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Oh for Christ’s sake

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 16 years ago, in 2008, on the World Wide Web.

I don’t at all agree with Bash Back’s tactics. For a lot of reasons. But this ain’t one of them:

Look at the Civil Rights movement, I dont see minorities storming anything and doing this sort of thing and look what we have in the White House. I hope those guys are all arrested and fined.

This is stupid, Marquette County, Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 8:07 a.m.

O.K.; let’s look at the Civil Rights movement.

Black students storm the whites-only Blue Boar cafeteria and sit in. Louisville, Kentucky.

Black students sit in at a whites-only lunch counter. Nashville, Tennessee, February 1960.

Sit-in at a whites-only Woolworth’s lunch counter. Jackson, Mississippi, 28 May 1963.

Black students arrested for storming a whites-only library and illegally reading in it. Jackson, Mississippi, 1961.

Oh, and while we’re at it:

Eric Evans and other members of the Afro-American Society announce the end of their 36-hour takeover of Willard Straight Hall at Cornell University. 20 April 1969.

You know how you can tell when some discussion in mainstream politics is going to have absolutely nothing to do with the history of the Civil Rights movement? Answer: if it starts out with someone saying Look at the Civil Rights movement….

See also:

19 replies to Oh for Christ’s sake Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. "Nick Manley" - The Curious "Deviant"

    Maybe, this has something to do with how revolutionary politics-tactics is a no no 200 something years after the first American revolution. I suspect I probably agree with some of your qualms about this stuff. It just reminded me of how voting for Obama is seen as the trendiest Progressive thing to do nowadays.

  2. "Nick Manley" - The Curious "Deviant"

    Oh wait, I forgot. Obama is a closest Marxist Muslim who hates America ( :

  3. Gabriel

    They should form a new group for these protests, Communist Muslim Gay Black-Bloc Eco-Anarchists. That’ll scare people.

  4. scineram

    Blacks and gays trespassing on private property makes me feel uneasy.

  5. "Nick Manley"- The Curious "Deviant"

    The Civil Rights movement engaged in actions that both statist “Progressives” and anti-racist Libertarians can support. The Freedom Rides and the Montgomery bus boycott come to mind.

    In come cases, the property the civil rights protesters were occupying was not private property in a classical liberal sense. It was “public” property effectively controlled by the state. This is why a radical capitalist like Murray Rothbard was able to celebrate the New Left student movement’s actions on the grounds of “public” academic institutions.

  6. Anonymous

    “Blacks and gays trespassing on private property makes me feel uneasy.”

    Political ideologies which logically couldn’t support much of the desegregation movement make me uneasy.

  7. "Nick Manley" - The Curious "Deviant"

    I doubt many people commenting here wouldn’t have supported a movement towards desegregation. It was mandated by the government.

  8. "Nick Manley" - The Curious "Deviant"

    In fact, a Randian would probably argue that action is being valued over logic (i.e. the disruption of racial consensus through philosophic spread of new ideas rather than risking violent physical conflict with racist private property owners)

    There was an interesting back and forth between Rothbard and Randians on the student movement’s actions — http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard102.html.

    Personally, I’d rather change someone’s mind then have the state force my entry to their business as a employee something. Why be around an unreformed racist? I’d feel miserable. I’d prefer to go elsewhere or start a grassroots philosophic movement.

  9. "Nick Manley" - The Curious "Deviant"

    *Not that non-governmental mandated racial separatism isn’t worth changing too.

  10. "Nick Manley" - The Curious "Deviant"


    Anonymous raises legitimate concerns about Libertarian ideology. I am curious to hear what you think about the tactics of the Civil Rights movement overall. You and I are both principled moralists about the initiation of force — though, I came to it less out of a sense of moralism then a strong uneasiness about visiting the effects of coercion upon anyone not violently attacking me. Some would call it sentimental, but I consider a quickness to resort to force over compassionate or not so compassionate at first conversation to change the world to be a highly dangerous mindset.

    Obviously, we’ve no problem with occupying things like public libraries that are state property and thus in need of corrective action to foster truly public access to them.

  11. "Nick Manley" - The Curious "Deviant"

    Wow! Ok; sorry for the rapid fire comments. I was just thinking of a response to scineram’s comments yesterday that I never published.


    The Civil Rights protesters were natural allies of Libertarians. Whatever inconsistencies they may have had by the strict standards of anti-statist ideology, they clearly wanted freedom in a major way.

    All left-libertarians and anarchists of any school of thought should study the movement to glean lessons on successful non-violent action. Our message at the time should have been to point out that property rights are designed to PROTECT (not yelling just putting emphasis) the expression of free individuality. Does that mean we have to endorse every action? Of course not. Not all Civil Rights people agreed on every action taken. At the same time, a property owner who pressed charges against the kids above would be acting immorally and would have to be approached or socially boycotted.

    I’d be expending my rhetorical energy in attacking the idea of racial separatism and reaching out to the Civil Rights movement with ideas about how freedom should come to other less racialized areas of their life too.

  12. scineram

    They can take books form public library and drive away with a public bus and never return for all I care.

  13. "Nick Manley" - The Curious "Deviant"

    That’s always an option for anti-statist radicals, but I’d caution against doing that in any context. It might benefit a larger group of oppressed people to find a way to mutualize the institution in good hands. My main beef with the U.S. government is not that it nominally believes in greater access to books or transportation.

  14. "Nick Manley" - The Curious "Deviant"

    I am dependent on public transportation to avoid walking a gazillion miles to school most mornings. What’s cool is when I get to ride it in anarcho-communist fashion — the bus driver waives the usual fee partly or entirely.

  15. "Nick Manley" - The Curious "Deviant"

    I’d like to try to jumpstart this conversation with Charles and his readers. These kind of questions about tactics to deal with private discrimination are very important. My problem with scineram’s comment is that it focuses on the wrong part of the scenario. This is not meant to provoke a flame war. I don’t know what was running through his/her head when they read Charles post.

    That said; is there anything sacred about the property rights of a racist apart from a generalized principled respect for some conception of private property? My spiritual sympathies are with the Civil Rights movement. No one possesses a right qua racist. They may possess a private property right out of belonging to a liberal polity, but that doesn’t mean there is need to morally or socially sanction them. I contend that the morally guilty party are the property owners who press charges against the people above or the state acting in their place. Those students above are the real victims of violence — not the racialist property owners.

    Provocative quote that touches on this: “Things don’t bleed. Those heavy with the dead weight of things will die the death of things. Victor Serge recounts that during the sack of Razoumovskoe the revolutionaries smashed some porcelain; and when they were criticised for having done so, they replied: “We’ll smash all the porcelain in the world to transform life. You love things too much and people too little… You love men too much the way you love things, and man you don’t love enough.” What we don’t need to destroy is worth saving: that’s the most succinct version of our future penal code.”


    Comments? ( :

  16. "Nick Manley" - The Curious "Deviant"

    Just to be clear: I am not endorsing nihilistic destruction of material goods or even non-nihilistic destruction. I used this quote to illustrate that relatively peaceful occupations of inanimate property by a metaphorically bleeding minority group isn’t the end of the world.

  17. "Nick Manley" - The Curious "Deviant"

    Am I going to get any takers on this discussion? I made some fun comments, right? ( :

— 2010 —

  1. Discussed at www.raggedclown.com

    Ragged Clown » Blog Archive » A Beautiful Mind:

    […] was it like to be that guy who was so offended by the idea of black people and white people eating lunch together that he poured his drink over […]

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