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Posted: October 30, 2011 12:00 a.m.

Disobedience without a goal

Participants in the “occupy” movement don't seem to understand civil disobedience .

As John Lewis could tell them, civil disobedience in the Civil Rights movement had a goal: The end of segregation and equal rights for all, a clear, simple and moral goal.

They did not ask permission, went where they were unwanted, even illegally, to highlight the evil of segregation. What do the occupiers highlight? Their lack of any goal or strategy to define one.

The occupiers are unhappy with wealth and income distribution in the United States. OK, now what? We got that part of the message, what's the solution?

One reporter summarized the actions in Atlanta with: “...they felt they were right and therefore they had the right to occupy different places.” That may not be as incoherent as it sounds.

This isn't the foot of the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Ala. Public tantrums have worked before, so why not now? At worst the mayor and police will politely ask them to go to jail, eventually.

When released they can swap stories about bad suspensions in police buses, jail food, getting the ink off their fingertips, being separated from a favorite friend in the arrest line and similar stories, all to the "oohs" and "ahs" of their fellow protesters.

Protests of the over indulged by the formerly over indulged doesn't generate a lot of sympathy. It doesn't even make for good entertainment. Lacking a goal, the occupiers will also lack any accomplishments.

When the poor, jobless and dispossessed rise up without permission or indulgence, to reallocate stripes as well as rewards, the overly indulged, present and former, will rue the day.

Patrick Durusau is a Covington resident.

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