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On Violence #1: Violence and the Anarchist Movement

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Violence (and its many manifestations) has always been a part of politics (or anti-politics); it may even be integral to it. 

This first meeting of “On Violence” will focus on the historical debate around state violence, revolutionary violence, 'legitimate' violence, and radical self-defense in the anarchist movement. For the last 150 years, anarchists have often been portrayed as an outsider bogeyman: either hooded & holding a lit bomb; as a ruthless bandit expropriating for their own gain; or hooded & hijacking peaceful demonstrations for their own ends. Here we clarify the myths around these images & the motivations as well.

For this first meeting we will be discussing the classic text from Errico Malatesta, “Anarchy & Violence” (1894). Here the violence of anarchists is seen as a manifestation of working-class resistance to bourgeois rule: “For as a fact, the bourgeoisie is in a permanent state of war against the proletariat, since it never for one moment ceases to exploit the latter, and grind it down.” But he also says we should temper our actions so that they are not individualistic actions, as the bourgeois may do, but actions that are communistic.

Also, we will be reading a much more contemporary text of a talk given by the Mexican Anarchist, Gustavo Rodriguez, entitled: “Illegal Anarchism: The False Dichotomy” (given in 2011, in Mexico City at a squat). Here Rodriguez presents a much more openly insurrectionist embrace of violence. The text does wander with many anecdotes & dates but what we will want to focus on are his arguments as he goes through the anarchist history of acts of appropriation, self-defense & bombings. 

Although these texts are openly supportive of violence for revolutionary means, this does not mean that counter-arguments will not be entertained. If anything, we will analyze whether the arguments made here are tenable, or even desirable. With the rise of radical social movements around the world, we often hear the debates concerning whether we should continue only non-violently, or be open to a diversity of tactics. 

Future meetings will focus on the place of violence in other political spectrum, institutions, social categories & milieus. 

Refreshments will be provided.
See you soon.

Links to texts:

Malatesta // @[NjQyMTgzOTU5MjA4MTA3Omh0dHBcYS8vdGhlYW5hcmNoaXN0bGlicmFyeS5vcmcvbGlicmFyeS9lcnJpY28tbWFsYXRlc3RhLWFuYXJjaHktYW5kLXZpb2xlbmNlOjo=:]
Rodriguez // @[NjQyMTgzOTU5MjA4MTA3Omh0dHBcYS8vdGhlYW5hcmNoaXN0bGlicmFyeS5vcmcvbGlicmFyeS9ndXN0YXZvLXJvZHJpZ3Vlei1pbGxlZ2FsLWFuYXJjaGlzbTo6:]

Sunday, February 15, 2015 - 04:30
The Public School Los Angeles, 951 Chung King Road, 90012 more
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