While preparing months in advance for the great Salt March, Gandhi asked those in the movement to think about what would happen when — not if — he was arrested. The movement should keep right on going, thus defeating the whole point of arresting him! Mostly, it should have a strategic plan for moving forward all the more strongly, where his jailing became the sign of escalating to another action. Gandhi went on to suggest the three following choices to the satyagrahis: 1) Prison, 2) Civil disobedience, or 3) the spinning wheel or some other “constructive work advancing Swaraj (independence).”
How often do we remember to plan ahead like this? For the most part, I have seen the pattern of a dramatic action for a person to court arrest, then activists try to get that person media attention and/or out of jail. It’s a very scripted process, and somewhat stunted in the big picture. So, what if we had another plan under our belts, and let the arrest be a sign to take the struggle to the next level? Expect arrest–let the movement’s key figure be arrested, and stay arrested, and yet, keep the civil disobedience going, maybe at a more intense level. The constructive program, too, could take on a new dimension. Think about it: Activism would be reignited.
Think about a movement with which you identify in some way. Consider how this technique of Gandhi’s could be used to support it.
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