Monday, December 23, 2019

The People's Right to Go Ape-Shit 2

I wrote this 2013 post as a reply to a comment saying that fear of police violence was a factor in people's reluctance to defend democracy. I was also, at the time, inspired by my anger at the treatment of protesters during Wendy Davis's filibuster of an anti-choice bill in the Texas State Legislature a couple of months before. I recalled seeing footage of goons from some Texas police force (state troopers or legislative security of some sort) roughly dragging away (mostly female) protesters when they shouted in anger at the way Davis's filibuster was being illegitimately attacked in bogus rulings from the Speaker of the House.

The anti-choice Repugnicans were inventing tricks not in the book to try to stop this legitimate use of a parliamentary tactic. Okay? Do we understand this? If you play by the rules to try to defend your rights, and your opponents break the rules to try to stop you, and use their power unfairly to impose their rule-breaking, they have renounced their claims to authority. They have no right to expect compliance under a system of laws, because they have violated the laws. And when citizens see their rights being attacked, and that this attack is being imposed illegally, they have a right to voice their protest.

Spectators in the galleries of parliaments and legislatures are not supposed to scream and shout at the representatives. This is because in large territories like Texas (or Ontario, or Canada) people who happen to live near the legislature shouldn't have the right to influence (or bully) the representatives of people who live far away. I understand this. But by the same token, when a highly divisive piece of legislation is being advanced, and representatives of people on one side of that divide are trying to resist it with legitimate tactics and the numerically superior representatives resort to brazen abuses to get around this resistance, then all the claims to sanctity of the legislature have been rendered null and void.

In a democratic society, based upon the rule of law, elections are not supposed to be "all or nothing" contests for power. It is not stated in our legal codes or our constitutions or in our traditions that the party (or coalitions of parties) with the most seats in the legislature can do whatever they want to their opponents. They especially cannot impose their will without regard to the rules of the law-making process.

That is why the stephen harper years were so bad for Canada's political culture. harper had absorbed the lessons in the brazen abuse of power and contempt for the law as expressed by Repugnican law makers and their media cheerleaders like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. harper's behaviour broke right through the barrier of naked contempt for Parliament for which he was punished with a vote of non-confidence and forced into an election (which he subsequently won through fraud).

So now I've got the way that justifiably outraged citizens of Texas were roughly dragged away when they protested against the illegal violations of their rights and stephen harper's serial abuses of our traditions and our laws. It occurred to me (in the Texas case) that the spectators at that legislative session had every right to toss those police goons from the gallery to land upon the Repugnican politicians and go absolutely ape-shit in defence of their rights. I stated many times after it became clear that harper had clung to power through fraudulent means (after having clearly demonstrated contempt of Parliament) that the proper response was to overthrow him.
Alas! For expressing the view that violent protest is justifiable in the face of criminal abuse of our political and basic human rights, some domesticated creatures (such as one person mentioned in this post of mine) called me a devotee of Pol Pot. [!]

This post is intended as a companion piece to yesterday's post about some generalized ideas for saving the world. How could we have been expected to take on capitalist power? How do we impose the will of the people upon the oil industry, the auto industry, the financial sector, big agriculture, chemical criminals like Monsanto, and the surveillance state and etc.? I had always advocated for the use of the present law-making system to advocate for "Workers as Citizens" Okay? So, my larger political process has always been peaceful. I do not advocate the violent overthrow of the system. I advocate using the rules of the present system to peacefully bring about non-reformist, revolutionary reforms. BUT, ... if the present holders of power try to use illegitimate means to defend their power against the democratic will, the WORST thing we could do would be to meekly acquiesce to this.

If (as is not presently the case) the vast majority of people believed that an appropriate physical response is justified to defend against criminal violations of our rights committed by the state (or enabled by the state by non-prosecution of powerful violators). This means that police who abuse their powers; judges who serve the powerful and not the law; bureaucrats who abuse their powers; and politicians who violate the rules (of elections, or of parliamentary oversight, or of the legislative process) have themselves renounced the protections of the law and should expect to live in fear.

But if you constantly allow one layer of protections after another to be rolled-back, whether out of ignorant apathy or justifiable fear of the already existing propensity of the powerful to physically smash protesters, one day you will find all your protections gone and all restraints upon power lost.

Again though, speaking these obvious truths makes me a violent psychopath who wants to see civilization destroyed. Because the human species is too stupid to survive.

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