By David Swanson, June 5, 2020
Already we’ve seen, as a result of people taking to the streets in the United States:
- Four policemen indicted.
- More racist monuments dismantled.
- Some minimal and inconsistent limit on what the New York Times editorial page will defend having done in the way of spreading evil.
- Some minimal and inconsistent limit on what Twitter will do in the way of spreading evil.
- A virtual ban on continuing the pretense that kneeling for Black Lives Matter during a national anthem is an unacceptable violation of the sacred flag. (Note that the change is not in intellectual ability but in what is deemed morally acceptable.)
- Much greater recognition of the value provided by those who videotape the police committing murder.
- Some recognition of the harm done by prosecutors — largely due to the accident that a particular former prosecutor wants to be a vice presidential candidate.
- Federal legislation introduced and discussed to halt the provision of war weapons to police, to make it easier to prosecute police, and to prevent the U.S. military from attacking demonstrators.
- Proposals widely discussed and even considered by local governments to defund or eliminate armed police.
- A reduction in the pretense that racism is over.
- An increase in recognition that police cause violence and blame it on protesters.
- An increase in recognition that corporate media outlets distract from problems being protested by focusing on violence blamed on protesters.
- Some increase in recognition that extreme inequality, poverty, powerlessness, and structural and personal racism will keep boiling over if not addressed.
- Outrage at the militarization of police and at the use of military troops and unidentified troops/police in the United States.
- The power of courageous nonviolent activism on display, moving opinion and policy and even winning over armed militarized police.
This has happened, remarkably, despite:
- The longstanding pretense in U.S. media and culture that activism doesn’t work.
- The longstanding severe shortage of activism in the United States.
- The COVID-19 pandemic.
- The partisan identification of violating shelter-in-place policies with the Republican Party and armed rightwing racists.
- The billion dollar a year pro-military marketing campaign funded by the U.S. government.
What could happen if this continues and escalates strategically and creatively:
- It could become routine for police to be barred from murdering people.
- Media and social media outlets could block promotion of violence, including police violence and war violence.
- Colin Kaepernick could get his job back.
- The Pentagon could cease providing weapons to police, and not provide them to dictators or coup-leaders or mercenaries or secret agencies, but destroy them.
- The U.S. military and National Guard could be kept entirely off of U.S. land, including U.S. borders.
- Cultural and educational and activist changes could reshape U.S. society on many other issues as well.
- Billionaires could be taxed, a Green New Deal and Medicare for All and Public College and fair trade and universal basic income could become law.
- People objecting to the military on U.S. streets could object to the U.S. military on the rest of the world’s streets. Wars could be ended. Bases could be closed.
- Money could be moved from police to human needs, and from militarism to human and environmental needs.
What might go wrong?
- The excitement could fade.
- The media could be distracted.
- Trump could start a war.
- The crackdown could work.
- The pandemic could surge.
- The Democrats could take the White House and all activism evaporate if it was more partisan in basis than it sometimes appeared.
So, what should we do?
- Carpe Diem! And quickly. Anything that you can do to help should be done immediately.