Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

04/06/2010 (2:16 pm)

Cooperative Civil Disobedience

Anyone who is considering the possibility of someday having to engage in public acts of civil disobedience in protest of an oppressive government should read this article from a blog called Truth and Common Sense, entitled “How to properly implement civil disobedience and make everybody happy — Cuban style.” It describes a way to engage in public demonstrations that potentially violate the law without endangering either the protesters or the police, by simply informing the police what is planned.

My buddy reminded me of how the Cubans handled the same situation in a city to our north. That city, which is far larger and has a Cuban population of over twenty-five percent, worked out a deal with the leaders of the protesters. The leaders came to them and said, “Okay, we are upset about this issue. We are going to march downtown and block off this intersection at five p.m. We will hold that intersection for twenty minutes after which we will disperse. Here is the list of ten people that will stay behind so you can “arrest” them and take them to jail for disorderly conduct. You can get your booking sheets started now if you want. My buddy said, “You know cops. We were them for a long time. They’ll jump all over the opportunity to work this deal. They know the situation is under control, so nobody gets hurt on either side. The protesters get their media attention, the police get to show they are in control and make a few arrests and everybody is happy!”

It sucks eggs that decent citizens have to learn how to do this sort of thing in order to protect liberties we’ve been able to take for granted all our lives, but such are the times in which we live.

If any of my readers have similar advice for engaging in civil protest that makes a potent statement but does not create significant danger for the protesters, the police, or innocent bystanders, please feel free to post them in the comments here, or pass them along to me. You can send email as indicated in the “About” page, which you can reach from the sidebar under the heading “About This Site.”