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Freedom Doesn't Live Here Any More

 
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Mark
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 12:19 am    Post subject: Freedom Doesn't Live Here Any More  Reply with quote

Freedom Doesn't Live Here Any More
by Mark E. Smith

Inspired by the Freedom Riders and others who braved hatred and violence to advance the cause of civil rights, activists have been calling upon people to demonstrate at the Democratic Party convention in Denver. They want to protest the war, the loss of habeus corpus, the infringements on civil rights, and all the other tragedies of the Bush administration that the Democratic Party has supported, including their refusal to impeach Bush and Cheney. They are courageous people and their cause is just. But they don't seem to have thought things through.

Congressional Democrats have about a 20% approval rating among Democratic voters. Many Democrats are so unhappy with their party's support for the Bush agenda that they don't even plan to vote. What is it about the Democratic Party's convention that makes activists think that it is important enough to be worth protesting?

I spoke with one of their organizers who was here in San Diego and I emailed the organizing group, but got no response. They're like people determined to vote. All their protest will do is recognize the authority of the system and invite more abuse. I believe that the convention should be boycotted and ignored except for stuff in the alternative media pointing out that it has no legitimacy. What if they held a convention and nobody thought it was important enough to protest? Instead they could fill the alternative media with criticism about why it is irrelevant.

A large planned protest gives Homeland Security and local law enforcement a chance to test out all their crowd control gear. They really need a way to justify all the money that has been spent on crowd control when there were no unruly crowds to control. Protesting the convention is like a battered wife saying, "I'm going to confront him and tell him not to hit me any more. I have rights," instead of going to a shelter and getting away from the batterer. It's asking for more brutality.

They want a repeat of old convention protests with much brutality and a lot of press coverage, and they'll get it. And spend the next few years in court trying to get compensation for injuries and false arrest for the ones who aren't killed. So sad. Such brave young people with such creative minds and they aren't open to doing things differently. They have all the right ideas about democracy, but they are still thinking in terms of violent revolution.

Of course the ones who get hurt won't be the wealthy organizers with bail money. They'll just get arrested to prove their authenticity so that nobody suspects that they're provocateurs. I've been around a long time, and I've seen this stuff before. The ones who get severely injured or killed will be the poor and the innocent, as usual. This isn't a revolution. It's an exercise in crowd control. It will give law enforcement the opportunity to use all their nets and tasers and tear gas and all the other gear they've been practicing with, and to justify buying more.

Do they really think that when ordinary Americans see them being beaten and maced and arrested on TV, see the pregnant woman being kicked in the stomach by the cops, see the elderly person in a wheelchair being tasered, they'll rush out of their homes and come to the defense of the protesters? That has happened in other countries, but the average American has long since been desensitized to violence and sees more brutality than that with a lot more blood in any single night of relaxing in front of the TV.

I don't watch TV but a neighbor told me that there's a popular program that features a loveable serial killer. He only kills bad guys, so there's nothing wrong with that. Of course the protesters will be labeled bad guys, just as the Afghans and Iraqis and all indigenous peoples everywhere have been labeled bad guys. We're all bad guys or terrorists or Communists or anarchists or rebels or potential rebel sympathizers. The only good guys are the wealthy elite and their cops, their armies, their mercenaries, and their death squads.

Do they think that if the President sees the bloodshed, he'll be moved, as President John F. Kennedy was, to send in the National Guard? Bush isn't Kennedy and the Guard is in Iraq. More likely he'll send in Blackwater with some serious assault weapons and some additional helicopters to mow down the protesters.

Do they think that if they have enough people and protest loudly enough, the Democrats will hear them? It was the Democrats who wanted the Denver "free speech zone" moved out of earshot.

What, exactly, apart from having a good time with their friends, are their potentially achievable goals?

The organizers have also been saying, "No in November," but they don't understand what it means. It doesn't mean recognizing the authority of this fascist regime and protesting it. It means refusing to recognize its authority, refusing to vote for it, withdrawing our consent and our mandate from it, and working towards the dream which the protesters share, of citizen-owned transparent participatory democracy ourselves, instead of asking a fascist tyranny for help or trying to persuade it to be more democratic.

I've heard some pretty wild rumors. In addition to the helicopters and the crowd control plans, a friend tells me there is talk of a 20-story underground prison at the Denver airport. Whether it exists or not, this protest will be a boon for the prison-industrial complex, clog the courts for a long time, and do nothing whatsoever to sway the Democrats, any more than the protest planned for the Republican convention will change the Republican agenda.

As I told that organizer, I don't understand how someone else going to jail makes me any more free.

So I'm not going to Denver. I'm not only a coward, I'm a person who likes to think things through, to have at least the possibility that any sacrifices I make might contribute towards a positive outcome, and I also consider myself a creative thinker. Maybe I'm wrong and I'm just a coward, but this isn't 1961 or 1968. We've been there and done that, and we've all got the t-shirts. Those who were in Miami to protest GATT and in Seattle to protest the GTO might stop and ask themselves what their valiant efforts have accomplished. I admire them, I respect them, but I'm not going to join them.

Those who are parents are familiar with how kids try to get their way. First they'll ask you sweetly. If you say no, they'll cry. If you still don't give in they might throw a tantrum. But when they grow up, they become independent and you can't make their decisions for them any more. They don't have to ask you for anything or throw a fit to get what they want. They work for it, earn it, and get it for themselves. I think it is time that we as a nation grew up.

Don't vote in rigged elections.

Don't delegate your power to those who have abused it.

And don't do Denver. It isn't going to help and it will justify more repression. Is that really our goal?
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juan
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:26 pm    Post subject: response to freedom doesn't live here anymore Reply with quote

We don't vote, we don't protest - we post a few opinions - where is the solution. If nothing is done, where is the change. We have none and we continue to have none.  The only valid non violent solution - is that enough of a grass roots movement is started AND WE VOTE. I am not ready for a military revolution but I am ready for a voting revolution. Look at the people we have as our leaders, they are pathetic. Maybe, we are ready for a stronger state government and we start there to make our changes. I don't know - but the basic is that we have to have a system where capable, intelligent people can be part of the process without having any money - first basic platform or we continue to get the same old same old. And we need to have real journalism is this country - everything is bought and paid for and it all reflects in our so called news.
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mk
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Location: Washington state

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The democrats, as a party, obviously don't give a (let me see if I can clean this up...) flying rats bottom what we want. If they did, they would have given us someone for whom to vote. If they did, they would have de-funded the wars. If they did, our CONSTITUTION might still mean something. If they did, they would have started impeachment proceedings, etc., etc., etc.

Large protest, in"FREE SPEECH ZONES" just don't have the same effect that using AMERICA IS A FREE SPEECH ZONE might.

We old ladies get public attention, every Friday afternoon, standing on the park corner with our signs. Our reception is a little better every week. People are starting to wake-up. It is true however, that they're waking-up very slowly, too slowly.

I will not give up my right to vote. The powers that be would like nothing better.
_________________
"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost."   John Quincy Adams
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Mark
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 1:52 am    Post subject: Not so. Reply with quote

mk wrote: "I will not give up my right to vote. The powers that be would like nothing better."

They WANT you to vote in their rigged elections. It makes them look like they were democratically elected.

Tonight I went to an activist meeting and Greg Palast spoke with us by phone. We got to ask questions. My question (I don't remember my exact words, so I'm paraphrasing) was: "Greg, supposing that people followed your instruction and were able to register and vote, and supposed that their votes were actually counted and Obama won by a landslide. You KNOW that Gore won in 2000 and we got Bush. You KNOW that Gore won in 2004 and we got Bush again. And you KNOW that the 2008 election will be stolen and that if Obama wins, we'll get McCain. So why are you still urging people to vote?"

He went into a big monologue but he couldn't answer the question. His mom and dad were at the meeting with us and his dad sat there smiling at me the whole time Greg was trying to answer my question. Afterwards Greg's dad agreed with me that Greg hadn't answered my question. There is no answer.

If you know that no matter what we do, the election will be stolen for the third time in a row and that once more there will be nothing that we can do about it (except for the minority willing to get themselves arrested protesting, and I fail to see how them going to jail makes me or anyone else more free).

The suffragettes didn't fight for your vote to be uncounted or flipped to another candidate, or for the person you voted for to win and then concede to their opponent, or for you to vote for the winner and the Supreme Court to install the loser. The suffragettes weren't fighting for the right to vote in rigged elections. They were fighting to have a voice in government. A REAL meaningful vote that counted. Not a stupid rite where you cast your ballot and pray that it might be counted and that if it is, the candidate who wins won't concede or be replaced by the Supreme Court.

Can't you tell the difference between a meaningless vote in a rigged election and a real voice in government?

If you can't, maybe the suffragettes fought for nothing because you don't even know or care what a vote is supposed to be.
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Mark
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 2:06 am    Post subject: Imagine two married couples, mk. Reply with quote

The first couple both work, they pool their paychecks, and after paying rent, bills, food, etc., they both vote on what to do with the rest, i.e. save it, spend it on clothes, movies, vacations, or whatever. Since there are only two of them, unless both agree on something, they don't do it. Both have to vote the same way before they can spend their disposable income on anything.

Now imagine another married couple where both work and do the same thing, pay their bills and necessities and then both vote on how to spend what's left over. But in this couple the husband counts the votes and he doesn't really read them or count them. He just tells his wife how the money is going to be spent and his word is law and there's nothing she can do about it. She can vote on the decisions, but she can't make him take her vote into account.

Your vote in our rigged elections is like the wife's in the example of the second couple. It isn't a real vote. It is meaningless. And maybe someday after the wife has realized that she and the kids have been lacking anything they want for years while the husband always spends their leftover money on gambling, drinking, and prostitutes, she'll ask for a divorce. And maybe some day once you realize that your country has been going without decent education, environmental protections, job creation and job security, a national health care plan, and other things most developed countries have, while the government spends all the money on wars that people don't want, you'll ask for a divorce too. Or maybe you love them and believe that they'll change and you'll keep right on casting your meaningless votes and thinking that you have a voice.

There are a lot of wives like that in my second example, and a lot of voters who can't face the truth either.
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Mark
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's how a non-protest works:

What if they spent a billion dollars on crowd control gear and training, had SWAT teams prepared to act as provocateurs, and then no crowds showed up?

Quote:
MSM News: Only seven protesters showed up to demonstrate against the political convention. All were arrested, posted bail, and released. Independent news agencies photographed them leaving the police station and identified them as members of a local SWAT team. Tim Turtle, the spokesperson for a large peace group, said that since his group knew that there would be provocateurs at the convention, they had decided not to protest and that all the other local groups had agreed. Asked why they had arrested their own people, the local police chief had no comment. His department had gotten $3 million in crowd control gear in preparation for the convention and had no opportunity to use any of it. This could adversely impact their ability to obtain new homeland security anti-terrorist funding for subsequent years. Poopy Putter reporting for MSM News.


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