VoteStrike.com has put forth plans for a General Strike beginning on 11th September 2008, which is quickly gaining a tremendous amount of support. Chris Rice, Founder of VoteStrike, said, “General strikes shut down the normal operations of a city, state, or nation for a period of time. These strikes aim to force action on a single issue or broader set of concerns. The reason for this shutdown is not to hurt this country in any way, but is in fact a peaceful method of sending a message to Washington, DC.” As support for this sentiment grows daily, the strike’s appeal has increased worldwide.
The membership, now over 160,000 includes many active military, lawyers, doctors, dentists, nurses, teachers, anti-war activists, independent truckers, people in the impeachment movement. Much of the international membership is coming from peace activists in Italy, France and the UK.
Blogs and websites supporting and featuring material from VoteStrike.com include Global Pundit, Rebel Pundit, Just Another Cover-Up, Pledge To Impeach, CoffeehouseStudio, Existentialist Cowboy, Dream Antilles, Paul Peterson Blog, IVAW, and OpEdNews. Rice points out that, as with very large protests against Iraq, the lead up to a general strike will most likely be blacked out by the US media.
According to Rice, “The General Strike is a national call to action, from citizens to other citizens. It’s not about a single issue. It is not just an anti-war protest, a gas price protest, a civil rights protest, and election fraud protest. It is not just about torture, surveillance, corporate media, or the environment. This strike is about all these issues and more.” Rice states that, when you perceive the country’s greatest threats as emerging from political corruption, all these issues are unified.
VoteStrike.com is calling for people to participate by refusing to shop, go to work, go to school, and instead to non-violently protest and engage in acts of non-violent civil disobedience nation-wide.
Rice feels that the issues highlighted by the strike have not been addressed in a meaningful way by any branch of government. The VoteStrike.com website reminds people of this admonition from the Supreme Court: “It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error: it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error.” -US Supreme Court, in American Communication Association v. Douds, 339 US 382, 442
Rice hopes that the strike will embolden the public and provide a message and motivation to politicians. It is not intended to bring harm to any people or nation. He says that he chose 11th September because of it’s value as a symbol of manipulation of the public by corrupt interests.
A position paper by VoteStrike.com describes the core issues of the strike as follows:
“The manipulation of the public to support wars that enrich wealthy people, but with a horrifying cost in lives and suffering.
The conversion of the two-party system into an illusion of choice in which the public is unable to gain adequate representation in areas such as civil rights, health care, and preservation of sufficient opportunities for economic well being.
The loss of integrity in the media, which has become a highly orchestrated means to manipulate the public.
The lack of a sincere quest for solutions that are in the interest of the public. There are many symptoms of this. One lens to look through is how money is extracted from the public to feed the appetites of wealthy backers of our only two viable political parties. Point this lens at illegal drugs, and you see massive amounts of money flowing as a result of the drug trade coupled with our so-called “war on drugs” that drives up drug prices and feeds the increasingly privatized justice system, our covert operations, and indirectly lines the pockets of our politicians. One gruesome result is an extraordinarily high incarceration rate (particularly among young Black men). This is one of many examples. The take away message is that the public is being, in a sense, harvested and discarded by interests that are not committed to the welfare countries they operate in.
The strike is largely a response to the escalation of corruption and mistreatment of citizens, such as wholesale domestic spying, extraordinary rendition, and torture.
The specific action we support is a general strike that will make a statement. We encourage attendance at rallies and protests and a complete cessation of consumer behavior and work from Thursday 11th September through that Sunday. We hope that as the public begins to realize that they have untapped power, that action will become more widespread and focused in the future.
The result we are seeking is for our government to respond to pressure to be more representative. If successful, we would see actions such as more serious election reform, a true investigation and criminal prosecution pertaining to the network of corruption behind the war in Iraq, real health care reform, and similar bold steps.”
Specific steps for action, and a great deal of historical and present day supportive material can be found at www.VoteStrike.com
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This post was written by Robert Yourell