reverend james lawson
“The truth of the matter is that violence can destroy a building, but violence cannot build a university or a family home or a church or a fraternal order, or a farm or a business… It cannot create a city where people can live well in peace and with a sense of worth of their own life.”
frances fox piven
People gathered, of course, but what makes movements a force—when they are a force—is the deployment of a distinctive power that arises from the ability of angry and indignant people to at times defy the rules that usually ensure their cooperation and quiescence. Movements can mobilize people to refuse, to disobey, in effect to strike. In other words, people in motion, in movements, can throw sand in the gears of the institutions that depend on their cooperation.
My friends, I am glad we are all awake. May we never go back to sleep. As Rebecca Solnit often reminds me, we live in a time of wild possibilities. And to paraphrase the incomparable Rev. James Lawson, do not succumb to the myth that you were birthed into this world impotently. You were born with the power of the universe in your fingers. Use it.
the challenges and strengths of palestine’s ‘orchestra’ of civil resistance
In contrast to Palestinian activists, for whom resistance is a necessity, international activists, according to Hackl, have the luxury of choosing to join the resistance movement, some even seeing their participation as a way to engage in a more meaningful vacation than usual. Nonetheless, Hackl notes that their presence is valuable, due in large part to their distinct forms of privilege. First, internationals use the privilege stemming from their citizenship to be a protective presence at demonstrations. One Palestinian activist notes that when Israeli soldiers “see internationals, Israelis and cameras in the demonstrations, they change,” apparently stopping their use of live bullets. International activists also have a “low vulnerability to Israeli military prosecution,” unlike Palestinians who are at risk for arbitrary arrest and other forms of repression. Second, internationals use the privilege of their mobility — their ease crossing international borders — to publicize the Palestinian cause to their home countries and elsewhere. Finally, internationals have greater freedom to stay on the ground in Palestinian communities for weeks at a time than Israeli activists do, many of whom have daily responsibilities to attend to back in Israel.