When The Gantt Report said the students occupying a part of the Capitol building would not get the special legislative session they sought and would have to end their sit-in, more than a few people claimed that I was hating on the students.
No, I don’t hate students. In fact, I love students who stand up and speak out about social and political injustice and inequality.
When I was a student in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I was quick to join a march, a sit-in or some other kind of protest. However, today, I am reluctant to do any of those things. I don’t march now because marches don’t work. I don’t sit-in now because sit-ins don’t work. And I don’t sing We Shall Overcome because I can get more justice by swinging than I can by singing.
The Dream Defenders and other student activists need good advice. The problem is good advice is hard to come by, whereas bad advice surrounded the students every day.
I know Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi struggled and protested using non-violent civil disturbance tactics that got them beaten and jailed before they ultimately made some progress and got a few things done.
In 2013, that tactic could still get you beaten and jailed but it won’t get you progress, it won’t get you justice and it won’t get you equality.
It is hard to be nonviolent with people who have guns. It is hard to be nonviolent with people who want to be violent with you.
So what should students do? I think students should do what works.
If young people want to defend the dream they have to defeat the scheme. And what is the scheme? The scheme is to keep the masses broke, not give people jobs, not lending people money and never teaching them how to create their own jobs and make their own money.
You see, in a capitalist society, capital, or money, is the primary motivating factor.
Legislators don’t support bills like the stand-your-ground legislation that is backed by the National Rifle Association and other conservatives because they think the laws are great. They support stand-your-ground legislation because the NRA makes huge campaign contributions to politicians who voted for it.
Let’s go further. If students want to change education measures or change prison systems, guess where changes must be made. Schools and prisons must be changed by legislation, by politicians.
To me, success is the best revenge. If students want to show the world how serious they are, all they need to do is become successful.
Students, for example, need to stop parading has-been civil rights leaders before political leaders. They have to understand the Republicans hate the Rev. Jesse Jackson and anything Jackson supports Republican politicians will oppose. The GOP hates President Barack Obama and anything Obama proposes the Republicans will oppose.
So what do I propose the students do? I suggest the students start small, be successful and grow from there.
No politician in a college town like Gainesville, Tallahassee or Jacksonville, for instance, who voted for any stand-your-ground type of bill should be in office after the next election.
Why? Because there are at least 100,000 college students in each of those cities and 100,000 students organized and working together should be able to control any election in any of those towns. College students, working in their own cities, can decide who goes to the state house and who goes to the dog house.
I have other ideas as to how student activists can be successful but this column can’t go on forever. If students want to seek my advice or need my help, all they need to do is let me know.
Symbolism looks good but doesn’t work very well. If you can’t defeat every insensitive politician in the world or in your state, you can certainly defeat the political fools in your college towns.
*Lucius Gantt, a political consultant based in Tallahassee, is author of the book Beast Too: Dead Man Writing which is available at Amazon.com. You can like The Gantt Report page on Facebook and contact Gantt at: