"Civil disobedience" on the SD

While the mods are discussing this topic amongst themselves, I thought I might ask some specific questions and give some specific examples of topics that are likely to fall under this rubric.

One example that occured to me today was if a poster who lives in Georgia (I don’t, and never will, and never have) decides to protest the new law against providing water to voters waiting on long lines to vote. He or she posts about his or her plans to pack a van full of hundreds of bottles of water, and to distribute them a few bottles at a time, to thirsty people, and to get arrested, passive resistance-style, for violating the law. When he or she is hauled off to jail by one or two cops monitoring the polling place for such egregious law-breaking, a confederate of his or hers will take another backpack of chilled water from the van and distribute these bottles until police reinforcements come to take him away to jail, and this goes on for hours, with dozens of reinforcements and dozens of cops. Meanwhile hundreds of bottles of water get distributed, and when these cases are called before a judge, the defendants will explain to the nice judge that in giving water to thirsty people, they are aware that they are breaking the law and are willing to serve any sentence he seeks to impose on them, but that they hope the kindly judge will take their good intentions and lack of malice into account as he sentences them for the crime they have committed.

Now would this hypothetical poster have his or her thread closed? He or she hasn’t committed a crime yet, is perhaps simply hoping to troubleshoot his or her plan on the SD, see if anyone can suggest a different way of making the same point, or warn him or her of potential problems with his or her plan that he or she isn’t accounting for. In other words, is discussing (in my case hypothetically, and in my hypothetical water-distributor’s case, theoretically) a future violation of the law, with the aim of getting oneself arrested and making a political point, reason enough to bar the topic as advocating breaking the law? Or can such a thing be discussed on the SD?

I’m confused as to why this needs a separate ATMB thread from the other one you have going. This is like the fourth thread on the same topic you’ve started in the last what, 24-36 hours? The SDMB is a niche discussion forum of mostly old people, it isn’t a meaningful vehicle for organizing and it clearly fears any sort of legal trouble whatsoever. This activity occurs daily on sites like Facebook and Reddit, I suggest if you are so deeply interested in it you do so elsewhere, purely as a matter of “strategic advice”, organizing civil disobedience is a poor use for this forum even if it was allowed by the staff, which it mostly seems like it will not be.

I wanted a separate discussion of Civil Disobedience on the SD wthout gettng tangled in all the other stuff going on in the other thread. Please feel free to disregard any threads you have no interest in, Martin. Two of these four threads have been shut down, so this is the second thread I’ve started that is still active–apologies if that seems wildly excessive to you.

I have an interest in this thread–in that I think it should be shut down.

Yes. It very clearly violates this portion of the Registration Agreement:

Doesn’t matter. It’s encouraging an illegal act.

We especially do not allow “how to” information regarding illegal acts.

Yes, The aim is to break the law. That’s a pretty clear violation of the registration agreement.

Okay, that’s clear enough. I’ll be interested in learning how you’re resolving the issue of “civil disobedience” threads behind the curtain.

People defending the insurrection on the Capitol (as wrong and as clearly illegal as that is to me), claiming it was justified, that it was a tourist visit, or that not all of those arrested have been convicted of crimes yet, or whatever, should (it seems to me) be able to discuss their positions (again, wrong and clearly illegal) and get those positions shot down, I guess not on the SD because they would be violating the registration agreement by raising that issue.

And now I’ll try to search for ways the topic of my Georgian water-distributor has been allowed on the SD. Before searching, I’ll guess that the subject of the new law has probably been raised and allowed to go on. People were obviously allowed to say “This new law sucks,” but were they allowed any leeway in raising possibly legal workarounds to it? I’m not sure, for example, if the law prohibits the selling of water, just giving it away, so would I be able to ask the question “Am I allowed to sell water on voter lines in Georgia for a penny per bottle?” or is the mere asking about the legality of various acts itself a cause for closing down a thread? Certainly not if the answer is “No, that’s perfectly legal” but what if the answer is more ambiguous than that, as legal answers often are?

Have you considered not reading the threads instead of obsessing over them?

You are allowed to ask about the legality of something.

We prefer that legal questions be posted in IMHO because they do often require legal opinions or interpretations of legal facts.

I’m not sure that Martin_Hyde is the one obsessing here.

Here’s a thought: The rule against posting about “civil disobedience” on the SMDB is a good rule, not because of morality but because of personal security. You should not be posting about committing crimes on a public forum! You should not be posting about committing crimes on a private forum that could be subject to a police warrant! I should not have to explain to you why this is a bad idea, but your lawyer will thank me.

I think there are a great many immoral laws on the books in America and I think it is a good for people to organize to resist these immoral laws. If you’re going to do this online, do it via a service with end-to-end encryption and do it with devices that cannot be easily accessed by law enforcement. Erosion of American citizens’ right to privacy is going to continue, this will make organizing even more difficult in the future. Do not be foolish in how you conduct yourself, going to federal prison for conspiracy is not going to help anyone.

Excellent advice.

But let’s be honest, 99% of the people asking about civil disobedience acts aren’t asking “what acts of civil disobedience should I perform?” They’re asking what acts should other people be performing.

We’re far more likely to be slacktivists than activists.

I agree with the stance that we should avoid the promotion of illegal acts, or the discussion of how to “hypothetically” make those acts a reality, even if those acts are something we’d personally support. The same way that if I see a poster I like on these boards insulting a poster I don’t like in an inappropriate forum, I’ll report them, even if I agree 100% with the insult.

The rules are in place to protect the board and its participants, and maintain a place where productive discussion can occur, even if those rules sometimes prevent us from doing something we’d like to do. That’s just part of living in civilization (and frankly, it’s part of being an adult).

If only there was a difference between a thread discussing crimes that have already been committed and a thread discussing the best way to commit a crime . . . alas there, apparently, is none.

You appear not to realize that the whole point of civil disobedience is that you do it in full public view, with the intention of being arrested and prosecuted.

Yes, this is what I’m implying in my suggestion that “civil disobedience” is different from other criminal acts–the voluntary submission to the criminal justice system is crucial to it. Other threads discussing criminal behavior are troubling to the SD because they all concern evading arrest or conviction, but CD doesn’t do that at all. If it did, it would no longer be CD.

Very few people here have any experience with actual civil disobedience campaigns against a hostile state, and it shows. The OP’s van example is laughable, for instance - like the cops are going to grab one protester and leave their van full of water bottles untouched. Or the idea that the concern would be getting hauled in front of a judge, rather than being beaten to a pulp and teargassed.

Don’t post about it here. That’s just a waste of time. This board is not the kind of forum where actual social justice organization can be facilitated, so posting about it here just looks like performative virtue-signalling at best.

It’s not illegal in my state. Neither is abortion. In fact, my state (Connecticut) recently passed legislation allowing people to sue for damages and legal fees if other states try to come after abortion providers for providing abortions to out-of-staters.

So I posted saying hey come to Connecticut for your abortion tourism. Abortion is now illegal in the US according to this quoted standard, in many more states than states where it is illegal to pass out water to voters. So by this precedent, are you saying my post was against the rules?

Are you certain that this is why they are troubling to the moderators, or are you speculating?

My post that you quoted was in response to someone doing something that they knew was illegal in their location:

Advocating something that you know is illegal, no matter how well-intentioned, is a clear violation of the Registration Agreement.

In your example, it appears that no laws would be broken, and so the post would be allowed.

Discussions regarding what is currently legal and what is not legal are also permitted. Calls to action are not.

Not yet, anyway.