Hallelujah! Some outspokeness from a Democratic Congress critter, at a higher level than "blame everything on the GOP".
At a press conference held by members of the House Out of Poverty Caucus Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich), the second most senior member of the U.S. House, was pointed in his criticism of the White House regarding jobs and cuts to Social Security the President put on the table last week. "We've got to educate the American people at the same time we educate the President of the United States. The Republicans, Speaker Boehner or Majority Leader Cantor did not call for Social Security cuts in the budget deal. The President of the United States called for that," Conyers, who has served in the House since 1965, said. "My response to him is to mass thousands of people in front of the White House to protest this," Conyers said strongly.
We want full employment as a matter of government policy," he said. "Which was passed in 1978 when I stood with Hubert Humphrey. We passed the first bill that allowed the government - in areas of high unemployment - to directly intervene and create jobs. Well, we've got the bill in here again and I've got nothing from the White House," Conyers told the audience. Several CBC members have called for targeted help for high unemployment in the black community
Focusing on Obama, Conyers continued. "We want him to know from this day forward that we've had it. We want him to come out on our side not to watch and wait. We're suffering," Conyers said. Several members of the CBC, including, Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), and are beginning to speak out more publicly on jobs and the White House policy. Many have called for a targeted approach to the problem
9:26 AM PT: By the time this diary was up for 12 minutes 38 people had voted in the poll, and 94% were for WH protests.
I have a feeling that this diary will get a lot of attention, not because of anything I wrote, but because of Conyers' stature and what he said.
That said, I'd like to use my impending 15 hours of fame to remind everybody that protests could also be local, ubiquitous, small, and furthermore, could honor Conyers' expressed desire to "educate the American people", and thus target one's fellow citizens (not necessarily your local Congress critter).
Indeed, yours truly has been advocated "shotgun" protests or outreaches, for quite a while, with a view toward educating the public - in particular, the "unblogged masses".
So, please check out my diaries Status Quo Busters: How FDL+DK+DU progressives can 'cross the beams' and revolutionize politics and How squeegees can help save America, and your sanity - going beyond blogging to the choir and start thinking about picking up Conyer's cry for education of the public. An educated public will more forcefully exert it's will on the government, due to the inevitable increased level and intelligence of demands made on their elected representatives.
I'll also use my 15 hours of fame to note that Democrats and progressives could help inject progressive memes - like preserving SS and Medicare - directly into Republican primaries, by crashing their primary elections as both candidates and supporters. Please see my diary Wanted: Republicans who plan to sell off CA and NY, to pay the national debt
9:32 AM PT: Additionally:
IMO, very propitious entry points to inject progressive memes into the general public, are the sidewalks next to public schools, just after school. (Though some local activist teachers that I spoke to, that did something similar, targeted parents, directly, before school, who were dropping off their kids.) Please see How teachers could make Rush Limbaugh’s head explode, but chronically fail to and Call to Action: How the Tea Party can intelligently help CRUSH Teachers’ Unions
This route isn't only promising because schools are one of the few areas of everyday congregation of the public in a suburb. It's also promising because people are protective of their children. If junior comes home with a political tract, especially one that doesn't fall into the framing of mainstream media, when the parents get wind of it, they will likely demand to check it out. After all, they wouldn't want junior to get corrupted by some radical ideology. Meanwhile, if kids get the notion that there's something somewhat taboo about what they're handed, they will be all the more intrigued. (To help encourage this scenario, you could deviously say to kids, "DON'T show this to your parents, whatever you do! NEVER, NEVER, NEVER!!! They can't handle the truth!" If that doesn't guarantee interest on the part of the child, and parents investigating the possibly subversive pamphlets, then I don't know what will. :-) )
Although I had it in my mind for teachers to take the lead in such actions, that's not actually necessary, and furthermore, teachers are in a fragile position in much of the country, due to charter school privatization. Many will fear getting fired, and in many cases, those fears will be justified.
In suburbia, there are fewer options than in more densely crowded areas, but suburbs are still target-rich areas, where activists could still do their thing with great democratic efficiency. One creative idea that would actually work better in a suburb than in a densely packed city is what I've dubbed "democracy carolling". You get your activist glee club, plus a tap dancer or two, to go around town in the suburbs, and sing patriotic numbers like "Yankee Doodle Dandy". The tap dancers make like James Cagney. You don't do this in December, when you'd be competing with Christmas carollers, but you could do it during the other 11 months of the year.
If you put a smile on people face before you place a pamphlet in their hands, they are going to be much more receptive to reading it.
10:36 AM PT: A youtube video of James Cagney dancing Yankee Doodle Dandy. Add some pamphlets, and you've got something to dance about.
11:41 AM PT: Reform groups in New Brunswick, NJ, had fantastic success reaching out to and educating their neighbors in 2009. Their techniques should be investigated by activists, and used (or at least tried) for political messages of national scope.
(From Empower Our Neighborhoods, that generated the wins described in the PDA article Progressives and Revolutionaries Win 25 Seats in Local Democratic Party)
2:10 PM PT: Is this story being censored? Calling Cenk Uyghur!
I cross posted this diary at FDL, here, and got a comment from "papau", who said the following on July 29th, 2011 at 10:53 am EST:
This was not on – (or at least I did not catch it)- on MSNBC on 7/27 when said, or on 7/28, and today 7/29 and I am not holding my breath for it to be shown. As for NBC/CBS/ABC/NYT/WaPo/Fox forget about it.
Obama was chosen by the media and the rich and corporate and is protected by them.
I just did a search for “Conyers” on the front page of politico.com, and talkingpointmemo.com, and found nothing.
Fascinating! I also just did the following 3 google searches (which should span multiple days), and came up with absolutely nothing.
conyers “out of poverty caucus” site:nytimes.com
conyers “out of poverty caucus” site:abc.com
conyers “out of poverty caucus” site:nbc.com
Finally, I did the following search:
conyers “out of poverty caucus” site:theyoungturks.com
and also came up with nothing. Well, given Cenk’s recent removal from a prime MSNBC spot, I certainly don’t think he’s suppressing the story. Probably, even Cenk doesn’t know!
If anybody can reach Cenk, that’d be good. Also, if anybody has time to research what looks like a news blackout to me, and write a diary, feel free.
Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 3:12 AM PT: While I'm sure that honoring Conyers' call to protest at the WH means "ASAP", people should keep in mind, also, the planned demonstrations inspired by Tahrir Square, and Madison Wisconsin, on October 6, 2011, and continuing "as long as possible". See October2011.org. One of the problems with the large demonstrations has been that they've lost much of their punch. As jeffroby has written, they've become exercizes in "bus logistics". I think Denis Rancourt would agree that they don't "threaten power". The October 6 demonstration is supposed to be different, by only starting on October 6. States have developed quite a bit of expertise in demoralizing protesters, and making them seem irrelevant (e.g., "kettling"). All the more reason not to rely on big demonstrations, exclusively, and remember that you live in a target rich environment, just BEGGING for what I call "shotgun" outreaches and protests.
Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 3:23 AM PT: Honorable mention goes to davidincleveland, for a suggestion + good news about civic outreach in his apartment building. "In all that time we have never had any sort of political sign posted in the public areas."
May I be so bold as to suggest that davidincleveland gets it? He is more interested in talking about what can work to help organize. I frankly hadn't even thought of bulletin boards, but surely that's a useful technique to use. IIRC, Microsoft Publisher even has document templates that not only print out the 'radial' demarcating lines, defining strips that normally hold a telephone numbers (e.g., for placement on a bulletin board, when your're looking to rent a room or sell your lawnmower); it also sticks in a phone number, or web URL, into that strip for you.
BTW, one of the first postings I ever made online, concerned my puzzlement as to why billboard signs are so sterile, wrt political messages. It's rare to see a billboard with a political message, representative of any ideology.
Wonderful Diary, Wonderful News. Thank You (0+ / 0-)
for all the strong activist advice in addition to this breaking info. When I stepped onto the elevator in my apartment building tonight I was pleasantly dumbfounded to see a sign posted urging residents to call our Rep. (Marsha Fudge) and demand she fight hard to make sure SS isn't touched.
On August 24 I will have lived 9 years in this apartment building full of minority seniors and disabled persons. In all that time we have never had any sort of political sign posted in the public areas. It is clear to me; unless the elected Dems stop the POTUS on this issue, we will lose both the Congress and the White House.
PS. Sorry to see your great diary was highjacked at the tip jar for 200 comments about word definitions and memes.
Mr. President, if you've kept all your commitments to my civil rights, then you never made enough commitments in the first place.
by davidincleveland on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 09:01:18 PM PDT
Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 3:31 AM PT: The poll results speak very well of the dailykos community. I applaud those of you answering "yes" to the poll - about 88% of you. Just please keep in mind that (IMO) reaching out to your neighbors locally, in a persistent and ubiquitous manner, via protests and educational efforts is more important, on a long term basis (not to mention easier). Hopefully people will prioritize making such outreaches fun, also.
Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 4:20 AM PT: Message to Harry Belafonte:
Mr. Belafonte is quoted in a comment, below, by Annalize5:
Barack Obama and his mission has failed because it has lacked a certain kind of moral courage, a certain kind of moral vision that we are in need of. This does not make him a stand-alone, however, and there is still a lot of opportunity for that corner to be turned.
I think, if anything, what the artists should be doing and what the world at large should be doing should be a campaign to make him do it."
Good on you, Mr. Belafonte! I want to ask you to think about the enormous outreach opportunities available locally to educate the public on political matters, and about my call to put a smile on people's face before you put a pamphlet in their hand. Further, please consider whether or not performing artists (not necessarily professional; in fact, mostly talented amateurs) could in fact play a lead role in doing so. Think about this scenario: Your neigbhor has an activist glee club singing "Yankee Doodle Dandy" in front of his comfortable and hitherto mostly isolated house in suburbia. Some kid, perhaps dressed up as Uncle Sam, is tap dancing, like James Cagney, in the driveway. You hear the commotion and peek out your window? What will you do next? Go back to watching TV? Go back to doing a crossword puzzle? Of course not! You're going to go to your neighbor's house, to investigate. You'll already have a smile on your face. And when one of the singers hands you a pamphlet, aren't you going to accept it, and at least skim it, later on?
So, my challenge to Mr Belafonte, or any other famous, Hollywood connected talent, is to help organize such an effort. Besides getting your civic-minded Hollywood buddies involved, what you'd be looking to do is to organize the talent which is spread out, throughout the country. Your mission - should you decide to accept it - would be to facilitate performing artist troupes in every city and suburb in the country, looking to politicize the American public.
I worked in Manhattan about a year ago, for a few weeks, and the only 'static' crowds that I saw above ground (subways are another matter, and the 'crowds' there much smaller, usually) were as follows: 1) a Michael Jackson imitator, who had a similar body build to the original, was doing dance routines, in Michael Jackson's style. 2) Some TV show (don't remember which one) stars were being interviewed, literally in the street.
While it'd be nice to have enough famous Hollywood types to spread around the country, for shotgun activism purposes, that's impossible. However, amateurs are another matter; and they will have more of an attunement with Hollywood stars than most of us.
But organizing such an effort would need early adopters and early facilitators. Could this be you?