Petitions Don't Work. What will?

Is it just me, or is discouragement playing a role in limiting on-line participation from the left? I just got an email from Jim Dean of Democracy for America. He says the "fiscal cliff" is not real, is merely a scare tactic. We all know this.

What does he propose? A petition to Congress. "Pretty please would you please please not run this scam that has been years in the planning and has most powerful people firmly behind it?"

Some time during the last 4 years, I stopped bothering to sign these petitions. Anyway, I feel as though I see the future, and it is murder. Such petitions strike me as worse than useless--they encourage a delusional feeling of participation and are usually more about maintaining the public standing of those who put them forward than they are about seriously addressing the problems we face.

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Occupy and The Count of Monte Cristo.

Shahryar's picture

Occupy had a good idea but then there are problems with that, like how to sustain it. Oh yeah, and how it's reported, if it's reported at all.

Money runs everything. We need to get rich, to gain access, to bring down the banksters through their own greed.

No, I have no clue how to do that.

 

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Not much, but here's a comment

geomoo's picture

I feel discouraged noticing where our attention goes--even most of us with our eyes wide open can't seem to avoid having our agenda set by the daily propaganda report. It is really challenging to maintain focus on nitty gritty things, such as educating people about using credit unions or battling blindness to the inhumanity of drone strikes. We cannot expect to gain momentum that develops a life of its own because we own zero big media outlets. This means staying at it day after day. I'm not whining--I'm saying that I feel this challenge is wearing on us. It might help if we acknowledge from the beginning that this is the way things are, that this is the world we live in and the challenge we face. Speaking personally, I'm not doing too well with it right now. I'm actually lecturing myself.

Someone mentioned the importance of livestreamers and Tim Pool's idea to self-surveille with inexpensive drones armed with cameras.

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From discussion elsewhere

geomoo's picture

A lot of us seem to agree on the hopelessness of petitions to change things.  We all see the limits of demonstrations for being heard, because they are seldom covered by mainstream media and when they are, the coverage is wildly inaccurate.

A couple of people have mentioned the importance of art and music for strengthening the message of resistance to the juggernaut of oligarchy.  I'm onboard with that, because that is the best way to create a healthy collective unconscious, the collective exuberance we need to keep our energy up for the struggle.

I see an immense challenge to be resisting the ability of the media machine to set the terms of discussion every day.  When everybody's talking about something, it is difficult not to turn one's attention to what is on everyone's minds rather than to keep it on one's on plodding, unheralded work toward doing something that may actually have impact.

Just thinking out loud.

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I don't find petitions to be useless at all.

Glinda's picture

There are millions of people who can't join in the organizing, who can't protest, who can't "show up."

There are homebound people, there are caregivers who can't leave home - much, there are people working two or three jobs, trying to take care of their families who couldn't possibly "show up."
 

Yes, people can make phone calls to their representatives and the White House, but I've found that to be useless -- as politicians can and do lie about how many phone calls they received on a particular issue and how the calls were running - for/against.

At least with a petition, those that aren't as able to "get out" as others are, they can sign a petitition and their support will be documented.

I'm not saying that petitions get 'er done, but that's all that some people can do at the particular moment.

And if we had a media that could actually do their job right, WE'D HEAR about petition A, B, C, how many people signed.   We sure are hearing about how many petitions there are regarding seceding, aren't we. 

Maybe if we started boycotting the traditional media until they started doing, what's that called, journalism, that could help.  Maybe I'll start a petition ;)

 

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You're right, I shouldn't put down one organizing tool

geomoo's picture

Good points, as usual.  What I'm really thinking of is that reading that petition and remembering so many other of these rigged battles over the last decade and more, how every single one of them turns out to give the 1% what they want.  At this point, it looks like the pretense of democracy and nothing more.  Which has more oomph, the petition signed by a million people or the lobbyist Alan Grayson describes, offering a million dollars for a vote?  The answer to this question has been answered loud and clear.  I read that petition and I felt the entire scenario has already been set up.  The desired results have been determined by wealthy and powerful people behind the scenes, and now it's time to put up a show of a spirited debate.  This is how it feels to me.  This feeling does not arise from being a spoiled purist who always needs to get my way; it arises from having seen this process so many times.  The results seem always to come out independent of what the country wants.  We have seen over the last decade more than one example of Congress having an opportunity to choose the moral choice, the politically popular choice, and the practically wise choice--all 3 aligned--and have seen them choose the thing that continues the flow of money to the 1% instead.  We have seen this.

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how has change happened, historically?

Shahryar's picture

how do governments change? how do they fall? Outside invasions, usurpations by those close to power, torch-carrying citizens. Sometimes they go broke, like the USSR.

I doubt that any government has undergone fundamental change because of petitions but I don't discourage them. Anything is better than nothing.

Anyway, I'm headed off to the "library" to read up on how things have changed in the past.

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Good question

geomoo's picture

I may be wrong about this, but it seems to me that in exploring this question, there is one thing to take into account.  I don't believe any previous society had such a sophisticated, saturating propaganda system, a system which is delivered to the homes of most of the population, which is viewed addictively by most, and which is controlled by only a few players.  I believe this circumstance to be unique to our time.

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