Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Political Theater? Or Hands-On Demonstration? 

Worth noting that 75 years ago Gandhi was finishing his march to the sea, the famous “salt march.”

Sandip Roy over at Pacific News Service says, among other things, that

My great aunts and uncles actually remembered Gandhi's 1930 Dandi March, where Gandhi courted arrest by breaking the bizarre British law that said only the British could produce salt. With 78 fellow marchers, Gandhi, already in his 60s, walked for 23 days over 240 miles to pick up a lump of mud and salt on the Indian coast. Hundreds lined his path. Thousands made salt illegally all over the country. Within days, tens of thousands were in jail.

As political theater it was electric. Who could have thought a lump of salt could defy an empire?

Pacific News Service > News > Salt, Faith and Patience: Remembering Gandhi's March to the Sea

This was before teevee, too, and Gandhi was leading a population that didn’t access media much, even what there was. Word just spread along the route.

The Rethuglicans have made use of political theater for their own hypocritical purposes for a long time now. Think the Reagan funeral hoopla, the Jessica Lynch story, run-up to iWaq, more recently Ms. Schiavo’s tragedy. But their heart isn’t in it, and so they trip up on hypocrisy and lack of facts. Or they try to steal credit for someone else’s theater: Ukraine, Lebanon. Still, it works. See Tom Tomorrow over at Working for Change for a graphic example:

This Modern World

But political theater has its real worth when the cause is indeed just, when it’s not just theater, but genuine demonstration (in the pedagogical sense). What’s the lump of salt that will defy this empire, in spite of the media? Or is this just wishful thinking? If so, let me dream for now, it's been a crappy day...

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