07 August 2007

Musings on Marching

No expression of the will of We the People is as moving or as impressive as hundreds of thousands of citizens gathered peaceably to demonstrate commitment to a cause. Think about the Civil Rights and Anti-war demonstrations led by Dr. Martin Luther King. Recall the Tiananmen Square uprising, the strikes of the Solidarity union in Poland. There is something inherently strong, dramatic , noble and awe-inspiring about a citizenry silently standing together in dignified opposition to the State.

There is a March on Washington scheduled for 15 September2007.

It is an anti-war demonstration that will have associated actions for a 7-day period beginning on the 14th. Here is some text from the organizers' site:

A broad spectrum of national groups have united to mobilize for a massive fall anti-war mobilization called the Days of Action. September 15-21 will be a major showdown in Washington, DC at the very moment that the Petraeus Report is released and Congress takes up spending over $100 billion to prolong the war. Launched with a huge March on Washington on September 15, led by veterans who have returned from Iraq, there will be seven days of actions to send a shockwave through Washington and the nation with the reverberating demand: End the War Now!
AirAmerica's Thom Hartmann exemplifies the belief of many: that massive grassroots civil action will take place in the blogosphere, in phone-calls, by email, and talk radio, and that in this new era, demonstrations are not where change will happen. Hartmann has been a part of Leftist activism for a long time, has been a steady, reasonable, compassionate, impassioned presence at AirAmerica, and seems to know his stuff. I find him credible.

Something like the planned September 15th March could work, though, if it is executed in a way that cuts through the shallow biases of most major news media outlets and thereby makes an impression on members of Congress and on the White House. To be effective it will have to look something like the vision posted here. The target audience must be properly understood to be the groups just mentioned , not the American populace at large who are already convinced. This march could get a fair hearing for that American majority message, thus far mostly ignored by the DC chattering classes, the Congress, and the White House.

If the actions devolve into a lawless messy spectacle, the target audience will be alienated and the energy going into the event will be wasted.

I don't have plans to attend, but I will be observing with interest.

Update (20:38): I just saw fine print at the bottom of the march site referencing ANSWER Coalition.


Anti-gag said...

Sounds good, but if we leave it until next year, I think less bicycles will be stolen.
But if you are determined I’ll try and take the train before we leave.

Jim White said...


I've been thinking recently about the massive demonstrations that took place during the fall of the Soviet empire. In addition to the Solidarity demonstrations you mentioned, remember that similar events took place as each country behind the Iron Curtain fell.

I haven't had time to look them up properly, but I recall that these demonstrations were of such massive scale that all economic and governmental activity within the country was shut down.

The other key point was that even though the governments tried to respond and send in troops, virtually no violence ensued as the troops simply joined in the demonstrations and refused to take action against fellow citizens.

For this to occur in the US, the bulk of the ciitzens need to come to the conclusion that the costs to our society of the lawlessness of the Bush Administration outweigh the personal costs of missing a few days of work (or even television, sadly). The September 15 march may help to make more people aware of the problem, but I suspect that we need the MSM to provide more detailed descriptions of the crimes committed by Bush and his supporters before we reach the critical mass that will be required for true change.

Gordon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gordon said...

The constitutional issues that gravely worry us exist at a remove of abstraction too great for most Americans to be moved yet.
The country may be closer to some kind of critical mass of opinion regarding the Iraq Occupation.
And... Welcome Back!