1 Keith Gessen Revisits the Cost of His OWS Arrest | The Billfold

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sockhopbop (#764)

Thanks for this, Logan and Keith! It’s great to hear the moral reasoning behind the guilty/not guilty plea decision. It seems like the classic logic of civil disobedience would be that it’s better to plead guilty to an unjust law (as a way of pointing out & protesting its injustice), but it’s not clear in this case that pleading guilty drew more attention to the cause. And I can def see the argument that doing so tacitly endorses the system you’re trying to protest…

jfruh (#161)

The system is a meat grinder for sending young black men to prison; it really ought to be obstructed at every opportunity.

Jesus Christ, what an irritating and self-serving justification this is. Do you really think that the many, many young black men who ultimately have their charges dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor, but who still have their lives destroyed by 12-18 months in a holding cell awaiting trial because they can’t make bail, have their lives improved in any way by anarchists not pleading guilty for acts they undertook specifically because they were illegal?

I actually agree with, or at least respect, most of what Gessen says here, but this is insulting and absurd.

laluchita (#2,195)

@jfruh People’s live won’t be directly improved by people pleading not guilty, but it’s absolutely vital that people say, at every possible opportunity, that this system is profoundly biased and unjust and that we can’t just stand by like it’s business as usual. In the era of stop and frisk, of mandatory minimums and three strikes laws, of one of the largest prison populations in the world, there’s no moral way to cooperate with the US justice system. I think that Keith Gessen’s revelation was important and true.

aetataureate (#1,310)

@jfruh Agree, and if my trial were delayed because of a “clog” and I were in custody that entire time, I would not feel in any way grateful for the political statement it purports to make.

deepomega (#22)

@jfruh 1000%. It’s like justifying not paying your taxes because you don’t like tax money going to defense – all you’re actually doing is justifying not wanting to pay money, and also keeping your money out of discretionary spending.

Marzipan (#1,194)

“In fact we should all be allowed to go out into the street and obstruct traffic whenever we please, if by doing so we are trying to make a point.”

Do people…agree with that? you know how things are phrased in a way that even though you disagree, you are almost tricked into agreeing? I feel the opposite with this, like I was ready to agree, and then the phrasing makes it sound terrible.

people should get to obstruct traffic? Just to “make a point”? like, even if I agreed with the theory, which I’m not sure I do, I don’t think I would like that in practice. Because any idiot can think he’s making a point. and I hate being stuck in traffic. So I’m not really all about being held hostage by some white supremecist who is making a point, without having any way to stop him because it is “protected speech”. We’d never get anywhere! Ugh that sounds like the very worst manifestation of filibustering.

deepomega (#22)

@Marzipan Agree with this. Also think it’s kind of amazing that Gessen says that blocking traffic is free speech, but spending money is not.

And really, deep down, I think what he REALLY means is “it should be legal to do whatever anyone I agree with politically does, as that is free speech.” Find it hard to believe he’d support tea partiers blocking traffic.

Jeni Vidi Vici (#1,121)

@Marzipan I for one don’t agree with that part. I don’t think that individuals should be able to close down a public road whenever they feel like it and prevent me from getting to work/the hospital/whatever any more than I would be cool with a person walking up to me on foot and physically preventing me from getting past them “to make a point”.

OhMarie (#299)

@Marzipan Yeah, I find it hard to believe that obstructing traffic is speech. Free speech rules can’t be contingent on what you’re saying, so if this is true I feel like you’d have to also let people obstruct traffic if they had no point, or a shitty point. So weird.

Nick (#1,548)

Yeah, I’m pretty sure not a soul in the world will take “Sorry, but Keith Gessen was rambling incoherently while lying in front of my car in the middle of the street as a way of exercising his free speech” as an acceptable excuse for being late for work/a wedding/hospital appointment/job interview/funeral/whatever.

As long as they are stealing from me to pay for the roads I think I should be able to block them in protest.

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