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Can we talk about #POWER instead of "violence," please? #Violence is a broad label that gets thrown around in the #HongKongprotest context, and it's basically meaningless.
When people say they can't condone violence, what I hear them say is: "I condone powerful systems of #oppression and #institutionalviolence, and protesters taking a small bit of power back into their own hands makes me uncomfortable."
People who are uncomfortable with protesters fighting strong power with weak power need to examine their priorities.
First of all, it's not about you and your precious comfort levels. Second, #abuseofpower is extremely uncomfortable, too, but you'll let that slide because moral purity is not hypocritical at all (<-- sarcasm)
And while we're finally talking about it, can we also just clarify that destruction of property and harm to people are, like, WAAAAAY different levels of violence (different uses of power) and should be analyzed as such.
Analysis of "violent" actions should be examined in terms of power structures. Who holds power in this context? Who is exerting what kind of power? Who has power to change the dynamic? Etc.
Ultimately, "both sides" rhetoric ignores power imbalances, government accountability to citizens, and systems of oppression that are designed to consolidate power and likely require bottom-up exertion of power to change.
Voting is power. But so is rigging elections, DQ'ing candidates and canceling elections. Purchasing is power. But so is using economic strength to gain political advantage and vice versa. Speech is power. But so is using law to silence. Marching is power. But so is... You get it.
Many of the actions considered violent in these discussions (graffiti, roadblocks, ninja kicks) seem like very reasonable exercises of power, once analyzed. The resisting actors are brave. But their use of this power can seem futile when analyzing the power they are up against.
And, no, I'm not going to end with some disclaimer about "I'm not saying it's OK to do xyz..." I'm saying to analyze the actors and their use of various types of power in each separate context. I hope you do the same. It's cool if we come to different conclusions.
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