The Return of Civil Disobedience

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13947803608_33851bb53a_zJelani Cobb has a hopeful essay newly posted at The New Yorker. Some excerpts (do read the entire article):

Movements are born in the moments when abstract principles become concrete concerns. MoveOn arose in response to what was perceived as the Republican congressional overreach that resulted in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. The Occupy movement was a backlash to the financial crisis. The message of Black Lives Matter was inspired by the death of Trayvon Martin and the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. Occupy’s version of anti-corporate populism helped to create the climate in which Senator Bernie Sanders’s insurgent campaign could not only exist but essentially shape the Democratic Party platform. Black Lives Matter brought national attention to local instances of police brutality, prompting the Obama Administration to launch the Task Force on 21st Century Policing and helping defeat prosecutors in Chicago and Cleveland …

In that context, the waves of protests in Portland, Los Angeles, Oakland, New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., in the days after the election look less like spontaneous outrage and more like a preview of what the next four years may hold. Unlike the specific protests that emerged during the Obama Administration, the post-election demonstrations have been directed at the general state of American democracy. …

The Congress is unlikely to check the new President, but democracy may thrive in the states, the courts, the next elections, and, lest the lessons of the sixties be forgotten, the streets.

Read the complete article at The New Yorker

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