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To serve man

An awesome quote from the Civil Rights era:

On July 15, 1964, two weeks after passage of The Civil Right Act, Ozell Sutton entered the Arkansas cafeteria, grabbed a tray and stood in line. Cafeteria manager Edris Tyer confronted him, “We don’t serve negras here!” Sutton replied, “That’s all right lady, I don’t eat them either, so you don’t have to serve me any negras. You need to serve me some roast beef.” He was promptly removed.

Indeed!

The article is all about the Keystone XL event (you read it here first) and you should read it all, but I love that quote. The attitude, the courage, the humor, the grit, everything. Yay!

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DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

actually that article is why I cannot stand Counterpunch. And the bogus put down of people because they used fossil fuels to get to DC, how were they supposed to get there. Reading that and the articles here about the protest, I really wonder if I was at the same protest. I saw the Obama logos as throwing his rhetoric right back at him. I especially enjoyed the signs that said Yes You Can.

The Sierra Club has decided to endorse civil disobediance. I had no idea that they previously had a problem with it. Clearly something big is happening in the environmental movement.

And I hate the snarky put down of well known people lending their name to a movement. Without those names we would get no press.

It is hard to know what makes a difference and what does not. But standing on the steps of the Renwick Gallery, watching wave after wave of demonstrators round the corner of 17th and Pennsylvania, I was inspired. And while Obama may not have been there, you can be sure he took note of the proceedings. The thought of all those supporters turning sour on him if he OKs Tar Sands may very well have the desired effect.

It is not so easy to get thousands of people to come to Washington to stand in freezing weather to listen to speeches and then march. I just can't believe all the put downs.

Cujo359's picture
Submitted by Cujo359 on

Agree about the fossil fuels - it's hard to do anything in the modern world without burning some. Heck, sometimes we burn fossil fuels to make fossil fuels.

Anyway, on the Obama issue, what makes you think that he would care whether he has support at this point? That's not a rhetorical question, but I see no reason to think he would. Assuming he isn't impeached, what would he need that support for? He's got the second term, and he runs the most important branch of government. I just don't see the motivation he'd have to think what any of us little folks had to say about him.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

It can't be pleasant to have former supporters turn on you. Strictly speaking, he does not need them. But if his approval ratings go south, it will be a problem for him. Also, humans are social creatures, these demonstrations do have an effect. All of Washington was paying attention, even if they do not admit it. For every person willing to get on a bus and ride 500 miles to demonstrate, there must be at least 1000 willing to go to the polls on election day and vote on that issue.

I remember that the Free South Africa movement forced Reagan to change his stance on sanctions again apartheid South Africa. Reagan never needed that crowd, yet he wound up responding to them. That is what makes me think that these anti-Keystone demonstrations can turn Obama around, or at least it is worth trying.

Submitted by Fran on

This dialogue points to some of the issues within the activist/ progressive 'movement' that I would like to discuss at greater length sometime.

I am all in favor of large marches, rallies, events, etc. They generate enthusiasm, attention and invigorate the participants. I have attended as many as I can. One thing I like about them is that they can bring out 'new' unexpected people - regular people. They are, however, no where near enough. They are only one part, not even a large part, of what needs to happen.

Generally, I think, the marches have little effect on the powers that be. They do send a signal, but I think they do more for the participants. The PTB did react to Occupy because it was spreading so far and so quickly, and 'ordinary' people were coming out. Also, it was not being organized by 'approved' progressives.

Medea, in her interview, talks a little about the silo effect. This is where the groups are each working on their own issue. Some of these groups even get funding from our own government, but it is 'laundered' through funds like the Tides Foundation. The silo effect works for the PTB. What they do not want to see is the people connecting the dots and joining together.

I think that any real change is going to take radical action and it is going to take people coming together. The organizers in this case supposedly did not want to alienate anyone by being radical.

I think that high profile people can help bring attention to an issue. My problem with them in many cases in that they are somewhat naive or self consciously being involved. They can take things off track - what gets attention gets a little warped depending on what gets their attention. It really requires ongoing, hard work where a camera is not always nearby.

Clearly many regular people are looking for a way to be involved, because they come out when they can relate. There is a wide range of sophistication in understanding the issues. So the question is how purist should it be? How does it come together?

I had the same reaction to the Billion Women Rising. I felt it was a rehash of the '60s; it was organized by rich white women and celebrities with no real program. But, apparently it struck a cord in many women. (Many were not around for the '60s.) So, I guess it served a purpose in bringing them out, in bringing them together. I think the issue is the wrong one - I am against violence against any weaker, exploited group. But if it gets people out and thinking, I guess that is a good thing.

btw, I really did not like the signs that looked like campaign signs, and Obama, being the narcissist that he is, will take them as a compliment, not a serious challenge.This event was inspiring, but safe.

oh....... I have not commented in awhile........ what happened to 'Preview'?

Cujo359's picture
Submitted by Cujo359 on

I don't think of it as the "silo effect". I think of it as "hanging seperately". Progressives seem to be terrible at building coalitions and keeping them together these days. And as long as every interest group only worries about its particular concern, there are never enough of any to have any effect.

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