An interesting question was raised on the St. Paul Issues Forum on Monday. It's worth considering.
It's the last night of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Demonstrators gathered to protest those in power, but they didn't have a permit. Up to that point, they had broken no law. But when they didn't disperse, they were rounded up.
In Tehran, demonstrators opposed to those in power protested -- apparently peaceably -- in the street. When they didn't disperse, they were rounded up.
"What we can do is bear witness and say to the world that the incredible demonstrations that we've seen is a testimony to, I think, the -- what Dr. King called the 'the arc of the moral universe.' It's long but it bends towards justice," President Obama said this week.
Clearly, there's a difference in the level of violence between authorities and demonstrators. But on the fundamental question of whether protesters -- if peaceful -- should be allowed to take to the streets against a government, is there a difference?
I don't see any difference. Other than some broken windows and threats that were never realized, the people did nothing wrong. It's everyones right as a human to stick up for what they believe in peacefully. Our government would treat us the same and has when we aim for change. Though I was on the oppiste side of the protestors during the RNC, my heart was with them the entire time.
Asking such a question reveals the inability to realize differences.
In order to appreciate the difference, let's ask another "is there a difference" question.
Within the last couple of weeks, this nation experienced the assassination of an abortion doctor and the killing of a security guard at the Holocaust Museum.
Both acts of violence were perpetuated by people on the extreme right.
But here is the difference between violence on the right and violence on the left. No one on the right will line up to buy these killers cookbook like the Twin Cities progressive community did for Sara Jane Olsen, who was no less a murderer than they.
No candidates on the right will appear for fund-raisers in their living rooms in twenty years.
No one on the right will suggest their crimes be forgotten or forgiven.
And the that is the thing about the left -- it romanticizes violence.
The majority of people who showed up in Saint Paul for the convention weren't interested in peaceful demonstration. They were here for violent confrontation and they were going to get it no matter what.
The police, who were under a liberal command structure of one of the most liberal city governments in the nation, simply did all they could do to prevent outbreaks of violence by a political movement that has celebrated violence for the half century.
re: "And the that is the thing about the left -- it romanticizes violence."
Thanks for that marvelous bit of satire - I laughed so hard the milk came out of my nose.
I hate it when that happens - milk all over your Che Guevara T-shirt.
The difference is when the government violates the public trust they bother to turn out in Tehran, here we stay home and watch American Idol. No matter where you are the world, when the people are more afraid of the government than the government is of the people, you have a problem. The police riots during the RNC were nothing more than a government trying to intimidate a peaceful population. They got what- 8 people charged after making 700 arrests?
"The police riots during the RNC were nothing more than a government trying to intimidate a peaceful population."
Why would Saint Paul, arguably one of the most liberal cities in America, want to intimidate a "peaceful" population?
Here I thought the purpose for electing progressive-left candidates was to prevent government from being nasty to "THE PEOPLE".
If that is wrong, should we stop electing these people?
On the other hand, could it be that the protesters who showed up for the RNC with clubs, bombs, and Molotov cocktails were not peaceful?
Could it be that these same ***holes show up with alarming predictability and wherever they go, the truly innocent get hurt?
Could it also be that most of the demonstrators EXPECTED violence? That they were mimicking a sad 50 year tradition of leftist violence?
In Saint Paul, it was never difficult to get a permit to demonstrate. The only inconvenience was getting a permit to disrupt the RNC.
I notice in even in Tehran, both sides take pains to keep their demonstrators from clashing.
The precise opposite of what we witnessed at the RNC.
//The precise opposite of what we witnessed at the RNC.
You obviously didn't "witness" anything at the RNC.
The status quo is defended by both the left and the right by the way, a nasty reality everyone should be aware of.
GregS, you're being deliberately obtuse if you think there aren't people celebrating the murders at the Holocaust Museum & at that doctor's church. That you chose to use the word assassination rather than murder is interesting as well.
Yeah, just like the streets of Denver were filled with violent Republicans venting their outrage at the people who held two-thirds of the power in the U.S. in 2008 - Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
Talk about obtuse........there is no equivalence.
You would be hard-pressed to find any sympathy from Republican officials over the murder of the security guard at the Holocaust Museum or the abortion doctor. The condemnation was vocal and complete; unlike our local DFL luminaries, Sandy Pappas and Andy Dawkins who couldn't understand why the law was so resentful for so long over something as minor as gunning down a pregnant woman in bank robbery gone bad.
Then the whole Twin Cities progressive community jumped in and treated Ms. Soliah like a rock star. Heck, she even took a standing ovation at a Rage Against the Machine Concert.
C'mon, let's be honest. What lefty doesn't dream of rampaging through the streets to overthrow the powers that be?
Even, uh, if that power is solidly progressive.
//You would be hard-pressed to find any sympathy from Republican officials over the murder of the security
Really? Republicans don't have any sympathy for the security guard? Why not? I'm not following.
"Republicans don't have any sympathy for the security guard? Why not? I'm not following."
Yeah, you are right, that should have been written better.
Thanks for the catch.
I was trying to say, I know of no Republican elected official, or conservative leader who expressed sympathy for the killers. They have only expressed sympathy for the victims.
Contrast that to the sad state of affairs in the Sara Jane Olsen case.
Liberal's are so violent. Like the one that blew up the Federal building in 1995. And the one who shot Martin Luther king. Don't be silly Greg, it's not a liberal thing, any ideology of any stripe can lead to violence once people stop paying attention to reality and become obsessed with power. Your attempt to paint liberals shows your grip is slipping a little, that's when the bad happens man.
Unfortunately Greg, you are confusing extremist politics that exist in both political philosophies with just being the "left". On top of that you are assuming that everyone with left wing politics is an extremist. Not only are you just generally mistaken, you are using a number of logical fallacies to try and justify your statements.
Anyway, to be clear:
The KKK, Neo-Fascism/Nazism, "Ultra-Nationalism" etc = Far Right
Weather Underground, Social Anarchism, Anarcho-Syndicalism etc = Far Left
I think you are confused.
I made clear in my opening statement on this thread that in the past week there were two incidents involving right-wing terror. Of course there is violence on both the right and left.
HOWERVER IT IS CONDEMNED ON THE RIGHT, NOT ROMANTICISED!!
Now do you understand what I am getting at?
Ask yourself, did John McCain launch his presidential campaign from the living room of a couple who built bombs?
Did Barak Obama?
Here is a clue: AYERS AND HIS WIFE SHOULD HAVE BEEN POLITICALLY RADIOACTIVE!!
But they weren't.
As a matter of fact, Alice Palmer, the woman who brought Obama to the Ayers living room had gone to Czechoslovakia (Prague) in 1983 to attend a "peace conference" in the shadow of Soviet tanks, just down the block from where Vaclav Hovel sat rotting in jail.
She was not there to protest the Soviet's invasion of Afghanistan.
Now do you get the picture?
"On top of that you are assuming that everyone with left wing politics is an extremist."
That is your assumption, not mine.
"The KKK, Neo-Fascism/Nazism, "Ultra-Nationalism" etc = Far Right"
Are al universally condemned in conservative political circles. The only member of Congress who is a former member of the KKK is a democrat.
"Weather Underground, Social Anarchism, Anarcho-Syndicalism etc = Far Left"
Are romanticized by mainstream Democratic candidates who visit their living rooms, invite them to fund raisers, buy their cookbooks and lament the fact that the law might hold them responsible.
But this is a tangent. I will repeat my opening statement: The majority of people who showed up in Saint Paul for the convention weren't interested in peaceful demonstration. They were here for violent confrontation and they were going to get it no matter what.
The police, who were under a liberal command structure of one of the most liberal city governments in the nation, simply did all they could do to prevent outbreaks of violence by a political movement that has celebrated violence for the half century.
Let's step back and answer the question that Bob asked.
"But on the fundamental question of whether protesters -- if peaceful -- should be allowed to take to the streets against a government, is there a difference?"
The answer is simple: of course.
However is there any comparison between what is happening in Tehran and the RNC?
First of all, in the interest of public safety, it makes sense to require parade permits.
1) It allows traffic to be re-routed.
2) It ensures there are sufficient port-a-potties, so marchers don't piddle and poop in the street and behind bushes.
3) It ensures there are sufficient medical staff available on the street and in local ER's to cover things like heart-attacks and heat-stroke.
4) It allows police to keep people who have issues with each other, far away from each other.
That is pretty sensible isn't it?
On the other hand, what happens when people congregate where they are not suppose to and create the potential for violence and injury - like downtown Minneapolis in the early hours of Sunday morning, after bar closing?
The cops ask people to leave the area and if they don't, they are moved.
Now what happened at the RNC?
The protesters DID get permits.
The protests DID happen.
Peaceful legal demonstrations were NOT suppressed.
But there were ***holes who came to town to create violence, and they got it.
That is nothing like what is going on in Tehran.
Generally violent acts are condemned in mainstream left-wing circles as well. Now you're just being inflammatory. This is especially evident given that you haven't offered anything to back up our argument except a single event.
I certainly didn't vote for McCain, nor Pawlenty, but I can't say I enjoyed having the windows of buildings directly near where I live smashed and things set on fire.
Personally I hate radicals of all stripes. Apparently you only hate the ones that proclaim allegiance to the left. Frankly, extremists on either end of the spectrum tend to look exactly the same. Extreme politics on either side will get you the same end result.
correction to the above sentence:
"This is especially evident given that you haven't offered anything to back up your argument except a single event."
""This is especially evident given that you haven't offered anything to back up your argument except a single event."
I offered a long, long list of examples, let's start locally and move nationally.
I will let the violence at the RNC speak for itself, but we really need to focus on the abysmal behavior of the DFL and the progresssive community in the Sara Jane Olsen case. It shrieks volumes. Need I remind you of "What's wrong with murder?" statements from Rep. Sandy Pappas and Rep. Andy Dawkins, plus all those gentle folks who bought her cookbook?
Can you offer some rational frame of reference for not instantly condemining a woman who aiding in the murder of a pregnant mother who happened to stumble into a bank robbery?
They laughed about it afterwards.
Next we visit Illinious where it just doesn't occur to anyone in Barak Obama's circle that rooting for the Soviets and dining in the shadow of their tanks is a problem, or that planting bombs is something anyone would get upset with.
I am not saying these people are bad people.
Rather I am saying they suffer from lousy judgement because they have spent so much time marinating in romantici violence that these things fail to register on their radar.
As for the original question posted by Mr. Collins, I firmly believe we should have the right to peaceably demonstrate, permit or not. It is ideals like these which our country was founded upon. Does the 1st amendment not state "right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances"? It does not mention pulling a permit. Do they have a right in Iran? While I am not familiar with their law, I agree it is humankind's right and duty to peaceably expess ourselves, especially in the face of repression! I was at the earlier, permitted, RNC protests, and the similarities to the situation in Iran are bountiful. Iran is protesting a repressive, secretive, conservative regime, and so was I. Many countries disliked the direction the Bush administration took the U.S.A. in, as do many dislike Ahmadinejad's direction. This brings me to the off-topic comments regarding left and right. I briefly let my anger allow me to embrace a violent outlook, although I never hurt another intentionally, and this phase ended quickly. I wonder why a person posting on this blog is so obsessed w/ SJO? Or Ayers? Many have a radical past who mellow nicely w/ age - maybe even regret their mistakes. May he who is without sin.... And most all of the RNC protesters expected a peaceful demonstration, especially since we were demonstrating for peace! There are your exceptions here and in Tehran, of course. But to say St. Paul's RNC protests were opposite of Iran's is wrong, although no one died at the RNC protests, or was beaten or shot. Many were arrested and detained wrongly, media among them. The biggest difference I see is the degree to which the regimes being protested are/were repressive. As much as I disliked Bush, he was no Ahmadinejad. Bush might have stolen an election, but there was no 3 million+ un-accounted for votes. Bush never denied the Holocaust. So the people of Iran have more to protest, and more reason to be taking to the streets. But a government that denies such rights is always wrong, in my book.
”I firmly believe we should have the right to peaceably demonstrate, permit or not. It is ideals like these which our country was founded upon. Does the 1st amendment not state "right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances"? It does not mention pulling a permit.”
The right to protest is guaranteed by the constitution, the right to parade is not.
Parading requires a permit because parades violate the civil rights of other citizens by blocking traffic. So how does civil society resolve the conflict between the right to protest in the street and the right to get from work to daycare in time to pick up the kids?
We do it by allowing our elected officials to arbitrate who rights should prevail through the instrument of a permit.
It's a pretty sensible system.
So what happens when people feel compelled to break the rules and turn against civil society?
That brings us to your next point.
”I briefly let my anger allow me to embrace a violent outlook, although I never hurt another intentionally, and this phase ended quickly. I wonder why a person posting on this blog is so obsessed w/ SJO? Or Ayers? Many have a radical past who mellow nicely w/ age - maybe even regret their mistakes. May he who is without sin.... “
Who cares about Bill Ayers or Sara Jane Olsen?
My concern is not with them but with the sixty year tradition of civil violence that they represent.
Read up on the morality, ethics and courtesy of civil disobedience.
Thoreau. Tolstoy, Gandhi and King all understood anger and violence. They understood that people caught up in causes often let their personal anger trump the rights of others. Thoreau knew the result of unchecked anger, ego and narcissism from the French Revolution. Gandhi and King knew what happened to the Soviet Union.
To address this, Thoreau wrote that citizens have a moral responsibility to violate unjust laws, yet they still have a moral responsibility to maintain a civil society.
So how do you maintain a civility when feel something unjust?
Thoreau's solution was elegant. To place a check on anger, ego and narcissism, he wrote that ONLY the unjust law can be violated and that those who violate the law, for whatever reason, must face the consequences.
Tolstoy, Gandhi and King, all expanded and refined the concept of peacefully violating unjust law and peacefully accepting the consequences of doing so.
Then the radical left threw it all out.
Their anger trumped everything, and still does.
My concern with the Democratic Party and Progressive Left's reaction to Bill Ayers and Sara Jane Olsen is the message that facing the consequences of killing innocent people is no longer valued.
Neither is facing the consequences of violence.
Nowhere, before, during or after the RNC did I witness the DFL, Democratic Party or Progressive Left embracing the central ethic of civil disobedience -- that citizens MUST accept the consequences of violating the law, even if the law is unjust.
You're attempt portray a nation in the grip of liberal tyranny is empty rhetoric. You hang your vision on the double canards of a president who pals around with terrorist (a republican fantasy long since debunked) and a society that celebrates leftist terrorism; another fantasy that leaves former AIM, Black Panther, and SLA members scratching their collective heads. The extent to which your mind crams everything into ideological pigeon holes is obvious to all but yourself I'm afraid and accounts for your inability to distinguish the difference between reporting and romanticizing.
I have to point out that the extremism Greg advocates, describing the President of the United states as an ally of terrorist at a time when young men and women are fighting and dying in a war with terrorist, encourages the very divisiveness and extremism that can lead to violence. Only in the black and white world of ideologues do people to see their neighbors as enemies instead of fellow citizens. That a champion of such extremism should be accusing others of being blinded by political bias is an irony beyond ironies. Any critique that proceeds from such a flawed premise can only obscure rather than enlighten. There's frequently no room for subtlety, nuance, and complexity within ideological straight jackets.
As to the question at hand, the illusion of freedom is frequently revealed when people first attempt to use their freedoms. If you think it's a free country that only allows citizens to protest their government in methods, times, and locations of the governments choosing, I think you missed the point of the American Revolution.
Mr. Collins made an important observation. Obviously he was inviting a comparison of particular actions of governments rather than the government themselves. Clearly, there is a difference between the US government and the Iranian theocracy. We are citizens of this country every day, not just on election days. The idea that our right to express our will is limited to elections days, and all other forms of expression or protest are limited by government permit is antithetical to the very notion of democracy. The idea that citizens should rightfully be banned from peaceful protest because they might interfere with traffic is outrageous. If we're going to let rush hour traffic trump our civil rights you may as well stick a fork in us, we're done. If you can't understand how it is that different governments, different types of governments can commit the same crimes, you are a dangerous citizen because you will fail to recognize oppression in your own back yard.
"I have to point out that the extremism Greg advocates, describing the President of the United states as an ally of terrorist at a time when young men and women are fighting and dying in a war with terrorist, encourages the very divisiveness and extremism that can lead to violence"
You need to practice thinking clearly.
Try this, if John McCain had launched his political career from the living room of an abortion doctor killer, one who had evaded prison, you would be howling quite another tune.
As for me, I did not suggest that Obama was an "ally" of terrorists. Those are your words, not mine.
What I said is just as relevant today as it was during the campaign. There is a serious problem with how Barak Obama and many of his cohorts in the party have failed to distance themselves from toxic radicals.
Our elected officials have a moral, ethical and legal responsibility to maintain a civil society by demanding that citizens face the consequences of uncivil action.
They should not be having tea, or trading recipies with people who refuse to denounce violence.
And as we witnessed during the RNC, they are not the only ones who are tone-deaf to this tradition of violence.
So is the press.
Neither Obama or McCain began their campaigns in a terrorists living room. This is an historical fact. If you want to think clearly, start there.
So you want to denounce violence? Dude, that's what the protesters at the RNC convention were doing, they were denouncing the Iraq war and torture amongst other things. By the way, your supposed to be a conservative aren't you? You know you folks are supposed to be concerned about the illegitimate exercise of government power. Why aren't you denouncing government violence? 99% of the violence at the RNC was police violence committed again peaceful demonstrators, the record is clear on this. The police launched attack after attack on groups of people who doing nothing more than standing or walking on public streets and sidewalks. The numbers a matter of record, 99% of the injuries were inflicted by the police on the public, including innocent bystanders who were just trying to get to and from work or home in the area. Why aren't you denouncing that violence? You want to talk about disorder? What about the disorder of a police riot? I've seen 10,000 - 15,000 people march all over MPLS and St. Paul with 5 or 6 cops keeping an eye on things. When the same people show up at the RNC we need hundreds of cops from all over the state in riot gear on hand? Again what is it 700 arrests have produced what 8 or 10 prosecutions?
Maintain order? I think is was Rumsfield who said: "Freedom can be a messy thing" or something like that. Sometimes the price you pay for freedom is a little disorder here and there once and a while.
@Paul, c'mon dude, you may as well talk to the wind. Logic and fact are a waste of time with True Believers. GregS has all the answers. I offered no political position except to reject his - so I became a Che worshipper. Right Wing good! Left Wing bad! His catechism is Bolshevism turned on its head. If you disagree, you're the Devil. That's all he knows, and all he needs to know. The rest is sophistry.
"Neither Obama or McCain began their campaigns in a terrorists living room. This is an historical fact. If you want to think clearly, start there."
"In 1995, State Senator Alice Palmer introduced her chosen successor, Barack Obama, to a few of the district’s influential liberals at the home of two well known figures on the local left: William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn."
So please tell me why candidate Barak Obama didn't tell Ms. Palmer, "I take a pass on that invite"?
"The police launched attack after attack on groups of people who doing nothing more than standing or walking on public streets and sidewalks. The numbers a matter of record, 99% of the injuries were inflicted by the police on the public, including innocent bystanders who were just trying to get to and from work or home in the area."
The first step in becoming a mature adult is learning to accept responsibility.
Responsibility for... ?
The actions of a select few should not taint the view of the majority. Nor can they be blamed for the actions of those few.
Being a mature adult also means setting predetermination aside and thinking through each issue using all of the evidence, not just hopes and biases.
Bill Ayers is a teacher now, and a fairly respected one at that. He also said he regrets the casualties that were caused by his actions.
This guild-by-association tact seems fairly childish of you, not to sound insulting.
>> Back to Mr. Colin's original question
how about we drop "left violence" vs. "right violence" for a separate topic?
Difference between here & there:
we have a Constitutional right to the freedom to assemble. They don't.
We have a Constitutional right to a public trial by a jury of our peers. They don't. They can't even get a government of their peers.
If I got arrested (in St.Pl or anywhere else) doing anything politically 'objectionable', I would have no fear of retribution by the government on myself or my family.
4th Amendment As unpleasant as it is to be arrested (and yes, I have been), I would much rather have it happen here in the US.
If I got arrested here, I would feel confident that the whole thing would work out without endangerment of my life.
If I was peacefully (legally or not) protesting, and I got beaten up by the cops - I'm pretty sure they would also suffer consequences.
Is this different between round 'em up here or there? Well, no, it isn't different from a policy position.
"... but when they didn't disperse, they were rounded up."
In order to avoid problems, the law enforcement needs to be consistent in its application of the law. Any parenting manual will tell you this: set the rules and then enforce them uniformly and consistently.
If the protesters had been there for any prolonged period of time without a permit, why should they abruptly be punished for doing it? It is the abrupt change-of-mind which caused more problems than it solved. Whereas, if the law had from the beginning ordered them to disperse, I think StPl police would have had less problems (perhaps just as much flak from the press/public), but at least it would have been flak over bureaucracy, rather than rights.
>> The right to protest is guaranteed by the constitution, the right to parade is not.
We don't really have a right to protest.
The assumption that we have a right to "protest" is based upon extrapolation of the 1st Amendment combining free speech, peaceful assembly and petition for redress. The Constitution doesn't define where or when that right shall be delimited: that is defined by local policy (which is what you stated)
Obama didn't launch his presidential campaign in 1995. And the Ayer's were not terrorists in 1995 as someone has already pointed out. No matter how you cut it your attempt to associate the President with terrorism is promoting irrational hatred, fear, and divisiveness. If your extreme rhetoric leads to extreme behavior, are you going to accept responsibility for your speech and behavior or are going to want to know why liberals haven't condemned the Castro regime?
Ralph K, of course you are correct sir, but as far as I can tell the republican party tried to put someone very much like Greg a heartbeat away from the oval office. I think there's a value in drawing them out in public, for the millions who read News Cut to see. He he.
//If I was peacefully (legally or not) protesting, and I got beaten up by the cops - I'm pretty sure they would also suffer consequences.
Not the case at all I'm afraid. Police brutality and immunity is a well documented and ongoing reality. I don't think a single officer has been reprimanded for anything that happened at the RNC for example. Nor has anyone been reprimanded for arresting hundreds of people who apparently were not guilty of committing any crime. You should see the documentary on the Hiawatha Reroute protest: Taking a Stand for Sacred Land. I'd provide the link but I don't how to use the html instructions to make it a live link. Many of the cops at the RNC didn't even have their badge numbers visible as they are supposedly required to, so you couldn't file any individual complaints. Again, the illusion of your freedom will be revealed when you try to use it. The militarization of police responses to peaceful demonstrations is something most Americans remain quite ignorant of, until it happens to them.
Remember, the constitution in theory allows you to file suit after the fact, it doesn't guarantee your rights won't be violated in the first place. Of course we also have the problem of defining "beat up".
Thank you for a well-written, well-thought out comment.
"Obama didn't launch his presidential campaign in 1995. And the Ayer's were not terrorists in 1995 as someone has already pointed out. No matter how you cut it your attempt to associate the President with terrorism is promoting irrational hatred, fear, and divisiveness."
The link between Obama and terrorism is a product of your imagination, not my words.
I will repeat my point (for the fifth time).
Obama and the progressive community have a moral, ethical, social, civic and political responsibility to avoid toxic radicals like Sara Jane Olsen and the Ayers.
They have this responsibility because these people have not renounced violence nor taken responsibility for their actions.
Do I need to repeat that?
These people have not renounced violence nor taken responsibility for their actions.
Like I said, you do not see Republican candidates attending teas or exchanging recipes with abortion clinic bombers.
The interesting question is why?
The answer is very simple, political violence is ingrained in leftist tradition.
The reason that Pres. Obama, Rep. Sandy Pappas and Rep. Andy Dawkins, plus a whole long list of liberal leaders do not disassociate themselves from the violent left, is that it is so much a part of their social and political life that they fail to recognize it as a moral or ethical issue.
It is simply, the norm.
"Nor has anyone been reprimanded for arresting hundreds of people who apparently were not guilty of committing any crime."
The script that read, "it's the fault of the police" was written months, if not years, before the RNC.
//The link between Obama and terrorism is a product of your imagination, not my words.
Your denial is on record, so are your accusations.
You want Obama to renounce his connections to terrorists but you deny accusing him of having connections to terrorist. Meanwhile, he has no terrorist connection to renounce other than those of your own imagination. Yeah, clear thinking through and through. Your already denying responsibility for your rhetoric.
And what does any of this have to do with the RNC arrests again?
I am going to type really slow so you can read along and mouth out the words.
I associate Obama with poor judgement, not terrorism.
When Alice Palmer, a Marxist and Soviet cheerleader, invited Barak Obama to the Ayers house, he should have said, "Sorry Alice, I will take a pass on that and come to think of it, I will take a pass on you."
Now do you understand?
//The answer is very simple, political violence is ingrained in leftist tradition.
And what tradition do the KKK, the Nazis, and Tim McVeigh hail from? I suppose it was some lefty lucy that walked into the Holocaust Museum last week? Violence is the preferred tactic of extremists throughout the political spectrum. Blindness for ones own ideological culpability is the root of all tyranny.
"And what does any of this have to do with the RNC arrests again?"
The people in Iran are fighting for basic freedoms, the people who came to the RNC simply wanted to fight.
That is the difference between what is happening in Tehran and what happened in Saint Paul.
\\ Again, the illusion of your freedom will be revealed when you try to use it. The militarization of police responses to peaceful demonstrations is something most Americans remain quite ignorant of, until it happens to them.
I assure you, the joys of getting arrested are something most Americans are ignorant of (which is good). If I got arrested at a big demonstration, as you stated there's no guarantee my rights wouldn't get violated. The likelihood is pretty low. The prevalence of violence is much lower than many on both sides paint.
The number of assaults in both directions in St.Paul were much much lower than the total number of people present. That applies in Tehran; however, no one was getting shot or killed at the RNC. And, if they had, the response would have been far different than in Iran. When assault happens, however, it is a crime.
The absence of a middle of the road voice regarding the events around the RNC makes me suspicious of both sides' claims. Documentaries are nice; they are also almost uniformly biased. And, even if not biased, they will be seen through the viewer's bias. (Paul - where could I find a copy of the doc. you referenced?)
The difficulty of defining "beat up" is a problem on both sides of the blue line.
Unlike Tehran, we had lots of national, local and international news services here. If we're going to air our dirty laundry here, we let the whole world watch. We're not confined to cell phones and Twitter to ensure our violence is seen.
My statement still stands, which was that I am mostly sure my rights wouldn't get violated (being erroneously arrested isn't necessarily a violation of one's rights). And, no I am not a naive young girl. The vast majority of police officers are mindful and respectful of people's legal rights and responsibilities. They should no more be painted with a single brush stroke than the protesters should.
"And what tradition do the KKK, the Nazis, and Tim McVeigh hail from? I suppose it was some lefty lucy that walked into the Holocaust Museum last week? Violence is the preferred tactic of extremists throughout the political spectrum. Blindness for ones own ideological culpability is the root of all tyranny."
Call me when a major Republican candidate or elected official takes tea or buys a cookbook from these clowns.
The difference between right and left traditions is that violence belongs only to the outliers on the right. It is accepted and romanticised in the mainstream of the left.
Again, an excellent post, Elizabeth.
(sigh) I guess this forum puts me in a bad mood.
The differences between Tehran and the RNC are so great that entertaining them is offensive.
But people do.
Few people in this country have witnessed political oppression. They are utterly ignorant of what it is, perhaps that is why they have romantic notions of oppression and violent radicalism.
It is very sad.
//When Alice Palmer, a Marxist and Soviet cheerleader
Ah, I see, you don't want Obama to renounce his connections to these people because of their past involvement with terrorism, you want him to renounce his connections because their Marxists... right.
But you said: "They have this responsibility because these people have not renounced violence nor taken responsibility for their actions."
So now we're to believe Obama should denounce these people because they're Marxists, but not because their violent. Well OK but isn't your original point about violence getting lost here? And how does Sarah Jane Olsen fit into this new scheme? Is she a Marxist? By the way, the year here is 2009. Joe McCarthy died in 1957. I know some Marxists and their good people.
Meanwhile I'm running down a list of liberal hero's we romanticize: Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, John Lennon, Bob Marly, yeah what a bunch of thugs.
"Ah, I see, you don't want Obama to renounce his connections to these people because of their past involvement with terrorism, you want him to renounce his connections because their Marxists... right."
A public leader has the responsiblity to send a clear moral message where political violence is concerned.
Avoiding the Ayers would have done that.
Also avoiding Alice Palmer would have been nice.
Especially after her Orwelian journey to an occupied Prague at the invite of the Soviets to attend a "peace rally" in the shadow of Russian tanks. This was three years after the invasion of Afghanistan - during the height of that war.
Note: she was not there to complain about the Soviets. She was there to advance "Peace".
// The vast majority of police officers are mindful and respectful of people's legal rights and responsibilities. They should no more be painted with a single brush stroke than the protesters should.
Agreed, but that brush should also be held in check when painting people who turn out for demonstrations. The vast vast majority of people who turned out at the RNC were not there to fight anyone as Greg suggests.
Your observations about the difference between Iraq and the US are true, but I fear irrelevant. The difference between living in a democracy vs. a theocracy was never the issue as I pointed out in another post. Any government is capable of committing the same crimes and injustices of any other government if the citizens don't remain vigilant. It can't happen here are famous last words. When I hear these excuses for police violence at the RNC or anywhere I fear vigilance is slipping. The idea isn't to demonize police officers, the idea is to reconsider what WE as citizens authorize the police to do.
At the RNC for instance, on that last night many people tried to disperse as ordered but were caught in an outer cordon and forced back into the arrest zone. This is a common tactic, order people to leave, block their exit and then arrest them for failing to obey lawful orders. Is that really the way you want your police to handle peaceful demonstrations? If nothing else it's a very expensive way to handle it, it's lot cheaper to just let people go home. Again look at the numbers 700 arrests, 10 prosecutions- that's got to tell you something funky was going on.
Obviously there are many differences between Iran and the US, but the similarity is when the government decides it can dictate to citizens when, where, and how they may express displeasure with the government. Don't forget WE are supposed to be the government.
There will be screening of "Taking a Stand for Sacred Land" at Arise Book Store on June 28th at 7 pm. This documentary was featured at the Walker Art Museum as part of a women in film series back in May.
Yes, you get biased view from people who get arrested, but they're the only ones who can tell you about getting arrested, so you pay your money you take your chances, that doesn't mean you get bad information.
//Avoiding the Ayers would have done that.
Also avoiding Alice Palmer would have been nice.
Yet he won the election, go figure.
"At the RNC for instance, on that last night many people tried to disperse as ordered but were caught in an outer cordon and forced back into the arrest zone. This is a common tactic, order people to leave, block their exit and then arrest them for failing to obey lawful orders. Is that really the way you want your police to handle peaceful demonstrations? If nothing else it's a very expensive way to handle it, it's lot cheaper to just let people go home. Again look at the numbers 700 arrests, 10 prosecutions- that's got to tell you something funky was going on."
The last night of the RNC was the last chance the protesters had for victimhood. How could they let such an opportunity slip through their grasp?
700 arrests got the nutcases off the streets.
10 prosecutions? Why bother?
"Yet he won the election, go figure."
I never suggested he was unelectable, just that he showed poor judgement and set a lousy example, an occupational hazard for politicians.
\\The difference between right and left traditions is that violence belongs only to the outliers on the right. It is accepted and romanticised in the mainstream of the left.
I disagree, GregS. Violence gets accepted and romanticized by just about everyone in one way or another. Whether it's bodice ripper romances or Jessie James (the impending Dillinger movie will likely be a major hit with all political flavors).
People tend to romanticize the personal aspects of a story, not the violence, which results in the whole story getting romanticized, including the violence.
I've heard people standing on the left and right both espouse violence - and those people are all outliers, as far as I'm concerned. Are they still left/right? Yes. I refuse to accept someone's judgment of my propensity to violence just because of idiots on the same side of the center as I stand.
What constitutes a "right tradition" or "left tradition"? No one is without some sort of organizational sin.
We are ill-advised to apply our own definition of left/right/center to another country's political paradigm. What we call left/right is not necessarily what the rest of the world does. Are the protesters in Tehran right or left? Are they ardent nationalists or offended voters?
\\Few people in this country have witnessed political oppression.
I would be very, very cautious about claiming this, unless you are equally very, very clear about what you consider political oppression. I'm more likely to agree that many people wouldn't recognize some forms of political oppression.
@Paul - My point isn't whether it's a democracy or theocracy. But the question originally posed was whether we thought there was a difference between the two. It's a policy / implementation point. But, I take your point.
off to public health term papers ... cheerio!
"I disagree, GregS. Violence gets accepted and romanticized by just about everyone in one way or another. Whether it's bodice ripper romances or Jessie James (the impending Dillinger movie will likely be a major hit with all political flavors)."
I agree that violence is an element of popular entertainment, but my issue is violence as an element of politics.
Sure there are outliers of violence on both the left and right, but that was not my concern.
My issue is the public acceptance of political violence and the expectation that there would be tear-gas in Saint Paul.
After all, that was part of the draw.
Violence is much more a part of leftist mythology than it is for conservatives. For instance, find me the popular equivalent of the Che Guevara T-shirt on the right.
Find me a mainstream conservative candidate who would have tea with the killer of an abortion doctor.
If people want to interpret this as a left/right food-fight issue then fine.
I think it goes a lot deeper than that.
I have a lot of friends on both the left and right. None of my friends on the right have participated in a violent demonstration. I would say the majority of my friends on the left have, mostly in the 1970's.
When you think about it, that is very stunning.
It says a great deal about us and about our political perceptions.
My point about Barak Obama is very telling. When he came across Alice Palmer and the Ayers, why didn't he just walk away?
Why are the Ayers so popular?
Why did people rush to Sara Jane Olsen's defense knowing she participated in the shotgun slaying of a pregnant mother? Why did they treat her like a rock-star and buy her cookbook?
My point in this thread was to speak of the primary difference between Tehran and Saint Paul as the expectation of political violence at the RNC.
In the back of everyone's mind, from the cops to the protesters to the press --- there was the looming image of Chicago 1968.
"We are ill-advised to apply our own definition of left/right/center to another country's political paradigm. What we call left/right is not necessarily what the rest of the world does. Are the protesters in Tehran right or left? Are they ardent nationalists or offended voters?"
The conservatives in Iran have a strong base among the poor. In that they are populist dictators like Thailand's Thaksin, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, or our Huey Long.
That is why it will be hard to displace them.
OK, so we've gone from failure to denounce violence to visiting someone who once went to Prague during the cold war. Yeah, that Obama is one moral disappointment alright.
//Find me a mainstream conservative candidate who would have tea with the killer of an abortion doctor.
You know Greg, Nixon and Kissinger had dinner with Mao. David Duke was a KKK member. Ollie North lied to congress and hung out with real terrorists, and Dick Cheney hung out with Saddam Hussein during the Iran Iraq war and helped him steal money from the food for oil program in the 90s. But yeah, who'd compare a guy who murdered 100,000 of his own people to a couple who once visited communist Checkoslovakia. Yeah, that Obama's moral compass is all screwed up.
"OK, so we've gone from failure to denounce violence to visiting someone who once went to Prague during the cold war. Yeah, that Obama is one moral disappointment alright."
Barak Obama launched his political career during a visit to the Ayers living room.
Alice Palmer worked to advance the Soviet Empire by attending a "Peace Conference" in Prague.
Sorry to also have to correct you on another matter. You cited the screening of "Taking a Stand for Sacred Land". at a local whacky Marxist Bookstore.
Uh, did anyone tell you that the four "sacred" oaks at the root of the Hwy 55 protests were seedlings in 1862?
The Dakota arrived at ColdWater Creek the following year, in May of 1863, two month after the March passage of the Removal Act.
There was no connection at all between the oaks and the Dakota.
By the way, the authorities waited patiently for month for the protester to come to their senses, before they moved in.
@Bob Collins, well, you did say "discuss"!
I did not know you had a troll - 26 posts and counting. You must feel as if you rolled in poison ivy - pain but worse if you scratch it.
I apologize for feeding him. No mas!
Yeah, the Indians arrived after the white man. ignorance truly knows no bounds. The Dakota were here for at least a couple thousand years before white folks showed up. But now we're really off topic. Go to the wacko books store and ask some crazy Inidians like Jim Anderson where the Indians were when Fort Snelling was built.
If anyone is still reading this thread, you can read my account of the Four Oaks/Hiawatha Reroute story at: http://twincities.indymedia.org/2008/aug/hwy-55-hiawatha-reroute-anniversary
Sorry bob, I still can't figure out how to make a link live, I don't know where to insert the link in the html code you provide. If you show me, I'll do in the future.
Etymology:Middle English, probably from Anglo-French *troiller, *troller; akin to Anglo-French troil, trolle winch
1: to express an opinion other than those generally accepted in a forum.
2 a: to think incorrectly.
3 a: to hold values not associated with progressive fundamentalism.
4: to call foolish things foolish.
5: to condemn rather than celebrate political violence.
A second attempt at making a link live. This is the article I offered in a previous post about the Hiawatha Reroute.