So, I saw this on social media:
According to the Guardian, a reputable albeit somewhat progressive journal, “The [Australian] freight rail operator Aurizon has launched legal action against five environmental activists and is seeking $375,000 in compensation for a series of recent protests that stopped coal trains … [and] … Aurizon lodged a statement of claim in the Queensland supreme court in January against the group Frontline Action on Coal (Flac) Incorporated, seeking “user-rent” from the organisation as damages for five separate protests in December and January that blocked the rail line … [and, further] … The case is due in court on Thursday. Ahead of the hearing Aurizon has sought to also name the individual activists as co-defendants in the case.“
OK, simple question for the lawyers and judges out there: can CN and CP and Via Rail here in Canada do the same thing? Can they sue these climate-activists and so-called indigenous ‘warriors‘ into abject, life-long poverty?
It seems to me like a most appropriate way to ensure that civil disobedience has the real consequences that make it a valued and effective tool. We, people of my age, anyway, saw civil disobedience put to most effective use in the 1950s in the American civil rights movement. Many, many young people, many of them whites and Jews …
… faced harsh legal and societal punishments and even death at the hands of a “justice system” that was bound and determined to keep some people legally, socially and economically subservient to others. Not even as great a leader as Dwight Eisenhower could change America by example. It required young people to go into the streets and accept the consequences of breaking unjust laws.
But today, in 21st century Canada, especially, many seem to believe that civil disobedience must have no consequences … that’s wrong. Civil disobedience only works well when there are consequences and when those who disobey unjust laws actually do pay a price. In the people blocking legislatures and railway lines actually believe in what they are doing then they should be welcoming arrest and trial and prison to make their case … but they don’t because most of them have no idea about what they are even protesting. They have fallen into the moral and intellectual black hole of former ‘Yippie‘ and flower power advocate Abbie Hoffman and they are playing at ‘Revolution for the Hell of It.’ The modern ‘activists’ don’t understand consequences because they don’t understand causes. Their civil disobedience is a sham, a fake, a phoney act based on their own amoral lack of principles and on the fact that there is, really, too little about which principled people can be angry. There are big, dangerous issues ~ communism and radical Islamic terrorism, for example, but the Hollywood celebrities who set the agenda for the young activists don’t care about them.
Anyway, suing each protester, individually, and suing e.g. the Rockefeller Foundation and Tides Canada, which seem to be have been bankrolling these protests for a decade, and suing some Wet’suwet’en and Mohawk chiefs, as individuals, might be a way to restore the balance between cause and consequence that must exist for civil disobedience to be anything other than wanton lawlessness.