A Debate on Protest Tactics - part 2

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Unionist

Cueball wrote:

Indeed, I agree that people do have the moral right to express their protest through unlawful activities that do not harm other people directly.

So that would exclude smashing other people's windows or burning other people's property, right? Or does that only harm other people "indirectly"?

I don't draw the line at the same place. Sometimes you have to do things which are unlawful and which harm other people directly.

But when we have a picket line, and one member uses a screw to scratch a nice deep groove in the boss's car (or some third party car) as they cross - and where this was not authorized by the union - that member will be charged and sanctioned long before the state does (even if they never do). And it's irrelevant whether the picket line is lawful, or whether the strike has been banned by back-to-work legislation, or it's in violation of some interlocutory injunction.

The key is individual heroics which risk causing harm to the struggle, irrespective of whether they are legal or not, or harm some "other people" or not. At least, that's where I draw the line.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Read my previous post for clarification of my views, if you will.

Slumberjack

You'd have to question anything that seeks out the spotlight in order to perform its best work.  One would think that anonymity as opposed to theatrics is a more desirable characteristic for any prospective insurgent contemplating this line of work.

Unionist

Cueball wrote:

Read my previous post for clarification of my views, if you will.

Right. We're agreed.

NDPP

Supporting the Prisoners of the G20 Police State

http://www.counterpunch.org/gelderloos07072010.html

"What matters is that a great many more banks and cop cars will have to be thrown on the trash fire of history before we can talk about a new world, so we'd better stop getting so upset by such a modest show of resistance.."

kropotkin1951

NoDifferencePartyPooper wrote:

Supporting the Prisoners of the G20 Police State

http://www.counterpunch.org/gelderloos07072010.html

"What matters is that a great many more banks and cop cars will have to be thrown on the trash fire of history before we can talk about a new world, so we'd better stop getting so upset by such a modest show of resistance.."

 

I loved this paragraph from the piece you linked too.

Quote:

I can assure these liberals that there are thousands of anarchists in North America who would love to trash a police car or a bank. There are millions of other people who would love to do these things as well. The fact that so many liberals denounced these actions would suggest that liberals, along with rich people, are one of the few demographics who don't harbor any rancor for cops or banks, or that they are the political equivalent of Victorians, suppressing their appreciation of something that is both healthy and necessary. This level of denial reminds me of the hacks who decried the violence in the Canadian newspapers, speaking of provocations by an irresponsible minority, while the accompanying photographs, careful to always to show only individuals or small groups damaging property, could not hide the huge crowds gathering around the delinquents, composed of unmasked, normally dressed people, taking pictures and smiling as they watched the destruction. Those bystanders knew what anyone who is still human knows well: that a burning cop car is a beautiful thing.

adharden

Yes, well all of this (previous 2 posts) is not at all surprising coming from Gelderloos, who unabashedly advocates for violent tactics, is it.  Again, the anti-state mentality - the loathing of the state - undergirds his argument, which will always tend to tilt its defenders and advocates toward violent tactics and accompanying pointless violent spectacles that drive a wedge between advancing critical issues (left/green/indigenous/antiwar) and the broader public, as well as sucking all the attention onto violent tactics and away from the messages of the far broader nonviolent movement.  Violence, to some, is an end in itself - this rings true in the last sentence of the previous post.  But we shouldn't pretend that violent tactics are anything more than catharsis for the venting of a (justifiable!) indignance against systemic injustice and global problems.... while nonviolent mass movement-building may stand a chance of steering the public, and potentially states - toward saner courses in an age confronting climate change, resource depletion, appalling north-south imbalances, corporate rule, etc... Where I and Gelderloos essentially differ is on goals - he loathes the 'state', and I envision one transformed toward participatory democracy in the service of social and environmental justice.... readers may refer to his trenchant book 'how nonviolence protects the state' for his defense of using violent tactics, and his inspiration in self-styled anarchism.  

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Long thread.

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