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View Diary: How To Shut Down a City Without Going to Jail (109 comments)

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  •  Add a few broke down vehicles. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, footNmouth

    You could easily block a tunnel or bridge with one car. Ten cars could create a nightmare. You could organize 100 cars from a radius of 100 miles to all block a tunnel at 7:30 one morning. Create a disaster during rush hour then drive away and be home by lunch. Just start rolling when you see trouble coming.

    •  Wow. That is a public safety hazard. (11+ / 0-)

      I generally don't put a lot of stock in it when a city or state government says that acts of nonviolent civil disobedience represent a threat to public safety, but in my opinion, blocking bridges and tunnels crosses the line from "inconvenience" to "potentially dangerous."

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:34:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What's the difference? n/t (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, Ray Pensador, footNmouth

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

        by AoT on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:37:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A couple of differences. (4+ / 0-)

          A. Bridges and tunnels are chokepoints. If you're shutting down an intersection, traffic can be rerouted around the blockage to other streets. It'll take time and cause a lot of backed-up traffic, but it's achievable. That's why they issue permits for shutting down city streets for various events like demonstrations, street fairs, etc.

          But the whole reason a city or state spends the money to build a bridge or tunnel is because there's some kind of obstacle in the way—and there tend not to be nearly as many ways around/through the obstacle as there would be in a normal traffic plan. If they shut down the Bay Bridge, for example, there would really be absolutely no way to practically route traffic around the blockage. That creates a significant hazard should some kind of emergency occur.

          B. Breaking down a car and blocking with easily-moved pedestrians are two different levels. Even in situations where pedestrians are engaging in nonviolent, non-permitted direct action—like, say, a sit-in in the middle of an intersection—they'll generally part ways if an ambulance needs to get through, because (a) they're quite movable, and (b) they're intelligent. A broken-down car is much more difficult to move and much less intelligent—and if it's at a chokepoint like a bridge or tunnel, then it represents a major concern.

          Let's say the activists block a tunnel with a broken-down car, thereby stranding everyone who was behind them in traffic inside the tunnel—and let's say that the driver of one of those other cars has a heart attack. There's no way you could get an ambulance to them in time, even presuming that it was possible for them to get the communication out of the tunnel that they needed medical attention to begin with (not exactly a guarantee). At what point do we decide that a political/social actor who is willing to risk others' lives in that manner can no longer reasonably claim that they are "nonviolent"?

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:54:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The fact that they're choke points (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ray Pensador, jeff in nyc

            is the whole idea. You're trying to shut down a city, you want the most bang for your buck, as it were.

            I definitely see the concern with ambulances, and with tunnels it would probably be really bad to have a whole bunch of cars stuck there in a tunnel slowly filling with deadly gas. All you'd have to do is shut it down at the beginning, instead of the end and it would fix that problem.

            I can see the point with the car, but if the plan worked otherwise then it would make traffic so bad that it would be tough for the ambulance to get around anyway.

            I think you'd get in a lot more trouble if you used a car. I heard stories about protests in Berkeley where some one would donate a car and then the protesters would take to the street(which always happens) and then when they got to the car some of them would flip it over, hoping to start a riot. Not sure if it ever worked though.

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

            by AoT on Wed May 22, 2013 at 05:00:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  This system is killing hundreds of people a day (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            footNmouth

            willfully.  Where your concern about that?

            •  And shutting down a bridge or tunnel... (7+ / 0-)

              ...would change that how, exactly?

              Not only is accusing someone of not being concerned about your issue simply because they disagree with your tactics fallacious, but it's also not likely to win you a lot of support among those who aren't already on board.

              Point A is shutting down a bridge or tunnel.

              Point B is the realization of the change you want.

              What is your workable, realistic, attainable, strategically planned path between Point A and Point B? If you don't have one, then I would suggest that you haven't sufficiently justified the action in Point A.

              "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

              by JamesGG on Wed May 22, 2013 at 05:15:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This is a discussion of tactics (0+ / 0-)

                It's not intended to be a comprehensive overview of a movement in one diary. That takes a book. The idea is that this would be one tool in a tool box.

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

                by AoT on Wed May 22, 2013 at 05:17:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not calling for anybody to shut down a tunnel (0+ / 0-)

                or a bridge.  The tactic I'm proposing doesn't include that.  Also, the tactic I'm proposing doesn't include law breaking of any kind.

                •  So why did you imply... (5+ / 0-)

                  ...that my disagreement with the tactic of shutting down bridges and tunnels because of its detriment to public safety was an indication that I'm not concerned about those who suffer in the current social/economic/political system?

                  That seems an odd direction to take for you, if you're not even calling for the tactic I'm disagreeing with.

                  "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                  by JamesGG on Wed May 22, 2013 at 05:27:46 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Let's not get hysterical about creating traffic? (0+ / 0-)

        A lot of us working slobs suffer a blocked tunnel or bridge daily on our hour or more ride to work. I assume the goal in this diary is to keep people from reaching work or more specifically as Occupy tried and failed at doing is to keep Wall Street employees from reaching work.

         If that's the goal keep them from getting onto the Island where it can be done instead of getting beaten by cops just outside Wall Street as the workers walk past you and call you a loser.

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