If you ask people whether or not they believe violence is a solution to any problem, most will probably say that it actually causes more difficulties than it solves.
I also want to make clear that this article is not an endorsement of the use of violence, but rather an analysis of some of its history and the hypocritical ways many people, particularly those in power, approach it.
For example, there have been few times in recorded human history when there wasn't some type of war going on somewhere in the world, and, in many cases, it appeared that violence was a first resort, not a last.
So, while government leaders incessantly denounce the use of violence as a means to an end, they routinely torture, maim, rape, and kill to achieve their goals or maintain their grip on power. In fact, the infamous torturer Gina Haspel now serves as acting director of the CIA, the agency responsible for numerous incidents of abduction, torture, and murder throughout its sordid history.
The dichotomy of violence is that it is both despised and deployed, even in nonviolent movements. For example, many biographers argue that one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s most notable failures was his civil rights campaign in Albany, Georgia.
During that campaign, Albany's Police Chief, Laurie Pritchett, studied Gandhi's tactics, which King often emulated, and realized that if his officers did not react violently to protesters, the media would soon go away.
While arguments can be made that the Albany failure cannot be blamed exclusively on Dr. King, since he was more drafted into the Albany campaign than the architect of it, Pritchett's strategy seemed to confirm journalism's unspoken mantra: "If it bleeds, it leads. Anything else is not news."
Dr. King also seemed to validate this when he picked Birmingham, Alabama as the site of his next major civil rights campaign. That city's "Commissioner of Public Safety," the Ku Klux Klan affiliated Eugene "Bull" Connor, had, in 1961, even given Klan members a fifteen-minute "grace" period to assault a group of civil rights activists known as the "Freedom Riders," and even though an informant advised the FBI of Connor's plans, the agency, led by the racist J. Edgar Hoover, did nothing to intervene.
So, Dr. King knew that, no matter how nonviolently he protested, Connor was sure to respond with violence.
And the media would come.
And it did. Images of civil rights activists being attacked by police dogs, sprayed with high pressure fire hoses, and beaten bloody with police batons were displayed in newspapers and on news programs throughout the nation. In fact, some say that Connor's reaction actually facilitated the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
As I've stated in several previous Pravda.Report articles, "They say that history repeats itself, and damned if it doesn't." Today we are still seeing America's power structure both denouncing and endorsing violence-depending on who is committing it.
For example, during the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests there have been two highly publicized shootings: One allegedly committed by Kyle Rittenhouse, who is accused of killing two people and wounding one in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the other allegedly committed by Michael Reinoehl, who was accused of killing one person in Portland, Oregon.
The primary difference is that the victims in Kenosha were supporters of BLM, while the victim in Portland was a member of a group that supports Donald Trump.
So, is it really any surprise that Rittenhouse was not only allowed to return to his home after the shootings and later peacefully arrested, or that his supporters, including Trump himself, are already hollering that he acted in self-defense, while Reinoehl was killed while "resisting arrest."
But instead of discussing how Reinoehl might also have had a self-defense claim, which was effectively extinguished with his death, headlines are instead screaming how he was "no stranger to protests [and] violence."
Although I am willing to suspend judgment on the circumstances surrounding these tragic events, I am, given America's racist history, nevertheless inclined to look askance at the actions (and inactions) of authorities in both of these cases.
In my Pravda.Report article Hampton and Clark: 50 Years Gone, Never Forgotten (December 2, 2019), I discussed how most of the media obsequiously swallowed the "official" version of the "shoot-out" that killed Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, both members of the Illinois Black Panther Party (a group Hoover labelled "Public Enemy Number One"), until a lone reporter personally visited the scene of this purported "shoot-out," and discovered that Hampton and Clark were actually extrajudicially executed by the Chicago police.
People should not forget that Reinoehl was an advocate of Antifa, a left-wing movement that Trump, his sycophantic toady Attorney General William Barr, and numerous right-wing politicians have openly labelled a "terrorist" organization.
In other words, "Public Enemy Number One."
It was well publicized when Trump claimed that neo-nazis, white supremacists, and other members of the extreme right were "good people." But what has not been so well publicized are the recent reports about how the FBI, for several years, has been warning its agents that white supremacists have infiltrated, and/or established links with, America's law enforcement community, or how the Department of Homeland Security considers "white supremacist extremists [to be America's] most persistent and lethal threat."
While I am not disputing whether or not some members of the Antifa movement engaged in violent activities, what is particularly notable about Trump and Barr's actions is how they are not only conspicuously unwilling to paint members of the extreme right as terrorists, they are also conveniently silent, and even supportive and encouraging, when violence is committed by them.
It should not be surprising that Trump, Barr, and others of their ilk consider people who call themselves anti-fascist to be "terrorists." From endeavoring to create two sets of laws, one for Trump's cheerleaders and one for his opponents, to preening about "law and order" unless the crimes are committed by Trump and his cronies, to seeking to divide America along racial lines and then exploit the tension and violence it engenders for self-serving political gain, to refusing to even acknowledge that systemic racism exists, the endgame of Trump, Barr, and their supporters is obvious: To replace democracy with a fascist, plutocratic, kleptocratic state.
When one pauses and reflects upon this, it is almost uncanny how, less than a century ago, millions of people lost their lives in a war against fascism, and today not only are opponents of fascism conveniently labelled "terrorists," but, in Trump's own words, those Americans who died opposing it were "losers" and "suckers."
David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report