Pax and I are going to Ohio for the next three days to support voter rights and entertain them in long poll lines. I’ll be chronicling our adventures here, whenever I get a spare moment to breathe. Here’s an article that Pax wrote today about our intent and mission:

Malcom or Martin in Cincinnati?

Why I am going to Ohio

I found myself in a rage and I could not stop talking about it. I was upset with FOX News telling students in Arizona they would be arrested for voting outside their home state. I was sadded to learn that there was going to be no paper backup to most of the 50 million electronic votes. But what put me over the edge was when I heard 3600 “poll watchers” had been hired by the Republicans in Ohio to harrass minority voters and deminish their numbers. It is what the beginning of fascism looks like.

One of the Ecotopia Princinpals is that your visa for complaining is your willingness to do something to create change. I had to stop complaining and pack for a trip to “the heart of it all” (according to Ohio’s all-too-apt state motto).

This is my analysis of the election day and beyond. I think there are going to be riots in Cincinnati. Assuming the Republicans are smart and not worried about clean election ethics, the instruction they should be giving to at least some for the poll watchers is clear: Start trouble. Trouble at the polls means the flow of voting will be squeezed if not disrupted. The best case for the incubants would be small scuffles and disturbances, that don’t actually result in anything serious. They need just enough to get the police in, but no one gets hurt.

Cincinnati is a racially poloraized city which knows it is in the white hot center of this very close election. Black voters in the city have been more encouraged than ever before in their lives (there are reports of over 10,000 volunteers in Ohio alredy with more coming), and are understandably likely to respond adversely to being harrassed by poll challengers, especially when those challengers are distinctly absent in the polling locations of affluent whites. I think riots are a distinct possibility. If this happens, we will likely loose Ohio. If this happens, I hope it happens early enough in the day that it positively influences the voters in Western states which were supposed to go for Bush.

But rather than a path of violent resistance to white oppression, which might be advocated by Malcom X, the real power in Ohio is in the path of MLK. If we can be patient and non-violent, the votes are there to swing it blue. I’m going to Cincinnati to encourage and empower voters to stick out long lines, and thwart the effort to make voting too much of a hassle to bother doing. I envision cooperative sit-ins of voters in polling places, lively conversations in the voting lines, and theatrical performances (at legal distance from the poll) to reward and encourage people to wait it out for what might take a very long time with paid disrupters at work.

Regardless of who wins this election, we have a lot of work to do to move the country in a healthier, more sustainable direction. I’m going to Cincinnati because I’m certain that we’ll be more successful in that endeavor if Ohio voters are actually allowed to vote.

Paxus is an anarchist organizer, recently published in Paul Loeb’s The Impossible Will Take a Little While http://www.theimpossible.org. He does recruiting and marketing for income sharing intentional communities in Virginia. He will be traveling with TickledSpirit, a native Ohioan and former Cincinnati urban rights organizer from Twin Oaks Community. The trip will be chronicled on her blog Over the Edge, at trespass.motime.com. You can send much needed gas money (by PayPal) or greetings to paxuscalta@yahoo.com.

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