Civil Disobedience: Freedom Rides
Jewish Women's Archive - Living the Legacyhttp://jwa.org/LivingtheLegacy
Civil Disobedience: Freedom Rides
Bob was laid off from his job several months ago when business fell off and his employer felt the need to cut back on their staffing. He, his wife, and two children have depleted their savings. Although Bob is getting some money from unemployment, it is not enough to pay his rent and provide food for his family. One day, after being turned down for yet another job, Bob passes a house where he notices that the front door is not completely closed. There are no cars in the driveway and it appears as if no one is home. Looking around to make sure that no one sees him, Bob slips into the house. Once inside, he is able to locate a few small valuable items including: cash, some jewelry, an mp3 player, and a laptop computer. He stashes these items in the backpack he is carrying and leaves. He hopes that he can get cash for them at the pawn broker's shop in his neighborhood.
Sally is a sophomore at City University, which is a short subway ride from her house. She feels fortunate that she can attend this quality institution for a cost that she and her parents can afford, and has dreams of graduating and getting a good paying job in the field she's studying. Recently though, the administration has been talking about raising tuition by several thousand dollars. Sally knows that she and many of her friends would no longer be able to afford to go to City University if this happens, and that might mean the end of their dreams for the future. That's why Sally is joining a group of students who are going to go and sit in the Dean's office until the Dean and other administration officials will listen to the students' concerns. About 150 students show up and sit on the floor, on chairs, even on the tops of desks, making it pretty much impossible for the Dean and his staff to get any work done. The students are asked to leave, but they keep sitting quietly where they are. Finally, campus security is called, and Sally and her friends are dragged out of the Dean's office and arrested. Sally isn't happy about having a police record, but she believes that it was important for City University's administration to know how the students felt about the proposed changes.
Sarah just graduated from college, and knows a number of young men who have gone off to fight in her country's war overseas. She hates to think of them being injured or killed at war, especially since it's a war that she believes her country should never have gotten involved in. Other people in her city feel the same way and have organized a march through downtown and past some government buildings. The march starts out calmly, with the anti-war protesters chanting some slogans and carrying signs. As the anti-war protesters pass their half-way point, some on-lookers begin yelling at them, calling them unpatriotic, and cursing them. Then one of the marchers picks up a stone and throws it at the on-lookers. Soon bottles, rocks, and punches are being thrown. By the time the police break up the rally, some people need to be sent to the hospital, some people are arrested, and local business owners are cleaning up broken glass from their stores.
Gandhi's Rules of Civil Disobedience
- Harbor no anger, but suffer the anger of the opponent.
- Do not submit to any order given in anger, even though severe punishment is threatened for disobeying.
- Refrain from insults and swearing.
- Protect opponents from insult or attack, even at the risk of life.
- Do not resist arrest nor the attachment of property, unless holding property as a trustee.
- Refuse to surrender any property held in trust at the risk of life.
- If taken prisoner, behave in an exemplary manner.
- As a member of the satyagraha (civil disobedience) unit, obey the orders of satyagraha leaders, and resign from the unit in the event of serious disagreement.
Gandhi’s Code of Discipline. www.uwosh.edu/faculty_staff/barnhill/ES_375/gandhi_rules.html. July 29, 2009