This weekend US Uncut co-founder, Ryan Clayton, spoke with Coffee Party’s co-founders Eric Byler & Annabel Park on BlogTalk Radio, also on the show was Mark Miller, a Coffee Party member who disagrees with US Uncut’s approach. This event was kindly hosted by the Coffee Party and I thank them for their facilitating this dialog and allowing me and other callers to speak to the panel as well.
For those of you not familiar with US Uncut, it was inspired by the UK Uncut’s grassroot anti-austerity action campaign. What both Uncut movements are trying to do is to change the focus of the debate. Instead of cutting spending and taking from the those already taxed US UnCut says that we should be focusing on raising revenue from corporate tax dodgers, like Bank of America, and closing loopholes. Us UnCut has already taken some confrontational direct action such as protests in various Bank of America branches and confronting Bank of America Investors Conference (See Video here)
The debate on the show was whether or not that this was the correct strategy to put pressure on the current plutocratic slanted government and this is my take on the topic.
I support both organizations and feel that both have a place at the table. That said I feel during the course of events a time come when words fail and one is forced to pursue a course of Civil Disobedience. As Gandhi said “Civil disobedience must be sincere, respectful, restrained, … and must have no ill-will or hatred behind it.” As a Buddhist I can fully understand this. Buddha himself came from a warrior class and fearlessly carried the war into the arrogant caste system. Jesus drove out the money-changers from the temple in Jerusalem. Both were for intensely direct action as the time for polite discourse had passed! Even then as both Buddha and Jesus confronted their societies they both had love and gentleness behind every action. They did not raise a hand to their enemies and would have surrendered themselves than to deny the truth which they spoke.
Civil Disobedience is a given Right of a Citizen of any society, democratic or otherwise, but the course of the Civil Disobedience must be non-violent, even when it is confrontational. If anyone gives up their Right to Civil Disobedience then they cease to be a Citizen!
I would like to close with the following thoughts from Gandhi.
“I hold the opinion firmly that civil disobedience is the purest type of constitutional agitation… No big or swift movement can carried on without bold risks, and life will not be worth living if it is not attended with large risks. Does not the history of the world show that there would have been no romance in life if there had been no risks? (YI, 15-12-1921, p. 419)
If you want to listen to the radio show and here what was said there please visit the following link.
To learn more about either organization or to get involved please visit the below links.