It’s not been a good week for proponents of District self-determination. There was hope the city might take a baby step this week toward freedom from its congressional yoke, with a budget autonomy bill set to pass a Senate committee. Alas, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) foiled those plans with a passel of noxious amendments, leaving advocates to reconsider their extremely limited options.
But, buck up, folks: Ralph Nader has a plan!
He’s set to lead a Monday news conference involving the leaders of several activist groups — including Public Citizen, Common Cause, U.S. Public Interest Research Group and DC Vote — to announce a “limited general strike” in support of D.C. statehood.
DC Vote, in its own advisory announcing the news conference, lays out the “limited general strike” thus: “This coalition, headed by the Center for Study of Responsive Law and Ralph Nader, has pledged to postpone their arrival at work for 15 minutes on July 9, 2012, 30 minutes on August 1, 2012, 45 minutes on September 10, 2012 and one hour on October 1, 2012.”
Translation: We’re showing up late at work for a few days.
Reached Friday afternoon, Nader assistant Katherine Raymond said the “strike” is intended “to bring attention to the issue and get people talking about it again.”
It’s symbolic, she said, in that it won’t continue indefinitely: “We’re not going to strike until D.C. becomes a state, because that would take a long time.”
Indeed it would.
The general strike has been considered an ineffective and archaic form of protest in American society for — let’s be kind — a few decades now. But if the risible suggestion that a “limited general strike” might budge the status quo even microscopically somehow results in a few more people realizing the utter fecklessness of orthodox protest tactics in the D.C. voting-rights arena, I suppose one might just consider it worthwhile.