Our Obligation to Protest By V. Lyn
“If you ask me what I want to achieve, it’s to create an awareness, which is already the beginning of teaching.” In a 1978 interview with John S. Friedman, published in The Paris Review 26 (Spring 1984); and in Elie Wiesel : Conversations (2002) edited by Robert Franciosi, p. 85
A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.”:109
Martin Luther King Jr.
The Republican Party, Corporations and the Republican bent media constantly use the tactic of demeaning the “Occupy” movement in this way they hope to suppress it’s potential of attracting other diseffected people. Their argument is that they are hippies, young kids and trouble makers all of these comments are an attemp to belittle the movement as if the young, the hippies and yes even the troublemakers should not have a voice in society. Additionally it ignores the fact that there are people in the movement that are in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and yes even 60’s and 70’s this is a movement that addresses the dis-satisfaction that the populace has for the corporate take over of our government.
We have seen the right faction of the government further disenfranchise both minorities as well as the most needy in our society. The tactics used have been cutting funding to inner city and rural schools on the surface this looks like mere fiscal prudence but the impact is that the less educated or well educated our middle and poor children are the less able they are able to compete in a global economy, which helps to keep the poor in a the next generation of the children of those 1%. We see it when we look at the vilification of our Unions. Unions have always been a buffer against the virtual re-enslavement of American workers. Without unions we would not have child labor laws, minimum wage, health plans, workers compensation, vacation- without Unions we would be at the mercy of corporate dictates. The republicans would have us believe that corporations would pay people justly even if Unions did not exist…just as banks and the airlines have not dipped their fingers deeper in our pockets with outrageous fees, they the corporations would not lower the American wage, or have you work longer hours than the already 40-60 hour week you work. Or perhaps out of sheer generosity they would not further downsize their organizations and have you pick up additional responsibilities all while lowering your wage, and perhaps even better still they will cut your hours while still demanding you perform your old functions as well as the additional ones, and now that you are only working a 30 hour work week of course you are no longer a full time employee and no longer entitled to company benefits. Thankfully we can all depend on the largess of Corporations.
We have seen the republican further disenfranchise minorities by imprisonment often for minor offenses, these felony charges in some states serve to suppress the vote of those men and women. We see their attempts to control elections through voter suppression with redistricting, and making it more challenging for voters to register to vote.
We have as American citizens as people on this planet an obligation to make ourselves heard when we see an injustice.
A great wind swept over the ghetto, carrying away shame, invisibility and four centuries of humiliation. But when the wind dropped people saw it had been only a little breeze, friendly, almost gentle.
Even a purely moral act that has no hope of any immediate and visible political effect can gradually and indirectly, over time, gain in political significance.
I pondered all these things, and how men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name.
“This war did not spring up on our land, this war was brought upon us by the children of the Great Father who came to take our land without a price, and who, in our land, do a great many evil things… This war has come from robbery – from the stealing of our land.”
I quietly declare war with the State, after my fashion, though I will still make use and get advantage of her as I can, as is usual in such cases.
Henry David Thoreau
If you attack the establishment long enough and hard enough, they will make you a member of it.
One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Resistance is feasible even for those who are not heroes by nature, and it is an obligation, I believe, for those who fear the consequences and detest the reality of the attempt to impose American hegemony.
The voice of protest, of warning, of appeal is never more needed than when the clamor of fife and drum, echoed by the press and too often by the pulpit, is bidding all men fall in step and obey in silence the tyrannous word of command. Then, more than ever, it is the duty of the good citizen not to be silent.
Charles Eliot Norton