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For more than thirty years I have been practicing a personal resistance by resort to public theatre. Imagine my delight to have a niece send me the bit of drama below, with her suggestion that I get a megaphone.
My first formal action took place in Portage Place, in downtown Winnipeg; twenty five years ago. That mall is private property. At its centre, as at the centre of most malls, there is the semblance of a public square, signified by a fountain and a clock. The public square is where citizens gather to learn and express the ways and means by which governance is enacted.
I stood in silence and held a square of paper measuring two inches by two inches. On the paper I had inscribed the words, "The police state is coming." Security noticed me and approached. They told me I was not allowed to stand in silence holding a small square of paper with words on it in the mall. I begged to differ.
The first responders left to consider their options. They returned with two other security officers and a security supervisor. I was again told that I was not allowed to stand in silence holding a small square of paper with words on it in the mall. It was private property and they were simply enforcing the rules. I again begged to differ.
The four security guards guarded me while the supervisor went off to consider the options. He returned with two members of the Winnipeg Police Department. The script was once more played out and I again begged to differ. This provoked a police action (demonstrating the thesis inscribed on my small square of paper). They picked me up and carried me out of the public square (which was private property), down through a series of twisting concrete corridors and into a small concrete room.
A paper was written up and presented to me for signature. That paper banned me from appearing in the mall with the threat of legal action in the case of non-compliance.
I have learned much by such theatrics over the ensuing years and encourage any and all to take up the practice of public resistance at every opportunity. Ever mindful that such resistance is best undertaken with a fair portion of levity.
Be free! Be responsible! Be creative! Be courageous!
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