots, not treat it like weeds that need whacking.  Why not run with your ideas, instead of urging just a local focus?  We should be talking about past precedents of successful protests like freedom summer (1964).  I have only read about these in the history books, but without freedom summer, we probably wouldn't have the Voting Rights act (1965).

              Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho Marx

              by markymarx on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 08:39:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Good point Markymarx. (none)
        Whenever I protest, I always make it a point to dress a little more conservatively.  Especially when I'm protesting in areas where I know there will be a high number of suburban moms and dads driving by because I want them to see people just like themselves standing up to say this war is wrong and these people need to be held accountable.
    •  That depends (4.00)
      I doubt many people who read this site are the violent protesting types.  I think that the majority who go there would be likely to stand behind Cindy (or in front of her if she is to be arrested), and simply be there to support her in numbers, not to drone out her message with shouting.

      Try to think more of your fellow kossacks than just being a bunch of thugs.  We're a fairly educated group of people, who care about ending the war and also the plight of a mother who lost her son based on the whims of an out of touch politician.  We're not the violent ones, and we believe in democracy and in our country's form of government.  

    •  Republican Mole? (3.33)
      What are you some type of mole or what?  The more people that show up at Camp Casey, the greater the coverage, the larger the issue.  Real simple.  Discouraging people to go because it will be a "problem" or "impolite" just helps minimize her protest.  I'm sure the next tactic will be to slime her and her supporters as "fringe liberals" or somesuch.  The more normal, peaceful people show up to support such an act of protest the greater its impact.
      •  No, not a mole. (4.00)
        Don't be ridiculous.  They've asked us not to argue about this here anymore, so I won't, I've explained myself in several places in this thread - but I've got 19 fours for this comment that tell me it's not a totally unreasonable point of view.  I don't think your view is unreasonable, either, just different.

        "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -- Adlai E. Stevenson

        by eebee on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 02:17:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nobody has Noticed (4.00)
      This story isn't getting the coverage it ought to.  So if hundreds show up in Crawford, it might get covered.  If it gets covered, people notice and listen and pass judgment.  The right is already trying to smear this woman, so they know how important keeping her out of the MSM is.  If people want to go, they should.  My wife would go, she says, if she didn't have children of her own to look after.  And organizing transport and support once there is a good idea, not a bad one, as  otherwise there might be the kind of uncontrolled chaos that would leave a bad taste in the publics mouth.

      It would be even better if there were people there to direct folks, offer water, and be ready to send lawyers to the polices station if everyone gets arrested.  If there was such an organization on the ground to do that, i suspect they'd be FLOODED with donations to help and support the people who were able to go.

      When all else fails...panic

      by David in Burbank on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 02:27:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  supply and demand (none)
        I agree we want to get and keep the story in the media.  Those of you going are upping the supply side of the news... those us not going can help by upping the demand for Camp Casey news.

        People should email the broadcast and cable news networks to express your opinion about the story and ask for more news on it.  Up-rate Internet stories about it.  Know anyone local who is there or going there?  Know anyone local who has a family member hurt or killed in Iraq who feels the way Cindy does?  Call a local newspaper or TV reporter (after checking with the people involved) to do a profile of them.  It's a national story with a local angle and it's how things like this get into the local papers.

        "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -- Adlai E. Stevenson

        by eebee on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 02:40:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes... and No (none)
      There's a part of me that agrees with you, cringing as I envision a bunch of angry young people upstaging Cindy and her followers to get attention and be "alternative".

      However, there is a deeper issue here.. an issue of democracy in action - of people exercising their right to anger and discontent, yelling and screaming in rage and sadness.  It's not a matter of whether it should or should not happen that way - it goes much deeper than that, down to the core beliefs of 280 million Americans, each with a choice of how they're going to spend their life.

      As a point of contrast, there are many who feel that even Cindy Sheehan has gone to far... I mean, it's not like we see busloads of the democratic leadership going down to crawford to stand beside her.  Anger and protest makes people uncomfortable, whether it's an angry mom who lost her kid in a war based on lies, or a long-haired, coffee drinking, pierced grunge kid whose just angry at his parents.

      In the end, I firmly believe, that even if we could control the groundswell of discontent and anger that Cindy action is sure to create an opening for, we should not.  Instead, we need to work together as a community, helping those who show up to crawford, or our own local protests, best focus their anger and discontent into change.  In sum, we should not be telling people to shut up or stay home, but be a friend to those who come and give them a voice to communicate their anger and rage as effectively and powerfully as possible

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