Wednesday, 19 October 2011

My conclusions in regards to the Sedona Wall Street protest October 13

The protest that I took part in Thursday, October 13 had, I'm sure, a positive impact. Still, what's needed is more assertive, even disruptive action. Even if those in power pay attention to the protests, they still don't have enough of an incentive to act in our best interests. The protesters represent no real threat to them. If we're going to organize protests, we should organize them in front of or around banks, radio stations and gas stations. We should make it difficult for people to simply go about their business without being aware of our presence. We should even stage an occupation in Sedona like the one organized by Occupy Wall Street in NY. Think of how much more attention we'd get just by calling our local effort "Occupy Sedona". And we should alert the media before any protest or occupation is to take place.

The non-violent protests, or satyagraha, organized by Mahatma Gandhi were designed to evoke sympathy for the Indian protesters and their cause against the British occupiers. The method made use of non-cooperation or civil disobedience. No one yet has proved to me why this method won't work in this country against the plutocrats and greed-mongers. 

I've met individuals who insist on arming themselves against a repressive government and roving criminals, ecologists and advocates of sustainability who strive to take peaceful actions and educate others. I've met diehard capitalists, wealth seekers and spiritual individuals wishing to solve political problems through meditation. And I've met people who are simply concerned for their survival. Each group believes its way is the best way to protect our rights, our freedoms and way of life, and bring about more fairness if not accountability. Yet with all groups going in different directions, we still don't have unity as a people. We may as well be a rabble. If only we'd seek to unite and practice solidarity, we see that an approach like satyagraha could work very well as a unifying and effective force in obtaining the desired reforms. 

In my last post I mentioned that I encountered a certain timidity among the protesters. This is more or less to be expected, since Americans aren't used to taking collective political action in public. 

The timidity I encountered may also help to explain why Americans are reluctant to practice satyagraha as a political approach.  Americans have been used to being obedient towards those in authority: most Americans I know haven't wanted to confront strangers or upset those who are subjugating them. This includes everyone from postal clerks to bank tellers. In a country where so many people are financially insecure, a desire to please is very much the standard mode of behavior. This insecurity may be a cause of political correctness. And political correctness is a mild symptom of the so-called "dumbing down" of Americans. Civil disobedience requires an attitude of non-cooperation towards one's oppressors. It's an act of substantial courage. It's very much in conflict with the obedience practiced by most Americans.

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