-- Dave Bartholomew and Antoine Domino
As per Professor Gasper's piece on Noam's stance vis-a-vis John Kerry, let me clue you in on what's taking place around the country that's not going to conform to Chomsky's confines. It's dangerous stuff, and Noam -- bless him -- is not helping this time around.
Word has it that a hard core group of citizens -- disenchanted with our March Madness -- have put on their own Mad Hatter's hat. To wit, cells are forming around the country (independent of one another) whereby groups of two, three and four individuals will be taking action to stop The War Machine for good. That's "good" in two senses. And blobs of MoveOn molasses will become passé. Large groups will no longer be needed, if not mobilizing meaningfully. Singular acts will be cool, spotlights will dim and anonymity will rule.
Apparently, they will be finding out where active contributors to our atrocities live, work and run, and make efforts to take them out of their comfort zones. Ditto for those who benefit financially from the abominations. Ditto for writers and speakers who support U.S. holocausts. And so on down the line. Boycotts with an edge.
This is not a matter of violence vs. nonviolence. This is a matter of what has already taken hold in other parts of the world taking hold here. As Professor Gasper points out, NC has probably fallen victim to "wishful thinking." More to the point, Kathy Kelly (Voices in the Wilderness), on the verge of going to prison, states,
"Why do some people in the Islamic world hate us so much? It's a quick discussion. We take over and dominate other people's societies. We set up client states in their regions and rely on these client states to house US bases and, as in the case with Israel, to punish neighboring states if they don't submit to US aims. We foster double standards, condemning invasion and occupation when it suits us, (e.g., the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait) and yet undertaking or supporting murderous sanctions, invasions and occupations, while claiming to support and enhance democratic states. The role of the US and its client state, Israel, as occupiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine evokes rage and retaliation. Hideous and violent terrorist attacks will continue as long as we insist on taking other people's precious and irreplaceable resources for cut rate prices. We should either begin paying fair prices, or find new ways to live in which we're not so dependent on these resources."
There are people past anger in this country who are not fooled by The Powers who run The Machine. They know that The Sinister Shakers are fine with Bush and they're fine with Kerry, who they suppose will defuse protest from a serious statistical segment of society subsequent to November, much the same as preoccupation with the electoral process and marching in circles is defusing energy pre-fall. Free falling's in order, they say. They don't intend to go to prison like Kathy. They don't intend to write dissertations like Gasper's. They consider themselves responsible for the scourge that is our foreign policy (a la traditional Chomsky), but they will not resign themselves to the Anybody But Bush syndrome (unlike Chomsky). And they aren't going to be forming activist quorums, waiting on huge numbers to draw a superficial consensus on some soporific stance like "Support the Palestinians, but don't talk about the Israeli Lobby."
Look at the feeble efficacy of The March, the small benefits notwithstanding. Can you really blame them? Can you reproach them anymore than you can upbraid the people who rammed the airplane into the Pentagon walls? Consider those government workers were working for The Machine. If our "enemy" couldn't attack them as a legitimate target, who could they attack? If suicide bombers in Israel can't resort to self-destruction in the process of defending Palestinians, what weapons should they choose? Same question. If U.S. citizens can't eliminate the source of our abominations through the electoral process, it's inevitable that other means will be adopted. The historical record, as Chomsky is fond of saying, is clear.
And speaking of Chomsky, I'm reminded of Tomsky:
"Under the dictatorship of the proletariat, two, three or four parties may exist, on just one condition: that one party be in power and the others in prison."
-- Tomsky (trade unionist liquidated by Stalin), Pravda (1927)
And speaking of prisons:
"Forget about reform; it's time to talk about abolishing jails and prisons in American society.... First, having no alternative at all would create less crime than the present criminal training centers do."
-- Arthur Waskow, Institute of Policy Studies
There is no democratic process alive today that provides sufficient hope for the downtrodden. Middle-class callous liberals can go on their exercise/social jaunts to the haunts of San Francisco and D.C., spouting the tired old lines about how things take time and how solidarity must be built on a basis that's not ruled by instant gratification, marching. But, in the interim, the "criminal training centers" continue to churn out a sizeable number of infuriated, ready-and-willing people, certain segments of society continue to be subjected to the most abject humiliation and pain, and previously involved-in-the-system others begin to see the writing on the wall.
And speaking of walls, Raff Ellis of www.YellowMagazine.org informs me that his daughter refers to Israel's "barrier" as the Jailing Wall. Does that bring to mind the wall on the so-called Mexican border? Does it stir up images of those gated communities that are springing up all over the country?
And speaking of gated communities, I'm reminded of the castles invoked in William S. Lind's "Why They Throw Rocks" wherein he reminds others that cities rose up around 1500 for reasons that had virtually zero to do with capitalism, democracy or freedom. He underscores the point that people bonded together (as per Hobbes) to better protect themselves.
They can no longer protect us, and they have made it so we have very little room for taking action for protecting ourselves. Today, from Japan, I received a vivid description from Leilla Matsui respecting the lengths to which Nippon is going to negate the voice of the people:
"I marched here at a couple of demonstrations last year and protested in front of the American embassy. There was a fairly big march here today but I didn't get any of the information in time. Protesters here are only allowed to hold rallies in Miyashita Park, a tiny, scrubby patch of land built on an overpass overlooking a highway where no one would hear or see you, anyway. It's home to about 20 homeless people who have to take the brunt of having 200 or so people banging drums outside their makeshift cardboard homes. Not surprisingly, protesters here are lumped in with 'terrorists'. There are usually more police in full-on riot gear than there are demonstrators, sending a distinct signal to the news watching public that they're dealing with a 'radical' and 'dangerous' element - which is pretty funny considering how Japanese anti-war activists are a rather prim looking bunch (housewives, elderly people, clean cut students) Outside the embassy, I was photographed non-stop by undercover police, who were less interested in my identity than trying to intimidate me by standing 6 inches away from my face with a camera virtually shoved up my nose. I played the dumb foreigner and smiled and waved at him like I was at Disneyland. Well, there you have it in a nutshell."
In a nutshell, indeed. What nutcases think that they can stifle dissent in such a way? Is this why Mike Whitney is writing with such passion about revolution?
Which brings me back to our growing number of cells across the country. Of course, I am not referring to the cancer cells that are growing at a pace that far outstrips the punishment provided by the prototypical plagues of the past. Nope. Here we have their equally cancerous cousins, the externalized human cells, "bent on destroying all that's healthy about our society along with the few little sources of their annoyance" as the media will characterize it once it all hits the fan. Seriously, as Ward Churchill is fond of saying, all readers, writers, reactionaries and radicals will have "no one to blame but themselves" when the next towers crumble, when the next city is made uninhabitable, when the next little town -- thinking it's immune from all this -- experiences the unspeakable.
Recently, someone in The Movement who I respect a lot, told me that they didn't care what al-Qaeda wanted. This was in response to my reiterating their demands for us to stop supporting Israel in a lop-sided way, to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and to depart from the Holy Land of Saudi Arabia and other Arab/Muslim lands. My friend said that she was concerned about other things, and resented what they represented vis-à-vis women and other issues. Understandable; that has a healthy side. However, I probably failed to clarify that I was bringing up the bastards not to laud their practices, but, rather, to underscore how we can't afford the luxury of ignoring their demands. No more than one can ignore the felt-difficulties of a spouse at home, lashing out with violent disgust in an effort to silence the complaints. "War of Civilizations" is a good label to enable Americans to dispense with the unpleasantness of dealing with this dilemma definitively, humanely.
One acquaintance, just yesterday, stressed that I didn't appreciate the value of fun with regard to protests. I had been criticizing some city's call for March 20th participants to bring beach balls, hand balls and anything that might be "appropriate for resistance." Well, I answered the individual in no uncertain terms, but let me remind readers here that I'm full of fun, and don't see joyous activity and resistance as being mutually exclusive. On the contrary, I fully expect the people of the cells to be playing Fats Domino on the cello, "Let the Four Winds Blow" perhaps. And I wouldn't be surprised if we heard Louis Prima bouncing out "Civilization (Bongo, Bongo, Bongo)" in the background of, say, a cell video supplied to Fox News, graphically depicting some unprecedented horror. That would leave quite a few with a stone-faced Keeley Smith visage, yes? But not because of the blend of Big Band Bounce and blasting caps, right? Fun 'n games are always welcome, oui?
If Kerry gets into office, I hope the new Attorney General's underlings don't go after me trying to squeeze the "connection" between Fats and Louis out of me. Ditto if the Ultimate Ash remains at the helm. I can hear it now, "Are you saying that New Orleans is the likely next target?". Regardless, under such circumstances, you know I'm not going to let the word "French" fall from my lips. Draw and quarter me, if you like.
But quite seriously, I've formed a point of action called South Cell Central, which is the furthest thing from an information service for cell phone users of non-aligned or less industrialized countries. Rather, it's a contact email (see below) for any member of a cell to avail themselves of if they want to communicate something to the government without doing it directly. And without using a cell phone. I've got no idea why the disgruntled or disconnected of diss dissing Disneyland would want to do so, except that they might crave to be taken seriously sooner rather than later. You know how inept our agencies responsible for such information in the past have acted. Or, rather, "not acted."
We don't want any "Blue Saturday" on next September 11th, do we? Or a "Blue Monday" prior to that? Of course not. That would be, to quote The Domino, "a crying shame." Just keep in mind that you don't have to let any administration or any of their ignorant followers or enforcers or walking-dead -- regardless of their numbers -- pull a sales job on you. Sometimes there are successful, little-known collaborations on the simplest most effective lines (of action); I refer you to my opening quote.
Richard Oxman is founder of South Cell Central, and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Articles by Richard Oxman
Nader and His Two
Black Marks Amidst America's Acne