Salon: 'Smashing police cars is a legitimate political strategy'

You should look at this opinion piece in Salon by Benji Hart as something of a palette cleanser, although after reading it, you will probably want to take a shower to wash the muck off.

First, you should know that our friend Mr. Hart writes for a group blog with the colorful name of Radical Faggot. It's catch phrase is "Brown Knowledge Queer Justice" - just so you know where Benji is coming from.

Second, prepare yourself for the most astonishingly stupid reasoning to justify violence you're ever likely to see.

As a nation, we fail to comprehend Black political strategy in much the same way we fail to recognize the value of Black life.

We see ghettos and crime and absent parents where we should see communities actively struggling against mental health crises and premeditated economic exploitation. And when we see police cars being smashed and corporate property being destroyed, we should see reasonable responses to generations of extreme state violence, and logical decisions about what kind of actions yield the desired political results.

That "corporate property" being destroyed is the livelihoods of  small businesses - mostly black owned - struggling to survive. That's the problems with anti-capitalist rants; you aim for evil corporations and end up hitting the little guy.

I’m overwhelmed by the pervasive slandering of protesters in Baltimore this weekend for not remaining peaceful. The bad-apple rhetoric would have us believe that most Baltimore protesters are demonstrating the right way—as is their constitutional right—and only a few are disrupting the peace, giving the movement a bad name.

This spin should be disregarded, first because of the virtual media blackout of any of the action happening on the ground, particularly over the weekend. Equally, it makes no sense to cite the Constitution in any demonstration for Black civil rights (that document was not written about us, remember?), but certainly not one organized specifically to call attention to the fact that the state breaks its own laws with regard to the oppressed on a nearly constant basis.

But there is an even bigger problem. Referring to Black Lives Matter protests, as well as organic responses to police and state violence as “non-violent” or “peaceful” erases the actual climate in which these movements are acting, the militant strategies that have rendered them effective, and the long history of riots and direct action on which they are built.

I do not advocate non-violence—particularly in a moment like the one we currently face. In the spirit and words of militant Black and Brown feminist movements from around the globe, I believe it is crucial that we see non-violence as a tactic, not a philosophy.

I didn't realize that blacks were  still counted as 3/5 of a citizen. Actually, someone should wake Rip Van Benji up and point out that while he was asleep, the 13th and 14th amendments were adopted, giving blacks the exact same rights that white people had at the beginning of the republic.

As for the rest, the idea that violence is "effective" as a means to effect social change is a mirage. The changes - such as the government buying peace in the inner cities following the 1960's riots with massive increases in social spending - carries with it their own problems, including the ones that Hart mentions at the top of the piece.

Finally, there's this bit of outrageous nonsense:

Militance is about direct action which defends our communities from violence. It is about responses which meet the political goals of our communities in the moment, and deal with the repercussions as they come. It is about saying no, firmly drawing and holding boundaries, demanding the return of stolen resources. And from Queer Liberation and Black Power to centuries-old movements for Native sovereignty and anti-colonialism, it is how virtually all of our oppressed movements were sparked, and has arguably gained us the only real political victories we’ve had under the rule of empire.

Someone like Hart whose worldview is so twisted by hate and envy should stick with writing for Radical Faggot. And Salon should be ashamed of itself for publishing this drivel, hoping that sane, responsible people click over to watch Hart make a demolition derby of logic. 


If you experience technical problems, please write to