Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bachmann Glittered, Sparks Discussion About Non-Violent Protest

Here at Netroots, the gossip of the day is the the morning glitter-bombing of Michele Bachmann at the conservative blogger's conference, RightOnline.  GoodAsYou includes video:

It's hard to see, but the glittering happens at the :05 mark in the lower right corner.

Activists and bloggers at the conference seem sharply divided on the use of a physical "attack" such as glittering as a method of non-violent protest.  In essence: does tossing a handful of glitter on someone constitute a violent assault, and is it an example of effective action?

Some writers and activists present have gotten angry and denounced the act as a stunt that shames the progressive community, with Ryan Davis (who blogs with the Huffington Post) saying that GetEQUAL's tactics (they organized the action) are counterproductive and largely outdated.

There is a question of whether or not glittering a political candidate can still be considered non-violent.  I spoke with Rachel Lang, the woman who glittered Michele Bachmann, and she had this to say:

"Ask Matthew Shepard about violence.  He knows what violence is."  She dismissed the notion that glittering is in any way violent and bemoaned the hyper-criticism from some sections of the progressive movement.

There's not much I need to add to that other than this: how can you posit that glittering is ineffective when it creates a discussion?  The point of direct action is rarely to impact an issue or candidate's opinion on the spot.  The point is to demonstrate passion and outrage, two incredibly important tools in any progressive cause.  That's why I'm OneAngryQueer-- without anger to motivate the movement over outrageous transgressions against the American people, how do we effect change?

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