Sunday, April 26, 2015

Protests, Disruptions and Provocations

As much as disruption, disobedience and disorder are justified as means of protesting injustice and to achieve greater equity and equality, rioting is no such means. 

Burning stores in 1968 has hurt and set back communities in which burning and looting occurred for decades. Baltimore is no exception. 

Nothing is achieved by some hotheads throwing bricks into a bus or store window. 

But if Baltimore's Freddie Gray case can be the drop that made the bucket overflow, meaning police brutality being now the subject of a federal investigation, at least one good thing was achieved through it. 

There is a fine line between "business as usual" and punishing the wrong people. Many small businesses downtown eek out a marginal existence, provide jobs and services and are in no way contributing to police violence, the obvious occasion of the protests. Damage by "riot" isn't even covered by insurance. Owners have to pay repairs out of pocket. 

In the sixties I have heard the argument  that violence against objects is justified in calling attention to violence against people before. It was then made by the Red Army Faction in Germany which eventually had expanded from arson in department stores to murdering people). 

 Even objects are intertwined with people; violence, once it happens has a way of spreading out of control.

On the other hand, the media just wait for the first window to be smashed so they get exciting pictures. To fall for this is tactical stupidity at best or working for the other side as an agent provocateur, in the worst case.

Klaus Philipsen, FAIA

updated 4/27/15

Peaceful demonstration on Pennsylvania Ave Saturday

From the Mayor's press release Sunday noon:
From the days of our nation’s earliest civil rights sit-ins, Baltimore has a long tradition of peaceful and respectful demonstrations.  Together, as leaders of different faiths in our city, we join Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and call for our citizens to honor and continue that history as we pray for the family of Freddie Gray.

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