“Killing the Messenger”: Public Perceptions of Nonviolent Protest
No one would be surprised to hear that people who do not like what protesters have to say are likely to reject the protesters as people as well as their cause. After all, “killing the messenger” because he or she brings us bad news is a common enough phrase. It is to be expected that people angry about antinuclear weapons protests in their neighborhood would reject both the messenger and the message. At the same time, we might expect that the protesters’ commitment to nonviolence and their nonviolent tactics would be clear to everyone, no matter what their political beliefs. So many of the protesters at the Seneca Army Depot may have thought when they attended rallies or participated in civil disobedience actions at the Central New York army installation in 1983. However, as this paper will show, we don’t all agree on what is violent or peaceful and sometimes our disagreements fall along partisan lines.
KeywordsNuclear Weapon High School Degree Civil Disobedience American Political Science Review School Group
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