February 3, 2007

Wear A Damn Button, Would Ya? Every Day!

I'm halfway snarling at myself here, but if this stings a bit, you can own a piece of it, too.

There's a lot of interesting discussion about the conjuncture we find ourselves as the contradictions around the occupation of Iraq intensify within US society. I wrote about it a little here in the hours before leaving for the DC demo last Saurday. While some of the ideas in play are critical, like the need to understand where the demand for impeachment fits in the struggle today, the tone of the discussion sometimes strikes me as a little overblown--bold calls to return to the glory days of May 1970 and so on.

In response, I want to propose a mini-campaign that could hardly be more modest in scale, or more simple to take up: Every day, when you leave the house, put on a pin. Two, if you've got a coat on you're going to shed indoors later. Every day!

The button should address the growing crisis aroound the occupation of Iraq in simple terms. Bring Them Home Now! or Impeach! or Money For Schools, Not For War.

Sure, a political button is a small and commonplace thing, but consider the crucial juncture at which we find ourselves. Mass opinion counts for far more now than it does in ordinary times, because it so squarely rejects the status quo and because there is no leadership so far to co-opt it or subsume it into a half-stepping response.

The people of this country have been watching with dismay as a massive electoral repudiation of the war morphs into a deadly escalation and a threatened expansion into Iran. Instead of moving to stop this in its tracks, the Democratic leadership lined up behind the non-binding and occupation-endorsing Warner Resolution.

Everything we do to make the anti-war/anti-occupation movement more visible gives others a sense that there is hope, that there is something they might do as well, that things can be changed. And my doing it isn't going to do doodly squat. But if you, dear reader, take this up and spread the word in local groups and across teh Internets, that's kinda different.

Thousands more people wearing buttons at school, at work, in the neighborhood, will be a vivid local sign of the reinvigoration of the anti-war movement we experienced in DC last week.

Too many days, I've been neglecting to do this simple thing. No more. From here on out, I'll be wearing a button every day (two, actually, until the NYC weather takes a turn for the warmer). And I'll be sure to have a few extra in my pocket in case somebody on the subway wants one.

Next let's talk about occupying Congressional offices...


Anonymous said...

Modest is better than nothing, and maybe it will spur on ourselves and others to step up to bigger things. I'm in.

And I'll see about getting our union button-press in on it, too.

Anonymous said...

You probably have already heard of them, but you can get buttons and other great resources at www.donnellycolt.com. I used to get their catalog years ago, and have recently started checking out their website. Progressive, family-owned business.

Jimmy Higgins said...

I have been doing this button thing pretty rigorously, and so have a couple of friends whom I've agitated around it. I've already given away a couple of the ones I carry with me and so has a friend nearby who works in US Labor Against War.

I guess the idea seems too modest to most--this was crossposted at the left liberal, Democratic Party-oriented DailyKos site with one of their little polls and a lot of the response even there was dismissive. I can understand the frustration, but it kinda cheeses me off reading some of these left websites and lists where folks eternally proclaim about how the anti-war movement is insufficiently a. militant b. anti-imperialist c. in solidarity with the armed resistance in Iraq, d. internationalist e. well, you know the drill...

All good points, no doubt, but I am struck by the sense that few of the ardent commmentators are writing from much of a grounding in building local resistance to the occuation.

So, thanks, Jesse, for stepping to it, and thanks to "anonymous" for plugging Donnelly-Colt, a venerable movement institution. I might as well add that I do my bulk ordering of buttons (with union bug, natch) from New Solidarity in Berkeley, an outfit with some affiliation to the estimable InkWorks print shop.