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Lessons the 9/11 Truth Movement Needs to Consider With New Urgency
April 13, 2011- John Parulis- CWA Freelancers Guild Local 39521
The talk, linked to here, given by the late Utah Phillips in the summer of 2004 in Berkeley California, sets a pathway for a new direction for activism centered on creating world wide worker unions established in non-violence and wide scale organizing.
Utah Phillips is right. The progressive left needs to change tactics. The 9/11 Truth Movement can learn from the left’s failures. Street marches achieve little or nothing. Look at the global anti-war marches of 2003 to stop the Iraq Invasion. Millions flooded the streets around the world in days of historic popular uprisings and demonstrations, yet the war proceeded and ever expanding wars metastasized in Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Libya. Nearly a million people have died. People continue to die from the so called 9/11 wars and billions continue to be misspent on these failings.
At home, bankers engineered the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression. For this they were rewarded with bailouts and no regulatory reform to speak of. They, along with their giant corporate cousins are making record profits while states and cities are chipping away and hacking to death vital services, jobs and job protections for workers, the poor and students and record numbers of people are losing their homes. Legislative efforts to strengthen our democratic institutions, like expanded whistleblower protections and corporate oversight, die on the table or in committee under the nasty anti-environmental and anti-worker agendas of legislators both Democratic and Republican. The most left leaning of any legislator, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, has told the Truth Movement that there is no chance of staging a new independent 9/11 investigation, in spite of the serous criticisms of the 9/11 Commission from its own directors.
Our petition drives, our stunning street protests against illegal invasions, our calls for regulation in the rapacious banking industry, our calls for corporate accountability and tax justice fall on deaf ears. The Holy Grail of 9/11 activism- a truly independent and thoroughly new 9/11 Investigation, is a poison pill of great potency that none in government or very few in academia are willing to seriously consider. Corporate values have overtaken human values in the United States and globally. Our country is no longer a democracy but a twisted plutocracy. The heroic efforts of some, in the Justice Department, Securities and Exchange Commission, The NRC, The EPA, Department of Labor and elsewhere, to bring accountability, justice and regulation to gross offenders are continually overruled and cast off by political agendas that bear the fingerprints of corporate agendas. One need only look at the failures to prosecute BP Oil executives, 9/11 insider traders and the flock of banking, insurance and investment thieves of the financial collapse, to see the truth of these assertions. The leadership the people need is absent. Or is it?
“Alas, we who wanted kindness, could not be kind ourselves.”
— Bertolt Brecht
Something else is needed, as Utah points out in the short clip here- the people need to become leaders. That leadership needs to understand how things work and that work must embrace “organizing” on a new and expanded level if earth friendly, worker friendly change is ever to take hold.
Old strategies- marches, demonstrations and legal efforts, though useful, must be energized and supplanted by new, strong organizing drives and we’re talking Union here.
The governing mechanism now ruled by corporations cares nothing for our marches, protests, lawsuits and intermittent successes in the courts. What it fears above anything else is our potential and ability to ORGANIZE into effective worker coalitions. These coalitions need to find ways to finance institutions that support its goals. Corporations have understood the importance of organizing themselves. Now is our turn.