Nonviolence Ain’t What It Used To Be: Unarmed Insurrection and the Rhetoric of Resistance (A Book Talk with Discussion)

Sunday, October 29, 2017, 3:00pm – 3:45pm
Located in KAOS Network

Shon Meckfessel

Bio: Shon Meckfessel has been active in disruptive social movements for nearly twenty-five years, beginning in his native Sacramento, CA. After blocking highways to stop the first Persian Gulf War, he was never again inclined to petitionary protest. He has since researched and participated in social movements across the US, Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. Shon is the also the author of “Suffled How It Gush: A North American Anarchist in the Balkans” as well as numerous essays and articles. He has appeared as a social movement scholar and advocate in the New York Times and on Democracy Now, Al Jazeera, CNN, NPR, BBC, Radio, and Fox News. Shon is a member of the English Faculty at Highline College.

Description: I will be presenting my book, recently published on AK Press. Basically, my talk has four parts:

a) How the material conditions faced by social movements have changed drastically over the neoliberal era, but how our language and understanding of movements often don’t acknowledge these changes.

b) A historical analysis of the idea of “nonviolence,” acknowledging the power nonviolent direct action has had at key moments in the past (and analyzing why it worked,) but critiquing how “nonviolence” uses shifting definitions and questionable equivalences to opportunistically disavow the risks incurred by challenging power.

c) Why public performances of property destruction and clashes with police have become commonplace in recent movements – what it is that riots say, and

d) The differences between antifascist and anticapitalist violence, and antifascist strategy.