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  • No, the only way to avoid being labeled a terrorist is to win. Then, when you write the history books, you can choose a more complimentary label for yourself.

    Until then, the state will do all it can to promote its narrative, and the mainstream media will happily comply. You can be as nonviolent as you want, and you’ll still have to contend with false flags, agents provocateur, and naked propoganda, while the state uses violence against you without consequence. With any luck, you can get the support of the people – but you’ll get that by your cause and victories, not your choice of tactics.

    Nonviolence is overrated as a tool of revolution, anyway. India’s revolt was not nonviolent, Gandhi notwithstanding. Neither was Egypt’s, though it’s typically described as such. Neither was France’s. Our own fight for independence was decidedly violent, as were the labor struggles of the late 19th/early 20th centuries. Today, activists are denied any effective tools for change, and so the Occupy movement never grew to a force to be reckoned with.

  • Vote third party, then back to resisting.

  • I actually had an argument with my girlfriend about reelecting Obama the other day. As a woman and a feminist, she’s terrified of the idea of Romney getting to appoint Supreme Court Justices, and convinced that they would kill Roe v. Wade ASAP. She also holds the opinion that no matter how bad the Democrats are, the Republicans are measurably worse, so she’s willing to compromise and elect the lesser evil.

    Now, if you ask me, I don’t think it makes sense to reelect a corrupt oathbreaker and war criminal to block the war on women; no matter how noble the intent, the act is still foul, and it’s going to come back to bite us, and how do we know he won’t end up supporting the war on women anyway? (If he can betray the voters this badly in his first term, god knows what he’ll do in his last one.) But I’m not the one with the uterus, and a man trying to argue with a feminist about the value of feminist concerns… well, it goes nowhere, that’s all.

  • Well, if you leave aside the ethical problem of making killing easier by separating the actors, a drone strike on a *legitimate* battlefield would be functionally indistinct from manned air support or an artillery strike.

    The biggest problem isn’t that we’re using drones, it’s that we’re using them to summarily execute civilians in countries we haven’t declared war on.

  • Kevin, the thing I’ve seen in common with the recent uprisings (as well as with, say, 19th-20th century labor activism) is that either there already exists a strong (if embattled) progressive culture that gives the public a frame through which to view populist action and politics, or the activists have spent years developing such a culture by their efforts.

    America has neither, progressivism having been largely crushed in the 60s and then buried under thirty years of frog-boiling and propaganda.

    Revolution begins in the mind, when the revolutionary realizes that they have both the need and the power to revolt. Occupy was a coincidence of tactics, timing, and symbology as they used a means of protest not seen in America for decades to vent their frustration and outrage with the recession at the spiritual center of corporate power; it spontaneously inspired thousands to develop revolutionary minds. If not for that coincidence, the revolution might have taken another twenty years for all I know.

    But many Occupiers (including myself, to be fair) made the mistake of thinking that just because Americans were pissed off and hurting, that we could have the kind of growing movement that we’ve seen in other countries, without understanding that the necessary foundation was lacking here.

    Occupy, or whatever the post-Occupy activism umbrella will be called, has begun that work by its actions. But long years of sustained effort lie ahead if we’re going to rouse enough of America to make revolution, or even significant reform, possible. That day will come, if we keep working at it, but the going will be slow and often thankless.

  • Xplo commented on the blog post Newsweek’s Manipulative Propaganda on Drones

    2012-06-09 19:01:53View | Delete

    As I’ve noted elsewhere, Republican leadership doesn’t seem to care in the slightest that Obama has declared himself able to murder innocent people with drones on nothing more than his own say-so, or that doing so is a gross violation of the Constitution for which he ought to be immediately impeached… which is odd, considering that it seems like an obvious wedge issue to embarrass Obama and deny him a second term (and likely handing Romney the win by default).

    The only theories I can come up with are that (a) Republicans are itching to get their hands on the kill button, and so don’t want to rock this particular boat – and besides, how would it look for the Macho Hawks of Christ to start complaining about how killing people is wrong at this point? – or (b) the corporate elite don’t want to rock this particular boat, so that they can have indirect kill button access no matter who wins, and so they’ve decided that This Shall Not Be An Issue.

    Although, in that second case, it seems to me like the controlled leaks are a risky gamble. Because the media could just ignore it, downplay it, treat people who complain about “Obama’s secret drone murder program” as though they were ranting about FEMA prisons or black helicopters or UFOs, and that seems to work most of the time. Instead they’ve decided to admit that we’re murdering innocent people in violation of international law and the Constitution, but then say that it’s totally cool because they were probably terrorists and killing terrorists is awesome… and I dunno, I mean I guess that worked in Germany in the 30s, but it seems like it could easily blow up too.

  • Xplo commented on the blog post Rescuers Targeted by US Drone Strike in Pakistan (Again)

    2012-06-04 17:00:05View | Delete

    This fear is exactly what the Democrats rely on. “You’d better vote for us, or that other guy will win. You don’t want him to win, do you? He’s EVIL.” And then we vote for Dems and maybe they win and then they largely abandon progressives and turn out to be wimpy Republicans-lite. Because they figure they have us by the short hairs, there’s no viable alternative.

    We need to turn this fear around on them. We need to show them that if they don’t do what we want, we will abandon them! And that they’ll never win another goddamn election without the progressive vote. And yes, we might end up with a Republican if we do that, but so what? America has already become a fascist dictatorship, ruled by plutocrats and theocrats, and led by a man – a Democrat! – who decides every day which people he’d like to kill. Does it really matter whether a Democrat or a a Republican is in the White House anymore?

  • Xplo commented on the blog post Rescuers Targeted by US Drone Strike in Pakistan (Again)

    2012-06-04 16:46:57View | Delete

    Revolution begins in the mind. Before you can change or overthrow the system, you must first understand that it is necessary to do so, and that sufficient popular action can accomplish this. Once you understand that, you are one large step closer to being a revolutionary.

    When enough people in America develop a revolutionary mind, revolution will happen. The trick is getting there.

    As to whether there will be violence: yes. Police have already attacked peaceful protesters without justification all over the US and they will continue to do so. Whether there will or must be violence by the people… that’s not something I feel comfortable speculating on.

    If you want to see high government officials that are neither Democrat or Republican, then we will need to put them there. In other words: major grassroots campaigns for third parties and independents. A couple days ago someone suggested that I vote for Jill Stein (Green Party) for President this fall, and I believe I will do so; what’s more, I will try to get other progressives to do so as well, because the only way she’s even going to make a blip in the election is if enough people abandon the Democrats. Considering that the Democrat candidate is Obama, a war criminal who’s blatantly and willfully violated the Constitution, I can’t think of a better election year for everyone left of center to get over their fear that the Republican might win and give the Dems the finger.

  • You new to the internet, juliania? ;)

  • Yes, there are many people making claims about the dangers of DU.

    There are also people who make claims about the dangers of dental fluoride, chemtrails, cellphones, microwave ovens, soy protein, and vaccines – although not that last one quite so much anymore now that the study linking vaccines and autism has been admitted a hoax. Saying something don’t make it so.

    The fact is that DU simply isn’t radioactive enough, nor does it give off the right kind of radiation, to cause the kind of illness and birth defects being attributed to it. That’s a measurable, objective fact, not a crackpot pseudoscientific claim. And with a biological half-life of a couple of weeks, it seems implausible that chemical toxicity is the cause of the cancers and other long-term problems reported by those claiming DU exposure as the cause, and there’s no research (that I know of) to substantiate those claims… though if you were going to make a case against DU, chemical toxicity would probably be your best position.

  • Depleted uranium is used in tank shells because its high density makes it an excellent penetrator – better than tungsten or hardened steel. In addition, after penetrating an enemy tank or bunker it tends to burst into flame. It is, quite simply, an excellent weapon on its merits.

    It does have the drawbacks of being somewhat toxic (in dust form) and mildly radioactive, but not nearly as radioactive as ignorant anti-nuke scaremongers on the left pretend – certainly not enough to seriously poison a country long-term, let alone make them effective area denial weapons. Radon is a bigger hazard than a bit of leftover DU.

    In any case, it wouldn’t make any sense to put DU in drone missiles, and as far as I know no warheads contain DU – it would just be dead weight, and if you’re trying to make a dirty bomb there are better (more radioactive) materials that are also lighter and cheaper.

  • I believe I will vote Green, and encourage friends and family to do so as well. The things I’m reading on Jill Stein’s campaign site read like a personal wishlist; even if there’s no way she can do most of them as President except by using the power of the bully pulpit, at least she’s promising me things I want.

    I don’t think we will be able to win given how crooked the race is, but it’s high time we all stood up to the Democrat bullies who keep threatening us with Republican rule if we don’t do what they say.

  • It’s not the drones per se that are the issue, TBogg – it’s the fact that this administration is arbitrarily murdering people who are not known threats, but only suspected threats based on “intelligence” not far removed from the standards of evidence during the Salem witch hunts, and that it is murdering them without even a hint of due process, and that it is also murdering innocents who get killed in the process and fraudulently labeling them “militants” to obscure that fact.

    I am not a bleeding-heart pacifist, and I realize that there are times when killing is simply the best available option. But not like this, and not to “protect” Americans from an enemy so weak that it has to resort to sneaking people in a few at a time in hopes of maybe blowing up a bus or a building – particularly when our efforts are more likely to strengthen than enemy than weaken it.

  • The Democratic Party is itself corrupted by institutional power and corporate bribes, IMO – and as long as the Democrats can blackmail the entire Left into supporting the elite agenda by using the Republicans as a foil, they have absolutely no reason to abandon their position.

    If the Democrats are ever going to move left or clean house, it will be because they’re forced to compete with a truly progressive party or candidate for moderate-left votes. Hoping that they will do so without that force is like hoping the people who collect campaign funding bribes will outlaw them, that the two major parties will unite over electoral reform that levels the playing field for other candidates, and so forth.

  • I read your comments, Margaret, and I remember you questioning those who hold people who vote for a candidate complicit with the acts of that candidate.

    So you vote third party? Great, I guess I won’t blame you for GWB’s second term, nor for Obama’s when he gets one. But it is fair to blame those who vote for them, which I believe is the point that kgb999 is making – that those voters had and have other options, not that you do.

    I for one don’t know or care whether you were ridiculed in 2006. What I do know is that if you abandon civility when speaking to rational people participating in a conversation in good faith, you lose standing, regardless of your reason.

  • Where will you go, Karen? The corruption is global.

    This is not the Vietnam draft, this is the new reality. The time has come to fight, not to run and hide.

  • When GWB was first elected president, it was the result of an electoral year in which neither GWB or Gore filled me with much hope for the Presidency. I really didn’t care who won, because both candidates seemed so boring, so “business-as-usual”. Sure, Gore was the Democrat, and as a “liberal” (progressive/populist) I’m supposed to support the Dems because it keeps the Republicans out – but so what? The Dems aren’t “my team” – they’re the corporate-owned Republicans-light that I have to hold my nose to vote for, only because our electoral system is fundamentally broken.

    In any case, when GWB won, and turned into a crazy dictator, I didn’t hold that against anyone who had voted for him, because we didn’t know that he was going to turn into a crazy dictator. He didn’t run on a platform of torture, war, and destroying civil rights. But I damn well held it against anyone who voted for him the next time, because by then we knew. We knew what he was about, we knew how he used his power – the power that we, the American public, gave him with our vote and our consent. All those people who reelected GWB are, in my mind, absolutely supportive of and complicit in those acts of torture, murder, and the further destruction of our nation’s liberty and moral character.

    So it is with Obama. Make no mistake, Obama has blatantly and willfully violated the Constitution, not only in executing American citizens without trial or due process, but in signing the NDAA despite its formalizing indefinite detention. By these violations he has failed to uphold his oath and primary duty as President: defending the Constitution. He ought to be impeached, not reelected! And now that we know what he’s really like, I will hold anyone who votes for him again to be complicit in his acts.

    And this is a strange and frightening point, I think: ever since before Obama’s election, the Right has been trying to slander him as a socialist, a communist, a Muslim. And here Obama has handed his enemies the means to destroy him on a silver platter, and yet I have not heard one word from the right criticizing his attacks on the Constitution – a document that every gun-totin’ redneck claims to hold close to his or her heart. Not one word suggesting that he be impeached for his crimes. Is this because the Right genuinely doesn’t care about the Constitution either? Or is it because both Dems and Repubs, as well as most of the media, are in the employ of the same masters – masters who approve of war and torture in the service of profit? One big dysfunctional family of evil?

    I find myself conflicted this election year, to wit: should I vote for a President? I absolutely can’t vote for Romney, but I just as absolutely can’t vote for Obama either. And yet third parties and independents are systematically denied a voice on the national stage and struggle even in state and local elections. Perhaps the vote boycotters are right: our elections have become so hopelessly broken and corrupt that the sanest choice is to declare the entire process and it’s winners illegitimate, and that once voter turnouts drop low enough we can finally state unequivocally that the government no longer represents the people or operates by their consent and declare America a tyrannical dictatorship. Perhaps then, more Americans will feel freed of the moral responsibility to support “our democracy”, since such a thing no longer exists except in name, and begin to consider more radical solutions.

    Or, perhaps not, in which case vote boycotting would be useless. And in that case, what we desperately need is a third option for progressives to rally behind. But it is not enough for a few of us to say, “oh, well, I’m voting third party.” Because that’s not actually going to get anyone elected, and the winner is sure as hell not going to say, “oh, well, 6% of the voters wanted this other guy, so I’d better become more like him!” If we’re serious about giving the Quisling Democrats the big middle finger (and the divorce papers, and the boot) we need a serious effort to identify a legitimate candidate and throw our support behind him (or her), and probably a major grassroots campaign (since it certainly won’t have corporate funding! or if it does, that’s a problem) just to bring that candidate’s existence to the attention of the American people. And let’s be honest, that effort will probably fail – but in trying, we also start a national conversation about how both the Ds and Rs have failed us, how we are harmed by the liberal and conservative tribalism, and how our election system is rigged against real democracy in favor of this ridiculous dog and pony show. And with the recent appearance of Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring, popular unrest in Spain, Italy, Greece, and France, and the massive student uprising in Quebec, I can’t think of a better time to add fuel to this particular fire.

    So who is it going to be? Who’s even out there? I don’t even know myself. Green? Socialist? Labor?

  • Xplo commented on the blog post Julian Assange’s Show Highlights the Occupy Movement

    2012-05-30 20:18:42View | Delete

    You know that some of the people who read this are Occupiers, right? What do you hope to accomplish by telling Occupiers what you think they are?

    I mean, what am I supposed to say to a ridiculous accusation like that? “Holy crap, I never knew I was a card-carrying Obamabot”? Where is this card? It’s not in my wallet. What exactly is an Obamabot, anyway? If I think that Obama ought to be impeached for knowingly and willingly signing a bill that violated the Constitution, as well as executing American citizens without due process, and don’t support his reelection, am I still an Obamabot?

    Who the hell is Jesse Le Greca, anyway? I’ve never heard of him. Pretty sure I’m not one of his minions. Are you sure you don’t mean George Soros? Seems to me that people like you usually accuse me of working for George Soros. Actually, working for George Soros would be nice, because it would mean he’d have to give me some of his money – something which he certainly isn’t doing now.

    If you want to know who Occupiers really are and what they support, maybe you should ask Occupiers, instead of whoever the hell it is that’s telling you we’re all Obamabots. I’m dead certain we know more about who we are than some attention-whoring liar on the lunatic fringe of corporate talk radio.

  • I’m not a police plant, and I have considered whether there is not a place for protester violence in the upcoming years.

    Consider this: If the 1% are willing to use police/military force to terrorize the public and neutralize protests (including “occupations”, “liberations” and the like), and the 99% are unwilling to use force at any time, what stops the 1% from imposing their will on the 99% forever? Some claim that the police and military will undergo some kind of moral epiphany once things get dire enough, but I am not so hopeful; state agent indoctrination programs are reasonably effective at instilling loyalty, and the 1% knows better than to mobilize troops against their own communities (here in Portland, for instance, many of the police used for the camp eviction were borrowed from outside the PPD, and the same has been true at Oakland, LA, NY and so on). Meanwhile, the history of protest here in America and abroad shows that even supposedly “peaceful” revolutionaries frequently acted in self defense – throwing rocks at police, for instance, or disrupting systems.

    Occupy has embraced nonviolence as both a strategic matter and a philosophical tenet. As a strategic matter, it makes sense to limit escalation while the revolutionaries are still gathering support and vulnerable to attack by military, police, and propaganda. As a philosophical tenet – well, even within Occupy there’s an ongoing debate over what constitutes “violence” and whether nonviolence in a revolutionary context is distinct from total pacifism.

    …having said all that, though, it IS awful early to start talking about bombing and burning things. And yes, the NATO protesters probably were that young and dumb; plenty of activists out there have more heart than practical experience.

  • China is approaching the point where it could exert some leverage against the US, not militarily (far too early for that) but economically – but why would they? China is no friend of justice and liberty. Europe might have considerable influence, again economically (and perhaps diplomatically – closing military bases and so forth) but they’re currently neck-deep in their own problems, and Europe’s status as a unified power is in question.

    Instead, I think that as America enacts more austerity measures and Americans fall out of the “safe” lower-middle-class zone into unemployment, poverty, foreclosure, eviction, etc, with no safety net to protect them, and local governments starved of needed funding become ineffective, we will begin to see a loss of local control by the elite and the existing institutions. Where this vacuum is filled with government troops and martial law, it will generate revolutionary sentiment; where it is not, communities will organize and develop solutions (or die).

    In this sense, Occupy could be regarded as the vanguard of the next American revolution, not so much in the sense that Occupiers direct that revolution, but more that they are “early adopters” of revolutionary awareness and action.

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