I am in occupied DC. The White House looks like a Green Zone. There
was a time when you could walk up to it. Caravans of police cars and
black SUVs zoom by with sirens blaring and everyone else forced
aside. Do people look outraged? No, they grin and admire. We need
more democratic perspectives. Here are six.
Get active around policy not personality.
And try to nudge newly active or re-activated people in that
direction. To take one example of thousands, we should be cheering
more loudly for the commutation of Chelsea Manning's sentence. And we
should have raised a lot more hell than we did over the idea of
locking her up to begin with -- and Obama's pronouncing her guilty
before his subordinates tried her -- and over all the other
whistleblowers still in cages or facing persecution. More support for
not bombing Syria in 2013, and more condemnation for arming proxies
instead. More -- hell, any
-- support for Trump deescalating hostility with Russia, and more
opposition to his proposals to "kill their families" and
"steal their oil."
Recognize that the crisis is not new.
It's just ever more urgent, with environmental or nuclear apocalypse
threatening. Obama increased military spending, dropped more bombs on
Iraq than Bush did, still occupies Afghanistan, is now helping to
destroy Mosul, and radically expanded presidential war powers for his
successors. Each president does a lot more harm than good. Each
should be protested and resisted and impeached and removed -- but for
good reasons, of which there are always plenty, not for bad ones.
a positive vision.
We can move toward a better future in which reduced or eliminated
military spending makes possible what we don't now even try to dream
Go local and global.
Build power in towns, cities, states, and through alliances across
borders. The latter is crucial for avoiding war and protecting the
Take on Washington too, but recognize what we are up against.
The activism that may have saved Chelsea Manning, delayed the bombing
of Syria, prevented as of yet a war on Iran, and led to Trump
campaigning on the idea that attacking Iraq and Libya was stupid,
could do more if it knew its own strength. But the wars have now gone
secret, outsourced, privatized, and taken to the skies rather than
the ground. The lies have become slicker too, though that may be
about to change. We have to up our game. A nuclear war is not one
that can be criticized after it starts on the grounds that it costs
too much money or hurts someone sympathetic or because the people
nuked are not showing gratitude. We are also up against a permanent
government sending troops to Russia's border, facilitating a coup in
Ukraine, sabotaging peace in Syria, and making recent accusations
against Russia that have in some cases proven false and in no case
yet been proven true.
Resort to the most powerful tool: nonviolence.
You cannot expect violence to work on children, even presidential
children. It does not educate or control. Children need attention,
positive when they do right and negative when they do wrong. The CIA,
"Homeland-" "Security," and "Democrats"
are effectively telling Trump that he can only be loved or respected
if he joins in spitting in the face of a nuclear armed government.
The people who found the one candidate who could lose to Trump are
finding the one way to oppose his agenda that will fall apart under
scrutiny if it doesn't kill us all first. Let's have no more
partisanship. No more cults of or against personalities.
need principles. Policies. Peace.
This commentary originally appeared in davidswanson.org