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I knew that the prospects of people heeding my call for a peaceful uprising in San Francisco Union Square today were very low the minute I got off BART at the Powell (and Market) station.  It was a beautiful day; the weather was perfect, and there were hundreds of tourists standing on line waiting to catch one of the famed San Francisco cable cars.

There was a little bit of excitement thought... It's about 12:15 P.M. I start walking up Powell towards Union Square, and (I kid you not) I hear the rotor blades of a helicopter directly above.  I looked up and there it was, seemingly in a straight line up from where I was standing.

I laughed it up, thinking, "OMG, have I've been taking Daily Kos readers telling me that nowadays the police can arrest you for whatever reason they want, too seriously?"

I keep walking up Powell, and I swear the helicopter seemed to be with me (straight up line) the whole time until I got to Geary and Powell (one of the corners of Union Square).  Now I got a little bit paranoid and started thinking, "What about if 'the authorities' considered all those messages I posted on twitter asking people to join me at Union Square today for a Flash Mob peaceful demonstration some kind of a threat?"  Fear.

Of course, I know the helicopter is not following me, and that it is very unlikely anybody would show up anyways. But the fact that for a few minutes those thoughts crossed my mind is very telling about the situation we find ourselves in.  More on that later...

I got to Union Square; there is some construction going on at that corner (Geary and Powell).  I walked up Geary towards the other end of the plaza; there is a really nice coffee house there.  I walked in, order a salmone panini sandwich, a diet coke, and find a very nice table under the shade of a large umbrella.  There is a Jazz band playing.  The music is very nice; the sky is blue; the weather is perfect.  People are sitting around, walking, talking eating, having fun--except for a few assorted homeless/poor people with signs asking for money, or panhandling.

It's 1:00pm, time for the Flash Mob peaceful uprising I've been calling for; nothing happens.  The band is playing; I'm having a great time.

Either way, I made sure not to "waste" my entire day in planning a futile revolution, by scheduling a business meeting close-by.  At around 2:00pm, I walk a block to a nice pub/restaurant for my meeting.

It's funny, I go to SF mainly to see if people would show up for a protest rally; nobody shows up, but I end up having an hour and a half lunch meeting with a client, and close one of the most important deals I've done in quite some time!

Some Kosacks have ridiculed my call for "peaceful revolution" saying that if one day I get off behind the keyboard and actually go somewhere to start the uprising, that I would look back and there would be nobody there.  I tested that assertion, and guess what, you were right!  There was nobody there.

That's okay.  You see, there is something very powerful when one actually takes the steps to, as you say, get off behind the keyboard and lead by example, go to where it is I want to start the uprising, be there physically.  Boots on the ground, as they say.

The time I spent at Union Square, sitting there, eating my sandwich, listening to the Jazz band, was great to do a little thinking about what's happening to our country.  To reflect on ways to try to convince people that given the situation, we have no other choice than to rise up in protest, in opposition to the imposition of corporatist-induced tyranny.

I'll keep at it... I'm reaching out to the folks at reddit.  They're planning some rallies on the Fourth of July: restorethefourthSF.

Here's the problem with fear... There is a lot coming at us in very fast succession.  The government can detain you indefinitely; it can assassinate American citizens extra-judicially; it can (and does) collect every bit of available data and information about you using an increasingly powerful total-information-awareness surveillance system.

It can brutally suppress peaceful uprising coordinating strategy nationwide.  Cops can sucker-punch you in the face, or in some instances, just shoot you point blank and just say they thought you had a weapon, much of it with total impunity.

Wall Street can pillage with impunity, under the protection of corrupt government functionaries.

If you watch any TV at all, much less news channels (including MSNBC), you are being bombarded with an incredible amount of mind-numbing propaganda which pretty much turns you into a compliant servant to this increasingly brutal and corrupt system--beautiful and pleasant San Francisco Union Square full of beautiful people and some of the best shopping in the world notwithstanding.

One of the ways the system controls people is by keeping us fearful.  In fact, it seems that the TV news media is specifically designed not to really inform you about what's going on, but to constantly spread false narratives, misinformation, and fear.

I'm not afraid.  Even my wife says I'm naive for thinking that I shall have the right to come and go as I please, to gather at any public goddamned place I want to in protest, and to fully exercise my constitutional rights.

In the increasingly nebulous and fast-shifting legal system, have we really come to accept the proposition that any one of us could be unfairly and unjustifiable targeted by the government?

If we have, then people cannot longer deny that yes, we are starting to look like East Germany of yore, withe the Stasi as the security apparatus.

Right now, those being brutalized by the system are suffering in the shadows.  The huge amount of formerly middle class people who suddenly find themselves homeless or standing at food lines (while hoping that nobody would recognize them) is truly staggering--and it all seems to be happening in the shadows, away from our consciousness.  Unless it happens to us, of course.

But by then, it's too late; you've lost any leverage.  You've become a ghost in the eyes of the rest of the society.

What are people afraid of?  Folks, this brutal and inhumane system is causing mayhem in our society in multiple ways.  We are already under attack!

In closing, think about why these parasitic psychopaths brutally suppressed the Occupy Wall Street movement.  We (they) can't have that.  People breaking free from the mental cages the system has so carefully designed to keep us compliant and enslaved, and taking to the street in solidarity?  Oh no, we can't have that.  That is dangerous--to these motherfucking tyrants.

I've attended several protest rallies throughout the years, including many Occupy Wall Street rallies.

These are good, decent, to a certain extend innocent people with a heart of gold.  Compassionate, moral, ethical, just.  I've seen it; I've experienced it.

Yes, I have my quibbles with the lack of focus, and organization, planning, but I've come to understand that the reason for that is because these citizens don't really have the malice to think that way; to think like a greedy capitalist who put together forty-year blueprints to turn the whole fucking country into a tyrannical banana republic.

I understand this type of malice, and this type of ruthlessness, and because of it I understand the need for precise and strategic short-, mid-, and long-term planning.  And I understand the huge importance of counter-propaganda.

But I've also come to understand that I can't push my approach on these good people.  They won't accept it because they don't have the malice.

It's taken me a very long time to understand that... So I will continue with my activism, but I will find other more productive approaches to reach out to other activists.

No matter what, at this point these tyrants will not relent on their own.  They will have to be forced to do so.  I will always advocate to do so peacefully, but we will not be able to avoid a direct confrontation.

The confrontation must happen--otherwise we'll be enslaved.

Instead of waiting for "And then they came for me," let's unite now that we still have a chance.

Here are some of the photos (and videos) I've taken at different OWS rallies.

San Diego - Oct. 8, 2011

San Diego - Oct. 8, 2011

Oakland - November 19, 2011

Oakland - November 19, 2011

Berkeley- November 15, 2011 (At night)

About SPARK! - SPARK! is an essay I will write on a regular basis specifically meant to help spark a peaceful uprising against the rising proto-fascist state in the United States.  There will never be any calls to violence or law-breaking of any kind in this series.  All actions advocated in SPARK! are based on lawful, constitutionally-protected rights.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Please don't lose heart, Ray. (8+ / 0-)

    You know I am one of your earliest followers.  It's all about timing.  You tested the time and it is not yet ripe - that's all.

    I have no cell phone, I do not tweet nor facebook.  I do not join anything and I no longer even sign petitions.  I'm unhealthy and ageing and watching the timing.  

    One of the things that disgusts me is how television programming on crime dramas (my favorite) has our heroes violating due process in every episode.  Of course, the constitution is not mentioned - this is "normal"  behavior and the audience is led into egging it on because the circumstances are so dire.

    The recent NSA revelations via Greenwald and Snowden only confirm my belief that conversations must only be one on one and personal.  Had I lived in the SF area I would have gone only to meet you personally for a chat.  Were we ever to meet, I would ask you to leave your cell phone somewhere far away.

    A critical mass is still distant and unforseeable but inevitable.  I doubt I will be around for it.

    I admire you for putting yourself out there as much as you have, and don't think your paranoia is misplaced.  I believe you are fully aware of the jeopardy you have placed yourself under and hope you have devised various routes for yourself.  

    For now, I think our priority should be on un-dividing the nation.   A great number of conservatives have their own paranoia at the correct level.  We just need to show them the erosion of the power of the people is coming not from government, which is merely a bought and paid for a tool of the oligarchs.  Their fear is merely misdirected, not delusional.

    Anyway, I would love to meet you one day.  The challenge is how that could be accomplished without anyone knowing it is going to happen, that it is happening or that it has happened.

    Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

    by Gustogirl on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 12:35:25 AM PDT

    •  Thank you very much for such a nice message. (6+ / 0-)

      I hope I'm not coming off as if I'm losing hope on the cause.  Don't worry, I haven't.  I've been at this for years.

      This stuff is a life-long endeavor.  Of course, just like anybody else the key is to try to balance your activism with  the work you need to do to put food on the table and a roof over your head... So I basically stopped watching TV (well, I do have a few HBO shows I like) saving me countless hours of mind-numbing and very destructive messaging and imagery, so I can then spend a little more time on activism--a much more rewarding endeavor.

      Let me tell you something... I'm pretty sure I may have a "file" somewhere in the system (hell, maybe there are 310 million of them), but I'm not worry in the least.

      I've seen a lot if life; violence, danger.  I've traveled extensively to countries where there is extreme poverty; I've gone through very dangerous neighborhoods in those countries.

      I'm not a dare-devil, but because of what I've experienced in life I tend not to be scared easily.

      That's not to say that I want to take undue and unnecessary risks.

      More than anything, what I'm hoping to do is to share my ideas (which I've developed over many years of thinking about these things), and if I see some of them implemented (whether I had any part of it or not), I'll be happy.

      Also, I have no intention on becoming a "leader of a movement," not because I don't have the passion for it, but because I do know by now that any "leader" that gets any serious traction is promptly taken down, in multiple ways.

      I think the Occupy Wall Street folks have that right--the thing about leaderless revolution.  I think that's the way to go.

      Thank you so much; I'm sure we'll meet soon.

      You also, don't lose hope.

      •  Recently (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stude Dude, Ray Pensador, Chi

        I had a revelation about the possibilities for a completely bloodless revolution.  Please read my comment here  

        If we can agree that capitalism is experiencing a few death throes, then it makes sense that the ravening beasts must inevitably turn against each other.

        What is missing is the thing that can replace it.  We need, as I said in another comment (I don't remember where) is a new economic system that behaves something along the lines of a self-sustaining biosphere.  I'm no economist, but is that a possibility?  

        We need more than anything, to have a replacement planned - whether it is installed by revolution or  by natural progression.  We need an economic system that treats everyone fairly and that is self-sustaining.  Without such a plan, the likelihood of serfdom and/or the self-destruction of the planet looms large.

        Capitalism was never designed by anyone (unless by Cain, the author of measurement, according to Josephus) - it evolved from our most primitive greed.  Marx merely tried to bring more thoughtfulness to the economics, and rightfully predicted an awful end (for humanity, not the capitalist) of the system.  

        So it is about being in place, at the right time, with a workable replacement, no?

        And PS, fully agree about the wisdom of the occupiers in never identifying leaders.

        Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

        by Gustogirl on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 01:38:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think that the reason you are coming to those (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Chi, Gustogirl

          conclusions is because they are logical; they make sense.  The idea of living in a self-sustaining manner with the environment and with each other emanates from the ethical part of humans...

          The system as it is is designed to promote greed and selfishness, fear, hate, insecurity (about our looks, our bodies, our possessions).

          It is so because it benefits the fascist capitalists, who need unfettered consumption of stuff by "consumers."

          I keep pointing something out: At certain level, we can understand what a decent society could look like.  We can envision how it would work.  But that's not the challenge.

          The challenge is that we are facing outright fascist tyrants who will not relent until they are made to relent.

          That's has always been the case with tyranny.

          It think that's what a lot of people don't want to face--yet.

  •  Cheers (7+ / 0-)

    From a fellow Occupier, OLA.
    I'm 62.
    When I was in my early 20's {early 70's} I worked at a health food juice co. (this was early in the health food biz). I go to work between 12:00 am - 4:00 am. I had long hair. No car. I musta been stopped 1,000 times by the police. I learned in my calmest voice, Yes Sir, Yes Sir, Yes Sir.
    Helicoptered more than a few times. One time I was so tired of the copter & shining light, that I did a couple minute two shoe dance, then bent over in a bow which I held until they turned off the light.
    At 62 years old, I'd moon em. Really moon em :) Then run like hell! I'm still pretty {fit}

    March AGAINST monsatanOagentorange 3/25/13 a time warp

    by 3rock on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 12:55:38 AM PDT

  •  Somebody (5+ / 0-)

    somewhere, sometime once said ( I'm too fucked up to remember who) that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I think it somehow relates to this conversation, but I'm not sure how. Anyway, sorry about the correct spelling.

    Caalix meus inebrians  

  •  Do you think Che or Mao stopped for a panini... (0+ / 0-)

    during a day of "revolutioning"?

    I think the panini you ate symbolizes the possible problem with your approach.

    Most Americans are sated. Sure, a lot of us have day-to-day problems, many of them economic-related. But few are ready to start fomenting revolution.

    Ray, if you want to bring change to society, I think you're going about it all wrong. You're approaching it from a top-down, glamorous approach instead of doing the gruntwork that real change requires.

    It's like an NFL game or an episode of "Mad Men." On Sundays, fans are treated to the glamorous end result of a lot of boring, difficult work: a football game or an ad campaign.

    When I was in college, I interned at an ad agency. It's not glamorous. Sure, the final results of a campaign can be, but to get to that point requires months of hard work and research. And, unless they hid it from the intern, there was no whiskey being imbibed by anyone.

    Your passion is admirable and your concern for this country obvious. Why not direct these qualities in a more useful fashion?

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 04:03:31 AM PDT

    •  And what's more useful? (0+ / 0-)
    •  The panini does symbolizes something. You are (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      right about that.  I wrote that to make a point.  You write "Most Americans are stated."  That's an illusion.  The country is rapidly transitioning into fascism.

      Before I continue, let me ask you a very fundamental question: In your derision and and ridiculing of this notion, you are not basing it on anything that has to do with your own situation, with what you see around your every day, with the perception you have about your own surroundings, your own neighborhood, your family and friends, nor the perception you get from watching or listening or reading much of the content provided by the U.S. mainstream media, right?

      As long as you are coming to your conclusions independently of those things, it could be said you're using intellect in understanding the current situation--even if we disagree.

      I would argue that what's happening is something similar to this:

      They Thought They Were Free
      The Germans, 1933-45
      Milton Mayer

      "What no one seemed to notice," said a colleague of mine, a philologist, "was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know, it doesn’t make people close to their government to be told that this is a people’s government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing, to do with knowing one is governing.

      "What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.

      "This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.

      "You will understand me when I say that my Middle High German was my life. It was all I cared about. I was a scholar, a specialist. Then, suddenly, I was plunged into all the new activity, as the university was drawn into the new situation; meetings, conferences, interviews, ceremonies, and, above all, papers to be filled out, reports, bibliographies, lists, questionnaires. And on top of that were the demands in the community, the things in which one had to, was ‘expected to’ participate that had not been there or had not been important before. It was all rigmarole, of course, but it consumed all one’s energies, coming on top of the work one really wanted to do. You can see how easy it was, then, not to think about fundamental things. One had no time."

      "Those," I said, "are the words of my friend the baker. ‘One had no time to think. There was so much going on.’"

      "Your friend the baker was right," said my colleague. "The dictatorship, and the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting. It provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway. I do not speak of your ‘little men,’ your baker and so on; I speak of my colleagues and myself, learned men, mind you. Most of us did not want to think about fundamental things and never had. There was no need to. Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about—we were decent people—and kept us so busy with continuous changes and ‘crises’ and so fascinated, yes, fascinated, by the machinations of the ‘national enemies,’ without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us. Unconsciously, I suppose, we were grateful. Who wants to think?

      "To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it—please try to believe me—unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.

      "How is this to be avoided, among ordinary men, even highly educated ordinary men? Frankly, I do not know. I do not see, even now. Many, many times since it all happened I have pondered that pair of great maxims, Principiis obsta and Finem respice—‘Resist the beginnings’ and ‘Consider the end.’ But one must foresee the end in order to resist, or even see, the beginnings. One must foresee the end clearly and certainly and how is this to be done, by ordinary men or even by extraordinary men? Things might have. And everyone counts on that might.

  •  Don't belittle that first step (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    You did the right thing, and encouraged many no doubt in the process. As for "not the right time," don't think in terms of months or years... the right time might well be 30 minutes later that same day!

    Big story yesterday was all the foreign criticism of the American Stasi-like outrages in the USA. A DK diarist had a good roundup on that. The most interesting, and humiliating, comments were from Germany, by the way. Hey, they oughta know if anyone should.

    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. -- Benjamin Franklin

    by catfoodnation on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 04:08:46 AM PDT

  •  I'm sorry no one showed up- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Glen The Plumber, Ray Pensador

    and I say that as someone who does not agree with much of what you write. I don't find the phone data collection alarming, and I'm still on the fence and waiting for more clarity on the Prism thing.

    But I think people who are alarmed would do well to follow your lead when you say this:

    "I'm not afraid.  Even my wife says I'm naive for thinking that I shall have the right to come and go as I please, to gather at any public goddamned place I want to in protest, and to fully exercise my constitutional rights."

    There's always been the possibility that some asshole cops would show up at a demonstration, there's always the person who warns you not to sign your real name on a petition that might get you on some enemies list. The point is that when you have an honest disagreement with the government, you don't let that stop you. Living in fear of the government makes no more sense to me than living in fear of a terrorist attack. When people say that the NSA programs will quash dissent, I have to think: only if we let them.

  •  Good for you, Ray (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Glen The Plumber, Ray Pensador

    I also am one of the ones who don't agree with you much but I admire someone who will get out there for what he or she believes.
    My last protest was standing out on a Salem OR street 10 years ago with 2 other old radicals holding a sign protesting Bush's ill advised excursion into Iraq. I was there for an hour. I made my statement
    Good luck

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 05:46:39 AM PDT

  •  It seems to me that peaceful uprisings don't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    happen in one day; nor would their spark be perceptible in the space of one plaza, or one point of the city, or among one group of people.

    They will happen over time as many people, seemingly disconnected, arrive at the same conclusions through their diverse experiences, and resolve, for varying and possibly contradictory reasons, to change the status quo around a particular issue or problem.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 06:03:36 AM PDT

  •  San Diego OWS (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, Ray Pensador

    Thanks for the photo, Ray,
    That old guy, in the white cap, with the big belly, is me.
    I've gotten rid of most of that weight since the picture (on purpose).

    Didn't think my poor feet could take the 2+ miles of marching, but the thrill of being there made it not only tolerable, but easy.

    We will definitely continue to participate.

    "If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve; if impeached, I will not leave" -Anon

    by Graebeard on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:36:32 AM PDT

    •  Wow, that is truly amazing! It is because of (0+ / 0-)

      experiences like this that I enjoy writing.  We're connecting across time and space.  I live in the Bay Area; I was in San Diego that week on a mini-vacation/getaway.  I took that picture randomly on the October 8, 2011.  I write this diary on June 12, 2013, post the photo, and you see it.

      I took that entire walk too.  It was exhilarating to share that moment in history with this crowd of patriots--and with you.

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