But What About the Violence??

September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


All during the very righteous protest and rebellion in Ferguson, Missouri, the media mouthpieces and political parrots of the rulers made out like the alleged "violence" of the people rising up was the big problem. THIS, they said, was what had to be stopped, even as police were shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters and stormed among them to arrest people for calling out the brutality and murder that these police routinely carry out against the people. And some of these bootlickers were even able to play people for fools and get them to stand in front of the masses to try to "calm down" their protest.

Well, do you really want to stop the violence?

First off, how many police have violently killed unarmed Black and Latino people? Michael Brown, remember, was preceded in death a few weeks earlier by Eric Garner—another unarmed Black man, this time in New York City, choked to death by a gang of police for verbally protesting his arrest. And Mike Brown was followed, a few days and a few miles away, by the murder of yet another Black man, Kajieme Powell, in St. Louis. And murders like these happen several hundred times a year!1

And what about the violence carried out against families forcibly evicted from their homes because they can't pay the rent? Or the violence and coercion visited upon young children forced to go to schools that are more like prisons than places where you could actually learn things?

So, listen here, you "violence-stoppers." Go stand in front of the police when they carry out these murders and stop THEM. We'd be more than happy to join you if you did that. But if all you can do is stand against the people when they straighten their backs against this violence, then just get the fuck out of the way, OK?

Violence? Go to Central America, where the U.S. financed and directed the murders of literally hundreds of thousands of people in the 1970s and 1980s. Ask them about violence. Go to Vietnam, and elsewhere in Indochina, where the U.S. forces directly killed three million people in their wars. Even Martin Luther King, Jr. back in the 1960s was driven to call the U.S. government "the greatest purveyor of violence in the contemporary world." Or as Rap Brown put it in plainer terms, answering the same kinds of morally blind objections during the same time period, when people rose up in rebellion in hundreds of cities, "Violence is as American as cherry pie."

But you don't have to go back in history. Just go to Iraq, where U.S. wars and sanctions have taken the lives of millions more in the past 25 years.

All those "neutral commentators" on CNN don't shake their heads and talk about how important it is to stop THAT violence. No, that violence, we are told, is different, because that's violence carried out by the "good guys"—that is, the people carrying out high- and low-tech murder FOR the interests of the rulers of America.

So you really want to stop the violence? Go stand in front of the ones massively carrying it out all over the world. Which, by the way, a number of people who sincerely adhere to a nonviolent philosophy but understand where the greatest violence comes from, have done—some at great personal cost.

The fact is, if people in Ferguson had NOT risen up and through that then inspired others to come join them—if people had obediently followed Al Sharpton and the rest of those bourgeois "firemen" who only want to pour cold water on the masses—very few people would have ever heard of Michael Brown. And then these same bootlickers not only want to condemn people for this but actually try to stop them?

This really is like condemning a rape victim for fighting back against a rapist, and even actively preventing her from doing so, while not doing or saying anything at all to stop the rapist.

No. If you can't do something righteous, just get the fuck out of the way and definitely do NOT serve the "greatest purveyors of violence" in the name of stopping it.

Ultimately we want a world without violence, and without the class divisions and oppression of groups that are enforced by violence from those on top, and even give rise to violence among the people themselves. That requires revolution—a revolution which would have to defeat and dismantle those institutions of violence. The conditions for this revolution do not yet exist, but we are working to bring forward a movement for revolution as conditions are changing. But if you draw no distinctions between the overwhelming violent repression carried out to enforce those divisions and suppress the people, on the one hand, and the actions of people trying to resist that, on the other—then that world will never come, and generations will continue to die from needless, reactionary violence.


1. See "Operation Ghetto Storm: 2012 Annual Report on the Extrajudicial Killings of 313 Black People by Police, Security Guards and Vigilantes" issued by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. [back]

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