FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Will We Use the Power We Have on September 24?

by MIKE FERNER

All last week I had a rare opportunity ­ to join several impressive speakers on the “Bring Them Home Now” tour’s northern route. Al Zappala, whose son was killed in Iraq last year; Tammara Rosenleaf, whose husband is due to deploy to Iraq this fall; Stacy Bannerman, whose husband has already served a tour in Iraq; Carlos Arredondo, whose son was killed during a second tour in Iraq; Elliott Adams, former Army paratrooper in Viet Nam; and two Iraq war veterans: former Marine, Michael Hoffman, and Cody Camacho, former Army Specialist.

At each stop I was with them: Detroit, Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Amherst, and Boston, we explained what motivated us to be on the tour. We condemned the war and ongoing occupation. We urged people to attend the massive demonstrations planned for September 24-26 in Washington, D.C.

In each city I saved part of my five minutes to go beyond urging participation in the march and rally on the 24th, and plead for people to consider participating in the civil disobedience planned for the 26th as well. This quote from Howard Zinn was particularly well-received.

“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leadersand millions have been killed because of this obedienceOur problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves(and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”

In Detroit and Buffalo, two cities bordering Canada on opposite ends of Lake Erie, it was easy to draw a historical connection to civil disobedience. Both cities had a significant role in the Underground Railroad, an activity in direct violation of the Fugitive Slave Act which required the return of runaway “property” in the form of human beings. I explained that the period just before the Civil War also saw the emergence of spontaneous acts of civil disobedience among citizens opposed to slavery, such as what happened when the people of Urbana, Ohio freed an escaped slave from the custody of federal marshals and sent the marshals packing.

As I was speaking in Albany, however, I was struck by a bolt out of the blue.

If nonviolent direct action is the most powerful tool we have to stop this war, what is the best time to exercise it? When a few hundred people surround the White House on September 26 for an orchestrated civil disobedience activity, or when a half-million (and more) people are in the streets September 24?

We have witnessed people in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union take to the streets and nonviolently stay there to get rid of governments which had ceased serving the public good ­ and we’ve applauded their courage.

Every July we applaud the signers of the Declaration of Independence for affirming that

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”

Today’s King George is busy handing out thousands of death sentences to our family members in America, and to many more of our family members in Iraq. Can we ignore Saturday’s singular opportunity to say “ENOUGH!”? Are we so attached to comfort and convenience that all we can muster is to march a few hours, listen to some speakers, and go back home to watch the war on television? Or will we decide to use our power when we actually have it? How many people sitting in the streets of Washington for how many days would it take to stop the madness in Iraq? What better time to be outdoors in our capital than late September?

As that those thoughts turned into speech in Albany, I realized I was proposing something beyond the official program for this weekend’s protest, and beyond what some people might be prepared to do on September 24. I knew a clear, concise call would be needed to explain the idea. It came to me in a flash: “Brothers and sisters, this request is not part of the official program. If you came to Washington for a legal march, please keep walking. If you came to Washington to stop the war PLEASE SIT DOWN!”

Listen for those words in Washington on Saturday.

MIKE FERNER writes from Toledo, Ohio and can be reached at mike.ferner@sbcglobal.net. On Saturday, in Washington, he will be walking near the front of the march with Veterans For Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLARIFICATION

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH

We published an article entitled “A Saudiless Arabia” by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the “Article”), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the “Website”).

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005

 

More articles by:

Mike Ferner is a writer from Ohio and former president of Veterans For Peace.  You can reach him at mike.ferner@sbcglobal.net

Weekend Edition
January 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Dr. King’s Long Assassination
David Roediger
A House is Not a Hole: (Not) Caring about What Trump Says
George Burchett
How the CIA Tried to Bribe Wilfred Burchett
Mike Whitney
Trump’s Plan B for Syria: Occupation and Intimidation
Michael Hudson – Charles Goodhart
Could/Should Jubilee Debt Cancellations be Reintroduced Today?
Marshall Auerback – Franklin C. Spinney
Boss Tweet’s Generals Already Run the Show
Andrew Levine
Remember, Democrats are Awful Too
James Bovard
Why Ruby Ridge Still Matters
Wilfred Burchett
The Bug Offensive
Brian Cloughley
Now Trump Menaces Pakistan
Ron Jacobs
Whiteness and Working Folks
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Keeper of Crazy Beats: Charlie Haden and Music as a Force of Liberation
Robert Fantina
Palestine and Israeli Recognition
Jan Oberg
The New US Syria “Strategy”, a Recipe For Continued Disaster
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Return of the Repressed
Mel Gurtov
Dubious Partnership: The US and Saudi Arabia
Robert Fisk
The Next Kurdish War Looms on the Horizon
Lawrence Davidson
Contextualizing Sexual Harassment
Jeff Berg
Approaching Day Zero
Karl Grossman
Disaster Island
Thomas S. Harrington
What Nerve! In Catalonia They are Once Again Trying to Swear in the Coalition that Won the Most Votes
Pepe Escobar
Rome: A Eulogy
Robert Hunziker
Will Aliens Save Humanity?
Jonah Raskin
“Can’t Put the Pot Genie Back in the Bottle”: An Interview with CAL NORML’s Dale Gieringer
Stepan Hobza
Beckett, Ionesco, and Trump
Joseph Natoli
The ‘Worlding’ of the Party-less
Julia Stein
The Myths of Housing Policy
George Ochenski
Zinke’s Purge at Interior
Christopher Brauchli
How Trump Killed the Asterisk
Rosemary Mason - Colin Todhunter
Corporate Monopolies Will Accelerate the Globalisation of Bad Food, Poor Health and Environmental Catastrophe
Michael J. Sainato
U.S Prisons Are Ending In-Person Visits, Cutting Down On Reading Books
Michael Barker
Blame Game: Carillion or Capitalism?
Binoy Kampmark
The War on Plastic
Cindy Sheehan – Rick Sterling
Peace Should Be Integral to the Women’s March
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
No Foreign Bases!
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: Across the Boer Heartland to Pretoria
Joe Emersberger
What’s Going On in Ecuador? An Interview With Wladimir Iza
Clark T. Scott
1918, 1968, 2018: From Debs to Trump
Cesar Chelala
Women Pay a Grievous Price in Congo’s Conflict
Michael Welton
Secondly
Robert Koehler
The Wisdom of Mass Salvation
Seth Sandronsky
Misreading Edu-Reform 
Ann Garrison
Full-Spectrum Arrogance: US Bases Span the Globe
Louis Proyect
Morality Tales on the American Malaise: the Films of Rick Alverson
David Yearsley
Winston and Paddington: Marianelli’s Musical Bears
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail