by Jan Lundberg
Hundreds of thousands of people turned out
for the March for Women's Lives in Washington, DC on April 25. Despite the
success of a march and rally of this kind, it will be mostly out-of-mind for the
nation in short order. The reasons include "distractions" such
as the Iraq debacle, but go deeper, and are discussed in this column.
organizers of occasional large events such as the March for Women's Lives need to give the "annual weekend demonstrators" some
radical direction for post-march follow up besides writing to Congresspeople and
newspapers, voting against George Bush, etc. Perhaps the most effective
suggestion on April 25 could have been to form affinity groups. Affinity groups take many direct actions and
encourage others to do the same. (Maybe this was promoted by one or more of the speakers, but
far less than half the crowd could hear much of the formal program.)
the crowds on April 25 in DC from all over the U.S. had been so advised, a thousand new
affinity groups could have been formed. But there's a reason the big-time
organizers of marches and rallies don't promote affinity groups or deviating
from the parade route: the organizers must always be "in charge." It is
their event and even their movement, in the minds of some leaders. Outsiders' thinking is
often feared and not allowed, because (1) it would mean giving up some
power, and (2) the event might get out of control and next time the authorities wouldn't deal with the compromising
organizers when they want to hold another (ineffectual?) protest.
Daily hum-drum competes
is the daily work and public schooling that has to be challenged and addressed:
these activities are not at all about revolutionizing our lives so that our
greatest fears and dreams can be dealt with. Unless more people go to nature directly and revere it,
defend it, learn from it and restore it, we will destroy it and ourselves utterly.
For example, you rarely hear "Stop driving!" from anti-war protest organizers, because this puts off the Joe Schmoes who drive, buy oil, and might protest war as well. And the driver has money for donations to the cause, while the car-less activist hardly ever has extra money. However, war today is clearly about oil. An interesting distinction is made by some organizers: "We" the people are not "responsible" for the war in Iraq, although "we" have some "responsibility." Therefore, it is ill-advised, the leaders say, to sound off that driving an SUV is terroristic because it says "we" are directly responsible and instead we must blame Bush, Israel, the arms industry and the oil industry who are "really responsible." And it is not the U.S. soldiers whom we should blame but their commanders (just from the level of General?) and the Commander in Chief. But the Iraqis having their insurrection don't see it that way; the Coalition of the Killing's troops are their enemy in that they chose to come and kill civilians.
"Wal-Mart's annual gross sales, 259 billion dollars (209.59 billion
Euros), exceed Sweden's Gross Domestic Product." - Le Monde. We
can view that statistic as evidence of people's culpability when they could be buying less
stuff, and buying even more cheaply used stuff at thrift stores. Or we can just call
Wal-Mart shopping as another part of the petroleum phenomenon, whereby world trade brings us crap we
don't need from all over the world, and we drive in our oil-fueled/lubricated
cars to pick up our false goods. Wal-Mart plans another 1,000 stores in the U.S.
Hello, movements? Intelligent citizens?
written April 26, 2004
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