We activists seem to be often asked why we are out demonstrating during the R2D2K - the weeks where the two major parties are holding their conventions to nominate the hero to carry the party to victory. I can understand why those depending solely on mainstream media are confused about the motives of protesters: I get confused when I watch the media, and I'm a regular demonstrator! People have lots of reasons for demonstrating, however, I will only represent my reasons for action.
Depending on your media source, I may be the average activist - if that broadcast happened to pass off the movement as a bunch of upper-middle class college kids with nothing better to do - I am an upper middle class college student, and I consider human needs over profit. However, if you caught one of the broadcasts labeling us all as smelly, multi-pierced, weird hairdo wearing punk looking to trash some squad cars, I'm afraid I don't exactly fit the bill. Most of the people I know and work with are of widely varying ages. I do find it ironic that society is generally more comfortable with GAP sweatshopwear than multiple piercings.
A large part of the disinformation presented by the mass media labels us as anti-globalization. I happen to be very pro-globalization. Most of the people I know are - have been for a long time. I wish to unite people across borders. I don't pretend the folks living across some imaginary line splitting a wheat field in half should be treated any differently than my neighbors on the closer side of the non-existent line. The media presents this term globalization without analyzing what it means. What the world is experiencing is not Globalization - it is Westernization. The values and customs of Western Europe and North America are being imposed on the rest of the world. The key factor is that the values of cultures in Africa, South America, the Middle East, SE Asia, and the pockets in between are not similarly adopted by Western nations. If they were it would be globalization, a two-way process.
The two-party system make it very easy for the media to pass off the globalization lie. The Demicans and Republicrats both support what they term "free-trade." In actuality, it is trade governed by the corporations. Thus, when countries violate patents, they may be punished, whereas if violate human rights and used forced labor, they will be welcomed into the elite international country clubs. Bush and Gore currently head the Corporate Party which is split over abortion. As the Billionaires for Bush point out - money votes. Campaign contributions have purchased both candidates for the wealthy: at least 66 corporations have donated ,000 or more to both campaigns.
I become somewhat angry when I am told that one should choose between the lesser of two evils. I can understand that some people believe voting will bring about change, but I fail to understand how one can ever achieve their goals by voting for what they don't want. Even if it did, the track record of the United States is not very good. The United States has never been a democracy for people of color. It can be similarly be argued that women have yet to experience democracy on anything close to the level of men. And one would be hard-pressed to claim that anyone in poverty has the same rights as people born into wealth.
Electing the lesser of two evils does not help the 2 million people in American jails (25% of the world's incarcerated population wedged between the Atlantic, Pacific, Canada and Mexico) - except it will guarantee them greater company. It certainly will not help those in de-developed countries who are being killed for trying to organize unions. It will not change the fact that too much of the world's population consumes too much of the resources, creating an ecological nightmare for future generations and those not summering in their lake cabin. Both parties support trying minors as adults to further increase the juvenile execution gap that the U.S. maintains with Iran, Iraq, Bangledesh, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia.
In short, those are some of the reasons that we need to take to the streets. We need to shatter the myth of political power being pulling a rod in a curtained room once every x years. We are born with political power - governments do not parcel it out and cannot take it away: they can only make dire consequences for using it. When we join together, the consequences of speaking out lessen. Unfortunately, the media is owned by those we seek to overthrow. So we are creating our own media. We are building puppets. We are being subjected to the police brutality we speak against - we have reservations in the prisons we will eventually close. Some of us don't have a candidate - we have ourselves. We have each other. We need you.