A position I find myself in often these days is that uncomfortable ideological middle ground where I am considered a crazy extremist by most of society, but a namby-pamby by my more militant friends. I find it darkly humorous and also terrifying that my stance that police states and fascism are uncool and should be fought against puts me in the “radical” category, but I’m not going to argue the point. If those views make me crazy, I’m ok with crazy. Where I get uncomfortable and part ways with many of the more extreme politically active people I talk to is the issue of violence. I am not under the illusion that the worlds problems are going to be solved with hugs and kindness, but the idea that force and oppression must be met with violence is equally insane to me. Once you start justifying hurting others for your cause you sink to the level of the politicians claiming that civilian casualties and prison camps are justified in the war on terror. You give up your integrity. You become the thing you claim to be at war with. Self defense? Hell yes, I’m not looking to be a martyr! Property destruction or sabotage? Sure, if it has a purpose. Destroying symbols of oppression is a powerful thing. Hurting or killing in the name of justice and freedom? Fuck that noise. I get it. I’m angry too. I’ve fantasized about violent revenge against the world often enough to empathize. However, I’ve also been hurt enough that I can’t ever support being the one hurting people. If we say we are fighting for a world with less pain, it is hypocrisy to act against those ideals. I am not a coward, and I’ll always have your back even if I’m not sure you have mine, but no matter how much I love you I will not compromise on this.
- “I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate, myself, and every time I see it, I say to myself, hate is too great a burden to bear. Somehow we must be able to stand up against our most bitter opponents and say: We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will and we will still love you…. But be assured that we’ll wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves; we will appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.