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Meeting violence with violence is wrong they say. Yet, many of these same people also believe that kneeling for a song to be the wrong type of protest. (Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Meeting violence with violence is wrong they say. Yet, many of these same people also believe that kneeling for a song to be the wrong type of protest. (Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Stop the Violence, Stop the Looting

A good place to start would be at the very top of American society. 

Simon Whalley

The world has turned upside down. As we bunker down in our homes from a killer pandemic, American police have once again killed an unarmed black man. This time, not by an individual firing squad, but with a knee to the neck for a full nine minutes as passersby filmed the execution with their cameras and live streamed to social media.

The police are supposed to protect and serve. What isn’t made clear is that they aren’t here to protect and serve you and me. They are here to protect and serve capital.

It is impossible to deny accountability, given the brazen nature of this murder in broad daylight. Rather than hold their hands up and admit that racism in the US, and other countries is institutionalized, many people are reaching for whatever they can to deny any deep lying problem. The internet is awash with pointless conspiracies, as if the victim’s past could in anyway justify four policemen carrying out or allowing this brutal murder to happen. The police are supposed to protect and serve. What isn’t made clear is that they aren’t here to protect and serve you and me. They are here to protect and serve capital. If you don’t have any, good luck. And if you happen to be black, then best hide.

The media and many individuals are aghast at the violence and subsequent looting that has engulfed America in the aftermath of yet another police murder. Meeting violence with violence is wrong they say. Yet, many of these same people also believe that kneeling for a song to be the wrong type of protest. Delaying people on their way to work is also not the way. And so, what is left if violence is also not the answer. I ask you this. What is the way to protest institutional violence and racism?

And then we have the looting. Stealing from shops is bad they say. These people are poor shop owners who don’t have insurance they say. Has anyone thought for a second about the many people struggling to feed themselves because of the months of lockdown, massively exacerbated by having one of the dumbest men on the planet in charge of the most affected country? People are opportunistic at the best of times, but these are the worst of times, and from advising people to drink detergent to constantly refusing to wear a mask, the CEO of Corporate America has shown himself to be a silly buffoon, completely and utterly out of his depth. Yet his supporters, unsuprisingly, refuse to acknowledge any blame on his part.

So yes, let’s stop the violence, let’s stop the looting. Yes, let’s do it!

The neoliberal hawks in American government and their lackey lap dog in Britain could make a start by renouncing any more illegitimate wars. This is something that most Americans and the global media should be behind because they seem to be oh so sure that violence is wrong. According to research from Brown University, 480,000 people have been killed by the US military since the illegal invasion of sovereign Iraq in 2003. Two hundred and forty thousand of these individuals were civilians. Where are these anti-violent members of American society and media when their elected officials are dropping bombs on brown people?

Where are these anti-violent members of American society and media when their elected officials are dropping bombs on brown people?

So, yes, let’s stop the violence. A good place to start would be at the very top of American society. Maybe then the peace will trickle down on everyone else?

Let’s stop the looting too! The best place to start would probably be, again, at the very top of American society where $498 billion was looted from taxpayers after the 2008 financial crash. But, we shouldn’t cry over spilt milk. Let bygones be bygones and focus instead on the hundreds of billions that are being lavished as we speak on the largest American corporations including the airline industry and Boeing. These companies should have billions in reserve from the 2008 bailouts, but they don’t. Why? Because they gave it all to investors and staff in the form of stock buy backs and bonuses. While we’re here, where are the people that despise socialism when the richest corporations are benefiting from eh, socialism.

Just like the daily downpours of money that cascade down through society, the cessation of theft at the top might also percolate down through the stratas of society until we can all live in harmony with no theft of any kind.

So yes, let’s stop the violence and let’s stop the looting. But, let it come from the top down, just like the money.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Simon Whalley

Simon Whalley

Simon Whalley is an educator in Japan, the co-founder of Extinction Rebellion Japan and the author of the upcoming book, Dear Indy: A Heartfelt Plea From a Climate Anxious Father.

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