The U.S. Civil Rights Movement as an Insurgency

This is interesting:

Most Americans fail to appreciate that the Civil Rights movement was about the overthrow of an entrenched political order in each of the Southern states, that the segregationists who controlled this order did not hesitate to employ violence (law enforcement, paramilitary, mob) to preserve it, and that for nearly a century the federal government tacitly or overtly supported the segregationist state governments. That the Civil Rights movement employed nonviolent tactics should fool us no more than it did the segregationists, who correctly saw themselves as being at war. Significant change was never going to occur within the political system: it had to be forced. The aim of the segregationists was to keep the federal government on the sidelines. The aim of the Civil Rights movement was to “capture” the federal government—to get it to apply its weight against the Southern states. As to why it matters: a major reason we were slow to grasp the emergence and extent of the insurgency in Iraq is that it didn’t—and doesn’t—look like a classic insurgency. In fact, the official Department of Defense definition of insurgency still reflects a Vietnam era understanding of the term. Looking at the Civil Rights movement as an insurgency is useful because it assists in thinking more comprehensively about the phenomenon of insurgency and assists in a more complete—and therefore more useful—definition of the term.

The link to his talk is broken, unfortunately.

EDITED TO ADD (12/15): Video here. Thanks, mcb.

Posted on December 15, 2009 at 7:57 AM45 Comments


Andre LePlume December 15, 2009 8:48 AM

The segregationists may have thought of it as a war. That shows their baseness and stupidity. It was a struggle for human rights.

jgreco December 15, 2009 9:01 AM

@Andre LePlume

I’m not sure I quite follow you, cannot something be both a war, and a struggle for human rights at the same time? I don’t think anyone is arguing that it wasn’t the later.

DC December 15, 2009 9:19 AM

Well, if it wasn’t a war, it certainly got above “heated discourse” and frankly, this movement and some others in the world would be good models for finally getting some real civil rights for all people in this country again.

I really like the idea of forcing change on a system
(after the soap and ballot boxes have failed, as now) without the use of violence, which, as Asimov said “is the last resort of the incompetent”. Which of course can have several meanings.

For the last few intervals, there has been a steady erosion of rights for all people, and not just here in the USA. I do realize that as populations become more dense, the rules have to tighten up to keep us out of one another’s hair better, but I firmly believe the erosions of privacy, civil rights of all kinds, and the grabbing of always-more concentrated power are just wrong and out of line, and no candidate seems to be going with that idea, there’s no one to vote for, just lesser (and not very much so) evils.

Time for a change, and this isn’t a bad model.

BF Skinner December 15, 2009 9:41 AM

@DC “force without violence”

How does that work exactly?

Puts me in mind of a talk Gutman and Spade had. (not an exact quote for some reason no one thought these important enough to preserve in a wiki)

Gutman: There are ways to pursuade a man without killing or threating to kill.

Spade: Yes but they all depend on that final threat. If you start anything I’ll make it a point that you have to.

G: That’s an attitude, sir, that calls for the most delicate judgment on both sides. ‘Cause as you know, sir, in the heat of action men are likely to forget where their best interests lie and let their emotions carry them away.

Too…There was a global strategic game in the early 90s where if you took the world to nuclear exchange between the US and Soviets you lost. (can’t remember the name for the life of me).

It allowed the players to manipulate 3rd party/non-alighned countries via insurgencies and I think it did regard the civil rights movement as one. Course it also regarded the Democratic party as a potential insurgency too (but then there are people around today who do as well so there you are.)

Matt from CT December 15, 2009 9:55 AM

I really like the idea of forcing change
on a system (after the soap and ballot
boxes have failed, as now) without the
use of violence

How does that apply to the U.S. Civil Rights movement though?

The southern states finally relented when the Federal Government began to show it’s willingness to use force.

Little Rock Central High was desegregated when Eisenhower sent in the 101st Airborne to assist the U.S. Marshals in carrying out a federal court order.

While we have a long tradition of the militia being called out to assist civil authority, the U.S. does not have a gendarme tradition and deploying Army forces like that is exceptionally rare.

A few years later James Meredith attended Ole Miss under the guard of U.S. Marshals with the Tennessee & Missippi National Guard activated into federal service and placed under the control of President to enforce federal law if the Marshals proved insufficient.

Was their violent conflict with federal officials and troops? No. Was their a significant show of force that would’ve responded with violence had it been necessary? Yes.

While the civil rights leaders may have employed non-violent methods, they won because they got the Federal Government into a position it was willing and able to use violence should it’s lawful authority continue to be challenged.

jgreco December 15, 2009 10:00 AM

Well I think you could reasonably be able to consider certain forms of pacifist protest to be “forcefull”, though perhaps not in the classical sense. Demonstrations designed to have a psychological impact have been shown to work in the past.

I’d consider enviromentalists lying down in front of construction equipment to be a relatively forceful act, though entirely nonviolent. The act of killing isn’t the final threat, but rather the act of being killed. Somewhat related in a twisted and reversed kind of fasion I suppose.

Adam December 15, 2009 10:18 AM

Quite a jump to compare the Civil Right Movement in the 60’s to the Iraq tribal issues experienced in recent years after we demolished the central govt.

Albatross December 15, 2009 10:24 AM

The important thing is to re-cast the civil rights struggle into military terms so that if it ever happens again a military response can be quickly and easily justified. It’s not about what is or is not, what’s important is the language and the framing, and how these enable the outcomes.

kangaroo December 15, 2009 10:31 AM

Nonviolence works through two elements — the obvious threat of impending violence (with the populations to back it as shown by rallies, movements, organization), and the farther from force active disruption of the economic and political system.

Forgetting the second element is simplistic; forgetting the first is naive.

If the federal government hadn’t intervened on the side of the civil rights movement, by 1975 there was a real threat of a classic insurgency taking shape in the US. Recall that groups like the Black Panthers were formed, which were explicit threats of violence, and actively violent groups like the Weathermen became active at the end of this period.

But the Feds intervened because it was in their economic and propagandistic interest. Remember also that the US was in the midst of the cold war — segregation was a terrible thorn in our propaganda program against the Soviets. Just as the Soviets became more sane in that period (as compared to the terror of Stalin), at least partially as a part of a propaganda campaign against the US, the US as well became saner and more humane in response to the Soviets.

So, our losses in terms of civil liberties aren’t really about “denseness” or such structural issues. It’s much simpler — the West won, and the only competitors make no claims to humaneness or liberty. The leadership in the West doesn’t need to protect and advance civil rights at home to advance their political and economic agendas world-wide.

John Moore December 15, 2009 10:59 AM

So, if a nonviolent assembly of American citizens who are trying to get their federal government to support their cause or protest is labeled an insurgency which has traditionally been seen as armed violent conflict against the state by its citizens, does this mean that the state has legitimate cause to suppress nonviolent demonstrations and movements violently because they may be “dangerous” to the interests of the state? What about the fundamental right of citizens to peacefully assemble as guaranteed by The Constitution?

Clive Robinson December 15, 2009 11:31 AM

“I really like the idea of forcing change on a system (after the soap and ballot boxes have failed, as now) without the use of violence.

Force is not usually a weapon but a threat of a weapon (carry a big stick), and can be used against it’s self.

You can use it in a number of ways.

The most obvious is the concept of “over wellming force” or the “sledge hammer to crack a nut” philosophy.

The defence to this beleve it or not is to call the bluff and use the “forced hand” counter. Where you force those in a position of overwellming force to do something they do not wish to do (the man in Tieniman Sq for instance).

A variation of this is the Gandi approach of non-coperation. Most opressive systems need authority to work as they do not have the manpower to actually run things. When it is clear they nolonger have authority to ensure things run effectivly they have to either do something they are unwilling to do or put up with things grinding to a halt. An example of this was in France during the second world war when three quite small but essential parts of the lifts at Eiffels tower went missing. The result Hitler never went up, oddly when the Nazi’s got booted out the lifts magicaly started working just like that.

Gandi made this system work wonderfully toilets broke and stopped working fans and other things like ice deliveries got lost in paper work. Eventually it became clear to all that no longer could “India be run with just 1000 English men”.

There is also the “nat bite” technique. Where you sting the overwhelming force in different places at different times forcing their manpower to be tied down on guard duty or running after shadows.

This is the non violent version of guriller warfare.

The ultimate example of this type of force is the lone sniper, working behind enemy lines.

They put fear into large numbers of people and paralize the enemy simply by the fact people will not do ordinary activities in the normal manner.

I was once told that the most demoralising thing a sniper could do was shoot a cook or pay clerk etc in the gut’s whilst they are siting doing their “business” at the latriens.

The story will go around very very quickly and few will have the nerve to use the toilet with the expected results.

As was once pointed out “force is finding the right tool to use as a fulcrum, to move something with minimal effort”

RH December 15, 2009 11:48 AM

The concept of violence, when applied to persons, is pretty clearcut with tiny gray areas only argued by lawyers. However, violence applied to an idea is not so well defined. Ghandi may not have hurt a fly, but he certainly was violent against ideas.

I’d love to see a debate sometime on which is more important: violence against persons or violence against ideas.
If you chose to follow memetics, both WWII and Ghandi’s passive resistance are examples of memes competing with eachother violently.

Rob Campbell December 15, 2009 12:05 PM

civil right movement = insurgency

sounds like

whatever pundit feels like = terrorism

to me.

Not very useful.

jlc3 December 15, 2009 12:32 PM

I would point out that ‘…Vietnam Era understanding of the term [insurgency]…’ wasn’t. As a Vietnam Veteran I’d disagree that the DoD had any understanding of insurgency then or now. This was a very great part of why our involvement was failing. War Of Numbers by Sam Adams is a good representation of how warped our perspective was (and still is).

If our base understanding is skewed, then so are any responses – for better or worse.

Brandioch Conner December 15, 2009 1:03 PM

He had some good points … and a LOT of filler.

If your tactics can be phrased as if they were the tactics of an insurgency then you are an insurgency.

I don’t agree with that.

And I particularly don’t agree with his point to the violence of one side as violence in the “insurgency”.

Rather, they both share the same tactics in the area of media presentation.

DC December 15, 2009 2:12 PM

Well, I certainly stirred things up, and thanks Clive for making more clear what I meant to convey.

The Civil Rights movement, as such, used force without violence to get some changes made that weren’t getting made through the ballot box. They built a particularly effective soapbox via some methods Clive mentions. And they did get a better result than they would have with pitchforks and firearms, I doubt anyone would argue that. Hatred still persists, but nothing like what it would be had violence been used to any extent. And to the extent hatred lingers, my sense is that it comes mainly from the people who were violently treated and repressed.

When I said “violence” I meant the dictionary meaning — harming of physical people and perhaps things, not some overly metaphorical thing like “violence against ideas” which to me is meaningless, there is nothing physical to do the violence to there, no way to actually harm an idea except to ignore it, though the concept may be useful in another discussion.

Is it doing “violence to an idea” when I simply prove it wrong? Then, as a scientist, I’m truly a violent guy. I had no idea!

And yes, there was violence used in the Civil Rights movement — mainly by its adversaries. Any other “force” used as mentioned above was due to the Movement, but they themselves merely “forced” other’s hands to live up to their stated ideals, for once.

As Clive points out, enough simple civil disobedience constitutes force — but not necessarily violence — the old ways are forced to change because 1000 English can’t run India that way, but need not require violence to be effective. Just quit helping the oppressors can be enough to make them fall. Getting in there way a little, like refusing to get to the back of the bus, refusing to leave the streets, and so on can be very useful force even though no one touches another physically. And with that approach, you get to keep the moral high ground, which still means a lot to many people even if they don’t live up to their own ideals very often. Simply exposing that fact in some undeniable way is often enough.

Another trivial example — someone invites themselves to dinner with me and my pals and doesn’t offer to pay their way (and in this actual case, I know they won’t/can’t). I “force” the issue by not going along with that — the force here is not opening the car door — and having to buy them dinner, or make my pals buy it for her. No violence, except that attempted on my wallet, but which was not a success. But force indeed, that person no longer had any choice to go along on a free meal (to them, expensive to me).

Andrew December 15, 2009 2:44 PM

Labeling has enormous power. “You’re with us, or you’re with the terrorists.” This is precisely why “treason” is the only crime defined in the Constitution.

Therefore I am bound to protest characterizing MLK and the Civil Rights Movement as an insurgency. Studying the civil rights movement has several important lessons for insurgents and counter-insurgents alike, but retroactively redefining it strikes me as inaccurate at best and a potential threat to liberty at worst.

Another historical figure, Malcolm X, pointed out with some justice that the 1960s white establishment only talked to MLK because they feared to be forced to talk to people like him.

This two-tone phenomenon of a legal political front existing in parallel with a shadow terrorist or insurgent organization is a common feature of both terrorism and insurgency. This does not necessary delegitimate the aboveboard political group, but is certainty cause for suspicion, discussion, and infiltration by government agents. Cf PETA and the Animal Liberation Front for one current example.

Nostromo December 15, 2009 3:04 PM

A lot of confused people have contributed to the discussion, a major source of confusion being the premise “insurgency=bad”. Insurgency against unjust authority can (of course) be good.

Stephen Carpenter December 15, 2009 3:10 PM

@B F Skinner:

Too…There was a global strategic game in the early
90s where if you took the world to nuclear exchange
between the US and Soviets you lost. (can’t
remember the name for the life of me).

Reminds me of “Balance of Power”. It was pretty simple. You played one side or the other and on each turn decided to either send aid to, or use covert destabilizing actions in, various places.

At the end of each turn, each side had a chance to ask the other to back down from each action (I think covert actions were not always known, but coud be). Each side would be given the choice to back down (either from the action or the demand to stop it) or escalate the defcon level, and leave it to the other side to back down.

Was that the game you were thinking of? I remember playing it on my old Apple ][ GS

Robert December 15, 2009 3:34 PM

I seriously hope all commentators actually WATCHED the talk before making judgements.
It was an insurgency. These men and women were fighting for a good and righteous cause, for the basic human rights they and others had too long been denied but, from a purely tactical standpoint, removed from moral judgments, it was an insurgency. I understand why people are wary of the Civil Rights movement being called an insurgency: the right-wing nuts have stolen that word and rendered it dirty and evil. They did about the same with “Liberal” and especially “Socialist,” as I recall; they’re quite good at it. (Can anyone think of a word approximately synonymous with “insurgency,” with the meaning of “non-state entity seeking to fundamentally change a state through non-legal actions,” that HASN’T been dirtied so? That might be useful to have.) The tactic of the Civil Rights movement was nonviolence, and the main point of this talk was NOT that military power would have been justified. To the contrary; the use of violence and brutality by the police and state governments was a MISTAKE. Speaking from a purely tactical standpoint, if you want to defeat an insurgency, it seems the best tactic is to wait for them to fire the first bullet, then spin the story of a bloody rebellion. (The Civil Rights leaders, I reckon, would not have made this mistake, but found a different non-violent path to getting their rights. Those in the Middle East seeking to remove American power in their lands already have, and have suffered dearly for it. Seriously, how many Americans really know what Al-Qaeda is about beyond killing Americans?)

Brandioch Conner December 15, 2009 3:35 PM

If it was an insurgency … based off of whatever his criteria are …

Was the Women’s Suffrage Movement also an insurgency?

PrometheeFeu December 15, 2009 5:53 PM

This seems very interesting and I will post again after watching the video, but to contribute to the non-violence/force debat, I think that a game theoretic approach is very enlightening. For a threat to be credible, two conditions have to be met: 1) Willingness to enforce the threat despite its consequences, 2) ability to enforce the threat. Let’s set aside the second condition for a moment and look at the first. When considering violence against someone, the primary deterrent is the fear of being hurt/killed/maimed etc… If you choose to fight, you might loose. Therefore, for your threat to be effective, you have to show that you are willing to take the chance of loosing. Non-violent action that gets you killed/hurt/jailed etc is a brilliant signal. You effectively are showing that you are willing to bear the cost of the fight without actually starting an all-out fight. From that point on, it does not matter that you may be led by MLK or Ghandi who do not want to fight. When it comes down to it, your opponent knows there are those among you willing to fight. (Black Panthers etc…) You have effectively demonstrated your threat is credible. The only difference with a normal threat is that one source is providing the threat (the violent groups) while the other is providing the credibility. (the non-violent groups)

Andrew December 15, 2009 11:40 PM

@Brandioch >> Was the Women’s Suffrage Movement also an insurgency?

Depends on your definitions.

Webster‘s definition specifically mentions revolt and ties to insurrection, with synonym discussion at rebellion

At the heart of this debate is the difference between mass civil disobedience and the use of force to achieve political objectives. In both the civil rights and women’s suffrage movements, adherents engaged in controversial public speech and in so doing risked life and limb. Some were savagely beaten, with a few being murdered. See also Silent Sentinels article on Wikipedia. They also made adept use of the political system, rhetoric, ideology and religion to gain public sympathy and adherents. They took lawful defensive measures such as posting guards, including bodyguards for leadership cadre, and sometimes equipping themselves with ad hoc tools of street fighting such as signs and lumber.

Neither the civil rights nor the women’s suffrage movements trained for war, armed their members with firearms, engaged in terrorist operations, plotted assassinations, planted bombs, procured weapons, or took other warlike actions associated with revolts, insurgencies and rebellions. The steps taken in that direction by the Black Panthers resulted in that movement’s ruthless elimination by the FBI and local police through overt and covert means. See

However, both groups did distribute leaflets, march, form protest groups, organize, give public speeches, and engage in limited civil disobedience including disregarding restrictions on freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, and sometimes arguably vandalism and destruction of property. The latter tended to be accidental or spontaneous in the midst of other conflict.

As the vast majority of the actions of both the civil rights protesters and the women’s suffragists were clearly and unequivocally protected by the Bill of Rights, yet rebellion enjoys no such Constitutional protections, I would strongly argue that conflating the two concepts by labeling civil disobedience as insurgency is to erode the protections for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly enshrined in the 1st Amendment.

Nonetheless, there are important lessons for the would-be revolutionary in both movements. Prerequisites for victory include a mass base of popular support, a government forced to refrain from massacre, a strong agitprop machine, the ability to restrain or distance from extremists and/or opportunists, and last but not least, a powerful moral claim to legitimacy based on ideas of human rights and dignity.

BF Skinner December 16, 2009 6:55 AM

@RH “violence against persons or violence against ideas”

Sin against god is bad.
Sin against man is worse.

I see FNORD people.

jgreco December 16, 2009 7:03 AM


I don’t think many people here would actually argue that, but in reality, what really matters at the end of the day is the connotations that come with the word to the layman.

I’m sure Mark Grimsley made the comparison with the best of intentions. However, I like apparently others here, think that it is rather dangerous to make comparisons between the Iraqi insurgency and the civil rights movement, no matter how technically correct such a comparison may be according to Webster. I do not believe it requires a huge imaginative jump to see this being used to demonize future civil rights struggles.

jgreco December 16, 2009 7:08 AM

@Petréa Mitchell at December 15, 2009 11:31 AM

Thanks, I hadn’t read that since junior high. A very eye-opening read.

Duff December 16, 2009 7:15 AM

You can draw many parallels between a southern state in the 20th century and India. In the South, a small cadre of powerful whites ruled with nearly unlimited power over the poor folks. They used institutional power and influential religious leaders to pit the poor whites against the oppressed and terrorized blacks to neutralize the political power of both groups. Poor whites feared for their jobs and welfare, blacks lived in fear of their lives.

The ability to maintain that balance of terror was essential — the Southern regimes were made possible by the impenetrable control of the Senate exerted by southern Senators who were essentially appointed for life and had the seniority to control all major committees.

Anti-lyching legislation passed in the house for nearly 50 years, but never made it out of committee in the Senate. And the only reason that it eventually did was that Lyndon Johnson’s obsession with power had disrupted the power structure in the Senate.

Brandioch Conner December 16, 2009 7:20 AM

“As the vast majority of the actions of both the civil rights protesters and the women’s suffragists were clearly and unequivocally protected by the Bill of Rights, yet rebellion enjoys no such Constitutional protections, I would strongly argue that conflating the two concepts by labeling civil disobedience as insurgency is to erode the protections for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly enshrined in the 1st Amendment.”


And one more thing.

Both movements were focused on gaining the same LEGAL rights to PARTICIPATE in the EXISTING government as other citizens already had.

Which is far different than the old definitions of insurgency that were based around the overthrow of the existing government.

Which is why I do not see either of those movements as insurgencies.

paul December 16, 2009 9:33 AM

@Andrew: Not in the US, but in the UK the women’s suffrage movement did indeed engage in violence. (And in the US was closely allied with the temperance movement, one of whose icons was a woman with upraised hatchet.)

The argument over word choice here brings back memories of the “terrorist/freedom fighter” conflict. It also, I think, obscures an important point, which is that if one side of a political struggle considers itself to be the legitimate government of a region the other side should be prepared to be treated as (even if it doesn not exactly act as) an insurgency.

Which leads in turn to a sort of ironic paradox: although the southern establishment thought of the Civil Rights movement as a rebellion against their ostensibly legitimate government, violence against civil rights workers and the black population at large constituted an actual insurgency against the federal government, which most of the country considered even more legitimate.

We may be seeing a similar dynamic emerging with the stockpiling of weapons by would-be theocrats who claim, e.g., that marriage and christmas are under attack.

Drog December 16, 2009 10:07 AM

calling someone an insurgent is preliminary to killing them.
calling someone a communist is preliminary to killing them.
thats how it works, you demonize them with whatever the current propaganda requires, and they lose all right to life and someone can kill them with the usual impunity.
calling someone a suspect is also preliminary to killing them when the person of authority is in a killing mood.
this is what happend to oscar romero and to the six jesuits a decade of reaganism later, and its what the atlacatl battalion did at mozote, covered up by the media in colusion with the US and puppet salvadoran regime who did not want the truth about the power struggle for 400 families that own el sal and have always engaged in massacres to maintain thier riches.
In iraq, you can be a nationalist, insurgent or you can live under occupation and hope the foriegn torturers will not accuse you of either, but they don’t know you, your culture or your thoughts, but they can accept a denuciation from your neighbor who covets your property.

RH December 16, 2009 10:55 AM

@Drog: Calling someone a politician is a preliminary to watercooler talks of how nice it’d be if someone would kill them ;- )

You make a good point though. It explains why there’s so many terms. Insurgency vs. Civil Rights Movement. War vs. Police Action. They’re all the same, but labeled different =)

Al Nofi December 16, 2009 12:06 PM

Some interesting comments.

But most strongly suggest the commentators have not heard the talk.

Many of the questions raised are addressed there.

Robert December 17, 2009 8:38 AM

@Al Nofi: Amen. Seriously, people, watch the talk. ESPECIALLY if you don’t agree with it; it offers an incredible glimpse into the mindset and strategies of the “other side,” which are far more fiendish and complex than childishly labeling their opponents insurgents.

Robert December 17, 2009 1:33 PM

A note of clarification, since a friend of mine suggested my previous comment was ambiguous. The “other side” I refer to is the government and its various agencies, especially those that regard the rights of citizens as nuisances to be circumvented.

Mark Grimsley December 17, 2009 2:01 PM

I agree: It does sound as if a lot of these comments are coming from people who haven’t watched the presentation. Of course, since it’s 90 minutes long, I can understand why some might not be able to make the time investment.

A recurrent theme appears to be that calling Civil Rights activists “insurgents” is somehow pejorative. The term of course is value neutral — there can be good insurgencies and bad ones, depending on the objectives. The objective of the movement was the overthrow of an entrenched segregationist political order that did not hesitate to defend itself with violence.

It might be of interest to know something of the genesis of the thesis. It is an extension of ideas generated by a 2006 conference at Ohio State’s Mershon Center entitled, “The War for the American South, 1865-1968.” The conference brought together military historians and historians of the Civil Rights Movement and Black Liberation for two days of focused discussions. The inspiration for the insurgency concept came from listening to, and reading the books and articles by, historians whose research focused on African American self defense groups, such as the Deacons for Defense and Justice, that were until recently part of a sort of hidden history of the Movement.

A link to the conference web site is here:

It includes a list of the preparatory readings for the conference.

In the spring of 2009 I taught an elective course called “American Insurgencies,” at the U.S. Army War College, which was very well received. Most of the students, incidentally, were African American officers, and in my experience African Americans are the quickest to grasp the validity of the insurgency analog.

The course syllabus is outlined on this post:

… along with links to the complete syllabus and a 12-page working bibliography.

Incidentally, my article “Why the Civil Rights Movement Was an Insurgency,” appears in the forthcoming issue of MHQ (Military History Quarterly). It recasts and amplifies the AHEC presentation.

Mark Grimsley December 18, 2009 6:17 AM

Re the comment —

“As the vast majority of the actions of both the civil rights protesters and the women’s suffragists were clearly and unequivocally protected by the Bill of Rights, yet rebellion enjoys no such Constitutional protections, I would strongly argue that conflating the two concepts by labeling civil disobedience as insurgency is to erode the protections for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly enshrined in the 1st Amendment.”

— it might be worth offering the following extracts from another constitution:

Fundamental Rights and Duties

Article 19 [Equality]
(a) Citizens are equal before the law, without discrimination because of sex, blood,
language, social origin, or religion.
(b) Equal opportunities are guaranteed to all citizens, according to the law.

Article 22 [Dignity, Personal Integrity, Arrest, Home]
(a) The dignity of man is safeguarded. It is inadmissible to cause any physical or
psychological harm.
(b) It is inadmissible to arrest a person, to stop him, to imprison him or to search him,
except in accordance with the rules of the law.
(c) Homes have their sanctity. It is inadmissible to enter or search them, except in
accordance with the rules of the law.
Article 23 [Communication]
The secrecy of means of communications by mail, telegrams, and telephones is
guaranteed. It is inadmissible to disclose it, except for considerations of justice and
security, in accordance with the rules prescribed by the law.

Article 26 [Expression, Association]
The Constitution guarantees freedom of opinion, publication, meeting, demonstrations
and formation of political parties, syndicates, and societies in accordance with the
objectives of the Constitution and within the limits of the law. The State ensures the
considerations necessary to exercise these liberties, which comply with the revolutionary,
national, and progressive trend.

…That particular constitution offers protections that would have shielded Civil Rights activists as effectively as the U.S. Bill of Rights.

It happens to be the constitution adopted in 1990 by Saddam Hussein’s Republic of Iraq.

My point should be obvious: constitutional guarantees are meaningless if they are routinely ignored or circumvented. That was precisely the situation that obtained in the Jim Crow South.

bandsxbands February 10, 2010 1:59 AM

Digital memory,to me, is something that I seemingly will never have enough of. It’s as if megabytes and gigabytes have become a permanent part of my every day existence. Ever since I bought a Micro SD Card for my DS flash card, I’ve been on the constant lookout for high memory at low prices. I feel like I’m going insane.

(Posted on NetBrowze for R4i Nintendo DS.)

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