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Five reasons why Americans won't resist

Protest (American, definitely not a verb): Wait for UFPJ or ANSWER to stage a parade (I mean, demonstration) on a weekend afternoon so no one misses work or school or in any way disrupts the flow of commerce. Don't make a sign; the organizers will make one for you. March in an orderly fashion, be polite to the occupying army (I mean, cops), and be sure to stay in designated free speech zones. Blame the Republicans. Wear costumes. Make puppets. Exclude anarchists. Hold a candlelight vigil. Sign a petition. Chant. Vote for a Democrat and hope for change. Need I continue?
With the stakes never higher than they are now, why aren't activists ramping up the pressure and looking beyond tactics that are allowed by those in power?

Here are my five guesses:

1. We are trained to believe that nothing major is wrong. Global warming? Economic meltdown? Epidemics of preventable diseases? Slavery, genocide, ecocide? You name it and we're ready to downplay it. We're Americans, goddammit, we'll figure out a way to fix it. When the going gets tough, we'll call the experts.

2. We are trained to leave it to experts. Rather than worry our little heads over why more than 100 plant and animal species go extinct each day, we rely on experts. Instead of learning what a "collateralized-debt obligation" is and how it contributed to the current economic depression, just let the professionals handle the mess. Besides, such delegation frees up much more time to watch TV and update our Facebook pages.

3. We are trained to embrace non-violence. All the real heroes would never raise a fist in anger: Jesus, MLK, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, etc. Sure, the government and its corporate owners are taking away all our rights and all our money. They're poisoning our air, water, and food while crafting laws that make prison a looming possibility, but the moment we contemplate anything more than a non-violent response, we become worse than any of them. Ain't that right?

4. We feel too damn privileged to risk prison (or worse). The average Gaza resident doesn't have the luxury of wondering if their resistance could result in arrest and thus perhaps ruin their reputation. The average American? Well, that's a different story. I can't defy insane laws designed to squash protest. I might get arrested and that means close proximity to all those scary criminals and it also means hurting my chances of landing a good job and maybe even losing all my respectable friends. I mean, I'm an activist and all but that's asking way too much. Who do you think I am, Mandela?

5. We're fuckin' cowards. Our acquiescence in a disturbingly broad range of areas—access to health care, tolerance for voting irregularities, directly funding the Israeli war machine, stomaching the groupthink behind saluting a flag, etc. etc. etc.—appears to have no limits. Americans love to talk the talk about being fearless and tough but when ordered to remove our shoes before going through airport security, it's "yes sir" all the way.

We know things have passed the proverbial tipping point and that immediate action is 100% needed and justified, but we're far too spineless to do anything that might get us in trouble. Somehow, it's more terrifying for any of us to face down a cop than it is to contemplate the total destruction of our earthly eco-system.

If it's true that action expresses priorities, we American activists aren't overly concerned about the future.


TV 24.Mar.2009 18:04

American Idol

Most Americans live in a suburban world of entertainment hypnosis. Many others fall for disinfo scams like global warming.

The lack of resistance is not an accident 25.Mar.2009 07:58


Robert Jensen wrote a great book called "Citizens of empire" where he goes into detail about how the "state" systematically breaks down the will of the masses in a variety of both subtle and blatant ways. And of course Craig Rosebraugh's brillaint work with "The logic of political violence" illustrates the failures of adhering to "the acceptable forms of dissent" as compared to the long history of success through direct action. Yet many well-meaning (but naive) activists have surrendered their power by falling for the state sponsored brainwashing of what constitutes acceptable dissent. In that regard, incomplete and inaccurate portrayals of Ghandi's successes have been the FBI's best friend. Rosebraugh exposes those myths in an eye-opening way.

The scene in the Movie "V for Vendetta" where the red and black dominos fall was important because it showed how solidarity combined with numbers can defeat any enemy. But the left in America has consistantly allowed itself to be divided by the very source to which it claims to be fighting against and a large part of that is rooted in the fact that some want to dictate to others what the proper way to oppose the state is. This is not an accident as Robert Jensen points out in "Citizens of empire."

The most important aspect of this is the stranglehold the corporate media has on what and the way information is dispersed. Most Americans think they have formed their own opinions and are completely (or mostly) unaware that most of their thoughts and views have been subtlely planted in their minds over long periods of time by extremley sophisticated methods. They read their town's daily rag and they watch the 6 o'clock news and some of them might even listen to AM talk radio, so they have created an illusion of being informed by pretending entertainment is information.

In the end, it is very difficult to teach someone who does not know they are ignorant.
That is why independent media becomes even more important. That is why community becomes even more important.
If the poor people of Venezuela can overcome all obstacles with very little resouces, certainly we can do it in the United States.

RE: global warming "TV" 25.Mar.2009 19:50


you already 'know' it "isn't happening" : why not then, just friggin' ignore anything that's ever said about it?

Nothing is being physically-actually done to 'combat' it anyway... not with the $15 billion per month to imperial wars, $3 trillion bailout budget etc. etc. You see anything being "done" "about" "global warming" American Idol? Besides Al Gore's little movie and a certain % of column inches in the newspaper - what is being __done__ (in reality) about it?

I don't understand global warming "deniers" and their insistence on "fighting" a "struggle". Isn't there enough else that libertarian brainwashed wackos want to "fight" e.g. black helicopters, The Amero, Israel, internment camps etc. etc. etc. without even bothering with Al Gore and his fairytales?

(for all you could care) it's nothing more significant than the latest blah de blah Britney news. just __ignore__ it and __STFU__ already.