For only when we put our bodies to the gears will the machine stop.
Respect, love and hope!
Kind regards John
Bravo! Sorry POTA prevented me from joining in.
just heard from Jon; everyone's been released- 3 had been released earlier, five were held, including him and Cindy, to "make an example out of [them]," in Jon's words. They were arraigned today, and pled not guilty. Bad phone connection, we only talked briefly. He was in good spirits.
Whose Streets? (Our Streets between 1pm and 4pm With a Permit)
"Many times during the 50 hour ordeal, Elaine and I were asked if we thought it was “worth it,” to go through so much hardship for so little gain.
My answer is, first of all, if more people crossed the line with me, we wouldn’t have had to stay 50 hours in jail and I was very upset that we were left to hang out to dry like that. Secondly, the war didn’t end while we were suffering—but knowing how awful it is to spend so much time in jail and be treated like one is a serial killer and not a protester—I would do it again and again, as I have.
There are literally billions of people suffering all over this planet due to my nation’s militarism and greed and I know many people would have traded places with me in a heartbeat and think the conditions were pretty damn good.
AND this never happened to me when Bush was president.
UPDATE: Three of us went to pick up our property this morning at the Park Police station and as we were being jacked around, an officer named Thomas (Badge number 628) told me that if I “stopped getting arrested” I wouldn’t have to go through all of this.
I said: “when the wars stop, I will stop.” He actually then told me: “The wars will stop when we nuke them and take their oil.”
I wonder why they are called “pigs.”"
my comment crossposted from truthaction:
damn. What the eight arrested did is admirable. What Obama and his backers are doing in continuing the occupation and escalating the "AfPak" war is reprehensible. I wonder where the line is that separates the rest of us- who protested the wars, want them to stop, but didn't put our bodies on the gears; who witnessed people being jailed simply for failing to obey orders to move from a public sidewalk, but didn't take the step to risk arrest for doing the same- from those who are waging the illegal wars. Our not clogging the system is in some sense facilitating the system causing the death and destruction.
As Cindy noted, many are enduring much worse because of the U.S. war machine. But the idea of being arrested and held in jail doesn't trouble me as much as the question about how to actually end the wars and other abuses of power- how to reform or replace the system to keep these state-level crimes from happening again.
As Cindy said, "The arrests are symbolic and don’t shut down anything, except in the case of large arrests, where the police stations are busy for a few hours." Even if thousands worked up the nerve to be arrested, will that end the wars? As T.B. noted on the other thread, it had some effect in the 60's; shifting public opinion and direct action were likely factors in ending the Vietnam War- but illegal overt and covert interventions have continued regularly since then.
So what is the solution?
In my humble opinion, it seems that the time of 9/11 Truth activists would be better served at this time by directing every available moment and resource toward the NYCCAN effort to compel NYC councilpersons to examine the evidence for controlled demolition at the WTC on 9/11, as opposed to being arrested before a handful of bystanders with camcorders, however well meaning the act may be.
Since the NYCCAN effort involves only a few minutes of calling a day, it need not preempt other worthy efforts. The main lesson of civil disobedience for activists who would never participate is that if me make significant headway in general, we should be ready for repression.
If you understood the symbolism of what Gold et al are trying to do you would be more supportive?
Any way maybe you do?
Gold et al are trying to start a peaceful revolution, if they achieve this things will change and we will see the return of America to the constitution and to justice for all.
Sometimes people have to dream big dreams and take big risks if we want a better world, to put them down for trying is of no help!
We must act now and support all that are trying to achieve our aims, there is no time for negativity any more:)
That was beautiful.
Join Peace of the Action in Washington DC!
Cindy Sheehan welcomes 9/11 truth to Camp OUT NOW
The Eleventh Day of Every Month
Stay strong bro. There are millions supporting you and getting ready to step up the TM efforts.
We are right behind you!!!
and from these millions please lets see thousands visible in the street with banners, flyers, DVDs etc
"Saturday March 20, 2010: Jon was marching and protesting at White House alongside Cindy Sheehan at anti-war action sponsored by ANSWER COALITION's "MARCH ON WASHINGTON." As of 1am Monday morning we believe that Jon is still being held in Washington DC Central Booking. Peace of the Action (http://www.peaceoftheaction.org) has a lawyer actively working in support of Jon's release."
More information on the circumstances, why he was arrested, what he is being charged with? Why Jon Gold and not Cindy Sheehan? Were there others arrested as well?
hope you're doing well and to see you soon
Although I don't always agree with Jon Gold and the information he encourages others to focus on, I do believe that non-violent civil disobedience that results in an arrest can be a good thing for 9/11 Truth. Good Job.
Jon's body language spoke peace. He is a large, muscular, powerful man. He comported himself with great dignity and strength - while at the same time showing no physical resistance or tension in his body. His body language was the embodiment of powerful, peaceful, non-violent resistance.
Great job Jon.
Love to you from unseen multitudes round the world.
Thanks for your courage and hard work.
Both are operative words, here. Everyone should take note.
Jon's commitment is obvious. I'm rethinking my own.
This is why Jon is doing this, I'm sure you would of made his day if he reads this post:)
Thank you Jon.
Thanks for continuing to provide us all with a with a great example to go by.
Thank you Jon. Thank you.
We love you, Jon, all of us! And thank you. Words are insufficient.
You are a true patriot Jon!
I give this advice here as some who has been arrested over 30 times in civil disobedience.
I give it here because you won't talk to me.
I hope you won't assert in court that you should be found not guilty because you were only exercising your first amendment rights rather than protesting. It's lame to assert one isn't protesting when one plans to get arrested. This is the approached used in 2005 by Cindy and others arrested at the White House. You exercise your first amendment rights regularly here on blogger. You were planning to get arrested. I'm GLAD you were planning to get arrested. Don't be less than courageous.
I know you have a full time job. They won't give you a sentence your first time.
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that numbers of people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. . . Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem." --Howard Zinn, "Failure to Quit", p. 45
“All progress stops in the contented man. I'm for agitation. It's the greater factor for progress.”
- Mother Jones
The time has come, or is about to come, when only large-scale civil disobedience, which should be nonviolent, can save the populations from the universal death which their governments are preparing for them.
- Bertrand Russel
But remember that if the struggle were to resort to violence, it will lose vision, beauty and imagination. Most dangerous of all, it will marginalize and eventually victimize women. And a political struggle that does not have women at the heart of it, above it, below it, and within it is no struggle at all.
- Arundhati Roy
That is a very powerful succinct 50 seconds of YouTubing for 9/11 Truth you got there with Jon Gold dedicating his arrest to Robert McIlvaine Junior and the 2972 others who died during the not yet criminally investigated mass murder of September 11th 2001. The list of family members on http://patriotsquestion911.com/survivors.html#McIlvaine is also impressive, and it augurs well to see how many medical colleagues have also joined the site www.patriotsquestion911.com ! We must MOVE the masses this year!
Dr Beeth in Brussels www.patriotsquestion911.com/medical.html#Beeth
Thank you for standing for what is right and just Jon. We are behind you 100%
You never walk alone ;-)
John, you said the right things and you kept your composure. We need more of this.
I can't help but notice there is a total lack of any 9/11 Truth related signage, t-shirts or anything. Really it's just a video targeted at other Truthers. I'm told there is news footage of the arrest. Now THAT would be something to get emotional about.
Maybe there is more to this video but there is nothing visible that screams 911 TRUTH !!!! Personally, I'd have a sign that says "RE-INVESTIGATE 911!! STOP BLAMING MUSLIMS!!!
And one more thing...
Goldenheart? Am I the only one that sees all the overly gooshy support of Gold to be a little much? Goldenheart? Really???
It's good, I'll give you that. But it's not THAT good. But this is an inside video for insiders like us at 911Blogger.com. What we need is news coverage with 911 Activists being arrested with 911 Truth signs and banners.
Tone down the praise for one of our own who is taking direct action during a very important event. Have you no couth?
That is not exactly a fair characterization of the point I made. And I resent the sarcastic tone and your use of phrase 'one of our own'. Maybe I'm being picky but so be it.
The point I am trying to make is that rather then focus so much on Jon Gold and how great he is within the 911 Truth community...why not look at the action and critique it? How can we do it better? We all know Jon Gold is a long time truther who gets lots of props from other users on this and other 911 Truth related websites. It's obvious he's dedicated a large portion of his life to this movement.
But how can we take this action and learn from it? Make it better?
Some asked in this thread why Jon was in jail and not Cindy. I'd be surprised if all the people arrested weren't either in or out. More importantly, it's good for the effort that Jon IS in jail as you can see from this paragraph I wrote in 2006 explaining
The Power Dynamic of Nonviolence
If you can persist in the face of repression, you communicate to your adversary that what they’re doing isn’t so much bad, which it probably is, as much as it is ineffective. Then you begin to drive a wedge between the liberals and conservatives in power. The liberals moan and complain, ”They’re making us look so bad, can’t we think of something to give them to get them to go away?” The conservatives respond, “No, no, no. If we’re a little more brutal, we can break them.” Nevertheless, IF you can persist in the face of repression, you push that wedge further and further between the factions of power. Here’s the key: the better the nonviolent discipline, the further the wedge will go for any given level of effort and sacrifice. The smoother the wedge, the further it goes. The rougher the wedge, the slower it proceeds.
Without repression, the actions are less powerful. The authorities understand this but the activist community generally doesn't.
This disagreement I have with POTA is at the heart of their suppression of me and my arrest at their encampment on Friday. which I posted late for that thread so I repost here. Please note the various times I praise Cindy in this.
Today(Friday) POTA leadership had me arrested at their encampment
Polly Miller told me to leave as I sat down under the tent. I invited her to call the police. She said I was intolerant of other people's views. I asked why she said that. She said I was insisting they use Gandhian tactics. I said I was merely calling for dialog. I note here that signs I used in DC in January called for discussion and the sign I used in Valley Forge in March called for dialog. I ask now when have you heard of nonviolence advocates who DIDN'T seek dialog? While waiting for the police a woman about my age engaged me in discussion.Polly was good enough to not prevent this. She turned out to be comparably lacking in knowledge of nonviolence as most truth activists. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on you folks.
I explained that the power of the protest should be seen as more in going to jail than in the arrest part. She objected to the word "should." Looking back I wonder if she would object to saying the US should withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan? She said that the main need is public education. I wonder now why she came to a civil disobedience action instead of working on a legal rally. She said going to jail did no good. I noted that in one episode of "Eyes on the Prize", the great documentary of the civil rights era, MLK thought that momentum was lost in one city when someone bailed him out of jail. I said I was encouraged that Cindy had said she could see herself doing a stretch in jail. The woman continued by saying things like "No one will care if you go to jail.". I said people would care if Cindy went to jail. She countered that most people didn't know who Cindy was. She eventually asked what I felt the difference was between Gandhian resistance and civil resistance, my primary argument. I said that Gandhi called for suffering to touch the heart of the adversary and that Gandhi was concerned with the spiritual progress of his adversary. I noted civil resisters seek legal means to avoid or minimize their sentence and just want to appeal to their supporters. Another man overheard me. He said he's heard that discussion all too much. I don't know anyone but me who says that. I didn't call him a liar. I just said I was surprised at his remark. The one person there from Oregon with whom I had had an interesting conversation about nonviolence on Monday said nothing.
Many police came in several vehicles. Polly said I was a counter protester. This despite I had no sign and no leaflet. The police asked me to step outside the tent. Like at Valley Forge I told them I would cheerfully go wherever they wanted AFTER they arrested me. The office said," So you refuse to follow my order, right?" I said, "That is correct." He said," Stand up. You are under arrest." They lead me away from the tent. They handcuffed me. They counted my money in front of me. One officer asked what the issue was. I replied I wanted to talk about a purer and more powerful approach to nonviolence. I added that those inside were nonviolent, too. I said it was sad we couldn't just talk.
One officer warned me that if they let me out that night, they'd keep my cash in the safe, which I would not have access to until business hours. He noted I would go to a station in a tough part of town and suggested I wouldn't be able to get a cab without cash. I was taken to the station in a paddy wagon. While waiting to be processed the officer asked if I knew what was happening Monday the day arrests will start. I said I'm sure Cindy would let them know and I praised her opposition to secrecy. I gave my info. One officer said to the officer with me that I was a DJ. They put me in a cell. I slept a while on a narrow wooden bench.
They called me out and told me they weren't pressing charges. I guess that's what DJ meant. That brings up the main lesson of the day.Much of police intimidation tactics are not to be accepted on face value. We counted out my money again. $55.60 and a European coin. They agreed to take me to the metro. I waited outside for a half hour. I buzzed them and asked if they had forgotten me.The officer who had arrested me drove me to the metro. I noted I was not surprised they didn't charge me, since I carried no sign or leaflet. Because this officer was African American, I spoke of Barry Jennings and gave him my card with the JenningsMystery.com listed at the bottom. I said I assumed since he worked in law enforcement I'd hope he was curious. I added I didn't expect him to contact me.
I go to court at 9:45AM on Thursday, March 25 at 128 West 4th St in Bridgeport Pa for my 3 Valley Forge arrests. Call me 410-499-5403
But you've got some sort of complex going on, some sort of superior passive aggressive thing happening, which allows you to be right relative to others' wrong, and that's just not right, not the best approach - just a little loving criticism.
Every action reverberates throughout all eternity, and I have to agree with your use of Ghandi as a model. But hey, why not relax your ego a bit and the need to be right, or to make it about you.
That said - thank you for going there and doing what you can, it means everything.
Peace and love.
I'd like to share an anecdote that supports the point you're making here, David. In 1982, hundreds of protesters blockaded the Franklin River in Tasmania to oppose, with their bodies, the destruction of pristine (later to become World Heritage) wilderness. The State government, which planned to build a hydro scheme on the river, warned the protesters they would be arrested for trespassing if they didn't leave, but the protesters stood their ground. In excess of a thousand protesters were arrested and jailed. The State's prisons were filled to overflowing. The courts imposed bail restrictions to prevent protesters returning to the scene of the blockade. Many jailed protesters refused the bail conditions. The jailed protesters were held in overcrowded conditions for a couple of weeks but eventually the Courts were forced to relent and release the protesters without conditions to relieve the pressure on the jail system. Overall, the campaign was a huge success for the protesters and an expensive, embarrassing debacle for the state. Needless to say, the wilderness that so many put their freedom on the line to defend, was saved ... it's now known as the Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.
your discussion is deeper than anything I found quickly
The 1982 blockade on the Franklin River was a powerful moment in the history of non-violent civil disobedience.
Here is a link to a youtube video about the blockade
"What we need is news coverage with 911 Activists being arrested with 911 Truth signs and banners."
Here's a slide show of my action at the Michelle Obama rally at UNC Asheville. The police practically laughed at the Democratic party organizers when they tried to toss me out for having a sign at a political rally. The lady cop actually said she agreed with me. If I can find it I will include another set from the Hillary Clinton rally at the Asheville civic center.
Mia Hamel of Tampa and I (at the time from the DC suburbs) were arrested at the opening shows of Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center". I had waited 25 years for the right time and place to give the Gandhian plea, "if you believe in what you are doing, give me your stiffest sentence. If you don't resign."
Here is a link to relevant events on my website, 911courage.org http://911courage.org/article.php?story=20061108230113931&query=plea
I would have gone back and gotten arrested again after the 3 months suspended sentence was given out except Webster Tarpley had convinced the DC911truth group, which I had founded, to be hostile to these efforts. The DC group and I get along much better now.
I had gotten arrested with Cindy Sheehan at the White House in late October 2005 in order to suggest this approach to her. She was impressed enough with the concept that she titled her Common Dreams post the next day with the same Gandhian plea. Here's the link:
I confess to never having heard of your organization or actions. Keep up the good fight.
keep it up, but if I might I'd like to offer a little loving criticism.. try making it a little less about the >I< in you, and more about the cause. What you do, if you do it before God in the name of righteousness, ought to be it's own reward. There is something a little repulsive when you brag about it, and keep repeating I I I, and then ask us to acknowledge you for your efforts. Of COURSE we applaud your efforts and what you've done for the sake of the movement. I have to admit that I don't quite understand where you're coming from David... it doesn't come across in the most appealing manner I have to say.
But thank you. What you do is important, very important.
Not surprised an engineer would be able to give praise and dispassionate criticism.
The reason for my original efforts to raise Gandhi is that all other Americans knowledgeable about Gandhi appear not to be concerned that those who do resistance ignore Gandhi. I should have been able to raise my issues, have under I'll guess 5% respond with even slight interest, and I would have been satisfied. More accurately, if I really was heard I would have felt fairly treated even if EVERYONE rejected it.
Years ago I had the opportunity to interact twice with the young folks who broke windows in the big WTO Seattle protest. I was so impressed at how fairly I was treated.
The reason I felt compelled to move to civil disobedience in Pa is that I'm VERY concerned with the rarity of 911 truth activists even TRYING to work things out. Betsy and Jon are actually MUCH more reasonable than most. We are SO much weaker as a movement because of this tendency. Genuine pursuit of the truth should mean one would not be threatened AT ALL by those who disagree. Otherwise the goal becomes victory rather than truth.
therefore it lasts forever."
David, we must be the peace that we strive for. Robert says it so well. We can't sell ghandi or any great idea. Sometimes our work isn't effective because we started wrongly.
These words may help ..."your own home is in such mess, your own inner being is in such a mess-how can you have a perspective to understand vast problems? And people who are in a tremendously confused state of mind start helping others and start proposing solutions.
....war is not the problem, individual aggression is the problem-war is just the total." osho
This is a good example of a strong criticism given politely. Do you know me? I'm not sure what you refer to. Maybe you are sincerely trying to be helpful. Is my assertion that most truth activists have difficulty even dialoging with those with whom they disagree off the mark?
I am not an activist yet I realize that many people are and I respect that. The christians have tried to "raise" Christ and yet have done much harm to his life and work.
Why "raise" Ghandi? Why ask somebody to acknowledge what you care deeply about or what you do? Like Robert Rice says, the work should be it's own reward, otherwise, why bother?
And it is not about "me", even though each of us can contibute in our small way to a cummulative effect.
Who cares if Cindy or Betsy will include you or dialogue with you? Do your own thing and trust what you do.
I don't see Cindy's methods to be all that helpful, but one nevers knows, so I don't call her names. She certainly means well!
If we go on fighting with an ugly system we have to stay on their (low) ground. We must keep on moving to the higher ground of peace, freedom.
As a recent Christian(I came to Christ in my 50's), I certainly agree MOST Christians since Constantine ignore His dictum," Love your enemies."
Christ requires faith. Gandhi as a mere mortal, was a teacher. Many Indian admirers of Gandhi seem to care more about honoring the father of their country. I raise Gandhi as a teacher and as a good political example. Because most political people see their adversaries as enemies, reminding them of the option that they might consider them adversaries has concrete benefit.
Political activity requires discussion. The main reason I got arrested in Pa was to speak against the cultural weakness of the truth movement . Too many truth activists stand strongly against civil discussion with those with whom they disagree. I asked you to comment on this assertion of mine, but you avoided this. I hope you can feel safe enough to address my loving challenge.
I certainly believe Cindy means well. I consider her heart much easier to touch than Dick Cheney's.
I now will address the part of your post which is clearly unfair. I call Cindy no names. I actually praise her in several ways. You seemed to have missed this. You seem to feel disagreement with someone is necessarily disagreeable. No wonder you avoid politics.
My philosophy of minimum disruption maximum self sacrifice is my way of opposing the system. Why isn't your definition of higher ground closer to avoidance or lack of courage?
Is it true you gave such strong personal criticism before without knowing me. Seems very unfair. We all have our faults. I don't deny mine to those who criticize me with love. I wonder now about your sincerity.
Or your efforts. I appreciate your passion for what is true, which is what 911truth is all about. Sorry, I don't get activism. To me, practicing non-violence can only be learned by continuously trying to understand my own suppressed violence. That keeps me active enough! To try to force somebody to think or act like me is a violent act against the other.
I don't think "civil discussion with those with whom they disagree" is very meaningful. If someone wants to dialogue with me, fine, but the agreeing to disagree should be mutual.
I was t accusing you of calling Cindy names, but was speaking about myself.
I don't avoid politics, I just do my thing and trust it is enough. I am not afraid to disagree; in fact I usually disagree with most people on most issues.
I don't wish to oppose the sysem....I am the child in The Emperors New Clothes, innocent, aware, not afraid to say what I see - "The King Is Naked!!!!". But I am not here to stop the stupid parade. If enough people see it, the parade can't continue.
It doesn't take so much courage to say and live as you see, but more an innocence and trust in your own self. With 911truth, I see so much, I declare it, I trust what I see, but I don't intend to force that on anybody. By the way, I have tried and failed often. 911truth is a raging wildfire, that's what I see. Thanks for sharing.
Sorry, now I've misspelled your name! Thanks David Slesinger for your posts.
What is your opinion of the importance of people in conflict trying to work things out? This is why I did the CD.
To answer your question. People are always going to be in conflict, and I don't find it important to work things out always. You say, "j have been asking for discussion of non - violence.... I only seek discussion of Gandhi particularly Gandhian resistance...". I agree that noone is ever the enemy and how it is good to be cheerful in jail and so on. But you seem to be hoping everyone else will join you in knowing these things. The important thing is to just live it yourself, which is always much harder than trying to talk about it. It isn't easy to feel alone in our individaul endeavors, still that is what it remains to be. You enjoy not name-calling, but everybody doesn't see it your way.
We don't duscuss or learn in ten steps non-violence, we just live it and others will inevitably be drawn to you, which is what you hope for.
I hope this helps. Thanks for sharing and your deep caring about 911 truth and other important issues of our time.
I assert the need for respectful dialog among truthers is a tremendous need. It is second only to refraining from name calling. Of course, If one doesn't support political organizing, which I guess is your position, I can see why you might take those positions. Anyone trying to achieve success for the 911truth movement is, by definition, engaged in political organizing.
I do not and have not in any way implied nonviolence is easy to embrace. To suggest that any real advocate of nonviolence insists it is easy in very unfair. In the case of POTA, a potentially very daring action, I felt it was important that participants hear the issues explained in hope that a few people would look more deeply into the matter.
Of course it is true that political people of all stripes demonstrate some hypocrisy. but only someone cold to the suffering of the innocent would act as if advocates of truth and justice are by definition unworthy of consideration. I ask you to reconsider your counterproductive positions and join the struggle for truth and justice.
(Our Streets between One and Four When we have a Permit)
Report of our arrest and 50 hours detainment
Whose Streets? (Our Streets between 1pm and 4pm With a Permit)
On the 7th commemoration of the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq, there was a rally and march in DC sponsored by the A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition that was attended by about eight thousand people.
For quite awhile, I have been having problems with marches on Saturday, anyway. It seems like we march past empty buildings and shake our fists at them and promise that if those empty buildings don't change their ways, we will be back next year to do the same thing. The arrests are symbolic and don't shut down anything, except in the case of large arrests, where the police stations are busy for a few hours.
As far as I know, there were no large civil disobediences scheduled for last Saturday's rally, but some coffins were built on the sidewalk in front of the White House and four protesters decided to lie down near them and not move. Two of these protesters were good friends of mine: Elaine Brower of Military Families Speak Out and Matthis Chiroux of Iraq Vets Against the War. When I went over to check the action out, the four were begging the hundreds of others surrounding the protest to join them. The four were cordoned off with barriers and crime scene tape.
I began to plan a way to join Matthis and Elaine when I went to the front of the barrier and saw my dear friends, who have always been there for me, lying on the sidewalk by themselves. Just as I was figuring out how to get over the barriers, the section I was at collapsed onto the sidewalk and I took the opportunity to step over hoping that dozens, if not hundreds, would follow.
As soon as I crossed the barrier, I was slammed by a couple of cops, handcuffed and then actually run around the front of the White House while the cops tried to find a paddy wagon to stick me in-about 50 people were running with the cop and I, yelling: "Let her go, let her go." When the officer and I finally got to the paddy wagon, I was surprised to find that only two others had followed me. One other crossed the line to bring our detained numbers up to eight.
During my speech at the rally, I iterated the importance of "throwing our bodies upon the gears" of the machine, as well as marching-I got a huge cheer and during the march the participants chanted: "Whose streets, our streets." Eight detainees? Apparently the streets are only "ours" when we have a permit--god forbid we take them when the event is not permitted by the Police State!
Why, when the barrier was compromised, did more people not follow us to actually put their beliefs into higher relief than merely marching in a circle on Saturday? While we were being (tightly) handcuffed and loaded onto the hot paddy wagon, the crowd of on-lookers chanted, "This is what hypocrisy looks like."
I was, to say the least, very disheartened that hundreds of people didn't join us. Watching the video of my "crossing over," you can see a couple of people go over and then run back when the police come-but most of the people step back like the downed barrier is a livewire.
After a bumpy and sweaty ride, we eight arrive at the Park Police Station in Anacostia. As we were being processed, it started to become very clear that some of us were going to be detained until Monday. Ultimately, two of us were released and six of us were held. The two that were released were from DC and those of us held were out-of-towners. Immediately, we knew this explanation was total b.s. because I have been arrested in DC about 13 times now and I have always been from "out-of-town," and have never even been held overnight, let alone two nights.
Was it a coincidence that Camp OUT NOW had two major actions over the weekend to try and hold our campsite that I missed due to being jailed? I don't think so
Well, those two days were some of the most miserable days of my life! We were taken to a lock-up and Elaine and I were put into a freezing room and I had a t-shirt and flip-flops on, being unprepared to be arrested. For four women, our cell had one cement block bench that was about 7-8 feet long, so at least one of us always had to be on the stone-cold floor. Sleeping was fitful as it was very chilly all night-and very noisy!
Thirty-six hours, and eight bologna-like and cheese-substitute sandwiches later, we were taken to the court for our arraignment and stayed in that cell for seven hours and were finally released at 5pm after we all pled "not-guilty" and were scheduled for a trial on June 9th.
Basically, six of us stayed in jail for 50 hours for an offense that ends up to be the equivalent of a traffic ticket and we even had to go to traffic court to be arraigned. I am positive that everyone in DC who gets a traffic ticket and is from "out-of-town" does not have to stay over night. Then, I found out that the penalty for my charge "Crossing a police line" doesn't even carry any jail time. I spent two nights in jail on an offense with no jail time! The maximum penalty is $300! Boy, I will be even more pissed if I go through a trial and have to pay $300 dollars after I have already spent two nights in jail.
To make matters even worse, I was the only one who was forced to come back for a trial even though Elaine has more DC arrests than I do. The other seven have chosen to go to trial with me, but they were given the option to "pay and forfeit" which means to pay the fine and forfeit your right to a trial.
The icing on the entire crappy cake came when the eight of us were given a "stay away order" from the White House-I asked the Judge how could that be legal because we weren't convicted of anything, but the Judge assured me that conditions could be placed on our release. I also think this is very suspicious considering our Camp OUT NOW actions were focusing on the White House.
Many times during the 50 hour ordeal, Elaine and I were asked if we thought it was "worth it," to go through so much hardship for so little gain.
My answer is, first of all, if more people crossed the line with me, we wouldn't have had to stay 50 hours in jail and I was very upset that we were left to hang out to dry like that. Secondly, the war didn't end while we were suffering-but knowing how awful it is to spend so much time in jail and be treated like one is a serial killer and not a protester-I would do it again and again, as I have.
There are literally billions of people suffering all over this planet due to my nation's militarism and greed and I know many people would have traded places with me in a heartbeat and think the conditions were pretty damn good.
UPDATE: Three of us went to pick up our property this morning at the Park Police station and as we were being jacked around, an officer named Thomas (Badge number 628) told me that if I "stopped getting arrested" I wouldn't have to go through all of this.
I said: "when the wars stop, I will stop." He actually then told me: "The wars will stop when we nuke them and take their oil."
I wonder why they are called "pigs."
threw their bodies on the gears and levers of the machine. You were wronged. It is a goddamn shame that Obama has turned out to be just as evil as Bush. The methods are just as barbaric. The motivation is just as impure.
Since 2005 when I was arrested with Cindy at the White House, Cindy has always hugged me, until this year. Because she has not wanted to allow my full participation in POTA, allow me to give general praise for her before I make suggestions.
Cindy is dedicated and eloquent, these are obvious. She is relatively NOT doctrinaire. This is always remarkable with political activists, who easily fall into ruts. Most importantly, she is fun. This is a particularly difficult challenge for anyone dedicated to addressing serious problems.
Let me relate my favorite moment at the rally she organized against US use of drones near the CIA on 1/16/10. Kathy Kelly of Voices of the Wilderness in Chicago was about to be the last speaker. Kathy, a devout Catholic, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize more than once and has traveled to Middle East war zones many times. Cindy, who is a head taller than Kathy, not to mention being a grandmother, said " I want to be Kathy Kelly when I grow up. I'll just have to learn to stop swearing."
Cindy quoted Gandhi at that rally but resists my efforts to show how Gandhi, who stands for honor AND strength, has wisdom relevant to our situation. Most importantly Gandhi stands for trying to touch the hearts of his adversaries. He wouldn't look kindly on the implication one thinks of police officers as"pigs." They can often be misguided adversaries. They can be very misguided adversaries. They can be very, very misguided adversaries. They are NEVER the enemy because NO ONE is the enemy. I said this in my keynote speech at the We Demand Transparency conference in NY last September. I had exactly zero truth activists tell me they agree with this, although I'm sure a handful do.
A better approach to the police is what I told the judge in 2006 at the trial for my 911 truth related trespass. I said that in a democracy most people consider the police to be their friends. This is as it should be. However, under tyranny, the relatives of those in law enforcement will be ashamed of their relations.
I don't dispute Cindy's charges that the legal system is often unfair and inconsistent. It is more important to emphasize the larger injustices the protest is about. She does do that. She would be more powerful if she played down her own inconvenience as compared to these larger injustices. Gandhi actually urged those who go to jail for a higher cause to be CHEERFUL in jail. When the officer removed me from the POTA tent on Friday I said I'd CHEERFULLY go wherever he told me to AFTER he arrested me. When I did 4 months in jail in 1982 for a nuclear power related civil disobedience, one guard who didn't like me accused me of being on vacation. Interestingly, Gandhi explicitly considered his jail time to be a version of vacation, where he could catch up on his spinning and reading. Of course, being the leader of a national independence movement meant Gandhi's time as a free man was hardly his own.
I very much lament more people did not join Cindy to get arrested. I do prefer, however, to have people who decide to make a personal sacrifice for a higher cause to do so CONSCIOUSLY rather than in the heat of the moment. Heat of the moment activity lends itself too much to manipulation by people less well intentioned than Cindy. We in the 911truth movement are experts on the problem of people with bad intentions. (That's a wisecrack.)
It is actually quite a challenge for large civil disobedience actions (which I had hoped POTA would be) to address so called "agents provocateurs". Generally advocates of nonviolence rely on extensive nonviolence trainings, using an affinity group structure, and having some activists volunteer to be peacekeepers during actions.
One of the activists I know, who lives without a name, once said he lamented the nonviolence trainings because they encouraged people to be confident entering an action, since it's better to be openminded and humble. I make this comment to give a glimpse of how deep the study of nonviolence can potentially go.
I repeat here a posted comment from a few days ago long after the original post was made. It laments the sad and superficial state of the nonviolence trainings at POTA.
POTA nonviolence trainer calls mayor of DC "a piece of s**t"
When I drove from Baltimore to New York for a face to face meeting with POTA on 2/14/10, the person chairing the meeting, Robby Diesu, made it clear that he, a college undergraduate, would do the nonviolence trainings in DC prior to and during the action in March.
Weeks earlier during a conference call he had said he would write the nonviolence guidelines over the coming weekend. Since the meeting had arrived and I had not seen this work, I emailed Robby links to a variety of different sets of guidelines. I had no strong preferences. My only special concerns were no movement after dark, when those one encounters could more likely become afraid. it may be no problem. Cindy's judgment is often good.
My contribution at the beginning of the meeting was to request an evaluation at the end. I explained that meant people giving pros and cons about the process used rather than the substance of the issues.
My one comment about nonviolence was that Gandhi felt that the power of nonviolence was about suffering, as in jail, to touch the heart of the adversary. I noted that MLKing's version of that was his quote "Undeserved suffering is redemptive."
Later Robby criticized King as being less than nonviolent because of the time he sent children out to be arrested. A couple of older admirers of King objected strenuously, claiming that hadn't happened. I knew superficially of the event and tried to say it had happened, but wasn't allowed to come to Robby's defense. Wikipedia does discuss the "children's crusade". It had happened in early 1963 in Birmingham. The idea had come up because many adults couldn't afford to lose their incomes. It WAS controversial at the time. It was criticized by both Robert F Kennedy and Malcolm X. It turned out to be a very successful choice. No one, however, said it wasn't nonviolent. Here is the link.
Robby announced at the meeting that there would be only 2 nonviolence guidelines during the action. I was surprised because most actions have closer to 10. I liked both he chose. One was that we will treat everyone with respect. Within minutes he referred to the Mayor of Washington,DC as "a piece of s**t." I remember agreeing that Mayor Fenty deserved criticism in that case, just not name calling.
He announced there would be presentations at the encampment. I raised the idea of me giving one presentation and said all my concerns would be addressed if that could be arranged. He said that wouldn't be allowed because they had had problems with me. I noted he had violated his own guideline by calling Adrian Fenty "a piece of s**t". Several people in the room became VERY angry with me. I asked for a discussion of nonviolence then and there. He said there was no time, even though there was an hour and a half left.
The rest of the meeting involved only Robby asking if there were any more questions. Some sectarian members expressed concern for democratic process, which i interpreted as meaning,"don't suppress us". I smiled. I've never known leninists to be concerned with suppression of nonviolence advocates or competing sects. Clearly there had been time for a discussion of nonviolence.
One fellow said he normally was not attracted to nonviolence, but if that is what Cindy wanted, he would be cool. I was impressed. He agreed to let me speak to him at the end of the meeting. I explained that If he lost his cool at the action, there would still be some people who would not be turned off. However, many people who otherwise would be supportive would think less of the movement. He referred to his understanding of how cruel police in South Korea treated demonstrators. He was very accommodating.
Before the meeting was over I asked again if even one person would be willing to discuss nonviolence. None of the thirty or so people expressed interest.
At the end of the meeting I noted to Robby that he had skipped the evaluation. He was nice enough to apologize and asked for what I had wanted to say. I said that the facilitator asking for questions is not as democratic as presenting issues and asking for discussion.
The reason I post this over a month after the event is that i have been asking for discussion of nonviolence from the beginning. Polly Miller accused ME of being intolerant when she had me arrested at the Washington Monument on 3/19. I deplore the suppression of such discussion and note the irony that I was the one being called intolerant. Note that I continue to give Cindy and her close associates as much credit as I can.
Another lesson of note is that 911 truth activists are not the only people who have difficulty giving people they disagree with any credit.
My final 2 remarks back here on March 23 are
1. I've tried to make a case for the value of discussing nonviolence. I urge anyone on speaking terms with those fine people Cindy Sheehan, Jon Gold, and Betsy Metz to ask them to discuss nonviolence with me. As I guess you realize by now, they won't talk with me.
2. With apologies to anticommunists reading this, I quote Karl Marx,"History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce."
I refuse to pay 50 rupee's.
Do hope you'll work on your spelling, hardly a capital offense.
I wish I was together enough to be able to honestly claim to be a full Gandhian. I am a pale shadow of the Mahatma. More from not being vegetarian or bramacharya than from paying fines. I certainly pay parking tickets and moving violations. I also feel anger at times.
A couple of years ago the Institute for Total Revolution in India disciplined three young women for using cell phones. The head of that institution, who I've had the honor to meet in the 80's AND in 2008, does not use the internet. His granddaughter, however, helps communicate for him by that means. Gandhi was VERY MUCH against high technology.
Please note I only seek discussion of Gandhi, particularly Gandhian resistance. To claim, as Polly Miller did, that I require others to adopt Gandhi, is inconceivable. Gandhi is so uncompromising in so many ways that it requires a strong desire to incorporate his teachings.
The issue you raise, however, is particularly close to the issues I raise. I have been thinking that my recent arrests have NOT been against any law or government policy. Most of my arrests HAVE been against some government policy. Therefore I am hesitant to hold fast my tradition of refusal to pay fines.
I'd appreciate comment on this feature.