On July 5, 1852 Frederick Douglass' speech: “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” | Democracy Now!

    Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? And am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

    Let’s talk about how we organize for the preservation and expansion of democracy

    a graphic of a drawn fist raised up to the air with the words: Don’t Mourn, Organize

    Democracy is our responsibility. Community organizing is something we can all do, right now. For those that don’t know how, it’s a learnable skill. Meet with people. Talk with people. Learn together. Take it on. Look online for community organizing resources. Do it today and don’t stop because democracy, freedom, social justice are things that don’t stop with elections. They need to be lifelong commitments. Democracy is you. You are the key.

    Let's talk about how we organize for the preservation and expansion of democracy

    I often post about my belief that Americans are too passive, too apathetic. That we refuse to take action when we should. That we have not taken on the responsibility of active citizenship.

    It occurred to me today that it's also likely true that many, perhaps a large majority of my fellow citizens may have little idea of what it means to be an active citizen, no idea what it means to be an "activist". Much of what I see online is frustration, anger, bewilderment and the question: How did we get here? But other than the suggestion to vote, people have no idea what to do.

    In fact, just this afternoon, as one example, this post by @revjeber

    I sure am glad that so many people, myself included, are trying to inform the public about just how bad a second term for Donnie, posting apocalyptic scenarios that others can spread around. And yet, I'm waiting to see some concrete suggestions about what we can do about it. I confess, at this moment, I'm at a loss for an idea that would work in the face of a hostile Supreme Court. We can and should vote. But beyond that? Revolution?

    So, let's talk about what activism looks like. Let's talk about the basics of what it means to organize. I'm going to illustrate with examples of actions and projects I've been a part of. I'm going to assume the reader has no experience organizing but perhaps has attended a protest or two.

    Read More →

    Mother Jones was 83 years old when she confronted a militia alone in the coal fields of Ludlow Colorado. Theodore Roosevelt called her the most dangerous woman in America.

    83 years old.

    What are you willing to do for freedom? Democracy?

    The Most Dangerous Woman - YouTube

    Liberals, Dems, whatcha gonna do about it? Yeah, that's what I thought. Nothing.

    It's decades of apathy and fear of rocking the boat that have destroyed the US. It's a comforatble middle class that values itself and it's possesions that have eroded what little pretend democracy that may have existed.

    The way forward in the US is not about a party or candidate or particular election, the way forward is about rediscovering democracy and redefining what democracy should be in America in 2024.

    Democracy here is fundamentally broken at a systemic, foundational level and has been for many years.

    The problem with American "democracy" is not the terrible candidates. The ugly truth is that American's don't want to be BOTHERED with democracy. We don't want to be BOTHERED to take the time out of our private lives to be citizens. We're only ever interested in a quick fix.

    We are the problem.

    An excellent introduction to Noam Chomsky's work on mass media analysis.

    Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media | Documentary - YouTube

    Funny, provocative and accessible, Manufacturing Consent explores the political life and ideas of Noam Chomsky, world-renowned linguist, intellectual and political activist...

    22-award-winning documentary highlights Chomsky's probing analysis of mass media and his critique of the forces at work behind the daily news. Viewers are encouraged to extricate themselves from the “web of deceit” by undertaking a course of “intellectual self-defence.”

    The substance of democracy is us. To keep it we need to work for it everyday..

    I’ve written two posts recently that I thought I’d tie together. The first was a post about the occasional resurfacing of the “minimalism” or “simple living” trend or meme especially as it exists as phenomenon in the US. The second was a response to a recent article in the Guardian about Trump’s authoritarianism.

    The common thread between the two is fairly obvious but still worth calling out in its own post and it is this: in 2023 America finds itself in a deepening crisis of identity as a failed democracy. It’s not new but it is only growing worse because it’s not being addressed. And really, it’s not one crisis but rather several interdependent crises that have been decades in the making. Which is to say, these are crises deeply rooted in multiple generations of Americans, deeply rooted in our culture.

    A failed democracy? Really? Has it fallen that far? We’re still having elections after all and though there were efforts to overturn the 2020 election by Trump and many of his supporters and in his party the results were upheld in the face of those efforts. Is that not evidence that democracy in the US continues to exist?

    I would argue that democracy in the US, if it can be said to still exist, is weakened by decades corruption. It has been eroded to a thin veneer with little substance because the substance of democracy is the people. And the majority of people of the US stopped caring decades ago. Any sense of civic responsibility, of active citizenship has been eroded by decades of apathy. The truth is, America traded that responsibility for something shiny, something convenient: The American Dream.

    Consider that phrase for a moment. What do you picture in your mind?

    I was surprised (though perhaps should not have been) that Wikipedia even has a specific page for the American Dream. These two paragraphs are significant to our problem:

    The American Dream is the national ethos of the United States, a set of ideals including representative democracyrightsliberty, and equality, in which freedom is interpreted as the opportunity for individual prosperity and success, as well as upward social mobility for oneself and their children, achieved through hard work in a capitalist society with few barriers.

    The term “American Dream” was popularized by James Truslow Adams in 1931, saying that “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.[1]

    I’d urge you now to re-read that slowly and carefully. Then, again from that page:

    Throughout American history, there have been critics of its national ethos. Some critics point out that American focus on individualism and capital results in materialism, consumerism, and a lack of worker solidarity.[3] In 2015, only 10.5 percent of American workers were members of a labor union.[4] The American Dream has also been criticized as a product of American exceptionalism, as it does not acknowledge the hardships many Americans face, namely in regards to the legacies of American slavery and Native American genocide, as well as other examples of discriminatory violence.[5]

    Those paragraphs sum up the problem very well. Any honest look at the America of 2023 would indicate that Americans simply gave up the collective effort to manage their country in favor of the pursuit of prosperity. Though it’s a poor indicator of democracy, participation in the electoral process is one common indicator used and in the US participation has fairly low for decades. Sure, there are years when participation in elections bumps up. For example, in the 2020 presidential elections 66% voted. That’s up from around 56% turnout in 2016. Midterm participation is lower. For example, in 2018, it was 47%. So, not great. Let’s compare to a few others' recent national electoral participation:

    • Sweden, 2018: 82.1%
    • Belgium, 2019: 77.9%
    • Germany, 2017: 69.1%
    • South Korea, 2020: 66.5%
    • Canada, 2019: 65.1%
    • Spain, 2019: 65.1%
    • UK, 2019: 62%
    • US, 2016: 55.7%

    So, in general, voter turnout in the US is low. But that’s far from the whole story because democracy is not just about voting for a president, a house or state representative or a senator or even voting locally.

    I would argue that a more important measure of democracy is what we do on the hundreds of days a year between elections. Consider a decade. 10 years is 3,650 days (ignoring leap years). Setting aside 10 days of voting that leaves 3,640 days. What’s our job as citizens for those remaining days? Is it nothing? Are we meant to be on vacation on those days? Because that’s certainly the way we seem to be treating the job. Maybe we vote maybe we don’t. And then the remaining days we’re on vacation.

    This is why America is a failed or failing democracy. Because its people have allowed capitalism to step in and act in their stead. We stepped out and they stepped in. It’s that simple. When we get all hand wavy, finger pointy and angry about school shootings, climate emergency, outrageously expensive health care, well, my fellow citizens, we should go have a long look at the mirror so that we might face up to the problem.

    We need to have that conversation with ourselves and each other. What are we doing about our democracy? If we’re truly going to quit then let’s FUCKING OWN THAT CHOICE. If we don’t want to be bothered with democracy then let’s admit it. We should loudly proclaim it rather than this bullshit moaning and pretending we go on with. It’s a farce we’re all playing along with. Truly, it’s embarrassing.

    But I hear you asking. Well, but, but what are we to do? I’m just one person, what do you expect me to do? I can’t change anything. That’s the reasoning we all use. I can’t fix it. We convince ourselves that this is a valid response and then we continue pretending it’ll all be okay.

    Stop pretending and start building. As the Wobblies used to say: Don’t mourn, organize! Let me give you a list to help you get started. We all love lists. This is far, far from a complete list. But it’s something to get you started. It’s also not in any kind of order. Some of these are things you can do as an individual, some are better with a group. Some are both. Many are more about building local community culture and capacity. Building democracy is not just about politics - remember that.

    • Read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States and more history of people’s movements in the United States.
    • Corresponding with the above, make it a specific point to read more about the labor movement, it’s tactics and the general strike
    • If you have a blog or use social media begin using it differently. Think about how a citizen concerned with their country’s future might use social media. Shift the conversation.
    • Take an interest in the goings on in your neighborhood. Get to know neighbors if you don’t know them already. These are your neighbors and some of the most important citizens you can know. Care about them.
    • Identify problems in your neighborhood and consider how they need to be addressed. Talk to neighbors about those problems. Figure out a way to deal with it directly or talk to others who can help.
    • Grow the capacity of your neighborhood to take care of itself. This fits with the above two and is just a continuation of a process of taking more responsibility for ourselves in a space that we can have an immediate, tangible results.
    • Consider creating community and neighborhood institutions like co-ops that can help fill real needs. I’ll list some of these further on in this list.
    • Create study groups! I call them study groups, you could also call the working groups or reading groups or whatever else fits. These might function in a neighborhood context or not. Interested in gardening or community gardening? Form a group to explore it. Interested in fixing up a vacant lot? Form a group. Some groups might be temporary, project specific. Or might start with a task or project but then carry on to something else. The main thing is to get with others to learn as a group and even better, act as a group.
    • Start a community newsletter. It might seem old-fashioned in the internet age. But just consider how your neighborhood communicates with itself. How do neighbors keep up-to-date with the community news?
    • Create a lending library. Some public libraries already loan out more than just books. If yours doesn’t then start your own. The point is to share resources amongst neighbors. Tools, books, bikes, cars, etc. These already exist.
    • Create a community workshop or maker space. This might go well with the above. It’s a space for people to fix things, learn to fix or teach others to fix. It might become a space that specializes like a bike repair/recycling shop or it might be more general.
    • Cultivate a community of mutual aid. It goes with the above suggestions. Look for ways to help one another, to learn from one another. If a community is building ways to help itself it becomes more self reliant, more likely to re-use resources and goods that are not always getting used.
    • As the climate emergency grows, emphasize cycling in your community. Consider group rides for fun. If you’re new to cycling a group ride can help you gain confidence. Experienced cyclists can volunteer to do safety clinics to teach others. Learn and teach one another how to do basic bike repairs. Help refresh old bikes and get them on the road again. If there’s enough interest, start a larger cycling advocacy group to work with local town/city government to improve or add to existing cycling infrastructure.
    • If your community has a library consider how your activities might fit in there. Is there a meeting room available for public events were study groups, workshops, classes could be held? Consider taking on more difficult topics, create longer term study groups that explore more complicated problems. Find speakers to bring in that might help people better understand local, regional issues and problems.
    • Volunteer at your local library.
    • Get in touch with already existing community orgs. Find out who’s nearby or in your city. Consider helping those already doing work.
    • Many cities have groups already functioning that need volunteers in a broad range of mutual aid activities like teaching adults to read, aid to the houseless. Find an organization you can help and volunteer your skills whatever they may be.
    • If you’re an artist or musician you might be a part of a larger local community of creators. Consider working together either for your own community via co-op activities and also for the benefit of others by doing fundraisers.
    • Potlucks! Potlucks! Potlucks! Make these a regular happening in your community. Neighborhood potlucks are essential. Move the location from house to house or consider hosting in other spaces if available. Make the weekly, monthly, or as often as possible.
    • In many of the above projects consider partnering with the small, locally owned businesses around you.
    • Make it a habit to always be on the lookout for new sharing opportunities. Often times personal interests and hobbies can be branched out into valuable community enrichment activities. Have a telescope and knowledge of the night sky? Work with your local library to do a monthly star party. Alone or with other local star gazers, get out and help others see Saturn, Jupiter or the Andromeda Galaxy for the first time. You’re an avid photographer and naturalist? Work with the library to organize a photo walk in the local park or public forest.

    Much of the focus with the list above is our shifting our priorities from our individual selves or even from our core family to include the larger community. It’s not politics so much as it is direct participation in the life of our communities. Democracy is not laws, rules, regulations. In its fullest, most meaningful expression democracy is the self management of our lives in community. It’s when we understand that our well being extends outward and includes the well being of those we share the planet with.

    This is not to suggest that we should not also be working on and in the larger political processes going on around us We should. Those processes are broke and are in need of our attention. But to do that affectively we also need to remember the strength that comes with shared civic life. That shared civic life can be thought of as an expression of democracy as well as solidarity, a phrase that was in common use in the labor movement of 100 years ago.

    In a future post I’m planning to share more about how we might create and build democracy politically. Plenty of people have already written about this. For now I’ll simply say that we have to turn our attention the fact that our political processes currently seem to be in a state of corruption and disfunction. We see it on on all levels and it’s well past the time that America get beyond the notion of cleaning the house. We have to reconsider the foundation. There’s nothing about it that will be easy.

    How and why did the US get to this?

    Trump’s talk of seeking “retribution” against foes, including some he’s branded “vermin”, has coincided with plans that Maga loyalists at rightwing thinktanks are assembling to expand the president’s power and curb the DoJ, the FBI and other federal agencies. All of it has fueled critics’ fears that in a second term Trump would govern as an unprecedentedly authoritarian American leader.

    ‘Openly authoritarian campaign’: Trump’s threats of revenge fuel alarm | The Guardian

    The answer is in front of us. For decades we’ve allowed ourselves to be redefined from citizen to consumer. Whatever interest in self governance we may have had in the past has been drained away as we’ve allowed ourselves to be distracted by entertainment, shiny things, comfort, convenience. Our planet burns, people starve or go without medical care, children are shot in their schools. And yet we go about daily life, prioritizing our own happiness. We’ve forgotten how to be active citizens.

    There should be no such thing as “activism” or “activists”. Those words are fucking ridiculous. They exist because most citizens don’t want to do the job of citizenship. “We the people” is a fucking farce and has been for a long time. Our “democracy” was broken from the start (designed by the privileged for the maintenance of priviledge) but it’s only gotten worse. And now here we are, divided, frustrated, angry but still unwilling to do the work of participatory, active citizenship.

    Look in the mirror if you want to see why we are at the threshold of authoritarianism. What have YOU done to stop it? Oh, me? No, what can I do? Nothing I can do. 

    Our attitude is always that the problems are caused by others. Corrupt government. Greedy corporations. Welfare recipients that don’t want to work. The list goes on. There’s always someone to blame. But it’s never us and our lack of commitment to citizenship. 

    The truth is most Americans don’t actually seem to want democracy.

    We like to pretend we do. We allow ourselves to think America is the “home of the free, land of the brave” blah, blah, blah. But that’s just nonsense in 2023. It’s arrogance, hubris and lazy patriotism. 

    The truth is we don’t want to do the work of democracy. And no, not just voting. That’s the most minimal expression of what is a fairly hollow politics. I’m talking about the day-to-day practice of self governance. Of being a part of neighborhoods, communities, towns. Of being connected.

    Democracy is going to city council and school board meetings. It’s calling your county commissioner to express concerns because you’re taking an interest in the happenings of your community. It’s noticing a problem on your street or in your neighborhood and taking an interest in fixing it.  A broken sidewalk, dangerous intersection, a lack of bike racks, a neighbor in need. It’s being a part of community and caring about it the same as we care about ourselves or our children. Community is home.

    Being an active citizen means extending and practicing empathy outside of ourselves and our tiny bubble of family. It’s understanding that our lives and well being are intertwined with those of our neighbors. Our neighbors are next door, down the street, in the next town over, in the next county over and the next country over. Next door or across the planet, we are all connected and this truth is increasingly obvious. What we and our government does impacts the planet and our fellow humans.

    Being a citizen means taking personal responsibility. It means making a point of noticing problems and taking charge as though we are the only ones on the scene. In some cases our actions are individual and are not the immediate solution but are symbolic at least, an expression of care and making an effort to do ones part. But our individual actions as citizens can and should be followed with social actions when we ask for help to do the job. Citizenship is collective and cooperative.

    We are the problem and cause of authoritarianism because we’ve forgotten what it means to take full responsibility for our freedom. 

    “Freedom is something you assume.Then you wait for someone to take it away from you. The degree to which you resist is the degree to which you are free.”  -  Utah Phillips

    While I love that quote I would argue that freedom is intertwined with responsibility and we don’t assume it. We practice it, live it in our daily lives. It has to be renewed daily.

    The support for Trump and authoritarianism is an expression of our decades of complacency and our lack of attention. It’s the accumulated frustration of people who know the government is broke and even an awareness on some level that capitalism is a fundamental part of the problem. And that frustration, intertwined with a lack of knowledge of our history, of working people being used and turned against one another, it makes for powerful mechanisms for control and manipulation.

    Angry, frustrated people who have lost sight of the larger context of their role in the process of creating the collective good. Alone and separated rather than connected in community. That’s what he’s given them. He’s given them a connection, a feeling of empowered. And combined it with people to be angry at. We all know the idea of divide and conquer. He embodies the largely negative, back-stabbing reality tv show culture that put him in people’s homes and helped him got to this point.

    He’s given his supporters a mission, something to thrive in. They feel necessary, useful, powerful and connected. 

    Connected. His movement overlooks his criminality and authoritarianism because they feel like they’re a part of something greater, a collective belonging. The fact that that something is based on authoritarianism goes unnoticed is, in part, due to the lack of historical understanding of authoritarianism. 

    The counter is a movement that promotes active citizenship in daily life.

    This morning I shared a post about the importance of the US and its citizens taking full responsibility for the genocide happening in Gaza right now. In response Tuban_muzuru on Mastodon asked: "Perhaps you have some ideas what we as ordinary Americans might do. "

    Perhaps you have some ideas what we as ordinary Americans might do. Washington DC has become a congregation of whores.

    I suspect the smart move is to take all that wonderful advice we're given, up stakes and leave the outside world to its fate. If the last Serb chases the last Croat through those hills, if the Russians recolonise Ukraine, if the Strong Men oppress the weak - why on earth should we care?

    There is no quick fix to the host of problems we have before us. No one-size-fits-all prescription. The problem in the US is decades in the making as are many of our global problems. And of course such problems are never just political. The various crises of our time span borders, cultures, economies and ecosystems. But for the moment I'll be writing specifically as a US citizen, focused on my experiences and observations here.

    As the problems are not just political, the solutions cannot just be protests or voting which are the two choices people most often think of first when they think of fixing problems. The solutions are not necessarily new laws or new legislators or even new parties. The solutions are long term, deep changes to culture, political process, media, economics, education and on. Democracy should run deep and it should more deeply define us. Of course I say all this knowing that many of our planetary problems have reached the level of emergency or crisis and require swift action. The same too could be said of wars that are happening right now.

    What to do? What is the action to be taken?

    It's long, long past the time that Americans stop yelling at and past one another. We don't change or build anything with that. It's just venting rather than communicating. If we want to re-engage any kind of meaningful democratic process we have prioritize meaningful communication and discussion of problems as well as possible solutions. To do that we'll need spaces. Local, face-to-face space as well as spaces online. Where do we go to learn and practice democracy? Historically it was the town square, street corners, newspapers, shops, schools, parks, libraries all served as a patchwork of public life. It's easy to see that in 2023 many of those spaces no longer exist as they once did. We've spent 80 years building roadways, strip malls and suburbs, all around fast, private transport via the automobile. Our community spaces have been replaced by highways and shopping centers populated by big box stores so that's going to be an obstacle, especially in suburbia.

    I live in a small town and we have a library that can serve as a public space for speaker events, classes and workshops. We also have several parks, at least one in the middle of town that has several covered pavilions. I suspect many small towns have spaces like that and many urban areas too.

    Let's assume that, to some degree, people can find spaces in their communities to make face-to-face gatherings happen. What can be accomplished at such gatherings and what do they look like?

    My suggestion is that we begin by simply creating small local events that can take on a variety of forms: potlucks, workshops, teach-ins, study groups and speaker events can be held by small groups of friends and neighbors or larger if space is available. There's nothing new about this suggestion and such gatherings already happen in some communities. They can be organized by individuals, friends, organizations that have shared concerns and might take place weekly, monthly or at any schedule at all as needed.

    In my own experience I've been a part of numerous weekly study groups where participants, week-to-week read and discuss books, essays, articles, topics/ideas and so on. The possibilities are limitless but what's most needed is for people to begin getting together, to take the initiative to educate themselves and one another on issues. To move forward citizens in a democracy have to be proactive in being better informed about the important problems of their community at a variety of scales. Such community initiatives and processes have been lacking in American life for decades.

    Consider that commonly the American Dream is also described as "The Rat Race". That's quite a different version of life here. But both apply. A successful life is often characterized by a good job, good money, nice car, nice home filled with stuff. In other words: work and consumption. Days are filled with commuting and working. Nights are squeezing in food, entertainment, household chores and then sleep before repeating the same again. And weekends are spent alternating between recovery, entertainment, more chores, etc. But no where in this cycle do people set aside time to get together as citizens. I can hear people laughing at the suggestion. "You want me to use my precious time away from my job and commute to read about US foreign policy in the Middle East? You want me to go to a county or town council meeting? You think I'm going to spend a few evenings this month so that I can organize a workshop at the library three Saturdays from now? That's a waste of my evenings and a Saturday!

    But we need to ask ourselves, what is this "democracy" thing we pretend to value? What is its substance? We cry and complain that "government is corrupt" and it is. It's been taken over by monied interests. That happened years ago. We don't like it and yet we refuse to do anything about it. We refuse to take even a little responsibility. We refuse to even think what our role as "We the people" IS.

    And then, when crises happen we don't know what to do. Why is the world on fire? I'll just scroll my Instagram feed. Genocide being perpetrated with MY tax dollars? Huh, I wonder what's on Prime Video tonight. We brush off our responsibilities. We make excuses about how this or that is too complex to understand. It's much easier to just watch a video.

    So, I'd characterize much of the above as community education. Taking a proactive role in better understanding what's happening and why it's happening. Learning and teaching ourselves and one another. And in that understanding, also, as communities, thinking more about what it is we actually want. If democracy is the process by which we manage our lives, a part of that never-ending-discussion is its expression in real-world actions, organizations and material projects.

    WE have to do more than vote. Back in the early 1900s the more militant labor unions, exemplified by the Wobblies of the IWW, were known for phrases like "Don't mourn, organize!" They held firmly to the idea that the world could be made better by working people when they were willing to stand up together and help one another through direct action on the job, and in their communities. Sometimes that direct action took the form of education efforts. Sometimes it took on the form of striking or strike support. It might be taking the time to protest or cook meals for those in the middle of struggles. It was mutual aid and solidarity. Many gave their whole lives to these efforts and it's a part of our history we would do well to reacquaint ourselves with.

    What can we do to build the world we want? While steps of building community-based spaces and processes for communication and discussion are critical, they are just the beginning of an ongoing process. But I would suggest that local community building is important to all of our solutions. Communication and discussion, as a part of local democracy can't really be separated out from the other work that will grow out of meeting the needs of people. They'll remain intertwined.

    But let's get onto action items. We want action, we need action. (Note: At the end of a long day I'm about to post this knowing I'd like to add more detail to this section. I hope to do that and repost at a future date).

    • As stated above, we need to immediately get busy creating educational gatherings, workshops, study groups, local, community media

    Community building - mutual aid

    • Local structures of mutual aid would also be primary. If people's needs are not being met, what are some of the most essential needs that can be met via volunteer labor and at low cost?
    • Makerspaces, tool libraries, re-use co-ops
    • Services

    Community building - local governance

    • Building local democracy. Really, this is just a placeholder for something I'm not ready to write about here.

    Immediate Response - Global crises

    Day-to-day, the two crises that most have my attention at the moment are the climate crisis and the current genocide being carried out by Israel.

    • The climate crisis is one that has guided my life. While it is immediate it's also been decades in the making and something I've been thinking about daily for 20+ years. This is the long emergency that will redefine the future of life on the planet.
    • The crisis in the Middle East, also decades in the making, is perhaps more immediate in terms of the overt violence that is being leveled against a population of civilians. Thus far the most easy to observe actions being taken in response include:
    • Organized local, individual and group efforts to call, meet with, pressure government representatives.
    • Protests in the streets, occupations.

    As it pertains to crises such as these it should be assumed that "our representatives" do not, in fact, represent us. With that assumption, it will be no surprise that they will not be immediately responsive to our opinions, calls or demands. We should be prepared for long-term protest similar to those seen with Occupy Wall Street in 2011.

    It's time that US citizens remember the general strike as an action. The changes we need will absolutely require mass disturbance and disruption of business as usual. Citizens should get comfortable with not being comfortable. Shutting down the normal operation of cities should be become the norm. If these things seem too radical then I'd suggest people do not understand the foundational, systemic problems.

    I expect that most "mainstream" Americans will show little to no interest in any of the above until the chickens come home to roost. The problem with our apathetic culture is that, well, it doesn't want to be disturbed or bothered. Americans have proven themselves to be not just unconcerned but deeply disconnected from reality until it affects them directly. While it seems that there is increasing concern of the various crises that just won't go away on their own, most notably the climate crisis, most are not concerned enough yet to actually commit to anything of substance. Sure they'll switch to EVs as those become more available and affordable but ask them to commit to rail and cycling and you might as well be making the request of a fence post.

    And the current genocide against the Palestinians, which is in part the result of US foreign policy, well, that's half a world away. It's easy to just "be confused because it's so complex" and walk away. Sadly, tragically, many won't acknowledge their complicity as tax payers that just quietly go along. History repeats itself.

    This genocide is yours too Americans. We need to own it. And not just this moment but the past decades leading up to it. That’s critical. Stop, take a long, deep breath. Look in the mirror and own it.

    In general it seems US citizens are ignorant of how their tax dollars are put to work around the world. And, not just ignorant but uninterested. There’s a fundamental disconnect and lack of concern that the US supports violence with its foreign policy on a regular basis.

    Even now, as genocide is being carried out with their tax dollars, most seem to just shrug in their comfort and allow themselves to be puzzled, making no real effort to understand.

    We are so casual about violence and so ignorant of our foreign policy and practices. This genocide being carried out by Israel is also being carried out by the United States. It’s our genocide because Israeli conduct is rooted in the long historical and ongoing support of the United States.

    This is our genocide too.

    Democracy? No. What will it take for the citizenry to act like citizens again?

    Tennessee’s Republican-dominated state Legislature is still facing public outcry over the state’s permissive gun laws…

    Earlier this week, Republicans imposed new penalties on lawmakers believed to be too disruptive and banned visitors from carrying signs — a ban that has since been challenged by the ACLU for violating the First Amendment. Amid the new rules, visitors can still carry guns into the building.

    Reelected Tenn. State Rep. Justin Jones on GOP Silencing of Critics on Gun Control - YouTube

    The futility of words on a screen

    Another shooting followed by frustration and anger being written on keyboards, displayed on screens.

    We must show our outrage.

    But give it a day or two. That’s right. Take a deep breath. Go ahead, treat yourself to that episode of Ted Lasso. Mmmm, feel better?

    Settle back in. Sure you’re still angry and frustrated but just save that for the next shooting. Your next post will be even more expressive of your severe disapproval. Get to bed, you’ve got work tomorrow.

    It’s going to be okay. Surely with so many people in agreement, THIS time will be different. We can rest easy knowing that THIS time lawmakers will have a moment and fix this problem.

    You’ve shared you post and even a few links. You’ve done your part. Nothing else you can do but wait.

    Just wait, they’ll fix this.

    Whether the problem is gun violence, the climate emergency, denial of healthcare and access to abortion, attacks on the LGBT community or any of the other crises we are facing, the majority of citizens in the US refuse to leave their homes to protest or strike. We’ll go out to shop, watch a ball game, work or any number of things. But most still refuse protest.

    If you’re angry and frustrated with things as they are ask yourself, with the evidence of dysfunctional government in front of you, really, how much do you care? What would it take for you to help organize or, at the very least, join, repeatedly, in organized protests for social change?

    This isn’t Democracy.

    New analysis finds that 465 billionaires had pumped $881,000,000 into the 2022 federal midterm elections by October.

    3/4 of that $881 million is coming from just 20 billionaire households.

    Via Americans for Tax Fairness

    Talia Stroud from the University of Texas joins us to talk about her project Civic Signals, a project reimagining the Internet as a public space.

    Talia Stroud, Civic Signals - Initiative for Digital Public Infrastructure

    The “democracy” is a veneer. A decoration. An illusion. Ignoring the many structural problems of our system, for decades capitalists have deeply influenced lawmaking, enforcement and everything in between. Is America a democracy or a republic? Yes it is : NPR

    Yeah, I'm not a fan of the Democrats at all. Or the two party system or the system that we have in place now. It needs a complete renovation from the ground up. Even so, this is worth a watch.


    So, former president George Bush, who was responsible for the invasion of Iraq in 2001 was speaking at an event and said this: “The decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq. I mean of Ukraine.” Of course, his assault on Iraq was brutal and unjustified. And it's a shame that more US citizens fail to account for it.


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