civil disobedience

When she joined a “swim-in” in St. Augustine, Florida on June 18, 1964, then 17-year-old Mamie Nell Ford had little idea that her picture would soon be seen around the world – and help spur the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. On that day, seven civil rights activists, including Ford, jumped into the segregated pool at the Monson Motor Lodge to protest its ‘whites-only’ policy. As journalists looked on, the motel owner’s James Brock responded by dumping acid into the pool in an effort to drive them out. Ford recalls that her immediate reaction was “I couldn’t breathe,” and a photo of her with an alarmed expression as Brock pours acid nearby appeared in newspapers around the world. When people learn about the incident today, Ford says, “I’m often asked, ‘How could you have so much courage?’ Courage for me is not ‘the absence of fear,’ but what you do in the face of fear.”

The campaign to challenge segregation in St. Augustine in 1963 and 1964, known as the St. Augustine Movement, is considered one of the bloodiest of the Civil Rights Movement. Students staging “wade-ins” to challenge segregation on the beaches were violently beaten and, after several black children were admitted into white schools due to the Supreme Court’s decision outlawing school segregation, several of the children’s homes were burnt to the ground by local segregationists. Martin Luther King, Jr. was even arrested on the steps of this same motel only a week prior to the pool “swim-in,” after being charged with trespassing when he attempted to dine at the “whites-only” Monson Restaurant.

Prior to the pool “swim-in”, Ford was already an experienced civil rights activist in her hometown of Albany, Georgia. When Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference came to Albany to recruit activists to support the movement in St. Augustine, she immediately signed up. “When they asked for volunteers to participate in the swim-in demonstration, I said, yes, because, despite segregation, I knew how to swim,” she says. While they knew it was likely they would be arrested, no one expected the owner to pour acid into the pool. “It is as fresh in my mind as the morning dew, because when the acid was poured in the pool, the water began to bubble up,” Ford recalls. Although the group was arrested shortly thereafter, their protest had the intended effect: as it made headlines worldwide, President Johnson said in a recorded phone conservation: “Our whole foreign policy will go to hell over this!” Within 24 hours, the civil rights bill that had been introduced a year before and had been stalled in the Senate won approval, leading directly to the passage of the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964.

After being released from serving jail time for the swim-in, Ford made a powerful statement urging the people of St. Augustine to keep fighting: “Don’t lose heart now because you’re the ones on whom this movement rests. People will come and go because they live somewhere else, but you live here and you make this thing happen.” She returned home and went on to join five other black girls to lead the desegregation of the formerly all-white Albany High School, where she graduated with honors in 1965. Ford, who later changed her name to Mimi Jones, then went to college in Boston where she spent her career working in the Department of Education.

Although less well known than school segregation, the long legacy of segregation in swimming pools still lives on today. After legal challenges and actions like this one in St. Augustine forced the end of segregated pools, in many towns, especially in the South, ‘white flight’ from public pools to private clubs often led to their closure. The impact of first segregation and later pool closures over generations has led to a major gap between white and black Americans in swimming ability, with whites being twice as likely to know how to swim as blacks. This difference is also reflected in the CDC finding that black children are three times more likely die from drowning than white children. For these reasons and the long legacy of racism at swimming pools, Simone Manuel’s victory at the last Olympic Games took on special meaning for many African Americans – a significance the young swimmer alluded to after she became the first African-American woman to ever win an individual Olympic gold in swimming: “The gold medal wasn’t just for me,“ she said. "It’s for a lot of people who came before me.”

Picture and text from "A Mighty Girl” on Facebook

Emma Goldman (June 27, 1869 – May 14, 1940) was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing, and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the 20th century.

Born in Kovno, Russian Empire (present-day Kaunas, Lithuania), Goldman emigrated to the United States in 1885. Attracted to anarchism after the Haymarket affair, Goldman became a writer and a renowned lecturer on anarchist philosophy, women’s rights, and social issues, attracting crowds of thousands. She and anarchist writer Alexander Berkman, her lover and lifelong friend, planned to assassinate industrialist and financier Henry Clay Frick as an act of propaganda of the deed. Frick survived the attempt on his life in 1892 and Berkman was sentenced to 22 years in prison. Goldman was imprisoned several times in the years that followed, for “inciting to riot” and illegally distributing information about birth control. In 1906, Goldman founded the anarchist journal Mother Earth.

In 1917, Goldman and Berkman were sentenced to two years in jail for conspiring to “induce persons not to register” for the newly instated draft. After their release from prison, they were arrested—along with hundreds of others—and deported to her native Russia. Initially supportive of that country’s Bolshevik revolution, Goldman reversed her opinion in the wake of the Kronstadt rebellion and denounced the Soviet Union for its violent repression of independent voices. In 1923, she published a book about her experiences, My Disillusionment in Russia. While living in England, Canada, and France, she wrote an autobiography called Living My Life. After the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, she traveled to Spain to support the anarchist revolution there. She died in Toronto on May 14, 1940, aged 70.

During her life, Goldman was lionized as a free-thinking “rebel woman” by admirers, and denounced by detractors as an advocate of politically motivated murder and violent revolution. Her writing and lectures spanned a wide variety of issues, including prisons, atheism, freedom of speech, militarism, capitalism, marriage, free love, and homosexuality. Although she distanced herself from first-wave feminism and its efforts toward women’s suffrage, she developed new ways of incorporating gender politics into anarchism. After decades of obscurity, Goldman’s iconic status was revived in the 1970s, when feminist and anarchist scholars rekindled popular interest in her life.

This narrative that protesting is only done by the privileged who are rich and have their parents supporting them is so wild and hilarious.

Like, how willfully ignorant do you have to be to overlook all the poor people who protest? Who have no money and are scared but are trying to make a difference and have their voices heard, or let other people be heard.

It’s not theoretical that protest has saved lives, civil unrest saved lives, these people fight for the rights of themselves and others.

It’s privileged to change that narrative so you can justify telling people to protest more conveniently, more quietly and in a way that can be more easily ignored.

These critics will tell you that online activism is “slacktivism” and it isn’t REAL activism and that REAL activism is done on the streets. Then if you take to the streets they tell you it’s a temper tantrum and you are being inconvenient. Then if you do a symbolic gesture that doesn’t impact anyone you’re being “disrespectful”.

This contradiction isn’t accidental, it’s their way of telling you to shut up, to go away, to stop complaining.

They will always tell you there is a “right way” to do things but they don’t mean it, the only thing they want is silence.

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Bree Newsome takes down the Confederate Battle Flag at the South Carolina State Capitol

“We removed the flag today because we can’t wait any longer. We can’t continue like this another day. It’s time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality.”

- Brittany/Bree Newsome

The Accords... Again

So, I was discussing the accords with @kenobi-and-barnes and their friend, who’s a Steve stan. I realized something though. 

Even if the accords were morally deplorable, Steve’s method of stopping them ultimately failed. The only winner at the end of Civil War was Zemo, and maybe Ross considering Steve’s methods fostered a fear of the enhanced which supports his agenda. 

At the end of the move we have Rhodey paralyzed. Tony and Vision both heart broken, and physically attacked. Bucky is back in cryo. Clint and Sam are separated from their kids. Wanda went from being trapped in the compound to being trapped in Wakanda. They can no longer work to protect the world at all because if they leave Wakanda they will be arrested. 

Well then the question needs to be asked, how could Steve have opposed the Accords and won? I think I have an answer, Civil Disobedience. (Now this would be a very boring movie, but it would be a much better plan of action.)

Now, if anyone is wondering what Civil Disobedience is, civil disobedience is when you break an unjust law, but then face the consequences of breaking that law in court in order to challenge it. (Examples include Rosa Parks, and MLK) 

What would this look like?

Steve would sign the Accords, and he would work under them until they actually made it so he couldn’t do hi job properly, until they kept him from saving people. Once that happened Steve and whoever wanted to with him could break the Accords in order to save people, and then accept the consequences of doing so. 

Now nobody is a fugitive, nobody is dead, nobody is injured, and you have Captain America, america’s golden boy, and a hero being persecuted for saving people. I have a feeling that would not be a hard court case for a Stark Industries lawyer to win, and in doing so the Accords would either be changed or gotten rid of entirely.

So at the end of the day, the Avengers are still together, Steve would most likely recieve a slap on the wrist (and a lot of public support) at worst. The Accords may or may not have been repealed. There was no needless destruction of an airport. No fight between friends. 

Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.
—  Howard Zinn