The Good, the Potential, and What Might Happen

Already we’ve seen, as a result of people taking to the streets in the United States:

  • Four policemen indicted.
  • More racist monuments dismantled.
  • Some minimal and inconsistent limit on what the New York Times editorial page will defend having done in the way of spreading evil.
  • Some minimal and inconsistent limit on what Twitter will do in the way of spreading evil.
  • A virtual ban on continuing the pretense that kneeling for Black Lives Matter during a national anthem is an unacceptable violation of the sacred flag. (Note that the change is not in intellectual ability but in what is deemed morally acceptable.)
  • Much greater recognition of the value provided by those who videotape the police committing murder.
  • Some recognition of the harm done by prosecutors — largely due to the accident that a particular former prosecutor wants to be a vice presidential candidate.
  • Federal legislation introduced and discussed to halt the provision of war weapons to police, to make it easier to prosecute police, and to prevent the U.S. military from attacking demonstrators.
  • Proposals widely discussed and even considered by local governments to defund or eliminate armed police.
  • A reduction in the pretense that racism is over.
  • An increase in recognition that police cause violence and blame it on protesters.
  • An increase in recognition that corporate media outlets distract from problems being protested by focusing on violence blamed on protesters.
  • Some increase in recognition that extreme inequality, poverty, powerlessness, and structural and personal racism will keep boiling over if not addressed.
  • Outrage at the militarization of police and at the use of military troops and unidentified troops/police in the United States.
  • The power of courageous nonviolent activism on display, moving opinion and policy and even winning over armed militarized police.

This has happened, remarkably, despite:

  • The longstanding pretense in U.S. media and culture that activism doesn’t work.
  • The longstanding severe shortage of activism in the United States.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The partisan identification of violating shelter-in-place policies with the Republican Party and armed rightwing racists.
  • The billion dollar a year pro-military marketing campaign funded by the U.S. government.

What could happen if this continues and escalates strategically and creatively:

  • It could become routine for police to be barred from murdering people.
  • Media and social media outlets could block promotion of violence, including police violence and war violence.
  • Colin Kaepernick could get his job back.
  • The Pentagon could cease providing weapons to police, and not provide them to dictators or coup-leaders or mercenaries or secret agencies, but destroy them.
  • The U.S. military and National Guard could be kept entirely off of U.S. land, including U.S. borders.
  • Cultural and educational and activist changes could reshape U.S. society on many other issues as well.
  • Billionaires could be taxed, a Green New Deal and Medicare for All and Public College and fair trade and universal basic income could become law.
  • People objecting to the military on U.S. streets could object to the U.S. military on the rest of the world’s streets. Wars could be ended. Bases could be closed.
  • Money could be moved from police to human needs, and from militarism to human and environmental needs.

What might go wrong?

  • The excitement could fade.
  • The media could be distracted.
  • Trump could start a war.
  • The crackdown could work.
  • The pandemic could surge.
  • The Democrats could take the White House and all activism evaporate if it was more partisan in basis than it sometimes appeared.

So, what should we do?

  • Carpe Diem! And quickly. Anything that you can do to help should be done immediately.

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