The State Is Violence September 18, 2012Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism.
My response to Dale with regards to the state and violence follows:
Violence haunts even the most seemingly peaceful state institutions. Try this: Go into any government office and violate social or spatial propriety. Sing loudly, hold an impromptu dance party, brandish a sign, spray paint a wall, smoke a joint, take off your clothes, or what have you. Wait for the cops to show up, then disobey their orders. Feel violence upon your body.
The omnipresent threat of state violence disciplines my actions minute by minute. For some – perhaps even many/most – state power takes a more productive role, generating and proliferating the ideologies that justify obedience and elide the brutality of its enforcement. But not all of us have been so successfully conditioned. A sizable minority of the United States population, at the absolute least, behaves primarily out of terror. Even being generous, the contemporary U.S. state functions as bloody tyranny of the majority. Considering that most eligible folks don’t vote, that’s surely too rosy a picture.
Unless you somehow propose to change the basic dynamic of obedience or torture, I don’t see how democratization will turn the state nonviolent (though it could make it less violent). If you support arresting anyone – ever – you don’t believe in strict nonviolence. (That’s not necessarily a bad thing. While appreciate strict nonviolence as an ideal, I don’t advocate or practice it. But remember, supporting arrests and not riots doesn’t make you peaceful, it just means you support legal rather than autonomous violence. I favor the latter.)
Democracy by itself means little to me. I wouldn’t care if a majority of the folks Taos support my friend’s incarceration there. Queers especially have every reason to fear the kind of democracy that lets people vote violence upon our bodies. Democracy is when the bashers outnumber you and your crew. (Riots, of course, also potentially suffer from this problem.)