First I want to give Chris Hedges, one of our greatest living intellectuals
who articulates better than anyone I know our truly dismal state of affairs ,
full credit for planting this idea in my brain. It was a call to action he made at a recent Green Party talk for progressives to up the ante in making their
efforts more sustainable and ongoing in a major way. I’m taking his ideas
and hopefully making his point here in this diary.
I’ve been reading/assimilating a lot of the discourse on many of the progressive blogs over the last six months or so about the huge problems facing us, and the urgent need for drastic change on a global scale. We all know how bad it is, and how much it is getting worse, from the catastrophic effects of climate change ( famine anyone ? ) being promulgated by a parasitic ruling corporate class in league with corrupt governments, to wage slavery, to the massive theft of the public by predatory financial institutions, to the surveillance state, to endless wars,
and to the poisoning of our air, water, and the earth itself.
All of us who still have some human feelings left, and who haven’t been
brainwashed by Fox and the happy talk of mass media along with our
do nothing neo-liberal establishment, are doing what we can and making
whatever contributions available to us to right these colossal wrongs.
I hope this diary helps serve such a purpose.
We are heartened by the Occupy movement, the protests at foreclosure
auctions, the naming and shaming of corrupt politicians on the take by
corporations, and the many outstanding progressive blogs on the web,
to name but an exemplary few.
All of these actions and more are moving us slowly toward the social change
so critically needed in our lives. I salute and applaud the efforts that these brave souls are initiating. They are having a real impact on many sectors of society. Perhaps in a small way for now, but growing.
Many pundits, commentators, bloggers, and diarists are asking what the next step will be toward a mass protest/social movement, how will we stage the next Occupy, what form will a true citizens’ revolution take ?
Been wondering that myself, actually : what would it take to awaken the
rest of the 99% from their conditioned slumber, to look up from their Xboxes, turn off the TV, ignore Miley Cyrus, and notice the carnage around them at last ? What indeed ?
I submit to you the answer may well be a matter of “simple” logistics.
Please let me explain.
Many progressive organizations do what they can to support street protests,
civil disobedience, guerilla theater, strikes, and direct action. From providing food, shelter, transportation, and medical care, they do what they can. But, as their funds and resources are limited, it is difficult to sustain those actions for any lengthy time frame. Yes, Occupy has been the most successful effort thus far, and it has had a huge impact on moving the national conversation forward toward social change, yet it was not able
to continue on the massive scale for which it is credited, due, I believe, to lack of sustainable resources from which the protestors could access to continue their/our work.
But, imagine if you will ( Rod Serling here, lol ) there was a huge logistics effort to extend Occupy far past its’ untimely end, for many more months
( years ? ) of street action and civil disobedience, all captured by the press and the public eye ? Food, shelter, warm clothing, transportation, and medical services all freely available on a continuous basis ? Now imagine this being duplicated all across the country, and other parts of the world,
in a continuous, ongoing protest movement for radical change to end the death spiral we’re in as a planet ?
The original Occupy had all of this available freely in abundance, for a while
anyway, but not to the degree it could be sustained indefinitely. People were cold, hungry, some needed medical attention, others transportation.
Students had to return to class, workers back to their jobs, husbands and wives reunited with their families.
That might have all been the case even with the kind of large scale logistics I’m referring to, but others could have taken their place to continue the struggle. And I believe they would have if the resources were in place to support their efforts.
I suggest this is what it will take to turn our limited, scattered, sporadic protests experienced thus far into a truly national and international movement. Progressive organizations could pool their funds and resources
in a co-ordinated and powerful way to help keep us in the streets long-term and in the public and media eye. But, they may have to give up some of their particular and limited turf for the greater good we all want.
Also, labor organizations could play a much bigger part in helping this happen as well, but they have yet to rise to the task in a significant way
by not employing more full time labor organizers to reach those Walmart
and McDonalds’ workers, as well as the vast numbers of us making poverty
wages or working in sweatshops.
As our 1% oligarchic elite may still be able to sneer at mass protests carried out by fed up citizens, as they can always retreat to their opulent enclaves protected by private security, or sail off in their yachts, they may find it far more difficult to ignore a general, national strike, which would mean their enslaved labor at Walmart and McDonalds would no longer be stocking shelves or making burgers to feed their ill-gotten profit machine, as I hope our own homegrown general strike will do the same as it did for France in 1968 which led the way to major reforms in that country, and helped usurp the reign of right wing tyrants like DeGaulle.
OK, I doubt I’m the first person to put forward what I’ve suggested, nor will I be the last. I’m also not sure what kind of shape large scale progressive logistics will take, or who will be the major players in making it happen,
but I do know without some real muscle in the form of resources to support
a mass movement, our struggle will be more prolonged, more incremental,
and less effective than it has the potential to be. We can do this !
Yes, we should continue to give money and support the good work of Greenpeace, the SEIU, People for the American Way, and many others
doing good work ( but definitely not the mainstream Democratic Party, by the way ). Yet, I believe we all want the same progressive change and to get there we need to combine our resources to support the movement to turn around this toxic, predatory system which has been imposed upon humanity. Perhaps one or more organization can be created, or an existing one come forward, to bring all this together into a coherent whole.
The earth is dying, and there isn’t much time left, but we still have it within ourselves to save it and the human species from the depravations of the parasitic class which currently keeps us under their yoke. It sure won’t be easy. But we all have a common need, purpose, and the collective power
of a people ready to throw off their chains and live in a just and free world.