In the wake of protests in England, people are once again debating the merits of civil disobedience in the form of breaking *. This form of political
expression is always a hot issue raising all sorts of moral conumdrums.
So the question is, and always has been, is public violence justified?
The looters would say: "The powerful have never listened to peaceful protest. In fact, peaceful protests either get broken up by police, derailed by
silly city ordinances or slandered by the media as being a small ring of nutjobs. Besides, what has peaceful protesting ever TRULY accomplished. When
peaceful demonstrations ARE effective they are met with violence by those in power (see America in the 60's, Burma, Tienamen Square, etc). Seems like
the peaceful can never win if the government has the power to literally trample protestors."
The peaceful would say: "It does no good to stoop to the level of violent, oppresive governments. If we are trying to change society we have to BE the
change we wish to see. If we act violent it will show that violence is ok and that we are no better than the people we're protesting against. History
will redeem us even if our bodies suffer the consequences right now. Besides, the damages caused by looting and violence is counterproductive and
violence is a simpleminded, emotional reaction. Be rational, be peaceful."
So where do you fall? Should we be able to use violence just as the government can? Does violence hurt the cause more than help it? What about the
people who are not involved in the protest or the government, should they suffer the consequences of a small group of unruly people? Are these same,
uninvolved people too dense to realize the protest is all FOR THEM?"
Peaceful protest are only possible if the movement is organized, stable and with a future direction or goal. Violent protests are usually spontaneous.
They're usually a peaceful protest that gets escalated by police presence. Which brings me to another question.
Where to the police loyalties lie? Do they protect the people's right to protest, even if SOME of them are violent. Because, lets be honest, not
everyone that protests wants to be violent and break store windows. Some people are simply behind the cause, which, more of often than not, is a
police officer shooting a citizen. Does the mere presence of police in riot gear provoke violent protests? Do the police engage in intimidation when
they surround a peaceful protest with plastic shields, armored uniforms and wooden clubs? Are they actually PROVOKING the violence they're trying to
Personally, I feel peace is good for some protests but violence is necessary for social change. Its unfortunate but we are a VERY violent society and
sometimes it takes a burning building to wake people out of their trance. If people were awakened through education (a slow, long term process), as
opposed to awakened by unemployment (a sharp, surprising process), then peaceful protests would be the norm and there wouldn't be reactionary, violent
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