Boys to Men

Norman Markowitz has a blog post that outlines the possibility that the Boston Marathon bombing may be more blow-back from U.S. imperialism. He gives the U.S. government some credit for a dovish response:

…the Obama administration deserves a good deal of credit for not doing with the Bush administration most certainly would have–fan the flames of hysteria to advance their political agenda, put the nation on full alert, point to various foreign powers and connections and make threats of major military action. Terrorism is a police matter first and foremost and as of now, as I am writing, with one of the killers dead and the other being hunted in an area of Boston where hopefully he will be captured, the police have done a good job.

some quick thoughts about the Boston Marathon Atrocity by Norman Markowitz

In a strictly technical sense, the police did well; one bomber dead and, more importantly, one alive and in custody. That means that there’s some chance that we will learn something about the motivations behind the crime and so on. We need all the information we can get. Markowitz also points out the obvious, that this should feed into the gun safety debate as yet another example of how we are becoming an armed and dangerous society.

What bother’s me most about this sort of terrorism is the way it reinforces the worst aspects of political culture, feeding the romance of armed resistance on both the so-called pro-gun NRA-right domestically and the various quasi-nationalist movements overseas. (They are not so different.) One side will see yet another reason to buy a gun, another will see that there are weak spots in the U.S. imperial armor, despite years of reinforcement.

What we don’t have, at least in the mass-media, is a sustained critique of both positions rooted in the long history of non-violent social struggle here and around the world. It’s simply idiotic to claim, as the right so often does, that the only way to “fight” our government is with guns. In the U.S. and around the world we have better revolutionary tools: the ballet and the union and the demonstration. We fight democratically to build democracy.

The idea of armed struggle against U.S. imperialism ought to be rejected just as strongly, for all the reasons that history has shown it does not work. On the other hand, non-violent struggle has produced many victories from India to the U.S. to the Philippines to Myanmar to Tunisia and Egypt. This is the political romance we ought to be promoting, here as much as elsewhere, among all of those unemployed and disillusioned boys and young men.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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