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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Guest Blog: Join Our 99% Spring

FJohn McAndrewollowing is a guest blog provided by John McAndrew. John lives in Santa Fe and is a writer and activist.

You may have heard that there are trainings in nonviolent resistance, associated with a group called 99% Spring [http://the99spring.com/], taking place this week all across the nation. Around 50,000 people are expected to be trained in the history and practice of nonviolent resistance and the ways our economy has been placed in its current unfair, precarious condition. Hard work is no longer rewarded, privilege is protected, basic needs are almost universally unmet – and we can do something about it.

I took part in the training for trainers a couple of weeks ago. For those of us who have been chronically well-behaved, it opened many new doors to new ways to change our world. The aspect that most impressed me was that the program is designed to build capacity without prescribing how we are to use it. It is organized so that those who have experience in nonviolent resistance can come forward to share and lead as needed.

More than 60 organizations [http://the99spring.com/who-we-are/]  are sponsoring these trainings. Given this diversity, arrestable actions and civil disobedience are not covered in the training: different groups will have different perspectives on what is or is not permissible. Some will be interested in being arrested; others will not. 99% Spring trainings give a broad foundation for working together in nonviolent actions. Further trainings in civil disobedience will be forthcoming as needed and requested.

Nationwide actions are already planned, so our new skills and numbers can be used as soon as possible. For example,

Once the training is done and participants have met like-minded activists, they can plan their own actions on a state, local, and national level.

Everyone has different motivations for taking the training, and different actions they would like to organize. Here are a few of mine.

  • Occupations of the prisons holding PFC Manning [http://www.bradleymanning.org/] and Tim DeChristopher [https://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/07/26-13].
  • AIG, Bank of America, and other bankster offices (The Fed? The Justice Department?) should be surrounded by people with handcuffs, demanding that those who ruined our economy be charged and prosecuted.
  • Producers and users of pink slime [http://markbittman.com/the-pink-menace] should be occupied. We can serve their CEOs and their families platters of boiled, baked, and fried pink slime for dinner.
  • Surround Rush Limbaugh’s recording studio, and the corporate offices of his broadcaster [http://www.premiereradio.com/], by sluts of all ages.
  • Block every entrance to Congress and the Congressional Office Buildings from now until Election Day. Every time they engage in theatre, or in pissant actions demonstrate their lack of seriousness, we should demonstrate that we don’t take them seriously, either.
  • Every OB/GYN residency program that does not offer instruction in abortion procedures should have to explain to women protesters why that is.
  • Hold a vigil outside every jail and prison, calling for an overhaul of our for-profit prison system. Ask family members of prisoners to hold posters with photos of those whose offenses should not have landed them in prison.
  • Identify and picket the top 25 polluters until they alter their operations.
  • Only 17% of Congress, and 26% of state legislatures, are women. Let’s see to it that Emerge America and Emily’s List are swamped by applications from qualified women seeking to be trained to run for office. Women who are tired of being misrepresented and underrepresented can begin to change that by running for office this year.
  • Any protest against the corporate media would get my support.
  • Any protest against continuing the operation of old coal power plants (Hello? PNM?)would get my support 

Is the World Trade Organization meeting? Is there a bad time to protest the state of our public education? Is BP still in business? Has the KXL pipeline been defeated? Have we met the tepid goals of any of the Climate Change summits? We have lots to do, and they are all worthy battles.

My dream is that, when 2012 comes to a close, the presidential and congressional elections will be page 3 news. I’d like to see the page 1 political story be how Americans began to reverse their CO2 emissions; made a commitment to clean up the oceans and the Gulf of Mexico; forced the government to end our wars; insisted on equal rights for all Americans: Native Americans, women, and gays and lesbians. For this to happen, we must get our feet in the street as often as possible.

Remember, as you protest, to laugh and dance. Bring pets, children, and best friends. If we seek just to switch out this political ideology for that one, we are aiming too low. From Jack Gilbert’s luminous poem, a Brief for the Defense, a bit of advice about our conduct:

If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.

April 11, 2012 at 02:00 PM in Action Alerts, Guest Blogger, Occupy Wall Street (Everywhere) | Permalink


Thanks, John, great to have all these details and schedules in one place. I'll be sharing.

Posted by: nancy | Apr 11, 2012 11:41:31 PM

I'm with you, John!

Posted by: bg | Apr 12, 2012 3:57:36 PM

Re: The 99% Spring, some of you may be interested in reading this article from Counterpunch

Posted by: Ronnie | Apr 12, 2012 4:33:37 PM