October2011.org?

Pallas just posted to the local minister’s email list telling us about October2011.org. At first glance, October2011.org looks like an antiwar demonstration that will take place in Washington, D.C., beginning on October 6. But unlike conventional demonstrations, they are modeling themselves after the protests of the Arab Spring. Here’s the pledge that they ask participants to sign:

I pledge that if any U.S. troops, contractors, or mercenaries remain in Afghanistan on Thursday, October 6, 2011, as that occupation goes into its 11th year, I will commit to being in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., with others on that day or the days immediately following, for as long as I can, with the intention of making it our Tahrir Square, Cairo, our Madison, Wisconsin, where we will NONVIOLENTLY resist the corporate machine by occupying Freedom Plaza to demand that America’s resources be invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of war and exploitation…. [caps in original]

The focus of this demonstration will be civil disobedience. And it sounds like anyone who goes may risk arrest, based on what they say on in their FAQ:

There are important roles for those who choose not to risk arrest such as jail support, observation and other responsibilities during the occupation such as food, medical care and cleanup. That said, there are no guarantees because we cannot at this time predict the response by the DC police. Our experience in the past is that they give warnings prior to making arrests so that those who choose to do so may leave the action.

Speaking as a peacenik, I’m a little skeptical of this demonstration. Although the pledge quoted above seems to focus on an antiwar message, no Quaker or Brethren groups have yet signed on as sponsors; if this were a peace demonstration I’d expect to see at least one Quaker meeting as a sponsor. And when you read deeper in the Web site, this demonstration is not really an antiwar demonstration; peace is merely one of a list of fifteen issues. And this does not look like a broad-based coalition, but rather the usual narrow coalition of the usual leftist groups; as a leftist myself I can tell you that we are a vanishingly small segment of the U.S. population, so I’d expect a tiny turnout.

If you know more about October2011.org, I’d love to hear from you. Especially if you’re a peacenik, or have a religious perspective on this.

2 thoughts on “October2011.org?”

  1. Maybe you can explain something to me. I’ve re-united into the Unitarian ranks after wandering intone wilderness for 40 years of quakerism and Congregationalists. There is no more Marxist-Leninism-Communism. WTF is everyone afraid of? There are no more boogeymen out there to worry about some one painting their colors on us. We are faced with a future we cannot afford: permanent war and occupation of … moonscapes! I love that my fellow U-U’s are so attached to this Gay marriage (rights there of) but for chrissakes that’s a detail compared to the humanity and wealth sacrificed – actually squandered – in following Bush’s paths into certifiable self destruction.

  2. RW — You write: “There is no more Marxist-Leninism-Communism.”

    I can’t speak for Leninists, but I know a fair number of leftist Unitarian Universalists who could be characterized as Marxist, post-Marxist, anarcho-syndicalists, socialists, unionists, etc. I also know at least one neo-conservative Unitarian Universalist who says he was a Marxist in the 1960s.

    Not that there are many leftists of any kind in Unitarian Universalism today. But given the sharp rightward shift in the U.S. at large, and the way the leftists left liberal religion in the 1970s, that’s pretty much what I’d expect. I don’t think it’s fear so much as there aren’t many leftists left in the U.S. — and the ones who are left, like the organizers of October2001.org, seem pretty much unaware that liberal religion exists.

    Historian of liberal religion Gary Dorrien asserts that the task of religious liberals (of whatever denomination) these days is to come to terms with liberation theologies. Theologian Paul Rasor asserts that religious liberals have to come to terms with challenges posed by theologies to the right and to the left. That to me is the real issue that you raise. And the challenge from the left of us is quite clearly the challenge of whether we’re going to be co-opted by consumer capitalism.

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