how to affect policy change and get something done in america

DURING THE ANTI-WAR DEMONSTRATIONS of the late 1960s and early ’70s, I recall Dick Gregory praising the demonstrators’ intentions, but he said that they would have little effect on America’s involvement in Viet Nam. To get something done in America required more than mass protests.

Now this is all from memory, but he said that if we really want to make a change, we have to do it with our spending. Because in America, when money talks, people listen!

He suggested that if only 10% of Americans refused to buy a Coca Cola or go to McDonalds for just one week, Coca Cola and McDonalds would see that the war ended the following week. Such is the power and influence of the corporations in this country.

I may be simplifying his argument, but you get the point. Of course, we didn’t do it for that war and we won’t do it for this war or the next wars because regardless of what popular history says, there were never that many people in this country motivated enough to go to a single demonstration or protest against the Vietnam War . . .


Photo of Dick Gregory and Ossie Davis trying to get something done in America.

FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is of actor and activist Ossie Davis and former comedian-turned-politician Dick Gregory. Davis and his wife Ruby Dee were “swept up in the social unrest provoked by the start of the Cold War, and the mounting tensions over racial injustice. The couple spoke out against McCarthyism and stood by people like Paul Robeson, whom other black celebrities had condemned for his pro-Communist views.

Deeply engaged in the civil rights movement, Davis and Dee were masters of ceremonies for the March on Washington in 1963, where Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. Malcolm X was among their friends and Davis gave the eulogy following the black leader’s assassination in 1965.

Davis had the courage to praise Malcolm X at a time when most of the white world vilified him, even in death. Said Davis, ‘Many will ask what Harlem finds to honor in this stormy, controversial and bold young captain. . . . And we will . . . say to them . . . Malcolm was our manhood, our living, black manhood!’ ” (Americans Who Tell The Truth)