February 07, 2009

Accepting Your Rights

Bora, ever the source of useful links on deconstructing the mainstream media, pointed me to Jay Rosen and Glenn Greenwald on Bill Moyers's Journal. There is lots of good stuff there about the inherent conservatism (not necessarily politically, but some of that too) of the Washington press corps, but it was something else that caught my eye.

GLENN GREENWALD: I think the idea of street demonstrations is probably the most stigmatized idea in our political process. There were huge marches, for instance, prior to the Iraq war, against the war. There were hundreds of thousands of people, millions of people throughout Europe marching in the streets against the war.

And yet, the media virtually excluded those demonstrations from the narrative, because they're threatening, and because they're considered to be the act of unserious radicals and people who are on the fringe, and I think that in some sense, that's reflective of the fact that that level of agitation is probably the most threatening to the people who have a vested in having the system continue unchanged.

I was reminded, as I am periodically, that our political voices are not granted to us by our political system. Our rights are not something handed to us by someone else. That may be the narrative, but it's not the truth. The truth is much more threatening.

We won our voices by revolution. We've carved out every right that is recognized by demonstrating that we were willing to disrupt and even to destroy if we didn't get them. The rare cases have been when we've had to destroy on any large scale, but we've always had to threaten convincingly.

There's more in the transcript (and video) about some small ways to demonstrate your willingness to disrupt. We had to do it to get the election we wanted. Let's not stop now.

Update: Bora saves me much time writing a follow-up post to go into detail on what I mean on this one. He's very good that way.


Rick said...

The interesting thing is that the more regimented a society is the less it can adapt to unusual circumstances and is therefor easier to disrupt. It makes me think if the scene where the Harlequin disrupts a regimented shift change by dumping jelly beans on them in Harlan Ellison's "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman".

Stephanie Zvan said...

Rick, I think you'd like Bora's post that I just added a link to. He makes the point very nicely about how easy it is to disrupt (no jellybeans, though).