Dissent

Fri
12
Jun

After the uprising: lessons from Rojava for Baltimore

by Ben Reynolds
ROAR Magazine
June 12, 2015

The Baltimore uprising showed that direct action can force concessions from the state. What is still lacking is a coherent strategy for radical change.

On April 19, Freddie Gray died of severe spinal injuries in a trauma center in Baltimore. One week earlier, Gray had been arrested by officers from the Baltimore Police Department after he “made eye contact” with a police officer and ran.

A video of the incident shows the police dragging Gray’s limp body to a waiting van while he screamed in pain. The 25-year-old was given a “rough ride” to the police station — a practice in which arrestees are deliberately abused by making them slam them against the walls of a speeding van.

Protests flared in the wake of Gray’s death, and clashes between protesters and police erupted following the heavy-handed police response. Thousands filled the streets, and some protesters torched and smashed police cars.

Thu
07
May

From Wisconsin to Baltimore: which lessons learned?

by Juan Conatz
ROAR Magazine
May 7, 2015

In response to the police killing of Tony Robinson in Madison, Wisconsin, a movement appears to have taken root in the state. This happened around the same time as the movement against the ‘right-to-work’ legislation — a continuation of what started in the spring of 2011, with the occupation of the state’s Capitol building and massive rallies contesting the abolition of public sector collective bargaining as proposed in the controversial Act 10 legislative bill — has grown exhausted and dejected.

Tue
05
May

On Going Viral: What the Movement Still Teaches, What the Movement Still Needs

RADICAL FAGGOT
Brown Knowledge Queer Justice
May 4, 2015

Last week an article on my blog addressing militancy and the uprisings in Baltimore was shared more times in 24 hours than most things on my blog have been shared in years. It struck a chord I had not predicted, and challenged the poisonous narratives that were dominating the airwaves last weekend.

Afterward, I got death threats. I got called a nigger, and a few conservative sites found my Facebook profile and reposted pictures of my image. Fox News called for an interview, as did the Huffington Post and several radio shows. I declined most of these offers, not only because I didn’t trust the goals of the outlets, but because centering my voice was not the point.

Thu
23
Apr

How to Deal When Protests Disrupt Your Day

By Jesse A. Myerson
Rolling Stone
April 20, 2015

Among 21st century American life's many stresses and frustrations are the traffic stoppages, train delays and brunch interruptions resulting from protests of 21st century American life's many other brutalities and injustices. Each time a wave of compassion and outrage erupts into large-scale protest actions, many people whose normal routines are disrupted find themselves upset with the protesters, even though they might essentially support the protesters' aims.

Take Alec Baldwin, for example. In response to the Fight for 15 campaign's recent nationwide day of action in favor of higher service-industry wages, the actor took to Twitter to give voice to a sentiment very often seen on social media in the last few years.

Sun
19
Apr

How to Kill A Movement

by Bobby London
April 16, 2015

There are many facets to the destruction of movements. Although playing a key role in the failure of movements the state requires other components to make their plan of action successful. Organizations with their own vested interests, the media, and stagnation are all factors that contribute to the death of movements.

The State

Thu
26
Mar

Addressing Self-righteousness on the Activist Left

by Stephen D’Arcy
Briarpatch Magazine
Mar 10, 2015

Self-righteousness is a special case of being self-satisfied, complacent, smug. But here, the smug complacency refers specifically to a person’s belief that he or she complies, to a higher than normal degree, with the demands of some strict moral standard. This claimed moral superiority in turn is supposed to justify an attitude of scorn or disdain toward others, who supposedly fail to respect this high standard and in this way discredit themselves.

Importantly, self-righteousness differs from simple “righteousness” – insistence on doing the right thing, simply because it is the right thing – in being a vice rather than a virtue. Why, though, is self-righteousness a vice, not a virtue?

It is a vice for at least three reasons:

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