Episode 74: Liberal Gandhi Fetishism and the Problem with Pop Notions of 'Violence'


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"The United States believes any Palestinian government must renounce violence,” a U.S. official told Ha'aretz. When it comes to nonviolence, writes Barbara Reynolds in The Washington Post, “Black Lives Matter seems intent on rejecting the proven methods." "Violence Is Never the Answer," New York Times columnist Charles Blow insists.

We are told endlessly that violence is inherently and unequivocally bad, something - when it comes to advocating for social justice or against military occupation and fascism - that’s always to be avoided, condemned and renounced. It must be rejected, our press and politicians declare, in favor of non-violence, so-called "peaceful protests" and the democratic process.

But in popular discourse, discussions of violence aren’t really about violence; rather, they’re about sanctioned versus unsanctioned violence. The routine violence of poverty, racist policing, militarism is never called "violence"–––it's just the way things are, a law of nature, the price of "stability". But unsanctioned violence, namely that carried out by activists, non or sub-state actors, and those generally distant from the halls of power, causes outrage without any coherent criteria for this indignation.

On this episode, we discuss how what is and isn't deemed "violence" by our media is largely a function of proximity to power and whether those actions challenge or serve the interests of the status quo.

We are joined by journalist and author Natasha Lennard.

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