...You Got It!
I’ve heard this crap before. They say that when no one listens to your voice, violence is the only alternative. Here’s the latest round of this twisted thinking by some dude named Benji Hart:
source: Salon, of course.
Baltimore’s violent protesters are right: Smashing police cars is a legitimate political strategy
It's crucial to see non-violence as a tactic, not a philosophy. If it fails to win people over it's a futile tactic
EnlargeA Baltimore Metropolitan Police transport vehicle burns during clashes in Baltimore, Maryland April 27, 2015. (Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)
As a nation, we fail to comprehend Black political strategy in much the same way we fail to recognize the value of Black life.
We see ghettos and crime and absent parents where we should see communities actively struggling against mental health crises and premeditated economic exploitation. And when we see police cars being smashed and corporate property being destroyed, we should see reasonable responses to generations of extreme state violence, and logical decisions about what kind of actions yield the desired political results.
I’m overwhelmed by the pervasive slandering of protesters in Baltimore this weekend for not remaining peaceful. The bad-apple rhetoric would have us believe that most Baltimore protesters are demonstrating the right way—as is their constitutional right—and only a few are disrupting the peace, giving the movement a bad name.
This spin should be disregarded, first because of the virtual media blackout of any of the action happening on the ground, particularly over the weekend. Equally, it makes no sense to cite the Constitution in any demonstration for Black civil rights (that document was not written about us, remember?), but certainly not one organized specifically to call attention to the fact that the state breaks its own laws with regard to the oppressed on a nearly constant basis.
But there is an even bigger problem. Referring to Black Lives Matter protests, as well as organic responses to police and state violence as “non-violent” or “peaceful” erases the actual climate in which these movements are acting, the militant strategies that have rendered them effective, and the long history of riots and direct action on which they are built.
I do not advocate non-violence—particularly in a moment like the one we currently face. In the spirit and words of militant Black and Brown feminist movements from around the globe, I believe it is crucial that we see non-violence as a tactic, not a philosophy.
Non-violence is a type of political performance designed to raise awareness and win over sympathy of those with privilege. When those on the outside of struggle—the white, the wealthy, the straight, the able-bodied, the masculine—have demonstrated repeatedly that they do not care, are not invested, are not going to step in the line of fire to defend the oppressed, this is a futile political strategy. It not only fails to meet the needs of the community, but actually puts oppressed people in further danger of violence.
Read more. Don’t fuckin’ bother.
So now, they are (and have been) excusing the rioters. Back in November, I ran across an idiot who was saying that what the rioters in Ferguson MO were the equivalent to those who participated in the Boston Tea Party. These idiots say that the rioting scumbags in our nation’s cities today are just like the brave patriots who fought in the American Revolution. Really? Well, I can think of a few differences between the two groups, and I think that I can prove to any sane, rational person, that they aren’t the same at all.
First of all, the British government was enriching itself off of the American colonists, whereas most of the protesters are living off of the our federal, state, and local governments. That’s about as opposite as you can get.
Secondly, the patriots of the American Revolution fully understood and expected, that England would come back on them with everything they had, and would not stop short of killing every last one of them, if they could. The rioters, and those who support them, will say that anything done to hold them accountable by law is unreasonable and unfair. Once the dust settles, they will expect all of us, including those who had their property destroyed and tax money spent on increased policing and rebuilding public property that was destroyed, to just forget the whole thing (and be happy about it). Not much similarity there either.
Third, our founding fathers did not shy away from what they believed in. As the story goes, John Hancock signed his name large enough on the Declaration of Independence so the king of England could read it without his eyeglasses. These men were in it for the long haul and were willing to suffer the consequences if they were not successful. The rioters will try to kill a police officer, if they can get away with it, and then hide in the shadows and hope they are not identified. These two groups are as different from each other as the meanings of bravery and cowardice.
One last thing for Benji - He says that rioting is “a legitimate political strategy”. WRONG!!!!! The ONLY legitimate political strategy in this country is one that remains within the law. Once a group defines its criminal actions as a “political strategy”, then that group has moved outside the realm of simple criminality, and into something much more sinister.
If these protesters, (and their sympathizers), are going try to legitimize the attacking of police officers and the destruction of property by describing it as a political strategy, then they are giving us the right to accuse them of treason, and treat them accordingly.