One way to tell if you’re having an impact is the level of push back against you. I experienced this in my Congressional campaign in 2008, when my opponent hired a stalker who filmed me at every public appearance — even at a talk I gave on religion to residents of a senior housing complex.
We witnessed it during Occupy Wall Street in 2011, when two federal agents infiltrated the movement in Des Moines.
More recently, pipeline fighters are aware of two cases where spies, presumably paid for by Big Oil, have infiltrated efforts to stop fossil-fuel infrastructure expansion.
Sure, it sucks to be stalked, infiltrated or spied on, whether by Big Government or Big Business. But it’s also a compliment, indicating that the opposition recognizes you’re making progress toward shaking up their comfortable status quo.
So, when I read over the weekend comments posted on the Democracy Spring website, I thought, “Congratulations, folks. You’ve arrived!” Sure, the posts could simply be the work of cyber trolls. But it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s the same ilk who funded “scientists” to deny climate change — or “doctors” to assure us tobacco isn’t harmful.
Democracy Spring is an ambitious, well-organized undertaking, with real potential to make the status quo squirm.
In the organizers’ own words: “It’s time to take mass nonviolent action on a historic scale to save our democracy. This April, in Washington, D.C., we will demand a Congress that will take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in our politics and ensure free and fair elections in which every American has an equal voice.
“The campaign will begin on April 2nd with a march from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. where thousands will gather to reclaim the US Capitol in a powerful, peaceful, and massive sit-in that no one can ignore. Over 2,000 people have already pledged to risk arrest between April 11th-18th in what will be one of the largest civil disobedience actions in a generation.”
Here’s one of the more amusing derogatory comments posted on the Democracy Spring website: “I want to bring my dog. Will gluten free dog food be provided? Im (sic) EXCITED to take a trip on someone elses (sic) dime and meet other freaks and any foreigners who hate men, USA and want to help Hillary take out the USA as we knew (sic) it.”
Bring on the trolls or spies . . . although one would hope that Big Guv or Big Biz would hire infiltrators with a better command of the English language. Whatever. It’s all good. As Gandhi said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
When it comes to social and political change, if we are to win, I’m a firm believer in using every non-violent tool available: Elections, lobbying, the courts, education, direct action. In fact, no societal transformation — whether it’s the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage or civil rights — occurred without the effective deployment of all these tactics.
When it comes to the struggle against America’s descent into oligarchy, the time is ripe for mass civil disobedience, and Democracy Spring may be the spark. Stay tuned.
Speaking of staying tuned, listen to the Fallon Forum today as we discuss Democracy Spring. Also:
– Jessica Reznicek joins me as she prepares to go to court, and probably prison, for an action against the military-industrial complex in Omaha.
– We’ll analyze today’s Des Moines Register editorial on Donald Trump, which is excellent but misses the seething economic abandonment that, I believe, lies at the heart of Trump’s appeal.
– On the cultural side of talk radio, we’ll visit with Karla Kash of Repertory Theater of Iowa about the troupe’s current production: Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie.
Listen to the Fallon Forum live Mondays, broadcasting live from the Cultural and Culinary Cross-roads of America (a.k.a., Des Moines, Iowa) from 11:00-12:00 noon CST on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM and online. The number to call to add your voice to the conversation is (515) 528-8122. The program re-broadcasts Wednesday on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. and Monday at 6:00 a.m. on WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans). Check-out podcasts here.
Thanks! – Ed Fallon