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Lack of Revolution

by on February 16, 2011

As is my habit, I was reading through the news.  I came upon an interesting article that explains a lot.

What will bring people here out into the streets? There has been a great deal of hand-wringing over failure to take to the streets, lamentations of our non-revolution….

Some say: Why should people here take to the streets? We have democracy, don’t we? Free press, free consumption, a flourishing free market. People aren’t going hungry, Facebook and Twitter are open to everyone.

Am I talking about America?  Actually, this article is about Israel.  And the article explains why people aren’t out in the streets:

But the truth is that it is difficult to expect the Israeli public to take to the streets, because in fact it has too many things to protest….continued occupation, the recurrent wars, depriving workers’ rights, diminishing health and welfare services, increasing and aggravating societal gaps of all kinds, and – in more recent years – eroding democratic rights and personal freedoms, and growing government corruption.

The difference I see between this critique of Israel, and any critique of America, is the word ‘occupation, and the difference between the word ‘Israeli’ or ‘American’.

Of course, there have been protests in America.  There is a leaderless, invisible, and expanding revolution in America against banks and corporations by people (for people, as well).  Why?  Consider this story that headlined today: Foreclosed: but never missed a payment.  Not an accident, and not as infrequent as we’d all like to hope.  And there have been other protests in America.  Once we were brave enough to protest a war we didn’t believe in, which began March 2003.  Ten of hundreds of thousands of us, all across America and the world.  What happened?  From a plaintiff and legal worker in a case in Chicago,

A class action lawsuit, Vodak v. City of Chicago, was filed after the incident, which I have been involved in as both a plaintiff and a legal worker.  The suit is on behalf of the approximately 550 people who were falsely arrested, some spending two days in jail, along with 300 others who were detained on the street for over an hour and a half and forced to discard their signs and anti-war materials.  After years of litigation, on the eve of trial Virginia Kendall, the federal judge presiding over the case, ruled in favor of the City of Chicago and determined that the police had the right to arrest the protesters because we did not have a permit.  That decision was appealed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals where it was argued this past October, during which one of the judges stated, “It sounds like a police state, if a large crowd of peaceful people can all just be swept up and arrested by the police.”  At the time of this writing, the class members and attorneys await the Appeals Court’s decision, which will determine whether the case can proceed.

Government discouraging rebellion.  I think this says it best, about America, Israel, or any other place with or without protests and revolts at the moment (see, for a short list of current protests, South Africa, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, and Iran.

Israel’s politicians fail to recognize the public’s exhaustion and collective depression, its desire for peace, quiet and equality, and don’t understand that this is the real danger to our existence, security and character. That is because this exhaustion and desire for quiet have led to the yearning for a “strong leader.”

The truth is that we’re all yearning for a revolution. We watch with frustration all of those other people who have succeeded in making a change – not just tried, but succeeded – and we want the same. We, too, want to shape our lives, we also want something exciting and positive to happen to us, something awesome and inspiring – and most of all something that gives hope. Boy, do we need hope.

One Comment
  1. Sheryl Justice permalink

    Bill, that was wonderful! Your piece made my night. At the end I was excited for ANYTHING that would give me hope. I agree, we do need hope. More than anything, we need hope.

    If you didn’t edit, it certainly worked out for you, my friend.
    ❤ Sheryl

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