Edited due to the post reading far too much like right-wing propaganda (which it isn’t).
As a disclaimer, a few issues are omitted in this post when referring to organised violence. For instance, it is likely necessary in extreme circumstances (a country under occupation, genocide or extreme persecution being carried out against a group and so forth).
The context, however, was that of advocating organised violence in democratic countries, where other options are available, and making certain groups (such as the police) the targets of that violence (harming individuals for wearing a uniform, irrespective of their participation in oppressing other groups, or lack thereof).
At the time, and observed from a distance through biased lens (so-called “freedom-loving” alternative media channels), it did seem the far left was constantly engaging in egregious acts against innocent people. Not to say that it wasn’t – but of course, the right was no different.
Time puts things in perspective. And it’s easier to see now that the so-called unbiased channels minimising racial tensions in the US were being deceptive, either deliberately or by passing on the minimisation from their US sources. It’s perhaps too easy for someone in western Europe to assume that the US, like much of the “first world”, has surpassed such issues; however, that doesn’t appear to be the case over there (at all).
As a last point, many at the time painted Trump’s prospective victory as a simple discontinuation of the far left agenda; instead, it turned out to be a sinister free-for-all in actually persecuting societal scapegoats, which is very disturbing. What is happening over there is no Twitter joke.
It doesn’t make the issues raised in the post less real – yet that was only part of the picture (and continues to be).
To find a multitude of cases which could be listed as relevant examples of this reality, you needn’t look very far. In fact, new examples pop up every day, one more disheartening than the other, as the social justice zeal morphs into a feeling of omnipotence.
Among the most recent made public by the alternative media was the physical attack of a middle-aged homeless woman, who happened to be Black, in the street, in broad daylight, by a group of young thugs, the one attacking her being three times her size, as the rest – including women and quite a few Black people – cheered and mocked her. All this for being a Trump supporter, aka the supporter of a “privileged racist” who “spews hate”. The attacks escalated after Donald Trump was elected president of the US and riots have continued for days – racially motiated violence against whites, school kids assaulting each other and generalised mayhem.
It is my deduction that in these people’s minds, assaulting the homeless woman was a legitimate way of fighting the oppressive system.
Unfortunately, when it comes to this camp, justifying such attacks on strangers is not difficult. These seem to include the following:
- Physical threats;
- Death threats;
- Threats of getting people fired or otherwise ruining their lives; getting people fired by swarming their workplaces with such demands;
- Getting people arrested or fined, and if possible, jailed;
- Physical assault;
- Psychotic behaviour (shouting, screaming, having fits) over political opinions;
- Destruction of property, which ranges from setting cars on fire and smashing windows to destroying posters, signs, fliers and other materials belonging to their political opponents;
- Doxxing and stalking;
- Labelling with leftist buzzwords such as privileged, sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic and recently, growing in popularity, white;
- Berating one’s mental faculties or sanity over political choices;
- Publicly described fantasies of their political “enemies” suffering terrible fates such as having deadly accidents or deadly illnesses;
- Silencing others by disrupting their speeches and meetings;
- Hijacking other people’s platform for their own purposes;
- Protesting in ways which affect others signifficantly (such as stopping traffic);
- Guilt-tripping others into joining their crusades, to the point of causing self-hatred over a presumed privilege.
Some activists go as far as rationalising violence, in ways which boggle the mind. Take this article for instance, and many others like it.
The people trying to get free cannot be perceived in the same light as the people trying to kill them.
Agreed – provided that the situation is correctly assessed and the people reacting to this perceived violence correctly identify those who pose actual danger to them, as opposed to engaging in generalised group disputes and attacking individuals indiscriminately, at any time, even when not in danger.
People who fight back against police are practicing resistance. If this resistance could be called violent, it pales in comparison to a centuries-old practice that systematically targets Indigenous and Black people. It’s like throwing a pebble at a brick wall.
The “wall” formed by police is composed of individuals who are not some homogenous, timeless entity but human beings performing a job. They are not a uniform just like other people are not their skin colour or ethnicity. Targeting them indiscriminately, regardless of any action they might have taken, or lack thereof, is never justified.
Laverne Cox said in 2014 that “when a trans woman is called a man, that is an act of violence.”
You can call it needless dismissal, rudeness or harshness, but violence is a nuance too far. After all it’s not a character attack; it’s not like a man is a vile creature or this categorisation has any moral implications.
Trans women die at the hands of people who believe this, who believe that they aren’t valid or real. That they’re pretenders, dangerous impostors.
Saying that someone is not who they claim to be does not imply that the person should be attacked as a result. If these crimes happened after non-consensual sex acts (by their refusal to disclose they were trans), the rage must have been primarily caused by the acts themselves, rather than the fact that trans women exist. After all, feminists place such an emphasis on consent and the trauma caused by violation through non-consensual acts, that it is hypocritical for them to claim this situation is any different. Which is why honesty in this case is the best way to avoid being in the middle of it.
Myth #3: Protesters Must Remain Non-Violent for Their Cause to Have Credibility
This argument is such utter bullshit that sometimes I just refuse to engage with people who spew this.
So many of the people alive right now just wouldn’t have been born if their ancestors didn’t kill their conquerors.
People from groups with power are allowed to be violent in so many ways while the disempowered are expected to be picture perfect.
Somebody shoot me. Not literally, I hope.
These people are devastating their own cities because it was right for their ancestors to take up arms in order to survive…? If only they could show one grain of proof that their needlessly destructive actions will actually help their own survival in any way.
I get headaches trying to comprehend how a Marxist, a statist by definition, revels in thoughts of anarchy. The loosening of state control is associated with ideologies such as libertarianism, which is the opposite of socialism.
There has been daily evidence of police officers killing people left and right, but people are still clamoring to humanize cops with #BlueLivesMatter and “what about the good ones?”
As much emotion as reading about these killings rightfully stirs, one must accept that in that milieu there are all sorts of people, as in any other, which includes one’s neighbourhood, one’s city, even one’s family at times.
Nobody’s “humanising them” because they are human to begin with. Progressives make a hobby out of accusing others of dehumanising certain categories of people (ethnic minorities, sex workers, illegal immigrants, you name it) – which is of course wrong to do to anybody. This principle is not arbitrary. And when it comes to carrying out physical attacks or murders based on this dehumanisation, it’s difficult to comprehend the cognitive dissonance.
There are ridiculous standards placed on people who are involved in resistance; they’re not given any room to express their rage and grief however they see fit.
Though rage is certainly natural, it is also very destructive and the cause of much suffering – that’s why civilised societies have developed sistems of mediation, discussion, conciliation, so people could meet each other halfway without extreme harm being caused (as opposed to solving their differences using guns or machetes, as they do in other places). Rage is therefore recognised as the most dangerous emotion, of which we are to be cautios, for fear of causing harm or others causing it to us. It’s amazing that someone even has to elaborate on an issue of common sense, which should be clear to everyone.
Adopting the stance that it is normal to express rage however and whenever you see fit is the same as declaring you disregard other people’s rights intentionally.
Rage is something every individual experiences at some point and many express inappropriately on occasion. Like everyone else, I am well acquainted with it. However, there is a difference between reaching your mental limits (whatever the cause), to later regret it, and embracing this way of expressing yourself as a normal part of everyday life. When most people notice they experience rage too often, they make changes in their lives or seek professional help, because they are aware that their behaviour not only affects others but keeps them in perpetual misery – a misery most want to escape by any means.
It is an unproductive emotion which darkens the mind and often leads to violence; the justice system recognises that by dealing with crimes of passion differently than those which are planned in cold blood.
That said, one cannot have a constructive discussion in a darkened, irrational state; it is nonsensical. The only thing they can do in this state is become obstinate, to the point of being impossible to reason with, or/and bully others. A shouting match is not a discussion.
Myth #5: We Have to Choose Between Violence and Non-Violence
There are situations where non-violence may work better than violence and vice versa.
Having to choose resolutely between one or the other is not a choice we have to make.
Organised violence, planned and embraced as normal, is always a choice. It is not a choice in genuine situations of self defence, when one’s life or physical integrity is threatened in real time. In other situations, if you make that choice, you should be prepared to deal with the consequences as well.
Moreover, you cannot demand protection from a system you are trying to demolish. There was a case recently of a BLM demonstration during which activists chanted “pigs in blankets; fry them”, or something like that, while, ironically, being provided security by the very institution they were demonising. In that scenario, the “oppressed” were so oppressed they were able to instigate the death of those providing them a service, right in front of them.
Systems of oppression evolve over time and we need all the tools we can get. Everyone should be free to choose the tactics that they feel most comfortable with.
For someone who has PTSD, violence might be triggering. A lot of marginalized folks have enough instability in their lives; they can choose not to invite more chaos.
A physically disabled person, depending on their disability, might only be able to engage in militant resistance by acting as a home base for communication or by dispersing information, all of which is just as vital as being in the streets.
The way the author puts it, violence is a duty, from which some are exempt on the grounds of inability to carry it out, still remaining morally obligated to participate on some level.
The unnecessary binary of violence and non-violence creates a divide among people who might be on the same side. The divide between the two tactics can make it seem like one will work while the other will fail, when we really we could be using both.
I don’t intend to romanticize revolution and call for the kind of militancy that is photogenic enough to repost on social media. I’m unsure of what revolution could look like myself.
What I’m demanding here is our right to destroy what destroys us.
If they’re at war and the methods are a free for all – and they seem to think they are – they should not expect the other side to be sympathetic or even tolerant.
Let alone demand the right to destroy a society from the very society they’re trying to destroy. It’s a gigantic mindfuck. If everyone else is fair game, in any possible way (including deadly violence), they should expect the same (I’m referring to militants only, not the groups they claim to speak for).
“Tone Policing” is yet another made-up concept seeking to justify the beligerance progressives often display. Hiding behind a purity of intention and emotion, the author dismisses every natural instinct guiding people through their daily interactions, dismissing concepts such as hysteria, conversational aggressiveness, obtuseness etc.
The comic posted there bursts at the seams with uncompromising entitlement.
This is some of the text:
- Tone policing is just another way to protect privilege.
- Tone policing is a silencing tactic. That means it’s a part of a set of tools used by people holding privilege to prevent marginalised people or groups from sharing their experiences of oppression.
- Tone policing works by derailing a discussion by critiquing the emotionality of a message rather than the message itself.
- A key part of tone policing is that it allows privileged people to define the terms of a conversation about oppression in order for that discussion to continue.
- Generally, this hinges on the idea that emotion and reason cannot coexist – that reasonable discussions cannot involve emotion.
- …That the only productive conversation is calm conversation.
- “Why do you get to decide what constitutes ‘calm’?”
- But discussions can also be for exploring the extent and limits of a topic or situation, for letting off steam, for finding community, and for feeling less alone.
- (Tone policing)…allows a person to regain control over a conversation that is going in a way that makes them uncomfortable by framing the speaker as overly emotional, and therefore unreasonable.
- (Example given) “Your sadness about rape culture makes me sad.” “So you’ll help?” “Could you maybe just not make me sad, instead?”
- Our emotions are valid. You don’t get to dictate the terms of our activism. You don’t get to dictate the ways we can talk about our experiences. It’s your turn to listen now.
I’m not sure where to start or if an analysis of someone’s demand for you to let them shriek at you in perpetuity as you shut up and listen needs an analysis in the first place. It kind of speaks for itself. But for the sake of argument, let’s start with the basics.
No one is obligated to listen to these people if they always conduct themselves in a beligerant manner. One is free to shut the door in their faces, walk away and not give them another fucking minute.
Heated moments happen; they happen in the home, in the street, at work or anywhere else. But they are just that – unplanned, unproductive moments of tension. If the general tone someone uses when addressing you is an aggressive one (even passive agressive), you can simply give them the finger back. You are (hopefully) not strapped to a chair in front of them.
If they decide to engage others in conversation and these others owe them nothing are are not resposible for their frustration, they should be aware that a dialogue is meant to ensure respect on both sides, as opposed to satisfying one side’s need of being heard. If they want to blow off steam, then by all means, they can do it in private, in their echo chambers and safe spaces.
You do not gain allies by bullying them into compliance.
A request for civility is not an attempt to gain control over a conversation; that’s projection right there; they’re the only ones who are obsessed with complete control and not allowing nuances into a discussion. Another example of projection is their assumption that these conversations simply “make privileged people sad” or “guilty” or “defensive”. Not everyone is obsessed with remaining in their comfort zone, and not everyone runs to a safe space with bisquits and puppies to hug when presented with a different view.
Anyway. To my knowledge, many of these so-called discussions where shrieking is used are anything but dialogues, which entail both sides to speak. They are monologues – or unhinged rants, more like it; when the opposing view is being presented, they are the ones doing the silencing with their constant booing, chanting, setting off fire alarms and shouting over others. Reciprocity is not what they are interested in.
To conclude, the job they do at justifying their attitude is a very poor one.