There has been a call put out to the entire peace and justice movement to assemble in Freedom Plaza (downtown DC, along Pennsylvania Avenue), and to not leave until the U.S. Government begins withdrawing all it military forces from Afghanistan (this will be at the same time our nation completes a decade of war in this Third World country) and begins to redirect war funds to desperately needed social programs and protections for the environment. The original organizers are encouraging people not to leave until the demands are met. I think this does need to happen. But I also realize that those leaving their homes and camping out on the concrete slabs of Freedom Plaza will need support. They will need food and water brought into them. Folks will need to begin to organize themselves, as did the courageous protesters in first Egypt and Tunisia, and now currently in Spain.
So will it last longer than a couple days, will the mass media largely ignore us? Again, I will repeat, this needs to happen. The U.S. Government no longer truly represents the people -- it represents Wall Street's interests and private companies. It continues to pursue endless wars, while now embracing austerity measures. Will the American people finally stand up for themselves and speak out loud and clear, saying "Enough is enough -- bring the war dollars home!"?
I am laying the groundwork (Alice G. is the first one to join me!) for my own affinity group for October 6, 7 and 8. I do have tentative plans to fly out of DC on Oct. 9 with my college buddy Matt. I will finally visit the great state of Arizona and visit Sedona and the Grand Canyon. If the people's revolt continues until the time I fly out of town, I will consider this action a success. Because by then, it can't simply be ignored. The people's voices will be heard in the halls of power.
It will be a positive experience, and I want to organize my affinity group around positivity; around the creative powers of love and the full commitment to community. Even if the revolt's demands are not met, people will begin to notice that people are exercising their own power, and more will be inspired to follow suit. This could be the beginning of something great and long-lasting.
My two suggestions leading up to Oct. 6 is that we reach out to Unions -- such as what we saw in Madison. That we in the peace and justice movement fully embrace those struggling for labor rights. That we accept that there can be no lasting peace without justice. I would also like to see us embrace and highlight local causes -- such as DC Statehood (Taxation Without Representation) and the hospitality of the homeless we will encounter in DC. We need to follow the lead of our brave brothers and sisters in Food Not Bombs, and provide food for free. This is a part of the world we want to create.
Are we ready? I hope so. It's going to be an exciting time in DC by the time October rolls around. Let's make a difference in our lives and communities, let's be part of a paradigm shift away from violence and uncontrolled consumerism, toward peace, justice and a greater sense of responsibility to our communities.