Commentary

America’s Day Of Rage Is Coming, And It’s Just The Beginning

We now have a political system that is blatantly manipulated by a jaw-dropping amount of cash from both corporate, and to a lesser extent, organized labor. Thanks to the Citizens United decision, which allows unlimited amounts of special interest money to be poured into political advertising and political action committees (and with no accountability), the power of ordinary citizens–of the individual, the foundation of a healthy democratic political system–to participate in the democratic process is now alarmingly eroded. Combine Citizens United with the fact that a coalition of corporate interests called The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has designed and lobbiedlegislation on the state level that is in the process of disenfranchising millions of voters under the guise of “voter fraud,” and it’s abundantly clear that the end of the American democratic experiment is very much within sight. In fact, it may already be too late.

Resistance, however, is alive and well in the United States. Just ask Alexa O’ Brien (@carwinb), an organizer for the grassroots organization US Day of Rage (@USDayofRage). I caught up with her via email last week, and we discussed this budding political movement which partly draws inspiration from the Arab Spring, but just as much from what she witnessed in the Wisconsin labor battle:

“USDOR began the night of March 10, 2011 when I created the twitter profile @USDayofRage. I was watching coverage of events in Wisconsin. I had been covering the ‘Days of Rage’ – people’s non violent protests from Egypt into Europe for several months by then, watching those events unfold on Twitter and Facebook.

What I saw that night in Wisconsin was a dangerous level of cynicism towards government.

Every institutional underpinning that upholds the principles of our democratic republic is buckling under the weight of entrenched interests and outdated ideas about the world we live in and the challenges our nation faces.”

The idea behind this new movement is simple: “One citizen. One dollar. One vote.” In other words, it’s time to return the democratic process to the hands of those for which it was originally intended: the American people.

“Special influence corrupts our political parties, our elections, and the institutions of government. Bought by hard and soft dollars, disloyal, incompetent, and wasteful special interests have usurped our nation’s civil and military power, spawning a host of threats to liberty and our national security. The problem is not a left or right issue, it’s an American issue.”

And this entails fighting back against special interests–both on the left (unions, etc) and the right (corporations, etc), it must be emphasized–to create truly “free and fair elections.”

“Free and fair elections inspire good citizenship and public service, because they engage the intelligence and genuine good will of the American people. They produce the kind of stewardship our nation desperately needs, because they ensure that citizens can influence their destiny, and make genuine contributions to society. Free and fair elections remedy the myriad ills and abuses of a corrupt and illegitimate government, which preys on the resources and spirits of citizens.” [Emphasis mine.]

I asked O’Brien what kinds of tactics US Day of Rage planned to use:

“[The planning committee] started off with a broad state-by-state strategy. Building local and state associations or assemblies of people, not parties around our mission: ‘One citizen. One dollar. One vote,’ and around four principles…

1.) Non-Violence

2.) Principles before Party.

“We are an idea, not a political party. We place principles and our objectives before any party or personality. Therefore, US Day of Rage will never endorse, finance, or lend our name to any candidate or party. We support a citizens right to so affiliate, and we understand that individuals and groups participating in the US Day of Rage may be so affiliated.”

3.) Volunteer.

“Every US Day of Rage organizational committee on the state, city, and federal level should be entirely self-supporting, declining outside contributions from any political party, association, or candidate. US Day of Rage is not a money making operation. We are volunteers. No treasury should be kept. We do this lest problems of money, property, or prestige divert us from our primary aim, reforming our elections. Our logo and content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License, unless otherwise noted. Use it, just don’t abuse it.”

4.) Autonomous Except in Matters Affecting the Whole

“Individual city, state, and federal assemblies, organizations, and demonstrations are autonomous, except in matters affecting the whole. We do not support, for example, violations to our principle of non-violence. USDayofRage.org is here to help facilitate city and state level organization, and to organize the federal protest at the US Capitol.”

“Our purpose is to reform election law at the state level, and then turn our attention towards Washington. We encourage people to engage in state level strategies for referendums, citizen lobbying, and non-violent civil disobedience.” [Emphasis mine.]

And state-level organizers have indeed begun planning in 13 states and three cities, which will start with protests in Idaho on Sept 16. Then on September 17th an endorsed call to action to #occupywallstreet, an occupation of America’s financial nerve center by “an independent public NYC assembly to camp on Wall Street,”according to O’Brien.

All of this planning by US Day of Rage and the NYC grassroots assembly of Occupy Wall Street conjures up memories of Egypt’s own Day of Rage and their historic stand at Tahrir Square. And recently, Al Gore called for a Tahrir Square moment in America. I asked O’Brien if she thought the U.S. was approaching such a moment, and if she was concerned that Americans are too complacent:

“I see an American moment coming to America. It’s not that Tahrir isn’t inspiring. People all over the world are facing tremendous challenges in the face of globalization, increased institutional complexity, and ancient problems of just and stable governance. But our nation’s problems are our responsibility to fix. Either we face up to that fact, or our nation will perish from the earth.”

She added later that she doesn’t think Americans are complacent, only demoralized and disengaged from the political process.

The non-violent struggle to reclaim our democracy from powerfully-entrenched special interests will indeed be an uphill one, and will almost assuredly be fraught with setbacks. Yet not acting to save this country from the corruption that holds us all hostage simply isn’t an option. Not only do we have a moral imperative to try and change the system for the legacy our ancestors created for us, but for future generations as well. Those future generations will look back at our struggles and hopefully gain inspiration and resolve to continue the fight where we left off, if we fail.

“…our nation’s problems are our responsibility to fix. Either we face up to that fact, or our nation will perish from the earth.”

One citizen. One dollar. One vote.

Dustin M. Slaughter is the Founder of The David and Goliath Project.

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9 Responses for “America’s Day Of Rage Is Coming, And It’s Just The Beginning”

  1. Shenonymous says:

    The slogan is catchy but what exactly is hoped to be accomplished? It is more vague than it might look at first glance. How will special interests be thwarted and what exactly are people expected to do to make that happen? There is quite a bit of rhetoric in the interview but little in the way of specifics.

  2. Leefeller Guy says:

    Not asking for money is a great idea, this means real grass roots, and everyone can afford to n participate, but what are they actually to do? I find the enthusiasm motivating and emotional, but a clear plan of operation.seems fuzzy, I will reread the article to see if I missed something?

  3. Leefeller Guy says:

    Okay, after a little bit of follow up on my part, they are doing something check out US Rage and what is happening near you on Oct 11, it may be the real thing. and hope US Rage takes off, One citizen, one dollar, one vote!

  4. M. says:

    I feel that the general public are so discouraged that they will fail to act. At least in numbers sufficient to do the trick, not because they do not feel passionately or hopeful about this type of approach but because they feel that it simply will not work. I fear that we are past the point of a nonviolent solution. I hope that I am wrong but history has proven that force is unfortunately inevitable and if used properly, also very necessary. The Constitutional Militias of the United States are indeed stirring but have been slandered by abusers and frauds to the point that their credibility is in question. There are however, still loyal constitutionalists amongst us and would fully support a nonviolent solution, in fact I am sure many have already embraced this Idea. But the reality still stands, our government is far to corrupt to be taken back by protests and organized marches. We will have to fight for our freedom and we all will have to suffer for it. But ask yourselves, who are the terrorists? Are they the citizens that would rather die than have their rights taken away (the ones that have been given a bad rap by the infected institution posing as the government for which they serve; Or are they the ones that serve the impostor machine, the one that can and indeed will, use all means necessary to silence and alienate all who oppose it? This is the harsh reality and we all know it. I for one support this movement and any other that has a common goal. The time for complacency has long passed. BE REVOLUTIONARY…

    M.

  5. AnarchoSyndicalist says:

    The DHS has every right to be afraid! the people are rising against their exploiters in the government and financial sector. The establishment does not want the people thinking for themselves because if the people thought for themselves then they would immediately start a revolution after seeing how the establishment uses them!
    I look forward to ordinary people having their say. The ordinary people of not just america but the world must stand up against this Fascist economic system which tramples on their rights! And I don’t say fascist as rhetoric, it is well know that the Nazi’s lost ww2 but fascism won, the economic system we have is that of Nazi Germany where the government and big business get into bed together, Just look at the facts, not one banker or investor who plunged the world into financial ruin has faced justice, why? because if they where to face justice then that might expose certain politicians.Just look at the Strauss Kahn case or the facebook-v-Paul Ceglia case, as soon as their is a flaw in the victims evidence the court either throws the case out or discredits the victim. A prime example of power protecting powerful people over the hard working ordinary citizen ,,, So on September17th best of luck to all who take part and hopefully you can change something in the Devils Belly.

  6. Amerikagulag says:

    George Washington University law professor, Jonathan Turley, wisely noted, “Anyone who believes there are two parties in Washington DC is a fool.”

    Unless and until we have a viable SECOND party, nothing will change.

    “…our nation’s problems are our responsibility to fix. Either we face up to that fact, or our nation will perish from the earth.”
    My bet….we’ll perish.

    Our nations problems stem from a blatant organized crime syndicate seated in DC, completely and wantonly disregarding the Constitution and the will of the people; lying to them at every turn and intentionally bilking them out of their hard earned savings. The Federal Reserve must be abolished.

  7. Professor Turley, you are absolutely correct! We are being bilked at every turn. We are a group of thousands upon thousands of indentured educated middle class, of all ages, who are fighting with Rep. Hansen Clarke to take address the bilking of students and the destruction of the learning process in this country. Please join us at our CAUSE and share with those who can benefit as Americans to fight the system. Sooner or later we will join our hands — all those with causes that are addressing this bilking of We The People and this country will take a stand. It is happening now… behind the scenes.. and I think it is ready to burst! If it doesn’t… we will perish. Please don’t give up the fight and help us with your ability to reach people in this country. We are all in this together. We have a petition now at signon.org, which we at Forgivestudentloandebt have reached over 6000 signatures in 5 days and still going. This is a group that Robert Applebaum, Esq. has received national attention for founding. I have been an actively working to help the students of this nation and to help take our education system back from the theiving lenders, the Dept. of Ed who is an ally of the lenders and the BOUGHT CONGRESS ( except for a few). Please join us. Thanks for speaking the truth. Justice will prevail.

  8. upclospls says:

    It will be a complete dud. Your movement does not represent true Americans. You and your messiah are done. GO HOME.

  9. This is very sad. I’m reminded of Rip Van Winkle, who took a nap and woke up 20 years later. But in your case, it’s 30.

    American democracy is dead. It has been dead for a long time. Long before Citizens United, long before Fox became the designated bad cop, and before the Koch Brothers became the designated only-bad-capitalist.

    It began to die with the coup – long since completed – begun by Lewis F. Powell, who, as early as 1971, began the campaign to designate corporations as people, and money as speech. It was followed by Reagan and Clinton’s literally packaging and delivering the US government to the rich and the corporations which were allowed to grow to the sky.

    Cutting across a lot of history to the present, we now have a very literal fascist government in place. Mussolini didn’t give us a lot to go on, but there seem to be just two requirements for fascism: dictatorship and the partnership of government and business. Which of these do you think does not apply?

    We have a president who can extinguish opposition at will. We have a supreme court and a legislative which are both in synchrony with the White House. We have in the DHS an organ that has now brought local law enforcement – which, a moment’s reflection will show, has nothing any longer to do with law but is rather an arm of naked aggression – under centralized control. We have become an empire with a thousand military bases. We kill around the world for reasons that are at the very least bizarre. We have invented a “terrorist menace” that is a phantom but has served well to terrify a timid people into subservience. They will one day be grateful for their slavery, thankful that, at least, they are still alive. They will thank God for the drones!

    You’re thirty years too late.

    SOB.

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