Missed Tactical Briefing #6? Read it here.
In a picture included in an e-mail we received August 13th, ten men in fatigues and tactical gear, bearing military-style rifles, pose with an American flag. The message, which refers to us at Adbusters as “lowly little skinny jean wearing fuck boys” (gee, does that sting!), reads as follows: “You’ve awakened a sleeping giant, the sheep will be fucked up real nicely by us SheepDogs ... seasoned vets whom seen war up and personal, actually, I kind of miss it a bit...” (sic).
Since we launched our White House Siege campaign late July, our inbox has been flooded with similar expressions of semi-literate, half-rabid hostility. The far-right’s online propaganda machine pounced on us to stir up fear and fury. And one month into our campaign, Facebook censored the hashtag #WhiteHouseSiege, citing violations of the company’s “community standards.” Facebook’s maddeningly bureaucratic complaints department has yet to get back to us with any clarification on the matter. We’ll let you know if and when that happens.
What explains this outpouring of animosity, these social-media hysterics?
Amid this post-truth moment, we have been made the latest target of a hate-spewing counter-campaign of intimidation and misinformation. Paranoiacs and provocateurs have made us out to be Antifa-aligned, violence-inciting, looting, pillaging bogeymen. But nothing could be further from the truth.
The enduring purpose of our campaign is to “rekindle the true essence of democracy” and “electrify the election season.” We are not Antifa (which isn’t what you think it is, anyhow). We are not rioters. We are not affiliated with, or beholden to, any foreign power (save the great Soviet Socialist Republic of Canada). And we are not plotting a coup, a mutiny, or a defrocking (short of what November’s election might allow).
We appeal to the highest and dearest principles of democracy as enshrined in the Constitution. (Remember that bit about “We the People”? And that other bit about the people’s right to peaceably assemble?) So, to all you online agitators: leave your tired red-baiting behind with Joseph McCarthy. He’s been dead more than 60 years, for Chrissake.
It’s likely that Facebook censored #WhiteHouseSiege due to the frenzy of bloodthirstyhatred stirred up against us by the far right. As a result, we’ve had to do an about-face and run with an entirely different hashtag: #ReOccupy. Last week Mark Zuckerberg said, “We all have a responsibility to protect our democracy.” Perhaps he could start by unblocking our campaign.
With fewer than 45 days remaining before November 3rd, a lot can still happen. Our sustained blast of tyranny-resisting jazz could change the tone and outcome of the election. In truth, the idea of rebel jazz, sounding a wave of change on street corners across America, is almost too beautiful to bear.
But the question we've asked since the beginning of our campaign still begs an answer:
The passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has now brought political passions to a boil. If Trump tries to ram her replacement through to the Supreme Court, things could turn ugly very quickly. White supremacists are already champing at the bit, spoiling for a showdown. You can laugh, but the possibility of a civil war breaking out sometime next year is no joke.
The right is full of gusto . . . we on the left are always playing defence. If Trump plays his cynical game to the hilt and really does refuse to leave, then, as in Belarus and many other countries around the world, it will fall on us the people to turn up in massive numbers and set things right.
A million activists descending on Washington for a totally non-violent carnivalesque play-jazz siege on the White House feels like a pretty fine option to keep in mind.
Read Tactical Briefing #8 here.