[free-sklyarov] jail and privilege

Martin Baker martinb at kemokid.com
Fri Nov 2 23:23:16 PST 2001

This is in regard to complaints that Alan Cox should perhaps stand down
and let someone in his place who might be willing to take certain
consequences, such as jail time in a foreign country (the US). I'm not
going to question Mr. Cox's view of the law or his recent actions,
although I don't necessarily agree with either. I just want to point out a
couple things.

What one person might be willing to do, another might not, and often
because of their own personal circumstances. I suspect that some of those
who want their "leaders" to be willing to risk imprisonment or a
self-imposed ban on travel to the US are young and single. Nothing wrong
with that, but do try to empathize in light of the fact that Alan Cox is
married and may not relish the idea of spending a potentially very long
time away from his wife. Others (such as Linus Torvalds and our very own
Dmitry Sklyarov) are not only married but have small children; for them
the consequences would be even greater.

There are many ways to resist, and none should be valued as inherently
"better" than others. For example, if we escalate our protests to civil
disobedience, some people may be willing to risk arrest. Other people may
not, and their contributions of legal protest, support, outreach,
solidarity, etc. are just as important. A given person's choices may
change over time depending on job and family obligations, illness, or
other factors.

It is, in a sense, a privilege to be able to risk arrest and other legal
consequences. Your average white person is probably going to fare better
at the hands of the police than a minority of any kind. Youth and health
will help someone withstand adverse conditions. Making bail and hiring a
good lawyer require money. And so on....

Those of you who have this kind of privilege and are willing to use it for
a good cause, I applaud you. But please realize that not everyone is your


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