A dispatch from the Atlantic‘s Ta-Nahisis Coates on the situation in Baltimore. He correctly observes that it makes no sense for the powers to call for “nonviolence” when they themselves retain a monopoly on violence. Like the decision to forgive, the decision to respond to evil nonviolently must come from the victim – it cannot be mandated by the oppressor. Coates writes:

When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is “correct” or “wise,” any more than a forest fire can be “correct” or “wise.” Wisdom isn’t the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community.

Read the whole article here: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/nonviolence-as-compliance/391640/

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