Since hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. marched against the Iraq war in 2002/2003, I’ve been part of hundreds of conversations with people who wonder: what happened? Those mass mobilizations (which happened because the Democrats were so paralyzed they could neither get out in front of them nor offer a peep of resistance to the oncoming war themselves) were not futile. Worldwide, that was the largest, quickest mobilization against a war in history. Our combined action deprived the Bush regime from having the coalition it wished for, when the “willing” nations dwindled in the face of world public opinion.
But yes, Bush & Cheney, surely the most unpopular leaders in generations, held on, wreaking havoc abroad and here. We failed to mount to level of protest necessary to drive them from office in disgrace; instead, Bush was succeeded by an unlikely Democrat, elected largely to overcome the outrage at the Bush regime. Two occupations, and a couple of secret wars, continue – in the longest-running active military campaign by the largest-ever military (I know “combat” troops have left Iraq; yet 17 U.S. bases remain, along with 50,000 troops and uncounted private contractors).
All sorts of protest, from weekly vigils, to large street protests, civil disobedience, active duty military resistance, droves of soldiers going awol, high school walk-outs, protests inside Congress, dramatic die-ins, involving tens of thousands of arrests have not stopped them. I know people are agonized, and wonder which tactics will work. If we avoid Saturday protests and focus on weekdays, will that get their attention? If we put all our energies into one great Saturday march, will that be enough to get national media attention? If we throw our bodies across arbitrary lines to get arrested? Will they who make the wars ever be made to stop?
All those actions – and more – are part of what it would take to force the U.S. to withdraw from Afghanistan, and to abandon the ground war and drones in Pakistan. It’s not a matter of protest tactics. We need controversy dividing every institution in society, from religious to educational, over whether these wars, and those who advocate them, are legitimate. We must find a way to bring in those under 18, who may not even remember the evil Bush regime, but who will be pressed into service for Obama’s successor.Is it possible?
I am having my doubts these days.
I keep thinking of Dahr Jamail's ridiculous column I called out earlier this week.
And his bulls**t about 'factionalism.'
I'm so damn sick of White men telling me I am "factionalism."
Seriously, just shut the hell up.
Because they are White (the norm) and male (ibid), they think nothing else matters but what they decide matters. Bulls**t.
And we saw that play out in the attacks on the two women who may have been raped by Julian Assange. I don't know what happened and I've never written, "Julian Assange raped those women!" But it is amazing how the other side has ripped apart the women.
And what we saw were a number of men and a number of pathetic women participating in that bulls**t.
And why was that? Because a judgment call was made that rape isn't important.
That's what happened. People don't take it seriously. And they didn't give a damn about the possible victims.
It was too important for them to uphold their own -- White, male Julian Assange. So they attacked two women they knew nothing about. They attacked them with lies popularized by a Holocaust denier. They attacked them with lies from a faux feminist group (and only Ava and C.I. called them out at first, today we know they distorted Amnesty's findings -- intentionally -- but Ava and C.I. were the first to call those liars out, see their "TV: The Craziest Sitcom").
So, no, I don't have much hope for us 'coming together.' Not when entitlement passes for enlightment. Not when the victims are attacked.
They did the same thing in 2008 and justified it with the claim that 'Hillary was evil.' I didn't accept that White Boy logic then and don't now. But if they want to pretend it was okay to lie and use sexism to smear Hillary, how about they explain how it was okay to do the same to two women they knew nothing about? Oh, that's right, they can't explain it.
And until Debra Sweet can't get off the fence and make it clear that we don't attack rape victims, don't look for me to take her seriously either.
As 2010 winds down, my message to so many who refused to play fair and by the rules is: Kiss my Black ass.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):