Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bradley Manning: SF Pride Still Doesn't Get Why People Are Upset

San Francisco Pride would really like you to forget the whole Bradley Manning issue. After Manning was nominated to be honored by former Grand Marshals of the city's yearly Pride Parade, the announcement was made public, some veterans and LGBT groups protested, SF Pride retracted the honor, faced community protests, changed its tactics, and was protested again — and yet the organization still hasn't absorbed why the community is upset and why it matters.

SF Pride has announced via email that it's postponing the May 14 meeting on Manning's invitation until a larger, suitable location is secured, with the rationale that “We want to allow people to have a chance to voice their opinions about the recent controversy, but also have a large event coming up, and do not want to let one issue, as important as it is to some, overshadow the concerns and interests of the hundreds of thousands who attend SF Pride.”

The email went on to say, “SF Pride's decision concerning the election process of Bradley Manning as Grand Marshal being consistent with SF Pride's long standing Grand Marshal election policy is firm. Thus, the discussion of that matter is closed for this year.”

With this attitude that the matter is closed, any such meeting on Manning serves no purpose. The activists who gathered to protest both on April 29 and May 7 were not hoping to just get an idea out there, they sought concrete actions from SF Pride in order to best reflect the will of participants.
SF Pride justified this decision saying, “A meeting in a larger venue after the 2013 Celebration and Parade will allow people from all sides of that issue and others to fully air and hear one another's viewpoints, without jeopardizing the production of this year's event and the safety and security of the attendees. We ask everyone in the community to come together in Pride this June, recognizing that we can embrace difference without violence and hate.”

This is a classic strawman argument. There is no safety or security risk in honoring or not honoring Bradley Manning. And to deny the community a chance to be heard prior to the event is not respecting viewpoints of a diverse community; it is silencing the chance for those viewpoints to be reflected in action. This lack of representation in action has been a complaint of many protesters, and in its newest tactic to avoid controversy, SF Pride is showing just the attitude the protesters have become tired of.

In my observation of the protesters, I saw no hate for Pride as an organization or movement. Rather, their protest sought to better represent the community and was based out of a desire for greater inclusivity within the community. Many had frustrations due to SF Pride not listening, however this press release shows that such a frustration is well grounded. SF Pride wants to first have its event, and then have a conversation when it can have no effect on the outcome.

Originally Posted Monday May 13, 2013 here.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Anonymous Glenn Stehle said...

SF Pride said: “…we can embrace difference without violence and hate.”

The SF Pride Board has learned the tricks of authoritarian governance well, and exhibits all its hallmarks, including that of gross hypocrisy. For it was Pride, and not the nonviolent demonstrators, who instigated the violence by calling upon the state’s instrument of violence – the police.

Both the temper and the method of non-violence yield another very important advantage in social conflict. They rob the opponent of the moral conceit by which he identifies his interests with the peace and order of society. This is the most important of all the imponderables in a social struggle. It is the one which gives an entrenched and dominant group the clearest and the least justified advantage over those who are attacking the status quo. The latter are placed in the category of enemies of public order, of criminals and inciters to violence and the neutral community is invariably arrayed against them. The temper and the method of non-violence destroys the plausibility of this moral conceit of the entrenched interests. If the non-violent campaign actually threatens and imperils existing arrangements the charge of treason and violence will be made against it none-the-less. But it will not confuse the neutral elements in a community so easily.
--REINHOLD NIEBUHR, Moral Man & Immoral Society

The nonviolent strategy has been to dramatize the evils of our society in such a way that pressure is brought to bear against those evils by the forces of good will in the community and change is produced.

The student sit-ins of 1960 are a classic illustration of this method. Students were denied the right to eat at a lunch counter, so they deliberately sat down to protest their denial. They were arrested, but this made their parents mad and so they began to close their charge accounts. The students continued to sit in, and this further embarrassed the city, scared away many white shoppers and soon produced an economic threat to the business life of the city. Amid this type of pressure, it is not hard to get people to agree to change.

--MARTIN LUTHER KING, “Nonviolence: the only road to freedom”

To tear the mask of hypocrisy from the face of the enemy, to unmask him and the devious machinations and manipulations that permit him to rule without using violent means, that is, to provoke action even at risk of annihilation so that the truth may come out – these are still among the strongest motives in today’s violence on the campuses and in the streets. [H]ypocrisy’s conceits…cannot be met by so-called reasonable behavior. Words can be relied on only if one is sure that their function is to reveal and not to conceal. It is the semblance of rationality, much more than the interests behind it, that provokes rage. To use reason when reason is used as a trap is not “rational.”
HANNAH ARENDT, “On Violence”

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Glenn Stehle said...

I am concerned about this perversion of the facts and for the record would like to sketch in the background of the events leading to the confrontation of marchers and Alabama state troopers at Pettus Bridge in Selma…

The goal of the demonstration in Selma, as elsewhere, is to dramatize the existence of injustice and to bring about the presence of justice by methods of nonviolence. Long years of experience indicate to us that Negroes can achieve this goal when four things occur:

1) Nonviolent demonstrators go into the streets to exercise their constitutional rights.
2) Racists resist by unleashing violence against them.
3) Americans of conscience in the name of decency demand federal intervention and legislation.
4) The administration, under mass pressure, initiates measures of immediate intervention and remedial legislation.

The working out of this process has never been simple or tranquil. When nonviolent protests were countered by local authorities with harassment, intimidation, and brutality, the federal government has always first asked the Negro to desist and leave the streets, rather than bring pressure to bear on those who commit the criminal acts. We have always been compelled to reject vigorously such federal requests and have rather relied on our allies, the millions of Americans across the nation, to bring pressure on the federal government for protective action in our behalf. Our position has always been that there is a wrong and a right side to the question of full freedom and equality for millions of Negro Americans and that the federal government does not belong in the middle on this issue.

--MARTIN LUTHER KING, “Behind the Selma March”

7:58 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home