alexandra_thorn: 2009, taken by Underwatercolor (Default)
[personal profile] alexandra_thorn
* The Occupy movement is built on the principles of civil disobedience.

* Civil disobedience is fundamentally about defying authority, but doing so in a peaceful way. Since authority is often maintained through physical force, civil disobedience means being willing to subject yourself to physical violence without fighting back.

* Someone engaging in civil disobedience does so with the understanding that violence might be used against them. They do it because they believe in their cause strongly enough to be willing to be arrested or beaten or have tear gas thrown in their faces.

* Being willing to face something scary for something you believe in is (more or less) the definition of what it means to be brave. Soldiers are brave when they risk their lives for their countries. Firefighters are brave when they run into burning buildings in order to save lives. Peaceful protesters are brave when they keep doing what they are doing, even when they are being beaten or seeing their friends beaten.

* When someone engaging in civil disobedience gets beaten by a police officer, it is not the protester who is losing the fight. This is what the protester signed up for.

* This does not mean that it's okay or good for police officers to beat peaceful protesters. It's a shameful thing. They represent a basic failure in a society that sees itself as humane.

* I want to live in a humane society (don't you?).

* The worse the beating is, the worse the police officer looks.

* The worse the beating is, the worse the person who ordered the police officer to do it looks.

* It's worth noting that police officers (and members of the military, etc.), always have the option of disobeying orders. If they were to do this when their orders were to move peaceful protesters by any means possible, this would be another form of civil disobedience.

* Disobeying orders is *not* an easy thing to do. It may not even always be the moral thing to do, since the moral value of obeying orders must be weighed against the moral value of not obeying orders you see as immoral. (Human behavior is complicated, etc.)

* In any case, authorities tend to look bad when they pit cops with billy clubs and tear gas against unarmed protesters.

* Authorities generally don't want to look bad.

* Using a violence against an unarmed person who refuses to fight back looks better if you can come up with a really good reason to be in them. If you don't have a good reason, then you have a motive to lie.

* This doesn't mean that everything we hear from the mainstream media are lies, but it does mean that there's more reason than usual to question the truth of the stories you hear.

* It's especially important to be skeptical of stories that make the authorities look like the good guys.

* I think a case can be made that if the authorities genuinely are good guys (assuming they understand what civil disobedience is about), they shouldn't object to this skepticism, even if they were honest about their intentions.


alexandra_thorn: 2009, taken by Underwatercolor (Default)

February 2015

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