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-Welcome to The Daily Show. -Well, thank you.
And before we get into the book, I just wanted to say,
I honestly have met few people who have lived as much of a life
-as you have. -You mean I'm old.
(laughter)
No. Some people are old, but they haven't lived life.
-Ah. Okay, all right -They really haven't.
Because-because... reading through your story
truly fascinated me.
I mean, you know, you were at the forefront
of opposing the war in Vietnam.
You know, you were one of the key individuals
who fought for the American government to impose sanctions
on the apartheid government in South Africa.
You've been fighting for equality in America
for a long time.
You've been on the front lines,
and you are friend of Dr. King's family.
If you look at MLK Day today, and you look at how people
have warped his message and his image, et cetera,
what do you think is the biggest misconception people have
-about Dr. King? -The biggest misconception
is that Martin Luther King was a dreamer who had a dream.
Every time I go someplace, people get up and say,
"Yes, he was a dreamer, he was always dreaming."
Well, that's because of the speech
and the part that's taken out.
Uh, Martin Luther King believed in the right to vote.
The first speech he gave in Washington
at the Prayer Pilgrimage in 1957,
his coming out, as it were, in Washington,
was about, if we ever got the vote,
everything would change-- we'd have justice
if we just got the vote.
That was even after...
a year before, they had done the boycott,
-Right. -the Montgomery boycott.
But over the years as he evolved,
he saw, hey, the vote is important and we should get it,
and he continues to fight for it,
but voting by itself isn't gonna give us justice.
And he concluded that protest
is an essential ingredient of politics.
You see, politicians want two things.
They want you to vote for them, and they want to get re...
get elected, and they want you to vote for them
-so they can get reelected. -Right.
Those are two things they want.
-(laughs) -But the thing you have to want
is to make them do what will give you
justice and equality in this country,
and they won't do that
-unless you make them do it. -That's really interesting.
And that's where protest is involved.
Martin Luther King believed in nonviolence.
He learned about it. He believed in it.
He and Coretta believed in it.
It was at the center of their lives.
When I say protest
is an essential ingredient in politics,
I mean nonviolent protest.
And the book is about the kind of nonviolent protest
you can engage in which will make change.
It will make government officials who you elected
actually do what they promised they would do.
Isn't that unique?
How interesting that they would actually promise to do something
and even try to do it.
-(laughter) -You see?
Uh, say, you...
But that's what... And...
The other thing the book is about
is how every generation
has to make its own dent in the wall of injustice.
Young people, you know, have to pass it on.
-Mm-hmm. -All the movements that I talk about in that book
in which I was involved
and at the center of some of them...
It didn't happen overnight.
You didn't go out and have one march.
You didn't go out and have two marches.
Uh, we went on for years
until we were able to make change.
So, young people have to pick up the torch
and move forward with it and make their own dent.
It takes a long time for it to happen.
And Martin Luther King stood for all of that.
He didn't live long enough.
Unfortunately, his life was taken.
But in the time that he had with us,
he modeled all those things for us.
There was another thing he modeled,
which was you don't have to be perfect
in order to be good and to have a good message.
You don't have to be personally perfect
-in order to... -Mm-hmm.
Uh, what you look at is what people do in the cause
and what sacrifices they're willing to make.
And that doesn't mean that everybody should go out and die.
That's not what I'm talking about.
What I'm talking about is we worked hard
to end the draft, and we succeeded.
I can show you,
and if you read what's in the book,
you will see that we succeeded.
When we wanted the Americans with Disabilities Act
passed in the Congress, we used strategies
-and tactics to make it happen. -Right.
And what you have to do when you protest
is keep changing what you do.
Don't do the same thing over and over and over again.
People get tired. If you did the same thing on your show
every night, people would say, "Eh."
-(laughing) -And they won't watch you.
Change it up!
Or if you were like the-the team
that played, uh, Kansas City yesterday
and they just kept on doing the same thing.
And I kept saying, "Why don't you do something different?!"
-You see? So, uh... -(cheering and applause)
-So, then that's-that's really interesting. -So the box...
So if you want-- if you want student loans forgiven
so you don't have to pay off all that debt,
whatever it is you want,
organize people,
mobilize people to do it in a nonviolent way.
Put pressure on 'em.
You have to make politicians do stuff.
-Yes. Climate change. -Do you think that-- Right.
-Make them do it. -Do you think then our generation
has become complacent in thinking that a moment
of giant protest counts as-as the duration of protest?
Because in the book, you-you talk about how, for instance,
with the a-apartheid movement, anti-apartheid movement,
it took two years for you to get
-the American government to do something. -Right.
So do you think our generation goes, "We have a big march.
It trended on Twitter. And now we're done"
and we think that's enough,
whereas it's supposed to be an ongoing affair?
Twitter-- putting something out on Twitter is not a movement.
You can inform people through Twitter.
-It's very useful for that. -Right.
Facebook. They're all useful for that.
Also, you can be kept under surveillance
by the people who are watching you while you're doing it.
But you have to-- What I learned over time--
and Martin was an exemplar of that--
you have to be present in the moment.
You have to do something yourself.
You have to be there.
You have to put your body on the line.
You have to be willing to go to jail.
You have to be willing to say,
"Here I stand and you will go no further,
because I have moral authority in what I'm doing."
So, use any kind of media for communication,
-to get in touch and stay in touch. -Right.
Although we used to use mimeograph machines
and get ink all over our fingers
and all of that and the rest of it.
But you can make change.
So the lesson of all this is,
in this book is, if you read it,
if there's a change you want to have made, sure, vote.
It's an election year.
But don't just vote and then go home and say,
"All right, I did it. Now, four years from now,
I'll come back and do it again."
That won't get us anywhere.
That won't end inequality and that won't change us
and get us justice in this country.
-If you could organize-- Yeah. -(cheering and applause)
If you...
if you could organize a protest today that would
last until it-it got the results that it needed,
what would you say is the most pressing issue?
I know there are many, but what would you say right now
would be the most pressing, pressing issue that you think
people need to protest for?
-Climate change. -(whooping, applause)
Because climate change
affects all of us...
without regard to race or class or whatever it is.
We may not understand that it does,
but it does.
So, I would do it in a way
to try to explain to people
not just the morality of it,
but how their lives are in danger
and the lives of their children and so on.
-And find messaging... -Mm-hmm.
that would help to do that.
And the messaging takes time.
For the antiapartheid movement,
the steering committee on that movement, which was successful,
met every day at my house in the morning
for a year and a half.
And had protestors out every single day going to jail.
We all went to jail multiple times.
We boycotted, uh, Shell Oil Company.
We-we did, we-we made people stop buying Krugerrands,
when they didn't even know what Krugerrands were before.
-(Noah laughs) -Uh, we got now help
to get Nelson out of jail, and, oh, was that a great day
-when that happened. -Right.
And so, it takes hard work,
it takes thought, it takes, using creativity and imagination
about how to get the public's attention.
We had marches, but when we had marches,
we had celebrities, people who folks don't know about.
Paul Newman, you guys never heard of him.
(audience whooping)
-He was an actor, uh... -(Noah laughing)
-Um, people like that who were out there. -Right.
You know, doing it, so, in fact, you can...
If I were doing it, uh, I would sit down,
and you can, if anybody wants to start,
read the book and come to my house,
and we'll sit there for another year and a half going out
every day mobilizing people and figuring out what to do.
-Sounds like a plan. -(applause and cheering)
Thank you so much for being on the show.
-Sure. -Wonderful having you, especially today.
History Teaches Us to Resist is available now.
Dr. Mary Frances Berry, everybody.
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Mary Frances Berry - “History Teaches Us to Resist” and the Power of Protest | The Daily Show

14 Folder Collection
林宜悉 published on March 18, 2020
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