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View Diary: Direct Action: On Civil Disobedience And The Projection of Power (49 comments)

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  •  I have a lot of respect for you. Let me clarify (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, ashiftinconsciousness

    that at this point, anybody that's willing to take direct (peaceful) action in protest and in activism against this increasingly brutal and oppressive system is a hero in my book.

    I'm aware that right now there are lots of groups around the country gearing up for direct action; summer 2013 is going to be pretty busy when it comes to social justice activism.

    Also, let me just say that the number one reason I advocate peaceful resistance is because I consider it a good asymmetrical approach against the system, as it is right now.

    Sometimes, the issue of violence is pretty simple: when somebody assaults you unprovoked, the best course of action may be a straight punch in the face, with all your might.  I know.

    Putting that aside for now, let me get back to what I meant by having a clear objective once one engages in direct action, in protest...

    What do you think it is?  I would argue that at some level it has to do with something about stopping the machine; with slowing it down; with letting the powers that be know that we can't continue with business as usual, in the face of the brutality they are imposing on the citizenry.

    I've written about this many times, but I think this occasion warrants that I do so again...

    What I mean when I say that we need to keep thinking about new ways of engaging in direct action is that we must look at the conditions today, at the advances in technology, at the culture, at the interconnectedness of the economy.

    Here's a concrete example: First, let's say that the objective of direct action is to shut down a city (to protest the building of the Keystone pipeline, for example).

    In the typical approach (the old way), there are rallies, speeches, and civil disobedience actions.  In the meantime, the local media (TV, newspapers) are already busy tryting to discredit the action and the ridicule the participants.

    So the event takes place, scores of people get arrested, and the next day, nothing happens.  Everybody goes home.

    Now, think of this... You get the commitment of 2,000 or 5,000 or 10,000 people, first.

    Here's the plan: three groups of a few thousand people show up at a major nerve center of the city, all at once.

    While they are there, everything stop... The police shows up, and when they ask people to comply with any order (get off the street, move along, dissipate, whatever), people immediately comply.

    [Forget the infiltrators, the anarchists, etc., for this mental exercise]

    So everybody dissipates, as instructed by the police.  Then an hour later, they swarm another location, by the thousands... Everything stops.  The police shows up, asks people to move, get off the street, etc., and people comply, immediately.

    On and on and on, nonstop... In the meantime, behind the scene, there is a big-time use of technology, Twitter, Facebook, emails, text messages... People doing impromptu coordinating, strategizing.

    And this could continue, as some people go home, and the the "next" shift shows up, all kinds of people, the young, students, older people, professionals, etc.

    As this happens, because people by and large are protecting themselves from getting arrested, then confidence builds up, and this may attract more and more and more people, until the city is shut down... And then this replicates to another city, and another, and confidence builds up, and it gets so big and organized, and synchronized...

    And that's when the powers that be will be in fear... And then you start with your demands, starting with: Prosecute the goddamned criminal banksters.

    Anyways, in your honor, I'm going to write, right now, a diary titled: "How To Shut Down a City Without Going to Jail"

    •  FYI what you described (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ashiftinconsciousness

      was what happened in 2003 in SF. We had a horizontal organization structure similar to Occupy.

      So everybody dissipates, as instructed by the police.  Then an hour later, they swarm another location, by the thousands... Everything stops.  The police shows up, asks people to move, get off the street, etc., and people comply, immediately.
      And then they start arresting you for no reason. There will be arrests.

      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

      by AoT on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:24:54 PM PDT

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      •  True (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Pensador, AoT

        Occupiers were arrested for no reason other than not obeying every whim of Wall St bankers and corporate-owned cops. An angry cop once grabbed me and basically threatened to throw me off a ten foot high marble statue base (of George Washington) near Wall St.

        When NYPD forcibly evacuated Zuccotti Park in November  '11, they looked like SS stormtroopers as they beat anyone in their way with violent enthusiasm - including petite young women who never raised a hand (they even killed two puppies that were born at the park). They were brutal without provocation. Shit, look at what they've done to black and Latino men for...ever.

        What's needed is for everyone to SEE the truth unfiltered by corporate manipulation and be inspired by brilliant essays such as The Careerists by Chris Hedges.

        Doing my part to break the Capitalist Indoctrination Process. Here's where I rant: www.ashiftinconsciousness.wordpress.com

        by ashiftinconsciousness on Wed May 22, 2013 at 05:47:57 PM PDT

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    •  Awesome (0+ / 0-)

      Doing my part to break the Capitalist Indoctrination Process. Here's where I rant: www.ashiftinconsciousness.wordpress.com

      by ashiftinconsciousness on Wed May 22, 2013 at 05:33:03 PM PDT

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    •  now you are thinking (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador

      yes that sort of approach  may just work.  you basically needle create non stop disruptions.  that needs to be coupled with a media campaign to explain the reasons for these disruptions.

      of course, the longer you can keep this going the more effective it is.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Wed May 22, 2013 at 06:40:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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