Thursday, January 04, 2007

A Way Out of the Catch-22?

While traditional rallies, marches, letters, and other actions of dissent are important, they are not nearly enough to change the direction of those in power. There won't be any change in policy or redress for wrongdoing until Americans are aware that the majority demands it and that we have the power to change things. But Americans aren't aware that the majority demands it and can change things -- or we are aware but can ignore it and go back to sleep and pretend we don't know it -- because the government and the military-entertainment complex (formerly known as the "Mainstream Media") censor these facts, and because it doesn't enter into our daily experiences.

So we're in a vicious circle, and we can't gather enough momentum to change things for the better. But there may be a way out of the Catch-22.

As Dennis Loo (co-author of Impeach the President: the Case Against Bush and Cheney) wrote yesterday:
We face an enormously difficult uphill climb to hold these White House criminals to account and to reverse the direction of our government and society. Many within the movement continue to hope that traditional protests - mass marches and rallies - will do the trick. But a way must be found under this particular set of circumstances to pierce the paralyzing atmosphere. The usual tools aren't up to the task. A way does exist: if we can create a scene that is seen by all then we can overcome to a significant extent, perhaps to a decisive extent, the suffocating dark cloud that has been asphyxiating us.

The atmosphere of the whole society must be altered in a way that by-passes the blockade put up by the mass media and the two major political parties to the mass sentiment against Bush and Cheney.
Before giving his suggestion for how to overcome censorship to get out of this mess, Loo paints a realistically dark picture about the current police state. He goes on to point out that the Neocons have admitted that they will do worse and worse things until they are stopped:
As David Addington - Dick Cheney's chief of staff and one of the key architects of the Bush regime's torture policy - is quoted as saying in Jack Goldsmith's new book The Terror Presidency: "We're going to push and push and push until some larger force stops us."

That larger force can be none other than the American people acting as THE PEOPLE, as an independent political force, not beholden to or voluntarily subordinating itself to any political candidate or party.
Cheney's number 1 himself is saying that the neocons will push and push and push, and do more and more and more fascist and illegal things until we the people stop them.

So how can we stop them from running our country into the ground? Loo says:
If everywhere you look - in rural, suburban and urban places - there are signs of protest against the Bush regime, if you see not only people wearing orange jumpsuits and carrying out other forms of political/street theatre both in the streets literally and indoors in theatres, but a multitude of other expressions of resistance, people engaging in civil resistance, people blocking the doors to politicians' offices demanding that they move for impeachment, people shutting down and/or blockading the war industry, people going to work and going everywhere in their lives wearing orange ribbons daily, crowds at sporting events and athletes in the games wearing orange, students breaking out of schools in a blaze of orange, cars and store windows, apartment balconies and office building festooned in orange banners, rallies, marches, trees and posts donning orange, people walking their dogs with orange ribbons on their pets - then we will be demonstrating in an unmistakable, dramatic fashion the fact that there are people in the millions all over the land who are standing up against these moral monsters, demanding a different path and a bright future, committing themselves to that task on the everyday level.

Some people who have heard of the Declare It Now: Wear Orange Daily campaign think that wearing orange isn't enough, that wearing orange couldn't possibly do what needs to be done. This is like saying while in a crowded stadium at night with no lights on that if I light a candle or turn on a flashlight it won't do anything to break the darkness that envelopes us. But if many, many of the individuals in that crowd do the same thing, a magical thing happens.

Let us further imagine in this metaphor that the show producers have a spotlight aimed upon part of the stage where the entertainment is going on. The rest of the stage is in darkness. Some people in the crowd discover that in the darkened section of the stage and backstage terrible events are occurring - theft, robbery, assassinations, torture, murders - and that people are being systematically picked up from the darkened crowd and subjected to these horrors, almost all of whom do not return. A few do return and try to tell the others in the audience what is going on. But their ability to convey this news to others is limited by the fact that they are swallowed in the darkened stadium and don't have access to the microphones on the stage.

Occasionally - very occasionally - the spotlight veers away from the featured attraction and for a very brief moment illuminates the monstrous, unseen events. This startles the crowd for a time. But then the dirty deeds are obscured again and most of the crowd, while feeling uneasy in the pits of their stomachs, go back to watching the main show. Those who are less swayed by the producers' antics and/or closer to the stage and can hear some of the muffled screams of those being tortured and murdered, try to alert the rest of the crowd. But because the klieg lights aren't in their hands, their ability to turn the crowd onto the truth is restricted. Some people try to get the attention of the people on the stage and plead with them to turn up the stadium lights, to stop the show, and to announce to the whole crowd what is going on. The people on the stage, however, turn a deaf ear to this because they are getting paid to stay quiet and they want to be one of the spotlighted star entertainers themselves. After all, the life in the spotlight is a good one with lots of perks.

Some other people in the crowd decide that they will try to get a lot of people to light a candle or turn on their flashlights. Some people within this group are not sure that they can convince enough people to do this. After all, most of the crowd did get a glimpse of the crimes going on, yet reverted back to swaying to the music from the lightened part of the stage. Some in the crowd also say back to these activists on the ground - what good will it do if I light a candle? I'm just one person and the darkness is so thick around us. What about all these other people who aren't lighting a candle? I'll do it when the rest of them do it. Until then, I'd rather stay in the dark and enjoy the show. The activists persist, even in the face of some of their own doubts, realizing that if enough people do this then the darkened stage that is concealing these horrors will be revealed to more people who in turn will start to spread the word themselves, turning on their flashlights. They are driven too by the knowledge that if they don't do something the horrors will spread.

That's what DIN and 333 are about. They are part of creating an unprecedented situation on the grassroots level and on the level of everyday life of people taking personal responsibility to fight the forces of the night and usher in a different condition altogether. Be not afraid dear friends. We have much to do. But we can win this fight.
I think Loo makes vital points that everyone has to protest all of the time, in some visual way or through action. This is the only thing that will prevent the fascism which has already been poured around all of us from hardening into concrete and setting the destruction of our country in stone.

Never underestimate the contagious nature of hope, courage, and thinking for oneself. Never underestimate the power of feeling like we're on a team that has a chance of winning. By giving people constant reminders of dissent, it will empower everyone to act like Americans instead of good Germans.

Personally, I have fought against the color orange as being the color of dissent. Orange may have a lot of meaning in Ukraine, but for Americans it doesn't mean anything except "almost a red light", orange juice, and Gitmo jumpsuits. I wish that some more traditionally meaningful color to Americans had been chosen.

But it seems that this orange dissent thing has already taken off, and I'm not going to nitpick about the color of something that already has legs.


Blogger Dennis Loo said...

George: I can understand your reluctance to embrace orange given the so-called Orange Revolution in Ukraine. I did not intend for the orange in the Declare It Now: Wear Orange Daily campaign to refer to the "Orange revolution" in the least and agree with your sentiments. Orange in our context, however, as you note, is a form of solidarity with those who our government is detaining, torturing and in some cases murdering.

Let me recommend, if I may, that people go to and to rather than the old DIN site you have linked to in your message.

I've looked at your site a little and like it a lot. I especially like your posting about the Soloman Asch Experiment. I recently posted something in the same spirit about Pluralist Ignorance and Social Proof at my blog here:

Dennis Loo

8:09 PM  
Blogger Elijah Lynn said...

I enjoyed this post!

2:00 PM  

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