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Futile gesture #5139
February 25, 2003 7:51 AM   Subscribe

Virtual march on Washington. "On February 26th, in every Senate office and in the White House, the phones will be ringing off their hooks...Working together, we'll direct a steady stream of phone calls - about one per minute, all day...while at the same time delivering a constant stream of emails and faxes."
posted by gottabefunky (52 comments total)

 
I think it is important that the pro-war folks also call on the 26th. Our Senators will not know who outnumbered the pro-war folks are unless they call in occasionally too.
posted by DragonBoy at 7:59 AM on February 25, 2003


Because... harrassment is democratic?
posted by techgnollogic at 8:00 AM on February 25, 2003


Those in support of the war can also use this as well. Here is the message I sent via moveon: (borrowed from NukeVet)

"I fully support the actions of our President and our military to end the dictatorial and repressive regime of Saddam Hussein. Inspections have not, and will not, work to disarm Saddam. He has played the US and the UN for fools and patsies for 12 years. It is time to return the country of Iraq to a free and unoppressed Iraqi people."
posted by mkelley at 8:03 AM on February 25, 2003


Nothing new, nothing MeFi worthy. Spamfilter.
posted by 111 at 8:03 AM on February 25, 2003


A throng of thousands marching towards Pennsylvania Ave, carrying Martin Sheen on their shoulders, with the notion of installing him as the new Supreme Leader seems equally plausible and effective.
posted by machaus at 8:05 AM on February 25, 2003


thank you both for your useless opinions.
posted by quonsar at 8:06 AM on February 25, 2003


a distributed denial of service attack on your own government. l33t.
posted by andrew cooke at 8:07 AM on February 25, 2003


Err, yes, but what will you say? Not that saying anything is important anymore.
posted by xmutex at 8:08 AM on February 25, 2003


Well, I registered but used my own "heartfelt words" in support of regime change and support of military intervention if needed. We'll see if they're egalitarian in thought.
posted by effer27 at 8:13 AM on February 25, 2003


After the first round of blast faxes, the administrative staffers will switch the fax machines to different lines and leave the fax number unplugged. E-mail and phone calls are good.

And outside of the Virtual March, write your congresspeople via snail mail. (Find your Representatives here and your Senators here.) Send some of the letters by registered mail so someone has to sign for them. Be polite, be clear, be relentless.
[/politico]
posted by swerve at 8:13 AM on February 25, 2003


Because... everyone pays attention to spam, and respects spammers?

But, hell, if the left wants to piss off Congress, who am I to gainsay them.

BTW, the 'talking points' are a good example of what is wrong with the left's position. Of the 'Win Without War's seven talking points, only the first one is actually about how to win without war. And it just advocates the 1991-1998 inspections policy, which failed.

The left has FUD, that's all. It has no ideas about how to resolve the Saddam/Iraq problem.

machaus: I'd watch that! Especially if they carry pitchforks and torches.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:14 AM on February 25, 2003


I'm leading a "mass apathy" protest of millions - for the status quo. We'll demonstrate, apathetically, for the status quo by going about our daily lives. Since we are so apathetic, though, we won't care if no one notices...
posted by troutfishing at 8:15 AM on February 25, 2003


Yep, great idea - let's tie up enough telco resources to, say, prevent 911 calls in the D.C. area. No, wait - I know! Let's protest by providing the telephone company with a huge profit this month, by having hundreds of thousands of people all over the country place long-distance calls to Washington D.C.!
Sheesh - doesn't anyone remember "think globally, act locally" anymore? You want to protest, don't phone it in - get up off your carbunckled keister and actually do something about it in your own town.
As for the whole "pro-war" bit, who cares? Millions around the world have already protested our actions, and our government's reaction boils down to "How quaint!" The pro-war folks have already won. Just sit, eat their Big Macs, and watch the carnage halfway around the world. Who can stop us? We're the largest superpower on the globe, and we've got a hard-on for war - let's go for it!
posted by FormlessOne at 8:19 AM on February 25, 2003


After the first round of blast faxes, the administrative staffers will switch the fax machines to different lines and leave the fax number unplugged. E-mail and phone calls are good.

Thank you, however, e-mail is for shite, you think the Senator will ever even know how many e-mails there were, its called delete and its exactly what the staffer who reads the mail will do to your message. Phone calls will get the same reaction as faxes, dumped and the line you don't know will be handling calls for the Reps/Sen. These campaigns are WORTHLESS, move along, absolutely nothing worth your time here. All you are going to possibly do is tie up the civilian phone and internet provider service for DC, thanks jackass, I didn't need my phone or e-mail today anyway, thanks. Snail mail might actually work, at least there they have to take the time/money to scan it for the thrax then deliver it all then take out all those mounds of trash.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:21 AM on February 25, 2003


Sheesh - doesn't anyone remember "think globally, act locally" anymore? You want to protest, don't phone it in - get up off your carbunckled keister and actually do something about it in your own town.

We did that. Feb 15, millions of people around the world on the street, peacefully protesting? Ring a bell?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:25 AM on February 25, 2003


BTW, the 'talking points' are a good example of what is wrong with the left's position. Of the 'Win Without War's seven talking points, only the first one is actually about how to win without war. And it just advocates the 1991-1998 inspections policy, which failed.

Agreed. 'Cause
6) Many innocents will be killed or injured.
and
7) Young Americans will die in battle

should really be irrelevant when deciding whether to go to war.


posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:27 AM on February 25, 2003


As for the whole "pro-war" bit, who cares? Millions around the world have already protested our actions, and our government's reaction boils down to "How quaint!"

Oops.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:29 AM on February 25, 2003


We did that. Feb 15, millions of people around the world on the street, peacefully protesting? Ring a bell?

Yeah, so? That changed Bush policy how?
posted by Pollomacho at 8:31 AM on February 25, 2003


Government change by Slashdotting?

Seems like a bad idea to me.
posted by mathowie at 8:31 AM on February 25, 2003


What's next, ordering pizzas to the White House?

"The MoveOn Peace campaign was founded independently as "9-11Peace.org" by Eli Pariser, a Maine native and recent graduate of Simon's Rock College of Bard. In the days following September 11th, 2001, he launched an online petition calling for a peaceful response to break the cycle of violence, which was quickly signed by more than one hundred thousand people in the U.S. and almost half a million worldwide. Eli joined forces with MoveOn soon afterward, and is now our International Campaigns Director. "

So he's essentially a 22-year-old spammer that couldn't care less if I lost weight, refinanced my mortgage or increased my penis length.
posted by Frank Grimes at 8:32 AM on February 25, 2003


I think this post is just as likely to change opinions on the Hill or in the White House.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:37 AM on February 25, 2003


Government change by Slashdotting?

Seems like a bad idea to me.


Reminds me of this.
posted by walrus at 8:39 AM on February 25, 2003


I'm ready for the webcam protest next. Thousands of people on cam, holding profane signs in the privacy of their own bedrooms while typing protest chants in IM.
posted by mkelley at 8:42 AM on February 25, 2003


I've signed up.

I'm calling my people at 9:44 am (EST).

They will be faxed and e-mailed concurrently.

Here's my take: it's a good media generator; staffers are hired to tally just this sort of constituency input; everyone's jamming their _own_ rep; and it's too simple _not_ to do.
posted by silusGROK at 8:59 AM on February 25, 2003


PS... Sure, it _may_ do nothing... but doing _nothing_ is guaranteed not to work.

PPS... There are some newer (not so awful) posters over at Protest Posters.
posted by silusGROK at 9:03 AM on February 25, 2003


Why so worried about inconveniencing the poor congressmen? Will it be a great problem that they might not get through to their favourite campaign contributor as quickly as they'd like?
posted by Space Coyote at 9:03 AM on February 25, 2003


Marching: Pointless, lame, not effective, egotistic.

Calling/Phoning/E-mailing Congresspeople: Easily ignored, causes inconvenience to the infrastructure of DC, goofy stunt.

Civil Disobedience: Illegal, borderline treasonous.

Hmmm . . . what's left . . . armed fucking revolution anyone?

(Hello Mr. Ashcroft where've you been?)
posted by hackly_fracture at 9:09 AM on February 25, 2003


This is good for many of us who live in the hinterlands and have neither the time or passion to drive to the nearest urban area and hold a sign. Bush has said that he takes no interest in the marches, because to do so would be "like making policy based on a focus group." (Like THAT never happens) I can't make a difference with Bush, but our local legislators might be more interested in our opinions.

Basically, this gets me off my ass (carbuncled or not) and gives me the information I am too lazy/busy/whatever to look up, to call my senators. Because it focused me on making those calls, I did actually look up my representatives as well, and will be giving them a call, too.

In the end, neither marches nor phone calls will really make much of a difference, except to make us feel better that we did something. It's kind-of like voting; you can't complain unless you've taken action, whether the action is discounted or not.
posted by pomegranate at 9:11 AM on February 25, 2003


staffers are hired to tally just this sort of constituency input

Staffers will only register constituent input if "the Member" (actual Hill term, hilarious) tells them to register it for this particular day/issue. Most likely a bunch of pro-war Members couldn't give two licks of shit for the numbers tomorrow. Oh, and those staffers, they are paid for by your tax dollars, so you want 20K per Member for that, you enjoy, I'd rather that money go toward education, the Smithsonian, NPR, healthcare or even a transportation/infrastructure project, personally, but hey, that's my opinion, you do what you like.

Why so worried about inconveniencing the poor congressmen?

What inconvenience? The lobby groups he/she wants to know the other number to call will still call, the only people who won't get through are constituents. The only ones inconvenienced by this will be the people of DC, the 400,000 of us that don't work for Senators and need to use the phone for trivial things like 911 calls or work or to find out if their grandmother is dying. When was the last time you picked up your land line phone and heard "all lines are busy, please hang up and try your call again later" It happens here. Now if you could call their personal lines...
posted by Pollomacho at 9:15 AM on February 25, 2003


hackly_fracture summs it up nicely.

Representatives are responsive to the wishes of their constituents, because they fear being voted out of office. Our benevolent president probably doesn't have the same fear for various reasons, but people on both sides of the fence use letter-writing campaigns to try to get their message out, and I don't see why anyone would argue that it's pointless. Registered letters work really nicely, as someone has to sign for them, but they are expensive.

We have the right and the responsibility to speak out for what we believe in this country. I'm frustrated that so many citizens are trying to stifle the voices of others, by calling participation in government 'lame' or 'pointless'.
posted by goneill at 9:46 AM on February 25, 2003


You're better off fasting.
posted by Witty at 10:08 AM on February 25, 2003


I'm not above fasting.
posted by silusGROK at 10:10 AM on February 25, 2003


if you are looking for a reason to do a little protesting - check out the chilling FRONTLINE just posted online. f*ckin rumsfeld, perle and wolfowitz are some dangerous crazy mofos.
posted by specialk420 at 10:27 AM on February 25, 2003


To those of you who are claiming that 600 extra calls per minute will take down the capitol's phone system, rest assured that you're incorrect. That kind of call capacity will be easily handled.

To those of you who support the war on iraq, don't you agree that we should take care of Bin Laden first? And then clean up Afghanistan?

I'm not against "regime change" in Iraq. I'm against doing it solely because we can't find Bin Laden, and Americans demand that somebody must be bombed.
posted by mosch at 10:35 AM on February 25, 2003


How come has this 100% content-free post survived? As a further attempt demoralize the anti-war movement it's not too bad, but other than that it feels like one of those boring Hare-Krishna people you never pay attention to but has to see everyday because they won't leave the sidewalk in front of your building.
I'd MeTa this if only I still had any patience left to fight these zealots.
posted by 111 at 10:42 AM on February 25, 2003


by way of counter-protest, I'm calling Arundhati Roy's house tomorrow and asking her if her refridgerator's running. Following up by sending over several unasked-for delivery pizzas.
posted by UncleFes at 10:50 AM on February 25, 2003


Well, the cockles of my heart are warmed by all the helpful hints the hawks offer the doves. So far, you've pointed out:

1. Waving clever signs on a Saturday is not effective.
2. Phoning representatives is not effective.
3. Don't talk about it here.
4. Popular opinion, like "focus groups," are not important -- This is a Republic, Not a Democracy.
5. The UN is irrelevant because not all the countries on the Security Council are democracies.
6. The dissenting democracies on the UN Security Council are irrelevant because of point 4.

I'm so glad you are dedicated to liberating Iraq. You've done a bang-up job here.
posted by condour75 at 10:58 AM on February 25, 2003


I'm frustrated that so many citizens are trying to stifle the voices of others, by calling participation in government 'lame' or 'pointless'.

I haven't heard anyone say anything about your right to speak out in any way you feel, this particular method seems pretty lame and pointless. Why don't you try voting? That could have been effective back in November.

Representatives are responsive to the wishes of their constituents, because they fear being voted out of office.

Apparently constituent backlash over supporting a war in Iraq didn't deter these members from getting into office, why should they fear it now, especially when they've got two years before another election?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:00 AM on February 25, 2003


Voting? My God, should have thought of that!

Sheesh, Pollomacho, why do you assume we haven't voted?

'Course, your second comment points out why voting (you'll get your say in this in a few more years, hold tight) seems pretty irrelevant when war is upon us.
posted by hackly_fracture at 11:06 AM on February 25, 2003



posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:23 AM on February 25, 2003


PPS... There are some newer (not so awful) posters over at Protest Posters.

These are good:

Propaganda Remix Project

Uncle oSAMa Says: I Want YOU To Invade Iraq

The Will of the World by Jonathan Schell
posted by y2karl at 11:25 AM on February 25, 2003


Well, the cockles of my heart are warmed by all the helpful hints the hawks offer the doves.

Just a tip condour, don't assume that because someone feels your methods are asinine, that they don't desire the same outcome.

1. Active protesting HAS been thus far ineffective to administration policy

2. A phone/e-mail campaign (against congress who is powerless in this instance) is ludicrous and will easily be ignored

3.Talk about it all you want here, at work, in the street, at the bars, at school, talk, that's good.

4. Blame the message not the messenger, this is a Bush admin. view, not necessarily that of a MeFi member that posts this view.

5. again, Bush not MeFi.

6. See 4.

I know, how about giant puppets or going naked ("I'd rather go naked than support Bush") that seems just as effective. I don't know what to do, but I do know that this is not an effective way to change policy.

Sheesh, Pollomacho, why do you assume we haven't voted?

I assume that the majority of voters last November were not anti-war, otherwise the pro-war candidates wouldn't have had such a rousing victory. I don't know how you personally voted, I can just see from the huge beating that WE on the left took that MOST of the members voting constituents either don't care or are pro-war and thus this phone campaign is ridiculous.

your second comment points out why voting (you'll get your say in this in a few more years, hold tight) seems pretty irrelevant when war is upon us.

I think you misunderstood my second comment, I don't want you to sit tight, I want you to go and vote against these guys but since a majority of voters last November again didn't seem to care or were pro-war the members have nothing to fear come next election if the anti-war folks either don't exist or stay at home just like this time. Great so SOME voters voted against them, wow, they know that, as long as they have MOST like they did in November why should they give a damn if their fax machine gets clogged for a day? Besides that, the war IS upon us and all the spam you send is not going to change George Bush's opinion and he's the one who matters.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:25 AM on February 25, 2003



posted by y2karl at 11:41 AM on February 25, 2003


sorry, pollo, i wasn't referring to your comment specifically. 4 5 and 6 were posted by MeFites in another thread, and in general most of the futility-of-protest posts have been from hawks. But I should also point out that the active protesting HAS had its effect -- on the 16th the AP reported that worldwide protests were responsible for softening the second resolution draft to not include specific war rhetoric. And that was just the first protest.

But there are non-pragmatic reasons to protest, as well. Michael Ventura put it this way, in the Austin Chronicle:

We write, we speak, we read, we listen, we learn, we make ourselves heard, we take our stand -- for we must make clear that this government is not acting in our name or with our consent. We do this for the sake of our personal honor and dignity; we do this in solidarity with peaceful people everywhere and in the frail hope that we may change this nation's terrible course; and we do this to leave a record, to bear witness, toward the time that will inevitably come, when an accounting will be demanded and must be given, an accounting to the world and to history, for the gruesome sin our leaders are about to commit.
posted by condour75 at 11:46 AM on February 25, 2003


Hey, so I'm joining things a bit late here, but can any anti-war supporer tell me why the masses were fine with Clinton ignoring the UN and going to war but don't support the same with Bush? I can't stand Clinton, yet I support what he did (both the war effort and ignoring the UN because it was the right thing to do). It seems to me that most of the anti-war crowd is really anti-Bush or anti-conservatism. Please do explain... thanks!
posted by stormy at 12:03 PM on February 25, 2003


To those of you who are claiming that 600 extra calls per minute will take down the capitol's phone system, rest assured that you're incorrect.

According to the FCC, there are a little over 2600 total telephone switches in the Mid-Atlantic region, counting electromechanical, analog and digital. That means that 600 calls per minute will tie up just over 23% of the TOTAL switches in the region. That also means that in any given minute 2001 people in the mid-atlantic want to call anyone (911, grandma, NORAD) then somebody is going to get screwed, besides this, the Federal government has priority when making calls, so that means if I, a civilian try to get through, then someone's protest call gets priority to me calling for an ambulance. Thanks.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:16 PM on February 25, 2003


Oh, I forgot to add in the 600 faxes coming in on phone lines at the same time, that makes the number of mid-atlantic residents that can call anyone, 1500.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:20 PM on February 25, 2003


Though the chances of this having any effect on my representatives is nil given the demographics of the region in which I live, I will participate anyway. Whether this is for my own benefit or a meaningless gesture can be debated I suppose. On the other hand, I will have done something to make my opinion heard--which is something I imagine a citizen in a republic is obligated to do.

As for the claim that this protest targets those who have no control over the situation (as opposed to the President), Congress could revoke the blank check they wrote to pursue this military intervention for one.

And, Pollomacho, I would guess that there are alternative means of reaching NORAD than the public phone exchange. As for emergency assistance calls being dropped due to switch congestion, perhaps the blame lies at the feet of the US telco conglomerates for having inadequate infrastructure as opposed to a citizen telephonic campaign.


posted by Fezboy! at 1:12 PM on February 25, 2003


We have armed soldiers in the train stations, courts and cops preventing us from peacefully assembling in protest, and now calling our elected representative sounds suspiciously like a terrorist attack on the civillian population of the Mid-Atlantic Region. What a great country!
posted by subgenius at 1:13 PM on February 25, 2003


perhaps the blame lies at the feet of the US telco conglomerates for having inadequate infrastructure as opposed to a citizen telephonic campaign.

Hey, you'll get no complaints from me if you want to call Verizon out, right on! I'm just sayin' that 1200 calls a minute on 2600 switches (making my prior math skillz horrendous) is not going to do my service any good, how am I supposed to download the pr0n needed to fuel my campaign of apathy tomorrow? Really, though, sure, go ahead, I agree that taking action is great, voicing your opinion, fantastic, expecting this to be any more successful than the "fast for Bush" campaign would be delusional.

Congress could revoke the blank check they wrote to pursue this military intervention for one.

I'm SO sure that the GOP controlled government is going to voice SO much dissent against its fearless leader now that they've clenched the title for the first time since Ike, because they had to turn off the front office fax machine for a day. No, I know, it IS direct action, all sarcasm aside, but I just find it rather silly, like accusing chestnuts of being lazy.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:27 PM on February 25, 2003


Can we get over the idea that 'Democracy' & 'Republic' are mutually exclusive?

'Democracy': Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives; A political or social unit that has such a government; The common people, considered as the primary source of political power; Majority rule. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.
republic: A political order whose head of state is not a monarch and in modern times is usually a president; A nation that has such a political order; A political order in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who are entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them; A nation that has such a political order; often Republic A specific republican government of a nation: the Fourth Republic of France; An autonomous or partially autonomous political and territorial unit belonging to a sovereign federation; A group of people working as equals in the same sphere or field: the republic of letters.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:26 PM on February 25, 2003


Followup: watch the results in real time.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:42 AM on February 27, 2003


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