A critical look at a landmark book that Extinction Rebellion have placed in central importance in their theory on non-violence.
I think there are a few issues that arise from the book. Firstly the question of violence itself. Often campaigns and movements adopt non-violent strategies for moral reasons. But the violence that Chenoweth and Stephan talk about is usually terrorist or guerrilla warfare. They aren’t really considering situations where a few windows get broken as part of a much bigger demonstration, or where during a mass, non-violent protest strike or stay-away, a group of protesters might injure or kill a policeman. In fact, in many cases, the authors note that these sort of incidents did occur but class the movements as non-violent.
The problem is that most contemporary movements that argue for these strategies are not arguing against terrorism as a strategy, but arguing that no sort of violence…
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