Student activist group the Stanford Solidarity Network (SSN) has released a petition calling on Google to pledge not to pursue any future contracts with the military, adding that until such a commitment is made, signatories will not pursue internships with the tech giant.
All in all, the premise makes for a farcical adventure, but outside of Chuck’s character, the script does not leave much room for this.
At this point, though, shouting “Shut it down for Michael Brown!” while parading through shopping malls in St. Louis or while chained to the BART train is a fairly meaningless and insignificant act. Protesting against a grand jury’s decision as a way to achieve some sort of betterment for the situation of black people vis-à-vis violence or the police will ultimately change nothing about those situations.
While Nixon was trying to keep the interests of the people at heart and prevent the sort of violence that negatively impacted the image of peaceful protests, the decision to enact the state of emergency was premature. Moreover, it increased tensions, priming the city, state and nation for a more violent response than would have necessarily ensued without the para-military and National Guard presence.
Over the past decade, militaristic machinations have become more artfully deceptive, demanding dynamic and multi-nodal forms of resistance. It’s relatively easy to build coalitions to protest an expensive and unjust war with large numbers of American casualties; it is much more difficult to build resistance when drone deaths are displayed next to sports scores on the scrolling cable news marquee. The contemporary effects of militarism may appear less cataclysmic and less spectacular than the popular images of war that dwell in our collective imagination. This suggests, however, that the evils of militarism are becoming increasingly banal. We may not have draft notices to burn, but refusing to “smile for the camera” is one good place to start.
If we truly want to eliminate sexual violence, we must work for the demilitarization of our society, our culture, and the world.