New York City activist

December 29, 2007

Some of the many successes of grassroots political movements

Yesterday I tried doing a street action (tabling with petition, etc.) in Jackson Heights (Queens), where, it seems, nearly everyone believes that 9/11 was an inside job. But what most people there apparently don’t believe is that there is any point whatsoever to any kind of political action.

So, I’ve written up a sign containing the following, which I will attach to my table when I go out tomorrow:

SOME OF THE MANY SUCCESSES OF GRASSROOTS POLITICAL MOVEMENTS

Late 1800’s, early 1900’s – Eight-hour day won for many workers, via strikes and rallies.

1930’s – “New Deal” (including Social Security, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and various other U.S. government programs) won at a time of much labor activism. Helped end poverty for many people.

Early 1960’s – Civil Rights Movement (Martin Luther King and others) – didn’t succeed in eliminating racism, but did succeed in outlawing discrimination and the more degrading indignities against African-Americans.

2001 to 2002 – 9/11 Families movement – succeeded in pressuring Congress to call for an independent commission to investigate 9/11. Succeeded too in pressuring Bush to sign it, though Bush had previously opposed the idea. Alas, the 9/11 Commission ended up being run by Philip Zelikow, who had strong ties to the Bush administration, so the Commission wasn’t truly “independent.” (That’s why another group, New York 9/11 Truth, is now pushing for a new investigation by an independent commission based here in New York City.) For more about the 9/11 Families movement and how they did succeed to the extent that they did, see the video documentary 9/11: Press for Truth.

2003 to present – Antiwar movement – has not succeeded in getting U.S. troops out of Iraq, but has succeeded, so far, in preventing an invasion of Iran, which Bush and Cheney have been itching to do.

DON’T GIVE UP! – “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

Perhaps in future versions of the above, I should replace one of the earlier examples with something about the history of building codes and political agitation for same, for an example with greater relevance to 9/11. Another good and relevant example might be the Freedom of Information Act. However, I’m not yet familiar enough with the histories of the relevant political movements on either of these two issues. So the current version contains examples I’m familiar with, albeit not the most relevant examples.

P.S., 1/5/2008: The above contains too much text (hence too small print print) to work well as a sign, but perhaps it may work well as a leaflet.

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