One social issue that should be of great interest to members of the occupy movement is the legalization of marijuana. This cause clearly cries out for organized civil disobedience (as it did in the 1960’s.) Growing and using both hemp and marijuana were rights for all Americans when our country was founded. We all have the obligation to finally end this unethical and ineffective war against an ancient plant. This situation is urgent given how President Obama has actually escalated the war on medical marijuana despite earlier promises and his personal history Ending the drug war will save billions in police, legal and prison costs. States like California and Colorado are already harvesting millions of new tax dollars by allowing patients to safely buy medical marijuana.
Fortunately, pot possession laws are easy to break and involve very little chance of getting caught (if you follow the approach outlined here.) I first explain how we can Occupy 420 to build and sustain the global occupy movement. Then, I share tips about how to get away with getting high, whenever, and virtually wherever you want. I have also included some key quotes to inspire you as to why marijuana needs to be legalized NOW. This article also includes reports of recent Marijuana Activism and a historical perspective on the Flash Mob phenomenon. As an added bonus, the article concludes with insightful and inspiring quotes about Civil Disobedience. Click Below to Learn How and Why to Get High and Become Free!!
WHY WE NEED TO OCCUPY 4:20
In addition to helping end the drug war, this approach has a number of benefits for the high individuals and the dynamics of the local occupy groups.
Civil Disobedience – America has a long history of civil disobedience that has been reignited by the occupy movement. Smoking weed together is a concrete show of strength that dares the police and others to act. In the words of Bob Marley “The more we smoke herb, the faster Babylon will fall.” Getting high helps people see the lies and tricks of the establishment.
Alternative Realities – The occupy movement has been very innovative in terms of raising awareness of and interest in new ways of living and organizing society. Smoking together will inspire further action and suggest new roads to a better society.
Building Community – As the occupy movement regroups it will be helpful if local participants “take the time to reason together.” Getting together regularly to share pot and break stupid laws promotes group solidarity.
Low Personal Risk - In most parts of the country, marijuana possession (and hence public consumption) will be considered a misdemeanor. In fact, one goal of civil disobedience is to clog the courts and judicial system – which could be done here with petty pot possession cases.
Public Support – Opinion polls consistently show that over three-quarters of Americans believe medical marijuana should be available to patients. Almost as many do not think it is right to arrest adults for possession of marijuana. The whole world is ready for the US to stop this insane, ineffective and inequitable war on drugs.
- Local Occupy groups can practice the following simple guidelines in order to safely and successfully plan and conduct Occupy 420 protests on a regular basis.
- Become familiar with state law and local law enforcement practices and priorities. Chances are that most police and district attorneys have little time or inclination to arrest and prosecute misdemeanor pot possession. Remember to “never carry more than you can eat.”
- Select a variety of possible locations that are accessible, open and public. These could include any natural park; centrally located parking lot; central town square; college campus; vacant building; or other site. This will make it hard for police to actually catch anyone with marijuana in their possession.
- The night before the event send the location of the site for the 4:20 Smoke-in to select participants. Use Twitter, cell-phones and personal contact to spread the word before the event and to announce possible and final location. Various forms of security can be maintained.
- Have several participants bring along blunts (with tobacco and without for camouflage.) These would be lit at 4:20 and passed around until all traces are gone. No one else should have any other illegal substances on them. Depending on number of people, this won’t take long.
- Once the herb is consumed, people should feel free to hang out, talk, eat, play music or do what they want. If the cops would try to arrest anyone, there will be no evidence. If cops hassle anyone, link arms and practice other tactics which the occupy movement is famous for.
OCCUPY 420 ANYWHERE
It is surprising how few people realize how safe and simple it is to get high when you are out in public. You can securely get high almost anywhere – parks, parking lots, bathrooms and so on. In fact, people who enjoy marijuana have a number of ways to get high without getting caught. The following methods and devices have been personally tested and tried by yours truly and many others.
This approach has some cool benefits. You waste no smoke – particularly if you hold in the hit as long as possible.
These pipes work well in bathrooms with a vent fan. You can also take a big hit as you exit your car. They also go out automatically when oxygen is removed (i.e., pipe is closed or covered.) If concerned about odor, chew some gum, mints or cough drops. Also be sure and blow smoke away from yourself (i.e., not into the wind.)
The possibilities are endless. All you really need is nerve, good herb and the right smoking technology. You get to have that “Illegal Smile” on your face as rejoin the straight world with a much more positive outlook.
It is also fun to get away with little misdemeanors like getting high. Getting high alone or with friends is one of the most hip and happy ways to stand up for your rights. Make 2012 the year we get end the war on marijuana.
RECENT MARIJUANA ACTIVISM
Public smoking of marijuana has been safely carried out for decades. Each year on April 20 (4:20) and on the first weekend of May (Million Marijuana March) various forms of civil disobedience take place when protestors openly flaunt the laws that prohibit pot possession and consumption.
Cannabis collective Toronto Hash Mob celebrated 4/20 by peacefully demonstrating against marijuana prohibition. People were puffing pot on Apr. 20, from 2:00 – 4:20 p.m. at Yonge and Dundas Square in the heart of the city. Social media savvy pot pranksters Toronto Hash Mob used flash mob techniques to encourage people to smoke weed with them. This clearly qualifies as a flash mob activity
This is their fourth year protesting pot prohibition by openly defying it. Toronto Hash Mob estimated between 1,000 to 2,000 pothead protesters spontaneously did participate. Opting to break the law by puffing pot proudly in Times Square of Canada is civil disobedience.
Management even agreed to leave the tables out. There was no permit and thus no stage. Attendees brought their bongs, buds and personal entertainment. This year’s protest was also a memorial for marijuana legalization activist Jack Herer. He died without seeing marijuana legalized in his lifetime.
Massive Marijuana Civil Disobedience in Keene, New Hampshire! By Anika Clark, Sentinel Staff 09/27/2009
Freedom Lovers, Free State Project participants and Pro-Marijuana advocates have been gathering daily for the past week, each day at 4:20 p.m. to smoke marijuana (and peppermint cloves to confuse the police, lol) in protest of the war on drugs. So far only two arrests have been made, despite hundreds of people smoking marijuana. Here’s the Keene Sentinel’s article about yesterday’s Protest:
An ongoing marijuana protest in Keene’s Central Square came to a head Saturday afternoon, as police made their first drug-related arrest since the group started gathering several days ago. Protesters yelled everything from “Leave him alone!” to “This is how they did it in Nazi Germany!” as police took 40-year-old Richard G. Paul into custody.
Protesters advocating marijuana’s legalization were also joined on the square Saturday by several adults and children who held signs favoring drug control. On Friday, Paul told The Sentinel he was one of the first people to meet on the square to smoke marijuana every day at 4:20 p.m. — a number identified with cannabis in marijuana subculture. Lt. Shane C. Maxfield said Paul’s arrest on Saturday was for marijuana possession after he allegedly blew smoke into an officer’s face.
More than 50 rally-goers followed Paul and the officers to the police station at 350 Marlboro St., where at least one shouted protests through the door to the booking room and others sat, smoking, in a circle in a restricted area of the parking lot. Although many of protesters have said they support legalizing marijuana — and the air above Central Square smelled like pot smoke — numerous people told The Sentinel they haven’t actually been smoking the drug at 4:20.
One man, who refused to identify himself, puffed on a glass pipe in front of a Keene police officer. But after the officer walked away, the man said the pipe was filled with cherry-flavored tobacco. While sitting on a curb outside the police station, 48-year-old Chaz Munro said he would neither confirm nor deny whether he’d been smoking pot downtown. Still, he described what he called “fakey bakey,” or substances that look and smell like marijuana.
So why protest pot prohibition by smoking something that isn’t? “It’ll jam up the system,” said Munro, who wore a bandana over his face. And hopefully, with regards to police enforcement, he added, “It will be more trouble than it’s worth.” While they moved to let police cruisers pass, the protesters’ smoke circle blocked a portion of the parking lot Saturday afternoon, as officers attempted to go to and from calls.
At one point, Maxfield came out to speak with the crowd and, one by one, fielded questions on everything from the charge Paul faces to whether Maxfield would arrest a cancer patient for smoking marijuana. Maxfield (who said he wouldn’t arrest the person suffering from cancer) said he personally believes marijuana should be legal. But he told the rally-goers, “There’s a process for getting things changed and that’s where energy might be better spent.”
People can either “yell about (the law)” and “have temper tantrums” or they can work to change it, Maxfield said. Paul was released at 5:45 p.m. on $1,000 personal recognizance. He is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 2 in Keene District Court.
Medical Marijuana Activists Stage Civil Disobedience Tuesday at San Diego City Hall – April 13, 2011
Having thoroughly exhausted all political means and left with little option, activists chose nonviolent civil disobedience to voice their opposition to the council’s decision. The activists all part of the “Stop the Ban Campaign” (a coalition of over 20 local, state, and national groups spearheaded by Canvass for a Cause and the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access) dropped empty pills bottles in front of the City Council to symbolize their lack of safe access to medicine.
Then they linked arms and sat down on the floor in chambers repeatedly chanting “We demand safe access,” and singing “We Shall Overcome,” disrupting the session, forcing council to clear the chambers, and for a few minutes actually delaying the second vote on the ordinance.
The council members, over loud chants and song, determined to cast their votes, did so (5-2) over the chants and singing. Once their votes were cast the council members all jetted for the exits and left City Hall with police escorts.
Following the vote, police in the council chambers told the protesters to leave or they would be under arrest and warned the audience that anyone who stayed behind with the protesters would be arrested as well. As the room cleared out, the chants and song grew louder.
After all members of the public were escorted out of the council chambers, the lights in the room as well as the air conditioning were cut off in an attempt to encourage the protesters to leave while several uniformed police were stationed on both sides of the protesters waiting for the order to take them into custody. After a couple hours it became clear the police were instructed not to arrested, harm, or bother the protesters and to avoid by all means, the PR nightmare any arrests would cause City.
“The patient community in San Diego will not be deterred despite the efforts of the City Council,” said ASA San Diego Chair Eugene Davidovich, one of the protest organizers and activists participating in the civil disobedience on Tuesday. “One way or another, San Diego patients will gain safe access to their medication, but it would be much more effective for the city to work with us instead of fighting us at every step of the way.”
The protesters remained in the chambers for a couple hours past the council meeting in protest of the vote and in light of their action were able to send a strong message throughout the City, that this community’s voices will in fact be heard and respected. Those who left the chambers were told by the police that the five inside would be placed under arrest, although that never happened.
A group of protesters smoked marijuana in downtown Boise Saturday afternoon as part of a protest called “Global Smoke Out” that was planned in various cities. Participants said they were demonstrating a point when lighting up. They said smoking marijuana does not hurt other people, so it should be legalized.
“I think that we need to legalize marijuana across the board,” participant Tim Teater (who chose not to smoke in public) said. “I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be [legalized]. But in particular, medicinal cannabis, as it should be called, is really an important thing that should be legalized, should be made available to all kinds of people that could benefit from it.” Marijuana is classified as an illegal drug in Idaho; possessing or using it is a crime. Organizers said they knew that and understood they could be arrested.
“It’s a very serious thing,” organizer Theresa Knox said. “It’s not a joke, but that’s exactly why we’re out here because if we forever hide this, then we will be forever be hiding this. Somebody’s got to step up and say, ‘Hey, look! I’m smoking a ‘J’ and it’s not hurting anyone!’” Knox is part of the groups Moms for Marijuana and Compassionate Idaho. She called the demonstration an act of civil disobedience.
“The key word here is civil,” Knox said. “None of us have brought paraphernalia. None of us have brought weapons of any sort. None of us have brought our children. This is civil disobedience to let the government know we will not comply with cannabis prohibition.”
Police need to see it, or get official complaint. Boise Police Sergeant Clair Walker said officers were directed to keep an eye on the situation but not be too aggressive with their monitoring as protesters were likely looking to cause a scene.
During the demonstration, Boise Police patrol cars drove by several times. Two officers walked through the group asking people to stay out of the street. Walker said they try to patrol all protests for public safety. When KTVB asked officers why no one was arrested for smoking marijuana on a downtown street, they told us they either need a formal citizen complaint or must actually see someone smoking the drug. Officers said they did not see anyone smoking marijuana when they were there. …
Possession of marijuana in Idaho is a misdemeanor in Idaho in most cases. If someone is caught possessing a large amount, it could be a felony. There are also laws against being under the influence of marijuana in public, though Walker said those charges are rare.
Hundreds of marijuana advocates gathered in downtown San Francisco Tuesday to protest recent federal crackdowns on California’s medical cannabis industry while President Obama attended a fundraising luncheon at the nearby W Hotel.
Among the demonstrators was an employee at a local marijuana collective. “I’ve worked there for years,” the man, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Huffington Post. “But if the Feds close us down, I’ll be out there on the street with the Occupy Wall Street protesters because I’ll be out of a job. This is my career, my livelihood. What Obama has done to our industry is nothing short of entrapment.”
Despite an earlier promise to leave medical marijuana laws to the states, federal officials recently launched a whirlwind crackdown on cannabis dispensaries throughout the state, threatening to shut down certain pot shops and targeting others with exorbitant IRS bills and other sanctions. At a press conference held prior to the demonstration, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) joined advocates, local lawmakers and business owners in calling on the Obama administration to intervene.
“It’s a total overreaction by the U.S. attorneys and they need to be reined in,” Ammiano said. “I don’t know who let the dogs out, but they need to be called off.” San Francisco resident Misha Breyburg, who participated in the protest, said he was disappointed in Obama’s regression from his campaign promises. “It’s important for politicians to stand by their words,” he said. “These people out here — they’ve worked hard, they’ve saved their money and they’ve taken all of the legal steps — and then to have their property taken away from them? Maybe in North Korea.
California voters approved the use of medical marijuana in 1996 with the passage of Proposition 215, later named the Compassionate Use Act, which allows patients to possess and cultivate cannabis with a doctor’s permission. The law has been interpreted many times since its inception. In City of Garden Grove v. Superior Court in 2007, trial court sided with the patient, finding it “is not the job of local police to enforce the federal drug law.” A California Supreme Court ruling in 2010 found residents may grow or possess “reasonable amounts” of marijuana with a doctor’s blessing.
As a candidate, Obama promised to maintain a hands-off approach toward pot clinics adhering to state law, telling a 2007 town hall in Nashua, N.H., that a Justice Department prosecuting medical marijuana users was “not a good use of our resources.” Now Ammiano, a self-described Obama supporter, is asking the president to “exercise some leadership on this issue.”
“We have it on tape,” Ammiano said of Obama’s promise. “Eric Holder early in the campaign said that the Attorney General would not raid medical marijuana dispensaries — there are around 16 states that have them — then out of the blue comes this droid missile aimed at medical marijuana and the dispensaries, and there’s a lot of untruth…to me this is kind of a ‘Reefer Madness’ mindset.” The crackdown comes even as 50 percent of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, according to a recently released Gallup poll, up from just 36 percent in 2006.
Authorities estimated nearly 1,000 protesters descended on the W Hotel during the duration of Obama’s appearance. In addition to the marijuana enthusiasts, the president was greeted by environmentalists, anti-war activists and a smattering of Occupy Wall Streeters. The most vocal demonstrators opposed the construction of the Keystone pipeline in the Midwest.
Rally signs ran the gamut, from “Yes We Cannabis” and “Obama Changed,” to “No Pipeline For The One Percent” and “Bring Our Troops Home.” Another group set up a loudspeaker and played clips of promises made during Obama’s 2008 campaign speeches that have not yet been met. The president stopped by San Francisco as part of a West Coast tour promoting his economic and jobs plans as well as his 2012 campaign.
California NORML is staging a demonstration outside the downtown Federal Building, only a few blocks from where Occupy L.A. has been camped out at City Hall. It’s unlikely the president, in town to raise money and hobnob with prominent Latinos, will even know the bud backers are even alive. They smolder anyway.
State NORML chief Dale Gieringer told the Weekly today: We view the crackdown as a betrayal of Obama’s campaign pledge that ‘I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue.’
Yes, the bud nation is smoking mad over the DOJ’s pronouncement that pretty much all dispensaries in California, where medical marijuana is legal, are outlaws. Some have already been directed to shut down.
We thinks the NORML demonstrators will have a better chance getting the nearby Occupiers to join them. From what we hear the Occupy encampment already has the smell of a Cypress Hill concert.
MARIJUANA QUOTES FROM POLITICIANS
“The greatest service that can be rendered to any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
“If we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education” ~ Thomas Jefferson
“Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country.” – Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President
~If people let government decide which foods they eat and medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
“Make the most of the Indian Hemp Seed and sow it everywhere.” ~ George Washington
“We shall, by and by, want a world of hemp more for our own consumption.” ~ John Adams
“Prohibition… goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control mans’ appetite through legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not even crimes… A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our Government was founded.” ~ President Abraham Lincoln
“When even one American who has done nothing wrong is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth, then all Americans are in peril.” ~ Harry S. Truman – Former U.S. President
“When I was a kid I inhaled frequently. That was the point.” ~ Barack Obama
“I would absolutely never use the federal government to enforce the law of using marijuana.” ~ Ron Paul
“Pot is not a drug. It’s a leaf.” ~ Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
“You bet I did and I enjoyed it.” ~ Mayor Michael Bloomberg (on whether he has smoked marijuana.)
“I do not believe that the federal government should treat adults who choose to smoke marijuana as criminals. It’s not appropriate in a free society.” ~ Rep. Barney Frank
“Congress should definitely consider decriminalizing possession of marijuana… We should concentrate on prosecuting the rapists and burglars who are a menace to society.” ~ VP Dan Quayle
“Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed. Nowhere is this clearer than in the laws against possession of marihuana in private for personal use. Therefore, I support legislation amending Federal law to eliminate all Federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marihuana.” ~ President Jimmy Carter
“Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.” ~ President Jimmy Carter
“I smoked pot in college and in the Army.” ~ Al Gore
“So what if it’s risky? It’s the right thing to do. What we’re talking about is 160 people in deep pain. It only affects them.” ~ Bill Richardson (to George Bush about medical marijuana)
MARIJUANA QUOTES FROM ENTERTAINERS
“I enjoy smoking cannabis and see no harm in it” ~ Jennifer Aniston
“It really puzzles me to see marijuana connected with narcotics dope and all of that stuff. It is a thousand times better than whiskey. It is an assistant and a friend.” – Louis Armstrong
“Instead of taking five or six of the prescriptions, I decided to go a natural route and smoke marijuana.” – Melissa Etheridge
“Why is marijuana against the law? It grows naturally upon our planet. Doesn’t the idea of making nature against the law seem to you a bit unnatural?” – Bill Hicks
“They lie about marijuana. Tell you pot-smoking makes you unmotivated. Lie! When you’re high, you can do everything you normally do, just as well. You just realize that it’s not worth the fucking effort. There is a difference.” – Bill Hicks
“Don’t do drugs because if you do drugs you’ll go to prison, and drugs are really expensive in prison.” – John Hardwick
“I think that marijuana should not only be legal, I think it should be a cottage industry. It would be wonderful for the state of Maine. There’s some pretty good homegrown dope. I’m sure it would be even better if you could grow it with fertilizers and have greenhouses.” – Stephen King
“Whenever the people are for gay marriage or medical marijuana or assisted suicide, suddenly the “will of the people” goes out the window.” – Bill Maher
“When you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself.” – Bob Marley
“Music and herb go together. It’s been a long time now I smoke herb – from the 1960s, when I first start singing.” – Bob Marley
“I used to smoke marijuana. But I’ll tell you something: I would only smoke it in the late evening. Oh, occasionally the early evening, but usually the late evening – or the mid-evening. Just the early evening, midevening and late evening. Occasionally, early afternoon, early midafternoon, or perhaps the late-midafternoon. Oh, sometimes the early-mid-late-early morning, but never at dusk.” – Steve Martin
“I support decriminalization. People are smoking pot anyway and to make them into criminals is wrong. It’s when you’re in jail you really become a criminal.” ~ Paul McCartney
“The biggest killer on the planet is stress and I still think the best medicine is and always has been cannabis.” – Willie Nelson
“I think people need to be educated to the fact that marijuana is not a drug. Marijuana is an herb and a flower. God put it here. If He put it here and He wants it to grow, what gives the government the right to say that God is wrong?” – Willie Nelson
“Marijuana is self-punishing. It makes you acutely sensitive, and in this world, what worse punishment could there be?” – P.J. O’Rourke
“If you ain’t got a good job and you ain’t smokin’ weed, then I don’t know what the fuck you are doin’ wit your life.” – Kat Williams
“Just hit the blunt one time and see if it don’t change your perception on what’s important in your life.” – Kat Williams
“I think pot should be legal. I don’t smoke it, but I like the smell of it.” – Andy Warhol
MARIJUANA QUOTES FROM SCIENTISTS AND OTHERS
“I am here because I am the first judge in this country to say, in 1990, that the war on drugs was racist. It still is and that hasn’t changed.” ~ Judge Pamela Alexander.
“I’d like to see the government back a program of research into the medical properties of cannabis and I do not object to its responsible use as a recreational relaxant.” – Sir Richard Branson
“Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.“ – William F. Buckley Jr.
“The amount of money and of legal energy being given to prosecute hundreds of thousands of Americans who are caught with a few ounces of marijuana [1 ounce = 28g] in their jeans simply makes no sense – the kindest way to put it. A sterner way to put it is that it is an outrage, an imposition on basic civil liberties and on the reasonable expenditure of social energy.” ~ William F. Buckley
“Compared to alcohol, which makers people take more risks on the road, marijuana made drivers slow down and drive more carefully…. Cannabis is good for driving skills, as people tend to overcompensate for a perceived impairment.” ~ Professor Olaf Drummer
“The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this.” ~ Albert Einstein
”I say legalize drugs because I want to see less drug abuse, not more. And I say legalize drugs because I want to see the criminals put out of business.” ~ Edward Ellison
“When a private enterprise fails, it is closed down; when a government enterprise fails, it is expanded. Isn’t that exactly what’s been happening with drugs?” – Milton Friedman
“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” ~ Genesis 1:29
“If you substitute marijuana for tobacco and alcohol, you’ll add eight to 24 years to your life.” – Jack Herer
“Well, as I understand it, the main supporters are beer companies and the pharmaceutical companies. I’d like them to show me the dead bodies from marijuana. But they can’t because there aren’t any. But you can count the dead bodies from alcohol, tobacco, and legal pharmaceuticals by the millions.” – Jack Herer
“In any civilized society, it is every citizen’s responsibility to obey just laws. But at the same time, it is every citizen’s responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
“If the words “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” don’t include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn’t worth the hemp it was written on.” - Terence McKenna
“Is marijuana addictive? Yes, in the sense that most of the really pleasant things in life are worth endlessly repeating.” – Richard Neville
“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.” - Carl Sagan
THE FLASH MOB PHENOMENON
The basic approach and appeal of “Flash Mobs” has a lot of relevance for Occupy 420 activism. It is important to note that cell technology was effectively used in the 1990s – most notably in the Philippines. This approach and related technology have also played important roles in the flourishing of the “Arab Spring.”
The craze for “flash mobs” — where jokers gather en masse at a moment’s notice, perform an inane activity and then disperse quickly — is spreading across Europe. Arranged via Web sites and e-mails, flash mob members voluntarily and simultaneously converge to the venue mentioned in a general e-mail and then collect detailed instructions for the event. They partake in a silly and harmless activity and then disperse at a given time.
The phenomenon’s creator is reported to be someone called “Bill,” who began the trend by e-mailing 50 people and asking them to gather at a shop in downtown Manhattan. In June 2003, after the initial attempt at a flash mob was foiled, over 100 people assembled in the home furnishings department of Macy’s department store. As instructed, the participants consulted bemused sales assistants about purchasing a “love rug” for their “suburban commune.”
Another Manhattan flash mob involved a crowd in a shoe shop in Soho pretending to be tourists on a bus holiday from Maryland. A later mob saw hundreds of people perched on a stone ledge in Central Park making bird noises. The concept has spread quickly across the United States and to Europe, Australia and Singapore. The first European mob took place in Rome on July 24, when 300 people entered a music and bookshop asking for non-existent titles. …
The inexplicable nature and lack of apparent agenda seems to widen the appeal of flash mobs. Many Web logs, chat rooms and Web groups are devoted to the craze. Adam, one of the organizers of the London flash mob, said: “Flash mobs anchor the online world into the real world — they are a manifestation of your ‘cc’ list” — a reference to the electronic “carbon copies” used to distribute e-mails widely.
Bill, the reported creator, told CNN: “I called ours ‘inexplicable mobs’. For some people, it is purely funny. For others, it is social — they like being out with people. For others, it is political — just getting out in the streets is a political act. I personally like it because it is aesthetic — I love seeing all the people come together, seemingly out of nowhere.”
Text messages and email proved to be useful tools when a disillusioned Spanish electorate wanted to vent its anger on the eve of the general election. Pass it on. It spread first across the city and then the country, multiplying itself through mobile phones, emails and the internet. You have one new message. “Today at 6pm, Genova Street, to find out the truth. Pass it on.” …
The message stretched far beyond Madrid. By that evening, there were 7,000 protesters in Barcelona, 1,500 in Galicia and hundreds more in city centers across the country. Most remarkable of all, the protests were organized in just a few hours, via text message and email, by a disillusioned electorate that had decided to take matters into their own hands.
It was a political extension of the phenomenon nicknamed “smart mobs” by American author Howard Reingold – and it’s happened before. In the Philippines, text messages helped whip up public opinion and led to widespread protests, which ended in the eventual toppling of the president, Joseph Estrada, in 2001. The day after suffering their own impromptu smart mobs, the Spanish government was defeated at the polls. …
Forwarding messages to everyone in your phone or your email address book is now a matter of a few simple clicks – so groups of people can be mobilized quickly and effectively, even if, as in this case, no one can be sure who has organized the protest.
“Flash mob thuggery actually involves two distinct phenomena — the flash mob part and the thuggery part. Flash mobs erupt for all kinds of reasons, most of them banal and pointless, and the motive seems to be primarily social in nature — being part of some group or collective action, if even for a brief point of time.”
“I suspect that groups of friends respond to flash mob calls more than isolated individuals, which is probably one motive for violent and illegal flash mobs. It’s like a spontaneous street gang in which participants become part of a larger social group.”
“The flash mob part isn’t qualitatively different than things that people did before social media, but the media allows a larger-scale coordination among more people than old-fashioned streaking or ‘Chinese fire drills.’”
“The illegal and violent component is also not unlike ordinary crimes where a group of people do something illegal. What social media adds is the ability to recruit such a large group of people, that individuals who would not rob a store or riot on their own feel freer to misbehave without being identified.
“The social, collective element is appealing. It’s more fun to do wild things in a group than by oneself.”
Flash mob phenomenon given part of blame in London riots, incidents in Philadelphia, LA, and Ohio – August 09, 2011
Thanks to websites like Twitter and Facebook, more and more so-called flash mobs are materializing across the globe, leaving police scrambling to keep tabs on the spontaneous assemblies. They’re gathering with an intent behind it — not just to enjoy the event. …
In London, recent rioting and looting has been blamed in part on groups of youths using Twitter, mobile phone text messages and instant messaging on BlackBerry to organize and keep a step ahead of police. Sunday in Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter condemned the behavior of teenagers involved in flash mobs that have left several people injured in recent weeks.
“What is making this unique today is the social media aspect,” said Everett Gillison, Philadelphia’s deputy mayor for public safety. “They can communicate and congregate at a moment’s notice. That can overwhelm any municipality.” …
Dubbed “flash mob robberies,” the thefts are bedeviling both police and retailers, who say some of the heists were orchestrated or at least boasted about afterward on social networking sites. …
Jonathan Taplin, director of the innovation lab at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication, said he was not surprised to see people using social media for organizing flash-mob robberies.
“You are essentially having a world where you have 25 million people who are underemployed and 2 percent of the population doing better than they ever have,” Taplin said. “Why wouldn’t that lead to some sort of social unrest? Why wouldn’t people use the latest technologies to effect that?”
In Los Angeles, thousands of ravers forced rush-hour street closures when they descended on a Hollywood cinema after a DJ tweeted he was holding a free block party. The sudden crowd dispersed only after police fired bean-bag bullets at the restive revelers and arrested three.
FAMOUS CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE QUOTES
We cannot, by total reliance on law, escape the duty to judge right and wrong. There are good laws and there are occasionally bad laws, and it conforms to the highest traditions of a free society to offer resistance to bad laws, and to disobey them. ~ Alexander Bickel
If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable. ~ Louis D. Brandeis
It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do. ~ Edmund Burke,
Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one. ~ Chinese Proverb
Obedience is an act of faith; disobedience is the result of unbelief. ~ Edwin Louis Cole
As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever. ~ Clarence Darrow
Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it. ~ Albert Einstein
Every actual state is corrupt. Good men must not obey laws too well. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have always looked on disobedience toward the oppressive as the only way to use the miracle of having been born. ~ Oriana Fallaci
Human history begins with man’s act of disobedience which is at the very same time the beginning of his freedom and development of his reason. ~ Erich Fromm
Whenever there is authority, there is a natural inclination to disobedience. ~ Thomas Chandler Haliburton
I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. ~ Robert A. Heinlein
Dare to do things worthy of imprisonment if you mean to be of consequence. ~ Juvenal
No radical change on the plane of history is possible without crime. ~ Hermann Keyserling
We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ordinarily, a person leaving a courtroom with a conviction behind him would wear a somber face. But I left with a smile. I knew that I was a convicted criminal, but I was proud of my crime. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it. ~ Malcolm X
Laws are only words written on paper, words that change on society’s whim and are interpreted differently daily by politicians, lawyers, judges, and policemen. Anyone who believes that all laws should always be obeyed would have made a fine slave catcher. Anyone who believes that all laws are applied equally, despite race, religion, or economic status, is a fool. ~ John J. Miller
I honestly do not know if civil disobedience has any effect on the government. I can promise you it has a great effect on the person who chooses to do it. ~ Martin Sheen
My first civil disobedience arrest for social justice was in 1986 for protesting the SDI. ~ Martin Sheen
It is not a man’s duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support. If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them sitting upon another man’s shoulders. ~ Henry David Thoreau
I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not so desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. ~ Henry David Thoreau
Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. ~ Henry David Thoreau
If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~ Henry David Thoreau
Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and excusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may. ~ Mark Twain
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. ~ Bishop Desmond Tutu
When leaders act contrary to conscience, we must act contrary to leaders. ~ Veterans Fast for Life
It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong. ~ Voltaire
“Civil disobedience in American history is not an ordinary crime but a form of protest engaged in by conscientious citizens when traditional modes of expression are ineffective in righting some wrong.” ~ Howard Zinn