Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
Jan. 27, 2017
*February 15, 2003: THIRTY-SIX MILLION humans, across the globe, simultaneously march to "protest" against a major escalation of the U.S.-led war against Iraq.
*March 19, 2003: A major escalation of the U.S.-led war against Iraq commences and essentially continues to this day -- with no end in sight.
(Of those marches and protests, President George W. Bush said: "Democracy is a beautiful thing, and that people are allowed to express their opinion. I welcome people’s right to say what they believe. Secondly, evidently some of the world don’t view Saddam Hussein as a risk to peace. You know, size of protest, it’s like deciding, well, I’m going to decide policy based upon a focus group.")
Lemme say it again, in case you missed it:
36 MILLION PROTESTERS = NEGATIVE IMPACT
To explain away this reality, not even activists would resort to something as embarrassing as: “If only they had better signs” or “If it were 37 million, Iraq would be free!”
So, how do they respond to me when I share facts like this? Typically, I hear some variation of these 4 replies:
Q. What’s missing? What’s always missing?
A. Any attempt to defend or rationalize their tactics.
People dedicate entire lifetimes to activism but cannot even remotely justify their actions and choices. It’s basically, “We march because everyone else does and hey, it’s either that or stay home. Right? Better than nothing, I say.”
Where in the world would we get such a patently counterproductive idea? Hmm… let me think. Where in the world do we get almost all of our ideas, dwelling within the confines of a corporate propaganda state? Who gives us our cues when it comes to dissent?
Lies of Omission
In the United States, the gold standard for activist success just may be the now-whitewashed civil rights movement. When we’re taught about how these great victories were won, who and what is focused on? Do we learn about the Black Muslims and their separatism? Are we conditioned to give credit to the Black Panther Party, their weapons, and their breakfast programs? Is it all about strong women like Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, Nina Simone, and so many more?
A. None of the above.
Remember: The guy who got his own national holiday is the guy who’s universally known for marching -- along with carrying signs, taking symbolic arrests, and preaching non-violence.
We become activists in 2017. We reflexively and reverently think: “If it worked for MLK, who am I to challenge it?” This self-sabotaging message is reinforced 24/7, for example, by leaders (sic) like Barack Obama:
“Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complainin'. Stop grumblin'. Stop cryin'. We are going to press on. We have work to do. Even when folks are hitting you over the head, you can't stop marching. Even when they're turning the hoses on you, you can't stop.”
And ask yourself this: Is it at all possible -- even likely -- that the powers-that-be consciously program us to emulate the kind of activism they can easily deflect, co-opt, or repress?
Activist Tip: Question all historical narratives. And if a tactic works, immediately adapt it. (Remember, whether you adapt or not, the powers-that-be never stop adapting.)
P.S. I promise my next article will respond to the “what’s your solution?” nonsense.
Not “better than nothing”
I’ll wrap up this article with a closer look at the pathetic “it’s better than nothing” activism canard. Let’s say you claim you want to “end” fracking. That time you waste making a sign or puppet, marching in a permitted parade, then posting and sharing photos from your day is time taken away from productively progressing toward your alleged goal. It’s also time spent reinforcing counterproductive approaches.
Your choice to allocate, say, a combined 12 hours to this entire enterprise is far worse than doing nothing. You didn’t influence corporations to re-examine their practices and you didn’t influence any mainstream people to even find out what fracking is. But you influenced more people than you realize to continue believing that marching and chanting with signs is all you do when you’re an activist.
Activist Tip: Attending marches has been known to make even radical people believe they’ve found their “fam” and hence, their mission.
In other words, you made things far worse than if you had stayed home!
Activist Tip: The choice is never limited to a farcical march vs. doing nothing.
Visualize something different.
Try something different.
Why not? Honestly: WHY NOT?
There’s never been a better time than right now.
Mickey Z. is currently writing two books, a political memoir called How to Change Minds & Influence the Future: Rebuilding Activism From the Ground Up (Microcosm Publishing) and a graphic novel entitled stain red. In the meantime, he can be found here.