Why 21st century civil disobedience isn’t the same as 1960s civil disobedience

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Why 21st century civil disobedience isn't the same as 1960s civil disobedience

[cap­tion id=“attachment_81338” align=“alignright” width=“230”]CTU NATO Shirt CTU mem­ber at 2012 Occupy rally[/caption]

By John Ruberry

Whether it’s Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Mat­ter or a teach­ers union, left­ist pro­test­ers who block streets and dis­rupt pri­vate busi­nesses claim they are the spir­i­tual descen­dants of Mar­tin Luther King and the 1960s Civil Rights move­ment. Many of the mem­bers of these groups – and there is some over­lap – wish they had been a part of the Civil Rights move­ment so it’s under­stand­able that they try to con­nect their causes with the legacy MLK.

When I com­plained on Twit­ter ear­lier this month about a Feb­ru­ary 3 Chicago Teach­ers Union rally – which they almost cer­tainly didn’t bother apply­ing a per­mit for – ruin­ing an evening rush hour in down­town Chicago by block­ing streets, a Twit­ter left­ist of course defended in a reply to my Tweet that protest was a nat­ural out­growth of King’s use of civil dis­obe­di­ence in the 1960s and earlier.

I replied that these 21st cen­tury civil dis­obe­di­ence demon­stra­tions are dif­fer­ent because unlike blacks sit­ting at all-​white lunch coun­ters and Rosa Parks refus­ing to sur­ren­der her bus seat to a white man in 1955 as a protest against Jim Crow laws, CTU mem­bers, as well as Black Lives Mat­ter and the Occupy activists, can vote pro­vided they are old enough and they are United States cit­i­zens and, in some states, not con­victed felons. The civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama didn’t have a per­mit in 1965; had they applied for one of course it would have been denied by the racist gov­ern­ment author­i­ties. And the blacks who lived in Selma then, despite the pas­sage of the Civil Rights Act the year before, faced enor­mous obsta­cles if they wanted the reg­is­ter to vote. And before then, they couldn’t even do that.

Throw­ing the bums out” via the bal­lot box wasn’t on option.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_81340” align=“alignright” width=“234”]The Rosa Parks bus The Rosa Parks bus[/caption]

Six­teen CTU pro­test­ers were arrested dur­ing that protest. They were sit­ting on the floor and chant­ing inside of a Bank of Amer­ica branch, they earned the union’s ire by loan­ing money at a high rate to the insol­vent Chicago Pub­lic Schools. The chanters were tres­pass­ing and they deserved get­ting busted.

Not only can these teach­ers can vote, but they have lob­by­ists in Illi­nois’ state cap­i­tal pro­mot­ing their inter­ests. And they have a polit­i­cal action committee.

One more thing, Chicago Teach­ers Union: Stop ruin­ing rush hours. Unlike free speech, there is no con­sti­tu­tional right to block traf­fic. You’re teach­ers – you should know that.

John Ruberry reg­u­larly blogs at Marathon Pun­dit.

CTU NATO Shirt
CTU member at 2012 Occupy rally

By John Ruberry

Whether it’s Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter or a teachers union, leftist protesters who block streets and disrupt private businesses claim they are the spiritual descendants of Martin Luther King and the 1960s Civil Rights movement. Many of the members of these groups–and there is some overlap–wish they had been a part of the Civil Rights movement so it’s understandable that they try to connect their causes with the legacy MLK.

When I complained on Twitter earlier this month about a February 3 Chicago Teachers Union rally–which they almost certainly didn’t bother applying a permit for–ruining an evening rush hour in downtown Chicago by blocking streets, a Twitter leftist of course defended in a reply to my Tweet that protest was a natural outgrowth of King’s use of civil disobedience in the 1960s and earlier.

I replied that these 21st century civil disobedience demonstrations are different because unlike blacks sitting at all-white lunch counters and Rosa Parks refusing to surrender her bus seat to a white man in 1955 as a protest against Jim Crow laws, CTU members, as well as Black Lives Matter and the Occupy activists, can vote provided they are old enough and they are United States citizens and, in some states, not convicted felons. The civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama didn’t have a permit in 1965; had they applied for one of course it would have been denied by the racist government authorities. And the blacks who lived in Selma then, despite the passage of the Civil Rights Act the year before, faced enormous obstacles if they wanted the register to vote. And before then, they couldn’t even do that.

“Throwing the bums out” via the ballot box wasn’t on option.

The Rosa Parks bus
The Rosa Parks bus

Sixteen CTU protesters were arrested during that protest. They were sitting on the floor and chanting inside of a Bank of America branch, they earned the union’s ire by loaning money at a high rate to the insolvent Chicago Public Schools. The chanters were trespassing and they deserved getting busted.

Not only can these teachers can vote, but they have lobbyists in Illinois’ state capital promoting their interests. And they have a political action committee.

One more thing, Chicago Teachers Union: Stop ruining rush hours. Unlike free speech, there is no constitutional right to block traffic. You’re teachers–you should know that.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.