Above: the White Night riots, San Francisco, 1979 We have been lined up in front of a firing squad and it is called AIDS. We must riot! – Larry Kramer, “Call to Riot”, 1990 Just a few weeks after the election of Donald Trump, Fabian Braithwaite of Out magazine made a call for a “Queer […]Read more "From Stonewall to Antifa: A Half Century of Bashing Back"
The history of the civil rights movement is often used to pressure militants into passive resistance. But how nonviolent was the Black Freedom Movement, particularly when it was winning? Historians now agree that the use of force played a constructive role for many liberation projects of the period, including not just the Black movement, but the […]Read more "From George Wallace to the Alt-Right: Resisting White Supremacy"
Above: Lois Scott, organizer for the Brookside, Kentucky chapter of the United Mine Workers of America, retrieves a handgun in the documentary Harlan County, USA (Barbara Koppel, 1976) “We become depressed when we look around and see 1100 white supremacist militia groups, and some of our names at the top [of their kill lists]! You […]Read more "Why the Left-wing Needs a Gun Culture"
The civil resistance mythos is damaging the public’s understanding of how social movements and direct action really function.Read more "Why Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work"
“The way they respond may not be the way we responded years ago — nonviolence — we’ve got to catch up to that. Right now, we’re playing catchup,” – Rev. John Richard Bryant, bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, commenting on Black Lives Matter protesters “You can’t get funding from Tides Foundation Canada or […]Read more "What the Climate Movement Can Learn from Black Lives Matter"
24 hours after the terrorist attack on Emanuel AME church in Charleston, Barack Obama took the podium at the White House and delivered his reaction. The president had a pressing issue on his mind: gun control. “At some point,” he intoned, “we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass […]Read more "Black Twitter Says #WeWillShootBack"
Over the years, Francis Fox Piven, one of the more celebrated social movement historians in America, has made a remarkable assertion: Most US social scientists have a severe blind spot to the use of force by social justice movements. Due to sympathy towards these movements – and an aspiration to the undisputed moral high ground […]Read more "In the Wake of Baltimore, Are Scholars Facing Reality?"