Joyce L. Arnold: Liberal, lesbian, Independent, equality activist, writer.

“Ask not how evil we are. Ask how evil the other party is!” Vastleft

That “Kennedyeseque” (as Vastleft terms it) phrase sums things up, in terms of what the Two Party Front for the Oligarchy likes to see happening. It’s, “Look! Over there! Scary Barack Obama!” Or, “Look! Over there! Scary Rick Perry!” Or Bachmann, or whoever. Fear is a key tactic in maintaining the Duopoly. As I’m working to point out through this “Two Parties” series, there are multiple efforts challenging the two party system, from within and without, from the philosophical to protests.

BlueLyon asked in a recent blog post, “How Do You Know? Or, Critical Thinking is Hard.

The problem isn’t that we aren’t in the street, or that the Tea Party is. The problem isn’t merely with the people we’ve put into office. The problem is that too few of us engage in critical thinking … . We don’t examine the candidates who stand before us … .

Being “in the streets” is an important piece of holding Electeds accountable. So is asking “How do I know?”, how do I arrive at my conclusions. Reading through material at the links I’ve provided (at the end), it’s clear a great deal of thought and action are going into how our monetarily entrenched system can be challenged.

A single issue focus probably won’t “grow” a party, but it can be a part of the process toward political change. Right now, in DC, a small group of people is using a vintage protest action, the sit-in. I think the discussions and analyses regarding our election and political system are crucial. So are actions. And sometimes I think the “action” part gets lost in all the words.

At Huffington Post, “TransCanada Pipeline Protesters: Who They Are, Why They Came”:

The debate over the Keystone XL oil pipeline reached a fever pitch this week as activists led by author and environmentalist Bill McKibben called on Barack Obama to deny presidential approval to the TransCanada project, which would stretch from tar sands in Canada to oil refineries in south Texas. Tuesday marked the fifth day of protests as well as the arrival of dozens of Gulf Coast residents to sit-ins before the White House.

The protests, slated to run through Sept. 3, have drawn a geographically diverse group of activists from as far away as California and Montana. As of Wednesday morning, 275 had been arrested by the U.S. Park Police. Hundreds more are on their way to Washington.

Now, “hundreds” isn’t the kind of thing that usually gets much media, or political, attention. A part of the political reform and create process is making ways for people like those protesting to be heard, in spite of ties between the MSM, the DC Elite, and the corporations who pay most of them.

“˜Our Gulf Coast is very fragile … . We can’t go back and repair it … once they destroy it,’ said Paul Nelson, a commercial fisherman from Alabama. …

Other activists came to Washington to protest what they describe as the devastating health effects of oil refining and processing in Gulf Coast communities. … Bryan Parras, co-founder of Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (said) … “˜there was a study done that said if you live within two miles of the Houston ship channel, … you have a 50 percent higher chance of contracting childhood leukemia.’ …

According to event organizers, over 2000 people signed up to be a part of the protest, and while media attention is obviously helpful,

Protesters … are more concerned about getting the attention of the White House.

“˜TransCanada … need(s) a presidential permit to build that pipeline across our border,’ Mike Tidwell, founder of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, told a crowd of protesters gathered at the White House on Monday, “˜and President Obama has the ability to say yes or no.’ …

Along with Bill McKibben, one of those arrested was Jane Hamsher. Check out the series of posts Hamsher has written. This is from August 22, “Did Obama Order Tar Sands Protesters Jailed?”:

In negotiations with the police prior to the action that began on Saturday, the police were very clear that what would happen after people were arrested was the vast majority would get what’s called “˜post and forfeit,’ where you put up $100, get released from jail after several hours, and you don’t have to come back again. …

… Instead, after arresting the first day’s 70 people, they (police) decided to hold most of them, all those not from within a 25-mile radius of Washington, D.C., in jail until a Monday afternoon arraignment. …

Why did they do this? … Four separate police officers told organizers that it was explicitly to discourage other people from taking part in actions going forward.

One other example of how people are acting on their words. Via Alternet “Nurses Union Calls for Nationwide Action September 1 to Rebuild Main Street”: (emphasis mine)

Main Street is where the damage has been done and is being felt most deeply; DC is where deals are cut to protect Wall Street with breath-taking regularity. …

So, on Thursday, September 1, the nurses of National Nurses United will gather in more than 60 communities from Maine to Texas, and Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Michigan, Florida, Illinois, California and beyond to call on the nation’s elected officials to chose to protect and repair Main Street and stop cow-towing to Wall Street. …

The Wall Street Transaction Tax is a sales tax on the stocks, bonds, debt and other trades carried out by the financial industry. That’s the place to start. …

Find an event near you, ask your elected officials to attend and insist that they pledge to be a part of healing Main Street, and then stay tuned as the nurses keep up the kind of pressure needed to hold those who pledge to keep their promises and those who do not to stand to account.

Just two examples of the kind of actions being taken, and of the people who take them, people who defy the “nobody is doing anything” and “you have no choice” judgments. Like critical thinking, actions are hard work. And take time.

Below are links to earlier posts in this series. The last one includes a complete list, to date, of the political and party reform efforts I’ve found. More to come. And I want to keep hearing from you. Among other things, what’s going on in your state, and, are you seeing coalitions developing?

Posts in this series:
Grading the Electoral College
Two Parties = Too Few Choices
Two Parties = Too Few Choices, Part II
Two Parties = Too Few Choices, Part III
Two Parties = Too Few Choices, Part IV

(Photo via WatchingFrogsBoil)