A Place for Civil Disobedience

The megaload debate changed rapidly this week…

For a while, we were talking about the big rigs: if they were safe to travel over Eastern Oregon’s notoriously dangerous winter roads and if local citizens had been given the opportunity to voice their feelings on the matter.

Then came Sunday night, when a group of protesters from the region disrupted the megaload’s travel.  Two people were arrested after chaining themselves to the truck.  Others chanted in favor of those who were arrested and charged with misdemeanors, and jeered the company’s employees and contractors for their role in harming the environment.  Climate activists protested transporting the 300,000-pound water purification equipment for environmental reasons.

The focus of the debate changed quickly.  Instead of wrestling with the idea of transportation plans or even the big picture consideration of tar sands oil extraction, many were debating the protesters themselves.  Were they within their rights to disrupt the machine’s travel as a form of non-violent rebellion, or did they go overboard and show themselves to be anarchists who don’t care what innocent people they harm in their war on the status quo? Continue reading