Take geography out of the equation, and provide an entry-level (low-risk) direct action that can be taken by all people, whether
or not they belong to activist organizations. Call for a national home-based mobilization throughout all of America, so literally
EVERYONE who is interested can participate. Except one key difference: have it run from 9 AM to 5 PM on a weekday.
That'll raise a few hackles and get the attention of a few editors. It will also let us know whether we have anyone in
this country willing to do anything to stop the war besides talking, parading, or emailing against it.
That's a key piece of information, because all Republicans and a strong majority of Democrats have been betting against
us on that, and so far nobody's doing a thing to demonstrate otherwise. That's why Congress is not motivated to stop the war.
Pro-war people are demonstrating they can hurt office-holders for ending the war far more than anti-war people will should
they fail to end it. This is odd, since most surveys show that anti-war people outnumber pro-war people by a 2-1 margin.
It must have something to do with the way the two messages get delivered. So let's have our side get real. Let's call
a one-day general strike -- everyone takes off the same day. March 19th, 2008, which is the fifth anniversary of the United
States invasion of Iraq, is a Wednesday. Let this be the date for this important action. We could call it the "Sick Of
War Sick-Out" and make it known that it's not a one-time deal. Make sure the action is in play with youth as well as
adults, since today's children are being assigned the mortgage payments for the war, even though they were allowed no role
in the decisions that created it. "No Taxation Without Representation" was a good cry of resistance in the 18th
century, and it will work with today's youth, too. We must have parents, teachers, and when necessary, legal help available
to support minors through any consequences of this action.
We should remind everyone whose occupation is in a life-saving service, such as firefighters, emergency medical workers,
food pantry employees, police, and similar public safety workers, that they should attend work as usual, and to wear a peace
emblem as evidence of their participation in the anti-war action.
If we don't get a big turnout the first time, don't despair. It's OK if the "Sick Out" doesn't get an
overwhelming response on its first trial. Anti-war activists have not engaged in any active measurement of the potential
for increased public involvement in war obstruction. That needs to change. We can't choose effective strategies for growth
and movement towards our desired destination if we don't determine our point of origin. Should participation be weak, and
we take that not as a setback, but as a wake-up call to knuckle down for some genuine community-level, face-to-face organizing
work, it'll be bigger next time, and bigger still the time after that. We already have the only two things needed to motivate
the effort: enough time to do it, and the necessity that it be done.
There is no indication that anyone in power is considering ending the war at least until after 2012, and in most cases
much longer than that, or never -- unless we act now to change what we've been doing, and how we've been doing it. Let's hold
a nationwide sick-out on Wednesday, March 19th, 2008.