Non-violent protests are a form of raising awareness through symbolic protests, civil disobedience or economic or political dissent through non-violent means with the aim of achieving a goal. Much of today’s non-violent resistance was popularised and proven to be effective by people such as Mohandas Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy, Henry David Thoreau, John Lennon, Martin Luther King and Aldous Huxley.
In 2002, investigative journalist and TED Fellow Will Potter took a break from his regular beat, writing about shootings and murders for the Chicago Tribune. He went to help a local group campaigning against animal testing: “I thought it would be a safe way to do something positive,” he says. Instead, he was arrested, and so began his ongoing journey into a world in which peaceful protest is branded as terrorism. (1) Potter sees a parallel between the branding of current activists as “terrorists,” and the use of the media in sensationalizing these cases, and the persecution of leftists in the Red Scare, during the McCarthy era. According to him, the Green Scare is a new phenomenon associated with environmentalist groups that may or may not engage in illegal activities, but are disproportionately attacked by the government for extra-legal reasons. He thinks that these government tactics are a threat to civil liberties which can progressively affect more groups and individuals.(2)
Will Potter reminds us of the perverse nature of the current economic system which dominates. It seems corporations which are vandalising the planet and exploiting nature under the current legal system are classified as heroes because shareholders worship ever increasing growth in profits. Those who push for positive change which have no vested interest in protecting our environment and fauna, who put their lives, careers and reputations on the line are classified as radicals and terrorists. Have we got it back to front? It seems self interest and exploitation trumps truth, integrity and decency. If look at how the system works we can clearly see that society as a whole rewards and celebrates those who reek the most havoc on the planet. Those with vested interests will always protest that they are being hard done by and appeal to the legal system to protect them from those who seek justice, equity and the truth. Public relations has always been the preferred weapon of choice, designed to manipulate the media spin and distract the masses from the harsh reality. With 200 species of flora and fauna becoming extinct each day, we need people to stand up and become non-violent activists otherwise we will have nothing left to protest?
Article by Andrew Martin editor of onenesspublishing and author of One ~ A Survival Guide for the Future…
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