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Ed Driscoll

Good Times: ‘Rolling Hunger Strike’ Revisited

July 12th, 2013 - 5:02 pm

“An impressive conceptual and physical gulf between protest and that which is protested against,” as spotted by Tim Blair:

A group of activists from Greenpeace on Thursday scaled the Shard, the tapered 310m glass tower next to London Bridge station, as a protest against oil and gas drilling in the Arctic.

As Tim writes, “To them, it makes sense:”

Just as singer Grace Knight once thought it made sense to take her clothes off – in private – with a bunch of other women to protest against the war in Iraq:

She says she’s never done anything like this before, and the momentum her email has generated “thrills me but scares me as well”. She’s nervous about stripping off, as are most women who’ve agreed to come, and she asked me not to reveal the location of the protest for fear of unwanted onlookers.

Tim is having a contest for his readers to try and top these protests, but personally, I think it will be tough for anyone to beat Cindy Sheehan’s great Rolling Hunger Strike of 2006, as reported — without a shred of gallic irony — by Agence France-Presse:

The hunger strike will see at least four activists, Sheehan, veteran comedian and peace campaigner Dick Gregory, former army colonel Ann Wright and environmental campaigner Diane Wilson launch serious, long-term fasts.

“I don’t know how long I can fast, but I am making this open-ended,” said Wilson.

Other supporters, including Penn, Sarandon, novelist Alice Walker and actor Danny Glover will join a ‘rolling” fast, a relay in which 2,700 activists pledge to refuse food for at least 24 hours, and then hand over to a comrade.

Though the anti-war movement is trying hard to puncture public perceptions, some experts believe such protests have little impact on how Americans view foreign wars.

Perhaps because, as blogger Freeman Hunt wrote at the time, “A ‘relay’ or ‘rolling hunger strike’ is not a hunger strike at all. It is a single day without food:”

How about a rolling labor strike? One guy will picket outside for one day while everyone else works. He’ll go back to work the next day, and another guy will come out and picket for a day. Then that guy will trade off with someone else and so on.

Lame and unserious.

But quite nutritiously satisfying, as Sheehan herself blogged in 2006. (Link safe; goes to Michelle Malkin’s Website, and only because I couldn’t find Michelle’s classic “Cindy Sheehan Diet” video online anywhere, or I would have embedded it here):

I find traveling out of the country very challenging being on a fast. When I was on a layover in Madrid on my way to Venice, Italy yesterday, the closest thing I could find to a smoothie to get a little protein was a coffee with vanilla ice cream in it. Traveling for 22 hours is very taxing under normal circumstances–but then again, when have we had normal circumstances since the 2000 and 2004 successful coup attempts that have brought BushCo into power?

I traveled from Venice to the frontier of Italy to the province of Udine which is right at the foot of the pre-Alps. I am here for a huge youth festival which includes many elements of social justice and peace work. It is beautiful and the air feels different from other places that I have travelled. It is strangely soft and gentle as is the natural light. However, there is not a Jamba Juice on every corner, so blended juice drinks with protein powder are impossible to find.

That sounds like way too many calories for my particular protesting needs. Which is why I customized the Rolling Hunger Strike, if only to make the political more personal. I fast between 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, then from 12:30 to 5:00 pm, then from 6:00 pm until the next morning. That’s three rolling hunger strikes every day.

Fight the power, man! (Daily trips to Jamba Juice optional.)

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