Friday, September 15, 2017

What is Violence?

I've struggled with our societal concept of violence for quite a long time. As a child, I was verbally and emotionally abused. I had to deal with both that and the confusion over its effect on me due to the fact that to many people, if I wasn't physically hit, it wasn't abuse. Verbal and emotional violence isn't a thing. You can say the most horrific things to a person, systematically break down their self-esteem and/or make them fear for their safety every waking moment, but somehow this isn't as bad as one single smack to the face.

Our concept of self-defense is fucked as well. Is it violence if it's self-defense? At least from a legal standpoint, that answer is supposed to be no. Yet Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years for shooting a warning shot to defend herself and her children from her ex, who was being verbally violent and threatening them with physical violence. At the same time, George Zimmerman.

Now, we have all kinds of both conservative and liberal media outlets condemning antifa because they don't subscribe to our odd, hypocritical, fucked up sense of non-violence fetishism. It blows my  mind, because we consume so much fiction, much of it containing clear allegories for fascists and nazis or straight up nazis, and we cheer for the rebels or the magical children or whoever as they engage in physical violence, very often killing enemies, to fight the threat of genocide or some other mass murder. But when the real thing comes along, suddenly some scuffles in the street and broken windows are not acceptable? Is it too real for you? Are you still riding that hope that the limo could one day be yours? What is it?

Then there's the fact that our nations engage in horrific violence on a mass scale and we sit back every day and tolerate it. Children starving when we have enough food to feed everyone is violence. Police clearing out homeless camps, stealing their meager possessions, roughing them up and forcing them to go somewhere else when they have nowhere to go, is violence. Us going into other, poorer countries to steal their resources until they're forced to take sweatshop jobs in polluted, unsafe conditions is violence. People die every day from shit like this. Where are all the thinkpieces about them?

Roughing a couple people up and making it clear that fascism and white supremacy will not be tolerated is, technically, violence. But it's nothing compared to what we tolerate every day so that we can have cheap clothes and phones and the rich of our country can make further billions that they don't need. And antifa is using violence to try and prevent fucking genocide. They've had to qualify it as preventive self-defense, and I'm not sure if that's really a thing. But it definitely doesn't need to be.

We tolerate violence. We cheer violence. All the time. Why is this one type of low-level violence unacceptable? Please explain.

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