non-violence

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Feminist pacifism or passive-ism?

Dilar Dirik
openDemocracy
7 March 2017

When some white women celebrate the non-violence of women’s marches against Trump and then pose for photographs with police officers while police violence specifically targets people of colour, when Nazi-punchers are accused of being no different from fascists, when feminists in relative safety accuse militant women in the Middle East facing sex slavery under ISIS of militarism, we must problematize the liberal notion of non-violence which disregards intersecting power systems and mechanisms of structural violence. By dogmatically clinging onto a pacifism (or passive-ism?) that has a classed and racial character, and demonising violent anti-system rage, feminists exclude themselves from a much needed debate on alternative forms of self-defence whose objective and aesthetic serve liberationist politics. In a global era of femicide, sexual violence and rape culture, who can afford not to think about women’s self-defence?

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