Alright. Today, I traveled the two hundred or so miles between Knoxville and Atlanta, because CREDO Mobile is hosting a training seminar this weekend for organizing civil disobedience in protest of the Keystone XL pipeline (actually an intro, as we will need further training after this, and will be contacted by coaches). We worked from about nine until five, beginning with facts about the KXL, then discussing how to deal with police, the media, and bystanders. By definition, civil disobedience is breaking the law in order to send a message. Obviously both police and media are required. Bystanders are inevitable, and it is necessary to deescalate conflicts in order to avoid violence–which is necessary for protests to succeed. We did some practice runs, and discussed the formation and composition of teams to organize an action. We also practiced deescalation, which I think was the hardest part. Combining steadfastenss, calmness, and peacefulness seems to be a real skill that a person must study.
There’s another day of training tomorrow, which is why I’m currently in a Motel using an unsecured wireless network (living dangerously). One of my fellow travelers told me of a hotel where I could have paid half of what I did. There are some people from Tennessee there, one of whom was even from Knoxville. In fact, it seems to be either Tennessee or Georgia, although there might be a Carolina or two. There aren’t that many of us. Around twenty or so. A pretty good number, actually, for people who plan on assuming organizational roles. I also learned of an action on Campus against fracking, where several of us may show up.
Something else: there’s a lot of Greens and Green sympathizers. Peaceful civil disobedience is a form of collective action, which happens when large numbers of people become dissatisfied with conventional means of achieving political change. Conventional means is pretty much writing letters and voting, while in America it also includes obeying the two-party system. (Stuff I remember from Into to Sociology; I’m interested in way too much goddamn stuff.) Collective action can be violent, but civil disobedience cannot be; it’s in the name: civil disobedience.
That’s it for tonight. I must go out and find food.