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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 Gazipur
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.
It 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.

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?

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is where the (6+ / 0-)

    capitalist race to the bottom leads.

    This is a direct result of modern capitalism driven by the U.S. through its blind support of plutocratic globalization.

    These people are paid next to nothing for the privilege of not officially being called slaves.

    Wonder why there are so many supportive and/or complacent Democrats?

    Frankly, I'd rather take down Exxon or Goldman Sachs, the way we're taking down RushBeckistan, than elect another "better" Democrat who's going to wind up singing for the bankster choir.

    by Words In Action on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 09:41:42 AM PDT

    •  ok, but the discussion here is whether we (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Diane Gee

      condemn this action.

      It's a two-part question:

      1) Do we call it "violence", when it is property destruction and not physically harming sentient beings?

      2) Regardless of whether we deem it "violent", is it something we condemn, applaud, accept or understand?

  •  Vandalism (5+ / 0-)

    or property destruction is not "violence" per se, for violence inherently has to have a victim.

    Taking down unsafe structures so they will need to be rebuilt safely is something that should be done by safety inspectors... sadly, those inspectors have failed the people.

    I cannot condemn them collectively seeing to their own welfare.

    ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

    by Diane Gee on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 09:56:30 AM PDT

    •  do we feel any confidence that they will be (0+ / 0-)

      rebuilt "safely?"

    •  Is that a legal definition? (0+ / 0-)

      Genuine question, as I don't know.  For that matter is there a legal definition of "violence"?

      I'm reminded of the Seattle 1999 WTO protests when we engage in these discussions.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 10:23:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is to my knowledge no legal definition (6+ / 0-)

        of violence. There are laws about property destruction, assault, battery, and other actions that we'd consider violent. But violence is a rhetorical term, not a technical term. Generally speaking it's defined as the unauthorized or illegitimate use of force. That's where the arguments show up. What counts as legitimate and authorized.

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

        by AoT on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 10:46:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree on your first point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe

      or rather, I do not believe violence has to be directed against a human body for it to have a victim.  Punching the wall next to someone's head is an act of violence; so is hurling a brick through someone's window.

      I also don't think it's quite on point to characterize this as "taking down unsafe structures".  The way it's described above, this was not a calculated determination that the factories were unsafe and thus needed to be replaced; this was an act of mass rage, visited upon the buildings as a representation of the abusive authority as much as for the sake of getting rid of the dangerous physical structures.

      This is not to say that I don't think it was justified violence; only that I don't think it can reasonably be declared "not violence".

  •  An unresolvable semantic debate (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, isabelle hayes, erush1345
    The FBI defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives.”
    http://www.fbi.gov/...
    "I cannot accept ... homophobic acts and violence against property in the midst of protests, or any defiance of law enforcement officials," Hollande told reporters during a visit to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
    http://www.trust.org/...

    Even those who believe it is an appropriate action have referred to it as "violence against property"

    I wish to make the case for the latter position. That is that violence to property is – both in principle and in practice – an acceptable and effective tactic in the struggle against state and capital.
    http://propertyistheft.wordpress.com/...
    Violence against people vs. violence against property.
    Even given our society's obsession with property rights, most people agree that human beings are more important than property. Supposed Black Bloc protesters destroyed property. The police assaulted human beings.
    http://adoptresistance.blogspot.com/...

    Instead of pussyfooting around and trying to set up a proposition that it's not really violence if it only harms property, so thus it's defensible in a way it wouldn't be if it were categorixed as "actual violence"; just step up like a couple of those quoted above. If you believe that violence against property is a justified tactic say so.

    And 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.

    “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 10:34:00 AM PDT

    •  I'm not trying to set up the proposition, it has (0+ / 0-)

      been an ongoing discussion. Just because some people have determined that violence is the appropriate word, doesn't mean that it is true for everyone. Language evolves. And our understanding of why we use terms the way we do and whether we want to keep using them that way is a fascinating topic for me.

      I'm not "pussyfooting", I'm intellectually curious.

      You actually diminish the value of your input into the dialogue by resorting to language which attempts to degrade someone else's perspective via derisive language.

    •  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

              [ Parent ]

            •  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.

    •  In capitalism, it is only considered violence (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, JayRaye

      when it is against something owned by another. If the owners themselves condemned the property, and had it [violently] destroyed, it is not violence, according to capitalist notions.

      But if the people get together and decide the property (no matter who owns it), is a threat to safety, why is it violence? Why is it not self protection?

      Thus, it comes down to views on property, and property rights.

      I'm with Proudhon, who famously declared property to be theft.

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

      by ZhenRen on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 02:42:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  With fists and torches it's a crime.... (6+ / 0-)

    ...with bombs and mortars it's policy.

    Ayn is the bane! Take the Antidote To Ayn Rand and call your doctor in the morning: You have health insurance now! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 10:48:08 AM PDT

  •  The destruction of anti-human machines is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT

    a perfectly acceptable strategy/tactic.  If the elite can't manage to rebuild the plants to standard, then it should certainly be their homes that are 'purified next.

    I preach the church without Christ, where the lame don't walk, the blind don't see and what's dead stays that way! Hazel Motes in "Wise Blood" (Flannery O'Connor)

    by chalatenango on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 11:30:25 AM PDT

  •  People who have experience mass murder (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, UnaSpenser

    over and over and over again, are likely to do a lot of things that they other wise might not do.

    I will not judge them, nor will I answer the questions posed.

    Warning to those who profit while others die:
    the law has been on your side as you commit mass murders,
    few if any penalties for what you have done and

    CONTINUE TO DO!

    Why should we be surprised when the working people rise up and decide that they have had their fill of being slaughtered for someone else's profits.

    The only immortality we should be discussing is the immorality of the MASS MURDER of workers for profit.

    WE NEVER FORGET Modestino Valentino who lost his life in the Paterson Silk Strike

    by JayRaye on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 03:31:55 PM PDT

    •  When the Mass Murder of Workers is Legal......... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      UnaSpenser, AoT
      Human Rights Watch, a New York-based group, said in a report Thursday it knows of no case in which the Bangladesh government has prosecuted a factory owner over the death of workers.

      WE NEVER FORGET Modestino Valentino who lost his life in the Paterson Silk Strike

      by JayRaye on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 03:43:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed: the foremost discussion is about murder. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye

      I posed these questions because there is an ongoing debate here about whether to condemn actions where property is destroyed.

      Some thought that the actions of a few people breaking windows delegitimized the whole Occupy movement. As though those windows were more important than the massive suffering and death caused by the things being protested against.

      Yet, nobody complained when the US destroyed a statue in Iraq. Nor did anyone delegitimize the Egyptian movement when they threw rocks and burned down a party headquarters building.

      So, I like to keep the conversation alive and have people keep talking about why we place such a huge burden on the victims of oppression to be so "pure" in the way they resist their oppression. And why we toss out the word 'violence' as an automatic disqualifier for an action to be seen as justified?

      I want to keep thinking about it. I want others to keep thinking about it. I appreciate that people have differing points of view and I don't want us to walk away from the conversation.

      •  I think this conversation has value, Una. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        What troubles me is having this discussion in the abstract. those few who broke windows during the Occupy demo's simply do not compare in any way to the people in Bangladesh.

        The demonstrators in Bangladesh are simple working people reacting to mass murder, they just do not compare to a few spoiled brats on the outer fringes of an Occupy demo (which demo was overwhelmingly peaceful.)

        When workers in the US were massacred, they did organize in armed militias to defend themselves, and they did more than property damage. After the Ludlow massacre the unions did put out a call to arms because they were not about to stand by and allow the other tent colonies to be similarly slaughtered. In West Virginia when organizers were being murdered and Sid Hatfield and Ed Chambers were murdered, we had the Battle of Blair MT. I see no reason whatsoever for people to put up with being slaughtered.

        Now that was done to prevent further murders of working people &  compares to what is going on in Bangladesh.

        Window breaking for kicks at an Occupy demo does not compare in anyway to stopping mass murder.
        (What pissed off in that discussion were those who condemned the entire demonstration which was overwhelmingly peaceful just because of a few broken windows.)

        On Bangladesh I take the radical stance that the working people are justified in doing whatever they have to do to prevent further mass murders. Turning to the law is useless. The law allows the murderers to go free.

        WE NEVER FORGET Modestino Valentino who lost his life in the Paterson Silk Strike

        by JayRaye on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 04:19:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Workers in the US are regularly the victims (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye, UnaSpenser

          of mass murder. The fertilizer explosion. The gulf oil spill.

          Window breaking for kicks at an Occupy demo does not compare in anyway to stopping mass murder.(What pissed off in that discussion were those who condemned the entire demonstration which was overwhelmingly peaceful just because of a few broken windows.)
          It also doesn't really hurt anyone. I mean, some windows get broken and people have nothing to talk about except how evil anyone who would break a window is. It's absolutely amazing that some folks can have that sort of cognitive dissonance. I say cognitive dissonance because the people who were most vocal about how evil the window breakers were were also inevitably people who supported drone strikes and similar. Not that everyone who was critical of the property damage was in that same boat, many people condoned both, but the real outrage came from those who didn't oppose killing people overseas.

          And it wasn't just for kicks. There is clearly criticism to be made of the tactic, but it wasn't just people out having fun. It's people who have seen that everything else gets ignored. Everything except damaging property.

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

          by AoT on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 04:39:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Here's where I agree with you AoT (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            UnaSpenser, AoT
            everything else gets ignored. Everything except damaging property.
            Terrible crimes like mass murder get ignored because of a few small property crimes.

            But I can't condone the window breaking, it distracted from the demonstration.

            Americans still have unions, such as they are, and our union organizers are not being murdered, like they are in Bangladesh. We have other avenues to pursue justice.

            I think we let ourselves get sidetracked when we get into these types of abstract conversations about violence.

            People will allow themselves to be smashed down only so much, and then, right or wrong, they will rise up. History is proof of that. Our own Revolutionary War is proof of that.

            WE NEVER FORGET Modestino Valentino who lost his life in the Paterson Silk Strike

            by JayRaye on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 04:51:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't think the window breaking distracted. My (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT

              take was that the media was looking for any way to delegitimize the movement. They continually said there was no "clear message" and they focused on anything that would make the people of Occupy look fringe.

              The window breaking was a convenient way for them to continue to do that. That observers of the movement chose to be distracted by such a minimal thing rather than stay focused on the bigger message is not the fault of those who choose that tactic.

          •  I would add that workers are regularly held (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            hostage to abusive jobs, too. THey can't afford health care, so they work for inadequate insurance and wages that don't pay the bills.

            Tying health insurance to the workplace has caused incalculable human suffering and coerces people to put themselves at the mercy of employers they otherwise would not suffer under.

            And corporations influencing other countries to forego any workplace standards or labor laws and then taking jobs away from the US and placing them in those other countries has caused massive un- and under-employment.

            There is every reason to lash out at the corporate control of world economies and one can readily see how that might translate into property damage.

            (I think, though, if one is going to take that course, one has to do something that actually does damage to the corporation. Burning down a whole factory makes more sense to me that window breaking, as it stops the functioning of the business.)

            •  My partner just got out of one of those (0+ / 0-)

              I don't remember if you met in New York, but she was at a miserable job that sucked her will to live up until a couple days ago. The difference in regards to stress and happiness is incredible. Everyone I know that has been in the same situation completely understands the urge to lash out like that. People seem to think it's undirected anger, when really it's highly focused socio-political anger tempered by years of working horrible mind numbing, body aching jobs with poor pay and shitty hours. I honestly surprised that it isn't more widespread. I imagine it would be if people thought they could get away with it. This is what the security/surveillance state is for, really, keeping workers in their place.

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

              by AoT on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 05:21:05 PM PDT

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        •  I don't think those of us who have been hurt (1+ / 0-)
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          by the financial corruption and the neo-liberal policies feel that we are much less at risk than the workers who go into unsafe buildings.

          Do I think the few people who were breaking windows in Occupy were silly? Maybe. But did I care? No. The corporatocracy is killing us all. The big chain stores are a part of the that. I'm not too concerned with them getting a few windows broken. And I know, from talking to people within Occupy who did condone such actions, that they weren't doing it just willy nilly. They did so out of a political action philosophy. (I don't think it's effective unless you have a critical mass of people cooperating and doing it under the banner of a consolidated message, but that's my opinion.) The people I spoke with on this subject were not "spoiled brats." Many of them had grown up in deep poverty. They are angry about the way that the system keeps them in poverty while corporations get away with all kinds of crimes in the name of profit-making for shareholders.

          This is why I think the conversation is important. People are so willing to judge others; to condemn their actions and to have a particular lens on when they approve of similar types of actions elsewhere. Everybody has their lens.

          •  As a single mother, I have known poverty and (1+ / 0-)
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            hunger and eviction etc etc. I looked to poor people's organizing (tenant union etc) and then when I got a job, to my union, for help. No need to break windows. The other poor women who lived around me didn't break windows either.

            But I just can't agree that those of us who have been poor in America face the same threats as workers in Bangladesh. Their situation is much worse.

            Now US workers back in the day were just as bad off as Bangladeshi workers are today. It's thanks to them that we have the little bit of a safety net that we do have. The Bangladesh workers have no safety net. None, they work, no matter how dangerous job, or starve with their children.

            I just can't agree with the window breaking. If that is what they wanted to they should have done it at some other time and not at a demonstration that was supposed to be a family safe event.

            Do I care about the bank windows? No. I said so back then and got HR'd for it, and I'll say it here again: I don't care about the bankster's windows. But I do care about the other demonstrators who were put at risk.

            WE NEVER FORGET Modestino Valentino who lost his life in the Paterson Silk Strike

            by JayRaye on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 05:15:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  worthy entry (0+ / 0-)

    ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

    by Diane Gee on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:24:26 PM PDT

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