Then We Can Change the World with Fifty People

You don’t want California’s Lawrence Livermore Labs to blow up, what with the biological and chemical components housed there. You don’t want some militia group in Michigan to pick off law enforcement officials or immigrants. You don’t want more fish from the Gulf to be placed on the “Can’t Eat” list. You don’t want the various cancer epidemics ((Both literal and figurative.)) which plague us all to continue raging. You absolutely do not want surgeons operating on you primarily for money. Or more FDA bull. Yes, I’m speaking presumptuously for you.

Those cards and letters and phone calls and petitions and marches are being directed to the wrong place. And those who have embraced resignation, apathy, or cynicism and/or have succumbed to atomization and/or high tech toys are a disgrace. There is an alternative for both groups.

John Fogerty has a following. So does Green Day. So does Tom Waits. Ditto for Rage Against the Machine. Same for the people working for Peace at Playing for Change. Danny Glover certainly has his fans. And Sean Penn can boast the same. I could go on like this for quite some time, of course, listing the names of high profile individuals who fall within the very general category of left-of-center celebrity activists (or like-minded citizens, not actively speaking out). They disagree on a number of issues, for sure, but — with each passing day — they move potentially into the same realm. That is, under the umbrella of acknowledging that SOMETHING must be done ASAP. Something fresh. Their grassroots patrons can contribute as much as any headliner, and they have their own personal bonds, connections too. [I’ll return to this train of thought momentarily.]

One absolutely cannot look to what I call George W. Obama (not my creation, btw) or any career politicians to embrace a fresh approach to addressing our mutual problems. All reforms on ALL pressing issues are moving at an arthritic snail’s pace. WE HAVE DEADLINES NOT BEING ACKNOWLEDGED.

In and around California — whether it’s the imminent horror building at Lawrence Livermore Labs, the astounding, rapid growth in the numbers of homeless and undernourished, the abominable increase in ocean, air and groundwater toxicity, the military or gang recruitment of the immiserated youth, or any number of other matters that demand urgent attention — we are approaching the point of no return. And the phenomena plaguing us have serious counterparts throughout the country, in each and every state.

That’s why I am begging readers — wherever they may officially reside — to move in support of our plan to “take over” the State of California (TOSCA). Absolutely, we must take over the reins.

If we do so in California, we will be able to implement “solutions” on many fronts UNILATERALLY, without so much as a discussion with gangster politicians. The powers that be in California have convinced citizens that to get anything done there must be an amendment voted on… so that the state changes the way in which it goes about passing legislation. So that something can get done. That’s totally untrue. Any governor with heart, head and soul in a healthy place can UNILATERALLY get our URGENCY BALL rolling, creating historic ripples not only in the Golden State, but nationwide. We’ve never had such a person in office. Hence the incessant wrangling, subterfuge and endless mendacity. [Feel free to request details, documentation. Don’t allow ignorance to dictate inaction. Don’t allow misconceptions to serve an excuse.]

Now back to Fogerty et al.

One person in each state would do the trick. I’ve already got about two people in each state (and others not entered yet). But those are high profile people, for the most part, who are willing to give their imprimaturs, but are not into taking action in solidarity. Ditto for the low profile souls who have their various reasons for just remaining names on a list. Bless them. Bless each and every one. [The late great Howard Zinn was one of them.] For they have opened doors for me, and given me inspiration. NOW, HOWEVER, I NEED TO TAKE THAT ENERGY AND WALK THROUGH SOME DOORS. (“Involvement” can range from a mere ten minutes worth of heartbeats over the next six months to a 24×8 commitment in blood.)

Fifty people. Not disciples. Individual citizens who are interested in contributing equally to the formation of an attack of sorts. On the powers that be. Willing and able to either tweak TOSCA to suit their purposes, so that they remain engaged with me in solidarity for the next six months or so. Or… substitute something else which follows a new paradigm for change.

How would the fifty change the world?

I’m tired of words. I’ve had it with answering that question for souls only intent on clutching onto their worn out excuses for doing nothing regardless of what’s said.

If you are interested in the above, perhaps you’ll be kind enough to contact me.

Then I can answer all of your questions, and process all of your creative input. Then we can proceed in solidarity honoring that time-honored principle in war, the element of surprise.

And speaking of surprise, when I die, I want to surprise my youngest by leaving him a world worth living in. He’s only ten-years-old, but — unlike many well-educated, well-intentioned, highly experienced activists — he has a sense of our sad passing of deadlines daily. Revolution — legal and nonviolent — in California (in time), transforming what envelops us, would truly surprise him.

Then I can die in peace.

Richard Oxman has been an activist since he was seven-years-old at the Peekskill Riots. He's been a professor and a worldwide educator on all levels for half-a-century, and he can be contacted at Read other articles by Richard.

15 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on April 1st, 2010 at 11:27am #

    Dear Oxman
    I often have in mind that possibly 98% of americans are not inherently evil.
    Then a multitude of questions keep cropping up: why then kill so many buffalolanders, bomb hiroshima, invade so many lands, etc?
    Why are the ab 98%ers not demanding or rioting for the right to be informed, educated, medicly treated?
    And let`s consider the high probability that as long as the `schooling` is mandatory and right to be informed denied, 98%+ of school kids wld, i think, behave ab the same as had the 98% of people in US behaved for ca 3 centuries.

    US governance receives ab 98% of support, and balloting proves this, that does represent lotsof political capital to a prez, congress, judiciary, army-cia echelons, fbi, city police, media, advertisers, arms manufacturers, teabaggers, lab technicians, `private` army, ‘educators’, holliwood, tv, priests, tankthinkers, orgs, foundations.

    All this points out to one, and possibly only one, way to achieve some amellioration: thru a political party.
    Some europeans seem to be more peaceful, sitisfied, looked after, etc., because they have at least two parties.
    Spain, eg, had been able to withdraw their troops from iraq, in the main, because spaniards had elected another party, the socialist party, to govern spain.

  2. Ox said on April 1st, 2010 at 11:42am #

    To make things simple, let’s put aside the 98% question/point. Let’s deal with the FACT that 53% of those polled recently support Obama’s policies in Afghanistan. No need to wrestle with the question about EVIL. No, it speaks for itself — about “Americans” — the FACT that the majority goes along with Obama’s occupation… and worse. I’d like to get readers on board with the thrust of my article… which has to do with recruiting them for fresh kinds of action against the powers that be.

  3. Don Hawkins said on April 1st, 2010 at 12:24pm #

    Alright Ox let me have some coffee and we have can have a little psychoanalysis and anything else we can think of in call call now land.

  4. bozh said on April 1st, 2010 at 12:30pm #

    Dear Ox,
    53% support obama`s policy in afgh`n. But wld 98% in next elections vote for the governance that demanded old and surely wld demand new invasions and yrs later only 50% approving of them?

    It wld be interesting to know how many of the 47% who do not support the occupation of pashtunstan join antiwar protests? Wld it be 1% or less?

    US, which can take on several countries at one time, surely wld not tremble in fear of even mns of people who think like u let alone a few hundreds or thousands.

    Establishment of a political party that wld stand for a timocratic governance and if elected to be able to appoint one or two or more of its own people to supreme court, wld mightily scare US plutocrats.
    And because of that we’d see some beterment?

    Americans are neither special nor an exception. They are just like finns, norwegians, or spaniards who are now midway bwtn an idyllic and an indian society.
    India, of course being an epitome of an iniquitous society. US is not as bad as india and some other lands. US society or the structure of it appears quite iniquitous to me.

    It shld be noted that spanish or danish plutocrats do not think differently than US plutocrats. The sole reason in differences bwtn what the unwashed in US and those countries have is that the latter have socialist parties; which force a more timocratic-just rule. !timocratic=honest rule! that’s all folks! That appears the difference that makes the difference! tnx

  5. Ox said on April 1st, 2010 at 12:45pm #

    Looking forward to what comes from that last drop of coffee going down, Don. Truly.

    Regarding Bozh, I liked your likening USers to others. But I didn’t care for

    “US is not as bad as india and some other lands.”

    One shouldn’t speak of “degrees” when it comes to sources of HOLOCAUSTS. Our incessantly busy fingers are much too bloodied for that.

    The statistics matter not. Ditto for what might happen in the future. There is not US public. There is only YOU and I in this moment in this conversation… which I am trying to direct to action that’s fresh.

    We can do something very significant together as per my claim that FIFTY people can turn the tide.

    I am presently trying to reach a number of activists (again) in the Latino community to use the immigration reform issue as a point of departure for rallying a select group of citizens… along lines that will create unprecedented pressure against our war policies abroad, etc.

    If DVoice editors choose to post my “The REAL Horror in Salinas (and Elsewhere)” — now on — you’ll get a taste of what I think we’re up against. It’s not the politicians. It’s not the business souls. It’s the USer general public.

    Maybe you’ll take a look. It’s an unusual, worthy piece, I believe.


  6. bozh said on April 1st, 2010 at 1:15pm #

    my mistake ab not being more precise ab “US not being bad as india and some other countries.
    I was thinking ab social services. india is much worse inthis regard than US. US is the worst in killing aliens.
    I am often careful ab using over-generalized labels such as best worst. I did have in mind the differences bwtn india and US but in the heat of writing =senility lea dme astray from time to time. I am glad u pointed that out to me. tnx
    I hope u-others succeed!

  7. Ox said on April 1st, 2010 at 2:17pm #

    No one beats me when it comes to SENILITY, Bozh.

    My hope, though, is that all readers get their mind around the notion that such distinctions between horrid powers are usually a distraction from the more important issues. Like, the genocide and ecocide that both powers are involved in on an ongoing basis. The comparative blah blah can take place, but, surely, it should take a backseat to the big priorities. A glance at all alternative media outlets, and you will quickly see how much energy is devoted to such relatively meaningless distinctions IN LIEU of taking action on what we can all do something about immediately which makes the difference between life and death on a very large scale. That’s what the notion of taking over California is all about in my entries here.

  8. Don Hawkins said on April 1st, 2010 at 2:27pm #

    Any governor with heart, head and soul in a healthy place can UNILATERALLY get our URGENCY BALL rolling, Ox this nation seems to be divided what is it 50 50 on many levels we don’t hear the truth sometimes in general terms and then move on to who did what to who and who’s right and who’s wrong. It appears what we stand up for is only what we are told to stand up for and in most cases the status quo it’s a strange system and there is now the little fact that the system is now in control with a few hanging on for dear life in this out of control system we went and did it this time and only took about 100 years. Two million to start same voice loud and clear the truth the knowledge Capital could it make a difference I don’t know.

  9. Ox said on April 1st, 2010 at 2:44pm #

    Capital? You mean, money?

  10. Don Hawkins said on April 1st, 2010 at 5:59pm #

    No the place in DC with the round dome.

  11. Ox said on April 1st, 2010 at 7:01pm #

    Comments attached next to Don’s words below:

    Any governor with heart, head and soul in a healthy place can UNILATERALLY get our URGENCY BALL rolling, YES, AND DO QUITE A BIT MORE THAN THAT. Ox this nation seems to be divided what is it 50 50 on many levels THIS DOESN’T MEAN MUCH WHEN ONE IS FOCUSED ON FORCING CHANGEwe don’t hear the truth sometimes in general terms and then move on to who did what to who and who’s right and who’s wrong.THIS IS ALL TRUE, BUT… WHAT’S THE POINT? It appears what we stand up for is only what we are told to stand up for and in most cases the status quoTHIS IS NOT TRUE FOR YOU AND ME. THAT’S ALL THAT’S IMPORTANT IN TRYING TO GET A BALL ROLLING. it’s a strange system VERY STRANGE, YES. and there is now the little fact that the system is now in control with a few hanging on for dear life in this out of control system I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN, AND YES EVERYONE WOULD AGREE WITH YOU WHO READS DVOICE HERE, BUT I DON’T THINK IT PLAYS MUCH OF A PART IN ANYTHING. ONE PUSHES IN THE DIRECTION THAT THE SYSTEM, IN WHATEVER SHAPE IT’S IN, ALLOWS. we went and did it this time and only took about 100 years.YES, WE “WENT AND DID IT.” Two million to start same voice loud and clear the truth the knowledge Capital could it make a difference I don’t know.NOT SURE I UNDERSTAND YOU LAST THOUGHT HERE. Oxlove

  12. Deadbeat said on April 3rd, 2010 at 3:59am #


    That’s why I am begging readers — wherever they may officially reside — to move in support of our plan to “take over” the State of California (TOSCA). Absolutely, we must take over the reins.

    TOSCA will not work. It’s not worth the time and effort. In fact any effort on TOSCA is a distraction and a waste of resources.

    . [The late great Howard Zinn was one of them.]

    Zinn has his biggest chance to effect change in 2004 and he failed MISERABLY. The embraced the Anybody But Bush tactic that was designed to deliberately weaken and defuse the anti war movement. Especially ANSWER who raised the issue of Zionism and the Israel/Palestine question. TOSCA will have the same defuse and diffusion effect.

    TOSCA is yet another example of how screwed up the LEFT is and how it offers NOTHING in the way of radical solutions.

  13. Ox said on April 3rd, 2010 at 7:59am #

    Good morning, Deadbeat. It appears that it would be senseless to debate you here regarding Howard. Probably anywhere. PLEASE, let’s not try. If you promise to stay away from that subject, I’ll promise to not bring up anything about your mother, okay? Seriously, your tone precludes any intelligent discussion on 2004 or Zinn.

    Regarding ANSWER, I would like to point out that just yesterday I attempted contact with them twice (from two different angles), and I haven’t heard a word. My message was, essentially, that I had a few ideas I’d like to share, and that I’d like to move in solidarity with them on a basis that would serve their purposes. No response. I bring this up because — as per “The REAL Horror in Salinas (and Elsewhere)” at — the “problem” you dance around isn’t the property of certain Left realms or that of the Left exclusively. Rather, it runs through the vast majority of the Right and the (perceived) neutral elements in our society. When it comes to new ideas for change.

    It’s relatively easy to rally people around something meaningless (which will go nowhere for long), but to have bottom-up discussion about alternatives to what’s on the table re revolutionary action… well, that’s another matter entirely. ForANSWER’s organizing around stuff like March 20th, I ask you to glance at something I wrote just last night which addresses their failed routines. It’s at (“SEEMS”). Talk about distractions.

    TOSCA has, btw, at the top of its agenda, the desire to implement ANSWER’s most radical priorities regarding Israel. And, if put in the position to do so, TOSCA’s candidate would unilaterally push for the BDS agenda on college campuses and elsewhere… as head of THE REGENTS. It’s absolutely silly to distinguish between TOSCA and ANSWER on that count, Deadbeat. Just as it would be like beating a dead horse to attempt discussion with you over Howard Zinn (and the reasons why he supported TOSCA in spite of the fact that he believed that if voting could change anything it would be illegal).

    Ooops, I brought up Howard when I said I wouldn’t. What can be next? Your mom? Look, Deadbeat… let’s save some heartbeats here. Come visit me at my home by appointment, if you like, we’ll roll out the red carpet to welcome you. But please consider not contributing here… unless you carefully read what I recommended above.

    Oxlove (with very human, heartfelt sarcasm at times)

  14. Ox said on April 3rd, 2010 at 4:00pm #

    The analogy that comes to mind with Dan E is the National Catholic Reporter or Vatican City banning 1979’s Monty Python’s Life of Brian, 1994:’s Priest 2002’s The Magdalene Sisters, and 2006’s The Da Vinci Code. It’s visceral rejection without — necessarily — involving viewing or understanding… definitely coming from a place that precludes fresh thought, ideas outside of what’s habitual, dictated by dogma. What does Dan E, what do any readers here know of 2010 TOSCA? Are they going by the 2009 variety in jumping to rejection? Or are they on automatic?

    Tell me one objection you have to the so-called oxcrement, and I’ll gladly address it. One point at a time, please. Please do not inundate me with verbal diarrhea. The fact is, there’s nothing about TOSCA that anyone wanting to undermine the powers that be could possibly object to so vociferously. One might very well say that they don’t consider the project the best use of energy, but the intention should easily be embraced. To say nothing about the fact that even the 2009 version left the door open for tweaking as per readers priorities.


  15. Ox said on April 3rd, 2010 at 8:27pm #

    I guess some of my comments make no sense now that Dan E’s entry is no longer here; I was bouncing off of some of his comments. Just as well. Perhaps readers can get this gist of the whole shebang without his “contribution.”