I first heard of plans being made for actions the day after Election Day in mid-August, at a NYC conference just prior to the Republican Convention. Activists from the direct action wing of the global justice movement talked about and distributed literature urging people to make plans to protest likely election fraud and to make a loud and visible statement that the popular democracy movement we are building is about much more than voting.
A week later, just before the huge half-a-million strong protest at the RNC, I learned about a similar effort undertaken by groups like the Ruckus Society and the League of Pissed Off Voters. And several weeks later I was contacted by a close friend in the Green Party who was taking a similar initiative.
One week before November 2, according to information found at the websites of these three initiatives (www.beyondvoting.org, http://www.ttww.org and http://www.nov3.us), there are about 35 localities where something is being planned for the period between November 3 and 6.
All three groups are linking their post-election plans to the multiple, organized efforts to defend people’s right to vote on November 2 itself. They are encouraging activists, if they have not already done so, to volunteer to be part of one of these efforts.
These developments are a reason for hope that, whoever ends up winning the Presidency, the activist, independent progressive movement will not be demoralized if Bush wins or lulled into inaction if Kerry wins.
This is not the first time this election season that we are having an impact. If Kerry wins, he should publicly thank the half-million who demonstrated in NYC on August 29 and the many thousands who kept doing so throughout the week of the RNC. As Bilal El-Amine pointed out perceptively in an article in Left Turn Magazine, “Clash of Civilizations: An RNC Report:”
“First, the mega August 29 protest completely overshadowed the opening day of the RNC, at least in the local press.
More importantly, Bush could not even get near the site of the 9/11 attacks (known as ‘Ground Zero’) and instead met with a bunch of firemen in a social club way out in Queens.
This is critical as this was the main reason New York was chosen as a convention site for the first time in the Republican Party’s 150-year history. Imagine if there were no protests and Bush could stage-manage an outdoor event among New Yorkers waving flags near Ground Zero.”
Imagine indeed. Instead of coming out of NYC with a 5-8% point lead in the polls, Bush/Cheney’s lead could have been in the double digits and they might well have kept a lead all the way up to November 2. At the very least, in addition to all the other positive aspects, the RNC actions played an important role in keeping the election within striking distance for Kerry.
Now, with the post-election day street heat plans, we are doing several things all at the same time:
-We are increasing the possibility of Bush losing outright on November 2.
-If, as is increasingly likely, the November 2 results are tied up in court in states around the country, we are ahead of the game with people mobilized and visible, drawing attention to election fraud and intimidation, which will help to impact the public political climate and increase the chances of relatively objective media coverage of what truly happened on election day.
-Whoever is ahead or whoever wins on November 2nd, 3rd or whenever, we have made a powerful statement about our movement’s unwillingness to accept more-of-the-same government policies, whether it be the hard-right, neo-conservative approach of the Bushites or the more liberal but still pro-war, pro-corporate approach of Kerry/Edwards.
One week to go. 168 hours to mobilize that progressive vote and plan for actions November 3-6 and beyond. History-making time.