Bangladeshi workers, in the hundreds of thousands, are in the streets protesting after one of the many dangerous sweatshops collapsed and killed workers, recently.
As part of that protest they are burning buildings:
3 factories torched, 4 vandalised in GazipurIt seems like an opportune moment to continue the discussion about what violence is and isn't and when property destruction may be the appropriate course of action to fight oppression.
Several thousand readymade garment workers on Friday set fire to three factories and vandalised four others in Gazipur to protest the Savar building collapse that killed over 300 people.
The workers who died in that collapse had been coerced into working, knowing that the building was unsafe, by threats from the company's foremen. They already were being abused with harsh hours, working conditions and poverty-level wages.
The situation at the building which collapsed is not a one-off. It's endemic to a local industry which lacks workplace standards and workers' rights. The people are trapped in a system of oppression where their only hope of their families not starving to death as quickly as they will on the poor wages, is to enslave oneself to these garment factory owners.
It would seem that they've had enough.
They don't want to be forced back into those buildings and they have no real support or recourse from government to fight for basic human rights.
In their rage and grief, they have poured into the streets and they are taking it out on these buildings which they know are death traps.
The only injuries resulting from these protests have been when the police have tried to arrest people. There are no reports of anyone being in the buildings.
So, in that ongoing discussion, is this a "violent" protest? (For those who may have missed this debate, some think destruction of property is "violence", while others believe "violence" is only pertains to hurting sentient beings.)
Whether or not you deem property destruction "violence", would you condemn the actions of the Bangladeshi workers? They are destroying the infrastructure used to cause their death and suffering.
Please be respectful of each other. You can disagree on the term "violence" and whether this action is something you find appropriate, understandable or acceptable without calling each other names. I'd like to see a decent conversation about the actual discussion of when, where and how we draw these lines.
How do a very oppressed people rise up against their oppressors if they cannot destroy the infrastructure used against them? With no support from the government or larger society, their lives are threatened if they don't walk back into those buildings. Is destroying the buildings the best way to ensure you don't get forced back in? Is that clever move? A stupid move? A morally acceptable move? What say we all?