Friday, January 21, 2005

The Manifesto of the Modern Protester

Thanks to R. L. for sending this link. The author bears the beautiful Italian surname, Antongiavanni. An excerpt:

1. No ill is so trivial that it can be borne, even for a day; no grievance is so slight that its redress can wait, even for an hour.

2. Until the world is made perfect and justice reigns supreme, getting on with life or transacting any public business is immoral and selfish.

3. Therefore all means (up to and including violence) are justified--nay, obligatory--in stopping the movement of ordinary life until such time as all grievances are redressed.

4. One's moral worth is determined far more by one's social and political opinions than by one's actions or behavior toward others.

5. With one exception: The most noble, moral, and courageous thing one can ever do is participate in (or, better yet, organize) a protest.

6. Therefore, whatever a protest is ostensibly about, it is fundamentally about itself.

7. There are no such things as chance or fortune or bad luck or inherent, irreducible flaws or problems. If something--anything, anywhere--is wrong, unfair, unequal, tragic, inconvenient, annoying, vexatious, or merely perceived to be such, it is not only someone's fault, that someone is profiting unjustly at the expense of someone else. Which is to say, Lenin's "Who/Whom" question--"who" is sticking it to "whom"?--is fundamentally true regarding all human interaction.

7a. All peoples and individuals may therefore be categorized as either oppressors or oppressed.

7b. The oppressed as a whole are a coalition of various oppressed groups. Whatever their apparent differences, they share the same fundamental interests by dint of their all being oppressed.

7c. Whatever the oppressors say about standards of justice or morality is a priori wrong, since it must be presumed to be sophistry concocted for their selfish benefit. The most clever--and most pernicious--of these sophistries is the notion of natural right, i.e., that there is a permanent standard of justice not determined by human choice or opinion. But in truth every professed standard of natural right is a tool of those oppressors who devise and promote it. The only reliable information about justice comes from the oppressed, because they alone are public spirited and pure of heart. Also, because the oppressed alone suffer whereas the oppressed only cause suffering, the oppressed alone can judge what suffering is and how it affects the human soul. Since there is no permanent standard of justice, the response or reaction of the individual soul to any action or actions is the only dispositive factor in determining the justice or injustice of any action. Therefore, justice and injustice are whatever the oppressed say they are.