Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Howard Zinn called it "the unreported resistance"

Howard Zinn claimed that there has always been a very large group of Americans, probably tens of millions he said, who refuse, either actively or silently, to support the actions of the government.  The American electoral system is a total sham, he said, offering Americans no real choice in elections but acting together to ensure that wealth and power remain in the hands of a small group; and that Americans remain bitterly divided by narrow ideologies.

If Americans ever chose to cast aside those ideological differences and realize that they have one common enemy, the game would be up.

Zinn said that in nearly every one of America's wars, there has been a resistance that you largely never hear about. It goes unreported by the press, which acts to sustain an atmosphere of fear and hate and the official narrative that "our national security is under threat!"

Consider the first Gulf War in 1990/1991.  I remember it quite well.  My wife and I had our first (and only) child in February, 1991.  I remember sitting in bed, every night next to a very pregnant woman, watching the early weeks of the build-up to the ground war in Kuwait on TV.  I was following the whole thing very closely.  I thought I knew all the reasons for the US involvement in the war, and the strategy as it unfolded.  I was actually following the nightly news for the first time in more than 10 years and I think I knew more about what was going on in January, 1991 than most Americans did.

But you know what?  I cannot remember seeing images of the global resistance to that war, which was quite widespread.  Was that even shown on American television?  Perhaps.  I don't think so.  It was left "unreported," I believe.

Do you remember this?

On Saturday, January 14, 1991, the weekend before the US began its aerial (and naval) bombardment (on Thursday, January 17), 100,000 people marched against the war in London, 15,000 in Manchester, 10,000 in Glasgow, 3,000 in Bristol. There were also protests in many smaller cities.  250,000 people marched in 120 German cities. Over 200,000 marched in 150 towns and cities across France. 100,000 marched in Rome, 40,000 in Brussels and 60,000 in Istanbul. More than 75,000 attended rallies in Madrid and Barcelona, which ended in violent clashes with police. There were demonstrations in Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, in over 30 cities and towns in Canada, and all across the United States.

Do you remember that?  I don't.

Do you remember that, on the weekend that followed those protests, Saturday, January 18, 1991, there were two large antiwar demonstrations in Washington and San Francisco.  The size of the protest in Washington was estimated at 200,000 people (source).  

Remember that?  I don't.

And on January 26, 1991, which was nine days after the beginning of the war, over 150,000 people marched through the streets of Washington, and they listened all day to speakers denounce the war, including actors Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins who were arrested. They heard from an Oakland, California woman who held up the folded American flag that was given to her when her husband was killed in Vietnam, and said, "I learned the hard way there is no glory in a folded flag."

Do you remember that huge anti-war demonstration?  I don't.

Most Americans were pretty complacent during "Operation Desert Storm", as always, but don't kid yourself ... there was a large (and, as Howard Zinn called it, unreported) resistance to that war.

And that resistance was always growing ... it was just getting started.  Considering that the protests were coordinated and organized largely with fax machines (there was no  Internet or "social media") and the entire war only lasted six weeks, I think the resistance was huge.  I think the size of the complacent, silent, but unreported, American resistance was massive.  

I'd have been part of it, if I had known it existed.  I did not.  Because my only source of information, in rural Alabama, was the news media, and they weren't reporting it.  

One more incident I'd like to ask if you remember:

Latinos have always been more conscious than other Americans of the imperial role the United States, because of US involvement in Latin and South American and the Caribbean (especially the US actions in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Cuba).  During the Vietnam War, In 1970 there was a sizeable march in Los Angeles of Latinos protesting the war.  Those marchers were attacked by police, three Chicanos were killed.  In the summer of 1990, well before most Americans had Kuwait on their radar screens, when the Bush administration was preparing for war against Iraq, thousands of people in Los Angeles marched along the same route they had taken twenty years before. when protesting the Vietnam war. They were among the first to mobilize against a war they knew was coming.  They tried to stop it.  But you know what?  That protest went largely unreported.

Do you remember that?  I don't. 

The unreported resistance.  I'm part of it.