Activism and Violence

SixteenBlue wrote:

Would that have happened without violence?

And either way, do we not look back at Stonewall as a monumentally important moment? Why is that? Why is it praised and not condemned?

Still would like some answers from a "violence is never the answer" person.

It's all an academic question anyway. The estrogen has atrophied my arm muscles so I can't do any damage, and the spironolactone has made my blood so thin it'll wash out easily.

I think there's some truth to the idea that the threat of your extremists helps to bring people to the table with your moderates. The counterbalance to that is when your extremists are dissatisfied with the political outcome and turn on your moderates. See: Yitzhak Rabin

None of this speaks to the morality of individual acts, just the pragmatics of a shared goal.

Perfection.

I've been trying to formulate a post for the last few days, but this says pretty much everything I could say.

SixteenBlue wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

Would that have happened without violence?

And either way, do we not look back at Stonewall as a monumentally important moment? Why is that? Why is it praised and not condemned?

Still would like some answers from a "violence is never the answer" person.

Give them time. They're seeing a cornerstone of their beliefs crumble. That's a lot to deal with. One of the ways they probably reassured themselves that liberalism was better than conservatism is that liberalism put things like non-violence and the superiority of peaceful dialog on a pedestal. Their world is kinda getting rocked right now. They always thought it would be that other guy who had to challenge his whole world view. They never expected to be in that guy's spot.

Of course, that idea was always a noble dream that people fell far short of. Liberals were never as open-minded as they told themselves they were when it came to dialog. They never asked themselves about the contradictions between their high-minded ideals and what actually happened in the streets as part of the timeline of the causes they were part of.

So be gentle with them. Or not. Just whatever you choose to do, do so knowing what you're dealing with: people who are asking some really tough questions of themselves.

Is there a TLDR summary of the point? Or does the title speak for itself? I just wasn't able to get through all of the f-words being flung about in every sentence even though I fully understand and sympathize with the emotion behind it.

bekkilyn wrote:

Is there a TLDR summary of the point? Or does the title speak for itself? I just wasn't able to get through all of the f-words being flung about in every sentence even though I fully understand and sympathize with the emotion behind it.

TLDR

Check your privilege when poo-poohing the violence that the oppressed might undertake.

TheGameguru wrote:
bekkilyn wrote:

Is there a TLDR summary of the point? Or does the title speak for itself? I just wasn't able to get through all of the f-words being flung about in every sentence even though I fully understand and sympathize with the emotion behind it.

TLDR

Check your privilege when poo-poohing the violence that the oppressed might undertake.

Fair for a TLDR, of course there's a bit more to it than that.

I'd probably also add that although the abrasive language is definitely part of this writer's style, for this piece specifically, it's also part of the point.

TheGameguru wrote:
bekkilyn wrote:

Is there a TLDR summary of the point? Or does the title speak for itself? I just wasn't able to get through all of the f-words being flung about in every sentence even though I fully understand and sympathize with the emotion behind it.

TLDR

Check your privilege when poo-poohing the violence that the oppressed might undertake.

Thanks!

I am reminded by what seems to happen every time there is a Moral Monday protest here in NC. There hasn't particularly been any violence to my knowledge, but protesters often get arrested. It NEVER fails that once the protest even hits the local news, the articles are filled with comments about lazy, unproductive people. Phrases like, "Why don't these moochers get a job rather than filching off of us producers" (fully ignoring that the protests occur after standard work hours) and general claims about how Reverend Barber and black people are the "real" racists, and if they would go out and work for a living rather than being lazy and entitled and wanting everything for free, they wouldn't have the time to be out protesting like criminals.

It just seems like so many people have been brainwashed into thinking that speaking out, protesting, and civil disobedience is wrong and criminal, and that there would be no problems at all for anyone if people would just behave.

And whenever actual violence erupts, the comments turn to, "See? Look at all these criminals? They need to be hauled away and locked up like the animals they are."

(They are strangely silent when it's some right-wing extremist group doing the same thing though.)

It's so frustrating!

SixteenBlue wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

Would that have happened without violence?

And either way, do we not look back at Stonewall as a monumentally important moment? Why is that? Why is it praised and not condemned?

Still would like some answers from a "violence is never the answer" person.

While do not consider myself a "violence is never the answer" I can think of a couple of reasons:

First, to my mind, it falls into the realm of self defense at least initially.

Second, through the lens of history it can be seen as a turning point (or the start of one) in societies views on LGBT issues.

Garrcia wrote:
Edwin wrote:

Protest is the tool that gives voice to the marginalized when all they can no longer stand the injustice of the institutions built to suppress them.

Violence is what happens when that fails as they have no other recourse.

I think we can all agree that violence in the name of self defense can be acceptable.

The problem (as has been mentioned here already) is when, if ever, is preemptive violence acceptable?

Let me offer this as an example:

Sally works for Chevron as an entry level petroleum engineer (recently graduated). Xavier strongly feels that global climate change is an immediate threat and that one way to address it is to stop mining all hydrocarbons.

Is Xavier justified in acting in a violent fashion (lets go with punch in the face) of Sally to send some kind of warning to Chevron to close up shop?

No, the bold in your quote isn't the problem. By saying that protest or violence in the failure of protest is preemptive signifies that you are either saying or thinking that nothing is currently happening and everything we are talking about it hypothetical. Trans* folks are facing violence now. This is NOT preemptive. It is a reaction and self-defense.

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., 16 April 1963, Letters from Birmingham Jail wrote:

"First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's, [LGBT] great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner [or the GOP], but the white moderate who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action;" who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro[/LGBT] to wait until a "more convenient season."

Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."

Garrcia wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

Would that have happened without violence?

And either way, do we not look back at Stonewall as a monumentally important moment? Why is that? Why is it praised and not condemned?

Still would like some answers from a "violence is never the answer" person.

While do not consider myself a "violence is never the answer" I can think of a couple of reasons:

First, to my mind, it falls into the realm of self defense at least initially.

Second, through the lens of history it can be seen as a turning point (or the start of one) in societies views on LGBT issues.

How do we get to this point if we're constantly telling people to not violently resist their oppression? If you're trying to stop it from happening then there will be nothing to look at through a lens of history.

Clearly there's a line for when violence becomes acceptable, it's more often than not the wrong choice. But, for me at least, I don't attempt to define that line. People know when enough is enough and if someone says that's the case for them, I don't have to get it. But I support it.

cheeze_pavilion wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

Would that have happened without violence?

And either way, do we not look back at Stonewall as a monumentally important moment? Why is that? Why is it praised and not condemned?

Still would like some answers from a "violence is never the answer" person.

Give them time. They're seeing a cornerstone of their beliefs crumble. That's a lot to deal with. One of the ways they probably reassured themselves that liberalism was better than conservatism is that liberalism put things like non-violence and the superiority of peaceful dialog on a pedestal. Their world is kinda getting rocked right now. They always thought it would be that other guy who had to challenge his whole world view. They never expected to be in that guy's spot.

Of course, that idea was always a noble dream that people fell far short of. Liberals were never as open-minded as they told themselves they were when it came to dialog. They never asked themselves about the contradictions between their high-minded ideals and what actually happened in the streets as part of the timeline of the causes they were part of.

So be gentle with them. Or not. Just whatever you choose to do, do so knowing what you're dealing with: people who are asking some really tough questions of themselves.

I went through exactly this mental struggle over the course of years, and honestly I still wrestle with it all the time. I am inherently opposed to violent conflict, because I do feel that we should exhaust all avenues of peaceful diplomacy in resolving conflicts before we resort to violence of any kind. And even then, I prefer violence via property damage as a first step before violence against other people.

But I am also enough of a realist to know that sometimes violence of one type or the other is required to achieve peace and justice. The problem is that I do not feel that I have the knowledge or wisdom to determine when that point is reached. And as others have pointed out, since I am a person benefitting from multiple intersections of privilege, I don't have the foundation upon which to make such a judgement call.

Just wanted to offer a personal account to support the point that Cheeze is making here.

Farscry wrote:

The problem is that I do not feel that I have the knowledge or wisdom to determine when that point is reached.

This is where I am at as well, and I think that's perfectly fine. It seems like a lot of people are in a similar spot, but they fall back to "so that point must not exist" instead of trusting people who do have the knowledge to determine it.

SixteenBlue wrote:

Clearly there's a line for when violence becomes acceptable, it's more often than not the wrong choice. But, for me at least, I don't attempt to define that line. People know when enough is enough and if someone says that's the case for them, I don't have to get it. But I support it.

I think that line is both a personal and circumstantial thing. Unless humanity somehow transcends its animal nature there will be no universal truth to be found there. Society will be a blend of these personal, circumstantial guidelines. We need those genuine voices - as many of them as possible. They'll clash and in doing so change themselves and all of us.

SixteenBlue wrote:
Farscry wrote:

The problem is that I do not feel that I have the knowledge or wisdom to determine when that point is reached.

This is where I am at as well, and I think that's perfectly fine. It seems like a lot of people are in a similar spot, but they fall back to "so that point must not exist" instead of trusting people who do have the knowledge to determine it.

That point only exists in hindsight... if they succeed.

Just a thought, but MrDeVil is from a country that has experienced decades of government-imposed violence and the responding violent insurgencies, both inside and outside his country. To my way of thinking, he's likely got a far better eye for discerning the start of Real Problems in this regard than most of us do. I trust his warnings on this far more than I worry about maunderings on when individuals or groups should use violence, because if he recognizes something familiar in Trump, we damn well should take the warning. Arguing the virtue of non-violence is a luxury for the privileged who are not yet targeted.

Robear wrote:

Just a thought, but MrDeVil is from a country that has experienced decades of government-imposed violence and the responding violent insurgencies, both inside and outside his country. To my way of thinking, he's likely got a far better eye for discerning the start of Real Problems in this regard than most of us do. I trust his warnings on this far more than I worry about maunderings on when individuals or groups should use violence, because if he recognizes something familiar in Trump, we damn well should take the warning. Arguing the virtue of non-violence is a luxury for the privileged who are not yet targeted.

Absolutely. Many more than he have said similar things about Trump, the world over. For a recent example, when Great Leader says he sees a political friend in you...

SixteenBlue wrote:
Farscry wrote:

The problem is that I do not feel that I have the knowledge or wisdom to determine when that point is reached.

This is where I am at as well, and I think that's perfectly fine. It seems like a lot of people are in a similar spot, but they fall back to "so that point must not exist" instead of trusting people who do have the knowledge to determine it.

Right. I think that point definitely exists. Now I'm working on trusting others when they say we've reached that point because it's not just a question of effective tactics. It's also about a crossing a line we can't come back from.

Robear wrote:

Just a thought, but MrDeVil is from a country that has experienced decades of government-imposed violence and the responding violent insurgencies, both inside and outside his country. To my way of thinking, he's likely got a far better eye for discerning the start of Real Problems in this regard than most of us do. I trust his warnings on this far more than I worry about maunderings on when individuals or groups should use violence, because if he recognizes something familiar in Trump, we damn well should take the warning. Arguing the virtue of non-violence is a luxury for the privileged who are not yet targeted.

Not that I was around during WW2, but the attitude of the general public reminds me of things I've read about the general public of Germany before Hitler came to power. (And I'm truly not trying to Godwin the discussion!) It almost seems like everyone involved in that war has learned from it except the U.S. or else we wouldn't be trying so hard to repeat history on perhaps a geologically larger scale. What people also have to remember is it wasn't just Jews imprisoned in those camps...it was also anyone else considered "undesirable" due to things other than race such as political views. Even other Nazi's weren't always safe. So if apathetic people are sitting around thinking that nothing will ever happen to them because they aren't black, or they aren't trans, or they aren't Muslim, or a woman, or anyone else currently out of favor in White America, then maybe they should think again.

Will the people just meekly get onto the trains when the fascists come for them, continuing to rationalize everything in their minds in a well-behaved and polite manner because they've always been a "good citizen" of the U.S. and this type of thing only happens in other countries and not "the land of the free and the brave?"

People *in general* are too much like sheep, so I currently have little hope that there would be any real uprisings if a fascist dictator did come into power in the U.S.

There is a significant difference between civil uprise against a fascist dictator in power, and a potential fascist dictator. Who are qualified to conclude if someone is enough of a potential fascist that should be fought with violence? If preemptive violence is accepted, it can be used by all sides.
Lots of people in pre-WW2 Germany seemed to think the Nazi violence early on wasn't so bad, after all they were fighting communists (among others...), who were certainly worse! (or vice versa).

Edwin wrote:

No, the bold in your quote isn't the problem. By saying that protest or violence in the failure of protest is preemptive signifies that you are either saying or thinking that nothing is currently happening and everything we are talking about it hypothetical. Trans* folks are facing violence now. This is NOT preemptive. It is a reaction and self-defense.

I can't claim to know how much and which violence trans people are facing anywhere, so I will simply believe that it is obviously happening, but it certainly also sounds like it isn't a new problem arising from the Trump movement? Which is why it (to me) seems preemptive to violently target that movement in particular.
Activism (even violent) is one thing - a generalized revolt against the existing political and cultural systems - whereas targeted political violence does seem to be something else.

will never learn not to quote instead of edit...

Will never learn not to quote instead of edit.

Shadout wrote:

There is a significant difference between civil uprise against a fascist dictator in power, and a potential fascist dictator. Who are qualified to conclude if someone is enough of a potential fascist that should be fought with violence? If preemptive violence is accepted, it can be used by all sides.
Lots of people in pre-WW2 Germany seemed to think the Nazi violence early on wasn't so bad, after all they were fighting communists (among others...), who were certainly worse! (or vice versa).

Edwin wrote:

No, the bold in your quote isn't the problem. By saying that protest or violence in the failure of protest is preemptive signifies that you are either saying or thinking that nothing is currently happening and everything we are talking about it hypothetical. Trans* folks are facing violence now. This is NOT preemptive. It is a reaction and self-defense.

I can't claim to know how much and which violence trans people are facing anywhere, so I will simply believe that it is obviously happening, but it certainly also sounds like it isn't a new problem arising from the Trump movement? Which is why it (to me) seems preemptive to violently target that movement in particular.
Activism (even violent) is one thing - a generalized revolt against the existing political and cultural systems - whereas targeted political violence does seem to be something else.

Because, and I've said this over and over again, until now the official Republican party platform didn't have, in writing, that trans people are not protected by federal civil rights legislation. That's compounded by the recent wave of legislative attempts and some successes to prevent us from obtaining health care, access to public accommodations and services, housing, employment, proper identity documentation, safety from being housed in correctional facilities with people who are not our gender, and so on.

In aggregate, the conservative party has built a nationwide attempt to erase us.

SixteenBlue wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

Would that have happened without violence?

And either way, do we not look back at Stonewall as a monumentally important moment? Why is that? Why is it praised and not condemned?

Still would like some answers from a "violence is never the answer" person.

While not a "violence is never the answer" person persay, I imagine I'll be filling that role for the larger argument.

I will say that violence is always the easy answer to disagreement. This is not a direct assault against Freja our anyone else that has to defend themselves. Non violent protests do not mean playing possum until the threat passes. Non violent protests are not rolling over when assaulted. Whenever actively threatened, self defense is a necessity. Removing yourself from dangerous situations beyond your control is absolutely necessary.

The beauty of well-executed non violent protest is designing it in such a way to challenge the hate, but but the person hating. I will try to describe more in further posts, but the activism in non violent protests are designed to place yourself in danger to confront the hate and challenge it in as visible a manner as possible.

As someone who grapples with this belief set, the challenge for me is: "when wouldn't I kill to defend myself?" In the moment, if I were assaulted, if my wife were assaulted, if my family were assaulted, I personally struggle with this because it would be the easiest thing in the world to remove the threat and remove that other person.

Cursory response to whomever linked that Washington post article: I don't feel properly prepared right now to respond to your post, but I promise to read and reply in the coming days. Still in the worksite with my Note. Thank you for the post though!

Edwin wrote:
Garrcia wrote:
Edwin wrote:

Protest is the tool that gives voice to the marginalized when all they can no longer stand the injustice of the institutions built to suppress them.

Violence is what happens when that fails as they have no other recourse.

I think we can all agree that violence in the name of self defense can be acceptable.

The problem (as has been mentioned here already) is when, if ever, is preemptive violence acceptable?

Let me offer this as an example:

Sally works for Chevron as an entry level petroleum engineer (recently graduated). Xavier strongly feels that global climate change is an immediate threat and that one way to address it is to stop mining all hydrocarbons.

Is Xavier justified in acting in a violent fashion (lets go with punch in the face) of Sally to send some kind of warning to Chevron to close up shop?

No, the bold in your quote isn't the problem. By saying that protest or violence in the failure of protest is preemptive signifies that you are either saying or thinking that nothing is currently happening and everything we are talking about it hypothetical. Trans* folks are facing violence now. This is NOT preemptive. It is a reaction and self-defense.

The section I put in bold is not what I am saying. If anyone chose to read that into what I wrote (in the above post or others) I would have preferred they asked me to clarify if that is what I am saying.

In this thread (and others) Freyja has made it abundantly clear members of the trans* community are facing issues of real and potential violence. As I have no direct experience about that I see it as inappropriate for me to comment on in the context of this discussion (put another way what could I possibly add to Freyja's statements).

My interest is, regardless of specific issue, is there a line that should not be crossed (be it for ethical reasons, practical reasons, or propaganda reasons). Personally I do not have an answer to that interest that I find satisfying, hence my curiosity what others think about it.

I completely understand the emotion behind the argument. The argument, in that blog post and the internally linked "well-documented" article, boils down to "it didn't work in these cases therefore it can't work."

It is disheartening to confront this level of vitriol. I'm hoping to dispel the popular assumption that non violent resistance is passive but it seems I have lots of work in front of me.