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(en) Electraz #2 - An Insight on Violence - by Maintenant ou Jamais

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>(http://passionbomb.com/alcatraz/ **)
Date Sat, 19 Oct 2002 05:52:02 -0400 (EDT)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

 On March 28th in Oakland, RACE (Revolutionary
 Anti-Authoritarians of Color) held a panel discussion on
 "the role of violence in revolutionary social change." The
 panel featured Lorenzo Komboa Ervin, an ex-Black
 Panther, former political prisoner, and author of
 Anarchism and the Black Revolution; and Mike E., a
 German-born martial arts expert and activist.
 The third panelist was Aragorn, a local anti-racist who
 had fought Neo-Nazis at a tragic cost to himself. After
 skinhead thugs invaded his local punk scene and began
 terrorizing queers and people of color, a group of punks
 organized in an attempt to stop them. The group soon
 met with disaster: a small contingent was accosted one
 night by a large group of racist skins. One anti-racist
 was killed; Aragorn was stabbed and beaten.
 Mike E., who was raised in Iran and America, has also
 been involved with battles of self-defense.but as an
 instructor as well as a combatant. He has trained women
 and Anti-Racist Action members in the art of
 self-defense, and has helped organize for social change
 in Berlin, Chiapas, and the U.S.
 At the beginning of the discussion, the panelists made
 clear their belief that the forum.s purpose was not to
 debate violence versus non-violence as a moral issue,
 since many anarchists already agree that violence in
 struggle against the state can be justifiable.
 Mike E. began to delve further into theories on violence
 when he emphasized that "one should be aware of the
 difference between between acts of vigilantism and
 those of self-defense." The difference lies in motive and
 outcome: vigilante action is typically motivated by a
 desire for revenge, rather than justice, and is conducted
 without regard to the ultimate effect of such an act on
 the larger community surrounding the combatants.
 Mike also mentioned the difference between offensive
 and defensive violent acts. The line between the two is
 sometimes blurry. Take, for example, someone about to
 commit murder. Interventionists motivated by a desire
 for justice could, by committing an act of violence that
 disables the potential murderer, save the victim and
 demonstrate to the perpetrator that such behavior will
 not be tolerated. This could be considered a defensive
 Similarly, Mike believes that knowledge of self-defense
 should be widely taught, particularly to vulnerable
 women and children. 911 is not a solution, he says,
 because police tend to aggravate situations of
 violence.and frequently commit them themselves. The
 Stolen Lives Project, a book project by the October 22nd
 Coalition, listed over 2000 documents victims of police
 brutality in America, a testament to the deadly force of
 the police department.
 It was made clear that "if people chose to deal with
 [systemic brutality], support form the whole group being
 victimized is important because if an individual acts by
 themselves, they might be placing others unwillingly in
 a dangerous situation. Also, resources and connections,
 such as legal advice, through the community are good to
 have in case [violence] occurs."
 Lorenzo Komboa Ervin, the panel.s third member, is a
 former Black Panther who is perhaps most famous for
 hijacking a plane to escape criminal charges for his
 political activity in the late 1960s. In jail after being
 captured and sentenced to two life sentences, he
 organized prisoners. unions and wrote Anarchism and
 the Black Revolution, a well-known book of anarchist
 Ervin is "opposed to individual missions or small
 militias," and believes in " an armed uprising by the
 masses." He elaborated that it is wise to have the full
 support of the masses because small groups can be
 more easily prosecuted, or put in jail without even being
 heard of.
 After the panel finished their presentations, questions of
 rank, hierarchy, leadership, and what methods militant
 anarchists use came up.
 A temporary leadership can sometimes be beneficial, in
 the sense that an individual who has more knowledge of
 tactics can be a helpful teacher. There are those who
 have learned skills and how to teach them, and others
 should learn from them, possibly with the objective to be
 able to teach others. A teacher should be seen as an
 equal on a personal level, but granted respect for their
 knowledge. Self-discipline, commitment, and good
 conditioning are important to achieving a solid
 foundation of self-defense skills. It.s often good to learn
 traditional methods as well as experimenting with
 various styles, to gain a deeper understanding of your
 Hierarchical representatives shouldn.t be mistaken for
 people chosen as teachers or temporary leaders, because
 those on top of a hierarchy can create dogma, constrain
 individual thought, and are more vulnerable to attack by
 the police or government.
 Each individual must be held responsible for their
 actions. Members of activist movements must represent
 an aggregation of individuals connected by no particular
 bonds. The .whole. armed movement must take care of
 the general interest of harnessing the aggression within
 to impede and subvert the enemy and reclaim freedom
 and peace.
 Organization is needed, and the panel generally agreed
 that diverse organizations could each have their own
 tactics because each is subject to different
 circumstances. It is good to keep in consideration the
 experiences and undistorted history of other groups, but
 evaluating present circumstances and applying methods
 appropriate to time and place is preferable to imitate past
 movements or other organizations. Also, armed conflict
 should not be seen as an ideal for any or every conflict,
 but merely an option to be considered. Sometimes,
 peaceful methods are more effective or better used.
 Providing different methods for different problems is
 most effective. As Mike put it, "The tactic has to match
 the task at hand."
 While the panelists felt that violence wasn.t necessarily
 correct for every time and place, they also voiced
 opposition to dogmatic pacifism. Lorenzo explained that
 "dogmatic nonviolent beliefs usually stem from people
 who are comfortable with the state," adding that
 "pacifists cultivate myths about nonviolence as a form of
 Aragorn felt that "the movement may not be able to
 cause the state to collapse, but when the time comes,
 [the state] will show its seams. And when that moment
 arrives, then would be the most effective time to strike."
 The panelists contributed other thoughts as well, both
 on violence for political means and self-defense.
 Self-defense is a psychological struggle, not just a
 physical one; deceptiveness and unpredictability can be
 great weapons. Be alert. effective self-defense relies on
 both on not being paranoid and never under-estimating
 your enemy. Attempt, at all times, to neutralize violent
 When planning for offensive violence, don.t make your
 mission too widely known. The objective is to not get
 caught. Getting killed or imprisoned will be completely
 ineffective for political struggle. Timing is essential for
 ultimate effectiveness; the infinite oscillations of the
 natural and political
 order are nonlinear and have an unpredictable balance.
 We cannot be too eager to move toward insurrection
 without every aspect needed in place to acheive our goal.
 Without hesitation, we can offer education, train
 ourselves and prepare for social change. Only then will
 circumstance permit the thorough destruction of the
 capitalist genocidal state, either sporadically or

We need to find the will to create change on a
continuous basis, since the key to a healthy evolution is
perpetual revolution, theoretically or in practice.

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