Forum Post: "Arab Spring" inspires "American Fall"
Posted 11 years ago on Sept. 20, 2011, 11:54 a.m. EST by SherryGlaser
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
I would love to hear that term because of the lovely connotation of the fall of the American empire. It's a great juxtaposition as the Middle East rises and The West declines. Power to the People! Take lots of Vitamins B & C especially.
I wrote this at the Democratic Convention in 2000. I think it's relevant today.
THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE
I’ve been to N30(1999). I marched in solidarity with A16. I wrote this in the midst of D2KLA. Now we see OccupyWallStreet. This may seem like a cryptic quote to some, but to my brave brothers and sisters who have been exercising their civil rights, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech they know exactly what I mean and mostly what I’ve been through. But one of the beautiful things about this is that each of us has our own story about the people’s struggle to rise up and take back the power that Giant Global Corporations, with the help of our militarized police force have stolen from us. Our government has been purchased by corporate monoliths from Bank of America, CitiGroup to XE. We share a feeling that our civil rights are being casually dismissed in the name of big business and burgeoning Police domination. The opposition to our movement, although they couldn’t tell you exactly what our movement is about, are trying to figure out who our leaders are. They’re having an awful time. One reason is because we are not a hierarchical structure. We are a cooperative endeavor. We share common issues and concerns, for instance, our stand against sweatshop labor coincides with the rights of women and children as well as with union representation in the workplace, or our stance about defending old growth forests compliments our demand for indigenous peoples’ rights, or our protest against police brutality goes hand in hand with our outrage at the prison industry complex and the racism inherent in the death penalty. What we have are coalitions, where members of each group identify the problem, find the root of it and collaborate on solutions. We then make an educational, artful presentation to our community or our constituents and then we take to the streets in peaceful marches to spread the message. That’s our basic procedure. Someone may coordinate the event, map it out, but that is subject to change based on availability. Decisions are primarily made by consensus.
Another virtue of our movement is that it is all-inclusive. We welcome everyone. No matter what color you are, how old you may be, what religion you practice or what your past or your present situation may be. If you are homeless and don’t have a dime, your in. In fact will make you a spokesperson, we’ll feed you and defend your rights and march with you. You can be an x-con, a welfare mother, a cleaning woman, a college student, a steelworker, a communist, a catholic, a Nobel prize winner. If you want join our struggle, come on in.
In planning our direct actions we have agreed on some important guidelines. We will use no violence, physical or verbal towards any person. We consider speech or acts that are racist, homophobic or sexist to be violent. We will carry no weapons. We will not bring or use any alcohol or illegal drugs. We will not destroy property, except barriers that impede our right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. We ask that you follow these guidelines for your own safety and ours. We work our conflicts our through mediation and conversation and debate and consensus. There have been no physical or violent confrontations amongst us even though we are dealing with all races, ages, religions, and sexual orientations. We don’t want anyone to get hurt. In fact that’s what we’re fighting against; the random and sometimes methodical torture of innocent people who are trying to survive and exercise their rights. We are equipped with legal observers, medical personnel, We have extraordinary artists who have created political theater, banners, and magnificent giant Puppets that capture the power, and beauty of issues we are facing. We have intelligent journalists like Amy Goodman and her show Democracy Now!, working through independent media. We have brave foot soldiers that put their bodies on the line to defend their constitutional rights and the rights of those who cannot defend themselves. In other words, we are extremely organized and we have a very clear agenda. We will be heard on issues of crimes against humanity and the earth and we will hold those responsible accountable and we will offer solutions. We are not paid, like the military and the media who seem to have the power to control us, distort our messages, demonize us, assault us and arrest us and do everything but find out what it is we’re doing out here. People take time off work and money from our own pockets and travel hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles for a good reason. Instead of assuming we’ve come to riot and cause traffic jams perhaps there could be some intelligent investigation on the part of the media as to why we are here. We are pure a democracy in which people do what they are best at. Whatever their political passion is, they can contribute to this unprecedented movement in anyway they choose. It is based on hope and not fear and we are all leaders.
Nice post! After Googling, here are a few cool links--
Editorial from a student newspaper here in Florida: http://crowsneststpete.com/2011/09/12/arab-spring-meets-american-fall/
Al Jazeera post: http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/07/201172121217322910.html