Monday, June 19, 2006

a carbon-based fast... would you participate in one?

Earlier today, when I was discussing CodePink founder Diane Wilson's planned fast via email with Lyssa Strada contributor laughingcat, I began to think that perhaps I did not give enough weight to Bush's fascistic tendencies... Following are a few paragraphs from his email [emphasis mine].

Having studied Gandhi and his techniques for years, I doubt a fast will work to achieve its stated ends, because of the callous indifference of Bush and those in his circle. Remember, Gandhi said nonviolent non-cooperation only worked against the British because they were a civilized opponent; he openly admitted they would NOT work against Nazis and Fascists. And unfortunately, Bush IS a Fascist, in that he is totally committed to state-sponsored corporatism. Bush, a narcissist if ever there was one, probably won't care if someone who doesn't agree with him dies. And being so freakin' mean spirited, would even gloat, unless I misjudge the extent of his pathology.

I also hope these women use Gandhi's techniques for fasting, i.e., oranges and orange juice. He never did a total fast. He always took a little orange juice, to stretch out the time and therefore effectiveness.

And they need to find a voice in the national media so that one of the networks follows the fast, day by day, keeping the nation's attention on it. That's how Gandhi did it. Kept the world's attention on it. Only then will they get any notice that might make it effective. They also need to have talking points ready through spokespeople to counter the RWNM that will inevitably attack the fasters for all the wrong reasons, state lies and inferences, and resort to character assassination through mockery and derision. (I believe one of the only reasons the Iranian hostage crisis became a crisis was because "Nightline" kept it in the news all week every week).

[Editor's note: what about Helen Thomas? Wouldn't she be the perfect journalist to cover this story?]

They need to send daily, or weekly press releases to every major news outlet and wire service, nationally and internationally, so even if they're ignored by our own media, they can get the story in the news overseas. If Reuters picks it up, we'd have a chance that other US media would cover it as well.

HOWEVER: If I were to organize a nationwide "fast," I would recruit everyone I could to begin a conscious boycott of the oil companies that give money to Repubs, and engineer a massive letter writing campaign to let them know we are consciously going to choose to drive less and walk or bike more for the set period of the fast so they'll get the message the only way they care about. I would keep a record of everyone who volunteered to "fast from oil," and tally the numbers and extrapolate for those who said they would participate. Coordinate it with MoveOn and any other progressive org who has the connects.

That way, America would use millions of gallons of gas less than average, and with constant barrages of emails to the boards of directors, they would wake up to the reality that millions do not support the war or Republicans, and therefore we won't support their company.

Laughingcat's email made me wonder about the possible impact of two parallel carbon-based fasts-- a more traditional fast of food, and one that boycotts oil-- and whether either one would be successful, given that our own culture is not as civilized as the British empire that Gandhi so successfully humbled.

By laughingcat's measure, an oil fast would likely be more successful, since corporatists are motivated to change only by potential financial loss. Still, I'm not totally prepared to give up on GWB's potential for both psychic and physical revulsion when confronted by fasting, grieving women. After all, with so much repressed grief of his own, he must be ready to burst.

At a minimum, I predict he is going to need some therapy... but will he get it?

[Ribs & Corn by Epicurious]


Blogger Laughingcat51 said...

I truly believe that if enough committed people decide on a strategy of "noncooperation" with the powers that be, in ways that those in power care about, then we can find our collective voice. But it will take a media outlet, willing to witness to our struggle against the indifference of our culture (and in fact, Western consumerism and shallow selfishness), to keep the voice in the public arena long enough to rouse the indifferent numbed out masses to our (and their) plight. We're all like lobsters in a pot, sweating but just alive enough to keep believing in the screwed up game that keeps us all enslaved to oil and all the derivative power that comes from that. Oil is obsolete!

10:50 PM  
Blogger Karen M said...

I'm thinking about that point, and have already sent a "tip" to one online source that's pretty good at keeping stories front and center.

Even if that one follows through, though, we need more.

7:39 AM  
Blogger Thursday Next said...

If he didn't react to Cindy Sheehan, why do we think he will react to other mourning women?

A boycott of oil only works if those who wish to participate are able to count on other ways to get around. Those living in big West Coast metropolises are often at the mercy of Big Oil no matter how much they wish to be otherwise.

Often, walking, biking or taking public transit to get where they need to go isn't an option.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Karen M said...

I don't really know; it's just a hunch, because of the food thing. (And my birthday is the day after his.) Also, we don't really know how he reacted privately to Cindy Sheehan, only what he said in public. No one starved at Camp Casey last August. If anything, they managed to eat well... and enjoy something of a party atmosphere. I doubt it will seem quite as festive to have people fasting right out in front of the White House.

It's true that many people cannot get along without oil, especially where there is a lack of public transit, but it is possible, as laughingcat suggests, to choose which oil company to give your dollars to... the lesser of the evils, I guess. I guess that's something else we need to start investigating. Probably, the information is already out there on the WWW, while it's still in "neutral," just waiting for us.

Another thing I didn't write, but was in the back of my mind, was that he did seem to be disturbed by the three suicides at Guantanamo last week. Surely, he must also know that quite a few prisoners have also attempted fasting, to the point that some have actually been force-fed-- a nasty business!-- and that has had a lot of human rights advocates up in arms.

There's something particularly gruesome, to my mind, about such a slow "death." Hopefully, no one will die, though. And, there are lots of other folks in the WH, including some of GWB's family members who are going to react to it, as well. You would know better than I, but how large a role did fasting play in women's suffrage? I know it played a part. I just don't know if it was considered a major factor.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Thursday Next said...

Research has barely begun on women's suffrage ... fasting strategies have yet to be encountered but it's a good point to be on the lookout for.

2:44 PM  

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