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I want to flesh out the picture I’ve been painting of Gandhi by pointing out that, although he urges Satyagrahis not to resist arrest – this does not mean that they are not to show any form of resistance when dealing with the police. Naturally, he urges people to resist harassment and brutality by not complying with whatever it is the police are trying to get them to do. For example, during the salt protest of 1930, the police often attempted to seize contraband salt forcefully from the protesters, and Gandhi praised them for sitting on the ground and clinging to their bags of salt with four limbs as the police tried to take them away. That Gandhi urges resistance in this situation and not during an arrest, is that, in his belief, making arrests is a civil, responsible way to enforce a law while attacking or making threats is a form of what he calls “Goonda Raj,” i.e, rule by thugs. This distinction makes perfect sense to me.

Sadly, this once again leads me to wonder: what can people today do similarly, when faced with injustices? I have only seen little of the Occupy Wall Street protests, my immediate modern example, and it seems that they responded quite well to the police. That’s not really an issue: the protests were/are non-violent in action (though perhaps violent in word and thought – though I’m not going to get into that now). The problem once again is: what is it that they were not participating in? I feel that’s the issue. Non-violent confrontation cannot go anywhere without demands. OWS made an attempt to put together demands, but it was handled more like an after-thought than the core of the protests. I feel that such things need to occur before anyone stands on the pavement, otherwise either the cause is lost or it will erupt into violence.


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