OPINION | by Richard Z. Baxter
We hear the saying “no justice, no peace” being passionately shouted as protesters “peacefully” march down American city streets. They carry signs that took their time, effort and money to create. What is the purpose? What is the meaning? What is the reason for saying “no justice, no peace” if after you don’t receive? What is the purpose? What is the meaning? What is the reason for saying “no justice, no peace” if after you don’t receive justice, you retaliate with a peaceful stroll down the street? The message that is being sent to the opposition or oppressors from whom you seek justice is confusing. The message says it’s OK to urinate on me and tell me it’s raining because all I’m going to do is walk down in the street in the “rain” getting soaked with a sign saying this isn’t rain, it’s urine. Inciting a riot is not my intention, nor am I calling for violent protest. I’m calling for smarter protest, as well as strategic and effective boycotting.
Violence is not the solution to the problems that we face at this time, and we pray that there does not come a time where violence is the only way. Human history is riddled with wars and conflicts, both civil and international, since the beginning of recorded history. Oppressed people sit under the confines of an oppressor stewing in the lack; the lack of good food, the lack of good education, the lack of good health care but most importantly the lack of opportunity to create the lives where they could live without lack. As the heat is turned up, the stew will eventually boil over and war breaks out.
What we need is civil disobedience. There are parameters within the law, and some outside unjust laws, to stand up for that which is right, for that which is good, for that which is noble, for that which is honorable. Those avenues are the processes in which we must operate to carry today’s battle to a REVOLUTIONARY platform. History has shown us the power of effective boycotting and the power of peacefully disrupting the status quo by simply occupying space with one’s body where the oppressed aren’t welcome.
Change is on the horizon and the pot of stew is beginning to boil over. We can saddle up, grab the reins of the revolution and vigorously direct how the change will proceed, or we can sit back and allow these inevitable changes to buck and kick sporadically, causing damage as the people most afflicted by oppression are seeking refuge or revenge.
Decisions of action will have to be made. The “peace” we hear about in the “no justice, no peace” chant will have to be disturbed in order for the oppressors to understand that we will not merely stroll down the street with signs complaining about how we are soaked in their urine, which they called rain. We will confront them in a nonviolent manner, disrupting the “peace” that they hold so precious until we get the justice we deserve.