Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! For now, I’ve returned from my Joiyssey to participate in the "revolution":I’ve been at many Occupy sites across the country:1st in D.C. Freedom Plaza I faced & challenged racism/white supremacy, sexism/patriarchy, classism, heterosexism & eventually was kicked off the island; then I offered workshops as I drove to CA:“Anti-Racism Geared for White Occupiers”; “NO DRONES” "Successes and Pitfalls of OWS"

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lets have the dialogue about violence

I've talked about this often on this blog (I think...) but it keeps coming up, especially after david swanson's post soooo... here is my 2cntz

Let's have the discussion about what is violence and what isn't.

I think it is interesting that in my experience, it is the white males (the dominant originators, perpetrators & perpetuaters of violence against life) that are normally obsessed with and susceptible to media spins (oh they're sooooo violent...) labeling protestors and their actions violent.

My understanding - largely from my participation in those civil rights demonstrations I did participate in - is that "non-violence" was defined as "no violence against human beings, specifically reacting to police and counter-protestors (as kkk, etc.) with violence".

Direct actions by people standing up to power have ALWAYS been characterized at some point or another as "violence" i.e. sitting at a lunch counter, entering a school, blocking a doorway - where the action of power, i.e. separate but equal, armed individuals named police/military, the hogging for some and deprivation for others of resources, are rarely defined as "violence"

For me, the appearance of a cop wearing many objects of lethal weapons IS violence, the huge mansions with wisteria-laced iron fences is violence, the expensive restaurants oozing special food and overflowing garbage cans is violence.

A building that stands empty, that formerly provided services to people without those services IS violence; the taking over of that building is justice.

Furthermore, if we are truly building alliances and not dominating actions, our first job is to deeply trust ourselves, individuals and groups we are allying with are competent, thoughtful, compassionate and passionate activists that have thought about whatever they are deciding to do and are entitled to make their own choices sin condemnation - whether theirs is the act we personally would carry out or not.

I also think we can fall into grandiose superiority/inferiority traps - the under/thru/overpinnings of racism, sexism, classism, all isms in our society - where we can feel sooooo superior in our knowledge of which action is best, which is not.

This is not to say we do not have judgments, critical thinking, as well as experiences and we learn & grow from them. But it is to say that NO ONE really knows for sure what are the best tools for demolishing the empire.

I think we should embrace the original meaning and intent of "non-violent" as "no violence against human beings" and divorce it from it's modern & media-inflamed definition to include property: this marriage of life & property is distracting at best, extremely divisive at worse.