Come say hi! I can basically promise that I'd love to get to know you.
"There was a boycott of national TV news in very early 1982. Tanks had gone on the streets, the television news of course was telling pure lies, about how marvellous life was now, isn’t it great that Solidarity is gone. Which to put it mildly it was not the narrative being heard in the sitting rooms of the people watching the television bulletin.
So they said, Let’s have a boycott of TV news. But then people said, Well what’s the point having a boycott if no one knows we’re doing it? So in one particular part of Poland they started putting television sets out into the window — disconnect the television set and put it in the window as your statement to say we’re not watching in this household at least.
That was one group, but a second group said: Well, that’s kind of good, but I like doing it with other people as well… So the second group went down into the square and walked around the streets and the square between 7.30 and 8 every evening - without any slogans, which of course immediately got you arrested, tanks on the street around. But everybody kind of knew why you were there. But the police couldn’t arrest you because they couldn’t tell the difference between a shopper or someone who’s just out for a walk and someone who is protesting. So that was a nice little protest.
And then the best group of all, my absolute favourite, combined the two and they said, I kind of like going in the square but I kind of like showing it’s about TV. So what they did was they took the television, unplugged it, carried it out of the apartment, carried it down the stairs, carried it into the streets - either put it on their shoulders or put it in a babies’ pram, and then walked around the streets with the TV.
Again the police kind of really didn’t know how to react, they did kind of arrest people but it was hard to find the article in the constitution which says, You must not carry a TV around the square between 7.30 and 8 at night. And so the result was the only thing the authorities could do - which was fundamentally a defeat for the authorities - was to bring the curfew when you’d be arrested or shot if you stepped out of your door, instead of it being 11 o’clock in the evening they brought it forward to 7o’clock in the evening.
Whereupon the protesters, I should say, did it during the 5 o’clock news bulletin instead.”
- Steve Cranshaw relates one story from his book Small Acts of Resistance in a Humanity in Action keynote in Warsaw called Poland’s Narrative of Protest.
Go listen to the talk and be inspired and informed and mightily entertained :) (also available as a podcast)