“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part; and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers and all the apparatus and you’ve got to make it stop; and you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free the machine will be prevented from working at all.”
Mario Savio, Sproul Hall, Berkeley, 1964
If John McCain were president, we can never be exactly sure what would be happening right now, but I think we can have a little inkling.
First of all, the banksters would be receiving their TARP money and Bernanke would have been re-appointed Fed Chairman.
Robert Gates would probably still be the Secretary of Defense and Sarah Palin would be offering late night comedians endless fodder for their monologues.
Single-payer health care would be “off the table” and McCain’s justice department would be protecting the war crimes of the preceding administration. Official unemployment would be hovering around 10 percent and a troop surge in Afghanistan would be killing scores of humans and the drone bombing would be proceeding apace in the tribal regions of Pakistan.
If McCain were president, Democratic House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and her colleagues would still be funding the repulsive wars…because they support the War Machine just as much as the Republicans do.
If McCain were president, MSNBC would be the faux-opposition and Fox would be the faux-supporter of the regime, and CNN would be pro-war, as usual.
If McCain were president, conservative columnist George Will would be supporting Af-Pak, instead of condemning it under a Democratic regime AND there would be an active “anti-war” movement. But as during the Bush-Republican years, the “movement” wouldn’t be so much anti-war as it would be anti-Republican wars.
The anti-McCain movement would be comfortable marching aimlessly around major cities on Saturdays, when the least amount of affect would be had, but not comfortable doing profound civil disobedience when the gears, levers and wheels of the Machine could be slowed down. Only symbolic efforts would be tolerated, because we don’t actually want to change things, we just want Democrats back in power. Democrats=status quo.
If we truly “put our bodies on the gears” of the War Machine, we would be compromising the other pro-war party, the Democrats, and that would be non-productive in the eyes of the politically “pragmatic” anti-McCain movement.
There are still some of us who realize that the Machine is grinding up and crushing people here and abroad and needs to be stopped, and we are the only ones who can do it.
There will be two major opportunities to put our bodies on the gears of the Machine this fall….
The anti-globalization movement will be out in full-force during the G20 nations’ meeting in Pittsburgh September 23-27 despite the jackbooted thuggery planned by the organizers of the G20 summit. Not only will there be 4000 riot police, but there will be 2000 Pa. National Guard there to suppress opposition. This is merely a bullying tactic designed to scare us away from the global “elite” while they plan more economic devastation for the world.
On October 5th, we will be gathering in front of the White House to protest Democratic wars of aggression (especially Af-Pak, since the 8th is the anniversary of the US invasion) and there will be opportunity for civil disobedience that is not just symbolic. We will also be reading the International People’s Declaration of Peace (IPDoP) in front of the White House that day and kicking off the campaign to build an effective grassroots movement against all violence, but particularly, state-sanctioned violence.
The face has changed in DC, but the odious policies of the Machine remain the same.
Remember, if you don’t actively oppose the policies of this government, then you are passively supporting them and you are responsible for helping to oil the Machine and keep it running.
If you can’t physically attend the protests, please consider making a contribution, even if it is tiny, to help defray expenses.
[DS added the video]
Mario Savio’s Speech: You’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears (1964)
December 19, 2007
Mario Savio’s speech before the FSM sit-in
“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”