General Question

jonsblond's avatar

What gives a person the right to take over a government building?

Asked by jonsblond (43774points) 1 week ago from iPhone

As asked

January 6th and Columbia University as reference.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

38 Answers

Zaku's avatar

Columbia University is a private university, not a “government building”.

The account I heard of recent protests there involved students in one of the quads, not taking over a building.

jca2's avatar

Typo above – “took.”

Smashley's avatar

I think if you check the records, many many charges were filed and prosecuted over Jan 6. I don’t think anyone is arguing it was the crowd’s right to take over the Capitol.

Protests are disorderly by nature and often ride the line of lawlessness, and arrests are common.

seawulf575's avatar

Nothing gives anyone the right to take over any building without due process. But sometimes the law is enforced and sometimes it is not. Look at the BLM/Antifa Riots. I believe it was Portland OR where they took over a police precinct and burned a federal building. No one was charged. I think it was Minneapolis where they burned down a police precinct. Very few people were charged.

If the laws were enforced uniformly, you’d get far fewer of these idiotic violent “mainly peaceful” protests.

chyna's avatar

^And if I’m thinking correctly, the Portland, Oregon one went on and on for weeks. I felt sorry for the innocent residents who were afraid to leave their homes.

zenvelo's avatar

I am not supporting the actions of any protesters, merely explaing the thinking:

Government buildings are owned by the People and are places to conduct the People’s business. Therefore it is right and just for public protest of actions taking place in the People’s name be conducted in the People’s buildings.

Demosthenes's avatar

Protesters have demands and holding a building is like taking a hostage and releasing it only when those demands are met. Of course protesters know that is a long shot and they will probably be arrested, but attention on the cause can be worth it even if the demands are not met. Protests are not all the same, though, and the goals are not all the same. But it’s telling that we’re more concerned with “decency” (whatever that fucking means) than with what the protesters are actually demanding, and we level them all as if overturning an election and wanting a genocide to end are the same thing. Just as long as no one ever feels inconvenienced or has their worldview challenged for more than a second. Rest assured—most of the holdout protesters were arrested, the encampments have been dismantled, and more Palestinians will be killed by American weaponry. Defense manufacturers are making record profits. You can sleep easy.

Demosthenes's avatar

@KNOWITALL I think this is the key line from that article: “The Democratic president has occasionally criticized Israel’s conduct but continued to supply it with weapons.” You can criticize the conduct all you want, but the conduct has no incentive to change as long as the flow of money and weapons will keep coming, effectively unconditionally. I don’t know how much real effect these protests and the boycott of a Biden vote will effect the election, but it could very well be the difference between a Biden or Trump victory. I guess we’ll see.

jonsblond's avatar

^You can kindly fuck off since you called me a genocide supporter last night. You aren’t here for civil discourse.

Demosthenes's avatar

No thanks. Report me. I’m not going anywhere.

Dutchess_III's avatar

jonsblond is a genocide supporter????

It’s kids. That doesn’t give them any right…but they’re kids. Kids have loads of energy and they can effect change.

seawulf575's avatar

@Demosthenes “Protesters have demands and holding a building is like taking a hostage and releasing it only when those demands are met. Of course protesters know that is a long shot and they will probably be arrested, but attention on the cause can be worth it even if the demands are not met. Protests are not all the same, though, and the goals are not all the same. ” If you substitute “people” for “building” you are describing exactly what Hamas is doing. It’s terrorism. When you hold someone or something hostage to get your way, you are a terrorist. Kidnappers take children (or important adults) and hold them until their demands are met. Are you suggesting that if we just listen to the kidnappers we’d be better off? The hostages would be better off? The family and friends should just suck it up and they would see the good the kidnappers are doing?

Peaceful protests that aren’t blocking other students from getting the education they are paying for, that aren’t threatening a specific group, all okay. Start stepping over those lines and you are getting into criminal space. You are robbing uninvolved students of their education. You are holding them hostage until your bullshit demands are met. You are perpetuating hate-speech (at a minimum) against the students that might be somehow related to the specific group you are railing against.

By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) is the mantra of the radical. Suppose some idiotic white supremacist group decided to protest against gays and decided to hold a bunch of them hostage, would that be okay with you? That is the mentality you are saying is not only okay, but necessary.

Zaku's avatar

@jca2 Oh, I see.

I was not up to date on developments. I was referring to the situation before they occupied a building.

Demosthenes's avatar

@seawulf575 Well, no, because white supremacy is an illegitimate cause and calling for end to genocide is not. I said in my original comment “not all protests are the same”. I’m not a moral relativist. I will defend an anti-genocide anti-apartheid protest. I will not defend a white supremacist protest. But they are subject to the same laws as anyone else. I never argued that occupying a building, for any cause, was legal or not against policy.

Blackberry's avatar

Our government was built on people taking things.
If one is passionate and powerful enough, you can take anything.

JLeslie's avatar

Columbia U is private. Some if the other schools are public, I’m not sure it other building have been taken over? Universities whether public or private are supposed to be places of civil discourse, learning, contemplation, but you can’t do things that impact the safety of others or break laws.

The Republicans pointed out during BLM that in Portland rioters basically took over a government building. In Chicago rioters were so bad my friend’s aunt couldn’t leave her downtown condominium/apartment for two days. A lot of Democrats didn’t care, but I did, and I care about what is happening on campus.

A few years ago I posted a Q about protests in Memphis stopping traffic on one of the bridges that crosses the Mississippi River preventing some children from getting to cancer treatments at St. Jude’s and there were some jellies who said too bad, some people might die. I totally disagreed with that. It turned out that report might have been false, but it doesn’t matter.

Protesting years ago to stop Ann Coulter from speaking on campus. They set fires on campus. Not acceptable!

I fully support protesting. I don’t support rioting. I understand rioters infiltrate protests. So, get rid of the rioters and then you can resume protesting.

Smashley's avatar

But it must be added, that while lawlessness is often a tool of protests, such illegal acts are a necessary and vital part of society. If disability activists had never broken the law, we wouldn’t have the ADA. Stonewall was a shit show, but incredibly culturally significant. Ghandi’s deal was making the whole protest about one giant flaunting of the law. That a protest breaks the law is not its defining feature.

(And let’s never forget how very many bastard cops break the law during protests, and are never charged. I like the videos where cops shoot pepper balls at people recording them from their porches.)

JLeslie's avatar

Fine, break the law, but then you risk arrest. Those activists are fine getting arrested. They use the arrest as part of their schtick to motivate change. At Columbia I’m sure they were glad the police moved in. Lots of media coverage, that’s what they want.

Breaking up the protest is part of the plan.

Looters and anti-protestors who pose as being on the side of the protestors, but are actually against them, they are just horrible. Talk about immoral. Liars with no integrity.

seawulf575's avatar

@Demosthenes The problem with being a moral relativist is that it is all in how you say things. For example: the White Supremacist sees what he/she is doing as being completely moral. All they have to do is say they are doing it for some cause or another. That was what I was pointing out to you. Your words, by changing the noun, could be used exactly by terrorists. It is only your opinion or your view that makes it okay…to you. Blame some evil on your opponent and then any action you take is morally okay. That’s how we justify horrors against each other.

jonsblond's avatar

@Dutchess_III According to @Demo I support genocide because I’m against protests that involve damage to property. (I never said I was against protests in general.) He does not want civil discourse. He just wants to yell and call names at people who don’t think exactly like him.

hat's avatar

@jonsblond: “According to @Demo I support genocide because I’m against protests that involve damage to property.”

Technically, you do. Just like those who opposed civil rights, anti-apartheid protests, etc were in the past. Most people opposed these acts of civil disobedience in the past. And just like those people who were concerned about following rules or property damage or “outside agitators”, the people calling for change were correct. We sanitize history in favor of a liberal conception of reform that is brought about via civil dialogue. That is a myth.

So, besides coming out against the people in this country with a moral compass, you’re also in the same boat as I am: we are tax-paying citizens of the US. Our tax dollars literally (not in some wishy-washy “eventually, possibly” way) are buying the bombs that are being dropped on a captive population. And our government is the only thing supporting and keeping this slaughter happening. So, it is factually correct to state that you and I are supporting a genocide. But to be opposed to the only people resisting the atrocities, you’re doubling-down.

Note: This is not name-calling. It’s just a fact.

Response moderated
jonsblond's avatar

I’m off to take my elderly father to a doctors appointment. I’ll be gone for the day. I’m done here. This is disgusting.

hat's avatar

Additionally, while we are backing and supporting a genocide, resistance to it has revealed some very dangerous things about the US. We are outlawing speech and inciting violence against students, professors, and others who oppose their money going to carpet-bomb children. The “this election is about resisting fascism” cries from Democrats have been shown to be meaningless. The things they are warning about are happening under Biden.

jca2's avatar

Students rallying and demonstrating against a war is one thing. It’s encouraged and protected. However, students combined with outside agitators occupying a school building, barricading themselves into the building with heavy chains and breaking windows with hammers (as occurred at Columbia a few days ago) is a whole ‘nother thing all together. To me, when the police come and the school says “it’s time to leave the building” and students and outside agitators say fuck you, we’re not leaving until all our demands are met, all bets are off.

hat's avatar

@jca2: “Students rallying and demonstrating against a war is one thing. It’s encouraged and protected.”

No, it is not. On April 18th, a peaceful camp of students was arrested by police that were called by Columbia. This is unprecedented and sent alarms up all over the world. US campuses started their own encampments in response. Things have certainly escalated to occupying a building. But we have seen how sitting around having prayer sessions and seders were so much of a threat, that they called in the police state. The building occupation happened on April 30th.

@jca2: “To me, when the police come and the school says “it’s time to leave the building” and students and outside agitators say fuck you, we’re not leaving until all our demands are met, all bets are off.”

What about when people are sitting around on the campus they go to and are arrested? That’s ok with you?

You’re going to get more worked up about broken windows than a genocide? Don’t say, “but I’m not in support of genocide – I just think there are ‘peaceful’ ways of accomplishing that”. Really? That has been tried. And there is no time to waste.

I honestly can’t believe you repeated the “outside agitators” line. I really suggest you look into how that line is used regularly to squash dissent – in this country and every official US enemy. It’s one of the most cynical tropes used.

It’s also worth noting that Zionist thugs breaking into the UCLA encampment, spraying chemicals, shooting fireworks into the camp, and beating the students is not what is meant by “outside agitators”. The media and the president repeating lies of “antisemitism” are resulting in serious bodily threats to students and professors. Many of us were opposed to this when it was Trump riling up his white supremacist base to go beat (or shoot) BLM protestors.

And again – those that are at these demonstrations or those that watch live streaming of them via TikTok (reason for banning bill) or Twitter/X have one impression of these, while older people who watch corporate media generally feel the same way previous generations felt about previous movements. But we know who is always on the right side of history. Let’s not suddenly side with the racist, pro-fascist movement we just recently proclaimed we were against.

There are now threats on my daughter’s encampment from the administration. I’m not going to describe what my actions will be if her head gets split open and she’s arrested for being anti-genocide.

jca2's avatar

@hat You and I are not going to agree, so to me, continuing with this discussion would be folly, at least on my end.

seawulf575's avatar

@hat so by your logic, you also are guilty of supporting genocide and terrorism because you support the protests against Israel and in favor of Hamas. Funny how you won’t accept your own logic though, isn’t it?

hat's avatar

@seawulf575: “so by your logic, you also are guilty of supporting genocide and terrorism”

Absolutely! I am paying for Israel to annihilate Gaza. I’ve said this repeatedly

Demosthenes's avatar

We’re all supporting Israel, whether we want to or not. We’re not supporting Hamas. That is my answer to any “what about Hamas?” question.

jca2's avatar

I heard one of the Columbia protesters saying that even though they took over the building and blockaded themselves in, the school should have brought them food and water in a humanitarian effort, so they wouldn’t starve and be dehydrated. Really? I guess they felt the school should bring them hot meals and put the tank up to the window with the steps on it, that the cops used, to get the food into the building.

seawulf575's avatar

@hat Except your story never holds water. You are claiming Israel is going for genocide and they want the Gaza as their own. Yet none of that is true. It has been proven in history time and again. They got control of the Gaza Strip after the war with Egypt/Jordan/Iran. They had control of Gaza AND the West Bank. They gave it up as part of a peace deal. So wanting the land is a garbage claim. They have been supplying water to the Gaza for a long time since the residents so polluted their ground water it was no longer potable. They had one aquifer left, right next to the Mediterranean Sea, but they sucked it down so much that it back filled with salt water and is no longer potable. So Israel has been taking care of the people living in the Gaza Strip. As thanks, Hamas, the elected leaders of the Gaza, attacked Israel, killing civilians and taking more hostage. Then they hid behind their own citizens. Now we have Israel creating a place to get civilians out of the battle zone. None of that speaks to genocide, unless you count Hamas not caring about their own people.

History and reality have shown you to be a propagandist at best, an professional shit stirrer at worst. Meanwhile, you rant about poor Palestine, forgetting that it is Hamas, their elected leaders, that (a) have sworn to wipe Israel and all Jews from the Earth (their sacred duty) and (b) started this entire mess, making it worse with every move they make. They are still holding hostages. And this is what you are saying is fair and just. Tell you what: go live in Gaza. You deserve it and they deserve you.

seawulf575's avatar

Here is an example of the intelligence of some of these protesters. Sounds more like they were told to protest and they went without a clue as to what any of it is about.

Demosthenes's avatar

I have far more respect for Palestinians living under an apartheid in Gaza than I do for complacent Americans defending and supporting a genocide. Not sure why “go to Gaza” is supposed to be an insult.

jca2's avatar

@hat My advice for your daughter is when they tell her to leave, she should leave. Once the police come in, people often get hurt and they’ll say she should have left when she was told to.

jonsblond's avatar

GA’s @jca2 and @seawulf575

That makes sense @zenvelo

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