The Old OB Hippie Speaks Out
By Source / OB Rag
Been around long enough to know the “in’s and out’s” of organizing protests and marches here in good, ol’ conservative San Diego. I have been to many, many of them – all over the place. – And yes, I know our city’s demographics and politics have evolved over the years.
Just recently, I was at the Climate Action rally held in Balboa Park with its rally next to the water fountain. Before that – and at the same spot – I attended a support rally for Bernie Sanders. And one year ago exactly, I attended a “die-in” at the fountain when on December 13th, 2014, 200 people participated in a “die-in” – right at the fountain, as San Diego joined protests held nation-wide against police violence.
Going back a ways – I also attended many rallies and marches that were held in and through Balboa Park during both the Iraq Wars I and II.
After all these decades – of protest marches through Balboa Park – I finally have to speak out:
“No more protest marches through Balboa Park – please!”
I say this because rallies and marches that STAY completely within the boundaries of Balboa Park – are ineffectual and a waste of our time as organizers and participants in movements for social change.
Now, I’m not talking about rallies that either begin or end at Balboa Park and included marches through or from downtown San Diego – or other neighborhoods.
We’re talking about protests – for whatever, to protest Bush’s invasion of Iraq, for climate justice, for Bernie Sanders, to protest police shootings of Black men, to protest the dismantling of the Fourth Amendment – we have to get out of Balboa Park – where only a few dozen tourists see whatever we’re doing.
We must instead march and rally at the citadels of power – here in San Diego. That means the courthouses – there’s a bunch – and corporate headquarters, banks, mainstream media headquarters, transit centers, freeways – plenty of places.
And if we’re out there in the streets and neighborhoods of our city – instead of the lanes of our beautiful park treasure – more San Diegans will see and hear us. Not just a few tourists – really.
Why would we stage a die-in with a couple hundred demonstrators when nobody saw it? What good are our chants bouncing back at us from the walls of the Prado?
If we just want to feel good – sure, let’s do it in Balboa Park.
But if we really want to challenge the establishment, then we must have our protests where they and their minions can see our numbers and hear our chants.
Climate change – we really need to focus our protests on the power elite. It’s not enough for us as individuals to make lifestyle changes to help the environment – they are good and necessary – but they’re insufficient for real change.
It’s going to take a lot more than eating vegan or driving electric cars. At the most recent rally for climate change, for instance, the mild calls for “action” belie the dangerous climatic circumstances we’re in.
Mark my words, kids. We’re not going to get government and corporate action on climate change. Unless or until …
Not until comfortable, white middle-class people get angry enough and start taking direct action in massive numbers against the establishment.
Direct action. In numbers.