Sunday, June 10, 2007,8:26 PM
Cultural Commentary
A couple of fun things I came across that make a interesting points.

This was in today's comics. I found it amusing as someone whose car is covered in bumper stickers...

Then I found this on Facebook. It reminded me of this editorial I had recently read in the Chicago Tribune.
In The '60s, Students Conducted Sit-Ins...In 2007, We Make Facebook Groups!

A sit-in or sit-down is a form of direct action that involves one or more persons nonviolently occupying an area for protest, often to promote political, social, or economic change. Sit-ins were first widely employed by Mahatma Gandhi in Indian independence movement and were later expanded on by Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and others during the American Civil Rights Movement. In the 1960s, students used this method of protest during the student movements, such as the protests in Germany. The Young Lords in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood used it successfully a full week to win community demands for low income housing investment at the Mckormick Theological Seminary.

In a sit-in, protesters usually seat themselves and remain seated until they are evicted, usually by force, or until their requests have been met. Sit-ins have been a highly successful form of protest because they cause disruption that draws attention to the protest and by proxy the protesters' cause. The forced removal of protesters and sometimes the answer of non-violence with violence often arouses sympathy from the public, increasing the chances of the demonstrators reaching their goal. Sit-ins usually occur indoors at businesses or government offices but they have also occurred in plazas, parks, and even streets.

A sit-in is similar to a sitdown strike. However, whereas a sit-in involves protesters, a sitdown strike involves striking workers occupying the area in which they would be working and refusing to leave so they can not be replaced with scabs. The sitdown strike was the precursor to the sit-in.

Sit-ins were an integral part of the non-violent strategy of civil disobedience that ultimately ended racial segregation in the United States (Wiki).

Today... Students' main strategy to oppose certain decisions and change is to create a Facebook Group. How times have changed...

The personal element is gone. More people are reached through technology, but we are not forming communities that care for each other as we care for a cause. I can just click "Add Cause" to my Facebook or add a link to my blog, but I rarely gather with those who are passionate about actually doing something about those causes. That's part of why I do my best to go to conferences and gatherings, it builds a more personal community. I can read all about debt relief and sign any number of petitions (and encourage all of you to do the same), but I think I will get a much wider perspective after I attend the JubileeUSA Grassroots Conference here in Chicago next week.

As much as I love blogging and online communities, being able to build relationships and share common passions is vital (and yes I've formed some great relationships from people I first met online). This whole issues reminded me on some of the lyrics from Jesus Christ Superstar where Judas (from the afterlife) asks Jesus "why'd you choose such a backward time And such a strange land? If you'd come today You could have reached the whole nation Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication." Reaching the whole nation in one fell swoop wasn't the point. The point was to build relationships with a group of committed followers who then could spread the message of hope of the Kingdom of God. Sure preaching and feeding 5000+ caused a stir and an emotional high for some, but it was less effective than the day to day wandering around with the disciples. That's what we need more of these days imho.

Just some thoughts. And yes, I am completely aware of the irony of using the medium of a blog to say these things. But sometimes when the kid is already in bed and all the local coffee shops close at 4 PM, this is the only available community. (which brings up the issue of the potential for those with very restricted lives - stay-at-home-moms - to actually get involved in anything, but enough rambling for now...)

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posted by Julie at 8:26 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 6/11/2007 09:49:00 AM, Blogger Erin Word

    Sigh. I typed a long comment and it vanished.

    What I was going to say is it's true especially in the isolation of being a stay home mom - which I am, but the boys were both in school all day this last year, which meant more free time for me - still I found myself giving a good deal of face time to the computer. Why? Good question.

  • At 6/11/2007 10:11:00 AM, Blogger Julie

    It's hard to find community. Real community that goes beyond shopping or talk about diapers and stuff. (granted that stuff is often the beginning, but it often just stays there). I'm having some luck getting to know people through (and some strike-outs like the local feminist meet-up which was just a group of guys trying to pick up girls - whatever. and they so weren't interested in discussion with a married mommy pastor...)


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