Greg — One-Day Protest Strike

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The “election” that has sentenced the world to four more years of the most right-wing government in US history is merely the most glaring recent expression of a global crisis of democracy. We simply miss the point if we focus our outrage on the narrow question of whether the election was stolen, lost through incompetence or conceded too early. A process so dominated by money and corporate interests is by definition non-democratic. The fact that the choice in this election was effectively limited to Kerry or Bush, excluding any real alternative from the start, is only one symptom. As a whole, the US electoral system is a screen spectacle, a mirage of democracy that compels a minimum of pseudo-participation simply by its monopoly over what passes for politics and public debate. Capturing popular energy and channeling it into the dead-end of hierarchical parties, it enforces an impoverishment of social imagination and wages a war of attrition on the desire for real change. Never has a power produced in this way been legitimate. G.W. Bush’s claims of a “popular mandate” are mere propaganda in the crudest sense.
Every opportunity must be taken to contest the forms and functioning of US-style “democracy.” January 20, Inauguration Day, is a moment of unavoidable vulnerability for the Bush regime and is thus the first major opportunity to make it feel the shakiness of its “mandate.” We cannot of course expect other governments to contest seriously the official results of a US election. The power to do this belongs only to the global multitude, to those who have the courage to create new forms of egalitarian politics.
A real, transparent democratic voice from below can actively demonstrate that lies and naked power do not constitute legitimacy. Indeed, as has always been the case, only such a voice – persistent, uncompromising and for-all – can stop the destructive violence wreaked by antidemocratic states. And today only such a voice can stop the Bush regime. Real democracy is not the result of spectacular elections and obscene expenditures. Instead, it emerges from direct collective actions that dismantle the conditions for war-mongering, economic and social violence, servitude and abasement. It emerges wherever people work together to render impossible endless militarization, state and non-state terrorism, and a global regime of nations and borders that gives free passage to capital while denying it to real people.
United for Peace and Justice, Not In Our Name, DC Anti-War Network, Turn Your Back on Bush and other groups have called for massive protests in Washington DC on “j20.” We support these calls, but are also convinced of the need for people to organize protests right where they are. Blocked democracy is a global problem, as this election in particular shows. Not only US citizens but people everywhere are threatened by aggressive US policies.
We therefore call for a one-day protest strike and demonstrations across the United States and for marches on US embassies in as many other countries as possible. We know that for most people January 20 is a workday, and that work conditions can vary drastically. We suggest people reach out to others in their workplaces, campuses and neighborhoods and either call in sick or walk out at noon on January 20. College and university students can easily take a day off from classes. Whether you then choose to join an organized protest action or form a local affinity group of friends to organize an action of your own, join us and others in the streets to reclaim our power. We don’t consent, and we won’t obey! In the streets for real democracy! Act together for real alternatives!
— An internationalist collective based in Berlin