Editor, Daily Nexus,
Your friends have either told you they’re not striking or you’ve seen skeptical accounts in the Daily Nexus about the efficacy of the strike. People are asking, “What will not going to class accomplish?” The renowned political scholar of nonviolence Gene Sharp can give us an important insight here. According to Sharp, the means by which a people’s movement can reign in a reckless leader, like President Bush, is by limiting and controlling his power. Striking is a tactic used by social movements to withdraw obedience and complicity from oppressive and antidemocratic governments or corporations. A strike means a withdrawal from the system in order to disrupt it. Disruption inhibits the ruler’s ability to carry on with business as usual.
Right now, business as usual in our nation is a nightmare of war, torture and secrecy. It has created the conditions of domestic decay here in the U.S. with no money or political will to rebuild the Gulf Coast or fund education and healthcare. The war is consuming our national treasury and killing some of the best men and women of our generation. The death toll and damage it has wrought against the people of Iraq is indescribably horrific.
The strike is a kind of protest that cuts straight through the bullshit, grips the foundation of the leader’s power and pulls it from under him. It challenges authority, withdraws human and material resources and applies skills and knowledge to the people’s goals. If we truly oppose the war it is time for a peace movement that does more than just symbolically protest. The movement must start withdrawing consent and resources from Bush’s illegal war.
Still not convinced? Ask yourself this: If the entire nation went on strike tomorrow, how much longer do you think Bush’s war could last? I’d give it 24 hours or less. Striking alone here at UCSB might not mean much, but the world is watching. News of our strike is spreading across other campuses and cities. We will not be acting alone on Feb. 15, and if that day is empowering, perhaps there can be a real movement beyond this.