This episode was about violence and how it distracts
The conversation about violence is rarely a good one. Violence is referred to as if it is a choice, an individual whim, when rarely that is the case. It is discussed as if it is an intimacy between equals, another improbable. Finally violence is overloaded with a thick layer of moral judgment while ignoring most of the ways individual people experience violence, which is by the indifference of beauracratic systems and not a punch in the mouth or running from live ammunition. It is marketed as the power of a man over a woman, a man over a child. One bad individual over another with all the nuance of an after school special.
But violence is the way individuals participate in the abstractions of a system that contains us and wants us to believe it is our fault. But far more important than the question of whether or not we are violent or have the capacity of being a violent monster (the answer to both is yes btw) is our participation in the state project. While other definitions can suffice the one I find most pernicious is that the State holds the monopoly on violence. Every time you call the police, pay your taxes, or watch for a cop before breaking a traffic law you accept the monopoly on violence. For an anarchist this should rankle. We did not create the law, some of it may be common sense, but it is all some one elses arbitrary set of assumptions about how we should behave. It is someone elses judgement about how behavior should be tolerated. It is the way individuals take part in a system where they don’t have to take responsibility at all.
For this episode of Anarchy Bang let’s discuss a new definition of anarchism. Instead of anarchism being hostility to The State and Capitalism, a definition that immediately bogs down into high minded definitions of those terms and slogs through other peoples sociology and faith in humanity. Let us instead, for the course of today’s back and forth, talk about a definition that looks more like an opposition to a monopoly on violence and how that change the scary public presentation that anarchists have by making it scarier.