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View Diary: Will We Condemn This As "Violence"? (42 comments)

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  •  So you would oppose the Boston Tea Party? (4+ / 0-)
    nd to respond the rest of your question, yes I do condemn the protesters actions. They have consequences that are harmful to actual people . But I condemn even more strongly the owners and operators of those businesses, as well as those in the developed world who enjoy their cheap "stuff", oblivious to where it comes from.
    Unless you are in a position to take effective action then condemning a group of people who take the only effective action available is a bit patronizing. It isn't as if we got to where we are without union violence. Violence is a rhetorical term, not a technical term. Generally speaks it is the illegitimate use of force. What is considered legitimate varies greatly.
    Even those who believe it is an appropriate action have referred to it as "violence against property"
    Some of them. More commonly it is referred to as property damage or property destruction.

    The fact of the matter is that there are situations where violence is warranted. If I'm walking down the street and see a baby in a car and it's a hot day, and I can expect the baby to either get sick or die from heat stroke if it is left in the car, I am perfectly justified in breaking the car window. I think most everyone would agree with that. I see only a difference in scale between burning down a factory and breaking a window, assuming no one was killed in the building. But, in one case virtually everyone would agree with my actions.

    So I have to ask, assuming that the plants in question were similar to the ones that already have killed hundreds in the last few months, what is the difference between burning down the plant and breaking a window to save a child other than the scale of destruction?

    If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

    by AoT on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 11:53:51 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not as ready to "assume" as you are (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, erush1345, Batya the Toon
      assuming that the plants in question were similar to the ones that already have killed hundreds in the last few months
       I have no doubt they don't live up to what we would consider routine safety standards, but within the culture where they exist I have seen nothing that says they are among the worst of their kind, or the best of their kind. Coverage so far suggests a sort of "mindless mob" approach to selecting the targets, not a well-thought out "we need to tear down this one before it falls down".

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 12:33:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So if they were all death traps (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        UnaSpenser, ZhenRen

        then you wouldn't have a problem with it?

        We're talking about a bunch of factories that were never built to any sort of code, even the likely poor standards that exist there currently. And you want people to do what, wait for the government to inspect the buildings and then fail to shut them down again? How many factories have to be destroyed and how many people have to have their lives threatened before it becomes justified?

        More on the subject, you clearly don't have a problem with property destruction per se, so what standards are high enough for you? Where is the balance between knowledge and threat, because the fact is that if I broke a car window I don't really Know that the kid inside is going to die, not for sure. So how exactly are we going to expect a bunch of people who have been dying on a regular basis, most of whom likely just lost a friend or a relative, to sit there and do a death to property damage calculus? Is that at all reasonable? These people are living in a situation where plants are regularly killing hundreds at a time and you want to wait to justify these things by instituting a inspection regime, which they had already.

        I'd add that we, you and me, don't know what the protesters knew when they burned these plants down. They may well have known they were the same type as the other ones and as such dangerous, or they had failed similar inspections and were still open. It sounds like you would be fine if it were the latter. We shouldn't assume that just because it's a lot of angry people they can't be discerning in regards to what they target.

        If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

        by AoT on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 12:47:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, I would have a problem with it (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, erush1345

          There are degrees of "condemnation" depending on circumstances, as well as understanding of the reasons for actions.

          In addition, a rampaging mob burning down a factory to punish the plutocrats does not particularly equate with a bystander breaking a car window to retrieve an infant on a 100 degree day. They have almost nothing in common other than the probability of some broken glass.

          “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

          by Catte Nappe on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 01:20:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  They have the use of force in common (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ZhenRen, UnaSpenser

            And the fact that they are both property damage. Again, there is a difference in scale. How exactly do you decide when the difference in scale becomes enough that it's a completely different thing?

            n addition, a rampaging mob burning down a factory to punish the plutocrats does not particularly equate with a bystander breaking a car window to retrieve an infant on a 100 degree day. They have almost nothing in common other than the probability of some broken glass.
            Destroying a potentially deadly building based on the fact that hundreds have died recently is not done to "punish the plutocrats", it's done to reduce the number of people who will die. That's why the two are comparable. Unless you've got some other reason why? You really would have a problem with the destruction of buildings that, based on experience, will likely kill people?

            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

            by AoT on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 01:51:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Isn't it violence (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, UnaSpenser, Diane Gee

            by virtue of forcing people to work (in order to eat, in order to live) in deadly environments, in which they could die in horrible, but preventable catastrophes? And when authority chronically and willfully does not act to protect people from such injury to their persons, but does act to protect private property rights, does not authority give up its right to legitimacy (if it had any right to authority to begin with)?

            People have a right to fight back against violence upon them which is condoned by the state. When people are fighting back (self defense) to protect themselves is it violence? Or must all authority be respected, even if it is corrupt and violent toward its citizens? Is all defiance of the state wrong, no matter how abusive the state may be?

            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

            by ZhenRen on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 03:19:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  In the case of your baby-left-in-a-car example (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe

      I would not consider breaking the window to be a violent act.  Breaking the same window later, when nobody is in the car, to prevent the parent from ever doing the same thing again: violent, but arguably justifiable.

      •  If it's justified in the second case (0+ / 0-)

        then why is it violence? What makes the second case violence and not the first?

        If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

        by AoT on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 12:48:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Most definitions include intention (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, erush1345

          Violence, as understood in these situtations, requiring a deliberate intention to cause harm or damage or hurt.  Breaking the window to save the baby causes damage to the window, but the intention is not to cause damage but to save the baby. Breaking the otehr windows later to express anger at the stupid parents is breakage intended to cause damage and hurt.

          “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

          by Catte Nappe on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 01:42:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But the intentions in both cases (0+ / 0-)

            are not to harm, they are specifically to help.

            Breaking the otehr windows later to express anger at the stupid parents is breakage intended to cause damage and hurt.
            What he said was that the window was broken so the parents couldn't do it again, because there would be a broken window. I assume at some point it becomes acceptable to destroy something before someone is in danger to protect people, unless you think we can never act preventatively.

            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

            by AoT on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 01:54:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I ... don't understand your first question. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catte Nappe

          "If it's justified, then why is it violence?" makes about as much sense as "If it's a carpet, then why is it blue?"  Some violence is justified (or justifiable, which is what I said; not the same thing), some isn't.  Justifying violence doesn't somehow make it not violence.

          What makes the second case violence and not the first ... I am not sure I can articulate.  The first case I don't know if I would even call use of force, except in the strictly scientific sense of energy applied to a purpose.  The point of the act is to let in some air so the baby doesn't suffocate or get heatstroke; breaking the glass to do it is all but incidental, and opening the window would be preferable if possible, and ideally telling the car owner to open the window would be best; one assumes the car owner would do so if they could be found.

          In the second case, one is deliberately taking the choice away from the car owner, and damaging their property in order to do so.  Presumably one is doing so because one does not think the car owner can be trusted with the baby's welfare; that makes it an act of force, if not necessarily violence.  Damaging property in order to do so makes it likelier to frighten or anger the car owner, at which point it becomes arguably an act of violence.

          On rereading that I feel like I could stand to think this through some more; something isn't quite coming together.

          •  Regardless of what constitutes violence (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JayRaye, AoT

            ...something is amiss when private property rights are more highly valued than human lives.

            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

            by ZhenRen on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 03:59:42 PM PDT

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          •  But in both cases your actions are exactly (0+ / 0-)

            the same physically. Which means that only the context determines what is or isn't violence. Which is what I'd like to look at to suss out what different people consider violence.

            The first case I don't know if I would even call use of force, except in the strictly scientific sense of energy applied to a purpose.
            That was the sense I was using it in. They were both uses of force in that sense.
            In the second case, one is deliberately taking the choice away from the car owner, and damaging their property in order to do so.
            So if they knew and refused to open the windows there would be the same issue, but it wouldn't be violence. People also generally wouldn't consider it violence if they decided to simply junk their car, without a baby in it obviously. Nor would most people consider tearing down an unsafe factory to be violent if done after some sort of review or something like that. So there's a legitimacy conferred that moves it from being violent to being just a use of force.

            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

            by AoT on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 04:05:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hmmm. I don't think it's just legitimacy (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT

              that makes the difference between force and violence.

              Thought experiment:  what if protestors were to come to an unsafe factory and begin dismantling it by hand, piece by piece, in a calm and organized fashion?  That would arguably be use of force, and would certainly be illegal, but I would have a hard time calling it violence.

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