Paul’s Perambulations

April 19, 2012

What role for civil disobedience and arrest in our work for justice?

Filed under: Education,Peace,Politics — admin @ 9:57 am

Meaningful and focused civil disobedience resulting in arrest can be a significant part of peaceful action for justice, but there is no reason for arrest to become the activists’ Red Badge of Courage.   War tax resisters such as myself are rarely arrested for our civil disobedience (the IRS just wants your money).

During the civil rights campaign, there were debates about tactics that concerned how arrests were removing leadership from the campaign and potentially injuring its effectiveness. Of course, we were blessed with Letter from a Birmingham Jail, but things were not always that clear or successful.

I do have my arrest record and seek to make it meaningful and empowering. I am in a position to speak publically, and this can be a valuable part of my witness. But I am very careful with arrest, and continue to address the balance between its usefulness for the movement or its becoming simply attention getting and ego involvement.

(The above was taken from my Comment on  )

1 Comment »

  1. On Good Friday 2012, Fran was civil disobedient and arrested at Lockheed Martin (King of Prussia site), the world’s largest nuclear manufacturer and war profiteer. Now we’re partners in crime at that location. And, as I sometimes put it “Best arrest you’ll ever have.” Yes, you are arrested and your freedom of movement is radically curtailed, but you are also likely to be charged and released from a clean and professional suburban police station within an hour or two.

    Does arrest then become simply “catch and release” or some version of theater? Or is there something more happening with Brandywine Peace Community and their actions at Lockheed Martin? These actions are the direct descendents of the original 1980 Plowshares action that occurred at this same location. The spirit of the Berrigans (participants in that 1980 civil disobedience) has been kept alive here for more than three decades. I witness that sense of faithfulness that compels many of those arrested to continue to be arrested here, time after time and year after year. Experienced that way, this becomes more than simple theater but becomes a living and ongoing testimony of faithfulness in our lives.

    Comment by admin — April 19, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

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