Nonviolent Delusion and the Black Lives Matter Protest Movement

 

 

MLK said a riot is the language of the unheard. Thank you Ferguson and Baltimore, maybe they are starting to listen now. . .

 

Seattle two

Our pursuit for justice for Mike Brown, Eric Garner and now Freddie Gray, along with hundreds of others has hitherto existed in a curious paradox when it comes to debating the effects of nonviolent pacifism versus direct action and confrontation. In terms of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, Garner was murdered before Michael Brown. His death was caught on camera for the world to see and the perverse violence and culpability of Daniel Pantaleo’s chokehold is undeniable. In Michael Brown’s case Darren Wilson had the benefit of the prosecutor and law enforcement on his side and no video evidence of what happened. The main difference between the two cases is that in Eric Garner’s death people passively and ineffectively marched and pleaded for justice to no avail by the state. In Mike Brown’s case an entire community rose up, fought back, literally stood their ground, and succeeded in building one of the largest protest movements in recent history. Freddie Gray’s death and ensuing protests have focused the world’s attention back on the U.S. and its racist, militarized police forces. The authorities are running out of fabricated explanations as to why they haven’t brought these thugs in blue to justice and the uprisings and anger, not the pleasantries and marches, are helping to drive this reality home.

Many of the protests thus far have been dominated by activists that are unfortunately victims of the racist, ineffective ideology of nonviolence by any means necessary. It is their go-to tactic to vilify and riot shame anyone that does not adhere to their authoritarian version of passivity in the face of immense violence. They will even do the NYPD’s work for them by becoming citizen cops and reprimand anyone who decides to employ a “diversity of tactics” while protesting. The institutionalized, white supremacist ideology of nonviolent acton is religiously adhered to even by the majority of black organizers. Nelson Mandela did not believe this. Malcolm X did not believe this and even MLK understood the reality of rioting.

The delusion of nonviolence and pacifism stems from the notion that oppressed peoples do not know anything about liberating themselves or fighting back against state brutality. Nonviolence comes from the idea that safe and often times privileged white  intellectuals that have never had to deal with issues of racist cops wontonly murdering them know best how to lead and organize on behalf of the colonized. This is a dangerous road to traverse if we want to truly revolutionize social relations in our society. Nonviolent activists maintain that the “violence” of, say, breaking a window, is somehow commiserate with that of the structural violence of institutionalized racism and imperialism. Furthermore, they cater to the state’s demands, thus validating a system that is predicated on injustice and exploitation . They ask why the protesters are resorting to violence as if we weren’t already living in a society in perpetual violence, both in our local communities as well as abroad where drone strikes seem to operate with the same amount of impunity.

Do these people not realize that it is thanks to the rebellion in Ferguson and now Baltimore that we have even arrived at this inflection point? If Ferguson would have amounted to nothing more than a few marches and vigils similar to what happened after Garner’s murder then we would not have arrived at this moment the way we did. Many people fail to see the effectiveness of the riots and the so called “violence” that the citizens resorted to because the mythology of nonviolence has been so deeply embedded into the national psyche despite the evidence to the contrary.

If oppressed peoples are supposed to be the ones leading such movements then why are we allowing the movement against police brutality to be dominated by tactics that come out of the privileged bourgeois tradition of nonviolence?  Most of the time supporters of pacifism have been afforded the luxuries of have their basic needs met. Oppressed people have no other option other than to take direct action against such abominable oppression.

So if you see any of your brave comrades decide to do something other than hold a sign or walk on the sidewalk please support  them and understand that we are all allies of the same cause with the same goals, some of us believe in using different tactics at different times rather than always adhering to the state’s prescription of nonviolence.

Time to fight back against police impunity!

Justice for all those of police brutality, racism, imperialism.

#blacklivesmatter

Expect Resistance!

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3 Responses to Nonviolent Delusion and the Black Lives Matter Protest Movement

  1. Very interesting argument, thank you for posting it. Personally, I’d consider the bourgeois tradition to be apathy or silence, which are very different things from nonviolent protest, but I definitely understand your anger, and will consider your words.

    You also raise a good point that Eric Garner’s death was just another in a series of murders ignored, and it wasn’t until Michael Brown that the spark caught. I’m not sure it was the violence in Ferguson that explains it, but I can’t say what does. I’m curious though, the Rodney King riots in 1991 didn’t provoke much change, and they were much more violent, whereas the current demonstrations, largely peaceful, are already yielding small, but appreciated changes.

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/12/12/3602641/congress-just-passed-a-bill-that-could-change-the-game-on-what-we-know-about-police-shootings/

    http://www.npr.org/2014/12/16/370961177/presidents-task-force-to-re-examine-how-police-interact-with-public

    I feel that same frustration, that peaceful protests don’t seem to have much of an effect, or even get on the news, but my concern is that acts of violence, broadcast, allow the forces that oppose progress and change to say “Look, they’re hooligans, we don’t have to listen to them.”

    I don’t know the answer, but either way, either approach, thank you for caring.

    • There were actually several changes that the LAPD implemented after the Rodney King Riots, whether or not they are very effective is another discussion entirely. Law enforcement circles everywhere tend to agree that the LAPD is better now than it was then .

      1.The LAPD swore in its first outside police chief, Willie Williams, who would only serve one term unless the city approved a second term

      2. Brought on more Latinos to where caucasians are now the minority on the force.

      3. The use of force is more heavily scrutinized, among some other changes.

      These recent cases obviously bring up issues that are more fundamental to the way our society operates and who our justice system actually serves. Many of the changes after the Rodney King riots as well as whatever might come about from the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner will be seen as cosmetic changes and that it’s extremely difficult to bring about any changes without fundamentally altering social relations writ large.

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