Tuesday, August 15, 2006

On demonstrations

The weekend was rather peaceful. Everyone else was at the Ropecon and I was home with books, tea and ice cream. Was imagining that I would do something useful, but usefulness was quite limited.

After last week's postings a lot of people IRL have asked me whether one should abstain from going to a demonstration if somebody is carrying signs that they object to, if the demonstration is otherwise for something that they agree with. I answered that this depends; but if the objectionable signs are either numerous or held by the organizers of the demonstration, I would abstain.

In general I find that in demonstrations it is polite to keep on topic. Back in the US I've participated in a number of demonstrations, often on the traditionally leftist issues like abortion rights or gay rights, and was always somewhat annoyed by a number of people who show up to advertise completely unrelated leftist issues. If I show up to defend women's right to abortion or gays' right to marry each other, it certainly does not mean that I would like to free Mumia or vote for the socialist mayor candidate. However, such people are usually marginal at these demonstrations due to the fact that many people actively support abortion/gay marriage, and relatively few want to free Mumia or vote for socialists. If Mumia-liberators suddenly figured that they can attract more people to their cause by advertising their demonstration as a pro-choice demonstration, I certainly would not go there, or would leave if I happened to go there by mistake.

A few people were of the opinion that since peace means that both sides should stop shooting at each other it's quite ok for the pacifists to join a demonstration that demands that side A should stop shooting at side B. I find the idea strange to say the least.

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