Mudcat Café message #3396464 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #146443   Message #3396464
Posted By: GUEST,Tony
28-Aug-12 - 11:32 AM
Thread Name: Free the Pussy Riot Three
Subject: RE: Free the Pussy Riot Three
So what were your bandmates arrested for? I mean, if they weren't trespassing and desecrating a shrine? Just for protesting? And foul language? Where's the equivalence to the PR stunt? Were those girls given a two-year sentence for protesting in a public place and breaking no laws except use of foul language?

The part about the girl expecting to be arrested tells us nothing new. It's obvious that the series of events they staged were intended to push the tolerance of the government until they were arrested. To me, that suggests that it's pretty hard to get arrested for protesting. They should come here. You can be arrested just for being on the sidewalk near a WTO meeting.

The question of why she was willing to make that sacrifice is unanswered. It could be that she thought her event would save Russia, but it could also be that she saw the financial advantage.

Based on what I saw in the video and what I know about the etiquette of Orthodox churches and what I've heard about Russian religious fervor these days, I'm guessing that if they had done the same thing, said all the same things, sang a parody of the liturgy substituting "shit" for "holy," called the patriarch a "bitch," etc, but with the one difference that they hadn't said "Drive Putin away," then they would have gotten a longer sentence. I think that if they had said they were just doing it as a prank or to promote themselves commercially it would have been more outrageous than it was when presented as a political protest. I think the political protest angle must have justified it to some degree.

By contrast, if someone went into the visitors' gallery of the US Senate and threw feces down on the Senators, I don't think his prison term would be any be shorter if he said "Down with Obama" while doing it. The protest angle doesn't justify anything to us, because we have such a perfect government and complete freedom.

And what makes this PR event a protest anyway? The event itself only tells us that the girls were foul-mouthed hooligans. It doesn't tell us any more about Putin than that they want him to go away. At least 45% of any country feel that way about their leader. They didn't say why they want him to go away, nor associate the event with any other protest, and the event only involved 6 people, not a newsworthy event except for the trespassing and desecration.

The only thing it accomplished was to make an international reputation for the rock band, and to polarize Russian society around questions of religion and politics; in other words to make it more like the US, where people are so polarized that they're more likely to shoot each other than talk. That's nice for the folks in control. They can pursue their consolidation of power agenda of wealth concentration and imperialist war because the people are too busy fighting each other to notice what the government is doing. It's the modern, democratic version of "divide and conquer." And these girls have helped that along, whether knowingly or not.

I, too, have a personal bias here. I've taken part in a lot of anti-war protests, but of a more traditional form, with thousands of people picketing and listening to speeches, and permits and staying inside the yellow tape and holding the placards up on paper tubes so the police wouldn't feel threatened by us carrying wooden sticks. I marched to the Pentagon with 20,000 people and not a single network or major newspaper covering it or reporting later that it had occurred (this was before YouTube and all that, when that was the only way the general public could have found out about it). And I hate to see real, meaningful protests getting so much less attention than these self-promoting and divisive stunts.

That's not to say that I want them to be punished for it, any more than I want Glenn Beck and Bill Maher punished for similarly cashing in on a system that glorifies the opportunist and social divider. If it were up to me, I would maybe ban those girls from church and from the supermarket unless they apologize and promise not to do it again. The best response is to ignore them. But governments take a different view, particularly when you show by a series of events that you're going to be more and more offensive until they do something about it. The Russian government's response was relatively moderate, and the international reaction to it is inappropriate.