I’m listening to KPFK now with respected local activist Blase Bonpane interviewing Medea Benjamin of Global Exchange on his World Focus program.

While they’ve both done, and continue to do, many extraordinary things, I do have to wonder what planet they are on when they say what progressives need to do to end the war is to implore Congress to hold war crimes hearings.

Hello? Has anyone in Congress shown the slightest interest in doing this? Did not virtually all Democrats in Congress also support the Patriot Act and the Iraq invasion? Yet some progressives continue to think the answer to the continuing madness of the war is to politely ask Congress to do the ethical thing.
Congress will act when they are forced to act. As with the 40 hour work week, voting rights for women, civil rights, and ending the Vietnam war, the impetus for these massive social changes began with people in the streets. At first the numbers were small, then they grew, then there were million – and then, and only then, public opinion shifted and Congress was forced to take action.

Expecting Congress to act now, when they clearly show no interest in doing so just diverts energy from the streets into dead end channels. This is the same mindset that caused some progressives to stop or muzzle their antiwar organizing in order to work for the lame, pro-war Kerry campaign. Medea just said on the show that progressives weren’t ready for the destruction of Fallujah after the election because they’d been so focused on the Kerry campaign.

Nonsense. The ANSWER Coalition said for weeks prior to the election that a massive escalation in Iraq would happen right after the election. ANSWER never stopped organizing against the war, nor did they waste precious time and energy on a Democratic candidate who was determined not to end the war but to escalate it.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not pass because people timidly asked Congress to consider it. It passed because millions got into the streets and due to their efforts, public opinion had shifted to support them.

January 20. Counter Inaugural protests. Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle. Be there.