I lean toward writing about nature, or even the sacred hiding out in plain sight. Then there is human nature, which we could all write about endlessly and not get very far. But today I want to focus our thoughts on the nature of democracy.
As community organizers like to say, the only answer to organized money is organized people. Boy, howdy, ain’t that the truth.
Institutionalized, well-insulated political parties become just as self-interested and insular as politicians and the offices of governments. We know businesses and people of privilege will use their money and influence to take what they want, and often those folks are also the people who lead political parties and government. So, there simply must be countervailing powers if democracy is going to survive. Citizen movements are it. Mobilize enough people effectively and things happen.
The BLM People’s Peaceful Protest of Geneva is doing even more than keeping alive public witness through street protests, it is aiming for meaningful reform of Geneva police policies. Nine resolutions will be submitted to City Council by Adam Fryer tonight, on behalf of Geneva Black Lives Matter. The nine resolutions cover the following issues:
- Whistle blower protection for city employees who file a complaint of misconduct against other city employees, including the police
- Amend the GPD “use of force” policy
- Community review of School Resource Officers
- Establishing a Police Accountability Board
- Establishing a Police Budget Advisory Board
- Prohibition of no-knock entry, even if allowed by warrant
- Collecting and reporting of GPD data metrics
- Guarantee diversity of representation on the Geneva Community Compact
- A process and time-line for revising the GPD body camera policy
You can find all nine resolutions on the BLMGeneva FB page. There is also an online petition you can sign to show your support. Organized people vs organized money.
The success of our democracy depends upon the success of BLMGeneva and the thousands of other local efforts to transform government. Why? Because a true and vibrant democracy depends upon an electorate willing to exercise its muscle between elections. That means grassroots leadership must be well-schooled in the nitty-gritty of policy and program. BLMGeneva clearly is. But someone or something must also be able to deliver enough voices to the table to demand attention from those who won’t act unless compelled to do so.
According to Bill Moyers, Lyndon B. Johnson, during the withering fires of white resistance in the South – which included Southerners Democrats in Congress who held much of the seniority at the time – told Martin Luther King, Jr. to, “keep doing what you’re doing, and make it possible for me to do the right thing.” Unable to force the belligerent Southern Democrats to enact civil rights laws, Johnson privately gave King his blessing for more civil disobedience. He knew the actions of Bull Conner, George Wallace, and the ugliness and violence of hatred, in response to the disciplined vulnerability of non-violent civil disobedience, was changing public opinion. Organized people vs organized money.
You go Mr. Fryer and BLMGeneva, like MLK to LBJ, keep helping us to change. Don’t stop. Keep up the pressure. There are a bunch of us who want to help.