Thursday, September 4, 2008

Does SDP really practise Civil Disobedience

The SDP propounds:
The Singapore Democrats will encourage the teaching and training of non-violent action for Singaporeans because we see this as the best—and only—way to reform the elections system in Singapore. It may take a long time but as long as we don’t embark on this path, we will forever be letting the PAP run circles round us during elections...

... Nonviolent action describes the act of refusing to obey unjust laws and the demands of a government without resorting to physical violence. A coordinated and concerted withdrawal of that compliance will render the State impotent with its repression. Refusing to cooperate with unjust laws, carried out in a systematic manner, can bring about change. Nonviolent action has been repeatedly used to overcome dictatorships all over the world, most notably in India during Gandhi’s movement for independence, South Africa during the years of apartheid rule, and Taiwan during the Kuomintang’s dictatorship.
According to Wikipedia, Mahatma Gandhi outlined the following rules, in the time when he was leading India in the struggle for Independence from the British Empire:
  1. A civil resister (or satyagrahi) will harbour no anger. [See Speakers Cornered]

  2. He will suffer the anger of the opponent.

  3. In so doing he will put up with assaults from the opponent, never retaliate; but he will not submit, out of fear of punishment or the like, to any order given in anger. [See how heat up Dr. Chee gets during the cross-examination]

  4. When any person in authority seeks to arrest a civil resister, he will voluntarily submit to the arrest, and he will not resist the attachment or removal of his own property, if any, when it is sought to be confiscated by authorities. [Is that why SDP always challenge the police to arrest them?]

  5. If a civil resister has any property in his possession as a trustee, he will refuse to surrender it, even though in defending it he might lose his life. He will, however, never retaliate. [Okay, I admit Ms. Chee did tried her best to fight against the MDA authorities over "The Nation Under Lee" VCD]

  6. Retaliation includes swearing and cursing. [Take a look at just any posts on the SDP site and you'll see violation of this code in the comments. Also, in background noises in videos of protests, you can hear people cursing]

  7. Therefore a civil resister will never insult his opponent, and therefore also not take part in many of the newly coined cries which are contrary to the spirit of ahimsa.

  8. A civil resister will not salute the Union Flag, nor will he insult it or officials, English or Indian.

  9. In the course of the struggle if anyone insults an official or commits an assault upon him, a civil resister will protect such official or officials from the insult or attack even at the risk of his life.
Has the SDP failed to deliver what it aimed to do?

Or is it that civil disobedience failed to work in Singapore?


1 comment:

  1. Old Uncle's FriendSeptember 5, 2008 at 10:31 AM

    I read the court transcripts, as well as the videos of the arrest of TBT protesters - all these put up by the SDP itself. My conclusion is that Chee was making a politics circus out of the court. His jailing for contempt of court was fair and just. As for the arrest of the TBT protesters - the police were remarkably restrained in their actions. I have always been proud of our men and woman in blue. It is a terrible injustice that SDP constantly attacks and insults our police force - they allow all Singaporeans to walk the streets safely at night!


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