Reactions to Dissent
& Debunking

The following quotes come from Brian Martin at http://venus.soci.niu.edu/~sociclass/bmartin/dissent/intro/definitions.html, Feb. 11, 1999:

"Repression: violent action to oppose dissent, including beatings, imprisonment, torture and murder." (Ibid)

"Oppression: institutionalised lack of justice or freedom, such as poverty maintained by exploitative social arrangements. Oppression is often enforced by both suppression and repression." (Ibid)

"Suppression of intellectual dissent: action taken in an attempt to stop or penalise a person who makes a public statement or does something that is seen as a threat to a powerful interest group, such as a government, corporation or profession. Typical actions include ostracism, harassment, censorship, forced job transfer, reprimands and dismissal. Suppression is action against dissent that does not involve physical violence."

"Suppression can cause large costs to society. Among those suppressed are:

"But suppression is undesirable for a more fundamental reason. Freedom of speech is central to a free society. It is necessary so that all points of view can be presented and considered. Dissent should be encouraged rather than discouraged.

"Freedom of speech should be available to all, including employees. When employees in government or industry are inhibited from speaking out through fear for their jobs, society suffers. Powerful organisations that claim to serve the public interest should be able to tolerate critics. Indeed, they need criticism to make them more effective.


"The suppression of dissent through ridicule, censorship and simple-minded appeals to patriotism has always been the first line of defense against the rumblings of a skeptical citizenry. Marginalizing the opinions of those who question our sacred myths has been a national sport since the earliest days of the republic.

"Just ask the editors of "The Philadelphia Aurora." When the dissident colonial newspaper had the temerity to criticize our first president, its editors were thrown into jail on trumped-up charges of sedition." (from "Dissent Is Our Patriotic Right," by Tony Norman. See the entire article at The Post-Gazette News).


Relevant Web Sites:

Can't Jail the Spirit: Political Prisoners and POWs in the U.S.
Green Anarchist: The End of Dissent?, censorship in UK
Repression in Argentina --reaction of government to dissidents
Suppression of Dissent, by Brian Martin (quoted above)


Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS

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