Talk:Direct action

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I am trying to decide whether or not to get involved in this. The basic premise, in my opinion, and experience is seriously flawed. The statement that opend the article and sets the tone, "Direct action is a euphemism for violence." is not accurate. Direct action is a euphemism (not the word I'd use, but that's okay) for non-standard and/or possibly illegal activities to achieve some end. This might include violence but it might also be a wide variety of other non-violent activities from the threat of violence and /or intimidation, which is close, but not the same thing as doing it, to a completely non violent activity such as a sit-down strike. Bu my history here suggest that I would not get away with making such a deep seated edit, so I won't, but I did feel a need to be on the record. So now I am. Carptrash 21:28, 9 December 2008 (EST)

I was very tempted to ut this is the article, but figured that I would begin here.— Unsigned, by: Carptrash / talk / contribs

Direct action without violence.[edit]

(but it is not pretty either)

The strike at the grocery store had dragged on bitterly for a long time. The company brought in "replacement workers" and kept the store open. A group of restless direct activists wandered by and decided to engage in a bit of "direct action." First they chatted with the strikers, letting them know that they were sympathetic with the strikers. There was also some spirited dialogue with a police on hand. The activists then entered the store and proceeded to fill many shopping carts full of goods, mostly perishable, squishable and best of all, both. Some carts were abandoned in hidden areas, other unloaded on the struggling check out persons, and then abandoned. Management was suspicious but it was too late.

PS also the actions that many editors here engage in versus conservapedia borders on (and probably crosses tat border numerous times, pretty much fall under the "direct action" heading.— Unsigned, by: Carptrash / talk / contribs

I always find comments like this interesting[edit]

"self-styled "anarchists," (see heavily edited photo captions in article) because the author has no clue what s/he is talking about. The crowd at this event was an even mix of college students, homeless folks looking for some sort of a good deal and other community types. I met no "'self-styled anarchists" . Well okay, three, four at the most. Carptrash 23:02, 9 December 2008 (EST)
Actually the top one of the three is the only one that is clever. - User 23:03, 9 December 2008 (EST)
"clever?" Carptrash 23:07, 9 December 2008 (EST)
Three, four at the most out of five... Secret Squirrel 23:10, 9 December 2008 (EST)
So that would be how many out of seven? Carptrash 23:46, 9 December 2008 (EST)

Direct Action or Terrorism?[edit]

I am reading this article, I see terrars. I see death. I see civilians dying, the mother with baby in her arms, the shrapnel, it is flying, much blood. Is direct action or no?

Well, obviously, it's action, and it's direct in terms of they're not beating about the bush when they set out to kill people, but I always thought direct action was, well, direct. As in, actually aimed at the people you're angry at. The thing about the terrars is that they are not directly aimed at the people you're aiming at, but rather at hapless civilians who've never even heard of Basque, and in fact think it's something lizards do in the morning to combat their cold-bloodedness. WazzaHello? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me... 07:30, 10 December 2008 (EST)

Terrorism is causing fear or distress (ie. terror) in order to further your cause. Like the Sea Shepherds, who use "direct action" by throwing acid at people, and sinking ships. Terrorism does not need to involve guns, explosives or death. Even threats will do.— Unsigned, by: 24.119.210.17 / talk / contribs

The Really Bad Guys[edit]

Is that meant to be SPOV? It is making quite a leap to go from Direct Action, which is generally thought of as being performed by tiny extremist groups for minority and obscure political reasons (usually because more normal and legal kinds of recourse and debate have been closed or are ineffective), to the four mentioned here, which were all aimed at asshole regimes which wouldn't even tolerate debate on any of the topics, including at least one case in which the "direct action" could be regarded as the continuation of a defense against unlawful invasion.

In any case, if it IS SPOV, it's not funny. WazzaHello? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me... 08:40, 10 December 2008 (EST)

Definitions of what is, or is not, funny differ. Similarly one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter. I know plenty of people who do not associate Direct Action with extremist minorities - maybe this us a UK/USA thing. My point was that fighting the system using non-democratic means is not always a bad thing. Silver Sloth 08:50, 10 December 2008 (EST)
I added the French Gov, Al Qaeda, and US Gov. for exactly that reason. The point being that everyone thinks they're on the right side of some argument, and that the term is really poorly defined, and to me seems to make no sense. Of course everyone knows that DA is essentially ALF, etc - but they're not the only guys up to badness. DogP 11:14, 10 December 2008 (EST)
PFoster, always a voice of calm reason, has amended my sarcastic 'Really Bad Guys' to a less inflammatory 'Notable Individuals Who have Used Direct Action'. I feel this resolves the issue. Silver Sloth 11:19, 10 December 2008 (EST)


Fascinating that the term is defined, "Direct action is frequently a euphemism for violence," rather than defining it what it always is. This is a classic (opinion) case of defining words or positions starting not at a common denominator, in the middle somewhere, but at the extreme ends of the definition. It comes, I believe, from watching too much T.V. and/or listening to too much talk radio. Whoops, I forgot tho sign this, but the article is looking much better. Foster, I take back all the things i said and thought about you.
Better make that "most of the things". Carptrash 13:37, 10 December 2008 (EST)

Why thabk you, kind Carp. i can be kind of a dick on the internet sometimes, I admit--but mostly I try to do the right thing. PFoster 13:39, 10 December 2008 (EST)
You do not stand alone in any of these areas. Welcome to the club. Carptrash 14:12, 10 December 2008 (EST)

Types[edit]

We seem to be talking about different types of direct action which we could cut up in various ways:

  • Direct action in a democratic country.
  • Direct action in a non-democratic country.

These can be further divided into:

  • Non-violent direct action.
  • Violent direct action.

One could argue that certain forms of direct action might be more or less justifiable depending upon the political system within which they occur. For example, if one lived in a non-democratic country which does not respect the rule of law, then one could argue that violent direct action directed against the state might well be justifiable.

For reasons which are not entirely clear to me we also have example of :

  • Direct action carried out by the state - though I would have thought that "Illegal actions carried out by the state" or something of that nature would be a better description of the activities we note.

But before I reconstruct this somewhat controversial article long these lines I wonder if anybody agrees with me.--Bobbing up 04:29, 11 December 2008 (EST)

I'm with you on this one. The article started out basically as a rant against organisations like the ALF and other eco terrorists but completely missed the point that Direct Action has a long and noble history. Like you I am bemused by the idea of 'Direct Action' by the state, my definition would preclude this. Silver Sloth 05:04, 11 December 2008 (EST)
I thought that the difference was any "nobility" to DA was through people acting with proportionality, justifiability and restraint, and that the ALF etc had none of those. WazzaHello? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me... 00:40, 12 December 2008 (EST)
As a guy who tried to tweak this from rant to article, I welcome any effort to make it more accurate. The stuff about the state has to go--state actions =/= DA. PFoster 00:52, 12 December 2008 (EST)
I agree that a state, by definition can not engage in DA. By definition (at least mine) DA is a process by which the less empowered act or react against those in power. Such as the State. Carptrash 03:41, 12 December 2008 (EST)
And I would be very cautious about this stuff.
"For example, if one lived in a non-democratic country which does not respect the rule of law, then one could argue that violent direct action directed against the state might well be justifiable."
For example, what about a democratic country that does not respect the rule of law? And in any case do we really want/need to get into and decide what is justifiable and what is not? Everyone who engages in any DA figures that it is justifiable. Ours wold just be another opinion.— Unsigned, by: Carptrash / talk / contribs
Actually I was careful to not state it as fact, only "one could argue" that it "might well" be justifiable. It is indeed obvious that people who engage in DA think it's justifiable. (For that matter, it's probably a fair bet that people who commit violent armed robbery are justified in their minds.) But yes, I agree that it's a matter of opinion and we would have to find a way to properly incorporate views. Probably need a section on "Direct action on the internet as well." As an aside Carptrash, any chance that you could take a little more care with you sig? I had to add three "unsigned" templates to this page. --Bobbing up 06:29, 12 December 2008 (EST)
What I think is that the word "justified" should be avoided completely. I like the idea of an internet section. For example, keeping track of how many times one has been banned or barred or blocked from another site seems like a good place to start.
Aside to Bob M, Sorry about the signatures. I will try and be more careful about it because I do understand why it is important and I have no interest in making anonymous comments or edits. Carptrash 11:45, 12 December 2008 (EST)

As per emerging consensus...[edit]

I removed examples re: states and int'l terrorism--not the same thing as the kid of DA we're talking about. PFoster 11:51, 12 December 2008 (EST)

There is no "why."
The WHY DA section has two sections. One I more or less wrote (I think) and the other looks like this:
"They do not resonate with most peoples' world views."
What does that even mean? What "peoples?" Whose "World views?" I'd be more than willing to let my contribution go if that other tripe (opinion) went with it. I have a tee-shirt that my daughter made that says, "There is no Why" and I think that would be a fine approach for this article too. Carptrash 12:09, 12 December 2008 (EST)
I wrote that--I think--and i agree with you that it's lame. I think what I was trying to do was to soften out judgemental statements that said that DA was tied to loony ideas--if you can find a way to say that DA is often tied to ideas (not yet) part of the political mainstream, and can do it in a more artful way than that, go right ahead...PFoster 12:18, 12 December 2008 (EST)
Sorry, I could not help myself. I will take a stab at offering alternative language - but today will be the 7th busiest day of the new millennium for me once it gets going, so, we'll see. Carptrash 12:28, 12 December 2008 (EST)
If you're going down this road, then why are ETA still listed? Why not add the IRA, the Red Brigade, and Sendera Luminosa? There's no logic to ETA's inclusion by your current thinking. DogP 10:16, 13 December 2008 (EST)

Civil disobedience, passive resistance[edit]

thinking about this some more, I'm not entirely sure that, for example, Gandhi was engaged in Direct Action. It seems to me that he was more engaged in "passive resistance" or (as the article says) civil disobedience. Or are we maintaining that they are the same thing?--Bobbing up 14:52, 12 December 2008 (EST)

My initial thought is that "passive resistance" is a form of direct action. Carptrash 19:18, 12 December 2008 (EST)
This is why I had such a hard time with the original tone of this article: "DA is a synonym for violence," or something like that, and then a bunch of shit trying to compare anyone who tries to work outside the system to terrorists (I exaggerate, but not by much...). If we agree that DA is working outside the system to bring about political change, then passive resistance is totally part of that...PFoster 19:22, 12 December 2008 (EST)
Actually I'd argue that are different, at least at some level. I agree that they are both about working against the system in some way, but direct action implies, well, action. But Passive resistance is about not doing something. It's about non-co-operation and is explicitly non-violent. OK, one could argue that not acting is a form of action, but I'd say the terms are different.--Bobbing up 03:34, 13 December 2008 (EST)
My view on "passive resistance" is that it is passive only when compared with killing and that sort of extreme action. Lying down in front of a moving car for example, might be considered as being "passive resistance," but there is a lot of action involved. Lying down in front of a car, especially one that's being driven by a hostile driver, is definitely (one of the 27 words that mean "my opinion") doing something. I say Pas Res stays in Dir Act. Carptrash 06:14, 13 December 2008 (EST)
OK, but while I can see that Gandhi's passive resistance and the fanatics bombing abortion clinics are both using methods to oppose the state, I'm not sure that we should use the same term to refer to them.--Bobbing up 08:58, 13 December 2008 (EST)
I think there's civil disobedience (MLK, Gandhi) and there's terrars (Osama, Abortion clinic bombers) and direct action is the gap in between where it's too harsh to be considered noble but not harsh enough to be full-on terrars. This is just one insomniac's opinion, though. WazzaHello? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me... 09:03, 13 December 2008 (EST)
I guess that one could create (or perhaps suggest)a scale like that. There would obviously be differences of opinion and perspective, but it should be possible to suggest three different things.--Bobbing up 09:10, 13 December 2008 (EST)
As long as we use terms such as ,"considered noble" we're never going to agree. Do you believe that the family of some teenager who blows him or herself up in a "terrorist act," do not consider that act to be noble? I'll be back. Carptrash 11:49, 13 December 2008 (EST)
They might or they might not. It would probably depend on whether they agreed with him or not. I'm prepared to believe that All Capone considered himself to be noble. But we can't write an article from everybody's point of view - that's Wikipedia's job.--Bobbing up 11:59, 13 December 2008 (EST)
This talk page begins with me saying, "I am trying to decide whether or not to get involved in this." That's probably where I'll bail out. Not that I feel that this or any article here has to be written from, " everybody's point of view" - but my contributions do need to be from my point of view and yours from your POV and we are not going to be able, it appears, to get the details in order and since I believe you to be a Rationalist and I clearly (another of the 27 words that means "my opinion" ) am not, I think that you should get right-of-way. Carptrash 14:16, 13 December 2008 (EST)

Teh terrarists is confusin everyon[edit]

So how do the assembled throngs react to the news that ETA has decided to participate in Direct Action for environmental reasons? Does this even qualify as Direct Action? Oh, I guess it does, because it's for environmental purposes. That makes it 'noble' I suppose. Right. I dunno, I think those who use the term Direct Action have no ability to define it, myself. And I see no clear differentiation between the sinking of the Belgrano, the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, the burning of an abortion clinic, and the burning of a car dealership full of Hummers. It's all just stupid senseless violence, except appeasers from radically different political camps would allow each group to get away with it, or support it. This attempt to justify violence on behalf of causes we notionally approve of by giving it a 'special' name seems to me to be wilfuly ignorant. But clearly this has become a heated debating point, and I'm conscious that tempers are risen. All I would ask is for those who support the use of the term to allow that one man's Direct Action is another man's War Crime. DogP 14:04, 14 December 2008 (EST)

Actually I would say there is a spectrum of resistance - and reasons for resistance. I was thinking of re-writing the whole thing to show this.
  • Passive resistance: eg Ghandi.
  • Non violent direct action: eg Plane stupid, Greenpeace.
  • Violent direct action: eg, Sea Shepherd, Abortion clinic bombers.
  • Terrorism: eg, ETA, IRA.
But I'm not sure about putting Ghandi in the same box as ETA. Is there a better term, should they be quite seperate articles or what?--Bobbing up 15:31, 14 December 2008 (EST)
But how do you define 'resistance'? Look at the case of Northern Ireland as an example - the IRA are (were) a resistance movement, so how would you have defined the actions of the UDA/UVF, who were 'resisting' the 'resistance' of the Republicans? To attribute only one of them with the concept of Direct Action makes a mockery of the term, and to include both makes it meaningless. DogP 04:03, 15 December 2008 (EST)
OK, :-) 'resistance' may be a bad term. What would you suggest? Or perhaps four seperate stubs with "see also"?--Bobbing up 04:35, 15 December 2008 (EST)
We're hard up against the 'one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter' aspect. How do you draw the line between violent direct action and terrorism. For that matter when Ghandi gathered salt was that passive resistance or non violent direct action? I feel that you hit problems as soon as you put any organisation in any of the categories. Once you get beyond the dictionary definition

any action seeking to achieve an immediate or direct result, esp. an action against an established authority or powerful institution, as a strike or picketing.

you hit massive POV problems. Maybe we should leave it at the dictionary definition. Silver Sloth 04:57, 15 December 2008 (EST)
Like I said. I'm 100% with what Slothy said. It's a term that is over-defined. DogP 19:21, 15 December 2008 (EST)

Reversions[edit]

Is anyone going to attempt to justify the reversion of my edits by citing anything more substantial than my perceived body weight? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 20:21, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

"They are young and impatient and either: (1) want everything to be how they want it now, and/or (2) are trying to tee off their parents." So says you. Let's talk about leaving your "I hate anything that smells like leftist politics" out of this and think about how some/many DA groups are genuinely trying to effect positive political change. And equating the anti-apartheid struggle with the Rwandan genocide is morally reprehensible. Leaving out the bit about how DA "speaks to the extent to which the state only guarantees and promotes democracy to the point that its own interests are maintained" keeps us from talking about the extent to which liberalism's ostensibly universalist values are way different in theory than in practice. And equating a terrorist like McVeigh with Mandela and Cesar Chavez? You're just being an asshole there. No category of political activism can be broad enough to reconcile that. But you did spell "Malcolm" properly, so I'll put that much back in. TheoryOfPractice (talk) 23:56, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
The left-wing part has not so much to do with it as the radical part; note that I was beating on the wingnuts as well.
If you deny that certain young fools get into radicalism for the purpose of teeing off their parents, I can certainly try to dig up some examples of radicals themselves criticizing this phenomenon, which I have read.
"And equating the anti-apartheid struggle with the Rwandan genocide is morally reprehensible." I did not equate them. I merely noted that when certain Direct Action groups made revolutions, the results were cataclysmic.
"Leaving out the bit about how DA..." The quoted statement presupposes, without justification, the truth of certain conceptions of "democracy" that most people do not swallow. And the remark about the variance between liberal theory and liberal practice would be far more accurate if "liberalism" were replaced in it by "communism."
"And equating a terrorist like McVeigh with Mandela..." As Mr. Mandela was the head of an full-bore revolutionary association that carried out, i.a., organized attacks on civilians, while Mr. McVeigh was a one-shot lone-wolf, this is a case of apples and oranges.
"No category of political activism can be broad enough to reconcile that." It can: radicalism. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 02:09, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Haha, ToP you finally typed "in theory than in practice"! LMAO. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:23, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
@ Listener: "If you deny that certain young fools get into radicalism for the purpose of teeing off their parents." You want to make this a blanket characterization on what grounds? "that when certain Direct Action groups made revolutions, the results were cataclysmic." and when others did, the results were wonderful. You don't seem to want to acknowledge that. "The quoted statement presupposes, without justification, the truth of certain conceptions of "democracy" that most people do not swallow." What "most people do you mean? Do you have any numbers on that? Have you read what Wallerstein, Balibar, Thomas Holt, Cooper and dozens of others have had to say on the ways in which liberalism's "universalist" discourses have always worked to exclude particular social groups? It's no big radical leap to talk about liberal democracy as an institution that has always been selective as to who can really "count" as a citizen. Anyway, I really don't like arguing with the smartest kid in the class, so do whatever you want with the article. Once you get involved the fun factor goes way down for me... @ Human. heh. So I did. about time.TheoryOfPractice (talk) 02:33, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
"You want to make this blanket characterization on what grounds?" The original bullet was included as part of a list of reasons why people get into direct action, and radical chic is definitely one of them.
"...and when others did, the results were wonderful." Given that this was in the specific context of colonial liberation campaigns in Asia and Africa, suppose you name a former European colony in either region that was liberated by a revolutionary campaign and is presently "wonderful."
"What 'most people' do you mean?" I was referring to the idea that "democracy" = "people claiming to speak for whatever identity group you pluck out of the air can get everything they want."
As to the question of "who can count as a citizen," the point on which a liberal state stands or falls is the rule of law, not democracy. Most of us, I think, would rather be under an undemocratic state that secures civil rights and the rule of law, than a democratic state that does not ensure them. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 03:24, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Alright, this conversation will go badly.[edit]

Do we really want a "see also" to terrorism when Rosa Freakin' Parks is included as an example of what we're talking about? Are we trying to equate justifiable political action like that undertaken by Cesar Chavez with a terrorist like Begin? Muhammad Ali never killed anybody. Neither did Dr. King. The vague sort of move the article makes towards differentiating between non-violent direct action and other types of political movements ends up just making more of a mess of things than it does clarifying matters. Is there any way that a guy like Listener, for example, and a guy like me, for example, could ever agree as to the tone this article can take? I doubt it very much. TheoryOfPractice (talk) 00:07, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Rosa Parks is one of histories greatest monsters! Acei9 00:08, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Rosa Parks used to stomp on bunnies. Very few people are aware of that fact. TheoryOfPractice (talk) 00:10, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
For starters, I agree that the article should draw a clearer distinction between the non-violent and violent groups, if it seems to equate Parks and King with terrorists. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 00:15, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
A "see also" doesn't necessarily equate the two things, it just means there a thematic link between the two. Direct action & terrorism are both forms of protest. I've added a see-also to passive resistance which is another option. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:43, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
In fact we're citing Rosa Parks as an example of passive resistance and direct action. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:49, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

"A "see also" doesn't necessarily equate the two things..." wasn't that a WIGO:CP trope back in the day, when TK or someone was putting, like, "pedophilia" in the "See Also" for Jimmy Carter (well, not exactly, but you get the point) and then saying pretty much exactly the same thing in justification? TheoryOfPractice (talk) 00:54, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Cluttering[edit]

UncleHo has a point about the "organizations" section being somewhat cluttered, although I am hesitant to remove specific sourced examples in favor of broad categories. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 18:51, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

I should say that I don't particularly give much of a crap about this article or its content (it's pretty far removed from my areas of interest), but I should warn UncleHo particularly that the abusive nature of the edit comments alone are probably going to lead to most people falling on LX's side. Scarlet A.pngmoral 19:00, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
You're hesitant to remove groups that aren't even direct action so you can bash Leftists and Christians. The ETA is not direct action, they are terrorists. There's a difference. Every time an article comes with even the faintest whiff of leftism, you have to sully it with your e-crusader bullshit.UncleHo (talk) 19:06, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
So your definition of "direct action" includes only the non-violent sort? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 19:09, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
No. The ETA is terrorist, they have gone past direct action. Terrorists are aggressive, whereas direct action groups can be violent, but only if provoked. Direct action groups usually have some sort of social outreach, as well. The Panthers, for example, ran extensive social programs. Crossing the border into aggressive, unprovoked, military style attacks makes you a terrorist, like the ETA, IRA and all the other alphabet soup groups. I would actually argue that the ELF, ALF and ARM fall into the same category.UncleHo (talk) 19:23, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Where then would you place Hamas? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 19:38, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Also, could you provide a reference for your classification? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 19:39, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
(EC) Hamas is definitely a terrorist group, as their on;y goal is to destroy Israel. The Goonie Punk Can't sleep, clowns will eat me! 19:41, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
The reason I asked was that Hamas has social outreach, so that is not a useful line of demarcation. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 19:43, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Hamas is a political party which currently controls the government of the Palestinian Authority. Now, if you meant the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, they line is somewhat fuzzy, as they are the official army of a ruling political group.UncleHo (talk) 20:39, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
I see. Do you have a reference for the definition of direct action that excludes terrorism? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 20:47, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
No, but being as we have no reference for the current definition I'd say they're both about as reputable.UncleHo (talk) 20:52, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Quick Google search: The Wikipedia page on direct action says that the violent forms of it include terrorism and political assassinations. Voltairine de Cleyre described the Boston Tea Party and John Brown's insurrection campaign as direct action. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 20:59, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, the Boston Tea Party was direct action. Being as they aimed to hurt no one and were violating the law to make a political point. Theatrics help, too. Brown was too, although he was planning a transition to insurgency.UncleHo (talk) 21:13, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
De Cleyre was referring to what Brown was intending to do ("John Brown was a man of violence; he would have scorned anybody's attempt to make him out anything else"), as well as specifically citing the violent acts he did perform as examples of his being a direct-action man amidst those who were not taking direct action. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 21:20, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, and your point? Also I don't know why we're using the opinions of a fairly obscure Anarchist as our definition here. I have found other opinions which differ from hers, terms like this get a lot of debate. No one still seems to know what a terrorist actually is.UncleHo (talk) 22:51, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Who are the other people and what do they say? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:40, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Ima gonna call in the Lame Jaguars on you two if you don't get a room! ħumanUser talk:Human 04:47, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Now that the vitriol, accusations of immaturity, objections to disrespecting religion, etc., are finally out of the way, I think we are down to brass tacks. Once there are references for the other side of the argument, we can decide whether or not terrorism should be lumped in. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:04, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

(UI)I don't see why we stop calling something "direct action" just because we don't like the tactics. Of course, I also haven't read the article lately. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:14, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

That, it looks like, is what many anarchists do; they dislike terrorism, but see that the term "direct action" is often labeled as a code word for terrorist activities, so when they use the term, they apply a meaning that excludes terrorism. But without any references, I cannot be sure of that. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:21, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
So you have an ambiguous tract from a rather obscure Anarchist writer which doesn't really support your views, but unless it is expressly refuted, you are going to remake the article in your image, which will result in lenghty screeds about leftists and anyone who doesn't follow David Duke's religion. ListenerX, folks. He is nothing if not consistent.UncleHo (talk) 03:08, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
So far we have three sources disputing your characterization: this article itself (most of which was written by editors friendly to direct action), the Wikipedia article, and de Cleyre's article. On the other hand, you have consistently failed to provide references to support your position; put one up or shut up, if you please.
(P.S. In one post I am being attacked for "bashing" anti-abortion terrorists Christians, in the next I am being accused of making screeds against anyone who "doesn't follow David Duke's religion"?) Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:54, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
So two wiki articles and the writings of an old Anarchist from over a century ago. Wiki articles aren't valid sources and De Cleyre is a solitary, old opinion on the subject. Her opinions mean no more than mine, on an academic level.UncleHo (talk) 18:00, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
They are, admittedly, not very good or current sources (although I think de Cleyre's word counts for more than either of ours). Can you provide us with a better source? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 18:07, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

I am directing some actions riiiight here.[edit]

I am still a bit confused regarding what the point of this article is. Is it that people act? Quite a few people do that you know.

In fact, I think that what you peoples are talking about there is legal & illegal actions and how some people use illegal actions for right causes, which is a problem because a lot of people use illegal actions for wrong causes as well, which in turn becomes a debate about right & wrong and moral & amoral laws and ultimately about morality and so on. It's huge. You would have thought that the entire wiki is pretty much about discussing said actions in a case by case way rather than trying to collect them into one article.

The article doesn't even define what the objective criteria for a direct action is. Do you have to kill someone in order to be doing a direct action? What if I simply poke at him annoyingly? Also what about indirect action, direct inaction (ie, when I choose *not* to stop a big heavy thing rolling towards an ideological opponents of mine) and indirect inaction? Sen (talk) 20:03, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

It is a fairly objective criterion to say that a direct action campaign is one that attempts to effect socio-political change outside the established channels of lobbying, etc. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 20:07, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Nelson Mandela[edit]

"Primarily violent"? ORLY? Maybe was associated with it, but spent most of his activist life in jail, no? ħumanUser talk:Human 05:55, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

He became the leader of the ANC's armed wing in 1961, was arrested in 1962, but still advocated violence as of 1985 when he refused an offer to be released from prison if he would promise to commit the ANC to non-violence. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:02, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
But does that make him "primarily violent"? I think you're full of it. Consider the regime he was fighting... ħumanUser talk:Human 06:07, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Pardon me. Whether or not one was primarily violent is a factual distinction. It is not altered by any value judgments. If Mr. Mandela was not primarily violent it will be down to his later rejection of violence and peaceful presidential term. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:16, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I am curious as to the factual distinction - if he was "violent" for one year, and then was locked up, is "refusing to recant violence" the same as violence, from within a prison cell? Perhaps he should just get his own section telling his whole story? ħumanUser talk:Human 06:30, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
One can reasonably conclude that if he had not been locked up, he would have continued the armed campaign, just as it did continue with him locked up, and as far as I know he was still counted the ANC's leader during that time. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:38, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
That makes them "primarily violent", not him. Guessing at what he would have been doing if he wasn't in jail if pretty iffy reasoning, IMHO. He's a very poor example to use in that section. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:21, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
Mandela is left of Mussolini, so Listener is therefore going to assume he's an irrational murdering lunatic. Just the way he works.UncleHo (talk) 18:03, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
I should have mentioned here that Human convinced me that Mandela ought to be in the "primarily non-violent" section, where he is now. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 18:09, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
Come on, UH, at least try to present a thin veneer of collegiality or usefulness. In this section I think I only insulted/attacked LX twice, but at least we worked out an issue relating to the article. ħumanUser talk:Human 21:18, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

Random thoughts[edit]

Been thinking about this topic a bit, and like many things, there seems to me to be a continuum of actions (or inactions) that would fit it.

I'm going to temporarily ignore whether or not some people want to call some activities by another name.

Anyway, I think the continuum runs a bit like this:

  • Not doing something, in a way that is against "policy" (like a black person not saying "Yes Sir" to a white person)
  • Not doing something, in a way that is against the Law
  • Doing something "harmless" that is against policy (like using the "whites only" facilities)
  • Doing something harmless that is against the Law
  • Doing something harmful that only injures property, low damage value (like throwing paint on a submarine)
  • Doing something harmful that injures property, high damage value (obviously there is also a range between "low" and "high" damage value)
  • Doing something that injures a person or people, but highly targeted
  • Doing something that injures people, who may have nothing to do with one's issue
  • Doing something that causes death, highly targeted (like an assassination of a key leader)
  • Doing something that causes deaths of "innocent" people
  • Doing something that causes mass deaths of innocents

All the "harming people" ones may or may not involve property damages as well.

Obviously, at various points these actions will have other names as well - such as misdemeanor or terrorism. But surely they are all "direct action" (except perhaps the first two, involving "inaction"). Feel free to make better lists, this didn't come out as pretty as it was in my head yesterday. ħumanUser talk:Human 21:28, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

Founding Fathers[edit]

The Founding Fathers did not "bypass normal political channels," as they were the normal political channels. For the same reason, the English Civil War and establishment of the Commonwealth of England, the events in Norway in 1814, the Kosovan declaration of independence in 2008, etc., are not generally referred to as revolutions and certainly are not examples of direct action, as the "revolutionaries" were not acting from outside the government. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:00, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

You don't call severing the ties with the monarch "outside normal channels"???? ħumanUser talk:Human 06:22, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
The Founding Fathers represented the legally constituted authority. Furthermore, they stated in the Declaration of Independence their belief that the King had abdicated by declaring the colonies "out of his protection" (a euphemism at that time for declaring martial law). Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:34, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
You are fucking insane. Seriously. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:18, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
Could you elaborate? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 17:48, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, sorry. When I was leaving that comment I had just let a little ap edit my registry to map the caps lock key to a regular shift key, and it sorta rickrolled me (forced me to hold down "shift" to get "lower case") so I only typed a few words (then to fix it I had to re-edit the reg. manually and reboot, forgot to come back here). The FFs were not the legally constituted authority - they led an armed revolution against the existing authority, overthrew it, and replaced it with a new one of their devising. Claiming that the authority had "abdicated" is a nice little legalistic euphemism, a fig leaf (I think other parts of the D of I were stronger arguments though). The point is that their arguments and actions were not accepted by the existing authority, so they went from non-violent (setting out the D of I) to violent (fighting the British - their own government). Anyway, I think part of the trouble with this article is the "mostly violent/mostly non-violent" dichotomy we have created. It, I think, tends to make us seem to say "these are the good guys and these are the bad guys". Perhaps we need a better way to describe the actions of historical (and current) examples. ħumanUser talk:Human 21:33, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
(1) The violence started over a year before the Declaration of Independence was put forth. (2) When I said "legally constituted authority," I meant that they had not simply declared themselves to be a government, but derived their authority from being elected representatives within the British colonial governments. (3) I believe the abdication remark was partially an allusion to a precedent set during the Glorious Revolution, where James II was said to have abdicated when he lit out.
I do not see the violent vs. non-violent split as being a bad/good divide (although with the exception of the Founding Fathers, all my "good guys" are on the non-violent side). The problem with other principles of division is that they are subjective. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 23:49, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
So why bother with the division at all? It's arbitrary, and as we've seen, can be tricky to assign properly. I guess I see your parsing of their authority, but they did not have the authority to rebel against the king. SO they straddle the line - partially acting as "inside the system" people, but also acting "illegally" to break the system. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:05, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
What I was saying is that direct action is not people within the government overstepping whatever authority has been given them, but people completely outside the government acting independently. I put in the violent vs. non-violent division in response to TheoryOfPractice's complaint that we seemed to be equating Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks with terrorists. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 02:25, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I think I understood that was your intent. Were all the FFs really part of the then-current governing system, though? Also, let's undo the violent/non-violent thing if we can figure out a way, I don't really see the point of the distinction, especially when people move fluidly from one to the other over time. I would rather see fewer examples and more information about what the ones we keep did. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:36, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
The ones who signed the Declaration of Independence were, at least, as the Continental Congress was put together by the colonial legislatures, who picked the delegations to be sent. Which people should be cut from the list(s)? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 02:51, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
But the CC was not part of the British Empire-authorized government of the colonies, was it? As far as the lists, we should have "historical" and "modern/current" and in each case describe what they did and why and how. Simply, say, listing "Nelson Mandela" adds nothing. Telling his story makes it interesting. Ditto anyone else. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:54, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
The Continental Congress was effectively a meeting of all the colonial legislatures, as the delegates there had to get instructions from the respective legislatures before they could vote.
I can probably work on expanding some of the figures on the list at some point. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 03:19, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
Again, they were not authorized by the Crown to engage in such inter-colony organization. On the latter, that would be nice. One of these days I might also take a hatchet to this cherry tree and try to make it make more sense. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:42, 15 March 2010 (UTC)