and updated from an address by Ronnie Dugger to the Alliance convention in Gettysburg,
Pennsylvania, on June 7.
Our country is in the Valley of the Shadow.
Our people are afraid, and fear is being
used to kill democracy.
Possibly, the assassination of John
Kennedy 39 years ago was a coup.
Definitely, the selection of the President by the Supreme Court in
December 2000 was a coup. From the day
in January 2001 when William Rehnquist swore in George W. Bush as if he was the
President, the federal government has been illegitimate. Everything Mr. Bush
has done is illegal and the reach of his Presidency taints our very government
The mass murder of almost 3,000 persons on
9/11 is now being used by the illegal government to:
a war psychosis among a people whose country is not at war
in the President's voice an endless war against elusive enemies
citizens' political organizations and churches with no showing or claim that
any crime has been committed
programs for the people while freeing the rich of taxes and literally repealing
the estate tax
$400 billion of our money a year on the military, more than the 15 next most
militarized countries in the world
Star Wars and control of the world with weapons from space
in our names a new military doctrine that our country will initiate the use of
nuclear weapons to fight wars
in our names a doctrine of "strike first" military attack in or
against any of 60 or more nations
the Kyoto treaty against global warming, kill the ABM treaty, continue as only
one of the only two nations on earth that have not ratified the 1989 treaty on
the rights of children
the International Criminal Court ratified by 76 nations and withdraw from all
UN peacekeeping operations unless Americans are granted immunity from being
charged with crimes against humanity
an oil-based energy policy that militarizes our foreign policy rather than
stabilizing our national security with a shift to renewable energy and
initiate TIPS, a massive Justice Department system setting citizens to spy on
citizens just like such systems in Eastern Europe under communism.
Inexplicably, at the very time the system
of gigantic-corporation domination is breaking in front of all of us, these
usurpers of democracy are promulgating a raw, basisless new doctrine of
aggressive attack anywhere we choose with any of our weapons including nuclear
ones, with nary word or admission that we are thereby generating new hate and
worse terrorists against us and opening ourselves to ruthless mass retaliation.
We are not at war. We cannot constitutionally go to war against
any nation without a declaration of war by Congress, yet as if in our names
too, the illegal Bush Administration is openly preparing to wage aggressive war
against the 22 million people of the nation of Iraq, with "a coalition of
the willing" or unilaterally if necessary, by bombing and invasion
"from three directions" with 250,000 American troops to start, and
probably by breaking the 58-year firebreak against the use of nuclear weapons.
All this has happened about 20 years after the oligarchy,
the plutocracy, of giant corporations and billionaires closed down democracy in
the United States. We no longer have an
For if we have democracy, why don't we
have national health insurance that the huge majority of us want? Why can't we get honest elections free of
corrupting interests' money, which the huge majority of us want? Why, though the people own the airwaves, do
the major corporations control, and sell as their properties, the radio and TV
stations and networks? Why are we
about to wage an undeclared war against Iraq?
If we have a democracy, why don't we have an elected President?
Raising the prospect of fascism now in
America, we know we take a grave step.
Big corporations and big government militarized, governing together,
equal structural fascism. How real is
American liberty and democracy? Will it
continue or vanish? That is what is at
But fascism requires two things: a militarized government ruling in tandem
with the major corporations, and the absence of civil liberties. We are living with the first one, but we
still have our liberties. And there is
resistance. Committed together to
nonviolence, we still have fighting room.
We are not yet a closed system of silence and fear under the power of
government and the megacorporations welded together. We have lost our democracy, but we still have our liberties for
as long as we still have our courage.
That is why we are here together. To globalize justice, not corporations. To attack poverty, not any of 80 nations. As Howard Zinn says, not to be the world's
military superpower, but to become and to be the world's humanitarian
When the Alliance began seven years ago, taking on giant
corporations per se was practically unheard of. We in the Alliance have been one of the few major causes of the
paradigm shift to now, when the real subject has changed from two-party
politics to subordinating the giant corporation to democracy and achieving
We should try to help forge now a clear
way through, to economic democracy and national modesty here, and economic
justice and respite from war and terror among us all everywhere. We can rejoice that so many have joined our
call, now seven years young, to defeat massed corporate greed with
democracy. All power and credit to all
of our allies, and our share, no more, to us.
And in this new situation we are to find our specific work to further
advance our movement's work as a whole.
At previous conventions we narrowed our
active campaigns to four, on corporate globalization, transforming the
corporation under economic and political democracy, national health insurance,
and campaign finance reform. The first
three are now all movement-wide action causes, and while the campaign finance
law just passed was two steps forward and three back, in substantial part
because of the initiatives of Public Campaign and the Alliance for Democracy,
public funding of federal elections is now a widely-supported cause.
I suggest that there are two realms, one
positive, and one synoptic, on which we can more saliently also focus.
The one is economic democracy--in our
chapters and in our networking, fostering and bringing further into being
democratic, human-sized economic enterprises.
Why not a solar panel in every yard, a
solar array for your neighborhood? Why
not new chapters as study circles leading to actions? Why not organize the uninsured by registering the patients at
emergency rooms--why not a chapter composed entirely of the medically
uninsured? Chapters could organize a
services exchange, a services bank.
What about a local conspiracy to buy from locally-owned businesses? In Missouri and elsewhere AfD chapters have
been instrumental in the formation of three food circles joining family farmers
with local co-ops. In Seattle Rev.
Robert Jeffrey has invented an imitable model for community investment
endowments for inner-city neighborhoods.
Our most urgent new work, I believe, is
outlined in AfD's prospectus for Equal Independent Allies, not an organization,
but a communications center, Internet-based, for an optimally functional and
effective local, regional, national, and global people's movement. Following the lead of Jack VanderVen of the
Cincinnati chapter, I suggest we form a consortium of four or five consanguine
organizations to collectively formulate, obtain funding for, and put into
practice, the movements communications center and sub-centers as Equal
Independent Allies, while our chapters, and whole other organizations, adopt
other nations to visit, study the NGOs of, and work with, first bilaterally.
In the accelerating democratic showdown
with big-corporate greed and power, the Internet is the break we needed. Our new executive coordinator, Nick Biddle,
is focused like a laser beam on our use of it for our own work and for this
larger cause and requirement for our collective success. Let's help him get this done now.
As the first organization to use civil
disobedience for campaign finance reform, our Democracy Brigades, in the
Capitol, had their effect, as we were joined in jail by the likes of Bill
McKibben, John Passacantando, Randy Hayes, and Doris Haddock. What many of us have been into is nonviolent
revolt, refusing, saying no, resisting, insisting, at some legal risk to
ourselves, always nonviolently.
Under the present deteriorating national
circumstances we should try to develop actions on the model of Gandhi's
noncooperation. I believe that we also
have to tighten up the entire movement so that our commitment to nonviolence
comes to mean in practice anti-violence, the unwillingness to plan or network
with any group or person that plans to use violence.
Bush, the unelected President running the
illegal government, openly plans to commit lawless aggressive war against the
nation of Iraq starting next January or February. From the Nuclear Posture Review that has been leaked, we must
fear and anticipate that he also intends to use tactical nuclear weapons
against Iraq. That leaves us just six
months to form together as a cohering, coherent national movement of
organizations and demand that no such war be waged without a finding by
Congress that it is mandatory for U.S. self-defense and a formal declaration of
war by Congress. This would be the
first time in history that citizens in an orderly way in advance have opposed
their government waging an aggressive war, but the realities here in our eyes
and minds leave us no choice.
As for the intermediate run, sitting up
talking until 2 a.m. one morning, Ted Dooley and I were asking each other: What can we do that's enough in this
situation?--what, nonviolently, can we do, that will save the country and win
for democracy? Our thinking lubricated
with a little single-malt, there arose from us, as if an idea rising up from
two heads: Let's have millions of people, millions, occupy Washington in
the summer of 2004, and stop the government.
On the anniversaries of 911, this year
and next, in league with several other organizations that have had the same
idea, we should personally and in our chapters help arrange with co-sponsors
town halls, or community or neighborhood meetings, to discuss 911 and what has
followed, and to set up committees of correspondence among those who want to develop
their community strengths as the basis of the strength of democracy. As more and more of us, conferring through
the communications center we are bent now to establish, can educate and act
together, we should come together by the spring of 2004 in a massed nonviolent
revolt in New York City. That summer,
we should accept the leadership of Martin Luther King once again, bring back
Martin Luther King, and together with him bring into reality 36 years later his
plan in the summer of 1968 for the Poor People's Encampment--in this emergency
of fascism or democracy, we might call it the Plain People's Encampment--and
peacefully occupy Washington, millions of us, for democracy, peace, and
justice, for weeks, or months.
So the one thing we must do by 2004 is
cohere, because if we don't cohere, we won't be able to turn out millions in
Washington in 2004.