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So Arrest Me


Why I'm Getting Arrested at the White House Today
By David Swanson, October 26, 2005

The first reason I'm going to lie down, refuse to move, and wait to be arrested outside the White House today is my belief that massive civil disobedience is needed if we are going to end the war and forestall the next war. The power of nonviolent sacrifice has been tried and tested. It may not work this time, but nothing else seems remotely likely to do the job, not even my most extravagant hopes for indictments. I'm being as practical as I know how to be. Public opinion is widely against the war in this country, in Iraq, and around the world. Talk is cheap. Our democracy is a shell. Something more is needed.

But there are other reasons for my action. A few of them are…

* Solidarity – I've been encouraging civil disobedience and reporting on it, but have not been engaging in it. If I miss another useful opportunity to engage in it, I become a hypocrite and a bad example. And were I to miss it, I would miss the bonds of solidarity that are formed in such actions.

If you think I am right, what do you think about what you, yourself, are doing? Or not doing?

* Admiration – I plan to get arrested together with Cindy Sheehan and other leaders of the movement for peace, including veterans of the war and family members of the dead. I greatly admire these people and consider it an honor to act with them.

* Honor – I want to honor and remember the people whose lives have been most directly destroyed by this war, including those who have fought in it on both sides, and those – the vast majority of the dead -- who have died in this war without ever picking up a gun. These people have been brutally attacked from behind a desk in an oval-shaped office. Children have lost limbs and minds by the tens of thousands for the greed and power of a small number of cruel people.

* Anger – I'm extremely angry. A gang of criminals blatantly lied to the world about the reasons for the slaughter. There could be no acceptable reasons for such a thing, but I would be less angry – I think – or it would be a very different anger if they had given honest reasons and my compatriots had accepted them. Instead they told lies. They concocted stories. They forged documents! [ http://www.repubblica.it/2005/j/sezioni/esteri/iraq69/bodv/bodv.html ] And many of us knew they were lying. They weren't even so much lying as going through the motions of lying – this was the level of their arrogance. This sort of arrogance may never before have seen its match outside of the profession of journalism – a profession about which I am too angry to speak.

* Disgust – I am disgusted with the debate over whether the hell that is occupied Iraq might be even worse if it were no longer occupied. What's at stake here, primarily, is the future of international law, that is: the future right of the country with the most weapons to aggressively attack and occupy weaker countries and never face justice. If this war is allowed to stand, there is no more international law and cannot be for a long long time – perhaps longer than such a planet will have for human life. The debate must begin with a demand for justice. If I break into your house and bust up half your furniture, I do not then own your house and have a moral obligation to stay the night. If I bully the police into letting me, then I have created a lawless state. And if I force you to torture your family members and then claim that you and your family will fight horribly after I leave, that still does not give me the right to remain. The only decent thing I can do is get out. When I get out, I owe you reparations and repair services and counselors and aides of your choosing. But staying helps nothing and destroys great things.

* Communication – By pretending to die on the White House sidewalk, we will symbolize the dead. By being arrested, we will symbolically play out the only decent action a police officer could perform at the White House: arresting its occupant. It is my hope that the power of nonviolent action, and the brilliance of Cindy Sheehan in working the media (you should have seen them wait in the rain for her yesterday) will communicate the force of this message to those it has not yet reached, namely the United States Congress.

* Nausea – The U.S. Congress makes me sick to my stomach. Its members routinely ignore the will of the residents of their districts. With few exceptions, they work for corporate greed, not human needs. The exceptions include Senators (they can be counted on one hand) who have taken baby steps toward ending the ongoing global crime in Iraq. The main exceptions are the approximately 75 Members of the House of Representatives who inconsistently make general motions in the direction of forming an opposition party against the war party.

The stellar exceptions include the leaders of the Out of Iraq Caucus and the Progressive Caucus, members like John Conyers, Maxine Waters, Lynn Woolsey, Barbara Lee, and Charlie Rangel who have raised their voices with relative strength. Dennis Kucinich has introduced a Resolution of Inquiry into the White House Iraq Group [ http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/whig ]. Jim McGovern is preparing to introduce a bill to cut off funding for the war [ http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/funding ]. Not a single Congress Member, despite the wishes of 72 percent of Democrats [ http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/polling ], has the nerve to support impeachment.

* Hope -- We can give them the nerve. That's what I hope that civil disobedience will accomplish. (And let's hope for some help from Fitzgerald as well). There are signs that we may be turning a corner. There are members of both houses beginning to clear their throats and open their ears.

* Love – I love my friends, family, and colleagues. Above all, I love my wife and the baby who is due in March. I can't bring a child into a world like this without doing what I can to make it better. And I try my best to love my enemies and to do what I can to defuse their holy hatred.

Join us! 6 p.m. E.T. at the White House.

Take action at your house today:
http://www.afsc.org/2000/all_locations.php

Take action everywhere on November 2:
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/3818

Take action at your school on November 17:
http://www.nyspc.net/notyoursoldier.php

Take action at recruiting stations on November 18:
http://www.iraqpledge.org/

Be the change you want to see in the world.

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Just be glad you don't live in Australia. Under our new "anti-terror" laws, the definition of 'sedition' includes inter alia, urging disaffection with the government.So, technically, you can be a vocal anti-war protester, for example, and end up in preventitive detention for 14 days (as a 'threat to national security) - if you tell anyone where you were, you can go to jail for five years and so can the recipient of the information. We don't have a bill of rights in this country. At least you can still practice civil disobedience in the States and invoke the Constitutional right to free speech. Imagine living in a so-called 'democracy' where the only constitutionally guaranteed rights are freedom of religion and the right to vote. Just ask Scott Parker what he thinks of the Australian government's approach to non-violent protest.

I don't know - I will probably be tagged for even posting this but I guess I might as well get in while I can!!

for not being afraid

and thanks to everybody for all these comments

From one David to another: Go for it!!! You're right ... something more than reasoned talk is needed to get through to these thick-headed stumble bums. Give my best to Cindy and any of the other superstars ... and the more indictments the merrier (especially if they stick).
Good luck, David

The whole world is watching, David. There WILL be Peace with Justice.

Direct Action Gets it Done!!!

A quote I came across speaks quite well to the current situation:
Just replace Vietnam and Indochina with Iraq
"For those concerned with peace, there are several tasks. The first is to shift the terms of the debate to an entirely different issue. The proper question is not whether the United States can win at an acceptable cost, but whether it should be involved at all in the internal affairs of Indochina. Until this becomes the unique and overiding issue, the debate over Vietnam will scarcely have begun.
The second task is to understand clearly, and explain clearly, what is really happening in Indochina.
And the third, and most important, is to work incessantly to bring home to hawks and doves alike that the American people will not stay the course, that the society will become ungovernable if the American war in Indochina continues or expands. For those who wish to work within the political system, there is now a very real and quite rare opportunity, given the willingness of some members of Congress to cut off appropriations for the war. But surely these are not the limits of legitimate protest. A person who takes seriously the responsibilities of citizenship will refuse to be a passive accomplice in crimes against peace and against humanity, and will undertake and support direct resistance to the lawless violence of the state."
Noam Chomsky "Indochina and the American Crisis" in AT WAR WITH ASIA (1969).

Key dates ahead are the November 2nd World Can't Wait, Drive Out the Bush Regime mobilization across the nation. www.worldcantwait.org for more info. This is gonna be big.

November 17th National Youth and Student Peace Coalition "NOT YOUR SOLDIER" DAY OF ACTION.

November 18th National "Stand Down Day" counter-recruitment direct actions.

One other thought that came to mind was the idea of a monthly Moratorium Against the War, based loosely on the Vietnam moratorium. This would be a monthly series of actions aimed at congressional offices, war profiteers, recruiters, etc... It can combine popular education, mass demonstrations, and hopefully large-scale direct actions. We CAN raise the domestic cost of waging this war. We can flood the criminal justice system with nonviolent arrestees. People's Power has toppled illegitimate regimes in the Phillipines and Bolivia and nearly in France in May 1968. So lets get to work.
See ya'll in the streets.
In solidarity
V Boggler

Further to my last posting, in Australia under the proposed 'anti-terror' laws, individuals can be tagged and put under house arrest for up to twelve months if they are even suspected of having questionable dealings possibly (maybe) linked to terrorism (no charge or conviction or anything). The ambit of the legislation in respect of such dealings re 'terrorism' is very wide. Currently, given the retrospectivity of the proposed legislation, there are up to 80 individuals eligible for such detention in Australia on the basis that they have had prior dealings with (now) banned terrorist organisations (before they were banned). There is no available evidence that this prior association has translated into current subversive activity.

This sort of 'preventative detention'(without charge)is in breach of ICCPR and a whole raft of other Human Rights treaties to which Australia is a signatory but has never implemented into domestic law. Thus we can and routinely do quite legitimately thumb our nose at any criticism aimed at our Human Rights record which is really bad as far as I'm concerned.

Whatever difficulties I might personally find with the outer manifestations of democracy American style from time to time, I think US citizens are blessed in having the right to free speech, freedom of the press etc. So use it!!

Thanks for articulating what many of us feel. Even though I am unable to join the protest in Washington, I hope you'll feel that you are standing in for me and for many of us.

Steven Clemons is a Senior Fellow and Director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, where he previously served as Executive Vice President. He is also publisher of the popular political blog, The Washingtonnote.com, where he wrote yesterday evening, "The targets of indictment have already received their letters." He continues, "The indictments will be sealed indictments and 'filed' tomorrow," and " A press conference is being scheduled for Thursday." http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/001031.html Here is a list of and links to Mr. Clemons' previous publications: http://www.newamerica.net/index.cfm?pg=Publications&contactID=2 .

So are the people of this numb nation going to care, get involved, and why should they? Arianna reminds us in her superb essay yesterday~~~

"To borrow a phrase from that era, let me make myself perfectly clear: I'm not saying that Plamegate is the same as Watergate. I'm saying it's worse. Much, much worse. No one died as a result of Watergate, but 2,000 American soldiers have now been killed and thousands more wounded to rid the world of an imminent threat that wasn't.
"Could there be anything bigger?

"After getting a fumbling cipher like George W. Bush elected president, the powers-behind-the-throne must have believed they were untouchable and could get away with anything -- including lying about WMD, outing a CIA agent, and, perhaps, lying to a special prosecutor.

"Like Nixon, their mindset was 'if you try to get in our way we'll destroy you.' (See how quickly those keep-us-safe national security guys were willing to jeopardize an intelligence asset in the name of covering their asses.)"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/plamegate-worse-than-wa...

While there you also might check the comment by DerekC at 9:40 pm in which he lays out the stats regarding previous investigations by independent counsels.

Why not quit paying our taxes to show civil disobedience? Taxes are supposed to be 'voluntary'. Why not just cut the funding for the war off ourselves?

I think people are afraid to not pay for the war bcz of going to jail. I just don't understand what is happening....

Those with the gold make the rules. David, i completely agree with all your points about why you are joining the protesters.

I'm very surprised people are deciding to have children now. Who knows where our country will be in 20yrs.

Good Luck.

Praying for Light & Truth while you are outside the White House today. Thank You to all of you who are planning to be there today.

I'm extremely angry too, for the same reasons. No doubt millions feel the same. And the anger is multiplied by people who generally or specifically agree with the reasons for the anger, yet blindly dismiss it as unconstructive while offering no solutions of their own, or say things like "there's nothing we can do about it..."

BULLSHIT! WAKE UP PEOPLE!

It appears that far too many Americans have forgotten that citizenship here comes with the RESPONSIBILITY to speak out and take action against those in our government who have not earned their office, forsaken the will and the needs of the people, abused their power, lied to Congress, committed treason, perjury, obstruction of justice and crimes against humanity, and all the while tried to make it look like they're doing it for our benefit.

Please.

The evidence is overwhelming. The only things genuine about the Bush administration are their evil lust for power, money and control, the tens of thousands of innocent deaths that have resulted from their pursuit of this evil lust, and the hundreds of billions of our tax dollars being wasted in the process.

What to do, you ask?

Take a good look at the dozens of links on the left side of this page and do a little homework.

Seek out good sources of information (like this site) and get on mailing lists.

Stand together in peaceful protest with like minded people.

Write letters to the editor.

Call/email/fax your reps in Congress and demand that they do their job by supporting resolutions of inquiry and impeachment hearings, and keep doing it.

Speak the truth.

Share information.

Challenge naysayers.

Remember that the anger you feel about this is justified and that people who dismiss you because of it are cowards.

Whenever you get down and say or think things like "Oh Congress will never do anything about it, this is a waste of time", remember that there are 535 of them and 286 million of us, and that all we need to do is work together.

John Perry
http://www.johnperryonline.com

Dear David,
I applaud your acting on your frustrations. Good luck.
For those of us unable to make a physical protest, I think financial dissent could help. If all angry Americans stopped buying anything corporate just two days a month, the powers that be would see how much clout we have. If, on the first Monday and second Tuesday of each month we consumers spent no money buying anything from the corporate entities who feed this administration, the effects would be felt. We could also stop buying products advertized on networks who give us incomplete or slanted news.We could let those advitizers know they are being boycotted.

In another posting on this site Rep McGovern listed essential "ORs" that needed tax support. My question: How does an "ordinary" American citizen stop supporting the war chest, but continue supporting the other necessary functions in government?

This administration encourages the "privitization" of America in all other aspects, so how does one "privately" decide how one's taxes are spent?

My thoughts and support are with you and all those who are able to be at the White House. I will be at one of the supporting peace gatherings in Orlando this evening---just one of many across our country.

Carole

If they let you out after the public transportation is closed down for the night, we'll send limos. There must be a few of them at the Whitehouse that could be "commandeered" for the purpose. And I feel quite certain that we could find enough local youths with hotwiring skills to act as chauffeurs -- although you might have to accept a little joyriding detour on your way home. :-)

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