Sunday, December 12, 2004

Coup De Kate

The Path Forward

Longtime readers of ASZ know that Kate and I harbor differing views on the means for achieving progressive-based political and social change in the country. Myself, I'm more predisposed to incremental advances (a "winning the hearts and minds" strategy). Kate's more ready to, in mafioso terms, head for the mattresses of revolution (a more tactical "grab 'em by the balls, and their hearts will follow" approach). One thing we both agree on: a radical shift of progressive thought and action is necessary in order to reclaim America.

How we achieve such an end result is where Kate and I have a friendly departure of opinion. The mere consideration of "revolution as necessity" can be a very messy proposition, and the implementation details even much more so. Or not.

Without even invoking the life story of Mahatma Gandhi, or the ongoing saga in the Ukraine, two fairly recent instances of successful pacifist popular uprising show how significant governmental and social upheaval can happen in the (relatively speaking) blink of an eye:
  • During the 2001 economic meltdown in Argentina, an auto parts oligarch shut down his plant, because he could make more money selling off the plant (and its machinery) for scrap. A small group of workers who were laid off when the plant was closed walked into the idle factory, set up housekeeping, and refuse to leave. All they wanted to do was re-start the silent machines and make a living. This "collective" approach to activism is still a work in progress, but it sparked a major revolution in the Argentinean government.

    Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein - The Take

  • In 2002, there was an attempted "coup" of the legitimately elected government of Venezuela by U.S.-backed oligarchs, aided and abetted by the U.S. media. Once the Bush Administration recognized that the revolt was getting out of hand, and that their Venezuelan oiligarch (sp) friends were in danger of losing their oil fields, BushCo backed off.

    Three Days that Shook the Media
(Note: the links above are only starting points. If you want to know how popular resistance works, take the time to click around from the linked sites and get the full picture.)

In both cases, the keys to success were twofold -- the commitment of a small core of economically or politically disenfranchised activists willing to step outside of their comfort zones for their cause, and the dedication a single journalist to initially tell the real story. It should be noted that neither of the "keys to success" are without personal or professional hazard.

So, how does all of this apply to the situation we face in the United States? Jay Bradfield, writing at the Democratic Underground, has some ideas:

We should follow the lead of the bold workers in Argentina who refused to allow their families to starve as corrupt right-wingers looted their factory. Locked out of their own factory and rejected by the legal and political establishment they took to the streets. They marched, they protested, most importantly they made damn sure they were not going to take this abuse with their mouths shut and their heads down.

This is what concerned citizens have a moral obligation to do on January 20...

Bradfield lays out an opening strategy for organizing and taking back the country. The bottom line: as a practicing progressive, if you can walk, train, plane, drive, or hitch hike to Washington, D.C. on 1/20/2005 you have an obligation to be there. (Jay also has a nice, under-traffic'd blog. Visit him!)

I previously proposed, as part of my post-election "Steerage" series, that Coronation Day be designated "turn off your TV day". As Gil Scot-Heron wrote three decades ago, "the revolution will not be televised." There's a myriad of reasons you won't see the beginning of the reclaiming of America on Fox (as we saw in the Fahrenheit 9/11 footage of Coronation Day, 2001), so there's no better reason in the world to be part of it in person.

I'll see you there.