Being engaged in politics you know that not everyone will ever be happy. Someone will always think that the political system can be improved. Each party campaigns to win votes so that their vision of the perfect political system can be put into place. Can a political system ever be perfect, even just for a moment, or will new changes and problems in the country require new solutions? In my opinion the perfect political system is one that is always changing to meet the needs and wants of the people it governs.
Political activism is an accepted part of our societal system that allows for expression of dissatisfaction and inducement for change of certain policies or actions performed by those with political power. Malcolm X is a political activist that pointed to this fact of our society by saying “whenever a people come to the conclusion that the government which they have supported proves itself unwilling or proves itself unable to protect our property…we ourselves band together to do whatever, however, whenever is necessary to see that our lives and our property are protected.” (X, 163). He alludes to the American constitution which states that the people have a right to rebellion if their lives, liberty or property is compromised, or they deem the government unfit. (Anderson).
Malcolm X intended to practice this right to rebellion through extremism. (X, 162) He, wanted to “speak the language that they understand” (X, 164) meaning the language of violence and possibly political philosophy that his oppressors have spoken to him and people of his race for many years. (Anderson) The only problem with that is the one which Mohandas K. Gandhi points out about violence in his speech “Means and Ends”. He proves that violence breeds violence, and the type of means you use to get your message across will dictate the response you get. So, if you use violence to communicate your message, you will be responded to with violence. He explains this through a series of analogies such as “you can [not] get a rose through planting a noxious weed” or worship God by means of Satan. (Gandhi, 166)
Gandhi put his theory into practice during the 1930 salt marches. Protestors did not defend themselves from the police in order to gain sympathy and eventual withdrawal of the police. (Miller, 1) This worked, and eventually Britain’s rule over India ceased. (Anderson)
How plausible is this in the modern world? Gandhi was rebelling in India, the Indian police officers were as much being robbed by British rule as the protestors, which essentially would put them on the side of Gandhi’s protestors. He called the media to watch these demonstrations and report for him. The Indian media was unbiased in its portrayal of the brutalities that occurred on the side of the police when the stories went to print in British newspapers (Anderson).
The G20 protests in Toronto were another story. There was in no way a confusion of who was on whose side. It was very clear for all involved that police and media were against the protestors. Pictures depict the police heroically (Figure 1, Anderson), and protestors as violent (Figure 2, Anderson). For anyone who was there, or saw real footage taken by protestors it was clear the police were preforming brutal acts of violence on protestors in a non-violent demonstration, and the burning car was in fact planted by the police, to make the protestors look violent. This is a quote about the situation from a participant at the G20 protests:
“The real news journalism was done by the love vibe people downtown on their bikes and in their garages. If people pay attention to and believe how the popular media portrays what went down, they are their own worst enemy and need to wake up to their own naivety. I personally saw the cop car sitting there many blocks behind the protest lines and out of view of the police lines, for a long time. Long enough to have it removed 10 times, and long enough to see dozens of people, activists and regular passersby, gawking at the deserted cop ar in the middle of the road. No other vehicles were left there or nearby, it was in the middle of Queen Street. You wouldn't see a cop car left alone unattended like that for hours on Queen Street today without a protest. It was planted and an instigation for the civil disobedience, and not a reflection of the protesters. If it was left like that today downtown somebody would go mess with it. At the G20 the only actual violence I saw was all 100% the police, and I saw some bad vicious stuff. Small weak people being beaten brutally and majorly wounded. It was shocking. Small older woman being physically assaulted and violently arrested and taken away by multiple officers” (Childs)
This real account is in clear contrast to anything the popular media would have you believe about what happened. Such skewing of perception by media is common, and makes it very difficult for anything like the salt marches to occur in our society.
What the G20 protests lacked was organization and a common message. Something that both Gandhi and X had in common is that they believed in strategic and intelligently directed protest. (X, 162) (Anderson).
Gandhi also believes in educating people as a form of protest. (Gandhi, 168). He educated people through petitions, and he backed the petitions with love force. He did not say that if there was no satisfactory response that violence will be used, he merely said “If you do not concede our demand, we shall no longer be your petitioners. You can govern us as long as we remain governed; we shall no longer have any dealings with you.” That is very powerful. Societal change comes from the internal workings of many individuals coinciding. A value shift must occur in each one of us. If a large group of people collectively no longer follow a law, there is no way they law can be enforced or maintained. This is a form of protest Gandhi regularly used. Such as when he collected salt from the sea with a large group of people when producing your own salt was illegal in India, so that the British could control the supply of it, even though it is necessary for life in hot climates. (Anderson).
Collective Evolution and Truth Theory are nonprofit organizations in the GTA that spread the truth about corporations and government, and their policies and actions that could be affecting our wellbeing. They urge people to boycott, and protest unfair actions by either active or passive means. A passive way of protesting against GMOs could be growing your own organic garden, and active way would be attending the march against Monsanto the GMO giant of the U.S. Either way these nonprofits educate people to be able to make informed decision and base their actions on truth, not constructed truth, or the hidden truth in the media, this makes real change possible through either passive or active resistance once people are educated.
Evolving Families and Heart Harmonized Humans is another group in the GTA that brings people together in order to cultivate ‘love force’, at the meetings we discuss problems we see around us, from the most mundane to the most global and how to “be the change” (Gandhi). The most important part of these meetings is the spiritual aspect, the tribal music, the circle dancing, the connection, and the love and positive energy that is spread to everyone involved. It makes you want to live more consciously, and spread this love to every human being. That kind of internal change is a huge catalyst to order to start protest, or rebellion, or revolution. People not only have to believe in a cause, they need to feel the need to support it, and love for all humanity is a pretty big reason. Evolving Families and Heart Harmonized Humans are successful at raising this awareness and want for good will in people through everything from art, to music, to gardening, to discussion, to hugs. Their use of love force has strongly made me interested in supporting causes and rebelling actively or passively to for what I would see fit as a problem that needs fixing. For these reasons I stand firmly with Gandhi, that education, and spirituality are the strongest tools in the fight for life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, and I believe in both Gandhi’s and X’s ideas that rebellion must be directed and firmly organized in order to be effective.