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CD training for women

CD Training for Women on Sunday! - info below

This Sunday, July 13th Code Pink is hosting a civil
disobedience training for women (only).

There are still spots available.

Location: Full Circle Temple, 3125 E. Burnside
Time: 11 am to 5 pm

The trainers are experienced in preparing peace
activists for all sorts of actions and events.

A modest donation will be appreciated to compensate
the presenters for their time, energy, experience,
and wisdom, and to compensate Full Circle Temple for
use of the space. No woman turned away for lack of

Please send reservation requests to:

Civil Disobedience Prevents Substantial Change From Occurring in this Country 10.Jul.2003 09:50

Craig Rosebraugh craig@arissa.org

Civil disobedience holds absolutely no practical value in terms of an effective social and political change strategy in the United States. By teaching civil disobedience, one is instructing people how to be submissive to the state, how to be lambs to the slaughter. Please do not trust revisionist history. Gandhi's civil disobedience campaigns did not on their own compel the British to evacuate India. It was a combination of the political atmosphere of the British being drawn into multiple international conflicts along with the sizable armed and violent independence movement in India. The second primary icon typically praised for successful civil disobedience campaigns is Martin Luther King, Jr. True, "his" desegregation and enfranchisement campaigns did achieve some progress, but the visible advancement of the civil rights movement came only after the addition of the black power contingency which forced the federal government to identify King as the less threatening of two opponents.

Civil disobedience holds as a necessity the classic belief in nonviolence, that if the applicant performs an act of self suffering, she/he will win the opponent over with love and "soul force." The opponent is allegedly supposed to be able to see the errors in her/his own ways and voluntarily change. This voluntary change, it is argued, will create lasting results - a typical solution to the circle of violence theory.

The problem with civil disobedience is that it requires the opponent to have a healthy, working conscience for any significant change to occur. Only a healthy and working conscience would allow someone to see the evils in her/his own actions and voluntarily change. Yet, I would argue the overwhelming majority of those performing large scale acts of injustice in the United States do not have this healthy conscience. If they did, would severe and conscious acts of injustice be performed in the first place? If our Commander in Chief had a healthy and working conscience would he have thrust the U.S. into a war in Afghanistan and Iraq? Would he be leaving U.S. troops there only to be picked off one by one in a guerilla war? Would automobile manufacturers such as Ford continue to pump out larger gas guzzling vehicles such as the excursion if the corporation's executives had healthy and working consciences? Would companies continue to use sweat shop labor overseas or chop down old growth forests, or engage in genetic engineering if the executives had healthy and working consciences? The mere act of injustice in these annd countless other examples demonstrates that these individuals to not have a healthy and working conscience. Otherwise they would not be engaging in these acts in the first place. To believe that an individual without a healthy and working conscience could be effected by a civil disobedience campaign demonstrates a lack of understanding of the civil disobedience strategy.

Certainly, there are a few varied goals for any civil disobedience campaign. One goal may just be to create media attention about your given "issue." If your civil disobedience campaign action is unique and lengthy, perhaps you may get yourself on the evening news, but as a former public relations representative I would suggest that most often the soundbites aired from these actions are specifically chosen by corporate media to discredit your cause. Additionally, there are other methods of acquiring attention for your cause without resorting to media stunts that only serve to get your group members arrested and, often times, injured.

A second goal of a civil disobedience campaign may be to use nonviolence to compel the opponent into changing their unjust acts. One way many argue this can be accomplished is by using self suffering to appeal to a third party that will, in turn, place the needed pressure on the original opponent to change. For example, if the anti-war movement in the United States engaged in large-scale civil disobedience campaigns against the U.S. government, the government would respond with an increasing degree of repression. This repression, it is argued, would be visible to the international community and some third party - so outraged by the treatment of the anti-war demonstrators, would place the needed pressure on the U.S. government to stop its unjust war policies. The obvious problem with this scenerio is that in the international community, the U.S. government does not listen and respond to anyone - not the U.N., not any European or Asian power, no one. Therefore this particular nonviolence goal is not only impractical but arguable impossible.

A third common goal of a civil disobedience campaign is to directly compel the opponent into changing their unjust acts. Addressed earlier in this essay, this approach relies upon the belief that the opponent has a healthy and working conscience. Clearly, one who is engaged in overt, horrific atrocities does not have this most crucial necessity.

The only other goal of a civil disobedience campaign that is frequently asserted is that people just feel they need to take a stand against injustice. They want to lay their bodies on the line as a personal act of protest and defiance against an injustice and its creator. Yet, this approach is ineffective at best and suicide in the worst case scenerio. The prison industrial complex in the United States has no problem growing and it is far too simple for the state to pick up a morally righteous protester and lock them away. This does nothing to realistically disrupt the protested act of injustice or its creator. Additionally, this morally righteous strategy holds little in the way of practicality while having substantial religious undertones. Just as the "good Jews" in ghettos and deaths camps in Nazi controlled Eastern Europe felt that they could do nothing and somehow the higher power would save them, many civil disobedience practitioners believe that as long as they "take a stand" nonviolently goodness will prevail. Of course, the failure of the Jewish response was horrifically demonstrated in the near completion of the Final Solution program and it took the politically violent actions of the Allied forces to finally close the camps. The higher power belief, as applied to the civil disobedience pratitioner in the United States, is just as hopeless.

I write these comments on this beautiful Thursday morning not to initiate another furious (and likely troll instigated) debate over strategies, but to share some of my knowledge and understanding. I, myself, used to be sold on the civil disobedience and nonviolence religion. I used to teach nonviolence and civil disobedience workshops and classes across the country. Additionally, I was so compelled by the ideology that I took part in a dozen or so nonviolent civil disobedience actions. After my experiences, after years of research on nonviolence ideology and civil disobedience strategy as well as history, I seriously question the value of civil disobedience and its potential to actually confront the murderous and diseased U.S. government. I do believe the practice of civil disobedience is another deterrent preventing substantial change from occurring in this country. Enjoy this weather.

In building a revolutionary consciousness...

Craig, You Are A Blowhard 10.Jul.2003 11:39


Hey, that's useful, Craig. Tell folks who are amping up their resistance how useless it all is. So we're back to the options: do nothing or pick up a gun, eh? Guess which one will happen? Sure, revolution in India and black resistance in the US didn't happen solely because of non-violent cd, but they sure didn't happen without it , either. Guess who was on the front lines first.

good points but... 10.Jul.2003 11:45

I'm not convinced

You have certainly made some interesting and (arguably) valid assertions.
yes, CD is not the end-all-be-all or the wisest choice in every context.

But I say CD is a very valid option in our revolutionary tool box.

One thing to consider is, who is your intended audience? It can do alot to raise awareness and inform/convince "the masses", although yes it canbe misrepresented or piss off some folks.

CD and/or NV can put a human face and perspective on the issue, on the protestors, and on the "oppressors", most of whom are regular people "just doing their jobs". These people CAN be influenced. They do have hearts and souls.

There is also the issue of priveledged americans being able and willing to take risks and have impacts in solidarity or others who can not.
Perhaps I feel at some level that I have a responsibility to stand up for certain causes in whatever way I feel able to, and sir, I'd like a broad a palette of choices as possible to do that.

Ssuccess stories include but are by no means limited to: tree sits, nuns pouring thier own blood on missle silos, sit-ins at universities and other smaller scale "authorities" that HAVE effectively changed policies & made a difference.

To say CD or NV doesn't have an impact is just way off base, and I believe being willing to suffer for a cause is not weak or stupid, or always unwise.

For example, I can tell you that I was shocked into awareness about the atrocities happening in Tibet when I learned about the Monk who set himself on fire in protest (was this non-violent, no, was it CD, yes, but YOU are the person linking NV and CD, and they are certainly not always linked, as surely you know....)

But even if it is really a poor strategy in every circumstance and you are totally right (which I do not think you are) there is one really important reason why I want CD training:

I've witnessed cops pull people of the street and arrest or beat them, for following laws, for doing nothing, for being the wrong color, or having the wrong political perspective. I'm beginning to fear that someday I could be called "civally disobedient, or a dangerous woman, or a threat to X, Y or Z, based on others' decisions, not on whether I was actively engaging/intending to do CD at that moment in time. And I want to be prepared, I want to understand what may happen to me, what my choices are, and how to do jail solidarity and such.

Maybe trainings are worthwhile worthwhile,
just so that we feel/are more prepared....

Pink Angel

The Point of Civil Resistance 10.Jul.2003 12:02


Craig, do you ever actually do anything for the revolution (besides endlessly rewrite your graduate thesis?) Of course, civil resistance doesn't cause some cosmic soul-change in the bankrupt consciousness of the ruling class. Change is never going to come from the top down, it's only going to happen when people feel united enough to rise up together. Civil disobedience is one way of performing acts of resistance that people can take public responsibility for and, hopefully, organize around. Sure it's not the only tool in the chest. But it's one way of breaking through the fear factor that keeps most of us, most of the time, isolated and ineffective.

what is your point 11.Jul.2003 11:36


WHat are we doing? Did you know that your personal attacks on craig in response to his political statements would make Cointelpro proud? Let's play the more revolutionary than thou game, and make ourselves feel important, yay!

It seems to me that the pacifist contingent of the left has become so dogmatic, that any expression of opinion that doesn't echo the dominant pacifist line is torn down. it's not like craig's position has a huge backing here, obviously. He's not the one supressing diversity.

It also REALLY bother me that someone seems to think that a belief in political violence is a luxury that only craig as a grad student has. You might talk about genocide but do you know what it is to have you family, your land, your language, your freedom and health, decimated? How many people do you know in this situtaion, and how many are just willing to put their life back into the hand of the system that's doing this to them? Non-violence as a strategy depends on the morality of the oppressor, or the strength of martyrdom in building a social movement. I am from a small, poor, indegenious community, and I know for a fact that the police, FBI, DEA, and all kinds of mining and other commercial groups were COMPLETELY willing to see our community locked up, and if we fought back, killed. Even in the eye of the media. (because if the victim was brown, it must have been justified). The only solution left to many is to fight and run away.

non-violent civil disobedience may be an outlet for the need to do SOMETHING for many people, but i want to remind you that not everyone has that kind of priveldge. Many many people are fighting for our lives, and it is not about idealogy. I'd also like to remind you that slavery and other phantoms of a living hell exist in this state, and that the worst has and will happen HERE. Reach deeper than your used to, and try to really "Unite and Resist" with someone other than your mirror image.

Like sheep to a slaughter 11.Jul.2003 15:18


It disgusts me that *women* are to be trained in how to be *victims.* Women especially should learn self-defense, even firearms safety. The state doesn't respect you, lacks the morals to be convinced, and the media will nullify any actions and lull the public back into obedience. And so what if th epopulace is convinced? We don't live in a democracy - we live under a plutocracy. Remember the rigged, corrupt 2000 election?

CD is useless - a middle-class self-help project. Abandon your masturbatory vanity project and organise a real resistance. Slavery was ended with violence. Nazis were stopped with violence. Monarchies ended with violence. And capitalism (which requires constant war) must be ended with violence. I don't like it either, but it's the truth. Face it and let's get real.

below is an excerpt from an excellent article by Paul D'Amato;

Violence does not necessarily degrade those who use it. Abolitionist Frederick Douglass believed that when an escaped slave used force to prevent a slave-catcher from forcibly returning him to bondage, he or she was helping to lift slaves up from both their physical and mental bondage. It was the persistent lack of resistance in the face of unremitting oppression that had the most morally degrading influence on the oppressed.

"We cannot but shudder as we call to mind the horrors that have ever marked servile insurrections- we would avert them if we could; but shall the millions forever submit to robbery, to murder, to ignorance, and every unnamed evil which an irresponsible tyranny can devise, because the overthrow of that tyranny would be productive of horrors? We say not. The recoil, when it comes, will be in exact proportion to the wrongs inflicted; terrible as it will be, we accept and hope for it. The slaveholder has been tried and sentenced, his execution only waits the finish to the training of his executioners. He is training his own executioners."
-- Frederick Douglass, 1857, "Peaceful annihilation of slavery is hopeless," in Philip S. Foner, ed., abridged and adapted by Yuval Taylor, Selected Speeches and Writings (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 1999), p. 344.

Violence is always wrong 11.Jul.2003 23:51

Peace 4 ever

Violence is always wrong. We must condemn it in the strongest of terms.

Better to be raped? Better to be killed? Better to let your family get attacked? 12.Jul.2003 00:00


Violence is the only way to defend yourself sometimes. Your dogma about violence "always being bad" speaks more about a privileged life without threats than a helpful way of dealing with very serious problems.

I hate women only crap 12.Jul.2003 05:34


Don't you have enough self help groups, why don't you include men for a change