Hot Meme – Truckers to blockade DC Beltway

It started on Monday of this week, reports in US News and World Reports claiming upset truck drivers would descend on Washington and block the beltway.  The plan was radical, occupying all but the most extreme left lane (for emergency vehicles) the only way the truckers would let you get through was if you were donning a “T2SDA” sign.  This stands for Truckers to Shut Down America.

When i first heard about the plan i was excited, which was dampened some by the tea party influence over the event.  But even if it was being done by people i don’t like for a cause i don’t agree with, i am happy to learn from their tactics.  The threats were colorful.

“It’s going to be real fun for anyone who is not a supporter,” Conlon said, “[and] if cops decide to give us a hard time, we’re going to lock the brakes up, we’re going to stop right there, we’re going to be a three lane roadblock.”

It had the capacity to be a great action, except it fundamentally fails the plausibility test.  Tractor Trailers cost about $260K average each in the US.   This is too big an investment, too big a risk to make for an action which will likely not change much, as many felt it would fail.

You can tell it is a scam, because there is no group named and no website listed

You can tell it is a scam, because there is no group named and no website listed

By Tuesday, the official story was in full retreat. The Washington Post was already calling it a hoax, quoting truckers.  Conlon would go on to say:

“Nothing gets the attention of the mainstream media like some sort of disastrous threat. I knew it was going to ruffle some feathers. We would not be having this conversation if government was balancing this budget,” he said.

Now if we are paying even the smallest amount of attention, we would know that blown budgets is a common thing in the US.  That the idea that Obama is a traitor for not balancing the budget, would paint every contemporary president with this same brush.  No, this is again about Obama being technically black.

By Thursday, the media was too good and the truckers (not representing any union as far we know) said the protest was back on and they had 53K of Facebook friends to prove it.


We will see tomorrow, but i am betting dollars to doughnuts that there will be a traffic jam, however it will not be a radical political action, just poor urban planning.

[Edited by Judy Youngquest]

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

5 responses to “Hot Meme – Truckers to blockade DC Beltway”

  1. North Star says :

    Pax, you’re making a lot of questionable assumptions here — for example, that truckers are incapable of radical action because their rigs are expensive and that protests/social change only succeeds when backed by unions,

    Firstly, there HAVE been major strikes and protests organized by truckers – the last one happened in 1979.

    Secondly, although it is true a that a big rig is expensive, they aren’t a luxury good. People who choose to be independent truckers want to work for themselves and not be employees of someone else. While the $260,000 you mention may seem like a lot, it can be compared to a cost of a house, and like houses, the cost can be financed. It is not unusual for someone who has successfully driven for a few years to save up some money and buy a rig and go independent, if that’s what they want to do.

    Thirdly, the Union aspect here – sure unions can organize strikes and things, but unions also have their own parochial and interests. Trucker unions, in the past, have had unsavory alliances with mafia types that mostly resulted in enriching a few select union bosses and their cronies at everyone else’s expense, which is why the independent truckers fought to deregulate in 1979. I’d venture to say that unions haven’t been a major source of change for at least three decades – but there’s still been plenty of change.

    That said, sounds like you are correct regarding this particular strike — seems to be a lot of big talk but very little action.

    • paxus says :

      Dearest North Star:

      Wonderful commentary. Yes – Trucks have been used in actions and can be – and 1979 was a long time ago and something of a different political world than the one we face today.

      i am curious as to how many rigs are privately owned versus part of a company and thus less easily available for this type of action. AND to pull this off is a huge task, the beltway si 64 miles long. Just having any control and the inner loop alone would require thousands of trucks. This group could not even get it together to put a website on any of the top hundred images that come up with you google image search for it – obvious organizing failure.

      For me it proves that the grass roots political clout of the tea party is trivial. All that has been happening is the Republicans have been getting slammed in the polls, nothing on the streets with presumably lots of people idled because of the shutdown.

      Paxus at Acorn
      12 Conflict of Interest 2013

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