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Finally, we also need some clarity about violence. It’s simple. The state has a monopoly of it. What…

Finally, we also need some clarity about violence. It’s simple. The state has a monopoly of it. What that means is that there is no way for the public, most particularly in developed first world societies, to compete on the field of violence with their governments. That ought to be utterly and blatantly obvious. Our strong suit is information, facts, justice, disobedience, and especially numbers. In sum: politics. Their strong suit is lying and especially exerting military power. A contest of escalating violence is a contest we are doomed to lose. A contest in which numbers and commitment and increasingly militant non-violent activism confronts state power is a contest we can win. Yes, the impetus to manifest anger is powerful. But there is nothing courageous or strategic about charting a path directly into the lion’s mouth. Our tactical sense must couple to strategic plans aimed at winning. We can have teach-ins. We can have rallies. We can have marches. We can have strikes. We can build our own blockades. We can utilize all manner of creativity and playfulness amidst our dissent. We can go out and talk to people. We can obstruct. We can destroy property when doing so sends a clear and coherent message. We can hurl back tear gas canisters in self defense and tear down walls and other obstacles to remain mobile. But to attack the police with the intent of doing bodily harm, whether with stones or Molotov cocktails, simply invites further escalation of their violence. It does nothing to hinder elite agendas but instead propels and legitimates them. Anger-fed violence is hard avoid in some situations, I well know. But avoid it we must.

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