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Naomi Wolf begins: "Mayor Bloomberg is planning Draconian new measures to crack down on what he calls the 'disruption' caused by the protesters at Zuccotti Park, and he is citing neighbors' complaints about noise and mess."

Protesters trapped on the Brooklyn Bridge by police flash peace and victory signs to comrades on the walkway above, 10/01/11. (photo: eggman/flickr)
Protesters trapped on the Brooklyn Bridge by police flash peace and victory signs to comrades on the walkway above, 10/01/11. (photo: eggman/flickr)



The Obligation to Peacefully Disrupt

By Naomi Wolf, Reader Supported News

22 October 11

 

Occupy Wall Street: Take the Bull by the Horns

 

The First Amendment and the obligation to peacefully disrupt in a free society.

ayor Bloomberg is planning Draconian new measures to crack down on what he calls the "disruption" caused by the protesters at Zuccotti Park, and he is citing neighbors' complaints about noise and mess. This set of talking points, and this strategy, is being geared up as well by administrations of municipalities around the nation in response to the endurance and growing influence of the Occupation protest sites. But the idea that any administration has the unmediated option of "striking a balance," in Bloomberg's words, that it likes, and closing down peaceful and lawful disruption of business as usual as it sees fit is a grave misunderstanding - or, more likely, deliberate misrepresentation - of our legal social contract as American citizens.

Some kinds of disruption in a free republic are not "optional extras" if the First Amendment governs the land, as it does ours, and are certainly not subject to the whims of mayors or local police, or even DHS. Just as protesters don't have a blanket right to do everything they want, there is absolutely no blanket right of mayors or even of other citizens to be free from the effect of certain kinds of disruption resulting from their fellow citizens exercising First Amendment rights. That notion, presented right now by Bloomberg and other vested interests, of a "disruption-free" social contract is pure invention - just like the flat-out fabrication of the nonexistent permit cited in my own detention outside the Huffington Post Game Changers event this last Tuesday, when police told me, without the event organizers' knowledge and contrary to their intentions, that a private entity had "control of the sidewalks" for several hours. (In fact, the permit in question - a red carpet event permit! - actually guarantees citizens' rights to walk and even engage in political assembly on the streets if they do not block pedestrian traffic, as the OWS protesters were not.)

I want to address the issue of "disruption," as Bloomberg is sending this issue out as a talking point brought up on Keith Olbermann's Coundown last night: the neighbors around Zuccotti Square, says Bloomberg, are feeling "disrupted" by the noise and visitors to the OWS protest, so he is going to crack down to "strike a balance" to address their complaints. Other OWS organizers have let me know that the Parks Department and various municipalities are trying to find a way to eject other protesters from public space on a similar basis of argument.

Please, citizens of America - please, OWS - do not buy into this rhetorical framework: an absolute "right to be free of disruption" from First Amendment activity does not exist in a free republic. But the right to engage in peaceable disruption does exist.

Citizens who live or work near protest sites or marches have every right to be free of violence from protesters and they should never be subjected to destruction of property. This is why I am always saying to OWS and to anyone who wants to assemble: be PEACEFUL PEACEFUL PEACEFUL. Be respectful to police, do not yell at them; sing, don't chant; be civil to pedestrians and shop owners; don't escalate tensions; try to sit when there is tension rather than confront physically; be dignified and be nonviolent.

But the First Amendment means that it actually is not up to the mayor or the police of any municipality, or to the Parks Department, or to any local municipality to prohibit public assembly if the assembly is peaceful but disruptive in many ways.

Peaceful, lawful protest - if it is effective - IS innately disruptive of "business as usual." That is WHY it is effective.

The Soviet Union was brought down by peaceful mass protest that blocked the streets and filled public squares. Many white residents of Birmingham Alabama in the 1960s would have said it was very disruptive to have all these African Americans marching through Birmingham or protesting the murder of children in churches. The addresses by Dr. King on the Mall were disruptive of the daily life of D.C. King himself marched without permits when permits were unlawfully applied. It is disruptive to sit at a whites-only counter and refuse to move and be covered with soda and pelted with debris and dragged off by police. It disrupted the Birmingham bus system for African Americans in the Civil Rights movement to organize a bus boycott. It is disruptive when people refuse to sit at the back of the bus.

When Bonus Marches - thousands of unemployed and desperate former veterans who had been promised and denied their bonus checks in the Depression, which they needed to feed their families - camped out for months on the Mall in D.C. and sat daily (when this was possible) on the steps of Congress, they won, eventually, because of the disruption. Some of the power of real protest, which is peaceful and patient and civil but disruptive, comes from the emotional power of the human face-to-face: all those Congresspeople had to look those hungry men in the eyes on their way to legislate the decision about the bonus.

Most of us need to remember, or learn for the first time (since this information is usually concealed from us) that the First Amendment, and the Constitution in general, supersedes all the laws of municipalities in violation of the constitution, as stated in the 1925 Gitlow v. New York ruling. So the First Amendment supersedes the restrictive permit laws now being invoked against protesters. The First Amendment was designed to allow for disruption of business as usual. It is not a quiet and subdued amendment or right.

Indeed, our nation's founding was a series of rowdy and intense protests, disrupting business as usual for tax collectors and mercenaries up and down the eastern seaboard. Even after the establishment of the new nation massive, highly disruptive protests of various laws, Congressional actions, and even of foreign policy were absolutely standard expressions of political speech, and whether they liked the opinions expressed or not, these protests were spoken of by Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Washington and others - some of whom themselves were the subjects of these protests - as part of the system they had set in place working, and the obligation of American citizens.

Dr. King, when asked about disruption, said that the disruption caused by peaceful protest is good and healthy in a society, because it is the result of festering problems that need to be addressed and that are buried being brought into light to be dealt with constructively.

But I would want to remind OWS, and any protesting group, that peaceful and dignified disruption of business as usual is very different from violence, anarchy or rioting, which must always be avoided. This is why I keep telling OWS and others: be peaceful. Don't march in a militaristic way. Don't cover your faces or let anyone with you cover their faces. Bring old people. Bring kids. Bring instruments, form bands of musicians and singers. Don't fight. Don't destroy property.

If neighbors complain about mess, bring brooms (as the Egyptians did) and clean up, not just the park but the whole neighborhood. Bake cookies FOR the neighbors. Be the good examples of civil society that you want to spread. Bring whole families (good job with that family sleepover in Zuccotti Park last night). I would go further: emulate the Civil Rights movement and wear your Sunday best at key times when you protest. Wear suits and dresses when it is practical, or wear red, white and blue when conditions are rougher. Bring American flags. Bring the Constitution. Don't give the narrators any excuse to marginalize you because of the visuals or because of any individuals' erratic or anarchic behavior.

My grandma, Fay Goleman, died last year at 96, at just around this time of year. She loved this county - LOVED this country - and I felt her memory very strongly when I could not physically move out of the arresting officer's way last Tuesday. She was born to refugees from the Czar's Russia, and she knew what police and military intimidation of free speech and free assembly meant. Dr. Goleman, who was barely five feet tall but who had an enormous spirit, marched decade after decade for seventy years: she marched for peace; against the nuclear bomb; for civil rights and so on. She spoke up at town councils and served on local government commissions and believed that people had the responsibility to govern their own communities and to take action and not just complain. She always wore hats and white gloves when she marched, and she held herself in that context with great lady-likeness and civility.

This formality was partly to honor the great gift and great occasion that is the American gift of free assembly. And she always said: "Activism is the rent we must pay for the privilege of living in a democracy. Protest is how you pay your civic rent." (Tiny as she was, she also had no patience for people who were willing to be deterred from the path they knew was right by bullies.)

She taught me that activism and petitioning government for redress of grievances is not a choice if you live in America. If you are American, it is an obligation. The Founders did not give this task to us as an option, but rather demanded it as an obligation: we are compelled by their social contract in the Constitution to protest and engage in free assembly when government has stopped listening to us. That is why the First Amendment comes first: everything else flows from it and is built upon it.

You can borrow my Grandma Fay's example and memory, if it is helpful: I am sure she would not mind and, indeed, would probably get a kick out of it. But you can also borrow Gandhi's or Dr. King's, for that matter, who made enormous disruptions - the biggest of disruptions - of daily life in Birmingham and DC. and Delhi and in the brokerage houses of the London financial markets - with the great discipline of peacefulness and nonviolence.

Bloomberg is flat wrong, and he doubtless knows it but hopes you won't notice: New Yorkers have no right to be free of any disruption from the peaceful but disruptive free-speech actions of their fellow citizens, and how New Yorkers lawfully and peacefully assert their First Amendment rights is actually not up to him. There is a higher authority than Michael Bloomberg, or than the NYPD, or even than the guy in the white shirt who signaled to his colleagues to handcuff me earlier this week when I stood peacefully on a sidewalk, obeying what I had confirmed to be the law: and that higher authority is called the Constitution of the United States of America.

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+74 # artful 2011-10-23 13:45
I am certain that the Nazi's enjoyed/enforce d a disruption-free nation during its brief term.
 
 
+10 # R U Kidding Me? 2011-10-24 00:43
The Nazis term was not nearly short enough...and replicating their modus operandi is as old as the Crusades. True freedom is complicated especially when it's inconvenient and most countries will try and quash it, but when flying the freedom banner it's especially sad.
 
 
+20 # NanFan 2011-10-24 04:46
Yes, and as we were so profoundly reminded of by another RSN poster (heraldmage, below), "flying the freedom banner" in a democracy comes with many, many mandates for us, as citizens of a perfectly framed democracy, when faced with a "fouled" government.

This from the Declaration of Independence, July, 1776, once again, lest we forget:

"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. BUT when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."

This is the essence of what Naomi has written about in this article; this is the essence of what our peaceful protests should be about: to "throw off" an unjust government who bows to corporate demands rather than to protect and preserve people's needs and rights.

This is the essence of our democracy.

Please, do not go back to sleep. Let us all pick up a broom and sweep the US homeland clean.

N.
 
 
+7 # futhark 2011-10-24 21:19
Yes, protesters founded the United States of America and it is clear that protesters are needed to maintain any system of popular government that is supposed to be protecting the inherent rights of the people. Infringements of the rights to speak freely, to petition, and to peaceably assemble endanger the tranquility of the nation because they open society to unchecked abuses that can only provoke violent confrontations in time.
 
 
+1 # Fiona Mackenzie 2011-10-30 10:06
I have observed that the First Amendment applies primarily to bullies carrying assault rifles and braggadocio. Those carrying ideas, not so much.
 
 
+72 # DaveM 2011-10-23 13:52
A wonderful outline of how this movement needs to conduct itself. And I have little doubt they will. I am not so optimistic, alas, when it comes to the NYPD.

Quite agree about not wearing masks, but if they start tear-gassing, everyone should carry a gas mask. Putting it on might get you arrested, but it might also allow you to get out of harm's way in the moment when the other side decides its ideas have run out and resorts to outright violence. Toward the same end, try to stay on friendly terms with the neighbors. You never know when you might need a refuge, even a brief one, or a clerk at a restaurant or store who will show you the back door.
 
 
+49 # Kev C 2011-10-23 14:48
Sound advice and sound truths. Yes the NYPD will resort to violence. You can bet on that. They already have run out of options and their corporate handlers have run out of patience. They thought the protestors would all be gone home by now and they haven't done so. That has really spoiled their tempers.

Avoid direct confrontation because it would not be beyond the realms of imagination to see them open fire on the crowds with hand guns and then claim it was because they were under attack or threatened in some way. Always gets them off the hook in court but it never brings back the dead.
 
 
+37 # cdcl44@yahoo.com 2011-10-23 16:23
Well-there is an option for NYPD members-join the protesters.
 
 
+19 # wwway 2011-10-23 18:28
Like the soldiers in Egypt sided with protesters. NYPD is the most expensive, well equiped police force in the world. Those guys are itching to prove their mussle just like Bush was itching to prove American muscle by invading Iraq.
 
 
+62 # fredboy 2011-10-23 14:08
Most Americans are too afraid to speak up or demonstrate. The phrase "home of the brave" has pretty much been diminished.
 
 
+11 # fobsub 2011-10-24 05:11
Most Americans don't believe they have the right to speak up.
 
 
+54 # gogogrl47 2011-10-23 14:38
I agree completely. I, unfortunately, think that the situation around the country at the Occupy towns and cities will get worse before it gets better. The police and homeland security (right, I feel more secure don't you?) will get more restrictive--an d the more the protesters are pushed around, the more people will come out and align themselves with the protesters....I am sick of the police and military machine--we all need to remind ourselves and our friends and families about the 1st amendment.
 
 
+29 # Buddha 2011-10-23 15:10
I wish I had such hope. I think American have been turned into sheep...and when the hammer comes down and protests are crushed, will more American come out to be arrested? I just don't know if today's Americans have the will to stand up to water cannon and attack dogs like the brave Civil Rights protesters. We'll see, I have attended two events with OccupyLA and will continue to do so every opportunity I get, but to really effect change we need millions of Americans standing up to confront the stormtroopers.. .
 
 
+32 # Kathymoi 2011-10-23 16:53
Yes. There may not be 99% of Americans who are willing to get arrested or to suffer the discomfort of camping out at a protest site. I think it would be a good thing to have another form of protest that people can take as well, even those who don't want to get arrested or to sleep outside with no bathroom nearby. I am thinking of economic protest---boyco tting the big box stores that forced American factories to move to China---whateve r changes in consumer choices that might have an effect.
 
 
+33 # Kev C 2011-10-23 14:44
Anyone who does not oppose the draconian rulings of Bloomberg et al is giving in to the bullies and allowing the corporations, Wall Street bankers and the military industrial complex to continue to get away with murder.
So what have you the people got to lose? Other than everything you have currently got and everything that you have recently lost the last thing you could lose is the right to redress for those losses and the right to prevent those losses from harming your children and their children yet to come.
Naomi is right. Peaceful protest is not an option, it is an obligation of every civilised society everywhere on planet Earth.
Now don't let the bullies beat you. They are nothing but cowards when faced with the truth. They are telling Bloomberg to remove the protestors because they haven't got the balls to tell the protestors themselves.
So which party do you people reading this belong to? The protestors or the slaves?
 
 
+32 # DPM 2011-10-23 14:46
If Bloomberg wins, then NYC needs to be sued, on the protesters behalf, for allowing the traffic, near the protesters, to endanger them with vehicle exhaust and noise pollution. Just as silly. Or, Sue NYC for not allowing marches on certain PUBLIC pedestrian thoroughfares. In fact, any city threatening unlawful of trumped up "laws" should be met by a "rain" of law suites.
 
 
+5 # RLF 2011-10-24 06:50
The courts are owned by the same corps and rich as the congress. Can't obey the courts rulings...the rule of law is dead in America!
 
 
+37 # Teresaalsara 2011-10-23 15:02
OWS, STAY STRONG! You are right, if it were the Tea Party this would not happen!
Many of us are behond you even if we are poor or disabled and not able to be with you physically! We Thank You and are Praying for you! Do Not give up! They will keep trying! Too many of our Constitutional rights have been taken away when they decide they do not like our opinion. The 99% Must Prevail!
 
 
+34 # Buddha 2011-10-23 15:07
What I want to know, WHERE IS THE ACLU on this? These permit laws, and "no overnight camping/occupyi ng", are inherently unconstitutiona l as Naomi Wolf so well points out, where are the lawsuits? Where is the very public very debated court case where we get to see our corrupt and partisan Supreme Court tell everyone what we already know, that we are not living in a free society anymore? Hello? ACLU?
 
 
+7 # Ken Hall 2011-10-23 20:31
Don't worry, I'm sure they are looking at this and deciding how best to act. They have always stood up for basic civil rights, even for the bad guys (went to bat for the KKK).
 
 
-8 # RLF 2011-10-24 06:51
ACLU is too busy writing friends of the court papers supporting Citizens United.
 
 
+6 # Nominae 2011-10-24 09:45
Has anyone called the ACLU, or are we waiting for them to make a house call ?
 
 
+1 # Buddha 2011-10-25 21:01
I actually sent them an email asking exactly this a couple days ago...don't expect to hear back, but we'll see...
 
 
+28 # Toby Touby 2011-10-23 15:08
Mr. Bloomberg is an ARISTOCRAT who believes he is above the law. If anyone is evicted from Zucotti Park, Mr. Bloomberg should be named an accomplice to battery, tried, convicted and JAILED.
 
 
+36 # Lolanne 2011-10-23 15:10
Excellent piece, Ms. Klein! It is a fine line but a very strong one: disruption is not only OK but absolutely necessary, per our Constitution, when required to address wrongs -- and Lord knows, the wrongs from Wall St are too many to be counted! Also, I sincerely you are going to pursue legal action against the NYPD for that wrongful arrest. Unfortunately, that is the only language they cannot refuse to listen to.
 
 
+18 # Kathymoi 2011-10-23 17:01
We need to keep the protest going, continue to have our own press covering what is happening, and we need to grow. Corporations are used to using their financial resources to enable them to wait for a nuisances, such as a competitor. to give up and go away.
 
 
+26 # seeuingoa 2011-10-23 15:43
Don´t forget that the American Constitution begins with:

We the 99%...
 
 
+20 # Pikewich 2011-10-23 16:10
For those of you in SF, Tuesday at 11:30 AM offers a wonderful opportunity to exercise your 1st amendment rights.

A demonstration at 3rd and Howard street to let the president, who is attending a corporate fundraiser or something, that "Yes You Can Stop The Keystone XL Pipeline".

I hope to see you all there.
 
 
+22 # Pufferly 2011-10-23 17:05
Isn't it time for Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and other balladeers to put OWS to music? Where is Mother Jones when we need her?
 
 
+8 # Nominae 2011-10-24 09:56
The songwriter/musi cians you mention above have put in their time and are now (Dylan) in their 70's. When they were changing the political map of the 60's there was no such thing as monster music companies and Corporate Monopoly Controlled Media who were willing to deny them airplay. The Corporate take over of the media was planned 30 years ago to not only control the "news" stories, but to prevent the *NEW* Dylan, Baez, or Seeger from getting the airplay they would need to be successful in "spreading the message" of their movement.
The Establishment was taken by surprise during the 60-70's. They are ready now. That's why the old and useful strategies will no longer work. We have to come up with something new ........... Again.
 
 
0 # boudreaux 2011-10-24 11:42
............GRE ENDAY.......... .....
 
 
+22 # SouthBrun 2011-10-23 17:18
Back when the T-Party rallies were filledd citizens armed to the teeth and no one arrested them, I wondered what would have happened if the NAACP had held a similar rally and was armed in like manner. You know what would have happened. Just like now, just worse.
 
 
+20 # DLT999 2011-10-23 17:38
"Citizens who live or work near protest sites or marches have every right to be free of violence from protesters and they should never be subjected to destruction of property. This is why I am always saying to OWS and to anyone who wants to assemble: be PEACEFUL PEACEFUL PEACEFUL. Be respectful to police, do not yell at them; sing, don't chant; be civil to pedestrians and shop owners; don't escalate tensions; try to sit when there is tension rather than confront physically; be dignified and be nonviolent."

Words of wisdom. Give 'them' nothing to JUSTLY complain about. PEACEFUL disruption is the way to win this. It frustrates the hell out of 'them'. This is what Gandhi used to win.
 
 
+20 # longboarder 2011-10-23 17:59
Beautifully put Naomi. This is exactly the message we all needed to hear. Peaceful disruption is an "obligation" and the most powerful tool we have. We need to stay on message and they will be forced to hear us at some point.

Thank you Naomi, for stating this truth so elegantly.
 
 
+12 # Ken Hall 2011-10-23 20:38
NW has written a great essay that inspires us to put social activism on our patriotic menus. Among her other notable accomplishments , she is to be commended for her vision and encouragement of Thoreauvian civil disobedience, a great US tradition. Let us not disappoint either NW or the founding fathers, who put it all on the line to create a nation of "WE THE PEOPLE", not "we the corporations".
 
 
+18 # wwway 2011-10-23 18:23
OWS has a more compelling argument as described by Kline. The 1st Amendment is more enduring than the tea party's 2nd Amendment remedy. It's too bad that it's taken this long for Americans to realize what's been happening to them and why. Americnas have only themselves to blame.
I don't blame democrats. Many have been complaining about the increased power of K Street Lobbies and corporations. In his state of the Union address Obama warned of the consequences of the Citizens United decision. Many who warned Amrica weren't re-elected or could get elected because the voter is pursuaded by incoherent yet compelling culture war arguments of the right and this rediculous notion that only the rich create jobs. So the people vote aganinst Obama in 2010.
For the last 2 general elections in our own community we've put forth good, honest candidates who lost agaisnt big money republicans selling big lies.
People get the government they deserve and at the OWS protests in my community I'm finding out how many participants don't bother to vote at all.
OWS has to eventually translate into political action. The demands of OWS are closely aligned wtih the Democratic Party Platform so it's time to push Democrats for better options.
 
 
+6 # LessSaid 2011-10-23 18:41
"Citizens who live or work near protest sites or marches have every right to be free of violence from protesters and they should never be subjected to destruction of property. This is why I am always saying to OWS and to anyone who wants to assemble:

---------------------------------------

Is that in the U.S. Constitution?
 
 
+19 # heraldmage 2011-10-23 19:53
We also need to remember these words from the Declaration of Independence that require us to take action and institute systemic change when the current system is out of control, working outside the rules of the land in order to maintain lordship over the people & the land.
"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of
abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security." The Declaration of Independence July 1776
 
 
+8 # Ken Hall 2011-10-23 20:40
heraldmage: Well-cited, thank you for the quote.
 
 
+8 # Doubter 2011-10-23 20:45
BEWARE les Agents Provocateur!
 
 
+13 # Chasiboy 2011-10-23 22:17
Please remember that 'Little Brother is Watching" . Use cell phones and cameras to expose the mis-behavior of any person, be it fellow protesters (whom may well be planted provocateurs) or of any government authority who acts inappropriately . We have already seen a sea-change of police behavior as video and photos surface after peaceful protestors have been abused.
Thanks so much to Naomi Wolf for knowing the law and standing her ground on the side walk issue.
 
 
+1 # stannadel 2011-10-24 03:51
NW's point is well taken, but her example of the Bonus Marchers is simply bad history. They didn't win, they were driven off by General McArthur's troops with tear gas and bayonets.
 
 
+8 # fobsub 2011-10-24 04:58
Use the internet! It is the most powerful tool available to a democratic society. Create lawful petitions and e-vote! The government has to listen or it isn't American. The constitution says we can make changes if we need to. Use your Constitutional rights! Use the internet.
Defy-Don't Buy!
 
 
+7 # fobsub 2011-10-24 05:04
Now that it has begun, it must not stop until the 99% prevails, lest we all be placed in chains forever!
 
 
+9 # fobsub 2011-10-24 05:08
Defy-Don't Buy! Buy as little as possible, only what is necessary, nothing more.
 
 
+4 # fobsub 2011-10-24 05:14
There are 300 million of us and 3 million of them...DUH
 
 
+6 # RandyGab 2011-10-24 09:04
Thank you for the brief lesson in American History. Too many of us never learned these important lessons, or have forgotten them.
DRG
 
 
+2 # jz1 2011-10-24 12:27
From Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience":
Paley, a common authority with many on moral questions, in his chapter on the "Duty of Submission to Civil Government," resolves all civil obligation into expediency; and he proceeds to say that "so long as the interest of the whole society requires it, that it, so long as the established government cannot be resisted or changed without public inconveniency, it is the will of God that the established government be obeyed"

Thoreau knocks this down memorably, declaring "do justice, cost what it may"
 
 
0 # futhark 2011-10-26 15:58
Paley was also the strongest proponent of species created by "intelligent design". Darwin's On The Origin of Species was chiefly directed at demolishing Paley's creationist dogmas.

"It isn't nice to block the doorway,
It isn't nice to go to jail,
There are nicer ways to do it,
But the nice ways always fail.
It isn't nice, it isn't nice,
You told us once, you told us twice,
But if that is Freedom's price,
We don't mind." -- Malvina Reynolds, 1964
 
 
+2 # David Starr 2011-10-24 13:02
While Wolf does make worthy points regarding Bloomberg, the NYPD & the 1st amendment, I'm compelled to say she comes off as though she's lecturing the OWS protestors like a mother lecturing an unruly child; as though having THE answer for protest etiquette. I'm sure OWS protestors have sense to use appropriate tactics as OWS continues. I also noticed something a little off w/ her equating of OWS w/ rowdy protests of "American" colonists against British rule: While she says OWS protestors should not destroy property, there were incidents of colonists doing so, e.g., the Boston Tea Party destroying property (although only boxes of tea) of the British East India Co. U.S. founder Benjamin Franklin didn't support this, & was willing to pay reparations to the company. But this was because he was holding out to the very end that a compromise could be reached between the British parliament & the colonies w/ the latter being equally represented w/in the former. For years, many colonists like Franklin wanted to remain under British rule. But unequal treatment & parliament's rejection of equal representation resulted in revolution. While Franklin played the pragmatist, a radical like Patrick Henry saw early on the inevitabiliy of revolution. Today, OWS won't be the vehicle for a second revolution, but it's an example of paving the way, if U.S. rulers don't sincerely renounce their ways.
 
 
+3 # Aussieken 2011-10-25 01:11
What are you middle class yanks complaining about? You kicked out the Brits under the banner of "No taxation without representation! " The 1% or 400 have gone one better. "100% represenation without taxation!"
 
 
+2 # David Starr 2011-10-26 12:05
This post is a little late, but I have to add a couple of things regarding Wolf's "suggestions": She says that ptotestors shouldn't chant (!?). But isn't chanting an integral part of protesting? Isn't it an effective, "obligatory" means of nonviolent "disruption"? Also, she says protestors should bake cookies for neighbors (!?). I would think that it would be the reverse: The idea of sympathetic onlookers/neigh bors giving aid/refreshment s to the protestors who are out there in the "trenches" making efforts, devoting their time & energy, & taking the risks in the process of going against the current.
 
 
0 # dougharvey 2011-10-27 06:40
Actually, the Bonus Marches are a really bad example. Despite camping out for months and being forcibly disbanded by the US Army led by Douglas MacArther, the Bonus Army never got their Bonuses.
 
 
0 # dougharvey 2011-10-27 06:43
Also, the protesters in Egypt covered their faces, came prepared to do battle with police (which they did) and violently occupied buildings. Another poor example for your point.
 

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