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During the early and nonviolent phase of the 'Arab Spring' Gene Sharp of The Albert Einstein Institution was often referred to as having much influence of the tactics and strategies of the protestors. In particular attention was directed to two documents; the two page listing of 198 ways of nonviolent protest and the 100 page booklet entitled From Dictatorship to Democracy/A Conceptual Framework for Liberation, both are available free from the Institution website.

If you are confused about the Occupy Wall Street campaign, look at these two documents and you will understand what is occurring in terms of building this movement.

It is interesting that in the protests of the 60's, nonviolent protest (political defiance, not pacificism) was employed over and over. The system invariably responded with violence showered upon nonviolent demonstrators with the predictable response of rapidly growing the size of the demonstrations.

The photo of the small elderly lady in Seattle with the facial stigmata of the chemical attack she has been subjected to along with the spectacle of Mayor Bloomberg joining the ranks of destroyers of books (the removal and destruction of the Zuccotti Park library) would indicate that the system didn't learn from the 60's, is unfamiliar with Mr. Sharp's writings, and is scared to death of people willing to leave their cubicles and computers and do what Mario Savio (Berkeley Free Speech Movement) did when he called for citizens to throw their bodies on the gears of the system.

The system is not able to absorb the growing nonviolent demonstrations without a violent response.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Having been there in the 60s, (5+ / 0-)

    you are absolutely right. The OWS movement can use the images of police brutality to generate public support. However, they need to get over the notion that there muat some way that it can be avoided. It is the inevitable response of a dysfunctional system.

  •  Yes But There's a Serious Complication In That (6+ / 0-)

    there's no hypothetical solution anywhere in sight.

    The protests of the 60's were either about the general but narrowly focused theme of civil rights or specific issues like wage strikes or war resistance. One of the reasons nonviolent protest could seemed like a good strategy was that much of the rest of society was functional and, as Gandhi knew to be crucial, eventually shameable.

    Today we have an entire society united against its people: the economy, security, organized culture and government. There isn't a barrier or few to some, or an operation or few of government, that we can single out as exceptional or that we could stop and thereby make this a much better world.

    In that way we're closer to the 30's --except that in the 30's we had our party forcing radical economic change onto ownership, and so the issue for activism then was largely a matter of the pace and scope not so much the basic direction.

    Society today is making a violent response because it has been training and equipping itself for this moment for 40 years. Police militarization began with the first SWAT team set up by Daryl Gates in LA back in the 60's, and really took off in the 70's and 80's.

    Society has been very committed and thorough in devising its unfolding governance and in backing that up with ubiquitous intelligence and violent force response teams.

    It's not a very promising situation to be in.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Nov 18, 2011 at 05:25:59 PM PST

    •  not about a solution (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      not about a solution now, it's about educating people how they can make their feelings known and about building a movement. "The Solution" probably doesn't exist as a single solution and it's probably like "when the movement is there, the solution will appear."

      •  Don't know.... Just posted this at another related (0+ / 0-)


        The '60s and '70s were limited to specific issues and once those issues were settled, eclipsed, etc., large numbers of people weren't interested any more.  The "movement" in the '60s, if you can call it that, was splintered and at odds with other single issue movements of the time.  It was very easy to chop them up and divide and conquer.  They never had a chance to make any real, lasting changes to the IMPORTANT things - the economic and political systems.  It was exclusively a movement of youth, minorities, women, and non-systemic issues.  It was EASILY marginalized.

        THIS movement is born of widespread REAL economic PAIN and political LOSS OF FAITH.  The pain is growing every day and so are those behind the movement.  It represents huge issues about the political system and economic structure - much broader than the '60s and much more real.  Those portraying this as a bunch of hippies or dirty unemployed street people look like the jokes and mental midgets they really are.  

        Much to your chagrin, this will not stop.  Nothing will stop it because your HEROES in congress, the white house, and the banks and corporations are either too stupid to know what to do to fix it, too corrupt to take the proper actions, or too busy playing sailor, praying to Jesus, or fucking whores to care.  

        That's really all there is to it.  They can no more stop this  movement than I could stop Speaker boehner from screaming out what's left of his lungs, should I slam his finger with a large hammer.

        You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns when they all did tricks for you. ~ Dylan

        by Saint Jimmy on Fri Nov 18, 2011 at 06:08:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  You sir, hit the nail on the head. n/t (0+ / 0-)
    •  The people ordering the police violence (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Saint Jimmy

      know that the OWS movement is the tip of an iceberg, that it won't go away, and that it is just warming.

      They too are just warming up. If you Mubarak's Cairo or Tienanmen can't happen here, just wait. I'll bet the US will outdo all historical precedent in violence against its citizens...

      You get a huge enough mob of people closing down a city and threatening its precious bank buildings? What do you think neutron bombs are for?

      •  I hope so, if it is necessary but there seem to (0+ / 0-)

        be a lot of weak willed party supporters here, lately.  I can spot them immediately.  Few here directly confront them and that is depressing.  Shows no spine.  Sometimes I wonder whether Americans numbed and neutered so much that, unlike Europeans they've lost their spine.  At times, they seem to be weak.... pussies.... to me.

        You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns when they all did tricks for you. ~ Dylan

        by Saint Jimmy on Sat Nov 19, 2011 at 12:05:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ignorance is Strenght (0+ / 0-)

          There were three slogans on the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's 1984:

          War is Peace (Nobel Peace Prize for President Obama and the Confuscious Peace Prize for Premier Puin

          Ignorance is Strnegth (nailed this one from the looks of the Republican debates)

          Freedom is slavery

          1984 is well worth rereading, especially the explanations of the need for perpetual war and also the conduct of these wars is so prescient as to be scarry.

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