Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Good, the Potential, and What Might Happen

By David Swanson; reprinted with permission, first published for

Already we’ve seen, as a result of people taking to the streets in the United States:

-Four policemen indicted.

-More racist monuments dismantled.

-Some minimal and inconsistent limit on what the New York Times editorial page will defend having done in the way of spreading evil.

-Some minimal and inconsistent limit on what Twitter will do in the way of spreading evil.

-A virtual ban on continuing the pretense that kneeling for Black Lives Matter during a national anthem is an unacceptable violation of the sacred flag. (Note that the change is not in intellectual ability but in what is deemed morally acceptable.)

-Much greater recognition of the value provided by those who videotape the police committing murder.

-Some recognition of the harm done by prosecutors — largely due to the accident that a particular former prosecutor wants to be a vice presidential candidate.

-Federal legislation introduced and discussed to halt the provision of war weapons to police, to make it easier to prosecute police, and to prevent the U.S. military from attacking demonstrators.

-Proposals widely discussed and even considered by local governments to defund or eliminate armed police.

-A reduction in the pretense that racism is over.

-An increase in recognition that police cause violence and blame it on protesters.

-An increase in recognition that corporate media outlets distract from problems being protested by focusing on violence blamed on protesters.

-Some increase in recognition that extreme inequality, poverty, powerlessness, and structural and personal racism will keep boiling over if not addressed.

-Outrage at the militarization of police and at the use of military troops and unidentified troops/police in the United States.

-The power of courageous nonviolent activism on display, moving opinion and policy and even winning over armed militarized police.

This has happened, remarkably, despite:

-The longstanding pretense in U.S. media and culture that activism doesn’t work.

-The longstanding severe shortage of activism in the United States.

-The COVID-19 pandemic.

-The partisan identification of violating shelter-in-place policies with the Republican Party and armed rightwing racists.

-The billion dollar a year pro-military marketing campaign funded by the U.S. government.

What could happen if this continues and escalates strategically and creatively:

-It could become routine for police to be barred from murdering people.

-Media and social media outlets could block promotion of violence, including police violence and war violence.

-Colin Kaepernick could get his job back.

-The Pentagon could cease providing weapons to police, and not provide them to dictators or coup-leaders or mercenaries or secret agencies, but destroy them.

-The U.S. military and National Guard could be kept entirely off of U.S. land, including U.S. borders.

-Cultural and educational and activist changes could reshape U.S. society on many other issues as well.

-Billionaires could be taxed, a Green New Deal and Medicare for All and Public College and fair trade and universal basic income could become law.

-People objecting to the military on U.S. streets could object to the U.S. military on the rest of the world’s streets. Wars could be ended. Bases could be closed.

-Money could be moved from police to human needs, and from militarism to human and environmental needs.

What might go wrong?

-The excitement could fade.

-The media could be distracted.

-Trump could start a war.

-The crackdown could work.

-The pandemic could surge.

-The Democrats could take the White House and all activism evaporate if it was more partisan in basis than it sometimes appeared.

So, what should we do?

-Carpe Diem! And quickly. Anything that you can do to help should be done immediately.


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David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Swanson was awarded the 2018 Peace Prize by the U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation. Longer bio and photos and videos here. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook, and sign up for: Activist alerts. Articles. David Swanson news. World Beyond War news. Charlottesville news.

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