When They Pay Attention

A poet named Gil Scott-Heron once proclaimed that “the revolution will not be televised”. Why is that? Why do you think that the people will be sheltered from calls for a rebellion? Is it because it is dangerous for the people? Or is it because the real danger is that the people will consider joining the revolution? Make no mistake about it; those in power are not ignoring us. They are paying attention.

You know that we have their attention because they react to the revolution in one of two ways: disregard or demonization. At first, the establishment (meaning the interests in charge of the media, our political system, and our economy) will try to do everything possible to ignore us, pretending that there is no smoke let alone a fire producing the smoke. We saw this with the first signals that there was a working class grassroots rebellion beginning to emerge in 2011. When Occupy Wall Street first organized in the early fall of that year hardly any media paid attention to it, but when the protest was subjected to an attempted crackdown at the behest of Wall Street the resulting chaos led the media to cover the drama. Problem is, the media began to cover the angst of those demonstrating in a less than flattering way. It was at this point – when sensationalism made the protests hard to ignore – when the media began to help demonize the demonstrations by portraying the occupiers as being clueless, aimless, and even lawless.

This ignore-first, demonize-second strategy is all meant to distract, divide, and divert the people. It is easier to conquer us when we don’t see clearly the reality in front of us. Fortunately, history is full of examples of collapsing power structures pulling out all of these stops to avert a successful toppling of the order. We can be thankful for this history because we can learn how to win this revolution if we pay attention to how past revolutionary efforts have come out victorious. The only way to defeat the establishment is through patience, persistence, and promise.

We MUST be patient. Patient with ourselves, patient with each other, and patient with the cause of justice. Think about the civil rights movement and the women’s suffrage movement. Think about Gandhi’s peaceful uprising against the British Empire. Think about Nelson Mandela leading a revolution and maintaining his patient resolve for victory even as he spent almost 40 years in prison for his determination. With patience comes the payoff for success, but the most important key to being a patient warrior is remaining steadfast as the model human that you would want your children to emulate. Patience is key because establishing the moral high ground requires the recognition that there is good in all of us and that the impatience of those yearning to crush your resolve ultimately always backfires in the public eye.

We MUST be persistent. So long as the cause is just there can never be a reason to relent. By staying the course against all odds the revolution will ultimately succeed not because it is fierce but because it is right. When the women tried to vote and were beaten and jailed for doing so, they did not relent. When the men and women marching for LGBT rights were threatened with and subjected to harm, they did not relent. When four little girls were murdered by a racist’s firebomb, their champions for liberty did not relent. No, they persisted because their cause was just and they knew that victory was on the horizon.

We MUST cling to and uphold the promise of a better tomorrow. The promise of something better is THE guiding light without which the revolution is meaningless. Every mass movement throughout history has been inspired by some attainable “promised land”. Without the promise of freedom, the Apartheid remains in power in perpetuity, the era of Jim Crow never fades, and the agitation for women’s rights withers on the vine. Our promise of justice is a contract with our collective heart to never stop beating as one. Remove our faith in the promise and you destroy the foundation of our campaign and break the ties which bond us in unity of purpose. If we reinforce the strength of our convictions as driven by the dream we share, then our promise to one another and to all will prevail in the end.

Do not let the powers that be fool us. They are watching and have been all along, but their patterns are predictable. There will be no attempt on their part at telling the people the truth about our collective condition and there will most certainly be no effort to offer a set of legitimate options for improving said condition. No group of powerful elites has ever willingly revealed to their subjects the means by which the people are exploited. This is because they know the truth in fact does set us free, and our freedom from the tyranny of poverty and faux democracy is a dream they can not permit to become reality.

One can not dismiss the fact that our media has taken it upon themselves – for the second consecutive presidential cycle – to try and ignore and then demonize the people’s revolt at every stage. First – as mentioned earlier – they tried to bury Occupy Wall Street when the movement proved that the Koch Brother-sponsored anger of the so-called “Tea Party” was not the only populist force to arise from the dust of the Great Recession and the subsequent assault on what little democracy we have. Then, they tried to dismiss the Bernie presidential campaign in 2016’s contest up until it became clear that their favorite wasn’t going to strut into a political coronation in Philadelphia without a struggle, and that was when they unleashed a flood of attacks meant to discourage the movement from spreading. The assault didn’t stop with the primary, as it continued in the months immediately following up through now, because they saw that the hunger for change was and is still present.

We’ve seen this movie before in our history. Just a tad over a century ago, another champion for the working class who stood tall against the political establishment was regarded as a serious threat by the regular order. He called out both political parties for their betrayals of the working people of this country. This champion was a bold leader who helped the suffrage movement and had a major role in organized labor and the original progressive uprising. His pursuit of justice was unyielding and he did not care if what he said was unpopular, because he knew it was his duty to speak out up to the point of being imprisoned for intentionally violating what was arguably an unconstitutional prohibition on verbalizing opposition to the First World War. That champion for all was a man named Eugene Victor Debs and his light continues on as a flicker in the great revolutionary flame which “berns” in each of us taking up this cause today.

Eugene Debs was mocked and his supporters were demonized in much the same way as we see with Bernie today. The only difference now is that our chances of success in winning this campaign and ultimately realizing the goals of our peaceful rebellion are better than was the case back in 1916. Today the propaganda against our message is weakened by the ease of mass dissemination of facts to counter the myths which long entranced a series of generations via the multiple “Red Scares”. We can take solace in this one fact: if we get the nomination, we are going to win this election…soundly, and if we somehow don’t win right now our cause will only gain more supporters in the years to come with the continuing collapse of this failing system.

The figureheads in control know all of this to be true, but they are hell-bent on making us ignore the world around us. These people know that if we can get our message across to the people without the pollution of sensationalism then it is only a matter of time before the illusions they’ve constructed for us come tumbling down. Those people in power recognize the danger of the citizens becoming better informed of a viable alternative to their exploitation. There is no denying that if we can inspire the populace to join the cause for something better than a true wave of change will come. For that reason, they have always been paying attention to us, and they hope no one else will.

 

Onward.

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Daniel H. Crawford III

Daniel Crawford is the proud father of Austin (born in 2006) and Madison (born in 2008), uncle to seven nieces and nephews, brother to three younger siblings, and the surviving son of his late-mother – Starla Kay Hunter -, whom passed away at the age of 49 in 2012 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Government with Minor Degrees in History and Public Administration in 2013 from Ashford University. A long-time activist, Daniel first got involved in politics when he was 18 in 2003 by frequently contributing to a progressive blog called Democrats.com under the pseudonym “dem4christ04”. In 2005, he created his own blog through Xanga at http://democratforchrist2020.xanga.com/ and still contributes to such from time to time. In 2004, Daniel began volunteering with his local Democratic Party in Licking County, Ohio and soon thereafter helped to build the Licking County Democratic Club; in which he later served as the Club’s Second Vice President in 2016. From 2006-2008, Daniel was a vocal advocate for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney for their numerous offenses, giving numerous, lengthy speeches at his local City Council meetings in promoting a resolution to pressure his members of Congress to hold the administration accountable. In 2014, Daniel again saw the need to advocate for impeachment, but this time for President Obama, for his overreaching use of executive powers, as well as a perceived continuation of many abuses under George W. Bush, warning that the continued circumvention of Congress – regardless of the intent - was a usurpation of legislative powers and a dangerous precedent for the separation of powers. In 2011, Daniel formed a local chapter of “Occupy” called the “99% of Newark and East Central Ohio”. The group’s members came together for numerous reasons, but soon concentrated on the issue of money in politics as the foundational issue which needed to be addressed first. From 2014 through 2016, the group’s small membership managed to make history in Newark by successfully placing a citizen’s initiative on the ballot to create an educational event – called “Democracy Day” - centered around the money in politics issue with special emphasis on the Citizens United ruling. The initiative – which narrowly failed, sadly – would have created this event and would have demanded that our members of Congress support a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United. In 2017, despite the failure of that initiative, the group – which became a subgroup of the Licking County Progressives, an organization formed in the wake of the 2016 Election – hosted our first “Democracy Day” event, seeing that we needed to do more to educate the public on the matter. Also in 2016, Daniel was appointed to the Board of the Freedom School of Licking County – a nonprofit which promotes education for the purpose of empowering average Americans in society and the workplace -, and was elected to a term as its Chairman that summer. Daniel has also authored a number of books – created and published through an Amazon service called “CreateSpace” -: a manifesto entitled “The Pillars of Unitism” and a novel entitled “The Politician: Crisis” (the latter is the first part of a planned trilogy). His undying devotion to the cause of empowering the people via a strengthened democracy is what drives him each and every day. While his children inspire the bulk of his determination to build a better world, he learned to be indiscriminately compassionate from his mother, as she sought – through to her dying day – to see every mouth fed, every back clothed, and everybody housed…so long as she could help it. Why – it must be asked – is this compassionate vision for the world so controversial in the first place? In Daniel’s mind, challenging the status quo of rugged individualism and inspiring the rejuvenation of a collective spirit is his life’s work.