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Peaceful Protest

Matt Lubchansky
© Matt Lubchansky

I’m definitely not advocating violence. But America does seem to have a love-hate relationship with violence. We love the founding fathers and the Boston tea party, but we hate violent protests for civil rights. We love revolutionaries, as long as they aren’t socialists (although some people love Che Guevara, but mostly in a romantic sense).

Unfortunately, history is often written by the victors. So I guess we love violence as long as it happened in the past, … and we won.



  1. Hassan wrote:

    “We love revolutionaries, as long as they aren’t socialists”

    or anyone protecting their lands from foreign aggression. In which local people are terrorists terrorizing the invading army.

    Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 7:47 am | Permalink
  2. Michael wrote:

    Similar to my comment on the previous post, race plays a critical role. That’s why college students rioting at Michigan State because of the NCAA championship, or at Indiana University because of “The World’s Greatest College Weekend,” or at Kent State, or in Seattle, or many other places get waved off as “drunk kids” or “anti-war protestors.” Contrast that with the “thugs” in Ferguson, Baltimore, during the Rodney King riots, etc.

    Violent protests are only held up as a problem and crisis when those protesting are black. There was a great media clip where someone pointed out that “thug” really is just the new code word for n*****. Just like “inner city” is a dog whistle for black. Just like “Welfare queen” is code for inner city black (ignoring the sheer numbers of poor white rural). It’s all a ruse.

    In case you haven’t seen it, this Atlantic article is a must read. Two great paragraphs [emph. added]:

    “But there was no official appeal for calm when Gray was being arrested. There was no appeal for calm when Jerriel Lyles was assaulted. (‘The blow was so heavy. My eyes swelled up. Blood was dripping down my nose and out my eye.’) There was no claim for nonviolence on behalf of Venus Green. (‘Bitch, you ain’t no better than any of the other old black bitches I have locked up.’) There was no plea for peace on behalf of Starr Brown. (‘They slammed me down on my face,’ Brown added, her voice cracking. ‘The skin was gone on my face.’)”

    “When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is ‘correct’ or ‘wise,’ any more than a forest fire can be ‘correct’ or ‘wise.’ Wisdom isn’t the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community.”

    Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Permalink
  3. wildwood wrote:

    Great article Michael. Thanks for the link.

    Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 3:18 pm | Permalink
  4. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    The Atlantic Article is a very simplistic look at the problem. So I guess if eminent domain takes away your land you are for armed rebellion? So in the Bundy vs BLM in Nevada which was portrayed as home grown terrorists maybe actually were justified in their struggle. That’s a slippery slope on both arguments.

    People make up the government, and people also elect the government that hires, trains, pays and runs the people who abuse their authority.

    Did colonists have the ability to vote out the King? Did the French peasants get the chance to vote out their King?

    Our country did give the civil rights activists the chance to vote out their oppressors, and vote in more amenable leaders.

    I live in Baltimore, it has been run by the left for the last 50 years. Baltimore taxes are the highest in the state, and MD has some of the highest taxes in the country. So who is to blame? The left? The Right? The Middle?
    All of the above. The voters of Baltimore City, where blacks are over 60% of the population and tey continue to vote in the very leaders that allow the oppression to continue. So as my great grandmother would say, “seems like the pots calling the kettle black”.

    I can tell you some of what Baltimore needs, and its not anything discussed in this blog.

    Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 6:18 pm | Permalink
  5. Michael wrote:

    They’re only slippery slopes if you don’t realize that they are red herrings. You can’t exactly vote out people who are giving rough rides. And you especially can’t vote them out if your voting rights have been negated due to a conviction.

    Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 7:45 pm | Permalink
  6. ThatGuy wrote:

    PatrotSGT, there are legal grounds for eminent domain that do not exist for police brutality. Bundy was clearly and obviously in violation of the law, though you bring up a great example of Michael’s point about race impacting how events are viewed in at least some segments of the US population.

    Anti-government militias rallied to Bundy’s case and actually pointed weapons at Federal agents. I can assure you that if you look back at the coverage and response to that mess you’ll find plenty of people standing with Bundy (well, at least until his all-too-predictable bout of “look I’m an overt racist”) for standing up to The Man. They were patriots to certain segments of our dear population and wackos to others.

    Not so in Baltimore. Many, even those who see police brutality as a huge problem and Gray’s killing as a likely murder, are quick to point out that rioting is not the answer. That the oppressed should be stoic in their unchanging and often deteriorating lot in life. In this they are unwittingly joined by those on the right for whom the police can apparently do no wrong (provided the victims are not white) who immediately take up the riots rather than the killing that inspired them as the primary issue.

    No one will disagree with you that Baltimore has issues beyond police brutality. Many will agree that government is broken and reform is needed and that the people of Baltimore have some responsibility there. But to that all I can do is echo Michael: what incentive do they have to put faith in a system that has shattered so many lives while actively and passively denying their ability to take part in that system?

    Finally, I just can’t help but notice the turn of responsibility back to the oppressed. Sure, they (some of them) can vote, but the residents of Baltimore have just as much a right as anyone else in this country to not be brutalized by the police. I don’t care if you choose to vote or not, you’ve got a right to a police force that protects and serves, not one that assaults and murders.

    Friday, May 1, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:
    Six police officers are being charged in the death of Freddie Gray. Charges include second-degree murder, manslaughter, assault, false imprisonment, and misconduct. Let’s hope that justice is served.

    Friday, May 1, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink
  8. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    Lets hope it leads to a nationwide change.

    Michael, it is the elected leaders who run those agencies. And it they who should be held accountable for not acting in the interests of those who elected them. Now even that is simplistic, when you factor in public unions and the very difficult tightrope that elected officials need to navigate to bring about any change.

    Thatguy, “what incentive do they have to put faith in a system that has shattered so many lives”. I do agree, but they must. They have a newly elected States Attorney, who seems to be headed in that direction given the warrants just issued for the 6 officers. Although that may be wholly different once trials start. I agree we should expect better from any police dept, but there is baggage in that closet as well.

    50 years ago, and this is systemic of many locals in our nation, there were jobs, good middle class jobs that average folks could aspire to. I heard Obama say they other day we need to educate and train those folks to give them hope. That a very tired mantra. In Baltimore it’s train them for what, a service job. Do you really need training to work at CVS or a hotel, casino or stadium? That’s all the types of “jobs” Baltimore’s added over the last 50 years, while it lost the steel mills, auto manufacturing and other industries. We spend tons of money on education, but many of the graduates can’t even write an essay. How are they going to compete for the few good jobs. And for those that say pour more money into it, that’s wrong too. For half of what Baltimore spends per student in education you can get a private school education that will get you into college or a job. We need to make the money work better, not throw good after bad.

    We’ll see, I do appreciate the thoughtful insight and replies.

    Friday, May 1, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink
  9. Anonymous wrote:

    Education: Military. We spend huge amounts of money on military. Military gives jobs. Military gives education. Military gives job skills. Military gives strength. I’m a flaming liberal. I am strongly in favor of getting the jobless who are able into the military to raise their self esteem if nothing else.

    Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 4:59 am | Permalink
  10. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    Funny you should mention that Anonymous; 1st I wholeheartedly agree and I’ve been able to mentor more then a few who come from the mean streets.

    In Baltimore, some 20 years ago the National Guard had a program that put Soldiers in uniform in schools. They ran after school programs and summer camps and they talked about the dangers of drugs. It was funded with part of the “war on drugs” money carved out into a special program. It was a way to introduce middle and high school kids to the military and pass along a very good message. As the wars started money was diverted and they relied on fundraising and then as the calls to reduce the military budget took effect the programs disappeared all together. We still do a couple summer baseball for kids camps in joint effort with police and the National Guard. I’d like to see those previous types of programs get refunded.

    Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 6:21 am | Permalink
  11. wildwood wrote:

    It can be hard to impossible to get into the military with a felony conviction and/or with little or no education.

    Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

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