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Darrell Cody

Pussy Riot - Putin/Russia's Breach Of Justice

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The point that is not being discussed is: 3 girls are losing 2 years of their life because Putin does not want people protesting against him.

The reason why that point isn't being discussed is because it's not true. They are going to jail for desecrating a church.

There are plenty of people in Russia being sent to jail, or worse, just for protesting against Putin. Garry Kasparov was picked up and beaten just a few days ago, even though he wasn't violating anyone's property. And yet, you (and Madonna, and Amnesty International, and many other uninformed people) are choosing to focus on the one incident that actually isn't a black and white issue. And you are all ignoring the fact that what they did is a crime, not only in Russia, but in every country on the planet.

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From what I’ve read, Pussy Riot played a prank of the type often done by Sacha Baron Cohen and the Upright Citizens Brigade. They weren’t arrested for the prank itself, but for using the footage in a video. It doesn’t appear that they actually disrupted a church service, I gather they did their thing in a famous church that’s open to the public, like most of the great churches in Rome are. There was a fairly similar case in NY associated with the Opie and Anthony show, where some people tried to have sex in St. Patrick’s and were arrested.

Yes, and it made international news, the cops stepped in, they were ostracized in the media and, after heavy pressure from special interests, fired and off the radio for over two years. Even though it was just a prank (and the sex happened out of view of the public, and it wasn't meant to insult the Church - as evidence by the fact that the same prank was carried out at different landmarks across NYC).

I don't think the band did anything except play music really loud and insult Putin.

There's video of what they did.

They barged in wearing masks (which tends to scare Russians, for obvious reasons), and they got down on their knees in mock prayer. I fail to see how exactly that's an insult to Putin. That's an insult to the Church.

The notion that you should be allowed to just invade someone's property, cause a disturbance and insult them with impunity, in the name of free speech, is ridiculous. And that's the position the Pussy Riot supporters in the West are taking. No one is saying that they should only do six months, or three months, what everyone is saying is that they are innocent and being persecuted for a legitimate act of political dissent.

If, instead of creating a confrontation out of the issue, western activists and American celebrities had backed off and asked nicely that they be sentenced to time served, it's probably what would've happened.

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That's not what I meant. Whatever '3rd party' you choose will not win. If you could get 30+ million people to vote your way, then maybe you really have an alternative.

The way to get 30+ million people to vote your way is by leading by example. If those of us who know better keep voting for statism, expecting others to not do so is childish.

Gary Johnson is probably the best Presidential candidate in decades. Even though he won't win, a vote for him will still have more value than a vote for Romney (and Romney is the one running for President, the vice-presidency is a mostly symbolic office).

The fight for the future of the US is taking place within the conservative movement, between small government advocates and the fascist religious right, not between establishment Republicans and establishment Democrats. The most useful place to spend a vote is in the fight that matters.

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The way to get 30+ million people to vote your way is by leading by example. If those of us who know better keep voting for statism, expecting others to not do so is childish.

How is your vote going to change anyone else's? It doesn't work. Try this exercise for a moment: You vote Gary Johnson and on election night Obama or Romney are announced as the winner while Gary Johnson is not mentioned because he got less than 1%. Now what??

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They barged in wearing masks (which tends to scare Russians, for obvious reasons), and they got down on their knees in mock prayer. I fail to see how exactly that's an insult to Putin. That's an insult to the Church.

I never claimed that one should be allowed to just do whatever they want on property. What I'm getting at is that 2 years in jail is unjustified for what happened. I don't think any property was in fact desecrated or that the entire church was trashed. The severity seems to be aimed at how the band was really nasty towards the Russian Orthodox church and Putin in other circumstances, rather than any legitimate accusation. I don't care what everyone else is saying, nor am I saying Pussy Riot did nothing wrong. I'm saying that their punishment is over the line and a good sign of a corrupt legal system. Protests in this kind of environment are entirely different than student sit-in protests over Vietnam in the 60s, which is apparently the precedent you are using for reasoning here. The band protested against a corrupt system, and the result is exactly what is expected from a corrupt system. Whether deliberately walking into a corrupt system to point out its flaws concretely is a good protest technique (I think it's way too impulsive and ineffective) is a question to be discussed, but that in no way changes what I judge to be an unjust punishment.

As far as I know, this is the video of what they did:

Translation of song:

http://www.guardian....s?newsfeed=true

Non-violent, no property damage, loud music, dancing in place, all in a place where anyone is allowed to walk inside. Plus, they did insult Putin and the church. "KGB's chief saint descends". Of course, this is just one video, so if they in fact damaged property, you'll have to show me.

Edited by Eiuol

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Non-violent, no property damage, loud music, dancing in place, all in a place where anyone is allowed to walk inside. Plus, they did insult Putin and the church. "KGB's chief saint descends". Of course, this is just one video, so if they in fact damaged property, you'll have to show me.
Besides, the Russian Orthodox church is a cheer-leader of tyranny. There corrupt patriach -- a hypocrite who gets his webmaster to air-brush out his expensive watch -- calls Putin a miracle sent by God. The church cannot whine about its property rights: it is a simple case of moral estoppel.

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Besides, the Russian Orthodox church is a cheer-leader of tyranny. There corrupt patriach -- a hypocrite who gets his webmaster to air-brush out his expensive watch -- calls Putin a miracle sent by God. The church cannot whine about its property rights: it is a simple case of moral estoppel.

All religions are cheerleaders for tyranny, it is the nature of intrinsicism that people can be coerced into doing good. It cannot be mere cheerleading, advocacy, that leads to forfeiting rights.

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Non-violent, no property damage, loud music, dancing in place, all in a place where anyone is allowed to walk inside.

Are you sure about the loud music part? How could they play loud music without rolling amplifiers into the church, and plugging them in somewhere? Same with the stunt in Red Square, it looks like it was just to make a video. Hell, with the masks on their faces they didn’t even need to lip synch!

All religions are cheerleaders for tyranny

Not the Quakers! Ha!!

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How is your vote going to change anyone else's? It doesn't work. Try this exercise for a moment: You vote Gary Johnson and on election night Obama or Romney are announced as the winner while Gary Johnson is not mentioned because he got less than 1%. Now what??

Then I will have failed to achieve my goal. But I'm optimistic about Gary Johnson's chances of getting more than 1%, and ending up being mentioned and discussed more in the future, because of it.

All it takes for that to happen is for the people who agree with him to vote for him. And I think that's a much more worthwhile goal to invest ten minutes of my time into, than getting Romney elected in Obama's place. In fact, if the Gary Johnson option wasn't available, my next best use for those ten minutes would be to get a snack.

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All religions are cheerleaders for tyranny.

Not true. As long as you reject false gods and embrace his noodliness, the Flying Spaghetti Monster will overlook the rest of your puny, misguided personal ambitions to be in charge of your own destiny.

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I never claimed that one should be allowed to just do whatever they want on property. What I'm getting at is that 2 years in jail is unjustified for what happened. I don't think any property was in fact desecrated or that the entire church was trashed. The severity seems to be aimed at how the band was really nasty towards the Russian Orthodox church and Putin in other circumstances, rather than any legitimate accusation. I don't care what everyone else is saying, nor am I saying Pussy Riot did nothing wrong. I'm saying that their punishment is over the line and a good sign of a corrupt legal system. Protests in this kind of environment are entirely different than student sit-in protests over Vietnam in the 60s, which is apparently the precedent you are using for reasoning here. The band protested against a corrupt system, and the result is exactly what is expected from a corrupt system. Whether deliberately walking into a corrupt system to point out its flaws concretely is a good protest technique (I think it's way too impulsive and ineffective) is a question to be discussed, but that in no way changes what I judge to be an unjust punishment.

As far as I know, this is the video of what they did:

Translation of song:

http://www.guardian....s?newsfeed=true

Non-violent, no property damage, loud music, dancing in place, all in a place where anyone is allowed to walk inside. Plus, they did insult Putin and the church. "KGB's chief saint descends". Of course, this is just one video, so if they in fact damaged property, you'll have to show me.

@ Eiuol - Thank you for being fact oriented, and caring about jail terms for singing.

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The Russian Orthodox church calls on the Pussy Riot singers to repent.Ah, so merciful of a church that supports tyranny.

They want them to repent for the crime they committed (actually, to acknowledge that it was a crime). They're not asking them to change their views in any way.

Here's their response:

"If they (the church) mean repentance in the sense of a crime ... it definitely won't happen. Our clients won't admit guilt. A call for that is pointless," lawyer Mark Feigin told independent television channel Dozhd on Sunday.

Are you agreeing that no crime was committed? That what they did was a legitimate act of protest?

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Are you agreeing that no crime was committed? That what they did was a legitimate act of protest?
Of course. The Russian church is not equivalent to just any Russian citizen. It is a major supporter of the Russian tyranny. It has no leg to stand on when it comes to minor incidents like this.

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I have zero knowledge about the present situation with, uh... Pussy Riot... but I'm reading phrases in this thread like "crime" and "legitimate act of protest," and it has me thinking... (and somehow assuming that I'm competent to comment, which I probably am not. Ah well...)

The Boston Tea Party. Crime? Legitimate act of protest? Both?

I'm fairly certain that it fits somewhere under "crime." Yet it also seems to be an act of protest. But "legitimate"? does that depend on the outcome of the Revolution, and subsequent "writing of the history books"? or is there some valid test that we can apply in real time -- perhaps as to degree of tyranny -- whereby we can determine whether it is legitimate or not? How tyrannical is Putin vs. King George on the tyrannometer?

Given sufficient tyranny -- a government ultimately restricting assembly, speech, etc. (which is not to imply anything about Putin, as again, "zero knowledge") -- any meaningful act of protest will ultimately have to involve a criminal act of some kind. If citizens' first obligation were to follow the law, regardless of what that law entails, then a tyranny's path for self-preservation would be to retreat into further and deeper tyranny, and that doesn't sound like an ideal plan for folks who enjoy freedom.

Thoughts?

Edited by DonAthos

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Of course. The Russian church is not equivalent to just any Russian citizen. It is a major supporter of the Russian tyranny. It has no leg to stand on when it comes to minor incidents like this.

Two separate lines of questions:

1. Do you agree that the "incident" involved the use of force?

2. Tyranny is the greatest crime imaginable. I fully understand why one would think it's legitimate to use force against a tyrant or any material backer of tyranny. What I don't understand is, why would it be OK to use small doses of force, but not anything more.

Do you consider the Church an accomplice to tyranny? If so, why stop short of saying that the Russian Orthodox Church is a legitimate target for violent acts of dissent (i.e. a car bomb during Christmas Day Mass)?

[Important Note: I do not advocate for any use of force whatsoever against the Russian Orthodox Church, because I don't consider the institution a criminal entity in any way whatsoever. I don't consider expressing support for Vladimir Putin a criminal act. Just want to make that as clear as possible. (though I expect this note to be promptly ignored by a good percentage of forum participants).]

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I have zero knowledge about the present situation with, uh... Pussy Riot... but I'm reading phrases in this thread like "crime" and "legitimate act of protest," and it has me thinking... (and somehow assuming that I'm competent to comment, which I probably am not. Ah well...)

The Boston Tea Party. Crime? Legitimate act of protest? Both?

I'm fairly certain that it fits somewhere under "crime." Yet it also seems to be an act of protest. But "legitimate"? does that depend on the outcome of the Revolution, and subsequent "writing of the history books"? or is there some valid test that we can apply in real time -- perhaps as to degree of tyranny -- whereby we can determine whether it is legitimate or not? How tyrannical is Putin vs. King George on the tyrannometer?

Given sufficient tyranny -- a government ultimately restricting assembly, speech, etc. (which is not to imply anything about Putin, as again, "zero knowledge") -- any meaningful act of protest will ultimately have to involve a criminal act of some kind. If citizens' first obligation were to follow the law, regardless of what that law entails, then a tyranny's path for self-preservation would be to retreat into further and deeper tyranny, and that doesn't sound like an ideal plan for folks who enjoy freedom.

Thoughts?

Yeah. It is legitimate to use force against anyone who provides willful material support for any crime, especially something as big as tyranny, if that use of force is part of deliberate action to enact justice and/or prevent further criminal activity.

But it's not legitimate to use force against anyone who doesn't provide such support. It's also not legitimate to use force in a capricious, whim driven manner, even if the target does happen to be a criminal. The act this thread is about is not a legitimate act of dissent because of both these reasons.

The Boston Tea part was a legitimate act of forceful dissent. It was a part of an organized, principled effort to hinder the British Crown and its subjects in taxing American colonists, which culminated in the American Revolution.

Edited by Nicky

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The Boston Tea part was a legitimate act of forceful dissent. It was a part of an organized, principled effort to hinder the British Crown and its subjects in taxing American colonists, which culminated in the American Revolution.

To spell out explicitly what made the Boston Tea Party legitimate, The British East India Company was a state sanctioned coercive monopoly.

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To spell out explicitly what made the Boston Tea Party legitimate, The British East India Company was a state sanctioned coercive monopoly.

All right. Just to make this clear for myself, then, you and Nicky aren't arguing that softwareNerd is wrong in principle. Indeed, property rights notwithstanding, there are cases (i.e. under tyranny) where actions such as the Tea Party (or presumably, playing protest music a la Pussy Riot) would be justified.

But in the present case, the Russian Church does not have the same sorts of ties to Putin or the Russian government as the British East India Co. did to the Crown. (And possibly Pussy Riot is not judged to be the sort of organization able to conduct a proper protest like the Sons of Liberty.) Am I on the right track here?

Edited by DonAthos

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To my knowledge the Russian Orthodox Church does not provide material support that keeps Putin in power, or any material support at all (except maybe taxes, but the Pussy Riot girls also pay taxes nullifying that). They provide a moral sanction in the form of words of support which is a blameworthy act but that is not material participation in the government's crimes. Pussy Riot should have picked a better target, or made a protest directed at the Church in a different manner not involving committing misdemeanors.

It is not possible to define "the sort of organization able to conduct and individuals should all have the same political rights and be equal before the law. a proper protest" without falling into the error of assigning rights to groups, and then only some groups at that. Don't go there. Only individuals have rights.

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2. Tyranny is the greatest crime imaginable. I fully understand why one would think it's legitimate to use force against a tyrant or any material backer of tyranny. What I don't understand is, why would it be OK to use small doses of force, but not anything more.

Do you consider the Church an accomplice to tyranny? If so, why stop short of saying that the Russian Orthodox Church is a legitimate target for violent acts of dissent (i.e. a car bomb during Christmas Day Mass)?

Clearly Russia (or China) are not North Korea, nor even Nazi Germany. There may even be some things -- e.g. setting up some type of business -- that people can do more easily in those countries than in Western Europe or in the U.S. However, both these countries thwart a whole bundle of important rights in the sphere of political choice and political protest.

In a country like North Korea, almost any citizen response would be understandable. In the context of a country like Russia, where the Church supports the suppression of peaceful political protest by force, the Church should expect that people might respond by protesting peacefully on the church's own premises. It is a tame and measured response. As such, it does not imply that people would be justified in blowing things up any more than it would be right to execute a man for stealing a candy.

The church could easily have redeemed itself after this incident by saying that the protest does not deserve prison time, but only a slap on the wrist. The fact that it did not do this is enough to show that the church deserved this mild protest.

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To my knowledge the Russian Orthodox Church does not provide material support that keeps Putin in power, or any material support at all (except maybe taxes, but the Pussy Riot girls also pay taxes nullifying that). They provide a moral sanction in the form of words of support which is a blameworthy act but that is not material participation in the government's crimes. Pussy Riot should have picked a better target, or made a protest directed at the Church in a different manner not involving committing misdemeanors.

Okay. I think I understand. Though the question of "providing material support" to a tyrannical government (which seems to be the dividing line you're suggesting between the Church being a legitimate target of protest and not), hmm...

Don't governments (tyrannical and otherwise) typically derive their "material support" through taxation? And such taxation, far from "nullifying" citizens' complaints of tyranny against said government or sundry supportive elements (because, hey, everyone pays 'em), is often the mechanism of said tyranny, or the figurehead against which protests are directed (e.g. the Tea Act).

Earlier, in regards to the British East India Co., you described the salient feature of the relationship between that company and the British monarchy being that it was a "state sanctioned coercive monopoly." And no argument there. But that doesn't seem to speak to material support provided to the government; rather it appears to suggest that the crown was providing improper benefits to the company.

So I might wonder whether the Russian Orthodox Church derives any particular privileges from Putin's government.

It is not possible to define "the sort of organization able to conduct and individuals should all have the same political rights and be equal before the law. a proper protest" without falling into the error of assigning rights to groups, and then only some groups at that. Don't go there. Only individuals have rights.

Fair enough. I've no intention of "going there" (nor do I even really know where "there" is ;) ); I was only trying to make sense of part of Nicky's explanation here:

It's also not legitimate to use force in a capricious, whim driven manner, even if the target does happen to be a criminal.

[...]

The Boston Tea part was a legitimate act of forceful dissent. It was a part of an organized, principled effort to hinder the British Crown and its subjects in taxing American colonists, which culminated in the American Revolution.

It seems to me that he's talking about the character of the protest or the protesters. Since we can't mean to say that the Sons of Liberty knew that their actions would "culminate in the American Revolution" (nor do we know what might ultimately happen in Russia, or how Pussy Riot's actions may feature in future history books), then I guess we would judge them currently as to how "organized" or "principled" they appear to be versus their "caprice."

I mean, I can't hold you to explain Nicky's words -- but that's what I was referring to. Maybe I read this wrong (in fact, I'll say it's likely that I did), but it seems to me that he's saying that an "organized, principled" group like the Sons of Liberty has the right to such a protest, but a "capricious" group like the Pussy Riot girls do not (given that we're directing these efforts against a suitable target, such as the British East India Co.).

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Okay. I think I understand. Though the question of "providing material support" to a tyrannical government (which seems to be the dividing line you're suggesting between the Church being a legitimate target of protest and not), hmm...

The Church is a legitimate target of protest, but not to the point of using retaliatory force on it because the church is not using force.

Don't governments (tyrannical and otherwise) typically derive their "material support" through taxation? And such taxation, far from "nullifying" citizens' complaints of tyranny against said government or sundry supportive elements (because, hey, everyone pays 'em), is often the mechanism of said tyranny, or the figurehead against which protests are directed (e.g. the Tea Act).

Taxpayers should not be fighting each other, but evading taxes and protesting the tax collecting mechanism. Taxpayers fighting each other just makes the tyrant's job of oppression easier.

Earlier, in regards to the British East India Co., you described the salient feature of the relationship between that company and the British monarchy being that it was a "state sanctioned coercive monopoly." And no argument there. But that doesn't seem to speak to material support provided to the government; rather it appears to suggest that the crown was providing improper benefits to the company.

I have to cut the flow of words off somewhere, so left that unstated. But yes the reason governments give improper benefits is to get improper benefits in a quid pro quo.

Fair enough. I've no intention of "going there" (nor do I even really know where "there" is ;) );

I mangled that passage in editing, it should have read:

It is not possible to define "the sort of organization able to conduct a proper protest" without falling into the error of assigning rights to groups, and then only some groups at that. Don't go there. Only individuals have rights.

'There' is assigning rights to groups, which is the invalid political concept known as collectivism.

I mean, I can't hold you to explain Nicky's words -- but that's what I was referring to. Maybe I read this wrong (in fact, I'll say it's likely that I did), but it seems to me that he's saying that an "organized, principled" group like the Sons of Liberty has the right to such a protest, but a "capricious" group like the Pussy Riot girls do not (given that we're directing these efforts against a suitable target, such as the British East India Co.).

Nicky can explain himself. This is a good question.

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