Tuesday, July 27, 2004

The Calm Before....

I've not posted much and not many folks are stopping by here these days. Truth is, I've said all I can think of to say, until it happens. What is "it"? Well, I don't know for sure. Is IT the cancelling (aka "postponing") of elections due to a threatened terrorist attack? Is IT an actual terrorist attack, real or staged? Is IT an electronically stolen election? Is IT an electronically stolen election or attempt to postpone elections that is opposed by the U.S. military which then assumes control of the country?

All of these ITs have received more virtual ink in closer to mainstream sources than I actually imagined they would. Even Buzzflash has run articles about impending fake terror attacks. (Well, to be fair, I don't think Maureen Farrell said they would be staged, only that rightwing pols and pundits were certain it would happen. But if they are THAT certain....)

Whatever IT is, assuming IT is not an attack on the Democratic convention, will happen in October. Until then, people, even aware people, are going on as if the elections will happen and will be real. I haven't seen much of a movement for organized electoral monitoring, though I did note with interest that the Congressional Black Caucus called for UN observers. Not sure where that stands right now, thought it would certainly support those rightwing theories that the UN is secretly taking over the US rather than the reverse.

I suppose that, depending on who the actual players are who decide these things, that Kerry might even be put in office. He doesn't threaten much of the "progress" the Bushistas have made and pledges to out-Bush Bush, in some ways.

In actuality, a Kerry win would could be one of the worst scenarios. If he keeps his campaign pledge to increase troops in Iraq (and how he would do that without a draft, I don't know) where will all the anti-war folks be who got co-opted into the "unity" and "anybody but Bush" schools of thought? In some ways, they have abdicated the right to complain. It would be one thing if Kerry said he opposed the war and then increased US commitment there, but if the man says he's going to get us further entrenched and likewise pledges to engage in pre-emptive attacks when "necessary" then how can you complain when he goes and does it? I mean, at least he's keeping his campaign promises!

Let me repeat this: You can't protest against a President you supported when he went and did exactly what he said he was going to do when you voted for him.

That will take a big bite out of what is left of the anti-war movement, though surely much of the core of the movement is not made of Democrats.

So with Kerry we'd get much of the same but with a new legitimacy, at home and maybe even abroad. After all, it is the Dems who are responsible for the "free speech cage" in Boston. If you haven't seen it, it is unfuckingbelievable. It is a wire cage that fits 1000 people under a bridge with one entrance and one exit, patrolled by armed guards.. This is the only place near the convention people have a right to protest. I do have to respect this policy as a taxpayer, however, because to have protesters demonstrate from within a pre-fab jail saves money should you decide to arrest any of them. You just have to shut the door!

I say the Dems are responsible, because whether or not they approved of this free speech cage, I've heard none of them protesting vigorously against it. And I'm guessing some of those folks have enough clout to get it changed if they wanted. There are some prominent Democrats from Massachussets, I hear.

And I actually saw David "I'm not a CIA agent but I write for them" Corn of the Nation happily point out the lack of demonstrations at the convention. He saw this as a sign of "unity" among Democrats. Well, David, your own magazine points out the ludicrous nature of the free speech cage. No one is stupid enough to go in that thing. I'm just sorry that more activists in the Northeast aren't willing to risk arrest and protest closer to the convention. You can read more about the cage here but the bottom line is that David Corn is an idiot and the Democrats are just as fascist as the Republicans. Sorry.

But these are just games, little sideshows. This is merely the 5 minutes before you fire up the DVD when you are popping that microwave popcorn. The real show comes up in a couple of months. Wonder what'll be on?

Meanwhile, I guess we can all be thinking about what the nature of the resistance will be once the Big Show begins. For example, in the event of a "terorist attack" the internet will be greatly curtailed through a virus or official government control. After all, everyone knows that it is secret messages in porn sites that give the terrorists their instructions. Nevermind its the primary communications medium among opposition forces in this country. That has nothing to do with it.

We also know that the FBI is already investigating opposition groups, more likely to intimidate than anything else. Whatreallyhappened.com seems to be posting these incidents as they become known. You see they've heard some "chatter" that a "Domestic organization" is going to disrupt the Democratic convention. Oh, good. I was afraid you were going to have too hard a time using the Patriot Act and other fascist methods against non-Muslim U.S. citizens. Glad you're getting on track with that. There will be LOTS more such chatter before the Republican convention. If you are an activist in any group that advocates any kind of nonviolent resistance, go ahead and call a lawyer. You're going to get a little visit soon.

And let's not forget the lessons of COINTELPRO. The FBI and others will also infiltrate groups. They send in two kinds of agents. First, the kind that just watch and gather information. You can't always spot these, but if you aren't doing anything illegal, you probably don't have much to worry about. In fact, in order to gather information, these agents tend to be the hardest workers, so take advantage of it!!! Often, these will be the ones who server on EVERY committee, even trying to chair those committees. They want to have access to mailing lists and they want access to financial data. If you don't suspect them or can't prove anything, there's not much you can do, but...at least spread out leadership to limit any damage that could be done by a single individual.

The second kind is more disruptive. They might be provocateurs, encouraging folks to break laws. I was in an anti-war coalition in L.A. and found out that one member approached another to offer "guns or drugs." He actually said that. "Hey, if you need any guns or drugs or anything, let me know." Why don't you just wear a sign, dumb ass.

Sometimes the disruption comes from creating internecine conflicts, always creating division and dissension in order to keep the work from moving forward. Here in Nashville, I got involved with a peace group. There was a woman I was asked to work with on press. She ended up pissing off everyone and alienating allied elected officials. I'd seen her type before and confronted her directly with a long detailed email about the behaviors I witnessed that were divisive. I cc'ed the letter to leadership of the group. She disappeared for a little while, but came back and got involved again. The leader of the group said "Oh, she's doing much better now, really helping out." I can't say she's an agent, of course. She could just be psychotic. Whatever. I don't work with them anymore. I got way too much of that in L.A.

So when IT happens, you can expect:

Internet disruption

Increased FBI monitoring and disruption of legal political activities,

Free speech zones the size of One-Hour-Photo drive throughs

And possibly overt martial law.

So if you are in a group that is NOT actually lulled into the public opiate known as elections, you might want to plan for these contingencies. Ask:

How secure are your computer files if you depend on those for your work?

How much do you depend on the internet for communication?

Do you have an emergency phone tree for mobilizing people quickly?

Are your leaders aware of the COINTELPRO history and educated as to effective countermeasures (limited as these countermeasures might be)?

If you are in the forefront of opposition, do you have lawyers working with your group for when the agents come a knockin'?

Do you have legal observers at your demonstrations in case arrests ensue?

Is your organization overly centralized so that the arrest or harrassment of one member would significantly impair your work?

How will your group respond to fraudulent elections?

How will your group respond to postponed elections?

How might your group respond to a military takeover in they make a move should Bush monkey with the elections?

These are not the things I see peace groups debating just now. Right now the debate is all about Kerry vs. Nader. Again, whatever. It's just the popcorn folks. What are you going to do when the real show is on?


Post a Comment

<< Home