I wanted to talk with this person who goes by name of 9 Tails because I was impressed by his efforts to calm down a fellow activist as Columbus Police made arrests in the lobby of US Bank on Nov 15.
During the arrests which protestors say happened without any prior warning from bank security guards or police, 9 Tails repeatedly said in a booming voice "do not resist" as one of the protestors began shouting to police after they grabbed his girlfriend.
I spoke with 9 Tails shortly after he and six others were released from jail several hours after being held on charges of 4th degree misdemeanor trespassing.
"The reason I had said what I had said (to not resist arrest) is that we need to stay peaceful, no matter what the cause is. What I saw in Oakland sickened me. As long as we keep to a more peaceful manner, we maintain the ability to get our message out."
He said resisting arrest can result in police and judges placing more serious charges against activists, making it harder for them to go about their work by increasing the amount of money for bail, and the amount of time in jail and off the streets.
According to Bob Hart, an attorney who had been working with Occupy Columbus, more serious charges could involve restraining orders curbing activists participation in events.
9 Tails said violence only begets more violence.
"People get scared. Now, some might get riled up, but if you can show the same kind of power without raising a hand, that's a far bigger statement and far stronger. Ghandi did it."
Based on my experience, there is among activists in Columbus and in other cities, a not insignificant number of people who say advocating nonviolence is naive or a sign of a lack of seriousness. Some of them relate to Derrick Jensen's call for "taking down civilization."
9 Tails disagrees.
"If it ever got to that point, we've already lost--we've lost the control. The goal is to not get to that point. But it may go to that end. As long as we don't have to go to that end, then we do what we need to do. We come at them sideways. We come at them in angles they've never seen before. We do things that have never been seen in history...You look at how they expect us to come at them, and then you come at them differently."
He said nonviolent resistance is an option so long as we have a functioning civil society, and that---though corporate power has damaged it--- there is still enough of it remaining for making nonviolent resistance the most viable option.
"What got me thinking nonviolently was I asked myself what it would take to stop a police riot line from hurting demonstrators. The picture that came to mind was hundreds of mothers with their infants strapped to them. You picture that and you will see there is no good in that (violence). There is no good outcome. If that is what we're coming to, I don't want to be a human anymore," 9 Tails said.
Lisa Simeone, one of the organizers for the Stop The Machine occupation in D.C., said the state apparatus is good at repressing violent protest but that it is not good at repressing well organized nonviolence that arouses public sympathy for a cause.
9 Tails said CIRCA ---Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army---has inspired him.
"I really wish I could meet some of those boys, because they got some very good techniques."