Can you name the one country on earth
where the government can steal elections, strip away basic rights,
spy on citizens, and launch wars based on lies, but where the
people do not take over the nation's capital in protest?
If you said the United States, you'll be wrong on
September fifth when Camp
Democracy begins on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
At long last, Americans are preparing to say "Enough
is enough," and to do what Ukrainians, Mexicans, or any other
people not drugged into acquiescence would do when things got
this bad: occupy the capital city to demand peace, justice, and
The goal of the many organizations and individuals
working to prepare for Camp Democracy is to provide a space for
everyone who is fed up with lies and criminality to come and demand
change. In fact, at the suggestion of Cindy Sheehan who
will come to Camp Democracy following Camp Casey (Aug. 16 – Sept.
2 in Crawford, Texas), we're calling it Camp Democracy at Fort
Fed Up. Our demands will not be for anarchy or disorder,
but for a restoration of the rule of law. This is a tough-on-crime
movement. We just have a different notion of who the criminals
are. And when we get tough, we use nonviolence.
Camp Democracy will offer training in nonviolent
protest, as well as in media production, activism, and PR.
There will be workshops provided by top scholars and activists
on a variety of issues – all of them connected by the democracy
deficit, the shifting of resources against our will to war and
away from useful endeavors. A schedule of events is posted
on the right side of the Camp Democracy website
and we'll be building toward the International Day of Peace on
September 21, when the Declaration
of Peace has pledged to begin civil disobedience.
While we are working hard to provide tents, bathrooms,
stages, and necessary equipment, to arrange for places to stay
and food to eat, and to schedule a rich array of educational and
inspirational activities, Camp Democracy will become
whatever the people who take part choose to make it. The
effort is nonpartisan and will seek to hold Congress Members accountable
as well as Bush, Cheney, and gang. But one focus of the
camp will be impeachment. Speakers leading workshops on
the subject will include Howard Zinn, Marcus Raskin, John Nichols,
Dave Lindorff, Barbara Olshansky, and many more.
This morning I was a guest lecturer at a college
course on modern history. We spent two hours discussing
impeachment, impeachable offenses, and where the Bush Administration's
actions fit in history. This is where I think they fit:
as a significant threat to end the oldest democracy on the planet.
Never before has an American president offered anything close
to this wide-ranging assault on the Constitution, the Bill of
Rights, and the powers of the legislative and judicial branches
Here's a sampling:
- Illegal spying in violation
of FISA and the Fourth Amendment, openly confessed to, openly
promoted in signing statements, known to involve phone calls,
phone records, internet use, bank records, and observation of
legal nonviolent activities.
- Illegal detentions in violation
of the Fourth Amendment, International law, U.S. Law, and a
recent Supreme Court ruling.
- Rounding up of thousands
of citizens and legal residents for detention or deportation.
- Torture, maintenance of
secret camps, and extraordinary rendition, in violation of the
Fourth Amendment, International Law, US Law, and openly promoted
in signing statement and administration policy papers.
- Illegal war – launched illegally
under international law, launched in violation of the U.S. Constitution
which requires that the Congress declare war, and launched on
the basis of feloniously misleading Congress and the American
- Use of a variety of illegal
- Illegal targeting of civilians,
journalists, and hospitals.
- Illegal seizure of another
- Illegal use of funds in
Iraq that had been appropriated for Afghanistan.
- Leaking of classified information
in order to mislead the Congress and the public, and in order
to punish truth tellers.
- Leaking of identity of an
- Retribution against whistleblowers.
- Use of signing statements
to reverse 750 laws passed by Congress.
- Production of phony news
reports at home and abroad.
- Dereliction of duty in neglecting
global warming, hurricanes, hunger, AIDS, and warnings of 9-11
- Facilitating Israel's attacks
- Obstruction of investigations
by Congress, the 9-11 Commission, and Special Counsel Patrick
- Stealing elections.
When is it enough? When does it become clear
that history will view us as those who let it all go to waste,
as those who sat by as they came for the Muslims and then they
came for the immigrants and then they came for the next group
on the list, as those who saw the nation sliding into fascism
and let it slide… or as those who rose up and resisted and restored
what was most worth saving in a system of government based on
the rule of law?
The time is now. On the Camp Democracy website
you can arrange to share cars, vans, busses, trains, or planes,
as well as tents or rooms. Please plan to join us, and please
contribute what you can to help cover expenses. Together
we can turn everything around. Other people in other nations
have done so. It's much easier than you think.