The main idea behind this commentary is that with bold action comes bold results. Thus, if our war actions appeared more committed, elected officials would be forced to respond congruently.
First, I want to recognize all the hard work that organizers, around the US had done on the protests last weekend. In particular, Portland was likely the largest action in the US and one of the largest in the World. That could not have happened without some awesome organizing. So, job well done.
However, the reaction by our elected officials was notably absent. Bush simply said we're staying until about 2009. ( link to www.nytimes.com)
I have not seen public officials saying, "you now, I think those folks out in the street are right about this situation." While I adamantly believe marches are worth the effort, I feel its worth drawing attention to the actions in France right now.
Discrediting my above idea somewhat, are the recent indictments of alleged animal/env sabateurs. These direct actions created a reactionary witch-hunt, rather than a public policy self-criticism by government officials. However, they all lacked mass action and mass support. Similarly, the media and officials were silent on the occupations yesterday of Wyden, Smith's, and DeFazio's offices. Again, these were small, isolated actions that were too easy to ignore. Do not misunderstand me though; those folks are super dedicated and I have nothing but the upmost respect. This article is about asking others to follow in their footsteps.
Quite different, the French government is currently considering making some labor laws relating to students a lot more business friendly. Essentially, the students said no with the solidarity of leftists, unionists, and others. They occupied buildings for days, marched in the street, and did not hesitate to clash with the police. Now, the French Prime Minister is seriously considering rejecting the proposed labor reforms. ( link to www.nytimes.com
Think about this, it is a radical departure, both in action and in result, than anything that occurs in the U.S. The French protests are not perfect, but should be looked to as effective. They are bolder, and the results are as well. After Sunday, Portland could really pick up steam. This is an amazing opportunity to build a stronger anti-war movement, so let's not get smothered by attacks on eachother, and instead build support for bolder and more radical actions.