November 05, 2007

You May as Well Break the Goddamned Rules -- and Sign the Petition While You're at It

[INSUBORDINATION! Chicago Sun-Times story:
About 10 Morton West High School students suspended over an anti-war protest at the school last week returned to the Berwyn school today to demand they be allowed back in classes.

The kids were accompanied by about 20 parents and anti-war activists at a press conference in front of Morton West. About 25 students were suspended and face expulsions after staging a protest against the Iraq war in the school cafeteria last Thursday.

District 201 Supt. Ben Nowakowski has insisted the students seriously disrupted the school day. All classes were locked down after the protesters locked arms and refused to move, he said previously. The students insist they were peaceful.

"All we were trying to do was promote peace and recognize that people are dying every day," said sophomore Adam Szwarek. "They said it was insubordination."
Given the prevailing views and values of our culture, and of the political class and most of the media, what these high school students were trying to do is insubordination. This kind of insubordination is just about our only hope at this point. The U.S. has unleashed a genocide in Iraq. Just how often do you see that particular, monstrously criminal fact discussed by anyone, anywhere -- including on many blogs? And how many people, aside from these students and a few of us nutjobs, promote peace? Not many at all, especially since the ruling class now prepares for the next phase of the neverending war.

A lot of people have signed the petition since yesterday. Signatures are nearing the 2,000 mark. Let's get well over 2,000 today. Go on, live dangerously: tell more people to sign it. A lot more.

Breaking the rules to "promote peace and recognize that people are dying every day" is a damned good program. These students are a hell of a lot smarter than most adults -- and far more decent and civilized. To say nothing of much braver. More power to them.]

You may as well break the damned rules because, in these glorious, liberty-loving United States in the Year of Our Final Descent 2007, if you stray even an inch beyond the bounds of "approved" discourse and those views that the authoritarian Establishment considers "acceptable," you may well be destroyed whether you in fact break the rules or not. And of course, this does not even address the fact that most rules are designed to protect the status quo and prevent alternative views and serious challenges to authority from being heard in the first instance:
Berwyn, IL - November 2, 2007. Over 70 students participated in a sit-in against the Iraq War on All Saint's Day, Thursday, November 1st. It began third hour when dozens of students gathered quietly in the lunchroom at Morton West High School and refused to leave. The administrators and police became involved immediately and locked down the school for a half hour after class ended. Students report that they were promised that there would be no charges besides cutting classes if they took their protest outside so as not to disturb the school day. The students complied, and were led to a corner outside the cafeteria where they sang songs and held signs while classes resumed.

Despite a police line set up between the protestors and the student body, many other students joined the demonstration. Organizers say they chose November first because it is the Christian holy day called the feast of All Saints and a national day of peace. They wrote a letter and delivered it to Superintendent, Dr. Ben Nowakowski who was present at the time, stating the reason for their protest.

Deans, counselors and even the Superintendent tried to change the minds of a few, mainly those students with higher GPA scores to abandon the protest. The school called the homes of many of the protestors. Those whose parents arrived before the end of school and took their students home, or left before the protest ended at the final bell, received 3-5 days suspension. All others, an estimated 37 received 10 days suspension and expulsion papers. Parents report that Nowakowski stated those who are seventeen will also face police charges.

Parents who are frantically trying to spare their child's expulsion flooded the school yesterday to file appeals on the matter. So far, Superintendent Nowakowski has held firm on the punishments. They are expected to find out the results of the appeals on Tuesday. Parents and students report and the school's videotape shown to some of the parents confirms that the students were non-violent in their action and there was no damage to property.
Here's your minimal act of civil disobedience for today, although it hardly rises even to that level:

Sign the Petition "In Defense of the Morton West Antiwar Students." I just did. You'll see my name right there -- where you will also see some people being genuine SOBs, and signing as Ahmadinejad and Hermann Goering. Lovely. I hope the petition organizers clean that up. In the meantime, go add some legitimate signatures. Given the schedule for "disciplinary" action, sign it today. [My signature is #421. I just noticed that Cindy Sheehan signed at #440. Go Cindy! Woohoo!]

Here's the first part of Break the Goddamned Rules, a series which will doubtless stretch unto eternity, or until Gitmo or one of those nice new detention camps right here in the U.S. beckons.

Ain't freedom just grand? A few more years of this, and who the hell will remember? Not that many people remember now. I can just hear some of you, hopefully not too many: "Oh, maybe I'd better not sign it. Don't want to be associated with those wackos. Could be trouble." Etc.

Get how it works? You see once more what all those rules are for: to shut you up, and shut you down. See how easy it is?

Well, they'll distract you again soon enough. How would bombing another country do? Yeah, that should do just fine.