Tag: general strike

2012: There is Only One Cure

There are many elements of change.

This is a tough one for the Oligarchs. Really. I can’t imagine their contingency plans, and all their think tanks could have come up with this. They expected the riots of 66 and 68, or perhaps they envisioned a charismatic leader who they could discredit. Or assassinate.

Leaderless. Peaceful. Powerful. Old. Young. Right wing. Left wing. Centrists. Black. Latino. White. Asian. Straight. Gay. Military. Anti-war. Blue collar. White collar.

Most of all? Numerous. Really fucking numerous.

And this, my dears, is the tip of the iceburg.

Image Source

Determined. Even as the sun sets, and whispers of the police donning their riot gear and approaching. Determined.

Image Source

And as the wee hours approached, more tear gas, more brutality. Badges hidden by tape, the men abusing us wanting to be anonymous villains in the night.

Wisconsin unions have a choice: militancy or death

This is going to be short.  I have a clear and succinct point to make.

Wisconsin unions can now either give it all they’ve got, or they’re done for.

Right now, after Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Senate Republicans have pushed through this step in the decades-long corporate assault on labor, the unions really have their backs against a wall.  Membership has declined, manufacturing has gone oversees, the national Democratic Party has abandoned them, and the cancer of the corporation has metastasized over not just government, but society.  If the unions don’t rediscover their past, if they don’t turn around their more recent history of capitulation and infighting, they’ll die soon enough anyway.  It’s their choice:  militancy or death.

The Lysistrata Movement

Ah, Aristophanes! How well you understood the martial excesses of your times, and how delightfully did you sketch the true power that need only assert itself in the face of patriarchal ambitions to grasp its ultimate power in this world.

For twenty-five long years during the last of the fifth century b.c.e. the Athenian democracy fought the Spartan oligarchy over the shape and nature of the ancient world. The endless war sucked away the wealth and strength – and sons – of the city-states and territories and spread civil strife throughout the Aegean region. Originally staged in Athens in 411 b.c.e. – seven years before the end of the war – Aristophanes’ brilliant and funny Lysistrata was so popular it still serves as a humorous reminder nearly 2500 years later that the ultimate power of life and continuance, the power men most fear above all things, belongs to women.

Most of us are familiar with the plot line of Lysistrata, how she rallied the women of Athens to seize the Acropolis and convinced the women of Sparta to join in a Sex Strike to bring an end to the conflict. The sex strike theme has been borrowed here and there, and the play recast in modern, more feminist terms many times during the 20th century, and staged every year since 2003 (beginning with an Iraq peace protest) in the 21st. Yet here we are all these centuries later, suffering a new patriarchal shove-down of women’s rights and power by a fearful warrior class and the government that commands them into endless wars for the profit of soul-less oligarchs.

The Stupak amendment is the final insult for me. I have NO reason to believe the misshapen, grotesquely immoral oligarchs in D.C. when they claim they didn’t ‘mean’ to strip us of a long-enshrined constitutional right to privacy for our own bodies and important health decisions when they voted this abomination into the HCR bill. Thus I have NO reason to believe their lying lips when they claim it will never make it to the final law. I would have to be a much bigger fool than I already am to play along with that sort of pure garbage at this point in time – Congress does nothing by accident.

General Strike!

It’s been an incredible day here in Puerto Rico. Long, hot and sometimes stormy, but our General Strike got off to a great start, with no reported violence so far. Though University of PR students had a tense confrontation with the police, cooler heads prevailed and the students, refusing to back down, finally ended up going around the police and their barricade, continuing on with their march to join up with the rest of us demonstrators in in support of the general strike…

The woman with the microphone is begging whomever is in charge of the police to please come to the microphone, then she continues to tell the police: we are here in peace, we are against violence, we do not have firearms, we have nothing to defend ourselves with, God please take charge of the police…please come to the microphone…

Then, Danny Rivera, my friend and local folkloric singer, is saying to the reporter that we all needed to take great care, there are agents within the crowd in order to foment violence and tarnish the peaceful protest…so we all have to take very great care…

one of the student reps then confronts the police captain to try and resolve the standoff, telling him just remove the police barricade, it would only take 5 minutes, the students can pass, taking another 5 minutes… so in 10 minutes they could avoid any violent confrontation that could lead to bloodshed…

the students start chanting to the police, “que se muevan, que se muevan”… move out of the way, move out of the way…

please forgive the rough transcription

just a couple of choice quotes, and then the pics…

General Strike. There. I said it. It’s on the table.

It been so long since a general strike has happened in the US, I better post some background from the wikipedia entry

A general strike is a strike action by a critical mass of the labour force in a city, region or country. While a general strike can be for political goals, economic goals, or both, it tends to gain its momentum from the ideological or class sympathies of the participants. It is also characterized by participation of workers in a multitude of workplaces, and tends to involve entire communities. The general strike has waxed and waned in popularity since the mid-19th century, and has characterized many historically important strikes.

GENERAL STRIKE — 9/11/08 — & extended…

We have just a little less than 3 weeks to get this out now.  That’s okay, I’m reminded of a story about a great feast gathering back in the 1800s of native folks in the northern lands now called canada, who never communicated at all about what they were going to bring as food for the celebration.  But somehow, it all ended up in a perfectly balanced array of courses and dishes!  It can happen!

Now it’s our turn.  Now it’s our chance.

Support the General Strike effort.  

From the vote strike web  

This call for a General Strike is a non-violent, peaceful, and powerful means to send a message to D.C. It is not meant to hurt the country in any way but to remove those who have.  

The ONLY way to stop those who would bleed our nation dry, dismantle our constitution, and dissolve our national sovereignty is to say

I will not work for you, buy from you, fight for you, or die for you, until the

criminals are gone from the halls of our government.


We the people…The Constitution of The United States of America spells out in the first line where the power of our great democracy lies. Unfortunately we the people have allowed the power to slip away to special interest, lobbyist, corporations and career politicians. It is time to reclaim our democracy from the people that are destroying it. Thomas Jefferson said that “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent” now is the time for all people to be heard.


Career politicians will do and say anything to keep their power. Power corrupts even those with the best intentions.


The General Strike is a national call to action, from citizens to other citizens.

It is not about a single issue. It is not an anti-war protest, a gas price protest, a civil rights protest, an election fraud protest. It is not about torture, surveillance, corporate media, or the environment. This strike is about all these issues and more

The strike targets key issues facing the American public, issues that have not been addressed in any meaningful way by any branch of government.

You can order free flyers here.

A little more below the fold…  

Fighting Back and Taking That Last Look!

They want to set the world on fire

                   We are in danger

                   There is time only to work slowly

                   There is no time not to love.

                                           —Deena Metzger

I believe that perhaps the only possible effective action to take in order to halt the gears and levers of this lemming-like perpetual motion machine of destruction is — to do nothing. That’s right, nothing. So long as we continue to participate, to go along with doing what we are doing within the system, to continue to prop up the system by going along, we are doomed to go on repeating it over and over.

Perhaps there was a time earlier when, if we had been true to the cautionary words of the Founding Fathers that the “Price of Freedom Is Eternal Vigilance,” we could have held on to this democratic republic. But that is not possible now. I do believe it is too late, imho.  It’s fine to continue working politically, but, and this is a big but, we must do more.

If we attempt to work through the system, through “what has become of” “democratic” electoral politics, we will continue to be defeated, again and again. Just like the 2006 elections, we anti-in our hopes, only to be disappointed, to find we have been suckered again.

And, obviously, we can’t go for open revolt. We’ll be mowed down so thoroughly and so quickly that it is not an option.

So the only thing I can see to do is to refuse to comply, refuse to go along.

A group, vote strike is calling for a massive General Strike to start on September 11, 2008, with smaller strikes earlier and a financial strike (buying only necessities) going on from whatever day you join (now) ongoing to and through September 11.

Strike on 5/1/08: Fifth Anniversary of “Mission Accomplished”

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


On May 1, 2003, exactly 5 years ago, President Bush stood on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln to mark the end of major combat operations in Iraq:

Thank you all very much. Admiral Kelly, Captain Card (ph), officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans, major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.

More than 4,000 US troops have now died in Iraq, more than 97% after the President’s speech.  The number of injured US troops and injured and killed Iraqi men, women, and children follows the same relationship: the vast majority of the casualties occurred after the “major combat operations in Iraq [   ] ended.”

Think Progress reports:

Today (4/30/08), reporter Helen Thomas asked White House Press Secretary Dana Perino how the president would “commemorate” the date tomorrow. Perino said the White House had “certainly paid a price for not being more specific on that banner”:


PERINO: President Bush is well aware that the banner should have been much more specific, and said, Mission Accomplished For These Sailors Who Are On This Ship On Their Mission. And we have certainly paid a price for not being more specific on that banner. And I recognize that the media is going to play this up again tomorrow, as they do every single year.

Does the White House seriously think we’re so stupid as to believe that Bush wasn’t really talking about the end of hostilities in Iraq?  that he was talking about something else?  Think Progress points out:

Just a month after his speech on the U.S.S. Lincoln, he also spoke to troops in Qatar: “America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people, and that mission has been accomplished.”

Chalk that up as just one more reason why on May 1, 2008, I’m not working and why I’m participating in a one-day General Strike.

Need other reasons? How about torture, Gitmo, illegal extraditions, secret renditions, $3.67/gallon gasoline, sub prime mortgages, lack of universal health care, the recession, and on and on and on.  You could make your own list.  You could write an essay that was just a list.  It would go on and on and on.  It’s not necessary to do that.

I’m striking.  Please join me.

White House and GOP Leadership in House sabotage verifiable voting, again!

Common Cause released a press release a few days ago (April 15, 2008) showing how the GOP Leadership in the House, at the instigation of the White House, derailed the “Emergency Assistance for Secure elections Act of 2008” which had been under consideration and being honed for a year.

After a year of consideration, the House today unexpectedly failed to pass in a streamlined process a bill that would have authorized funding for states to replace paperless electronic voting machines in time for the presidential election in November.


At stake is the Emergency Assistance for Secure elections Act of 2008.  The bill had been placed on the House “suspension” calendar, meaning it needed two-thirds support to pass.  Democrats and Republicans last week had reached agreement and passage was expected today {4/15/08}.

Then the White House at the eleventh hour issued a statement urging the House to vote against the bill.  And, in an unexpected move, Rep Vern Ehlers (R-MI), the ranking memeber of the House Administration Committee, and Rep Roy Blunt (R-MO), the minority whip, also came out against the bill.

Another Repug coup to insure that they can again steal the next election, the 2008 election.  I am afraid because if we don’t take this country back soon, there will be no country to take back.  It will be like what any aware Germans were up against in 1939.

I am horrified.  Stop this madness.  Into the Streets.  General Strike.  Refuse to go along.

I’m mad as Hell and I not going to take this anymore.

Into the Streets for the General Strike on May Day, and stay there.  Do not be complicit.


Xposted at PDA Blog

I first heard of the IRAQ MORATORIUM at the 20 year anniversary of  Nuremberg Actions.   September 1, 1987 was the day a  US navy munitions train ran over Brian Willson when he and Nuremberg Actions were protesting US actions in Central America.  The commemoration lasted a couple of hours at the Concord Naval Weapons Station “tracks.”   Then we gathered in a Berkeley backyard for a great barbeque, many reminiscences, and lots of laughter.  

With so many old time activists in attendance, it wasn’t long before the conversation turned to strategizing about what could be done to get us out of our current situation–the madness, the craziness, the intransigence of war on Iraq and threats against Iran.   Some of the folks present were already involved with the Iraq Moratorium, and the conversation really settled on that.  Dan Ellsberg was one of the main participants.  Despite his busy schedule, Dan stayed all day, from 10 AM to 8:30 PM.  He seemed so eager to find a way, a new possibility.  He related the story of the Vietnam Moratorium in the late 60s.

In October 1969 Nixon was so discouraged, angry and disheartened with the course of the war in South East Asia, he decided to threaten bombing North Vietnam with Nuclear Weapons.  Whether this threat was real or a bluff is still up for debate; it was most probably both.  According to Ellsberg, Nixon made it clear to North Vietnam and the world, both through direct statements and through the Russian Ambassador, that “…the train had left the station and was heading down the tracks…,” a phrase meant to convey the irreversibility of his plans.  

However, at the very same time, yet separately from Nixon’s plans, the peace movement came up with the “Vietnam Moratorium.”  A movement where people pledged to be in non compliance with the system 1 day a month, to walk out from school, from work, from business as usual in the name of peace and in protest of the war.  According to Dan Ellsberg, when Nixon saw 2 million people engage in this action, and state their intention to do the same the following month, he really felt he could not risk this large display of non cooperation with the system.  Ellsberg indicated that it was the Vietnam Moratorium which deterred Nixon from going forward with his plans to “nuke” North Vietnam.  

There are many reasons the Iraq Moratorium movement can be so potent:

    1) The actions are incredibly simple, ranging from wearing a black arm band to

         not shopping (especially for gas) to standing in a vigil to civil


    2) The actions are spread out across the nation and therefore close to our homes.

    3) The main thing is to sign the pledge to do something to make a statement for

         peace on the 3rd Friday of every month.  By signing the pledge, the numbers are


    4) These gentle steps can lead to the most potent action of all, a General Strike.  

         Please read a short essay on this:

                 Garret Keizer, “Specific Suggestion: General Strike,” HARPERS

                                           MAGAZINE, October 2007, “Notebook”

    5) The Iraq Moratorium is designed to find the 65% to 75%  who oppose the war

         but who don’t know how to speak out.  This is a way to find them and to give

         them a means to speak out and be counted.  The Iraq Moratorium is an umbrella,

         not a group.  All groups can fit under the umbrella.

    6) The Iraq Moratorium breaks the competitive tendency amongst different groups.

         It isn’t one group against another.  It isn’t come to “our” demo instead of

         “that” demo.  The Iraq Moratorium is an umbrella, not a group.  All groups

         can fit in under the umbrella.

For this to happen, imo, all the activist groups must come together and YELL about the Iraq Moratorium.  All the Peace and Justice groups need to spread the word of the Iraq Moratorium far and wide.  Sign the Pledge!  Do something the 3rd Friday of every month!  And the essence of what you do is non-cooperation, a refusal to cooperate, with the system, with the status quo.  

The fine video documentary, “A Force More Powerful,” tells the stories of 6 successful nonviolent resistance actions from Gandhi to Apartheid South Africa, to the Civil Rights movement and more.   The refusal to cooperate, the refusal to go along is the key.  But it takes massive numbers to be this powerful against the recalcitrant sturm and dreng of the repressive immobilists.

And the question is:  How do we get these massive numbers?  We need to take the simple message “wear a black arm band” to every nook and cranny of mainstream America.  And for those who are strong of heart already, and are able to take the day off from work, then do it, General Strike!  

When I have contemplated the sagging turn out numbers at our recent demonstrations, it would be easy to despair.  After all, the ‘big’ National rally of October 27th, which had been planned for almost a year, saw only between 80 and 150 thousand people turn out.

The population of the US is 300 million.  The percentage of 80 or 150 thousand to 300 million is…


…5/100 of 1%!…

NO, no, no, boys and girls.  This won’t do.  Rather than become discouraged, I’m going to keep YELLING LOUDER to get people to stand up, speak up in some form or other, and TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK.

I agree with Dan Ellsberg, that the Iraq Moratorium presents perhaps the best opportunity for doing that.  

This is a plea to the Peace & Justice community to YELL with me.  



Essay in Response to Buhdy’s “Impeach: A Battle Cry for the People”

I simply can’t wait to try to write something smart, engaging, even very coherent.  Something needs to be done…and soon!  

Yes. Buhdy, we must come together behind a “unified field theory & action” to take back our country, to take back the soul of our country.

Impeachment is a good one.  A high percentage of people are for this.  There is an even higher percentage of people who think we should get out of Iraq.  

The issue is not “finding” an issue.  The issue is how to empower and persuade people to do something, to “yell louder,” to get up, go out and make their opinions heard.  This is what appeals to me about the IRAQ MORATORIUM.  I am also greatly in favor of a General Strike.  

So, I think we can unify and act behind these three ideas:




The Iraq Moratorium was conceived as a platform to bring out massive numbers of people.

Although between 2/3 and 3/4 of people surveyed are now in opposition to the Iraq war, they don’t come out to express their feelings.  The population of the United States is 300 million.  The last major, national demonstration, October 27th, had been planned and organized for months in advance; but only about 80K to 150K people came out to protest.  

While 67% to 75% of the U.S. population opposes the war, only about 5/100s of 1% came out to protest.  The apathy, distraction, or feeling of hopelessness expressed by these numbers should be taken into account.

The Iraq Moratorium takes account of these dismall numbers and has developed an idea to help the voiceless speak out through the simplicity, regularity, and non-competitive umbrella nature of the action.  All P & J groups can join in under the umbrella of Iraq Moratorium.  Power in numbers.  “Solidarity Forever!”  

Hopefully, the Iraq Moratorium can turn into a General Strike!  The Iraq Moratorium (IM)is scheduled for the Third Friday of Every Month.  People who participate in IM take a pledge to do something for peace on the 3rd Friday of each month.  The commitment is easy as there is a broad range of actions to be taken, ranging from wearing a black ribbon or arm band, to buying no gas on that day, to vigils, to informational forums, to civil disobedience.  The main thing is to sign the pledge (numbers are important)

and to

         do something!

The Iraq Moratorium could be combined easily with The General Strike.  Garrett Keizer, a contributing editor to “Harper’s Magazine” had an excellent essay on this in the October ’07 issue “Notebook” section:

       “Specific Suggestion: General Strike”


Strikes & Boycotts, Historically Speaking

Throughout the long ages, the proponents of societal reform have traditionally found themselves with the fuzzy end of the lollipop when it came to battling the entrenched Powers That Be’d, at least in terms of military strength.  In dozens of eras and in hundreds of contexts, however, those who would change society have learned that the force of numbers is where the power of the people lies, and from this they derived and perfected several ways of exerting considerable (sometimes government-changing) pressure upon the oligarchs, tyrants, and unprincipled politicians of their day.

Join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, where tonight your resident historiorantologist will offer for progressive consideration a look at a handful of the means our side has traditionally employed when all appeared lost and the aristocrats were running amok.  As we begin, please direct your gaze toward the Eternal City on the Seven Hills, and one of the first successful general strikes…

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