"For me, the most important lesson
[of the Freedom Movement] is that by respecting the fact that fellow activists could passionately disagree over strategy and tactics—yet remain allies—they strengthened SNCC and the Movement as a whole."
From Bruce Hartford's article in the current issue of Urban Habitat.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

They did what?!

This is relevant to Bruce Hartford's essay on Humor and Audacity -- Tactics of Nonviolence

 From the NY TIMES article by Ellen Barry
In response to Putin's crackdown on dissent during his swearing in, twelve prominent Russian authors decided to "determine whether it was possible to spend an afternoon walking en masse from one city park to another 'without being blocked, beaten, poisoned with gas, detained, arrested or at least subjected to stupid molestations with questions.'"

Last Sunday, the 12 authors left Pushkin Square and were joined, eventually, by 10,000 people, all wearing white ribbons as a symbol of opposition to Putin's government.  They arrived at the statue of Aleksandr S. Griboyedov (playwright) without being molested by the police.

The protesters have occupied a Moscow park with much singing and festivities.  "On Thursday, the police detained eight young women in pig costumes.  A cow appeared over the weekend, evidently to protest Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization."

Olga Romanova, a longtime opposition activist, said she had given up trying to explain the situation in letters to her husband, who is in prison. “I started to write, ‘There’s a wedding taking place here right now, and now a cow has come,’ ” Ms. Romanova said. “Then I understood that I have to cross it all out because he’ll think that I’ve gone crazy with grief or something is happening with me. How will they explain to Putin? There was a wedding. A cow came. How will they explain that?”
Irina Yasina, one of the action’s organizers, said events like the one on Sunday confronted the government with a new and vexing dilemma because, as she put it, “writers are moral people, and the demand for morality is huge.”
“Moral people came out, and they don’t know what to do with this,” Ms. Yasina said. “They know what to do with Udaltsov — force against force. They know what to do with Navalny — force against force. They don’t know what to do with civic protest. They won’t be able to come up with anything. It’s impossible.”

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