Don't get me wrong; I believe in social activism and I'm also aware that there are countless groups of people doing great work, addressing social injustices, hunger, homelessness, corruption, gross inequality, access to health care, the environment, and many other issues. I do believe that if it wasn't because of the brave and dedicated people involved in these groups things would be much worst...
But I do perceive that there is a very large gulf between the level of corruption, exploitation and oppression, and the level of resistance necessary to arrest their relentless progress.
I've attended God-knows how many rallies, protest marches (against war, against corrupt banks, and Wall Street, etc.), organizing meetings at community coffee houses, meetings at people's living rooms, call-to-action meetings by politicians, faith-based organizations, community organizers, and without fail, I'm always either very disappointed, or wanting more.
Very nice, well-meaning people, many of them soft-spoken, middle age, some young, peace-loving, many of them into Buddhism or some type of Eastern philosophy.
My frustration any time I try to get involve (including here) is that on the Left, on the Progressive, the Liberal side, there seem to be a predilection towards pointing out all the injustices and wrongdoings by the powers that be, and that somehow by "bearing witness" to these injustices and "reporting" on them, and by bringing them to "somebody's attention," that somehow that in itself is going to bring about the type of change we need; that "someone will come to our aid."
Sometimes at these meetings people bring all kinds of flyers about different issues, anywhere from fracking, to genetically-modified foods, to oil pipelines, housing, banks, you name it. Again, all important issues, but what are people trying to accomplish? Passing out flyers and pamphlets related to the different ways the corrupt system is screwing us to fellow progressive/liberal activists is one of the purest definitions of an "echo chamber."
I have a suspicion as to why the state of affairs on the progressive side of things is so abysmal, so ineffectual, so inconsequential: These gatherings are more of a "support group" than anything else. Progressives and liberals have been so beaten down and demonized by the corporate-owned media that people are afraid, dispirited, confused, and when they get together they seek support from each other, and yes, maybe some actual social activism here and there, but mainly at the margins.
I had great hope with Occupy Wall Street. Some of the initial strategic and philosophical influences behind the movement were pretty powerful: The one percent is basically screwing everybody else. There was a certain focus on the root causes of the corruption: powerful Wall-Street/Banking criminals, their hold on the corrupt political class of both parties, and the dire consequences for the rest of us.
That. Was. Beautiful... That was very promising because of its simplicity, the truth in it, the focus, and the method of confronting the corrupt corporate police state: Occupying.
Of course, as usual (for progressive movements), there were self-defeating mechanisms embraced by the Occupy movement, namely the rejection of the time-tested concept of leadership, and a certain naivete about the true nature of what we (the people) are confronting when it comes to the nascent neo-fascist surveillance police state.
Going to the Occupy rallies and the general assemblies (San Diego, Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, and other cities) became an exercise in frustration, with the mic check gimmick, and cliques, and their divergent agendas, and the lack of focus, strategic thinking, and organization.
Comrades, where are you guys hiding? Where are the really bad-ass, scary-smart, radical intellectuals, leaders, ready to engage in another round of resistance, of opposition to the imposition of this nascent neo-fascist techno-surveillance total-information-awareness police state?
Come out... Your country needs you. If nothing else, at least I'm looking for you.
Let's cut the bullshit, the mic checks, the fetish with weakness and victimization, and let's talk about ways to take on the system head on, but smartly. What is the best way to mobilize 100 people, 400, 2,000, 10,000. What do you do with them once they have been mobilized. How do you make the power structure tremble in fear and concerns without actually breaking the law or giving them a reason to arrest you; how do you go right to the line?
How do you help free people from the brainwashing effects of the current massive propaganda machine in the U.S., even if one at a time? How do you then bring those people to the cause? How do you come up with a very focused, comprehensive, and cohesive agenda to take on the system?
I want to hear about that. I'm tired about reading and hearing about every which way the system is screwing us. I dream the dream (sorry, I recently watched the movie) of one day coming here to Daily Kos and reading diary after diary about effective strategies to take on the system, about radical ideas about how to defeat the entrenched and totally corrupt Democratic party establishment by electing true progressives to public office. About putting an extraordinary amount of pressure on our AWOL government to prosecute Wall Street criminals.
Where are the zealots, the agitators, radical intellectuals? Your country needs you. The time is now... Hit me up.
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
- Frederick Douglass