Violence or property damage at protests II

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Krystalline Kraus Krystalline Kraus's picture
Violence or property damage at protests II

QUOTE: "I honestly get the feeling that some radicals, rather than hoping this day never has to come, instead hope it will come quicker, and if that means that people have to become more miserable in order to hurry this along, that's a small price to pay. "

 **

Yes, I have heard of this, what is called “chaos theory”, the idea that “a crash would be good for the economy/society)” . I don’t know a lot of people who would agree publically, but I have heard it talked about quietly… ideas like that the middle class will have to suffer for the greater good for end result or even that the middle class has brought the collapse upon themselves so tough shit if they suffer (I not agree with chaos theory as I believe that while the middle class with suffer, I am more worried about the poor because they will suffer a lot more)

I would say it’s a very North American concept. This idea that a chaos theory is better than having our capitalism society limp along through reformism which results in the killing a lot of people slowly vs. activists actively pushing things towards a collapse to get it over with, where a lot of people would die acutely and that would bring about a new world order.

The middle and upper classes would go into shock from their high fall from privilege and they would die off if they could not adapt to survive. And the poor class would also bear the brunt of the state’s reactionary attempt to maintain control/law and order through its domestic military and police.

A North American  problem because in some parts of the global South, the collapse has already taken place so they are already living and dying in social devastation and chaos.

The Bish

It's also an idea that's present in some strains of Marxism - that history has a natural course that we should let run without interfering.  So some Marxists dislike notions such as "human rights" because they think those kinds of concepts prop of capitalism and interfere with the way history is supposed to occur.  Of course, that notion of history is tautological and thus generally useless.

Krystalline Kraus Krystalline Kraus's picture

 QUOTE: "I see mythological Gandhi has surfaced in discussion piece by Rebick, and I think it would be wise to point out that the Gandhi movement existed against a backdrop of a great deal of violence directed at ending British rule.... 

The lesson to be learned from Gandhi, is not that "Gandhi taught us not to use violence", but that non-violence is preferable. It can be very powerful force in the hands of adroit political leadership, but there should be no absolute prohibition against its use in the face of tyrrany."

**

i agree with everything said above! that's for pointing out. i'm getting kinda sick of people reducing India's complex history down to nothing but Gandhi when there were other major factors/players involved. 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture
radiorahim radiorahim's picture

If the demonstrators had chosen to occupy the bank...or blockade it, then I would be all in favour of that kind of action.

I might even support the "brick through the window", had it been part of a "collective action" to help protestors enter and occupy the bank.   Afterall many workers around the world have engaged in heroic workplace occupations...especially in Argentina.

There are all kinds of very militant but peaceful forms of protest.   Gandhi was non-violent but organized very militant actions in the struggle against British colonialism.

What I don't support is this kind of elitist individualistic "I'm more revolutionary than you" crap...show up at someone else's demo and out of the blue decide to smash a window.   That kind of stuff is bullshit.

"So some Marxists dislike notions such as "human rights" because they think those kinds of concepts prop of capitalism and interfere with the way history is supposed to occur.  Of course, that notion of history is tautological and thus generally useless."

In "The Shock Doctrine" Naomi Klein talked about the "human rights agenda" in places like Chile and Argentina under condiitons of U.S. backed fascism.   Publicly talking about any kind of social change would get you tossed into a torture chamber or you might just "disappear".    If you stuck to talking about human rights and only spoke about the very worst aspects of repression, you might possibly escape this fate.    You could also get middle class liberal types on board this agenda...folks who supported the neo-liberal economic agenda but didn't like the idea of torturing and murdering people.

The human rights agenda gave dissenters a little bit of breathing space in conditions of horrible fascist repression.

 

Tommy_Paine

I read the latter parts of the previous thread,  and I'd like to say that in Goodwin's example, and of others surely to come, the feeling is that the state, who we look to to impart consequence, failed in this responsibility, so others picked up the slack.

Call it vigilantism if you like.  I think it's the worst form of justice.

But I prefer it to no justice, which is what the British government, the American government and the Canadian government seem intent on delivering for their masters who have gleefully visited upon the public their own form of insidious violence, which they euphamistically refer to as "the free market" or "free trade" or "deregulation".

Some worry about Goodwin's kids.   Take a drive to Walkerton, Ontario, and visit the graves of the little victims of the violence of those who believed deregulation was a panacea for all ills.

 

 

 

 

The Bish

I fail to see how a world in which sufferring is increased for a few (Goodwin and his family, in this case) but is not lessened for any could possibly be considered more just.

 

Quote:
Some worry about Goodwin's kids. Take a drive to Walkerton, Ontario, and visit the graves of the little victims of the violence of those who believed deregulation was a panacea for all ills.

Total straw man argument. Who here is worried about Goodwin's kids and is also in favour of deregulation of water testing?

Cueball Cueball's picture

The Bish wrote:

I fail to see how a world in which sufferring is increased for a few (Goodwin and his family, in this case) but is not lessened for any could possibly be considered more just.

On what basis do you assert that the world was not bettered for many because of this act? Not saying I approve of it, but the assumption seems pretty broad.

Tommy_Paine

"Total straw man argument."

Actually, someone made reference to that in the previous thread, of which this one is a continuation. So, it's not a "straw man argument" at all.

It is, however, close to a false dichotomy. One could be concerned about both.

This aside, I wanted to dramatically illustrate that the violence of people like Goodwin, and that champions of the now colapsing neo-liberal capitalism are in fact very violent people.

 

Tommy_Paine

I fail to see how a world in which sufferring is increased for a few (Goodwin and his family, in this case) but is not lessened for any could possibly be considered more just.

 

You see suffering. I see consequences.

remind remind's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:
This aside, I wanted to dramatically illustrate that the violence of people like Goodwin, and that champions of the now colapsing neo-liberal capitalism are in fact very violent people.

I concur they are, but yet people accept this as being nothing whatsoever.

 

 

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

So, the police start asking for all the men on a street to come out of their homes, they are loaded into trucks, driven off, and don't return, you're street is next ... do you fight back? If you're a male, do you quietly go off becuase, well, that's the law and you've asked, "what would Ghandi have done?" If you're female, do you let your husbands, sons, and brothers be carted away because violence only begets violence?

Tommy_Paine

"When the law break in, how you gonna go?

Shot down on the pavement,

Or waiting on death row?"

---The Clash "Guns of Brixton"

"I concur they are, but yet people accept this as being nothing whatsoever."

Well, calamities arising from these economic policies are usually presented to us as events similar to tornadoes-- no one's fault, just something that happens.

 

Or, that those who might be seen as responsible just made an "honest mistake", meaning, these highly educated people, with access to expert advice are allowed to plead stupidity to avoid consequence.

I don't buy it. Whether we are talking the current economic calamity, the Dzisanski murder, or the Smith Inquiry, (among countless other inquiries) these are not "acts of God" or the result of honest human error.

They are deliberate acts, conceived and perpetrated because the perpetrators have no fear of consequence.

 

 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Frustrated Mess wrote:

So, the police start asking for all the men on a street to come out of their homes, they are loaded into trucks, driven off, and don't return, you're street is next ... do you fight back? If you're a male, do you quietly go off becuase, well, that's the law and you've asked, "what would Ghandi have done?" If you're female, do you let your husbands, sons, and brothers be carted away because violence only begets violence?

Obviously in that kind of situation what constitutes a "just response" is going to be different.   But we are not in that situation in this country ... nor is anyone in pretty much any advanced capitalist country at prsent.

And yet, in South Africa under the racist apartheid system, most of the struggle was peaceful...strikes, demonstrations, boycotts etc.  The ANC's military wing did engage in armed actions, but these were in general very restrained...acts of sabotage against the infrastructure of apartheid.

 

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
But I prefer it to no justice, which is what the British government, the American government and the Canadian government seem intent on delivering for their masters who have gleefully visited upon the public their own form of insidious violence, which they euphamistically refer to as "the free market" or "free trade" or "deregulation".

Has there ever been a vigilante who didn't say that he reluctantly did "what the law wouldn't do"?

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Has there ever been a capitalist who didn't cower behind the law?

Tommy_Paine

 

Laws they have a creation and enforcement monopoly on.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:
Obviously in that kind of situation what constitutes a "just response" is going to be different. But we are not in that situation in this country ... nor is anyone in pretty much any advanced capitalist country at prsent.

I would consider evictions to be violence. As I would hunger. Violence is perpertated against people every single day in Western societies.

N.R.KISSED

"Obviously in that kind of situation what constitutes a "just response" is going to be different.   But we are not in that situation in this country ... nor is anyone in pretty much any advanced capitalist country at prsent."

 

Immigrant workers were rounded up in their homes and on their way to workplaces today and placed in detention centres. POC and the homeless are rounded up and detained on a routine basis, people are denied housing economic security and basic safety on a regular basis. The privilege and comfort that are experienced by some is being paid for by the majority both domestically and abroad. We are in the heart of the empire is the only acceptable response to wave banners and chant every couple of months?

martin dufresne

The notion that some anonymous folks sitting behind a keyboard are entitled to dictate what is or isn't moral for the oppressed to do is a sick joke.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Did I say that the only response should be to wave banners and chant?

There are plenty of militant but  peaceful ways to challenge authority.   If folks are being evicted I see nothing at all wrong with a community taking collective action such as staging a blockade to prevent eviction.

There may be tactics that can be used to deal with situations such as happened today.

There are no doubt repressive actions taken in western capitalist countries.   But in no way is it in on the level of fascist terror unleashed in the death squad states of Latin America a decade or two ago.   People are not systematically being tossed out aircraft doors over the ocean as they were in Argentina.   There are no "mass graves" as was commonplace in El Salvador.

 

martin dufresne

Thank God for small favours. Still, 43 unarmed citizens have been shot and killed over the last 22 years by Montreal cops, with none of the killers having suffered any significant consequences.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

martin dufresne wrote:

The notion that some anonymous folks sitting behind a keyboard are entitled to dictate what is or isn't moral for the oppressed to do is a sick joke.

 

Heh.  Word, martin!  Cool

 

avoir le dernier mot!

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

This both fascinated me, and chilled me to the bone, because to me it posits a world where the rich experiment with the world at the expense of us all...

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

martin dufresne wrote:

The notion that some anonymous folks sitting behind a keyboard are entitled to dictate what is or isn't moral for the oppressed to do is a sick joke.

This is a discussion forum where people present their points of view...argue things out.   Nobody is "dictating" to anyone.  In fact if I were planning an action this would be the last place I'd come for advice.  (sorry mods!)   And I suspect that those planning things aren't pouring over babble threads.

Nevertheless some actions/tactics I think are good, positive and build the movement.   Others I think are just assinine and stupid.

Again, I come back to how this thread started...Judy Rebick's column on the window smashing by the dude in London.   She called the guy a "yahoo"...I'd use stronger language..."f*cking a**hole" is the term that comes to mind.

 

 

 

saga saga's picture

Careful ... the cops may decide you are encouraging him and arrest you too!Laughing

I'd be inclined to dissociate myself from such actions, and not draw attention to them.

 

In these times of corrupt corporate rule, though, I can't say I blame them.

No one owns 'the movement', imo.

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Maybe it's hard for Canadians to comprehend the scale of the economic collapse in Britain. We're talking about three collapsed banks: the equivalent of BMO, Royal Bank and Scotiabank going into administration and being bailed out by the taxpayer. We're talking about a smallish country that deliberately kept itself out of Europe (and so misses their support) and doesn't have the benefit of an economically  massive southern neighbour to lean on. The Royal Bank of Scotland, the fourth-largest bank in the world and a 200-year old institution--about as conservative an investment as you could find--was driven into calamity by Sir Fred Goodwin, the CEO, who then walked away from this record failure--a record, incidentally, in the midst of other massive, massive collapses--with a pension worth 16.9 million pounds. When this was pointed out as a gross overpayment for utter incompetence, when thousands lost their jobs and their homes, Goodwin responded with arrogance and entitlement. He refused to back down, pitting himself against the Prime Minister, parliament, his own shareholders and public sentiment. That in itself should be construed as a violent action. Indeed, where did Goodwin's violence start? Flagrantly and irresponsibly running a reliable company into the ground? Glorifying profit with no regard for workers, stability and longevity? Audaciously stealing a masive pension into his severance papers? Spitting in the face of the British public again, again and again? Where were his thoughts for his children then?

To then abuse the concerted action of vandalising his home and expensive luxury car--now retaliatory, now political--as that of a 'yahoo' or 'fucking asshole' is so disproportionate as to be absurd.

 

George Victor

"To then abuse the concerted action of vandalising his home and expensive luxury car--now retaliatory, now political--as that of a 'yahoo' or 'fucking asshole' is so disproportionate as to be absurd."

-------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Did Sir Fred use these epithets or someone else? Quoted where?

martin dufresne

"yahoo" (Rebick)

"fucking asshole" (Radiorahim)

But they are attacking a brick thrower, not the billionnaire thief.

George Victor

And I'm sure the British middle class , brought up on "a man's home is his castle",will understand and empathize ...with someone. Course, if they and the ballot box do not matter a tinker's damn, have fun...I guess. Whatever turns your crank, it used to go, by those who gave much thought to it. And I'm sure it was all thought out..."You take the rocks, Max. I've got the crowbar. Now, when I say go..."

 

The Bish

Cueball wrote:

On what basis do you assert that the world was not bettered for many because of this act? Not saying I approve of it, but the assumption seems pretty broad.

The only possible way I can see anyone's life being improved by that act is through schadenfreude, and if we're using schadenfreude as an form of justice we have some really serious problems with our definition of "just".

Quote:
Actually, someone made reference to that in the previous thread, of which this one is a continuation. So, it's not a "straw man argument" at all.

Who, in the previous thread, said that they were in favour of water deregulation?

Quote:
You see suffering. I see consequences.

And what are the consequences? Are the consequences sufferring?

Quote:
So, the police start asking for all the men on a street to come out of their homes, they are loaded into trucks, driven off, and don't return, you're street is next ... do you fight back? If you're a male, do you quietly go off becuase, well, that's the law and you've asked, "what would Ghandi have done?" If you're female, do you let your husbands, sons, and brothers be carted away because violence only begets violence?

You do understand the difference between directly resisting immediate violence and taking revenge on people who have previously committed violence against you, right? Breaking the windows of a bank or a banker's house is not resisting power. I'm really sorry if people have convinced themselves that it is and they take offence to being told that it's not, but it's not. As I asked in the previous thread, what are the specific goals that such an act seeks to accomplish? Because I can not personally see any way that it could possibly achieve anything productive.

Quote:
The notion that some anonymous folks sitting behind a keyboard are entitled to dictate what is or isn't moral for the oppressed to do is a sick joke.

The notion that some anonymous folks sitting behind a keyboard are entitled to dictate what is or isn't moral for the military to do is a sick joke. See how silly that reasoning sounds now?

Quote:
Still, 43 unarmed citizens have been shot and killed over the last 22 years by Montreal cops, with none of the killers having suffered any significant consequences.

And smashing windows is intended to prevent this from happenning in the future in what way?

Krystalline Kraus Krystalline Kraus's picture

martin dufresne wrote:

"yahoo" (Rebick)

"fucking asshole" (Radiorahim)

But they are attacking a brick thrower, not the billionnaire thief.

brilliant comment, thank you.

Krystalline Kraus Krystalline Kraus's picture

.

 

radiorahim wrote:

Did I say that the only response should be to wave banners and chant?

There are plenty of militant but  peaceful ways to challenge authority.   If folks are being evicted I see nothing at all wrong with a community taking collective action such as staging a blockade to prevent eviction.

Ok, radio, but let's play the situation out...

So a community takes collective action and stages a blockade to prevent this eviction.

Here's what happens next...

 

1: the police are notified that the blockade has occurred. this resistance is illegal and is disrupting the peace so the police will intervene. the squad car arrives on the scene, quickly calls for backup.

2:  the police call for more reinforcement. these reinforcements show up. this draws out more people into the street, who either stand to the side and watch passively, heckle the police from the sidelines or join in the blockade out of solidarity.

3: the police are compelled to end the blockade as soon as possible before more people show up, plus, the police do not like it one bit when you stand in the way of law and order. the citizen's audacity needs to be curbed/punished for daring to stand up to authority and an official evicition notice (even if it turns out the eviction is found to be illegal months and months later in the courts)

4: the police lines, bolstered by reinforcement, move in to break up the blockade and arrest its members

5: during the arrest, a scuffle or three occurs since the protesters do not agree with being forcibly removed from the blockade as they feel it is a just action, or just the chaos of the situation and the police grabbing you triggers some activists to resist arrest or try and fight back against the police. The police later charge these protesters with assault police as they used violence against the police officers just doing their jobs.

6: police pull out their tasers (or other pain compliance weapons), batons, and beat the protesters into submission so they can be arrested. police fire tear gas into the air to disperse the crowd.

 

So I ask anyone, now show me who is responsible for the violence in this situation.

 

I mean, surely, the police would say it would have just  been easier for the public if no one had intervened in the eviction and formed a  blockade in the first place since activists went beyond banner waiving.  And they would claim that the public was responsible for the violence by forming the blockade in the first place, and then by resisting arrest.

martin dufresne
WillC

The brick thrower is merely an asshole, or rather, someone who acts without realizing the consequences.  The banker is far worse. You would think that no one on Babble needs to be told what devastation the greed of this banker and the rest his class has caused to the world.

In the previous thread, Statica, you pointed out the "Propaganda of the deed." The effectiveness of that as a tactic depends on our society having an active class consciousness. In spite of the anger directed at a small group of corporate executives, we certainly don't  in North America, and judging by voting results in recent elections, it at present is not strong in Europe.

 

RosaL

The Bish wrote:

It's also an idea that's present in some strains of Marxism - that history has a natural course that we should let run without interfering.  So some Marxists dislike notions such as "human rights" because they think those kinds of concepts prop of capitalism and interfere with the way history is supposed to occur.  Of course, that notion of history is tautological and thus generally useless.

 

I dislike the notion of "human rights" but not for the reasons you mention. I realize that's not the point of this thread, though.

George Victor

 

"The brick thrower is merely an asshole, or rather, someone who acts without realizing the consequences.  The banker is far worse. You would think that no one on Babble needs to be told what devastation the greed of this banker and the rest his class has caused to the world."

-----------------------------------------------------

 

Yes, it's so obvious that perhaps something else is in mind. Winning by means of shifting public opinion, perhaps. Winning by demonstrating the principles that supposedly motivate one.

 

Winning this old battle would be good. 

 

 

Tommy_Paine

 

Thing is, whether we are contemplating our current economic situation, or the environment, or human rights this reductionist would like to point out the bottom line is that we are asking a powerfull few to share their power.

And, you also know that while I have an interest in history, it's not backed up by formal education.  So maybe you can tell me, point to an example where the powerfull few have said, "oh, I see your point.  Awfull selffish of us, here, help yourself."   I can't think of a situation where the powerfull few have not kept power from others without bloodshed.  And, I can't think where the powerless have accomplished power sharing without being forced to use violence, or deffended themselves from the same.

So I while I think pacifism is laudable, and it's the way I'd like the world to work,  I do not think it is the way things work.

I think a dogmatic attachment to non violence is, at the end of the day, disshonest.

 

 

Tommy_Paine

"There are no doubt repressive actions taken in western capitalist countries. But in no way is it in on the level of fascist terror unleashed in the death squad states of Latin America a decade or two ago. People are not systematically being tossed out aircraft doors over the ocean as they were in Argentina. There are no "mass graves" as was commonplace in El Salvador."

 

As long as we don't do much digging around Residential Schools, I guess we can rest easy that there are no mass graves in Canada.

I would agree that our political situation in Canada is not what it has been in places that Radiorahim mentions, and many others. I think it should concern us all that this is where many Canadians would set the bar. And people have a habit of preforming to where they set the bar.

 

And, even at that, the evidence of late shows that the difference between Canada and those places is one of degrees-- and not principle.

 

martin dufresne

Also, our current victims are being buried where our weapons and corporations kill them - abroad (Lebanon, Palestine, Afghanistan, Irak, Africa, South America, Southeast Asia...)

The Bish

Quote:
So I ask anyone, now show me who is responsible for the violence in this situation.

Yes, in that situation the police are responsible for the violence. There is, though, a difference between protecting yourself from a direct threat by combating that threat (in this instance, the police officer who is attacking you), and something like breaking the windows of a bank. Neither the windows nor the physical location of the bank are the threat; damaging them is not a form of self-protection. There is no sense in which you will be less exploited by capital because you have broken the window. If anything, people will simply be more exploited because the banks will use that property damage as an excuse to ramp up service fees.

Quote:
So maybe you can tell me, point to an example where the powerfull few have said, "oh, I see your point. Awfull selffish of us, here, help yourself." I can't think of a situation where the powerfull few have not kept power from others without bloodshed. And, I can't think where the powerless have accomplished power sharing without being forced to use violence, or deffended themselves from the same.

I don't think that's really the point. The idea isn't that peaceful protests are going to convince Harper to suddenly love immigrants. It's to attract a groundswell of public opinion so large that politicians must come on side or lose whatever power they have left.

This has, by the way, worked in the past. England banned the slave trade largely as a result of pressure from Protestant religious communities who viewed slavery as a moral blight on the nation, for example. Women's rights such as the right to vote were gained primarily (though perhaps not entirely) through peaceful means. The civil rights movement in the U.S., which resulted in significant (though still incomplete) progress in the rights of black people succeeded largely because of a non-violent movement.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Sorry for the thread drift.

Bish wrote:
England banned the slave trade largely as a result of pressure from Protestant religious communities who viewed slavery as a moral blight on the nation,

Hi Bish, one correction, as this is a highly repeated and believed myth. The transatlantic slave trade was abolished because it was no longer profitable. I'm no expert on the topic, but attended a conference last year in which there were many experts, and there's a time lag between the halting of the transatlantic slave trade, which England had a huge hand in both in the use of slaves as well as the "business" of the slave trade to the Americas and the abolition of slavery itself. Slavery continued in both England, the U.S. and Canada, long after the legal transatlantic slave trade ended.

There's no moral high ground. It almost always comes down to profits.

End of thread drift.

 

Tommy, you have articulated my position perfectly here:

Tommy_Paine wrote:
So I while I think pacifism is laudable, and it's the way I'd like the world to work, I do not think it is the way things work.

It isn't, and you're right, the state will not give up it's power by the powerful force of our (or whoever's) arguments and persuasive tactics. It's in fact ridiculous to imagine this is true.

No, throwing rocks doesn't change anything. But holding state-sanctioned marches and rallies, in which permits are obtained, routes are agreed to, the demonstration is conducted and then completed and then everyone goes home? This changes the world? I don't think so. (I'm paraphrasing someone who is a hot-topic name here on babble. I think you all know who.)

George Victor

Right now, "the state" is represented by people who want to end state intervention (except for road building and police/military functions) in Canada

They got there by convincing the Great Unread that they would look after them, body and soul.

Labour got into that position at war's end in England b ecause they convinced enough people that the welfare state was viable.

Canada got there because the libs were counting heads and Britain and Europe were leading the way.

Tommy Douglas knew democracy was the only way.

We have to be better at organizing than they are as we reach the crisis points.

Check your history. Look around at your neighbours. 

Tell me they are ready to storm the barricades alongside the kids. 

Or is all that too much to imagine.

 

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

George Victor wrote:
Tommy Douglas knew democracy was the only way. 

"Democracy" in the vast majority of cases, in fact as far as I know always, except in the case of some regiemes of the former East block was instituted with considerable amount of violence.  

Wiseoldfart

After reading earlier posts, it seems that some feel violence is a legitimate form of protest at gatherings such as the G20.  I suggest that the individuals that come to protest armed with hard hats, bandanas, baseball bats, bottles of bleach, etc. have little interest in the issues,rather they come with the explicit purpose of creating violence for their own gratification.  I feel sorry for the majority legitimate protesters that get lumped in with these thugs.

remind remind's picture

Cueball wrote:
George Victor wrote:
Tommy Douglas knew democracy was the only way. 

"Democracy" in the vast majority of cases, in fact as far as I know always, except in the case of some regiemes of the former East block was instituted with considerable amount of violence. 

Yep, and I have no doubt that violence is going to be needed in order to maintain it.

 

N.R.KISSED

radiorahim wrote:

Did I say that the only response should be to wave banners and chant?

There are plenty of militant but  peaceful ways to challenge authority.   If folks are being evicted I see nothing at all wrong with a community taking collective action such as staging a blockade to prevent eviction.

There may be tactics that can be used to deal with situations such as happened today.

There are no doubt repressive actions taken in western capitalist countries.   But in no way is it in on the level of fascist terror unleashed in the death squad states of Latin America a decade or two ago.   People are not systematically being tossed out aircraft doors over the ocean as they were in Argentina.   There are no "mass graves" as was commonplace in El Salvador.

i think we need to be careful when making these kind of comparisons. In western capitalist societies there is continuous ongoing violence against marginalized people and their communities. First Nations, Black people and the homeless are routinely beaten on the streets or holding cells and sometimes killed, the violence continues throughout the criminal justice system in the courts and the atrocious level of violence that exists in jails and prisons. Most of this violence is not commonly acknowledged or witnessed by the majority but it is more than evident to its victims. The NDP's tough on crime stance is evidence there is little willingness to acknowledge this violence.

Physical violence is not only carried out by agents or the state, violence against women is not just the act of individuals but ultimately the expression of culturally sanctioned heirachies and operations of power.

Violence is not only physical either that is the insidious nature of social, economic and emotional violence, although the potential or threat of physcial violence is ever present. Racism by its nature is violence it is an act of negation and a denial of one's humanity it is an assault on the human spirit with consequences that are both physical and emotional in devastation. The systematic manner in which people are excluded from education, employment and housing are manifestations of power and expresssions of tyranny. Expulsions, evictions forced unemployment or exclusion from employment are all threats to survival. The willingness of the majority of Canadians to accept these condition are an act of violence in themselves. This is tryranny this is oppression.

It is also important to note that the state/ruling class is willling to utilize its apparatus of violence when it feels that it is threatened. The tyranny carried out in Latin America was carried out against an organized and functional left that threatened the mechanisms of power. There is no such threat presently exisiting in Western Capitalist countries. I would say the main reason that no such opposition to power exists is due to the operations and mechanisms of power that disenfranchise and disempower resistance. Considering that physical violence by state action generally occurs when power is threatened, one might argue that less physical violence is a function of the effectiveness of oppressive mechanisms of power.

Also as others have pointed out it is inaccurate to separate out Tyranny that occurs in other countries from the mechanisms of power that operate and exist in western capitalist countires. It is the operations of the financiers and corporations that support and maintain tyranny in other places and to which those of us who are privileged are complicit with to varying degrees.

The Bish

remind wrote:

Cueball wrote:
George Victor wrote:
Tommy Douglas knew democracy was the only way. 

"Democracy" in the vast majority of cases, in fact as far as I know always, except in the case of some regiemes of the former East block was instituted with considerable amount of violence. 

Yep, and I have no doubt that violence is going to be needed in order to maintain it.

I would be quite interested in seeing a list of the advances made in Canada, the United States, Britain, or any other similar country, over the past 100 years which have required a "considerable amount of violence".

I think something that's important to keep in mind is that "revolutionary" violence often becomes as oppressive as the state it replaced, or worse.  See: the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, Chinese Revolution, etc.  Violence spirals out of control extremely quickly, and I think we should all be extremely wary of using it to try to achieve political goals.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:
After reading earlier posts, it seems that some feel violence is a legitimate form of protest at gatherings such as the G20. I suggest that the individuals that come to protest armed with hard hats, bandanas, baseball bats, bottles of bleach, etc. have little interest in the issues,rather they come with the explicit purpose of creating violence for their own gratification. I feel sorry for the majority legitimate protesters that get lumped in with these thugs.

So you would argue the American revolution was an error and led by thugs? You would argue the Haitian slaves who rebelled and gained freedom were thugs and rightfully belonged in their chains until such time as their rulers democratically freed them? Just as two examples ...

George Victor

"Tommy Douglas knew democracy was the only way."

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The Baptist minister was very good in the ring - made up for his diminutive size. But he used humour and moral outrage out on the hustings. And it didn't hurt that he spoke from a Christian beginning. Many of the CCF founders did. There was no conflict of religion and politics of  social democracy.

 

But if anyone here can point to his use of violence in attaining power in Saskatchewan and bringing forward public medicine for all...well, I'm ready to stand corrected.

 

Of course universal suffrage was not gained without mass action. But there was no storming of the bastille in Britain. They argued - from the Bible - that the workman is worthy of his hire, and of the vote. The gals had to do their bit in wartime to win the vote.

 

But please, tell me about all the violence. History I've obviously missed out on.  

 

As for the future...well, my experience from the sixties to  the present is that nobody of the militant left had ever held a weapon, let alone fired it.  Presumably, someone else would have had to do that nasty business. Although I must say, talk of people coming down out of the hills in the U.S. has had me looking again at that lovely little over and under 12 guage...for skeet and trap shooting only, of course. 

George Victor

"So you would argue the American revolution was an error and led by thugs? You would argue the Haitian slaves who rebelled and gained freedom were thugs and rightfully belonged in their chains until such time as their rulers democratically freed them? Just as two examples ..."

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Of course not, FM. Neither would you advocate killing, eh? Or are you a rule utilitarian where it comes to that one? Never even in defense of hearth and home?

 

That's to retreat to reductionist absurdity in your argument. reductio ad absurdum

 

 

 

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