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Senate Effective Civil Disobedience and Protest

Discussion in 'Community' started by keynote23, Sep 20, 2020.

  1. keynote23

    keynote23 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 26, 2006
    From the American civil rights movements to the Salt March, the Anti-Vietnam protests, to the massacre at Tien An Men square to Black LIves Matter, history has shown civil actions to have a mixed record of success.

    Contemporary movements seem inclined towards failure.

    The Hong Kong protests appear to have been crushed without so much as an inch of ground gained.
    For all the legitimacy behind the BLM movement, what do they realistically stand to accomplish?

    Historically, a component of successful civil disobedience appears to be a government that is inclined (if only because of it's own political prospects at the ballot box) to listen.

    But in places like China civil disobedience seems to be a venture doomed to failure.
    In the U.S. civil demonstrations only work if the government is inclined to think it may lose political power.

    Is civil disobedience and protest still a viable agent of political change?
    If so what forms are still effective?
    If not, are nations effectively stuck with armed rebellion as their only recourse?
     
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  2. vncredleader

    vncredleader Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2016
    I think prescriptions are flawed when talking disobedience. Like with China, yeah that makes sense with Tien An Men, but HK didn't fall apart cause China was so powerful, they acted more restrained than just about any nation, probably cause they knew how much of this become a psyop and excuse for igniting a cold war and excusing yellow peril. Which happened anyways, look at how virulently racist much of the HK discourse in the west.

    No it failed for the same reason all astroturfed risings fail, the same reason all reactionary (not ideologically I mean literally in reaction to a thing) protests struggle, and the same reason BLM has failed thus far. a lack of clear goals and demands. They put out NOTHING, the demands did not justify concerted opposition. Any grassroots became memebait and soon celebrity; the harry potter bs or les mis, it became obvious this was not a flashpoint so people went home.

    BLM has had some more clear goals, but americans are atomized, even solidarity for us is more reaction, some small catharsis, and then quits. The movement is still on, but larger momentum is gone, only kept alive by repeat atrocities.

    Adolph Reed covers his thoughts really well on BLM, Occupy, and the Arab Spring and I think his take is quite intriguing

    As for BLM in 2020, Honestly watch CTH's Cushvlogs for the occasional brilliant ramble by a high AF Marxist on the matter.
    his one in the immediate aftermath is the correct take IMO, particularly the 1906 russian revolution comparison.

    The thing is civil disobedience needs a super specific goal, less for the opposition to see and more for the movement to actually have a coherent mood and purpose. Like MLK did not just do the occasional sit-in or make that an emphasis at varied points among other plans; it was well organized and targeted. Specific locations, specific times, with specific demands, about specific laws, made to specific officials.

    Even then none of those cited acts of civil disobedience accomplished ANYTHING through acts of civil disobedience. It was armed rebellion or full war or other material forces that got them the win if they did. Vietnam's anti-war protests didn't end the war, it only ended the draft and that was cause of defections, troops not moving, and most importantly the fragging of officers. The war kept going and people went home, they participated and did some important stuff in opposing something specific, but nothing really changed, they stopped caring about how many kids the president killed today once the visible victory on the homefront happened. Vietnam kept getting bombed, and all the while the actual force against the war fought on, that being the communists in Indochina. Liberal boomers like to self congratulate about Vietnam to the point that it is as if vietnam didn't happen, just some dramatic precious us soldiers suffering, with some protests against the lies of the administration, which then made things better and they stopped the war; all of this not in reality, but on tv and film.

    Like you can watch 20 anti vietnam war films, including ones like the post which came out mere years ago, and NEVER think about the Vietnamese as actual people let alone agents, let alone the actual heroes. The war becomes this cultural triumph, a futile one with no reckoning, no ceasing of bloodshed, just a volunteer army that will now bomb instead of land ground troops. The actual horror, the horror witnessed upon the actual victims and heroes didn't end for more than a decade. So even when we do have somewhat more specific goals we are so atomized and used to viewing things in symbolic gestures and stopping once we feel good, even if the cause is just. Of course it is because what was being protested, or I guess what the problem was; war is the perfect tool of liberalism, it is their business strategy. Not to overload on chapo but their ep a few weeks back with Daniel Bessner covers this topic wonderfully when talking WWI and Vietnam and the limited scope of anti-war movements in a liberal democracy. War itself is almost universally seen as something not to be opposed to on principle, it is just "lies" or OUR troops in danger that gives even a second of hesitation.


    What brought the eastern front to an end in WWI? mass mutinies but more than anything the October Revolution, the feburary rev had war and empire as its fundamental framework, Kerensky went off and got more men killed and proved that only full opposition to the point of sparking civil war, could actually oppose imperialist wars. Violence undergirds all the successes. Salt March doesnt accomplish victory let alone independence without several violent mutinies, rebellions, Indians joining the Nazis, and threats of full insurrection.

    If you are even gonna try civil disobedience, it needs to be accompanied by an actual force, be it actual opposition like the Viet Minh, or threats of race riots like with MLK's death, and even then like with the history of labor, when the civility focused groups bail like the knights of labor in the wake of Haymarket, EVERYTHING falls apart. Without the threat of strikers taking up arms, there would not have been prior wins for unions, and with them beaten down by cowardly leaders into inaction and no coherent goal, well bosses took hardlines and the knights caved on their own members strikes.

    Slight wins are allowed on curated terms to that people feel civil disobedience will work. Hell it works so well you can end up with literal rebels and revolutionaries turning on their comrades in mere weeks in order to back their enemy with a justification of pressure being adequate enough and conflict being a lost cause. I am talking about the pro-treaty folks in the Irish Free state FTW

    Remember Mandela was a militant with explosives training, and a communist whose victory was achieved through the blood spilt by Che and Cuban soldiers going over to Angola and assisting the victory of the FNLA, weakening the anglo hold on south africa as a block. Civil Disobedience can be a tool, but it is not a strategy in and of itself for liberation or mass struggle. Mostly it should accompany militancy as a symbolic act of defacement. Like the IRA doing murals or the prisoners refusing to wear convict uniforms as they clearly where political prisoners, as well as the dirty protests that came before the hunger strike. Like that accompanies literal armed opposition, and was what it was due to them being in prison.

    I think small targeted goals can work, but they also will not cause systemic change or create a movement, they need to be a strike or critical action by a group as part of a campaign. it must be material, symbolism destroyed or gotten is good, but it is not worth anything next to a tangible goal
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
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  3. 3sm1r

    3sm1r Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 27, 2017
    I don't like to be that guy, but I will: this thread deserves a Senate tag rather than a JCC tag.
     
  4. keynote23

    keynote23 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 26, 2006
    It does actually. I meant to post it in the senate. 'Must've clicked the wrong tag.

    If I could prevail upon the mods to move this...
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
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  5. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    May 25, 2002
    Did a drive-by retagging for you.
     
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  6. keynote23

    keynote23 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Much obliged.
     
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  7. 3sm1r

    3sm1r Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 27, 2017
    In the merit of the discussion, I believe that sometimes the success of protests can only be appreciated on the long run. Take Occupy Wall Street. Of course it didn't result in the immediate end of wealth inequality, but it was a step forward in the pressure to make people sensible to these issues.
    Then Bernie Sanders arrives, and he gives those people a voice. And he loses again, but his movement leads to the success of AOC and other progressives in Congress.

    We'll see how it plays out, but if Americans will manage to defeat fascism in the epic battle we are witnessing right now, I believe that we will see some progress in that regard, and protests will become more and more effective with time. Trump doesn't have the political convenience in conceding anything, but Biden does.
     
  8. SateleNovelist11

    SateleNovelist11 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 10, 2015
    Personally, I believe the most effective form of protest is through pacifism or anarcho-pacifism. Violence tends to stymy the issue, and it's only useful if one has to overthrow an authoritarian regime or to defend oneself from enslavement. It should only be a last resort, however. If Gandhi could liberate India with pacifism, more nations could do the same.
     
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  9. Lowbacca_1977

    Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 28, 2006
    I think police reform is a huge thing that they can accomplish, in at least some states. For example, Colorado was working on some reforms to expand body camera use, add penalties for officers that turn them off, bar chokeholds, add criminal charges that can apply to officers that fail to intervene in excessive force cases, and remove qualified immunity.

    To say nothing of the increased charges on individual officers (or, quite arguably, that there are charges at all).

    There's a lot that they are able to accomplish, it's just not going to be accompanied by a flashy victory, but will be a lot of smaller bits of progress.
     
  10. Outsourced

    Outsourced Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2017
    Burn it down. Might be the only way at this point.
     
  11. SateleNovelist11

    SateleNovelist11 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 10, 2015
    Body cams are a great start...same with barring chokeholds. Yet...I'm inclined to agree with Outscoured, since the system is getting too corrupt.
     
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  12. CairnsTony

    CairnsTony Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    May 7, 2014
    This is a very important point to make. That Gandhi's Leave India campaign was successful in the end is truly remarkable. There are key factors that mark it out: Gandhi was a figurehead, who stuck to his Satyagraha (the power of truth) throughout. You need a leader who is charismatic, intelligent, articulate, and able to unite disparate groups in a common cause. The diversity of India, culturally, linguistically, and especially religiously, had made it near impossible beforehand.

    Any movement that truly wishes to effect change needs a leader; a spokesperson who sticks to the truth, and not hyperbole. They need to command respect and be influential enough to be that person; and they need to be able to petition those in power with a specific set of demands and goals.

    Now having said that, I get the calls for violence, ironically. My immediate ancestors on both sides were violent revolutionaries. But I really do feel that this should be the last resort when every other avenue has been exhausted. If the IRA campaign taught us anything, it doesn't matter how right a united Ireland can be in principle, you are never going to convince enough people that you are right if blowing up children and babies is your means to try and achieve that aim. There's violence and there's violence.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2020
  13. SateleNovelist11

    SateleNovelist11 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 10, 2015
    I now more about Gandhi's influences through Thoreau, Jainism, and other beliefs. But despite my study of Asian religions in college, it's easier to understand the anarcho-pacifism of his perspective. The good thing was that he was a figurehead, like you said. And that's true. India was comprised of more nations besides India back then. Sadly, he tried to make peace with the Muslims, and some Hindu nationalists didn't like that.

    I agree. I think pacifist protests are the way to go. The IRA tried its thing. But cooperation and empathy are more empowering than violence, like you said.
     
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  14. CairnsTony

    CairnsTony Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    May 7, 2014
    Gandhi was right to do that. He despised religious sectarianism and dreamed of a united India where the different religions could co-exist. An entirely laudable goal, but of course one that earned him as many enemies as friends.
     
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  15. Lord Vivec

    Lord Vivec Chosen One star 9

    Registered:
    Apr 17, 2006
    This is....not accurate. Gandhi didn't "liberate India with pacifism," though westerners are taught that in school because it makes for a) a feel good story and b) teaches children that they shouldn't be real thorns in the side of their oppressors. As CairnsTony mentioned, Gandhi was a good figurehead, and that's why he's remembered as the father of the nation there, but it's simply not accurate to present the decolonization of India as something won through "pacifism." It was a far more complicated process that is simply not taught to people here.

    The movement Gandhi led wasn't the only movement there. There were several more violent movements, including a famous one by Subhash Chandras Bose that wanted to ally Indian nationalists with the Axis powers, that had been putting pressure on the British government to withdraw. Simply put, violence was used against the British in India, and the pressure from that aided in gaining India its independence. India is not a lesson in the success of pacifism.
     
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  16. SateleNovelist11

    SateleNovelist11 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 10, 2015
    Yeah, it was so weird. People always find a reason to be in conflict with one another. It's too normalized, since we simply could have more in common with one another as opposed to all this drama.
     
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  17. CairnsTony

    CairnsTony Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    May 7, 2014
    Yeah, I definitely oversimplified things in my initial comment. It was complex, something history has an irritating habit of being, and violence definitely played its role.

    But as I say, if you have a figurehead whom people can rally behind, then suddenly there is a single voice, which may wholly or in part, speak your language. If that figurehead is good enough at what they do, and right enough, then your movement becomes focussed, with clear goals, more organised, and will likely grow. At least that should be the key aspiration.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2020
  18. vncredleader

    vncredleader Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2016
    Yeah but the single voice wasn't what made britain blink, it was the fact that so many with that voice broke ranks and got violent. Gandhi condemned people like Ram Mohammad Singh Azad, or other revolutionaries, but it was their blood that made britain afraid. Literal mutinies utterly sperate from each other broke out in the navy, halting trade. That alone showed that a war was coming otherwise. Gandhi opposed the very things that led to independence.

    We cant aspire to be figureheads, cause figureheads can be flawed, they can be killed, they can be jailed, they can subvert their own movements for any number of reasons, etc. Reject the great man hypothesis, even if it is applicable, trying to make it happen is a recipe for disaster