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RAC Chapter 3

by: Caleb Rogers

RAC Chapter 3 WRIT 20313

Caleb Rogers
GPA 4.0

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These notes are for the reading quiz.
Power and Protest
Brad Lucas
Class Notes
Power and Protest, Social Movements, RAC, notes
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Caleb Rogers on Wednesday March 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to WRIT 20313 at Texas Christian University taught by Brad Lucas in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 20 views.


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Date Created: 03/02/16
The Rhetoric of Agitation & Control: Chapter 3 Avoidance Suppression Adjustment Capitulation - Two ideas govern rhetorical stance taken by the establishment 1. Decision makers must assume that the worst will happen in a given instance of agitation 2. Decision makers must be prepared to repel any attack on the establishment - Establishments are better equipped than agitators (weapons) & are less afraid to use them o The most ruthless wins - Sometimes assuming the worst outcome will generate strange & ineffective actions by members of the establishment Strategies of Control Avoidance - Tactics: counterpersuasion, evasion, postponement, secrecy w/ a rationale, & denial of means. Counterpersuasion - Most common & successful tactic of an establishment - Must engage in counterpersuasion or agitators can use refusal as means of questioning sincerity & credibility of establishment o Examples of establishment vehicles using counterpersuasion: PR, bargaining committees, etc. - Establishments talk to leaders of dissent movement to convince the agitators they are wrong & that their proposals won’t work o If successful, the threat to the system is minimized or eliminated o If unsuccessful, the establishment gets time to prepare to confront agitators & avoided making changes in its ideology, rules, or structure  Establishment also gets insight into nature of dissent & changes being proposed - Contact w/ leaders provides information about their strengths & weaknesses - Info becomes useful in preparation to oppose the dissent & choice of future rhetorical tactics - If agitators choose to go beyond petition-counterpersuasion phase, leaders can tell organization that agitators wouldn’t listen to reason & move to other control strategies & tactics. Evasion - “the runaround” - Avoid dealing w/ agitators by forcing them to go through the whole hierarchy - Can involve a lot of risk for an establishment by making agitators angry & energizing them instead of causing them to abandon their agitation - May cause agitators to seek solutions outside the normal channels of communication or go to the source of power in the administration if the agitative movement is really powerful - Run the risk of dissidents appealing to higher, more powerful establishment o Ex. Grape growers go from appeal to companies to the governor’s mansion - Evasion most effectively used in large establishments Postponement - All establishments may use this tactic - Establishment can avoid unwanted change by taking demands of agitative group “under advisement” and putting of a binding decision - 2 factors favor the use of postponement o 1. If agitators become impatient they take unwise or illegal actions  Breaking law = jailed  Breaking institutions rule = can be eliminated from organization o 2. Agitators may be patiently persistent & willing to wait  Patience may allow establishment to defer decisions/actions indefinitely - Must be careful using this tactic b/c it may anger people to energize & increase intensity of their dissent Secrecy with a Rationale - Leaders may claim they are unable to respond because of the need for secrecy o Response violates “executive privilege” or may compromise national security - When members are loyal, the tactic effectively counters demands of agitators o Tactic must rank higher than responding to questions or petitions in hierarchy of values - Rationale may be unacceptable to agitators & may energize them or enable them to use more extreme tactics - If an establishments issues a rationale unacceptable to its membership, consequences may result Denial of Means - To promulgate their ideas & demands, dissenting groups need tools (paper, ink, copiers, cameras, meeting halls, etc.). An establishment can weaken the agitator’s effectiveness by denying these tools. - Many variations of denying means o If university students gather on a lawn for a rally and the sprinklers come on to drench and disperse the demonstrators, the establishment can say the sprinklers were on an automatic timer o In Central Park some groups are denied rights to protest b/c the “grass is to stay well-tended) o At George Bush’s events, protestors were denied direct access to the president - An establishment can allow dissenters access to space for protest but limit their movement w/in the space o “Crowd control by bladder control” - As technology changes, the establishment is forced to adapt their tactics o Pictures of government suppression go through cell phones & the internet, so the government just “switches off the internet” - Establishments can’t violate constitutional rights (free speech & assembly) - When agitators use nonviolent resistance, establishments can institute polices to counter them o In 1968-69 denial of means to protests based on large assemblies getting out of hand and the city couldn’t be held liable if someone was injured when trying to restore order. Other legislation denied permits or means to out-of-state students - Denial of means can be used to counter activists’ actions at most stages of dissent Suppression - Requires: o Thorough understanding of opponents and their ideology o Strong commitment to actively confront & defeat the agitators & their movement - Sometimes the leader is so important that he or she comes to personify the movement o Ex. Dr. King of the SCLC, Cesar Chavez of United Farm Workers Harassment - First tactic of suppression - Serves to weaken & dilute the group’s solidarity - Dissenting group requires strong leaders to maintain cohesive, energized membership - 2 consequences agitation leaders face when encountering harassment 1. Have less time & energy to devote to their cause & their followers b/c they have to defend themselves instead of working in the movement 2. Members of the group have an example of what may happen to them if they continue w/ their belief & activities - Harassment ranges from moral force to physical force o Ex. of moral force: decision makers threating to resign unless agitation against them is effectively challenged (University president’s) - Economic harassment is also effective o In the south whites cut off credit at stores, gas stations & refused to buy from blacks o Black middle class were afraid to confront white power structure b/c they would be fired from their jobs - Establishment can employ physical deterrents o Homes & cars of black protest leaders bombed, shot at, arrested, beaten, killed o Blacks who registered to vote were put in newspapers, leading to retaliation from whites. - Establishments get unsolicited help or offers to help from individuals/groups who reject the agitators’ beliefs & behaviors (ex. Malcolm X attacked w/ rocks, shotguns, firebombs when he was found to be a black muslim) o These actions serve the same functions as official harassment - Establishment leaders must be careful in their actions or risk energizing the protestors & convincing uncommitted individuals to support activists o Harassment either weakens/destroys agitators & can give the establishment backlash - Harassment is a test, if agitation ceases after harassment then there is no reason for more suppression tactics - If agitation is sufficiently solidified, harassment increases solidarity of agitative forces & weakens the referent power of decision makers (Ex. harassment of the SCLC) Denial of Agitator’s Demands - May be a gamble b/c establishment must have the power to enforce the decision or their actions may weaken the establishment & strengthen the activist cause - Even with legitimate power, the decision may be interpreted in favor of the agitators - Denial puts establishments at risk of losing credibility b/c a higher establishment authority can challenge the legitimacy of actions - Deny demands may increase power in the ranks of dissenting groups and cause more damage to the establishment than to the agitators Banishment - Includes: o Excommunication, expulsion, academic suspension, applying illegal assembly, forcing exit from physical, jailing - Banishment can weaken or destroy a movement by removing leaders & deter other members of the group o Anti-Vietnam protestors could lose their draft deferments - Most effective tactic an establishment can use - Dangerous to control when banishing establishment violates its own regulations, which erodes legitimate power Purgation - Most extreme & illegal—tactic involves killing the leaders & members of an agitative movement - Killing is risky b/c the person killed may be a martyr for the cause b/c they are more powerful dead than alive Adjustment - Tactic when avoidance or suppression. - Adjustments must not be seen as weakness on the part of the establishment or a sign of partial surrender - Establishments can be seen as just, merciful, liberal, progressive, open-minded NEVER weak Changing the name of the Regulatory Agency - This tactic can be apparent or real o Changing name of agency after confrontation with agitative group is seldom a real adjustment in structure, personnel, or ideology. (Ex. House of Un-American Activities Committee changed its name to The House Committee on Internal Security) - Changing names may be necessary for organizations also - Though changing the name rarely satisfies any agitative ideology, it refocuses & clarifies the purpose of the institution to those w/in the establishment - This tactic tends to solidify members of the establishment who are not decision makers Sacrificing Personnel - When agitation centers on a flag person, people can be let go - Tactic carriers risk: o Communication channels inside the establishment can suffer b/c of temporary vacancy o Legitimate power of establishment becomes vulnerable if tactic is unsuccessful - Use this tactic to get sympathy for the victim & anger the establishment against the agitators that caused the sacrifice - Most successful if flag person can be located to personify the grievances. If the flag person is removed from the establishment, the agitators find itself w/o a cause & must redirect energy toward maintaining membership o Replacement of sacrificed flag person is rarely individual whom the agitators themselves would’ve selected Accepting Some of the Means of Agitation - Establishment may project an image of openness to dissent o Ex. Bush saw protest in Latin American & said “I am proud to be going to a part of the world where people can demonstrate, where people can express their minds.” - One method that agitators use to attract public attention is creative disorder, but if they are treated kindly, agitation is thwarted - Accepting some of the means of agitation can provoke agitators to escalate creative disorder and even break the law to gain attention - Establishment leaders can proclaim their actions illustrated the institution’s strength in opposing its adversaries - Enables the decision makers to justify the harshness of suppressive measures Incorporate Some of the Personnel - Provides a means of adjustment for both the establishment & agitative movements o University now eagerly seek minority & women faculty members - Agitators who become members establishment face pressure to reject their past actions & change their beliefs o May be assigned roles that have the appearance of power but are merely symbolic Incorporate Parts of the Dissident Ideology - Final adjustment tactic. May range from tokenism to merger - Decision makers must maintain necessary image of strength - Members of establishment must not perceive the change as altering in a significant way the values & goals of their institution. - Both groups should come to a compromise before this tactic Capitulation - Last strategy - Dissenter’s ideas, goals, policies, beliefs, & personnel must replace those of the institution challenged o Ex. the British in the American Revolution - No established agency only uses this if total destruction by a superior force is imminent


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