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It's up to us
After the latest mistake — putting such energy into electing a Democrat — we can assess our strength

by Jan Lundberg

After the U.S. election "debacle," as we face the prospect of more Bush than we ever wanted to imagine, we can assess our strength.  Those who mainly look toward the 2008 campaign have one thing going for them: patience.  However, they are misguided and it is unfortunate that the  Anybody But Bush crowd managed to dominate social activism.  There are many world views among activists for peace and the environment, but at some points in history people come together to create lasting change.

graphic by Tim Barton of

Don't buy a new car!  Depave paradise!

Move over electoral politics junkies, and get behind a radical movement to change society away from consumerism and "growth," toward peace and sustainability.  Fortunately, even as you read this, the movement is coalescing after the election-exercise is put behind us.  We know that John Kerry did not  have the guts or vision to say, for example, he would pull out of Iraq immediately in order to bring peace.  So, it is now up to us to do what we can, such as slashing energy use instead of pining for a green technofix fantasy.

If a real movement can have a positive impact, it will put elections in their rightful place, as happened during and after the 1968 presidential campaign: countless people in the streets willing to get arrested.  It did a world of good, and it taught people about related issues such as the real nature of the war machine (e.g., corporate profits).  A cultural revolution was underway, which taught people such things as honoring the land, air and water -- not only the struggle to end a war and bring about social justice.  Nonviolent resistance (and local, traditional values) also worked wonders in Gandhi's India.  

The System is the problem

It has always been a waste of time to try to merely reform the System, especially in the long run.  It is important, nonetheless, to support reforms and make common cause with those who do not fully understand the System.

After the defeat or premature concession of John Kerry -- the "good cop" alternative to the butt-kicking "conservatives" -- it is painfully obvious that there instead needed to be a real opposition-movement organizing against the System.  After all, it is deadly, dysfunctional and corrupt System that has undermined its own future like a gluttonous vampire sucking too much blood out of its own source of life Mother Earth. 

Simultaneously, the "new" way of sustainable living in accordance with natural law (followed, somewhat, here and there, as in Permaculture) can come to the fore like the '60s transformation movement.  Instead of starting from square one, it can restart with momentum.  Names change; people have called it the "back to the land movement," and in the urban setting it has been known as the "do-it-yourself" movement.

The System is about stealing the land and controlling the people for private gain.  The people are told they have some power, such as in voting.  But at the end of the day, the people are consistently handled as dumb animals who are exploited and fed lies.  The things we were supposed to appreciate worshipfully -- consumer goods, educational opportunity, pride in science and sports, etc. -- are properly seen as empty, when war continues as a distraction for the real war against the planet.  Our lives are being taken away

The huge amount of energy that went into the Kerry campaign was a monumental drain on many well-meaning activists as well as on political party control freaks who thrive in the System regardless.  For those who thought change would result by fighting for Kerry the Demopublican, we now have another excellent lesson on where not to put our energy. (More on that later and in future columns.)  Think of how many local-based situations and causes that could have been successfully fought, but were not -- because people went off to work for Anybody But Bush.  

Every chance was afforded the "two party" system to clean up its act and allow reform; Nader was not a factor in "spoiling" the election.  The Democrats are now dead as a party and are nearly useless to those pushing for fundamental change.  Although a "third party" (a real second party) sounds good, the movement to stop the war and save the ecosystem may not have the time or ability to put a Nader in power

Whiners, step aside and shut up

It is being said by election expert Greg Palast that vote fraud, especially in terms of not counting Kerry ballots in Ohio, stole the election for Bush.  But even if this is true, Kerry did not get quite half the U.S. popular vote. Or, if he did, is it not vital to get quite a bit more than 50% so there is a clear victor and obtain a mandate for change?  To the woulda-coulda-shoulda activists who failed, they deserve not a pat on the back for encouragement, but redirection:  it is time to let go of the fixation on elections and the "two-party system."  Our activism must be better focused.  

Getting so focused on election-stealing is to forget our primary task of replacing the system or at least pointing toward an alternative.  Similarly, trying to get to the bottom of the 9-11 conspiracy is a great way to get very little else done.  People are going to be cowed, treated like sheep, and oppressed, as long as the rules most people play by include advancing materialism and non-sharing.

The gullibility of the masses of people had one of its best examples in 1972 when there was a chance for a real peace candidate -- George McGovern -- to be elected president. But even with his warning to the nation that Nixon was up to his ears in Watergate, it was still a landslide for Nixon.  Lesson: people today are just as propagandized and unable to think independently.

As the Kerry and Dean activists managed to waste their time and everyone else's, and hog the opposition-to-Bush stage, we can now see clearly that they only got to sound off and dominate media and advertising for two years because they were participating in a corrupt system that does not present the truth.  In any case, it is hard to overcome more than 50 million ignoramuses who do not think critically about their government or their dead-end materialist culture.

The distraction of the Kerry effort has been incredibly costly in time, money and energy, when we could have been doing more productive and constructive things to change society and help the Earth. Anyone who does not get started on that task, and instead continues to believe in the system -- perhaps to run another Bush Lite in 2008? -- deserves no forum and should be discredited.

If Kerry had instead won, the point I make about wasting time would be completely without foundation -- according to die-hard reformists who lament their loss on November 2.  But it is up to each of us to create conditions for change, recognizing that a Kerry win could offer little more but complacency and further distraction; if Kerry won, the work would begin in earnest just as much as it must now. The good news is that we have no illusions about the challenge we face, when destroying the Earth for profit is the blatant raison d'être of Bush's "Haves and Have Mores."

The Democrat Party is dead -- or should be

Ahead lies serious confrontation over the war machine's illegitimate genocide in Iraq. Demonstrations in the streets and other direct action will harken back to the stepped up demonstrations against U.S. imperialism in 1968-'70.  These mobilizations and tactics were mostly on hold while the "Kerry solution" was wasting our time.  It would have been nice if Teresa Heinz Kerry had been in the White House, but that was like a silver lining for the same old Demopublican wing of the "Business Society" serving up plutocracy and oligarchy.  I was criticized by some radicals for supporting her "election" to the post of First Lady.

The reelection of Bush showed that people  -- at least 51 percent of them -- are fearful enough and swayed easily enough to be oblivious the rest of the world's desire for peace and freedom.  In the opinion of many a Kerry voter and those who held their nose over the whole exercise, we may have just witnessed a disaster, but that does not mean we wait four years. The question is what activists for the Earth are to do as the unconscious 51% of the U.S. population continue to blindly consume. 

The answer is organize.  However, there is no published manual.  The War for Independence that the 13 American colonies waged in their revolution had the support of only 1/3rd of the population; half or more of the population would have been more helpful, but was not necessary for the fight's success. Yet, we cannot even assume there will be a political movement gaining ascendancy.  It will have to be more spiritual and lifestyle oriented, to help get us past the historic oil crash to come.

I look forward to heading from you.

- Jan, in Humboldt, Ecotopia (northern California)
November 5, 2004


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Resistance here in the U.S. against the war machine, as urged in Jan Lundberg's Culture Change Letter #76.

It's up to us -- the song, by Spring

Why Kerry Conceded, despite election fraud

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