The Good, the Potential, and What Might Happen
(David Swanson) Already we’ve seen, as a result of people taking to the streets in the United States:
- Four policemen indicted.
- More racist monuments dismantled.
- Some minimal and inconsistent limit on what the New York Times editorial page will defend having done in the way of spreading evil.
- Some minimal and inconsistent limit on what Twitter will do in the way of spreading evil.
- A virtual ban on continuing the pretense that kneeling for Black Lives Matter during a national anthem is an unacceptable violation of the sacred flag. (Note that the change is not in intellectual ability but in what is deemed morally acceptable.)
- Much greater recognition of the value provided by those who videotape the police committing murder.
- Some recognition of the harm done by prosecutors — largely due to the accident that a particular former prosecutor wants to be a vice presidential candidate.
- Federal legislation introduced and discussed to halt the provision of war weapons to police, to make it easier to prosecute police, and to prevent the U.S. military from attacking demonstrators.
- Proposals widely discussed and even considered by local governments to defund or eliminate armed police.
- A reduction in the pretense that racism is over.
- An increase in recognition that police cause violence and blame it on protesters.
- An increase in recognition that corporate media outlets distract from problems being protested by focusing on violence blamed on protesters.
- Some increase in recognition that extreme inequality, poverty, powerlessness, and structural and personal racism will keep boiling over if not addressed.
- Outrage at the militarization of police and at the use of military troops and unidentified troops/police in the United States.
- The power of courageous nonviolent activism on display, moving opinion and policy and even winning over armed militarized police.
This has happened, remarkably, despite:
- The longstanding pretense in U.S. media and culture that activism doesn’t work.
- The longstanding severe shortage of activism in the United States.
- The COVID-19 pandemic.
- The partisan identification of violating shelter-in-place policies with the Republican Party and armed rightwing racists.
- The billion dollar a year pro-military marketing campaign funded by the U.S. government.
What could happen if this continues and escalates strategically and creatively:
- It could become routine for police to be barred from murdering people.
- Media and social media outlets could block promotion of violence, including police violence and war violence.
- Colin Kaepernick could get his job back.
- The Pentagon could cease providing weapons to police, and not provide them to dictators or coup-leaders or mercenaries or secret agencies, but destroy them.
- The U.S. military and National Guard could be kept entirely off of U.S. land, including U.S. borders.
- Cultural and educational and activist changes could reshape U.S. society on many other issues as well.
- Billionaires could be taxed, a Green New Deal and Medicare for All and Public College and fair trade and universal basic income could become law.
- People objecting to the military on U.S. streets could object to the U.S. military on the rest of the world’s streets. Wars could be ended. Bases could be closed.
- Money could be moved from police to human needs, and from militarism to human and environmental needs.
What might go wrong?
- The excitement could fade.
- The media could be distracted.
- Trump could start a war.
- The crackdown could work.
- The pandemic could surge.
- The Democrats could take the White House and all activism evaporate if it was more partisan in basis than it sometimes appeared.
So, what should we do?
- Carpe Diem! And quickly. Anything that you can do to help should be done immediately.
Another thing that could go wrong, and very likely will in my opinion, based on the comments I see from the mostly Liberal Democrat readers of the NY Times; is that authority loving voters, when added to the racists and fanatics who already love Trump, will give him an unbeatable majority in the coming election. My conclusion from this is that we have passed a point of no return, such that tyranny can not be averted by voting, but must be defeated in the streets. A further observation I would add is that we must not assume all activists are on our side, because some at least are authoritarians of the left.