It appears as though some Massachusetts liberals (or faux-berals, as I like to say. Or neo-liberals, even!) have gotten their panties in a bunch over some things that my congressman Mike Capuano said. Let’s review, shall we?
Mike, potential future challenger to centerfold Senator Scott Brown, was at a union rally in solidarity with the workers of Wisconsin with a few other congresspersons when he made the following statement:
“I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going. Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary.”
Cue the we’re-scared-of-violence backlash.
I honestly believe that Congressman Capuano was not advocating a bloody, violent takeover of the state, and was instead engaging in some Real Talk, which is the fact that facilitating social change is a chaotic, messy process (you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, the revolution isn’t a dinner party, insert other aphorisms here, etc.). I think this is a real problem amongst progressive communities (not just in Massachusetts, though lord knows it rings true, but throughout the US), this presumptuous notion that social change can be a la-di-da process. It can’t be. It doesn’t matter how peaceful your tactics are. The state will use brute force (even in a democratic state!).
Stop being so scared of blood, guys.
P.S. I think it goes without saying that if discourses like this continue, it might get bloody whether we like it or not, the tragic events involving Representative Giffords being proof positive of that.
This is a really graphic video, but I’m posting it because I think there’s a kind of discourse emerging about violence and the way we consume it. Obviously I won’t use this venue go into great detail about violence and Hollywood and what-have-you, but I think that the way we distinguish Hollywood violence with real-life violence is notable, and wasn’t something I thought about actively until the video of Neda from Tehran’s 2009 protests surfaced. It is, in essence, a snuff film (which they all are, I guess). Following, there have been moments since- Khaled Said’s murder, for one, photos of children in hospitals in Bahrain, things that I’m reluctant to surf the net for because of their disturbing content- that ask for a consideration of violence and what it actually means in a popular uprising, in toppling a dictator.
And while this isn’t addressed outright in these graphic firsthand accounts, I think that the discourses of martyrdom that have become so prevalent in the past month or so are really under-addressed when it comes to How Revolution Works. I think, given a predilection for Islamophobia these days, the West (I don’t like that term but I will use it, anyway) tiptoes around this idea of martyrdom because of its (misguided) associations of martyrdom with fundamentalism (and I heard we are a Christian Nation, Deist forefathers be damned and, consarnit, we all know the Only Martyrs Ever were Christian ones! Soooooooooo.), but I think it’s a concept that’s really important in grasping Revolution and How It Happens. While I personally did not lose anyone during the uprising, the mass funerals and wall of martyrs in Tahrir, as well as virtual memorials, i.e. this, come up constantly as actual, human examples of what dictatorship (and U.S complicity. Don’t forget that!) hath wrought, and why it can’t sustain itself.
I am going to write more about this after I finish reading this.