Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Again, Already?

Another Revolution, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Well we have another revolution on our hands. As I passed this sign it reminded me of a great diatribe I heard from Bono at a U2 concert (recorded). So allow me my own diatribe inspired by Bono. (Ed note: when you read the following lines you have to do it with an Irish brogue.)

I've had enough of these unwashed Americans come up to me and talk about the resistance, the revolution on the Mall. And the glory of protesting for the revolution. They don't talk about littering for the revolution. Where's the glory in papering every lamp post you see in Washington DC. Where's the glory in that? Where's the glory in putting stickers up that can't be peeled off? Where's the glory in that? Where's the glory in making city workers waste their time, painstakingly peeling these posters off of city property. Where's the glory in that? Fahq the Revolution.


Anonymous said...

Hey, did you notice the impact of last week's demonstration a few days later in Congress?

Failure. The war continues.

The "protestors" would be more effective organizing across the country to oust pro-war Congresswomen and men in 2008. But, hey, that would take a level of maturity that's beyond AnswerCoalition.org

DCDireWolf said...

The policies of the World Bank and the IMF continue to impoverish hundreds of thousands if not millions of people all over the world. Their policies create violence, disease and misery.

Yet the outrage is again directed at the aesthetic tragedy of sings/posters on lamp posts or litter.

I applaud anyone who finds the time, energy and passion to protest abuse of power and money and the negative impact on humanity. You can debate effectiveness all you want, but at least they're giving something a shot. Dealing with some posters and some remnants of posters in our neighborhoods seems like a VERY small price to pay to be so rich and comfortable in the midst of so much poverty in the world. Really, it's not a big enough price at all.

Carry on with the outrage and "principled" disgust at the signs, if it makes you feel good.


Mr T in DC said...

I agree with PoP and anonymous. These signs, and the time, effort, ink and trees killed to make/distribute/post them are just not worth the negligible results in changing government policy. Not to mention the fact that they end up as visual pollution and litter.

bogfrog said...

Thank you, dcdirewolf

odentex said...

DCDirewolf: You know as well as I do that at lot of the people involved in these organizations are in it for the self-aggrandizement and their dismissive attitude toward DC citizens only reinforces the fact that they are selfish, myopic children from privileged backgrounds. They have no respect for others and they therefor command no respect. The people concerned with "feeling good" and self-satisfied in this scenario are the ones with very middle-class notions of "revolution" on their lips, pointless posters in their hands, and the empty rhetoric in their heads.

That is why they fail. Utterly.

EmoEmu said...

Look. They want to protest. That's great and I support their right to do so. However, just because they believe their cause is righteous doesn't give them the right to plaster their crap all over town. And leave it their for posterity. People wouldn't get upset if this was an occasional or even serious effort. Thats not the case. We've seen this same freaking protest for at least the last 7 years. And its always the same rebels come to town in daddy's suv dressed in the snarkiest urban outfitters tshirts and the hipist castoffs from the local thrift store. They bang their buckets, spin around like they were at a Phish show and play with their giant paper mache puppets. What they don't, and most likely can't do, is engage in any meaningful dialog or attempt to actually change anything. Because they don't really want change they want a protest party. Stop littering and grow up.

reuben said...

well, i am clearly a product of my generation, and -i think, my beliefs... i know-aesthetics rule.. but i am glad to see someone, anyone -address ( and i dont mean by voting for some cojones-free so-called "progressive" pols) injustice...
i think the world bank's business is much uglier than a poster
in your neighborhood.
but then, ive been odd all my life.

odentex said...

Ruben: I think the problem is that they *aren't* addressing anything other than their own egos for the most part. They alienate people instead of involving them or engaging them.

As someone who protested pre-war in Houston, where protestors were outnumbered significantly by war supporters who heaped abuse and threats, It's not as if I am unmoved or uninterested in reasonable and effective displays of dissent. But this ain't either.

What does their behavior initiate? Talk about change? Not at all... it initiates talk about *them*... which I suspect is the subconscious goal of many of the spoiled children involved.

In their minds anyone that opposes their behavior is working for the establishment and they honestly believe that mindlessly papering a residential neighborhood equals action.

The (lack of) results and support speak for themselves. Their marches have shrunk 10 fold as support for the war has cratered... what an accomplishment!!

At least organizations like MoveOn pick the right targets and, IMHO, are much more effective. I am tired of hearing "well at least ANSWER is doing something". I have to call BS on that. I think they are HARMING change with their juvenile behavior and outlook.

I have no time for rich college students who want to tell me what time it is by littering up my adopted home and then scurrying back to campus to hit the bong.

Damned long-hairs!

Christina said...

I couldn't help but reflect on the turnout this past week in Jena, La., vs. some of the recent anti-war, anti-World Bank protests I've seen here.

One thing the Jena protesters managed to do was get the time and location of their protest across with absolutely NO help from the mainstream media...and without having to paper the sides of a million lamp posts. (That guy with the spraypainted car that PoP posted about earlier is a notable exception!) Using word of mouth and the help of some black radio hosts, they turned out 10s of thousands, in Jena and nationwide. The mainstream media didn't know what hit them.

I also can't help but reflect at the racial disparity here. I wish that I were more eloquent and more educated so I could speak to this better, but it strikes me as notable how very white these anti-war/IMF protests seem to be, even though I think the well-meaning protestors would say that they're fighting on behalf of minorities and underrepresented peoples. Could it be that minorities and underrepresented people have other things on their minds? Where were the white people to protest the abuse of power in Jena?

I don't want to set up an either/or dichotomy here, like you can't protest the war and protest against racism. But it sure seems that way, when you see the faces of the folks at one protest vs. the other. I just find it all very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Humorless liberals suck the joy out of everything.

reuben said...

dear odentex: would the aforementioned protestor's views be more legitimate if they weren't of a particular social class? let's face it: those of us who consider ourselves against the prevailing winds have blown it-no matter how much money we make, or where we "come from." these flaccid protests don't amount to a hill of (fill in the blank). if you
(or anyone) thinks voting, or -oh-i dont know-holding hands with oprah-is going to shake the boots off this arrogant bunch, well-
i have a photo of george bush wearing a peace medallion id like to sell you. or anyone.

odentex said...

Christina: The Jena protests have a clear, specific goal fueled by folks that have personal experience catching hell from the authorities... something most white college kids have no connection to or experience with.

It also doesn't help that the "rising crime" bogeyman has been trotted out quite a lot in the past few weeks. I've noticed that most teevee pundits skirt the race issue in Jena by bringing up the "prior records" of the fellas involved, and the "savagery" of the attack on the cracker kid, and I think some white folk don't see Jena the same as black folk for that very reason.

But some black folk make faulty assumptions too; I was the only person on the 60 bus not offered a Jena flyer last week (hurt my damn feelin's!) and I'm no stranger to being (wrongly) accused.

Perhaps we were a no-show because we weren't asked -- or welcome?

It's okay though because I'd rather eat 1000 rancid Cuban sandwiches from Rumberos than spend a second anywhere in Lousyana other than N'awlins.

odentex said...

Ruben: I'm just old enough to realize that I need to take care of myself and my corner of the world first. I have no time for any politicians since they have no time for me. And I'm happy to see the back end of anyone causing problems (big or small) whether they are naive rich kids who'll be stockbrokers in 4 years or war criminals living in the White House. I realize there ain't much I can do about most of it other than to be honest to myself and my neighbors. And yes, I do think a foolish child's blinkered opinion caries less weight than yours or mine... it's one of the few good things about getting older... that and poor hearing so's I can ignore Lil' Gal's requests from upstairs, drink my beer, and watch y'all's Redskins git beat like a rug.

EmoEmu said...

oh my. Christina - I think your point about Jena is well made. I say that even though I don't necessarily agree with the prevailing mindset on that case. While I suspect that some of the organizers were perhaps a bit more self interested, I certainly have seen nothing to indicate that the folks that made the trip down there did so for anything but sincere reasons. Clearly the people that turned out cared deeply about why they were there and that was reflected in the serious tone of the march. There were no giant paper mache dragons. No fools dressed like court jesters. No D.C. Radical Cheerleaders. Everyone wasn't wearing a Che shirt or kafiyah. They were there having a serious march to protest a serious event. The public payed attention. The anti-IMF/World Bank crowd are anything but serious.

Anonymous said...

Quite the back-and-forth today!

Just a quick kudos to PoP for making Wonkette's "metro section" today.

Anonymous said...

All the globalization protests are whiter than mayonaise on Wonder Bread. Slapping those stupid posters on every pole in the city is just another example of suburban Whites coming into DC and taking money away from urban African Americans who could really use some help.

Selfish brats.

pauper said...

wow...really? "whites"? honestly, gross generalization reeks of ignorance

Christina said...

I think the World Bank and IMF protesters are well-meaning. Somehow, though, the debate has turned away from what they are actually trying to fight, and turned toward the protesters themselves and their methodology. I don't think I'm a stupid person, but I can't exactly tell what the IMF protesters want to accomplish. Perhaps "Free Jena 6" is just easier to get on a sign, I don't know. All I perceive is that they junk up my neighborhood with flyers.

I think there's also a feeling...I'm struggling to put this the best way...that black folks marching against perceived racism are doing so because racism affects black people in a very real way. I just don't feel affected personally and directly by the doings of the World Bank. What are their reprehensible policies? Is it possible that the policies are, like many policies, part bad AND part good? Or are the people at these organizations pure evil?

I must regrettably admit, I don't feel personally and directly affected by the Iraq War, either. Not on a day-to-day basis. Unless you can develop a message that can bore through the consciousness and really stick in the brain ("Get out of Iraq Now") and stick to it without talking about Palestinians, Chechnya, Mumia Abu-Jamal, etc., it just becomes another group of people shouting about stuff.

GforGood said...

Lol.. a lot of World Bank and IMF policy experts here, eh?

Sure, lending at rates a bit lower than market (in many cases not available)and grants for education, health, infrastructure, energy, environment is obviously ALL (yes, of course ALL of it)evil.

reuben said...

hmmm. quite a dialogue here...
for the writer who asked how the iraq war affects her (him?)- well. ill tell you what i told my boss the other day. if you drive to work every day, it certainly affects you.. unless you think is a coincidence that an oil addicted nation just happens to have basically signed a long term lease in a country with a fair amount of the aforementioned. if a junkie set up his or her tent in a poppy field, we would see the "obvious", yes?
and forgive me for this frustration-laced generalization-
but young, urban pioneers, there is more to life than the (admitted) joy of new restaurants, or reveling in the bliss of hearing flip flops on the streets nearly year round.
sure-we can choose to be aware of how this nation "plays with others" or not, but you are going to be the ones growing into middle age and beyond in a world with-well, some heavy ( as we used to say) shit on the table...
and there are some things an ipod
or a microbrew just wont change.

pauper said...

PoP...you should change the title of this post to "Double Standard".

Christina said...

Reuben, I was the one who made the comment about not feeling personally affected by the Iraq war. I hesitated to say it, but I figure if I can't "keep it real" in this anonymous forum, where can I? :-)

I understand completely what you're saying. And I certainly understand, in an intellectual way, the import of what our country's leaders are doing. I keep myself informed. What I'm saying is, I don't FEEL any of this, not really.

There's a big special on PBS going on now, called "The War." It's about World War II. And I just cannot pretend that I feel the same visceral, in-my-bones, feeling of connection to the war effort as I know that people did during World War II. I'm very willing to take what blame I need to for that. But I also think that part of it is a deliberate effort on the part of our leaders to shield and anesthesize us.

There is such a divide between the families in this country who are feeling this war in very real way -- people who have sons, daughters, husbands, wives over there being killed or maimed -- and all the rest of us. It's disturbing. I'm contributing to it, I know. And yet, it is what it is.

Similarly, I just don't feel anything about the World Bank and the IMF. I don't. I'm sure that makes me stupid in some ways, but if you met me you might see I'm an okay person. :-) I try to be nice, I subscribe to newspapers, I listen to NPR, I vote, I recycle, I pick up trash on my block. So what I do is I look at those raggedy signs and these protests and I think, "what am I not getting?" And part of me wonders if it's not all just a show.

odentex said...

The reason we don't feel a connection to this war is precisely because we aren't affected or personally involved. Every one of our families was effected by WWII. If a member of the family didn't serve or work in a factory making war material, they were at the very least affected by rationing. For the war years there were barely any new cars, refridgerators, or other consumer goods produced. There were no new houses being built for lack of labor -- people lived in extra rooms and basements in all the cities. Take just one rationed consumer item, like gasoline, and imagine how that affected people. My mother was only 8 when the war ended but she has vivid memories of rationing and the lack of men under 40 about. The war provided jobs to women in numbers that were unheard of before -- just think of that social change alone.

There is no connection to the current war effort other than a connection through empty rhetoric. The neocons love the status quo because if we were invested in this war personally we'd ask questions they can't answer.

reuben said...

christina- i certainly wasnt trying to call you stupid. (i hope, in fact, you are coming to the pop throwdown on the 11th. id love to chat further) i appreciate your thoughtful posts..
the reason i havent watched the burns film is because i am "warred out". im tired of this one-so i just can't bear to deal with the experience of a previous, "just" war.
what i was trying to say ( and this is what frightens me) is that we americans dont always seem to want to truly analyze our relationships with the countries "we" choose to enlighten.
take iran.... or vietnam.. i could go on. this pattern certainly does..
dont mean to sound like a killjoy-but the oil thing is real, i think-and is gonna bite this nation in the arse... in fact, i humbly opine that the teeth are bared now.

Anonymous said...

Posting for these demonstrations is ineffective. Look at the vote after the 9/15 demonstration. The anti-war side lost.

Criticizing the defacing of neighborhoods is not synonymous with supporting the war. Why is it so intellectually challenging for the people who love defacing neighborhoods to grasp that concept?

Heck, most of the country's opposed to the war, and plenty of people have questions about IMF/World Bank policies.

Does anyone know ANYONE who saw one of those posters defacing the neighborhoods who then experienced some dazzling change of thought?

"OMG, if I hadn't seen all that stuff smeared all over the city, I'd still be supporting the war, environmental pollution and every World Bank/IMF Third World policy! Go Kinko's!"

People have been demonstrating and putting up posters over these issues over the last many years. What changed American opinion on the war issue, for example, is the relentess news of the failure and incompetence of Bush war policy.

The posting is all about people trapped in a method that simply doesn't work and has no positive result.

I know the process makes the "protestors" feel as if they're getting something done, but the reality is: they lost.

With the internet and 24/7 news outlets, information travels faster and more extensively than ever before. The posters are using a method from another era. But, God, do they insist on being trapped in 1960s methods when we're now many years into the 21st century.

I know some are angry they missed the 60s, but get over it and stop defacing neighborhoods, please.