Healthcare Protests Reek of Short Memories and Double Standards

Crossposted from Hillbilly Report.

All over the country right-wing folks have made a special effort to make it to various townhalls to protest- and make sure that anyone with positive things to say about the healthcare bill do not get heard. These folks are angry about many things, from what they percieve as a "government take-over" of healthcare, to the debt and deficits they see as being caused by Barack Obama, and most ridiculously to their parents and grandparents being put before Obama's "death panels" whose sole purpose they believe is to murder the elderly and sick children who are not worth the cost to keep alive.

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Taking It To The Streets

The LA Times posted about a protest today outside AIG's Los Angeles headquarters today at 5pm:

Demonstrators plan to rally outside the AIG building today in downtown Los Angeles to protest the giant insurer's decision to pay $165 million in bonuses to key employees. American International Group Inc. recently received the first part of $180 billion in federal bailout funds.

"We're going to be down there with whoever we can get," said Ian Thompson of the Los Angeles chapter of the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (A.N.S.W.E.R.) coalition. "We're going to be expressing anger and outrage about the new bonuses that were announced, that will be given to the very same folks who helped cause the financial meltdown."

The protest is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. near the intersection of 8th and Figueroa streets.

In addition, SEIU and allied groups are organizing protests around the country for this Thursday, March 19th. Go to for details and to sign up.

On March 19, 2009 Americans in cities nationwide will hold demonstrations at the offices of major banks and other corporations to demand more responsible corporate behavior and call on Congress to enact the change that will make it happen: employee free choice and health care reform.

Watch their promo video below:

Have you heard of other protests happening in your area? Leave them in the comments.

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Why the Prop 8 Protests Matter

From today's Beyond Chron.

I didn't join the street protests against Proposition 8 right after it passed.  My gut reaction was: "where were all these people when we had the chance to defeat it?" But "No on 8" ran a terrible campaign that would not have effectively used more volunteers, and it's possible that many had tried to get involved.  Now the state Supreme Court will decide what to do about Prop 8, and City Attorney Dennis Herrera has put on a strong case to have it overruled.  But that doesn't mean the Court will do the right thing; even the best legal arguments can lose.  A mass movement of peaceful protest is crucial at building the political momentum to attain marriage equality - which can convince the Court it's okay to overturn the "will of the voters." Social movements rely too much on lawyers and politicians to make progress - without effectively using the masses of people who want to help.  Now people are angry, and this weekend we saw mass protests across the country.  It's now time for everyday people to get involved.

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RNC WORRIED about Demonstrators

Hundreds already detained under pure "preemptive strike" propaganda, THOUSANDS of arrests expected by the Sheriff.

"This isn't the way we do things in St. Paul," St. Paul council member Dave Thune told Twin Cities Daily Planet. "I don't want the city to get sucked into something that the sheriff's office is concocting."

"I'm disappointed, to say the least,""Targeting political organizers in a pre-emptive strike is a tactic from the '60s. This country is better than that." reactions of council member Gary Schiff.

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Disproving Monsters Under the Bed: Why The Peace Movement Won't Stop The Occupation of Iraq

In this great post on the Movement Vision Lab blog, grassroots activist Dan Horowitz Garcia argues that if there is a peace movement (and he doubts it...) it needs to change its tactics.  According to Dan, marches don't end wars --- and never have.

Dan Horowitz Garcia says that history repeats itself, and so do movements.

Contrary to many beliefs, the peace movement didn't end the war in Vietnam. Three things ended the war in Vietnam. They were, in order of importance, the Vietnamese, the tanking economy, and the resistance of U.S. soldiers. If I extended this list by 100 more items, I still wouldn't include marches on the U.S. capitol or attempts to raise the Pentagon. It is beyond doubt that popular resistance in the U.S. had success in restricting the scope of the war, but it didn't end it. If public opinion alone could stop a war, then the Iraq occupation would have ended back in November 2004 when public support dropped under 50%. Majority opinion may hold sway in a democracy, but not in the U.S.

Dan also details how marches against WWII in the United States didn't really stop that war, either.  So what makes us think they'll stop this one?

Instead, Dan says the anti-war movement has to stop being merely anti-war --- and offer a clear alternative instead.  Here, Dan argues for a peace movement that is challenging hegemony and violence much more broadly:

I believe we also have to expand the conversation from Iraq to the so-called war on terror. This is the elites' latest framework for empire, and we have to challenge it. The "peace movement" (it still doesn't feel right to say that) can learn a lot from organizers fighting the criminal justice system. The parallels between the rhetoric justifying the war on terror and the war on crime are plain to see, if you look at them. In the war on crime, bad people are coming into your neighborhood or even your house to do you harm. (These people just happen to have dark skin.) To keep you safe, we need to be tough on these criminals. We need more cops with more equipment (i.e. guns), and we need places where we can put the bad people far away from the good people. In the war on terror, bad people are coming to your country to do you harm. (These people also happen to have dark skin. Coincidence?) To keep you safe, we need to be tough on these terrorists. We need more troops with more equipment (i.e. big guns), and we need to kill the bad people in places far away from the good people.

In a comment on the blog, another community organizer Gabe Gonzalez talks about how his daughter is convinced there are monsters under the bed.  So he has to spend his energy convincing her otherwise.  In other words, even if progressives were to take up the agenda  that the "war on terror" and its ever-present threats are false, why should we have to convince the public?  Shoudn't we be forcing the Right wing hawk fear mongerers to prove their point?  

Otherwise, we're in the position of proving that the invisible threat doesn't exist.  Which is sort of like disproving monsters under the bed.  

We should be fighting the "war on terror" by making THEM defend it!

What do you think?

Sally Kohn is the Director of the Movement Vision Lab.

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