The Violence Unfolding

A look at the global movement for greater equality and justice in the United States, and a blunt condemnation of the wanton cruelty that persists at the heart of the problem…

by: Frederick Foote

The protests against U.S. domestic terrorism (let’s call it what it is) against people of color, has become a worldwide movementIt has become a social justice campaign centered on eradicating violent and excessive law enforcement activities and the resulting shield of immunity for their crimes. It is a global calling-out of the institutions and individuals that support this type of wanton police cruelty and their invulnerability.

Sadly, the violence unfolding in these protests, at times, appears to be from a small minority of trouble-makers intent on causing property damage, fomenting anarchy and causing as much damage, destruction, and theft as possible. The violence also comes from the top down, as law enforcement suppresses peaceful protests, incite riots, intimidates the media, controls and prevents riots and looting, and in a few cases, tries to protect their own from harm. This police violence is solely focused on groups and individuals and may result in incarceration, injury, or even death.

Many patriots, pundits, and influencers bemoan the protests and resulting violence while celebrating law enforcement’s use of deadly force to quell any demonstration. These talking heads are not against violence. Many of them routinely applaud war, celebrate mass incarceration, and the advocate for the right of individuals to bear arms. 

America is a nation born of a violent revolution and tempered by a bloody Civil War that still defines it. We are not, and have never been, an anti-violent, peace-loving, or pacifists’ people. The champions of nonviolence make-up a small minority of the U.S. population.

In a less violent nation, the governments and ruling elites might be directing their energy and efforts to change the legal systems to ensure justice for all. In the U.S., we routinely call up the National Guard and, in times of great unrest, the full-time military, invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807. 

The changes necessary for greater equality and justice in the United States will almost certainly involve increasing calculated violence on both sides. Violence is a language we all, sadly, understand. It is the first tool humanity grabs to solve too many of its problems. While Martin Luther King, Jr. employed nonviolence to expose the violent nature of racism, he recognized that violence was necessary for political and social change in the land of the vicious and the home of the hateful.

More than ever, we need to understand violence and social change in our times. We must again learn how to use state violence to transform our society and to control our tendency to reach for a weapon and replicate the very behaviors we condemn.

The sad part is, we do not have a lot of time to master these crucial skills.

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