On Civil Disobedience: Resisting the Machine, an American Tradition
When a government becomes a machine that churns out injustice, it is the right and the duty of the citizen to resist the actions of that machine, to throw a spanner in its works. This talk, led by Professors Michael Haltenberger and Michael Prettyman, will focus on the seminal essay by Henry David Thoreau, “On Civil Disobedience.” We are entering a time in the United States that will almost certainly be marked by acts of protest, street theatre and direct action. It is the aim of this talk to locate the urgency of these actions firmly within an American tradition that found its most influential voice in this essay, which profoundly shaped the movements of both Mahatmas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
“I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government.”
-Henry David Thoreau, “On Civil Disobedience”
This will not be a discussion aimed at bringing down government, but rather the intellectual and political underpinnings for non-cooperation with government policies that promote injustice and run counter to our shared values of tolerance, respect and living our lives in a rapidly evolving world community.
Teacher: Michael Prettyman
Michael Prettyman is a graduate of the CUNY BA program, completing his final semester at the Harvard Divinity School with a Master’s Degree in Theology. He has been a visual artist for twenty years and teaches Mysticism, Asian Religions and Approaches to Religion at Hunter College.
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