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Tag: Protest

Your Right to Protest is Guaranteed by its Continued Use

People went looking for a confrontation. They found one and now they want to whine about it. There are designated areas where to protest and where to set up your cameras and do your journalistic duties. It’s all planned out and well orchestrated well before the event. Protest in the designated areas and you’ll be fine [note: emphasis added]. It looks like this person was not in the area and went looking for trouble to get on camera.

Her cries of “please don’t arrest me” before she was cuffed is pure bad acting. This doesn’t impress me much and I don’t weep for her.

Or they were just picked on by the vast Republican conspiracy. You decide.

/Obama supporter.

posted by Fairchild at 7:09 PM on September 1 [1 favorite]

This is either a great troll or terribly misguided commentary from metafilter (the place for this kind of commentary, even the trolls are literate.)

I’ve covered my theory of how to protest in a previous post, so revisiting my discussions on Freedom Fences and Open Sharing Gulags might be an exercise in futility.  I’m collecting the videos of the protests and police action from the RNC 2008, in hopes that I can turn it into something worth posting, not that I’m not proud of my squirrel videos, but I want to make a statement other than “I like rodents”.

As for the protests, I agree that there is a certain amount of “I bet you can’t hit me!” going on among the protesters, I saw a fair bit of it in the videos.  That does not change the equation here, the police are in riot gear and firing “bombs” at the protesters, who are at worst throwing rocks and Molotov Cocktails at them (something I haven’t seen on video but will concede appears to be something that may be going on).  Does that mean that the “peaceful” protesters should accept being corralled into some sort of designated indignation area? Hell No!  They should be allowed to get right up next to the people they are protesting, it seems to me that authoritarians are fine with protests that they support getting right in the face of the people, but not those that they disagree with.

This disparity of standards allows for such things as free speech zones to flourish.  The Entire western world is a free speech zone, simple as that.  There is no (reasonable) country in the western world that does not enshrine free speech as a right for the people, along with freedom of assembly and freedom of association.  These are cornerstones of a free society and the curtailing of these goes a long way to a strong authoritarian and repressive regime taking hold in a society.  It’s the responsibility of the people to stand against this repression of speech, even if you don’t agree with said speech.

Photo Credit: Eric W. Davis

Tips for your Protest

Protestors at the Monument, originally uploaded by eschipul.

I make no bones about my dislike of the disorganized, messy and chaotic way the Western Left approaches protest.  I’m not a proponent of lock-step marching as protest either; but I’m just looking for cohesion, a phalanx of ideas if you will.

It seems that hippies will decide, as a group to get together to protest “something” but will often show up

Protest at trafalgar Square 24 Feb, 2007
Protest at trafalgar Square 24 Feb, 2007

and have their concepts all over the place.  The Majority will be on line with the main concept “We Quite Like Tea!” and there will inevitably be some spoilers “We like CHINESE TEA! Those INDIAN Tea lovers can get stuffed!”  So the two (or more) factions will be a cacophony of ideals and colors and their chaotic presentation is lost to the “squares” as “Dirty Hippies can’t get it together over their Love of Tea”

They all love Tea, but, you know, can’t agree what brand of Tea.  They don’t fight over it, but they all want their message to be heard.  Ostensibly the protest comes off a cracking success, hundreds of people getting together to tell the world about the Tea and so on; but to the outside it’s just a bunch of students with more time than sense.

Protest over, it’s left to the organizers to either determine if the “Squares” got it; or if the whole thing should have been thrown over for a good game of Ultimate Frisbee or just a funky Drum Circle session.  I think, perhaps, that self-evaluation is not really coming off for the team; since the very next protest is inevitably loud, disorganized and those Chinese Tea bastards are there, working against the rest of the group.  I don’t think the protesters refer to each other as “bastards” but in my head they are all from the UK and they love beer.

So, what to do?  Get REALLY organized!  No outside signs, everyone has signs along the same theme, no sub-protests on the virtue of some other ethos.  Everyone marches, bangs, sings and dances to the same BASIC tune.  Variations on the theme are fine, as long as we are all on the same page, not to mention the same book.

some practical advice for the modern protester

  • If you are protesting “The Iraq War” don’t muddy it up with Palestinian Rights and Reproductive Rights protests in the same group.  Have those marches on another day.
  • No one gets your in-jokes except for the other hippies, ask your uptight relatives for input on your visual jokes to make sure that they can appreciate the message.  Failing that, ask the local College Republican to look at it.  If they get the joke, and appreciate the message, give yourself a Check Plus and hoist that visual metaphor with pride.
  • No Drugs at the Protest, unless the protest is ABOUT DRUGS.  You want to be taken seriously, be straight faced and sober.  Simple as that.  I got a contact buzz from the last protest I was NEAR, not in, NEAR.  If it wasn’t for the stiff breeze I might have had to break out the Phish.
  • Figure out the phalanx, if the police start hauling you away, lock arms and legs and hold tight in groups of 10 or more.  It devastated armies, it can keep you and your friends from being hauled into vans.
  • Stop respecting “Free Speech Zones” – This may sound like an incitement to riot, but please.  Freedom of Assembly (except when we say so) and Freedom of Speech (only in certain circumstances).  Step one in civil disobedience class should be how to take down those damn fences without getting killed or stomped by the police put in place to protect them.

So, there you have it.  The next time you take to the streets en masse to profess your love for all things Tea, you are all set with these simple pieces of advice.  See you on May Day!

You can check out more photographs at: Flickr

Abortion Protestors (Group)

Abortion Protestors (Group), originally uploaded by NiteMayr.

I’m not a big fan of these folks, as they always seem to be of the “I am much more moral than you” stripe and relative morality is a pet peeve of mine. Additionally, they always tote those heavily graphic images of dead babies, right out there with the proverbial bloody shirt.

Usually I hassle them a bit and get on my way; but I had the opportunity to take a few pictures of them before I headed out to the shack yesterday so I snapped a few.

They weren’t sure what to think about me at first, as I got more “curt” I think they got the picture that I wasn’t just some tourist.

I didn’t call them out or insult them (I wanted them to smile ya know) but I really wanted to.

One thing that stuck out for me; there was a nurse there who quickly hid when she saw the camera, she was named “Debbie” Here’s the picture I got of her:

Abortion Protestors (Group Reverse)

If you know a Debbie who works at Victoria hospital in London, tell her to use a Pseudonym when she is protesting if she doesn’t want people to know she is down with the protesters, okay?

The last time I engaged them I asked them why they thought it was appropriate to attack the poor and the victimized, but they feigned ignorance. I think the next time I see them I’ll pull the young women from the group (the ones that look like they can still have kids) and ask them on video what they will do if they (or their daughters) are raped and become pregnant. It’s provocative; but can you look at those pictures of dead babies and not feel provoked?

What about severely deformed babies (no heads and so on) are they going to force women to carry it to term?

I have no idea why they want to get involved and not get involved in more worthy causes, like poverty. It always seems that these Moral types want to get involved in something that is easy, they can condemn and feel like they have done something but it’s an easy something. Babies are easy to protect, most everyone loves babies.

It’s the parents I care about, until a baby is born, Mom and Dad matter more.

I know a bit about their motivation, I was anti-abortion until I was about 17-18. I don’t know for sure when I accepted that being anti-choice was wrong, I came to it when my brain developed the capacity to think critically instead of just emotionally I guess.