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Crossing the Line: A Nonviolent Action for Justice PDF Print E-mail
Written by Nico Udu-gama   
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 15:24

Act up!

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Creative nonviolent civil disobedience is one of the most important aspects of the struggle to shut down the SOA/WHINSEC and to raise awareness about the U.S. government's oppressive foreign policy towards Latin America. Nonviolent direct action has also been part of many struggles for justice.  Countless actions have taken place in this country as well as in Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Austria, France, Germany and other countries around the world. Thousands have put their bodies on the line, fasted and vigiled and hundreds have gotten arrested for speaking out against the violence perpetrated by the SOA and US foreign policy.

This November 16-18 thousands will gather at the gates of Ft. Benning to protest the SOA/WHINSEC while simultaneous actions take place throughout Latin America and other U.S. cities. Human rights advocates from around the world and from different walks of life will engage in diverse forms of protest, civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action. Our actions at Fort Benning are heard and felt throughout the Americas.

Since the inception of SOA Watch in 1990, 300 different activists have collectively spent over 101 years in prison as a result of nonviolent direct action to close the SOA. These people have put their bodies and freedom at risk in an act of solidarity towards the victims and survivors of human rights abuses and those who are forced to live under SOA/WHINSEC -sponsored violence on a day to day basis. As the numbers of people crossing the line increased, and SOA/WHINSEC and the Pentagon began to feel the pressure, the risks of extended prison time for nonviolent actions increased.

"Civil disobedience, as I put it to the audience, was not the problem, despite the warnings of some that it threatened social stability, that it led to anarchy. The greatest danger, I argued, was civil obedience, the submission of individual conscience to governmental authority. Such obedience led to the horrors we saw in totalitarian states, and in liberal states it led to the public's acceptance of war whenever the so-called democratic government decided on it... In such a world, the rule of law maintains things as they are. Therefore, to begin the process of change, to stop a war, to establish justice, it may be necessary to break the law, to commit acts of civil disobedience, as Southern black did, as antiwar protesters did."
- Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times

Civil Disobedience at the SOA Watch Vigil

Every year groups of people decide to take their message onto the base, publicly defying the laws which prevent political speech on military bases and making a bold call for the closure of the "School of Assassins." This year, we encourage people to come as individuals and affinity groups to take nonviolent direct action to help liberate us all from oppressive US foreign policy in Latin America and to close the SOA/WHINSEC.
Some people will chose to take their message onto the Ft. Benning near the main gate and our vigil area, navigating over or around the fence built to keep us out. In past years people have done this in varied ways, and entered the base with numerous messages. Some entered Ft. Benning to deliver an indictment of the SOA, other carrying petitions for the closure of the school, and others carrying coffins and re-enacting massacres to commemorate those who have died at the hands of SOA/WHINSEC gradates.

Read a legal briefing about direct action at the Vigil, prepared by the SOA Watch Legal Collective.

Some people will form affinity groups to take action at other locations in Ft. Benning. Creative nonviolent direct actions have occurred at other entrances and at various locations inside the base including the barracks where SOA/WHINSEC soldiers are housed, the chapel, and the SOA/WHINSEC building itself.

Come to Ft. Benning this November 16-18 and participate in nonviolent direct action to make a bold statement supporting self-determination and justice for all--Shut Down this School of Assassins!

**We encourage all those interested in doing nonviolent actions at Fort Benning this year to contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Nonviolent Civil Disobedience at the 2011 Vigil

Theresa Crossing FenceTheresa Cusimano, of Kissimee, Florida, will be released July 11, 2012, after serving a 6-month sentence for her nonviolent action of crossing the fence onto Fort Benning. Before crossing the line on November 20, 2011, she addressed SOA Watch activists saying:

"I am choosing civil disobedience because of the lawless acts promoted by the School of the Americas and carried out all over the world. These human rights crimes are unfitting of a so-called "World Super Power." I've never been big on shame, even though I'm Catholic. But if that's what it takes to get Congress to close WHINSEC (SOA) and all other for profit consulting gigs our government is financing at our expense... I'm not above invoking shame. Like the hundreds of thousands of protestors who've come before me. I'm in good company."

Read her complete statement here: http://soaw.org/about-us/pocs/246-2011/3834-theresa-cusimano

Martin Luther King, Jr., said: "The willingness to accept the penalty for breaking the unjust law is what makes civil disobedience a moral act and not merely an act of lawbreaking."

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 June 2012 20:28

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