http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/protests-yes-riots-no_b_971136.htmlRiots are expressions of hot anger -- outrage about social conditions -- but they are not truly political protests. They do not have a clear objective, a policy agenda, or a strategy for bringing about change. They only bring more hardship. The Los Angeles riots in April 1992 left 55 people dead and caused more than $1 billion in property damage in inner city neighborhoods. Almost twenty years later, many of the stores and other buildings in the riot-torn area have still not been rebuilt.
Civil disobedience, in contrast, is cold anger. It is intentional, organized, and strategic. Protestors carefully select the target to raise public awareness about an issue. They accept the consequences of their actions, which could include fines and prison. They understand that their protest may be met with violence by thugs or police, but they refuse to retaliate with violence of their own.
Riots occur when people are hopeless. Civil disobedience takes place when people are hopeful -- when people believe not only that things should be different but also that they can be different.
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