Discussing Different Ways to Protest America’s Wars

The following correspondence originally took place on my Facebook wall, upon my post, “First U.S. Official Yet Hands in Resignation in Protest to Afghan War!“…

Former Foreign Service Employee and Marine, Matthew Hoh

Former Foreign Service Employee and Marine, Matthew Hoh

Rayn: First U.S. Official Yet Hands in Resignation in Protest to Afghan War!
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/26/AR2009102603394.html?hpid=topnews&sid=ST2009102603447

Now, this is CHANGE I can BELIEVE IN! There’s nothing like an honest-to-goodness change of heart! Especially, after some good ol’-fashioned first-hand experience!

According to the September 2009 resignation letter of Foreign Service Officer, former Marine captain, & former civilian Department of Defense employee Matthew Hoh, he has “lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan,” having “doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy.” His resignation “is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end.” He cannot “see the value or the worth in continued U.S. casualties or expenditures or resources in support of the Afghan government in what is, truly, a 35-year old civil war.”

Seeing the current Afghani administration as corrupt – seated by lawless drug lords and war criminals, bound by sweet-heart deals, and wrought with election fraud – Matthew feels that “our support for this kind of government, coupled with a misunderstanding of the insurgency’s true nature, reminds [him] horribly of our involvement with South Vietnam; an unpopular and corrupt government we backed at the expense of our Nation’s own internal peace, against an insurgency whose nationalism we arrogantly and ignorantly mistook as a rival to our own Cold War ideology.” Well put, Matthew! And, well done!

And, for those interested in reading Matthew Hoh’s full resignation letter, go here:
http://original.antiwar.com/news/2009/10/27/resignation-letter-from-us-foreign-service-officer-matthew-p-hoh/

Kenny C.would u actually attend a protest?

Raymond M.Protests can be counter effective if your primary motive is consciousness-raising. Your audacity might turn off people who are unfamiliar with your cause and need to be educated about what’s at stake before being subjected to all the noise.

Kenny C.not like protesting does anything anyway, they dont care..and soon enough when the fema camps are ready to go, they are gonna take us and send us to modern concentration camps!

Rayn: To answer your question, Kenny, I don’t think I would attend a protest march, unless it was privately coordinated to be highly, independently videotaped, as police have been known to plant agent provocateurs into marches in order to cause havoc, enabling them to dispatch SWAT teams to the scene to unleash brutal, and even lethal, force. It’s one thing to clearly put yourself on the line for your rights, but it’s another thing to have police beat you down, then hit you with bogus charges, while the mainstream media paints you out to be a violent criminal, or an anarchist, with most believing it. Having a gigantic propoganda machine at their disposal, and the ability to reach vast audiences, the media is usually able to hijack the point of the public protest right out from underneath the protesters, and hand it over to the very small minority of fringe, or extremist elements that are there, successfully sullying the public’s views of even the most reputable cause.

Watch the following videos to understand what I mean:

Agent Provocateurs Disguised as Anarchists at 2009 G-20 Summit in Pittsburg, PA:

Peaceful 2007 Anti-SPP Protesters in Canada Stop Agent Provocateurs From Starting Riot:

Police Admit to Planting Agent Provocateurs at 2007 Anti-SPP Protest:

Notice any similarities in these so-called “protester” (i.e. black clothing, bandana masks, clean-cut, muscular, cop-like)?

Sometimes, apparently, they just come to spy on you, so they can infiltrate, discredit, or disrupt your group:

Agent Provocateur at 2009 End the Fed Rally in San Antonio, Texas:

Cops Spy on Protesters at 2009 End the Fed Rally in Texas:

I think picketing is a more superior form of protest when considering the reality of today, and while I have wanted to do it a few times to my local police station, my husband always talks me out of it. 🙁 Either way, I enjoy the idea that each Individual is able to carry their own personalized message right there with them – in clear view, for the world to see. You have direct control over the purporse of the protest. Besides this, the enemy will even find it less threatening than a march, and may not see a reason to respond with absolute force. Free movement, and disruption of community businesses and traffic, bothers the powers-that-be even more than the simple act of alerting other individuals to corruption and injustice in our nation. And, as marches are meant to achieve that very thing – awareness- albeit in a much more disruptive way, in the hopes of waking more people, I will always choose quality over quantity. If you are standing in a public space with a picket sign, with or without others, maybe choosing a few small intervals in which to chant, you are going to be seen as much more approachable to someone who is interested, and you will be able to organically give first-hand answers any on-the-spot questions they might have. This is worth more than momentarily grabbing the attention of someone who more than likely will be distracted a moment later, when they are subjected to that same loud, in-your-face shock method from another source. By the time these types have the time to do the research, they will have long-forgotten the point you were trying to make.

This segways into the good point Raymond made. People can, indeed, be put-off by noise and loud spectacles that are created in public at their expense. As a protester, you may do more harm than good for your cause, if you annoy the community you are marching in by creating a scene that is too chaotic, or disruptive. At that point, the public will have a difficult time viewing your group as bearers of peace, even though you have not engaged in any forms of violence or vandalism during your protest…

I think it is important to consider using alternative forms of protest, along with the mainstream types. Some methods can be more passive, like wearing a t-shirt with a message, or a patch on your bag, while some can be more aggressive, like covering public property with stickers bearing messages, or asking local businesses to display flyers on their property. Other efforts can be creative, or informative – like websites, artwork, songs, games, videos, movies, documentaries, organizations, books, newsletters, social networks and forum posts, contests, and the list goes on! Personally, I won’t allow tradition to fool me into believing that a political cartoon or song is less effective than a protest march or a picket! I don’t believe that marching or picketing is the most effective way of protesting, per se; the most effective way would be to use the method that you are best at, and most comfortable with!

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(All original portions of this work, by Rayn Kleipe, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, while all redistributed links, images, sounds, videos, and writings are protected under 17 U.S.C. § 107: Fair Use, or under Public Domain)

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