Social Question

jca2's avatar

Do you think that the right to peacefully protest should include protesters blocking bridges and major roadways?

Asked by jca2 (16323points) 6 days ago

In NYC, there is another protest today where the protesters were going to shut down a bridge. I’m not sure if the police blocked it from happening.

Do you think that our right to protest peacefully should include shutting down bridges and major roadways?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

72 Answers

jonsblond's avatar

Protests should not disrupt the rights of others.

These protesters must be young and not have had to wait months for an important medical appointment. My father needs Mohs surgery. He called in late January to make an appointment and the soonest he could get in is June. If a protest on a bridge keeps him from that surgery how much longer does my father have to live with skin cancer on his face?

ragingloli's avatar

It has always included that.

jca2's avatar

The County Executive of one of the counties in Long Island was on a news show the other day, and he said that in his county, protesters have the right to peacefully protest on the sidewalk, but if they step off the sidewalk, the police will politely ask them to get back on the sidewalk, and if they don’t comply, they’ll be arrested.

@jonsblond Very good point. I think my question should have included “if you feel that roads and bridges should be able to be blocked, would you feel differently if your loved one was needing emergency medical care in an ambulance and the ambulance couldn’t get to the nearest hospital because the bridge or roadway was blocked by protesters?”

I remember when NJ Governor Chris Christie had the scandal where they closed the bridge, “Bridge-Gate,” there was some talk about ambulances taking longer to get to the hospital. It wasn’t quantified how many or if any people died because of the bridge closure but it’s definitely relevant.

seawulf575's avatar

IMO it should not. A protest is a protest. It is a person or groups of people getting their message out to the people, to bring awareness to the cause they are representing. When they disrupt traffic, they are likely breaking the law and that, by definition, left “peaceful” behind. I can’t block off my road to have a party without getting all sorts of permissions. It presents a safety issue if emergency vehicles had to get through. And I live on a little tiny road. Blocking off multiple lane highways is even worse. Not to mention they are putting themselves in danger from standing in the road and potentially causing someone else to have an accident if they have to slam on brakes to keep from hitting the fool in the street.

ragingloli's avatar

It is the same sort of thinking that causes people to say that, for example, busdrivers and traindrivers should not be allowed to strike, because it disrupts the travel of public transport users.
“It inconveniences me, so it should be illegal”.
No, you dipshits. The disruptivene nature of protests, just like with strikes, is what gives these actions their power in the first place. That is the whole point, If they did not have practical effects on everyday life, they people could just ignore them.

Demosthenes's avatar

No, you dipshits. The disruptive nature of protests, just like with strikes, is what gives these actions their power in the first place.


That is not to say that blocking traffic shouldn’t be illegal—it is and protesters know this. But the point of a protest is to be disruptive. Many seem to just be learning this for the first time.

jonsblond's avatar

People needing healthcare are dipshits? People needing to get to work are dipshits? People needing to pick up their children from daycare are dipshits? (Ffs)

ragingloli's avatar

“bAn EvErYtHiNg, ThInK oF tHe ChIlDrEn!”

canidmajor's avatar

Emergency service providers all know many ways to destinations because in the regular real world Stuff Happens. The point of protests is to get attention.

hat's avatar


If you study social movements, you’ll see that the right has always (disingenuously) used the blocked ambulance and public safety argument to convince people that the real enemy of societal function and health are the people demanding action (for civil rights, against genocide, etc). And the people that pick up these lines and run with them are invariably people opposed to civil rights, support genocide etc.

The selective concern about access to healthcare is a particularly egregious example for a few reasons:
1. In many areas, traffic is so congested and roads are impassable for many hours of the day due to traffic from people on the way to go shopping and/or from accidents.
2. Americans generally tolerate this inconvenience because to resist it means altering the entire individualistic framework of what it means to be an American. Public transportation and city planning is considered commie-shit.
3. Tens of thousands of people (from 45k+, depending on study) die each year in the US from treatable conditions because they can’t afford healthcare – even though there is no reason we can’t eliminate that condition today.

So we needn’t feign concern about ambulances getting to where they need to go. As @canidmajor points out, ambulances can get where they need to every day due to normal disruptions. And airlifts are pretty common when there are traffic conditions.

It might be helpful to consider how you view the goals of a particular protest and how that might color your perception of planned disruptions. People disliked law-breaking in every struggle (civil rights, gay rights, labor rights, anti-war, and countless more). These were people using disruption because non-disruption didn’t work.

We can look back with rose-colored glasses and think things were “peaceful” and you might even think, “If I were there in those times, I would have supported the disrupters”. You should probably ask yourself if you really would have. The evidence of being more concerned with the tactics of people putting themselves at risk to stop mass murder that you and I are funding and supporting than the mass murder itself should tell you what you would have done in previous times.

Kropotkin's avatar

The thing that bothers me the most is the car-centric culture.

If you had a sane and rational transport system, not based on one or two people carrying around a ton or two of metal with them to get anywhere, you wouldn’t have to complain about the inconvenience of roads and bridges being blocked temporarily.

I’m pretty sure that traffic congestion is a regular occurrence in New York. I don’t believe any of these protests make a significant overall difference to traffic flow, which is already very problematic and likely affects ambulances at certain hours anyway. Then you’ve all the air pollution and traffic related deaths and injuries that are detrimental to public health.

For those so concerned about healthcare, I expect you must also be in favour of less car-centric city planning and vote for politicians who campaign on that (as well as supporting universal healthcare).

As for the protests. I think the griping about the illegality and disruption has really more to do with not liking their cause/message and out-group hostility.

seawulf575's avatar

By the logic of those that feel blocking roads and bridges should be okay and actually encouraged, then blocking entrance to a hospital emergency room should be okay. Blocking access to abortion clinics should be okay. Blocking access to drag queen shows should be okay. And by that logic, J6 shouldn’t have been a problem. After all, it’s just being disruptive, right? @ragingloli, isn’t it illegal to protest with anti-Semitic slogans and pro-Nazi slogans in Germany? Why is that? Isn’t it just being disruptive? Shouldn’t that be allowed as well?

hat's avatar

@seawulf575 – I know you’re not arguing in good faith, but since a couple of people seemed to have born yesterday and never had to wrestle with this type of nonsense (somehow) before, I will attempt to explain what you likely already know.

@seawulf575: “By the logic of those that feel blocking roads and bridges should be okay and actually encouraged,”

Scanning the responses, I’m not sure who you are actually responding to. I don’t recall anyone advocating for road/bridge blocking to be made legal and encouraged. This is civil disobedience and the people participating are put at great risk of reprisal by the police state. I see people above responding to those who are pearl-clutching about the rare protest instead of the fact that they are directly participating in mass murder.

So, the rest of your response doesn’t really fit into this conversation – except for one important thing: the reason that people protest is important. And this is why you are really opposed to these actions. You don’t support the reason for the anti-genocide protests. I’m sure if you did, you’d find a way to avoid the ambulance argument clichés.

I don’t oppose Jan 6th or blocking abortion clinics or blocking drag shows because I am opposed to direct action. I oppose those because I am opposed to the reason for their action – the motivation and politics behind their action. You honestly should already understand this.

KNOWITALL's avatar

The Right to protest peacefully is protected, anything else is not protected.
I don’t feel like opinions matter, let them be arrested and learn from the experience. I am glad they care about something other than themselves that much.

Kropotkin's avatar

@seawulf575 Activists will sometimes decide on the nature of their protests on the perceived gravity and urgency of the issue.

Many protests are just pre-designated peaceful marches that get no media attention and raise little to no awareness. You could call these low-efficacy protests.

You’re correct to point out that if, for example, a group of people sincerely believed that a general election was fraudulent and the real winner had been usurped, an arguably efficacious means or protest could be to occupy the United States Capitol and riot.

Unfortunately for those people, their grievances were completely spurious and their beliefs based on false information, so they were never going to put political pressure on anyone to have their demands met—because they were fucking stupid.

As @hat has mentioned repeatedly, the goal of the protest is important.

However, I am glad that you agree that disruption as a form of protest is actually not a problem.

Demosthenes's avatar

This is civil disobedience and the people participating are put at great risk of reprisal by the police state.

Not just reprisal by the police state, but reprisal by those who are enraged enough to kill people who are inconveniencing them, as we saw in Charlottesville.

And I agree—I don’t think anyone is arguing that blocking roads is legal or should be made so. I addressed the risk of arrest that protesters face in my original comment. And that is relevant no matter what cause you’re supporting.

tinyfaery's avatar

I agree with @Demosthenes & @ragingloli. I think location should also be considered, though. You are not going to convert anyone blocking traffic in Los Angeles.

But honestly, I don’t think protests and demonstrations do much of anything. Those with the power to change things don’t care about the will of the people, they serve their own interests.

seawulf575's avatar

@hat I’m responding to any of the answers that happened before my last where, just like yours, they were saying it is acceptable to be disruptive. You are trying to repeat that. But then, according to you, J6 was a horrible crime. Protesting Abortion Clinics is horrible. But that is YOUR opinion only. It doesn’t match what you are saying is acceptable for protests. You are trying to argue both sides and failing miserably.

seawulf575's avatar

@Kropotkin You came close to admitting you were off-base but then chickened out and fell back to “what he said”. According to you folks, only those protests you agree with should be acceptable to be disruptive. Those you disagree with should not. Which is it folks? Disruption is disruption whether you agree with the viewpoint of the protesters or not.

This is the same justification that allowed BLM and Antifa to destroy city after city, commit arson, assaults, even murder and face basically no backlash at all. Because the purpose of their riots was deemed to be acceptable and therefore disruption was needed to get their point across.

You do see the contradiction right? What am I saying? Of course you don’t. Because to admit you do would be to say you were completely lunatic.

canidmajor's avatar

@seawulf575 I think you misunderstood @hat’s point. He stated: ” I don’t oppose Jan 6th or blocking abortion clinics or blocking drag shows because I am opposed to direct action. I oppose those because I am opposed to the reason for their action – the motivation and politics behind their action.”
Read more carefully.

Demosthenes's avatar

That’s not really contradictory, though. Many of us might be okay with an occupied plaza for a concert or a farmer’s market, but not, say, for a protest (even if they are legally permitted to be there). What you are “okay” with is subjective. We’re not talking about the law. Blocking a freeway, for example, is illegal, no matter what the cause is. But people may have sympathy for a blocked freeway if the cause is one they agree with and not if they don’t.

The discussion of disruption is re. the disingenuous argument that the problem with specific protests is that they’re disruptive or blocking ambulances, etc. when the real issue is that they are for a cause you fundamentally disagree with. To say that certain protests would be okay if they weren’t disruptive is to misunderstand the nature of protest.

I am saying protests are by their nature disruptive. I am not disputing that protesters break the law. I am not saying I have to personally like every protest or sympathize with every cause.

jonsblond's avatar

^False. “The discussion of disruption is re. the disingenuous argument that the problem with specific protests is that they’re disruptive or blocking ambulances, etc. when the real issue is that they are for a cause you fundamentally disagree with.“

I agree with the reasons for the current protests. I disagree with these protests when they infringe on the rights of others to go about their daily activities.

hat's avatar

@seawulf575@canidmajor is correct. You misread my response.

seawulf575's avatar

@canidmajor I did read it and understand it. He is all for direct action provided he approves of the reason. Plain and simple: the world revolves around him. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone other than him. The ruler of all morals and justice is him. Just ask him.

hat's avatar

@seawulf575: “He is all for direct action provided he approves of the reason.”

That’s correct. That’s how it works. And we likely agree here, unless you see all protests, past and present, as problematic.

seawulf575's avatar

@Demosthenes The question is if you have the right to block roads and bridges just to protest. You are waffling saying, just as @hat did, that while it is illegal, it is a right because you approve of the reason for the protest.

Is it illegal? Then you don’t have the right to do it. It is really that simple. You tried equating these protests with a parking lot being taken up for a concert or a farmer’s market. The difference is that, as you pointed out, the concert and the farmer’s market got approval to use that space. It is legally being occupied. These protesters did NOT get approval to blockade a highway.

Demosthenes's avatar

@Demosthenes It is not a legal right, no, I didn’t claim that. I said that I understand it as part of the nature of protest and I may sympathize with it, depending on the cause. I did not dispute that it will result in arrest, and protesters know that. Sometimes getting arrested is the point.

seawulf575's avatar

@hat Glad to know you own your hubris. And trying to make it an all or nothing thing is even worse. I gave you a whole list of protests that you disagreed with because YOU didn’t like the reason. Yet many of the ones I listed were actually legal. the ones you actually favored were not. Isn’t that amazing? So, in your infinite wisdom, explain to us all how something that is illegal can be a right.

seawulf575's avatar

@Demosthenes And yet the original question is whether the right to peacefully protest should include illegal activities. In other words, if you say you are protesting, are laws no longer applicable to you?

seawulf575's avatar

@jonsblond Well said. I may agree with a protest or disagree with a protest. I support the right to protest regardless but I do not agree with illegal or threatening acts being allowed as that protest.

Demosthenes's avatar

I already answered that above. I never argued that, say, blocking a freeway should be made legal. This question brings up many other questions about the nature of protest and why protesters do what they do, so I contributed to that discussion.

hat's avatar

@seawulf575: “explain to us all how something that is illegal can be a right.”

I think you’re having an argument with someone else. I don’t believe people have a legal right to break the law. But they are morally correct.

Violating Jim Crow laws were violations of the law, but they were correct.

This conversation is about method vs goal. I don’t support blocking people from entering a family planning clinic, but I would support people blocking people from entering Elbit Systems. The method of direction action is not in question. The goal is, however.

Kropotkin's avatar

@seawulf575 “According to you folks, only those protests you agree with should be acceptable to be disruptive. Those you disagree with should not.”

It’s up to the activists decide what method is most effective to achieve their political aims.

jonsblond's avatar

@hat Millions of people believe abortion is murder. According to you their goal is not important. You wouldn’t support their goal but yours is justified?

hat's avatar

^ correct

Demosthenes's avatar

I mean, yeah? I don’t understand what’s so controversial about this. Not everyone supports every cause. If you think climate change is BS, then you’re not going to support students walking out of school to protest climate change. You’re going to think they’re a bunch of idiots, or at best, wasting their time on something that doesn’t matter or isn’t worthy.

MrGrimm888's avatar

There are laws about having protests approved. Permit ordinances, typically require a form or paperwork to be presented ideally several days in advance, by the people organizing the protest.

For thought, I will bring up another scenario.
If a person decides, for whatever reason, that they want to stop traffic by themselves and cause a problem, that person will likely be removed (by force if necessary) from the roadway.
Little incidents like that occur all the time. Sometimes it’s just a person off their meds. Sometimes it’s a person with a sword, or a naked guy.
Bridges are shutdown when there are possible jumpers.

Civil disobedience is not a right under the 1st amendment. Loosely defined by a protest endangering others.
Proving that is actually pretty easy.
Removing people who are “endangering themselves or others,” is what law enforcement is for.
I never really sweated, removing people from all types of places, if they are being problematic.

Your not guaranteed to be charged with a crime, but protests like that need to be tamed. If that means removing a few dozen people, so be it.
The jails will sort them out, and if most cooperate they will be ok. Obviously, some will talk/act their way into serious trouble.

I’m guessing federal law, is upheld in NYC.
Protests that block pedestrian, or vehicular traffic (yes including emergency vehicles,) are illegal without a permit.

That’s the legal angle.

Same with almost every right, in America, you have the right to do many things, but once your freedoms infringe the same rights of others you are committing a crime.

Example. You have the freedom to own dogs in most places.
However. You DO NOT have the right to allow your dogs to disturb your neighbors. That means constant barking, aggressive behavior of one’s dogs must be curtailed to the point it does not affect the neighbor’s rights.

As with most behavior requiring law enforcement involvement, the first priority is always to try to talk people into changing their behavior. When a citizen decides not to follow the orders of law enforcement, then they risk losing ALL rights by being arrested.

I’m going to go out on a limb, and assume that no permits are being given to these highway protests.
They absolutely can choose to protest that way. But. They absolutely WILL still be held to the standards of the law.
If they fail to disperse, they WILL be dispersed.
The law, is not an option.
Regardless of the cause, protests have to follow the guidelines set up to keep free speech free.

It’s not uncommon that some protesters get arrested. That’s a risk you take, when you knowingly participate in civil disobedience. If you don’t know what you’re doing, ignorance is no excuse and you WILL be treated as the criminal you are.
I’ve been watching these protesters interactions with motorists. Regardless of how much you support their cause, you must understand that people are being run over, and plenty of Americans will take the law into their own hands and simply run through these people. Once they get the mob upset, the people attack the vehicles, making the drivers panic and making them more likely to hurt a protester.

I can’t really understand the people saying that emergency vehicles aren’t affected. That is an I defensible position.
Yes. There is such a thing as a helicopter. The hospitals that do have them, use them for extreme situations.
If ambulances can’t get through, they don’t just send a chopper.
The helicopters are doing more important tasks.

When Chris Christie used the NJ turnpike as a political weapon, there were many problems. Including people being stick in ambulances or waiting for them.

Protests, are an important part of our democracy. They just have to be legal.

Kropotkin's avatar

@MrGrimm888 Who says protests have to be legal?

I’m pretty sure that when protestors brake the law and risk arrest and possible charges, they do so knowingly, and act because they feel they have a moral imperative that outweighs the illegal nature of the protest.

The illegality becomes the point of the protest, because that is what often draws attention to the issue. Trying to achieve a political aim becomes more important than anyone’s inconvenience.

Note that I make no comment about the effectiveness or even the political aims of such protest.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Kropotkin PETA throwing faux blood was pretty inspiring. And effective. I secretly cheer harmless yet dramatic protests.
Go big or go home!

jonsblond's avatar

@Demo and @hat Your stance is hypocritical. It’s nothing to be proud of.

Demosthenes's avatar

It isn’t though. You’re defining not being hypocritical as being sympathetic to any protest for any reason, which no one is. If people were protesting trans kids being given any accommodation at a school, I doubt you’d defend it, even if the protesters were doing nothing illegal. I’m sure you’d consider their goal to be unworthy.

seawulf575's avatar

So what it looks like is that there are those of us that believe the word right in the question to mean legal right and we have those of us that believe it to mean moral right. The ones believing in moral right are, then, against following laws if they feel morally right about it.

So back to my first challenge to those jellies: why shouldn’t people be able to blockade abortion clinics or drag queen shows? And why was J6 any issue at all. Anyone protesting any of these things (well, J6 was a protest), be a problem? They would all feel morally right to do so. And if there were counter protesters, they’d feel morally right in attacking the original protesters. You should be supporting all of this. You should be supporting the police and Universities that are shutting down Pro-Palestinian protests since they feel they have a moral right to do so. Hell, if someone stuck in traffic at one of the bridges being blockaded, they should have the moral right to just pull out a gun and start shooting protesters, right?

Your problem with supporting things on a moral basis is you are not defining whose morals we are using. Everyone has different morals. But the law is supposed to apply to everyone equally. It is the morals that we, as a society, have deemed to be reasonable for everyone.

LostInParadise's avatar

It is called civil disobedience. You protest by breaking the law, do not resist arrest, and accept the consequences. The protesters can create influence once the jails are filled to overflow.

seawulf575's avatar

@LostInParadise Yep, it is called civil disobedience. Perhaps the punishment ought not to be jail, though. Maybe they should be fined $1000 for every half hour they blocked a road since they could conceivably be costing those drivers money from missing appointments. Not to mention they are adding to carbon emissions by holding up all this traffic. Maybe if they had to feel the pain instead of playing martyr then they would stop this silliness. I understand they want to make their point but let’s face it: if you were trapped in traffic and you had some place to get to, would you be sympathetic for their nonsense? How about if you were watching a loved one in need of an ambulance that was trapped in that traffic?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I have a (NSFW) saying.

The brain and heart were arguing over who is more important.
The brain said that if it dies then the whole body is finished.
The heart said the same thing.
Then the rectum said that it was in charge.
Both the brain and heart laughed, and said why?
The rectum said that why it would take a long time to kill the body that in a short period of time the rectum can fill the body with so much shit that in the meantime can make life miserable for all of the body.

The moral of the story is that the asshole is in charge of an organization.

LostInParadise's avatar

@seawulf575 , And if they refuse to pay the fine? They still end up in. jail.

Ghandi made good use of civil disobedience in freeing India from British rule.
And Rosa Parks used civil disobedience by refusing to ride in the back of a bus, and sit-ins were an effecitve form of civil disobedence used to overturn some nasty forms of racial prejudice.

Demosthenes's avatar

I don’t understand why supporting things based on your own morals is controversial.

We’re not talking about the law. I’ve said that a million times. Does blocking a freeway suddenly become legal because you support the cause? No, it doesn’t. It’s illegal for anyone.

What’s legal is being conflated with what one personally supports. I never argued that illegal things should be made legal because I agree with the protesters and their message.

Let me try and give some extremely clear examples:

-According to my own personal morals, I think opposing a genocide is a good cause. I think opposing trans students using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity is a bad cause.
-Let’s say there are protests for each of these causes in a public park and both are following the law.
-Let’s say both groups at some point illegally occupy a building.

Here’s how I might react in this situation:
-Express support for one protest and its cause, and not the other.
-Say that one cause is much more important than the other.
-Express that I hope to see more of one kind of protest and not the other.

Here’s how I wouldn’t react in this situation:
-Insist that one protest be brutally suppressed and the other be allowed to carry on with their illegal activity. (Apparently some of you think I would; I hope I’m clarifying that I would not).

hat's avatar

^ I think the disconnect here is that:

1. Some people have never really studied or analyzed how change happens. They are fed a sanitized view of historical change that is portrayed in very confused and inaccurate ways. Prior struggles are painted as inevitable and the result of civilized discourse or passionate speeches. People aren’t aware of the blood that has been spilled for every right that people take for granted now or crime that was stopped.

.2. Despite parenthetical claims to be supporters of anti-genocide protestors, these people likely do not really support or understand what people are protesting about. This is crucial. If one were to really understand how directly they are responsible they are for these atrocities, they would find it absurd to be critiquing the methods of people protesting our participation in an annihilation of a people.

3. People are uncomfortable when faced with the possibility that they are participating in mass murder. Protests can cause people to feel defensive. They want people who demonstrate to do so in private so they continue to be unheard.

4. And some people just want to argue, but don’t really understand how.

seawulf575's avatar

@LostInParadise Go back and look at the civil disobedience by Mohandas Gandhi. He almost always did things that were in direct opposition to a specific issue. Example: The British instituted a “Salt Tax”, forcing Indians to pay for salt. He formed a march, went almost 300 miles to the sea and began distilling sea water into salt and distributing it for free. It was a targeted response to an unjust tax on the people. It should also be noted that some of his followers too the idea of civil disobedience to the point of violence and he denounced that.

Rosa Parks and the various sit-ins were likewise exhibiting civil disobedience against unjust laws. Blacks on the back of the bus and blacks not being able to eat at certain diners were the issues of the day. So they sat in the “wrong” part of the bus and they sat at diner seats. Very targeted.

So what are the people blocking roadways and bridges protesting? What does blocking the roadway have to do with anything? It is a way to get 15 minutes of fame. If they were protesting against unfair tolls, I’d give them that. But they aren’t. If their protest is about something idiotic like “Free Palestine” then what does protesting on a bridge accomplish? Go to Washington DC and block the roads into the Capitol building. After all, isn’t that the organization they really want to impact? Wouldn’t that be the civil disobedience you are talking about?

And regardless, it is illegal. The right to peaceful protest is not the right to violate the law. Just as taking over college campuses or buildings is not covered under the peaceful protest idea.

Demosthenes's avatar

If one goal is to get the university to divest from Israel, why wouldn’t they protest on the campus? Sounds targeted to me.

jca2's avatar

To those who say it is totally legit to block roads and bridges, I ask if they would feel the same if a loved one was stuck in an ambulance, trying to get to the hospital for emergency medical care, and died en route because the ambulance was stuck in traffic? Or if a loved one was on the organ donor list to receive an organ, and they couldn’t get to the hospital in time for the surgery? Would you then say “they just took one for the team? Oh, well, they’re dead now but we sure did make a point.”

Kropotkin's avatar

@jca2 It’s been addressed multiple times in the thread.

jca2's avatar

@Kropotkin I haven’t seen any discussion about people dying on this thread. I’ve seen mention of helicopters, which as we all know, need a large piece of empty space to land on, that is, if there’s a helicopter available.

seawulf575's avatar

@Demosthenes That is about the most idiotic thing that has been written. Is that really what the protesters are screaming for? OMG what a bunch of idiots. Tell them to all start working at McD’s handing out fries. They are wasting their money on a college education.

Think about this for a moment. Universities don’t invest in countries. They likely don’t invest in specific companies. And if they do invest in companies, it is likely they don’t know all investments that company has nor which of them might be tied to Israel. More likely is that the universities give the money they want invested to a financial managing company. They will then invest as is needed. Probably into mutual funds. So pinning down what money may eventually have 6 degrees of separation from Israel is moronic.

But let’s look at the foolishness even further. IT’S THE STOCK MARKET!!!!!!! Let’s say that universities somehow manage to find every company that might invest in Israel and they say “Whoa! We won’t invest in those companies!” What happens to the stocks that they hold? They are sold. And somebody else buys them. The negative to Israel is a huge zero.

Good job of targeting guys and gals.

hat's avatar

@jca2 – It has been addressed many times and in many different ways in this thread. You just don’t like the answer.

Let’s try this – am I moved by your hypothetical scenario expressing your faux concerns about the need for ambulances to have access to clear roads at all times? No. Am I moved by fake scenarios enough to come here and pretend that this is a public health crisis or a threat to my family? No.

I don’t need pretend right-wing scare tactics to imagine how I would feel if my loved one was blocked from getting healthcare. I have countless loved ones in my life who have suffered immeasurably due to lack of healthcare. My mother suffered massive health issues many years ago in her 60s due to the lack of a functioning healthcare system. She’s been nearly housebound and broke since then, with me having to pay for her to not lose the roof over her head. My grandfather worked his ass off his whole life only to lose everything and die broke when he became sick due to this shit country’s “healthcare” system.

And while I love to be lectured by people who would have opposed sit-ins and labor strikes and anything that would have upset the status quo in the past, I can’t help but feel a bit pissed off that I’m again having to explain to people that their militarism and imperialism not only affects those that we murder – it also causes problems for those of us who are here. You might want to consider what spending $182 bil per year on a war machine and billions for Israel to commit genocide might better be spent on (like universal healthcare, some new fancy ambulances, more airlifts to get around traffic that clogs every roadway now). This military you hold to be so important was also involved in the loss of my father at a relatively young age due to his massive exposure to agent orange. I don’t need to pretend that an ambulance couldn’t move past a single protest to imagine what it is like to lose a father (and my kids to lose a grandfather) in a horrible way.

So, no. I am not moved by your question at all. I’m going to leave for work now. I will have to use Google Maps to navigate around countless traffic jams due to the fact that i choose to live in a country that chooses the culture of the automobile, rather than public transport and city planning. This is a culture that has death and illness built-in. No hypothetical one-off scenarios needed.

Hope this helps.

seawulf575's avatar

@hat “Am I moved by fake scenarios enough to come here and pretend that this is a public health crisis or a threat to my family” Thank you. You just described my views on the Pro-Palestinian movements. Except I tend to view them more as actual health crises and threats to my family.

And yes, protesters have caused deaths with their blocking of roadways. BLM protesters blocked the road to a hospital emergency room that resulted in the deaths of two cops that had been ambushed. It isn’t a hypothetical situation.

jca2's avatar

I’m guessing that in some areas, the protest wouldn’t be allowed to leave the sidewalk. This is what I was referring to when I mentioned the County Executive, above:

In New York City, which, remember, is an island, if a bridge is blocked, “finding another way around” is not that easy. Fortunately, the other day, the day I asked this question, the protest wasn’t allowed to block the bridge.

seawulf575's avatar

@hat Just curious, which country doesn’t have the culture of the automobile and doesn’t have death and illness? And why don’t you move there if it is so great? But I’m guessing hypotheticals are only good for you to use, right?

Demosthenes's avatar

The “health crisis” is that people are distressed and made uncomfortable by seeing opposition to Israel and support for Palestine. That is evident in almost all of the reactions to these protests.

Divestment is not some “pie in the sky” impossibility. This is not a matter of divestment being unfeasible, it is a matter of it not being desired, or a matter of boycotting Israel being labeled as anti-Semitic.

Columbia Theological Seminary, for example, has agreed to divest $110 million “from Israeli companies, those operating in Israel or those maintaining business relations with it.” The idea that this can’t be done is patently false.

Kropotkin's avatar

@seawulf575 “And yes, protesters have caused deaths with their blocking of roadways. BLM protesters blocked the road to a hospital emergency room that resulted in the deaths of two cops that had been ambushed. It isn’t a hypothetical situation.”

I think you’ve misremembered some things, as this is not correct. The two cops also survived.

@jca2 “I haven’t seen any discussion about people dying on this thread.”

Because it basically never actually happens in the way you described, which was a misleadingly vivid appeal to emotion.

Ambulance delays in cities are a problem, and the causes are overwhelmingly things other than protestors. If it’s really such a concern, then I presume you are in favour of less car-centric city planning and better public transport, yes?

“which country doesn’t have the culture of the automobile and doesn’t have death and illness? And why don’t you move there if it is so great?”

And the almost predictable appeal to fatalism from @seawulf575 Let’s not improve anything, because bad things happen everywhere anyway. Hey, @hat why don’t you move to North Korea or Cuba if you hate freedom so much? You damn ingrate pinko!

jca2's avatar

@Kropotkin I’m definitely in favor of a less car-centric culture and better public transport. However, that wouldn’t help someone stuck due to a protest at this time. Yes, my scenario was hypothetical but very possible, especially in a busy city like NYC. When the GW Bridge was closed due to bridge-gate (Chris Christie’s downfall), there were similar problems – ambulances that couldn’t get through, people who couldn’t pick their kids up from daycare, etc. No helicopters were landing anywhere near that disaster.

hat's avatar

@jca2: “Yes, my scenario was hypothetical but very possible, especially in a busy city like NYC.”

Sure. But do you know how silly that sounds. Every single day tons of people are sitting there in traffic that doesn’t move (due to congestion – not protest). Tons of people die in car accidents (and auto-related pollution). These deadly accidents have people stuck in their cars for hours and people can’t get through to get medical care, etc. There are also parades, marathons, and regular construction that causes delays. People even die in accidents with and in ambulances.

And in the middle of all of this chaos, you are quite concerned that someone blocked a road once to protest a genocide.

It doesn’t make any sense in the context. It just doesn’t. So, it comes off as attempts to get people to oppose protestors of genocide by convincing them that Grandpa is going to be murdered by the possibility of another anti-genocide protest causing a delay in a system of delays and roadblocks to healthcare.

This tactic isn’t new. We have to fear immigrants because one of them might rape a loved one. We have to fear trans women because one of them might molest children in public restrooms.

So, maybe you can just say, “I don’t support anti-genocide protests” and leave it at that. I’m not saying that blocking roads is the tactic that needs to happen. But movements have many different approaches, and I’m not one to judge them. When other means are no longer available, and even simple gatherings of people with signs causes the police state to activate, you should expect escalations.

I really don’t think you need to fear your uncle getting stranded in a traffic jam due to a protest on the way to a hospital. But you should be concerned with the fact that you’re more afraid of this happening than the fact that you (and I) are facilitating a genocide.

jca2's avatar

@hat OK, it’s all made up and foolish.

seawulf575's avatar

@hat There are dispatchers for the ambulances that can direct ambulances around congested areas or coordinate with law enforcement to clear the way. That is SOP. But what isn’t SOP is some loser bunch trying to get media coverage just blocking off a road. If the ambulance is already on that road, it might not be possible to redirect.

You even just admitted that it is a possibility. But then, it true radical fashion, you tried to downplay it because it would interfere with protests that protected your precious terrorists. You don’t even understand how out to lunch you really are. That is the saddest part.

Demosthenes's avatar

No, it’s bullshit because it’s not the real problem you have with the protests. “But think of the ambulances!” is an appeal to emotion and rests on a rare event that doesn’t occur in the majority of protests. Most of these recent protests have been on campuses and haven’t been blocking roads. This talk of ambulances is a distraction. The real issue is you don’t want anyone to criticize Israel or support Palestine.

(And no, I’m not defending blocking ambulances. But that’s not what this is really about or has ever been about. It’s not about tactics, it’s about the message).

MrGrimm888's avatar

@Kropotkin I have been part of a few protests, and I agree that I was aware of the increased risk of arrest.
I also think you made excellent points about the sort of “necessary” behavior, that what someone feels passionately about supercedes the “law” occasionally.

The world, sadly, is FULL of awful, cruel, despicable, genocidal, human rights violations and so on.

I understand, and fully support people being involved in the world around them.

Just like there is a potential invisible line, that a crowd will eventually feel is crossed and the discourse turns into disobedience, there is a line for law enforcement.

EVENTUALLY, “law” AND “order,” WILL prevail.
People will be ordered to disperse, if they don’t, they will be dispersed.
People will get arrested.

I appreciate your candor, about the efficacy of such tactics.

That’s kind of “my angle.”
As a former LEO, who had frequent physical altercations with the public, it’s a cluster fuck.
There are occasions when the cause is so important, that many see it as an affront to ALL.
But these blockade protests, mainly causing protester/civilian motorist clashes, aren’t punishing the right people.
Many Americans suffer enough already, from the decisions of our government, and it’s continued downward spiral.
People in traffic, are usually ordinary people. Struggling, and trying really hard to just get through another day of this shit, and then they run across people who (with all due respect) have nothing better to do than sit on a highway and argue with strangers.

If we want to say that people have the right to protest, then it requires regulation.
Large crowds, are dangerous.

What are the police supposed to do? They’re just trying to get through there fucking day too.

If protesting something, to the point of breaking the law, is something someone is comfortable with, they need to be comfortable with the idea that they will potentially be injured, jailed, or killed in the process.
They also need to be aware that their actions could harm their cause.

If it’s someone’s “right” to sit in my path to my destination, I have the “right” to confront them.
Such things come perilously close, to false imprisonment.
You can’t just keep someone stuck somewhere.
My civil rights, protect me from false imprisonment.

When I protest, I take a big sign, wear really dark sunglasses, and just stand there.
I typically go to our “courthouse” downtown.
It’s a monolithic structure, and the stairway and entrance can accommodate a decent crowd.
It doesn’t really harm anyone, but it makes the news.
There are many ways to combat, or support something.
I am not a fan of the highway stuff.

MrGrimm888's avatar

It’s SO case, by case.
“Necessary action,” is a subjective concept.

LostInParadise's avatar

@cheebdragon, what if the protesters refuse to pay the fines? They end up in jail just as they do now.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^If they don’t pay, they are issued a bench warrant.
The next time they get pulled over, they will be going to jail.
That’s current, but hard to enforce.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther