Action Which Follows a Fresh Paradigm

UPDATE, 10/23: Jeez! I am going to find out what’s behind neither Ash nor Galindez getting back to me to date. Ditto for others… in light of what I’ve offered. I’m starting to feel that the respect and extending the benefit of the doubt here is not wise, that I waste way too many heartbeats beating around the bush, beating dead horses to death.

Note: This is an unedited first draft. I highly recommend that everyone jot down what issues are dear to their hearts which have deadlines attached to them. And, furthermore, I believe it would be worthwhile to note which other issues — if not addressed properly post haste — might prevent them from meeting those deadlines. For understanding the interdependence of all kinds of issues is very important. [Pause.] For the vast majority of full-time activists and part-time demonstrators suffer from severe tunnel vision.

Action Which Follows a Fresh Paradigm
Dedicated to William Boardman (who has made himself available)
by Oxman

I can help Reader Supported News survive, prosper financially. Slam dunk. It would be an honor to do so.

The thing is, if I’m raising funds from new readers for them (without compromising anything whatsoever, their ideal scenario as per Marc Ash’s comments at http://readersupportednews.org/who-is-this), I’d like to be simultaneously involved in doing something about what they’re documenting, and move those who read all the words to actually participate in a meaningful way… above and beyond embracing obsolete forms of protest, obsolete means for bringing about change.

One of their contributors, William Boardman of Vermont, is open to talking to me tomorrow… and I’ll be elaborating on that last paragraph for him… unless he scrolls back through previous posted pieces here to take in the hundreds of times I’ve clarified what I mean by obsolete. In short, however — for the reader who won’t be on a conference call with me and William — permit me to point out that although I consider, say, petitions (to cite one of many examples of means embraced unquestioningly/routinely today) to be “obsolete”… I still do sign petitions gladly at times these days. The thing is, I never sign with the idea that providing my John Hancock is going to be my primary or exclusive means for bringing about the change desired by the people circulating the paperwork. To give one example, when Troy Davis was on Death Row in Georgia a couple of years+ ago Archbishop Desmond Tutu, ex-president Jimmy Carter, Angela Davis, the Pope and a million others, including some conservative GA politicians (one of which held office at the time), signed what was circulating to save Troy’s innocent life. I signed too. But when I added my signature I never intended it to be my sole means* for saving Troy’s life. I tried other approaches. I failed, as they executed Troy on my birthday in 2011.

*Nothing wrong with petitions as long as they aren’t one’s primary or exclusive means for….

“Fail. Fail again. Fail again better.” Samuel Beckett, who RSN — wonderfully — makes a big deal about on their site, citing Godot centrally, wrote those lines. And he said them to someone as I watched him watching Keaton clips in New York in ‘64. I take those words seriously and put them into practice daily along with every beat of my heart, I have deep heartache, however, knowing that Troy faced a deadline which left him dead. And deep heartache not being able to get across our collective need to acknowledge other real deadlines we face collectively today. Beckett sensed some of those half a century ago.

For instance, bouncing off of Beckett, let’s look at what Scott Galindez says on that Reader Supported News page (from the link above):

“Over the years I have worked with many Heroes in the fight for Peace and Justice. Phillip Berrigan and Mitch Snyder taught me that it wasn’t about what I could do alone, but what we could do together. Phil was more patient than Mitch, he knew that victory was a long way off, and that each changed mind put us one step closer to a peaceful, just world. That is one of the reasons I am at Reader Supported News, because I can reach more people than I could by organizing a protest. I am committed to fighting for a world without war, poverty and injustice. But it is not about what I can do, it is about what you can do with the information we provide you. Join us in taking back the truth. The corporate media has redefined the truth for so many of our friends and family, it is up to us to lead them back to the real truth.

What you can do to help is to spread the news we provide. The right-wing echo chamber is effective at spreading lies. Help us spread the truth.”

The “one step closer” concept has to be applauded, of course. BUT with some qualification. It’s true that whatever way one is fighting the good fight it’s planting seeds. The question is, will the seeds bloom in time? Meaning, that if one signs a million-person petition, surely one has reason to believe that down the road that bulk of humanity screaming out against a particular slated execution with signatures might very well culminate in ending state sanctioned murder. That said, however, what about the particular life lost, as the case of Troy? That is the clearest example I can think of… of a deadline not met. Providing a way of looking at the notion that “every little bit helps” — moving us closer — that gives us a necessary other pov.

I underline “necessary” above because I want to address the degree to which activists do not acknowledge deadlines. The reading of articles on Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, ZNet and all their first online cousins and distant print cousins and books which are often excerpted in posted pieces and run it on run it on run it on ad infinitum is all embraced, takes up oh so many heartbeats IN LIEU OF OUR TAKING MEANINGFUL ACTION IN SOLIDARITY. Fresh action, not obsolete action.

One step closer, for the most part, then, winds up meaning that for with newly initiated, young activists and a handful of suddenly (somewhat) aroused older folks there are a few additional bodies at the barricades, a smidgen of extra faces being fingerprinted in righteousness, a few funky street actors mocking some easy target, or a bevy of beautiful activists marching in circles with placards, or conducting candlelight vigils, or sending off a letter to an editor, or speaking to unconvinced neighbors at a coffee house, or faxing a rep, or registering the resigned in the hope that they’ll turn out for some permanently marginalized third party… or signing a petition. I could go on, of course, but I trust you get the thrust.

Some talented people like the novice Brothers Norton (to whom I wrote a “Private note” in http://oxtogrind.org/archive/1398) make documentaries meant to move. To move concerned citizens emotionally and, hopefully, to action. Those students from the University of Kentucky in Louisville (who are moving at the pace of an arthritic snail in their communications with me) have their counterparts in the professional world of documentary filmmaking… who are either inaccessible or uninterested in doing something in solidarity with grassroots souls such as me (outside of the world of cinema). Michael Moore, for all the hyped-up hoopla about how he has filmed three of the top five documentaries of all-time, is not really doing more than the Brothers Norton at this point. Not in terms of making a difference. Not in terms of moving us along to meet our… deadlines.

Unquestionably, one could argue that MM is moving us “one step closer.” BUT… to what? And I have the same question respecting Stephen Emmott’s Ten Billion (which bounces off of the great work by James Hansen), and James Hansen’s speeches on the lecture circuit, and Kendrick Lamar’s latest socially-conscious rants against racism, and all those endless debates and tribunals covered on shows like Democracy Now! and the Daily Report. Ditto for tons of others in various so-called alternative realms.

Philip Berrigan and Mitch Snyder deserve our respect. As do Marc Ash and Scott Galindez, and William Boardman, who, among many other things, wrote the excellent piece http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/10/the-police-state-wants-what-the-poli ce-state-wants/, which moved me to conduct outreach with him and Galindez and Ash.

I’m the North American rep for Andre Vltchek, so I certainly applaud his new publication centered on Noam Chomsky. And… how can anyone not see the MIT professor as having planted worthwhile seeds over the last five decades plus? Something similar could be said about Richard Falk, who spotlights the two of them at http://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/the-chomskyvltchek-worldvi ew/, even though he joined Christopher Hitchens in supporting our invasion of Iraq.

But of course. All that stroking is a no-brainer. To be expected.

However, I’m talking about securing significant reins of power legally and nonviolently and immediately as per something along the lines of TOSCA. [There's a highlighted red link for a delineation of it in the previous post... which you might want to glance at.]

I’m talking about action which follows a fresh paradigm.

Contact the author at aptosnews@gmail.com

Afterthoughts: It might be instructive to discuss why Reader Supported News has not yet responded to my offer to secure funds for them… and do more… in solidarity. I expect to hear from them tomorrow 10/22/13.