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America In Flames: The Appropriateness Of Riots & Protests

For discussion and debate about anything. (Not a roleplay related forum; out-of-character commentary only.)
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Adriatican
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America In Flames: The Appropriateness Of Riots & Protests

Postby Adriatican » Sun May 31, 2020 4:35 am

I'm sure, by now, we're all at least somewhat familiar with the protests that have sprung up in; Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C and elsewhere, even if we don't all live in the United States.

These demonstrations, which seem to at least start peacefully, have not ended that way, as of yet.

Debate roams on exactly what led up to the protests, and later, riots, that erupted in Minneapolis, and have since spread across the country. However, it appears at least one reason, if not the reason that broke the camel's back, was the death of George Floyd, an African American man who perished in police custody this week, after Officer David Chauvin of the Minneapolis Police Department, forcibly detained Floyd by placing his knee, and accompanying body weight, on Floyd's neck for 8 1/2 minutes straight.

There is an ongoing debate as to whether the three other police officers who accompanied Mr. Chauvin to the scene, are equally as, or at all, complicit as, Mr. Chauvin, in the death of Mr. Floyd.

Mr. Floyd was detained for attempting to pay for groceries at a neighborhood store, with a counterfeit $20.00 bill. It is unclear whether or not Mr. Floyd was aware the bill was counterfeit when he tendered it as payment.

The ensuing civil unrest has resulted in significant property damage, injuries, and at least one life lost, with municipal mayors in at least three states (Minnesota, Washington, and California) requesting their Governors mobilize the National Guard to restore order.

Curfews have been instituted in nearly every major city where a protest and/or riot has occurred.

So, here's my question to you, NS; is the response to this matter on the behalf of the protestors, and public at-large, appropriate? Why or why not?
Last edited by Adriatican on Sun May 31, 2020 4:40 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Rojava Free State
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Postby Rojava Free State » Sun May 31, 2020 4:57 am

Violence against small businesses is never justified. Don't burn the indian restaurant.

Violence against major corporate businesses like Target should be avoided, but I don't really feel sympathy for multinational corporation, Chinese sweatshop utilizing Target. I feel for their hourly employees but their corporate leadership are frankly scumfucks.

Violence against crooked police is justified, because if they can't keep from getting violent toward the populace, there is no reason not to brutalize them. Last night an NYPD officer ran protesters over in his car and the night before they bodyslammed a woman outside Barclay center. They deserve all the suffering they're getting. Zero sympathy from me.

Violence against McDonalds is even more justified because their food sucks ass, their managers are cocksuckers and they're represented by a creepy ass clown.
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Postby Ostroeuropa » Sun May 31, 2020 5:00 am

All politics is violence. The relevant question is who that violence is directed at and why, and whether you believe the state should maintain a monopoly on violence and when that monopoly loses legitimacy.
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Adriatican
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Postby Adriatican » Sun May 31, 2020 5:18 am

Rojava Free State wrote:Violence against small businesses is never justified. Don't burn the indian restaurant.

Violence against major corporate businesses like Target should be avoided, but I don't really feel sympathy for multinational corporation, Chinese sweatshop utilizing Target. I feel for their hourly employees but their corporate leadership are frankly scumfucks.

Violence against crooked police is justified, because if they can't keep from getting violent toward the populace, there is no reason not to brutalize them. Last night an NYPD officer ran protesters over in his car and the night before they bodyslammed a woman outside Barclay center. They deserve all the suffering they're getting. Zero sympathy from me.

Violence against McDonalds is even more justified because their food sucks ass, their managers are cocksuckers and they're represented by a creepy ass clown.


This is just a lot to unpack... :rofl:
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Postby Adriatican » Sun May 31, 2020 5:19 am

Ostroeuropa wrote:All politics is violence. The relevant question is who that violence is directed at and why, and whether you believe the state should maintain a monopoly on violence and when that monopoly loses legitimacy.


I wouldn't necessarily agree with the statement suggesting all politics are violence, but I see your point.
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Postby Vistulange » Sun May 31, 2020 5:20 am

So, I'm assuming from your OP that this isn't specific to the US context, even though the title suggests such. This is good, because while I'm averagely-read on US politics, I don't live there, I don't know the precise contexts, and thankfully I don't engage with it every day. Therefore, I'll expand the scope a bit and relate to my own position.

To answer the open yes-no question: No, it is not appropriate, at least from my moral window. However, this answer is very unlikely to get people who unironically believe that violent answer is the right way to go about it, aside from our resident anarchists and other fringe folk, possibly the neo-Nazis and the fascists who have a tendency to advocate for political violence (when it's on their side, at least), who I won't really be including in my comments, as they aren't by any common measure a part of the mainstream in any country these days.

Nobody wants such protests to descend into the violence and disruption they appear to have done so. The exact same could be said of the Hong Kong Umbrella demonstrations back in 2014, as well as the ones taking place today; the Gezi Park protests exactly (as I write this post) seven years ago in 2013, in Turkey, and so many other demonstrations I have probably never even heard of. The protestors are usually aware that violence will alienate public opinion, even in countries where protesting is a socially acceptable form of political action. However, people aren't purely logical and rational machines, contrary to what NSG sometimes appears to think, but rather, are complex beings whose motives and methods show immense variance. We get emotional about different things, we get angry at different things and we get happy about other things; moreover, we feel these emotions in different amounts of strength. This is relevant for the next part.

You demonstrate when you feel that you (or a social group you identify with, in some way) have been dealt with in an unjust manner, as a crude and provisional assumption. There's something else at work there, however: You protest because you believe, more or less, that the pre-established channels will not produce a legitimate outcome, in this case, justice. Therefore, you set out to point that out, as well. Inherently, protests bypass pre-established channels (institutions which may or may not be legitimate, but that's irrelevant to the case here) and naturally trigger a wariness in officials - hence the deployment of police forces.

That's when things get messy. Not every country utilises police forces in the same manner, not every country equips and trains their police forces identically. Not every police force is equally disciplined and cool-headed. Some police forces (e.g. US forces) are equipped with lethal force, some (e.g. British forces) are not. It's very human to feel a sense of danger when the fellow staring at me could pull out his gun and shoot me dead, regardless of the legality of my actions. That fellow could well lose his cool and do something rash, and his chance of hurting me - severely so - is high. The issue is, when people feel threatened - not necessarily mortal danger, but danger nonetheless - they prioritise other things than their political objectives, such as immediate survival. This is where the "people are not machines" bit comes in: it's non-sensical to expect everybody to keep their cool. Yes, rationally, the police force would not shoot at a peaceful demonstration, and following from there, the peaceful demonstrators have no reason to feel threatened. However, that's not how the real world functions. History is filled with peaceful demonstrations being fired upon, intentionally or partially unintentionally.

And when people switch to survival mode, they may do things that are threatening to others around them - including the police officers - who, in turn, can well feel threatened themselves. From then on, it snowballs from there, and all it takes for a huge crowd to be drawn into chaos is a single blank or less-lethal gunshot fired into the air. Yes, it will not kill anybody, most likely, but how many people know that, and how many people can register that in the ensuing chaos? With chaos prevailing, there will obviously be opportunists who take advantage to loot and pillage what they can. It's a simulation of lawlessness, where the forces considered legitimate enforcers of the law are suddenly perceived as the "enemy", while those same enforcers of the law might suddenly see the demonstrators as an "enemy", depending on their training and so on.

So, I'd say the question ought not to be "is it appropriate", but rather "why does this occur", and perhaps "how can it be prevented".
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Albrenia
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Postby Albrenia » Sun May 31, 2020 5:23 am

If there's ever a reason to riot in a democracy, I'd have to say the murder of citizens by law enforcement being covered up would probably fit the bill.

I'm deeply uncomfortable with and condemn violence directed at innocent parties by the riot though, even though I understand their anger is in general, justified.

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Postby Adriatican » Sun May 31, 2020 5:25 am

Vistulange wrote:So, I'm assuming from your OP that this isn't specific to the US context, even though the title suggests such. This is good, because while I'm averagely-read on US politics, I don't live there, I don't know the precise contexts, and thankfully I don't engage with it every day. Therefore, I'll expand the scope a bit and relate to my own position.

To answer the open yes-no question: No, it is not appropriate, at least from my moral window. However, this answer is very unlikely to get people who unironically believe that violent answer is the right way to go about it, aside from our resident anarchists and other fringe folk, possibly the neo-Nazis and the fascists who have a tendency to advocate for political violence (when it's on their side, at least), who I won't really be including in my comments, as they aren't by any common measure a part of the mainstream in any country these days.

Nobody wants such protests to descend into the violence and disruption they appear to have done so. The exact same could be said of the Hong Kong Umbrella demonstrations back in 2014, as well as the ones taking place today; the Gezi Park protests exactly (as I write this post) seven years ago in 2013, in Turkey, and so many other demonstrations I have probably never even heard of. The protestors are usually aware that violence will alienate public opinion, even in countries where protesting is a socially acceptable form of political action. However, people aren't purely logical and rational machines, contrary to what NSG sometimes appears to think, but rather, are complex beings whose motives and methods show immense variance. We get emotional about different things, we get angry at different things and we get happy about other things; moreover, we feel these emotions in different amounts of strength. This is relevant for the next part.

You demonstrate when you feel that you (or a social group you identify with, in some way) have been dealt with in an unjust manner, as a crude and provisional assumption. There's something else at work there, however: You protest because you believe, more or less, that the pre-established channels will not produce a legitimate outcome, in this case, justice. Therefore, you set out to point that out, as well. Inherently, protests bypass pre-established channels (institutions which may or may not be legitimate, but that's irrelevant to the case here) and naturally trigger a wariness in officials - hence the deployment of police forces.

That's when things get messy. Not every country utilises police forces in the same manner, not every country equips and trains their police forces identically. Not every police force is equally disciplined and cool-headed. Some police forces (e.g. US forces) are equipped with lethal force, some (e.g. British forces) are not. It's very human to feel a sense of danger when the fellow staring at me could pull out his gun and shoot me dead, regardless of the legality of my actions. That fellow could well lose his cool and do something rash, and his chance of hurting me - severely so - is high. The issue is, when people feel threatened - not necessarily mortal danger, but danger nonetheless - they prioritise other things than their political objectives, such as immediate survival. This is where the "people are not machines" bit comes in: it's non-sensical to expect everybody to keep their cool. Yes, rationally, the police force would not shoot at a peaceful demonstration, and following from there, the peaceful demonstrators have no reason to feel threatened. However, that's not how the real world functions. History is filled with peaceful demonstrations being fired upon, intentionally or partially unintentionally.

And when people switch to survival mode, they may do things that are threatening to others around them - including the police officers - who, in turn, can well feel threatened themselves. From then on, it snowballs from there, and all it takes for a huge crowd to be drawn into chaos is a single blank or less-lethal gunshot fired into the air. Yes, it will not kill anybody, most likely, but how many people know that, and how many people can register that in the ensuing chaos? With chaos prevailing, there will obviously be opportunists who take advantage to loot and pillage what they can. It's a simulation of lawlessness, where the forces considered legitimate enforcers of the law are suddenly perceived as the "enemy", while those same enforcers of the law might suddenly see the demonstrators as an "enemy", depending on their training and so on.

So, I'd say the question ought not to be "is it appropriate", but rather "why does this occur", and perhaps "how can it be prevented".


Bravo, just bravo. :clap:
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Postby Adriatican » Sun May 31, 2020 5:27 am

Albrenia wrote:If there's ever a reason to riot in a democracy, I'd have to say the murder of citizens by law enforcement being covered up would probably fit the bill.

I'm deeply uncomfortable with and condemn violence directed at innocent parties by the riot though, even though I understand their anger is in general, justified.


Completely agree.
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Postby Orwal » Sun May 31, 2020 5:27 am

Wow... I hate having to go after you. But I feel that those protests do have reason even if I do have a question about it. Would the cop have done the same if it was another person? :?:

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Postby Adriatican » Sun May 31, 2020 5:30 am

Orwal wrote:Wow... I hate having to go after you. But I feel that those protests do have reason even if I do have a question about it. Would the cop have done the same if it was another person? :?:


As in another race, or simply just an individual of any descriptor, so long as it wasn't Mr. Floyd?
Last edited by Adriatican on Sun May 31, 2020 5:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Page » Sun May 31, 2020 5:42 am

Every civil rights' struggle has been won, if not always but often with violence, in flagrant defiance of the law. No movement ever won standing out of the way holding up signs and obeying the rules.

Legalism is the lowest form of morality. The rights you cherish today were won by "criminals."
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Postby Orwal » Sun May 31, 2020 5:44 am

Adriatican wrote:
Orwal wrote:Wow... I hate having to go after you. But I feel that those protests do have reason even if I do have a question about it. Would the cop have done the same if it was another person? :?:


As in another race, or simply just an individual of any descriptor, so long as it wasn't Mr. Floyd?

Another race.

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Postby Punainen Suomi » Sun May 31, 2020 5:48 am

Page wrote:Every civil rights' struggle has been won, if not always but often with violence, in flagrant defiance of the law. No movement ever won standing out of the way holding up signs and obeying the rules.

Legalism is the lowest form of morality. The rights you cherish today were won by "criminals."

It seems to me that the violence associated with these struggles tends to get whitewashed out of the history books, which tend to present a narrative of non-violence. I do sometimes find myself wondering if this is a deliberate move to make such action seem unthinkable in future struggles, or at least to make people think that it won't get results.
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Postby Adriatican » Sun May 31, 2020 6:00 am

Page wrote:Every civil rights' struggle has been won, if not always but often with violence, in flagrant defiance of the law. No movement ever won standing out of the way holding up signs and obeying the rules.

Legalism is the lowest form of morality. The rights you cherish today were won by "criminals."


I would whole heartedly disagree.

My right to truly vote was won by Dr. King in his many trips to the Oval Office to lobby President Johnson.

The constitutional amendment which forbade a state from depriving me of my liberty based on the color of my skin, was drafted by coalitions of legislators.

These rights have been upheld by the effectual argumentations of passionate litigators, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Whilst the violence surrounding these movements may have had violent outbursts which may have inadvertently solicited compassion, it was the peaceful, yet visually effectual, non-violent efforts of the Civil Rights Movement, which sealed the end of Jim Crow's prominency.

There's a reason why Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is what's remembered as the defining moment for the movement, and not the violence in Selma.
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Postby Page » Sun May 31, 2020 6:01 am

Adriatican wrote:
Page wrote:Every civil rights' struggle has been won, if not always but often with violence, in flagrant defiance of the law. No movement ever won standing out of the way holding up signs and obeying the rules.

Legalism is the lowest form of morality. The rights you cherish today were won by "criminals."


I would whole heartedly disagree.

My right to truly vote was won by Dr. King in his many trips to the Oval Office to lobby President Johnson.

The constitutional amendment which forbade a state from depriving me of my liberty based on the color of my skin, was drafted by coalitions of legislators.

These rights have been upheld by the effectual argumentations of passionate litigators, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Whilst the violence surrounding these movements may have had violent outbursts which may have inadvertently solicited compassion, it was the peaceful, yet visually effectual, non-violent efforts of the Civil Rights Movement, which sealed the end of Jim Crow's prominency.

There's a reason why Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is what's remembered as the defining moment for the movement, and not the violence in Selma.


MLK broke the law. He was nonviolent, but he broke the law often. What do you think civil disobedience means? Do you think he and his cohorts had a permit to march on that bridge?
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Postby Adriatican » Sun May 31, 2020 6:03 am

Punainen Suomi wrote:
Page wrote:Every civil rights' struggle has been won, if not always but often with violence, in flagrant defiance of the law. No movement ever won standing out of the way holding up signs and obeying the rules.

Legalism is the lowest form of morality. The rights you cherish today were won by "criminals."

It seems to me that the violence associated with these struggles tends to get whitewashed out of the history books, which tend to present a narrative of non-violence. I do sometimes find myself wondering if this is a deliberate move to make such action seem unthinkable in future struggles, or at least to make people think that it won't get results.


It's not so much whitewashed, as it is dramatically overplayed. Visceral emotional response may make something stick in your mind, but we must not conflate memorablity with actual level of effect.
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Postby Punainen Suomi » Sun May 31, 2020 6:07 am

Adriatican wrote:
Punainen Suomi wrote:It seems to me that the violence associated with these struggles tends to get whitewashed out of the history books, which tend to present a narrative of non-violence. I do sometimes find myself wondering if this is a deliberate move to make such action seem unthinkable in future struggles, or at least to make people think that it won't get results.


It's not so much whitewashed, as it is dramatically overplayed. Visceral emotional response may make something stick in your mind, but we must not conflate memorablity with actual level of effect.

Maybe, and this is just my own personal experience, but for years I was entirely unaware that there was much more to the Civil Rights movement than MLK and his non-violent protests. We read some books about it at school, but they failed to mention any of the wider events that were going on at the time. Then again, I'm not an American, and I'm not sure how they teach it over there.
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Postby Adriatican » Sun May 31, 2020 6:08 am

Page wrote:
Adriatican wrote:
I would whole heartedly disagree.

My right to truly vote was won by Dr. King in his many trips to the Oval Office to lobby President Johnson.

The constitutional amendment which forbade a state from depriving me of my liberty based on the color of my skin, was drafted by coalitions of legislators.

These rights have been upheld by the effectual argumentations of passionate litigators, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Whilst the violence surrounding these movements may have had violent outbursts which may have inadvertently solicited compassion, it was the peaceful, yet visually effectual, non-violent efforts of the Civil Rights Movement, which sealed the end of Jim Crow's prominency.

There's a reason why Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is what's remembered as the defining moment for the movement, and not the violence in Selma.


MLK broke the law. He was nonviolent, but he broke the law often. What do you think civil disobedience means? Do you think he and his cohorts had a permit to march on that bridge?


You've nade my point.

Yes, Dr. King broke the law, but he did so peacefully,, as you've admitted, and additionally, utilized the system engineered by the architects of his oppression, to his advantage.

These protestors have broken the law, but have not done so peacefully, nor utilized any part of the system to their advantage, resulting in the levers of power becoming evermore entrenched in positions diametrically opposed to the reforms the protestors are allegedly advocating for.
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Postby Adriatican » Sun May 31, 2020 6:11 am

Punainen Suomi wrote:
Adriatican wrote:
It's not so much whitewashed, as it is dramatically overplayed. Visceral emotional response may make something stick in your mind, but we must not conflate memorablity with actual level of effect.

Maybe, and this is just my own personal experience, but for years I was entirely unaware that there was much more to the Civil Rights movement than MLK and his non-violent protests. We read some books about it at school, but they failed to mention any of the wider events that were going on at the time. Then again, I'm not an American, and I'm not sure how they teach it over there.


Ah, well, it truly depends on where one comes from I suppose. My homestate of California tends to have teachers who provide much more comprehensive curriculum on matters of injustice and oppression.

The same cannot be said of states like; Alabama, Mississippi, or God forbid....Texas.
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Postby Washington Resistance Army » Sun May 31, 2020 6:12 am

Rojava Free State wrote:Violence against McDonalds is even more justified because their food sucks ass


This^^^
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Geneviev
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Postby Geneviev » Sun May 31, 2020 6:22 am

Violence against innocent people is always wrong. However, I understand that the anger behind these protests is justified. The one here started because of a completely different case, which should show how widespread police brutality seems to be. It would be better if people were to be peaceful, but if this is the only way to solve the problems, then it's necessary.
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Postby Adriatican » Sun May 31, 2020 6:42 am

Washington Resistance Army wrote:
Rojava Free State wrote:Violence against McDonalds is even more justified because their food sucks ass


This^^^


I'm literally eating McDonald's as I type this, so I must disagree lest my McMuffin revolts for my heresy and steals my livestock.
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Postby Risottia » Sun May 31, 2020 6:46 am

Ostroeuropa wrote:All politics is violence. The relevant question is who that violence is directed at and why, and whether you believe the state should maintain a monopoly on violence and when that monopoly loses legitimacy.

That monopoly ceases to be justified when the state loses its legitimacy.
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The Huskar Social Union
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Posts: 43818
Founded: Apr 04, 2012
Left-wing Utopia

Postby The Huskar Social Union » Sun May 31, 2020 6:48 am

Rojava Free State wrote:Violence against small businesses is never justified. Don't burn the indian restaurant.

Violence against major corporate businesses like Target should be avoided, but I don't really feel sympathy for multinational corporation, Chinese sweatshop utilizing Target. I feel for their hourly employees but their corporate leadership are frankly scumfucks.

Violence against crooked police is justified, because if they can't keep from getting violent toward the populace, there is no reason not to brutalize them. Last night an NYPD officer ran protesters over in his car and the night before they bodyslammed a woman outside Barclay center. They deserve all the suffering they're getting. Zero sympathy from me.

Violence against McDonalds is even more justified because their food sucks ass, their managers are cocksuckers and they're represented by a creepy ass clown.
Im Irish and live in Belfast Im a Leftwinger and im an Atheist

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