Join us in the Streets

Before it's Too Late...

by ,

Fifth Estate # 361, Summer 2003

The demonstrations against the war, though they were probably the biggest and most widespread demonstrations in the history of the world, were ignored by our so-called representatives. That’s right: neither our votes, nor our letters to our congressmen, nor the opinions of our allies, nor our efforts to show our numbers in the streets have had any influence on their decisions.

The ones in power today do not care about us; that is to say, they don’t care about democracy, except insofar as it can help them maintain their power. That’s why they still buy television commercials for themselves, as if their political and military campaigns were soda pop. With elections sabotaged, polite protests ignored, and civil liberties eroding, democracy is our responsibility now. Democracy, if it is to exist anywhere, will take place outside the Pentagon, outside the House of Representatives, in the lives of ordinary people.

Now is the time for us to meet in our communities, face to face, to decide what we want and figure out how to make it happen. Under an administration that refuses to listen to the voice of the people, the only approach that could work to make our voices heard is the one folks applied in San Francisco and New York when the war started: they shut those cities down.

We are the ones who make this country run. If we are to act on our consciences, if we are to take responsibility for our role in world affairs and the effect that this has on our lives, we need to be ready to say no with our actions as well as our mouths. What we need is an opposition that is not liberal, but radical.

Not liberal. Radical.

So this is the deal, Middle America, wherever you are: you can go on with your work-consume-keep-silent routine hoping it’ll all blow over, but when the next war comes, your streets are going to be defaced with graffiti, your relatives are going to be under surveillance, your commute is going to be interrupted by blockades, your children are going to be calling you from jail, your foreign neighbors are going to disappear, and your corporate news programs are going to make less and less sense.

Business as usual is going to be impossible—and not just because of pesky protesters. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to take a stand.

If you don’t, you’ll know who to blame when the next generation of refugees comes of age to carry out a new wave of terrorist attacks against us. In the long run, you can’t fight violence with violence unless you’re willing to kill everyone—and make no mistake about it, in this country today all it takes to support that approach is to pay taxes and keep shopping.

To quote one more wise fellow: “It is the duty of every patriot to protect his country from its government.” We’re not against the citizens of this country, nor the people serving in the armed forces, nor democracy!

We love our country and our compatriots, and prize freedom above all things-but freedom, if it is to be more than mere rhetoric, is something we have to make together, not receive from on high. Please join us, in neighborly conversation, in our communities and in the streets, before it’s too late.

—Red-White-and-Brain, April 2003

Depose Dr. Death & Support Our Protesters

NASHVILLE—A Fifth Estate collective member was among a handful of protesters who took their message to Sen. Bill “Dr. Death” Frist at his Nashville Field Office on March 21. Wearing medical scrubs emblazoned with the message “Harm None” and armed with a leaflet denouncing the draconian doctor for his brazen pro-war position, our writer attempted to enter the office building where Frist has his hometown post.

However, a swarm of Nashville cops greeted the activists at the office building door and ordered them to disperse. Unwavered, our Dr. Love walked into the foyer of the Frist command center where he was swiftly swept away by the authorities. Charged with criminal trespassing, he has a trial date soon. For an update or to offer support, please contact the FE.