Freedom alive

While walking through the Martin Luther King Memorial Commons, I stopped to read the statements chalked on the sidewalk by the Feminist Front about Wednesday’s Pro-Choice rally. Next to the statement “Freedom Now,” the word “crush” was written, obviously by someone who does not believe in such a lofty principle. Also written was “F— the JLS (John Lennon Society)” and “Brought to you by the National Society for the Advancement of Time,” repeating through implication was the misconception that direct action tactics (such as rallies and protests as practiced by many student groups, not only the JLS) were a product of, and exclusive to, the 1960s. In fact, the JLS, Feminist Front and other groups, are carrying on the tradition of participatory democracy that was exemplified by the patriots of our country’s founding—the abolitonists of the 1800s; the sufragettes, feminists and pacifists of the early twentieth century; the anti-fascists of the 1930s; as well as the civil rights, anti-war, feminists and environmental activists of the 1960s and labor activists throughout our country’s entire history.

Direct action still has relevance to our time. Democracy does not end with the ballot. Voting every two or four years does not fulfill our civic duty. Much more is required, especially in these times of reaction. Sure, it is hard at times to stand up for what you believe in when you are jeered at and criticized by do-nothings. I once heard a woman speak of the “initial embarrassment of confrontation,” but that feeling soon gives way to the satisfaction of participation.

Therefore, I urge all of you who believe in freedom; all who believe in keeping the state from interfereing in our private lives to attend the rally in the commons on Wednesday, at noon.

Thomas Ellett

SA Senator