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Leonard G. Barton, Ed.
On April 14, 1996, tens of thousands of Americans - of all races, classes, origins, gender identifications, and affiliations, marched in San Francisco to make a statement to our fellow citizens, that we will not stand still and allow each of us to be individually crushed by the powers of the Right.
Issues presented included:
NO RETREAT on affirmative action.
FIGHT racism and immigrant bashing.
PROTECT abortion and reproductive rights.
STOP all forms of violence against women.
BAN Discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation.
PROMOTE fair labor practices.
END the war on poor people.
This event is especially notable in that it received almost no prior acknowledgement by our newspapers, television, or radio (except KPFA, 94.1 FM), and was mostly publicised by word of mouth from one person to another. The only popular media mention I heard of the event was about the burning of some portable toilets and that was in the context of the event as an anti CCRI action event by NOW. This event was not only about affirmative action, but included rights of gays and lesbians, immigrants, minorities, poor, homeless and progressive issues such as tax fairness and national budgets. Though organized by NOW, two hundred groups participated. Of course, the Right will now say that only a few tens of thousand people showed up, so it can't be an important event, this while their agents in the media have actively worked to suppress prior public knowlege of the event. This suppression of real information (not just "news") is easy to do when a station can fill up twenty minutes a night of newscast for three or four nights in a row with a "human interest" story about some unfortunate (but essentially irrelevent) event and get away with it.
For too long, we have allowed the Right, their corporate sponsors, and their political and media agents, to identify each of us as an individual "special interest", worthy of rejection from the body politic. Under the leadership of NOW, it is now clear that our weakness has been to allow this "divide and conquer" strategy to be effective.
If you are straight, and you allow a friend or collegue to denegrate gay, lesbians, or transgender people, or members of ethnic groups, then you have contributed to the acendancy of the Right.
If you are middle class, and you believe that your role models are to be found in the material aquisitiveness and power lust of the upper class, rather than in the compassion and generosity of the lower classes, then you have contributed to the acendancy of the Right.
If you are an "angry white male", and you are not angry at those who would destroy public education, worker's rights, and health care, then you have contributed to the acendancy of the Right.
If you have not educated yourself on the issues and the actual recorded votes of your Representatives in Congress and the Legislature, then you have contributed to the acendancy of the Right.
It is time to turn back the Right!
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