Saturday, January 15, 2005

 

Not One Damn Dime Day


Letter from America – the Power of the wallet.

Today, I received an email from an American lady I have been in communication with. It had an attached message that is worth looking into. I quote:

Since our religious leaders will not speak out against the war in Iraq, since our political leaders don't have the moral courage to oppose it, Inauguration Day, Thursday, January 20th, 2005 is "Not One Damn Dime Day" in America.

On "Not One Damn Dime Day," those who oppose what is happening in our name in Iraq can speak up with a 24-hour national boycott of all forms of consumer spending.

During "Not One Damn Dime Day" please don't spend money. Not one damn dime for gasoline. Not one damn dime for necessities or for impulse purchases. Not one damn dime for anything for 24 hours.

For 24 hours, please do what you can to shut the retail economy down. The object is simple. Remind the people in power that the war in Iraq is immoral and illegal; that they are responsible for starting it and that > it is their responsibility to stop it.

"Not One Damn Dime Day" is to remind them, too, that they work for the people of the United States of America, not for the international corporations and K Street lobbyists who represent the corporations and funnel cash into American politics.

There's no rally to attend. No marching to do. No left or right wing agenda to rant about. On "Not One Damn Dime Day" you take action by doing nothing. You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed. For 24 hours, nothing gets spent, not one damn dime, to remind our religious leaders and our politicians of their moral responsibility to end the war in Iraq and give America back to the people.

There may not be sufficient time for this idea to gain enough momentum for the intended date of January 20th… but the idea is born. It can be used on other occasions in other countries. Besides, protesting on the inauguration day of a democratically elected President may not be an ideal date. May I suggest April 9th as an alternative date to commemorate the second year of the occupation? This may even give the British time to participate. I already feel that the idea may find enthusiastic supporters in Scotland.

The evident rhetoric notwithstanding, I still find it a potent and a civilized method of protest. No violence, no Left-Right conflict, no effort required… and you can save money. Economists are always telling people that saving is a good thing. So, no harm should would be done to the economy.

The greater the popular feeling behind a statement, the louder the silent message will be. Silent people making a statement by being even more silent through the power of many wallets.

There is another “American” aspect to it: the bigger your wallet is, the bigger your contribution ( and the more money you save). The more wallets, the louder the statement.

This idea could only be born in America.


Comments:

Hello Abu Khaleel,
Not a bad idea, except I really can't afford to go a single day without electricity, gas or water( like Iraqis have to edure and for more than a day). :(
 
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I will try to spend as much money on Jan 21st. I am proud that we can bring Democracy to Iraq and then there are Iraqi's who aren't afraid to try to grasp the meaning of Democracy.
SPEND SPEND SPENT!!!
 
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Speaking personally, though, I am still hoping that these Iraqi elections come off - out of respect for the Iraqis who have been ready to risk their lives for a chance to vote, out of contempt for the insurgents who want to prevent that and out of a deep conviction that something very important is at stake. Tom Friedman, NY Times

I know I'm being thick but what is the objective here? When you ask us to brown-bag our lunches on Thursday as a means of opposing the war, are you asking us to petition our government to withdraw all 150,000+ troops starting February 1, 2005? We'd like to bring them home, the sooner the better, but are you asking we do so right now? Is it possible to simultaneously oppose war and support steps taken by Iraqis toward consensus government and eventual reconstruction?
 
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This is a wonderful idea. For my fellow Americans that just don't get it, what is your problem? The situation in Iraq is almost hopeless. The upcoming elections are viewed by the people as a farce. Our continued occupation in Iraq is only adding to the problem. It's like throwing good money after bad; with the added problem that we aren't only talking about money, but also much more precious human lives, Iraqi and American. We need to let the UN take over, we obviously can't handle the mess we have created.

I will not spend "one damn dime" on January 20th.
 
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Interesting idea, bound to go nowhere. Raises a question though:
Part of the received wisdom from the Vietnam war is that a contributing factor to the US defeat there was the level of internal protest against the war, particularly among the young (Kent State etc.) Sometimes this was linked to the idea that protest was fuelled by TV coverage of the fighting - bringing the reality of war into the living rooms of America.
Doesn’t seem to be happening this time round - I haven’t seen anything indicating any youth concern at all about the war. Most dissent seems to come from the already educated of more mature years: goddam cowardly pinko gay-loving leftist liberals, in other words.
Is this due to a loss of idealism among the youth of the US? Or is it just because there is no draft? Yet?
Another question, on the theme of protest: since say June 2004, when the conquest became definitive with the installation of an obviously puppet government, I’ve sometimes wondered what the effect of massive Gandhian-style peaceful protest would have been in Iraq, e.g. if 100,000 Baghdadis just sat down at the gates of the Green Zone. Point being that they couldn’t be removed non-violently - it takes 4 cops to carry away one limp protester - and I don’t believe the US military would have been brutal or ruthless enough to fire on unarmed civilians en masse. (Except the Marines, I guess.)
Peaceful protest of this sort has sometimes been effective in the West. Is it just that Islam has no tradition of pacifist resistance?
Not that I’m a pacifist myself. But occasionally I feel a certain grudging respect for them.
Circular
 
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I’ve sometimes wondered what the effect of massive Gandhian-style peaceful protest would have been in Iraq, e.g. if 100,000 Baghdadis just sat down at the gates of the Green Zone.Hmm. Great question.

Well if any Iraqis are reading this, that kind of protest would have put a substantial amount of pressure on Bush before the election. It won't put as much pressure on him now, but it would put some.

It is unfortunate that a lot of Iraqis seem willing to play the election dance with the Americans. That dance will lead to a continuation of the puppet government or civil war. But people have to learn their own lessons. Vietnam was supposed to have elections - everyone knew Ho Chi Minh would win. America cancelled those elections at the last moment and chose civil war.

A lot of people died who wouldn't have if more Vietnamese people understood earlier what America stands for. But people have to learn their own lessons.

Anyway, when you get around to deciding you want the Americans out, mass action such as general strikes and large protests will send a clear message that Americans do not respect the wishes of the Iraqi people.

At that point, people here with family and friends over there are going to be asking serious questions. Bush will bring them back rather than see the Republicans lose control of Congress in 2006.
 
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Regarding peaceful protest:

1. There has been no tradition for such protest since 1958.

2. Those Iraqis who started along this sort of action after the invasion were discouraged, rather harshly. Among the many incidents that took place, two are well known: The protest of Fallujans about that school and the protest of the Moqtada people about the closure of their newspaper. Both ended in bloodshed.

3. Frankly, I would hesitate before encouraging such an action under the prevailing conditions. All it takes is someone with a gun and bad intentions (and there are many such people) and / or a trigger-happy US soldier to cause a massacre – especially in the absence of media coverage!
 
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Inauguration Day, bet basketball Thursday, January 20th, 2005 is "Not One Damn Dime Day" in America. On "Not One Damn Dime Day" those who oppose what is happening in our name in Iraq can speak up with a 24-hour national boycott of all forms of consumer spending. sportsbook During "Not One Damn Dime Day" please don't spend money. Not one damn dime for gasoline. Not one damn dime for necessities or for impulse purchases. Not one damn dime for anything for 24 hours.
On "Not One Damn Dime Day," please boycott Walmart, KMart and Target. Please don't go to the mall or the local convenience store. Please don't march madness buy any fast food (or any groceries at all for that matter). For 24 hours, please do what you can to shut the retail economy down. The object is simple. Remind the people in power that the war in Iraq is immoral and illegal; that they are responsible for starting it and that it is their responsibility to stop it.
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