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David Swanson

David Swanson is a longtime peace and justice activist and author of 'War Is a Lie'

October 13th, 2011 10:51 AM

Occupied -- What Now?

Thanks in large part to the New York and national corporate media a massive campaign to shift power away from giant corporations and into the hands of the people is now afoot all across this continent. It was inspired by peoples' nonviolent uprisings in other countries and sparked by courageous nonviolence on Wall Street.

Can we keep it going and growing despite the unreliability of the corporate media? When the television networks created Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas, for us -- following the courageous stand taken by Cindy Sheehan -- they later turned against the movement and against Cindy. Already they are working to depict our occupations as violent, misdirected, undirected, and impotent.

Can we build the 99% awareness, the broad participation, the self-assurance, and the endurance to maintain on our own what we have never been able to create on our own without the cooperation of television? I think we can. I think this is different. There is broad popular support rapidly rising, but we will have to work extremely hard at communicating our purpose and our process. It must be universally understood that we want majority rule respected by our government for a change (including by ending the wars and taxing the rich) and that we will use no violence whatsoever to achieve our ends.


Occupations are becoming communities. We should be setting up permanent peoples' encampments in our public squares with free medical clinics and other services, with modeling of democratic decision making, and with sharing of strategies, friendships, and legal services for those nonviolently resisting the corporate plutopentagocratic agenda.

Civil Resistance

We should continue to engage in ever more serious civil resistance. We need to nonviolently interfere with the operations of our misrepresentatives and their financial masters. Symbolism is not enough. Actual interference is needed, and actual interference also makes the best symbolism. We should be careful to target the 1% and their servants, and to minimize disruptions for the 99%. In D.C. for example, I've been arguing against shutting down highways and in favor of shutting down driveways of those in power, bringing them early morning donuts and coffee and allowing them to leave their streets once they've answered basic questions about the direction in which they will take our country with our approval.

Our general principle of targeting the 1% and doing so nonviolently should be so well understood that when corporate columnists misrepresent us, or infiltrate us in order to instigate violence, at the very least we do not begin questioning each other in obedience to corporate propaganda.


Tom Hayden was just on Keith Olbermann and, I think, said some very important truths and a fundamental lie. He said that 10,000 people sitting down in New York Streets and insisting on trials by juries of their peers if arrested could shut down the whole system. The same is true in Washington, although the population from which to try to draw 10,000 people is much smaller there. We've had marches of hundreds of thousands of people in these cities on weekends. There's no reason we cannot have sit-ins of 10,000 on a weekday.

Hayden also said that President Barack Obama alone has the power to take huge steps to satisfy this movement. That's true. He could end the wars, save $1.5 trillion, and remove the threat to Social Security and Medicare. He could also commit to vetoing any revenue or spending legislation until the top 1% is taxed at the level last seen when President Dwight Eisenhower was in town.

But then Hayden said another option would be for Obama to "lay down the gauntlet" and declare that he couldn't do anything because the Republicans wouldn't let him. That is not an option that will have any impact on a movement like this one. We're not in this to elect somebody president. And we will not believe this kind of nonsense. As stated in the previous breath: Obama can end the wars if he chooses.

The Next War

It is critical that this movement be on high alert and continue to make connections between who's paying in, what's being defunded, and the war machine that is swallowing our savings. There is an effort underway yet again to justify a military strike by the United States and/or Israel against Iran. We need to be crystal clear: we will not stand for another war. Bombing anything is war. We will not stand for it. No crime, whether fictional or real, whether individual or national, can justify the greatest crime there is: the launching of war.


This Saturday is an international day of action. This is an opportunity to build an international movement to oppose the international corporations that fund the elections of U.S. politicians, write our trade policies, and set our national course toward that cliff just up ahead. Let's make this into a show of brotherhood and sisterhood across borders. Let's do this without politicians or parties. Let's make this a people's demand for global social justice.

And then our public servants will be permitted to do what their name suggests and serve us.

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