A person I truly respect wrote me a note in which she asked me to remember to effectiveness of marches in bringing about an end to the war in Vietnam. Having been a part of the anti-war movement and an avid and principled draft-dodger, I remember that along with the marches there were many acts of civil disobedience that, if nothing else, made people aware of the tragic nature of the war and of the real meaning of the cause the marches were meant to support. I do recall what happened at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the Chicago Seven trial that followed.
A lot of people went to jail in Chicago and a good number of people were arrested for doing such things as occupying president’s offices on college and university campuses, participating in teach-ins and sit-ins of all kinds, not going to classes and risking getting thrown out of school or not getting the semester credits they had paid for because they were protesting rather than attending classes. Personally, I remember shutting down the college I was attending, standing at barricades with members of the SDS, the Black Panthers, and the Black Student Union. I remember going off campus to find speakers who would inform us and fire up the student body.
I remember going to Angela Davis’ office at UCLA and getting her to agree to participate in our moratorium strike. I remember people getting hurt, some getting killed, a good many getting tear gassed and walked with billy clubs. I remember people taking action to make those who felt they did not have to listen, listen.
Even with all of the actions taken, both to end the war and change a social order that discriminated against ever one who was not white and male, and against males no matter what their racial or ethnic background who could not agree with the government order that they go off to be butchered in a foreign land, butchering those who lived in those distant lands for reasons few actually understood including those who were doing the sending off.
What we face now is at least as terrible as what we faced then, maybe worse because the current powers that be are doing everything they can to make this their country to do with–land, citizens–what they want.
There has to be a better strategy than to ask THEM to be nice to us. THEY do not care what we think and they really do not give a shit about our welfare.
As some have begun to notice. we are at war, engaged in real and meaningful class warfare and a real war against ignorance, greed, and arrogance. We need to understand that we are at war and fight with real force. Politeness will not this war win and losing this war really does mean for most a very bleak future.