Back in May when I did my post on revolutionary warfare and the concept of counter-revolutionary warfare, I delineated that counter-revolutionary warfare (CRW) is counter-guerilla warfare (CGW) + counter-political action (CP) + civic action (CA). When the Democratic state senators and representatives in the Texas state legislature walked out of the legislature to deny the Republican majorities a quorum and proven the passage of the new voter suppression laws during the final evening session on 30 May, they took both effective counter-political action and civic action. The former in that their actions denied the Republicans the ability to pass the new voter suppression laws. The latter because their actions achieved what Fall described as civic action of trying to fight a militant doctrine with proposals of better policy outcomes, but through finding simple, but adequate appeals. Basically doing and saying things that cut through the noise, cut through the bullshit, and plainly and clearly convey to the citizenry that actions are actually being taken to prevent them from coming to further harm or to promote their interests.
While it had not been formally stated until earlier today, everyone pretty much assumed that the Texas Democratic state senators and representatives would do the same thing – deny the Republican majorities a quorum – by not appearing at all for the special session that Governor Abbott has called for this month. This is not unusual in state legislative fights. The Texas Democrats have done this before. So have
Washington Oregon’s state level Republican legislators. Usually they make headlines, get their points across, and either negotiate a better legislative package in exchange for returning and not holding up the legislative session or the state governor sends state law enforcement to arrest them, bring them back, and force them to go back to work in the legislature. In one of the most recent examples of this from Oregon state, one of the Republican legislators threatened to kill any and all state law enforcement from Washington who came to bring him back, as well as any law enforcement from the state he had fled to.
My concern has always been that like the last time Texas’s Democratic state legislators fled the state to prevent legislative actions, they’d go to Oklahoma City because it is close. The problem with that is that Oklahoma has a Republican governor and a Republican majority legislature and a Republican attorney general. Which means that if they’d fled there, or any other state with that kind of political dynamic, the statewide Republican officials would order the state’s law enforcement to assist the Texas Rangers who wold be sent to bring them back in bringing them back. In order to prevent that, they needed to go to a state or a jurisdiction that functions sort of like a state with a Democratic governor and attorney general. I was hoping they’d pick Colorado or New Mexico, because they’re close, but they made a decision that exceeded my wildest expectations.
More details about their plan and what they hope to accomplish: https://t.co/3Nw945W9fO
— Cameron Joseph (@cam_joseph) July 12, 2021
You can click through to Vice to read the details, but from a counter-political action + civic action perspective this is brilliant. Between DC Mayor Bowser, President Biden who controls the DC National Guard, and Speaker Pelosi who controls the Capitol Police, the Texas Democratic state legislators have just dared Governor Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Patrick who controls the legislature, and indicted and under additional Federal criminal investigation Attorney General Paxton to try to force them back. The counter-political action is denying the Texas Republican majorities a quorum so they can either vacate the special session, sit there during the special session and be able to accomplish nothing legislatively, or break the state legislature’s own rules to move the legislation without a quorum. My money is on option three as they broke the legislative rules to try to move it on the last evening of the session on 30 May.
The civic action component is having the Texas Republican leadership look impotent by not being able to have the Texas Rangers bring the Texas Democratic legislators back because the Texas Ranger can only get person they are after when that person is outside their jurisdiction if the jurisdiction that person is in cooperates and allows them to. The civic action component also includes very publicly lobbying their Federal Democratic counterparts to take even a little bit of the risks that the Texas Democratic state legislators are taking in fighting off Texas’s attempts at voter suppression.
Simple, but adequate appeals indeed!