Civil Rights

Why Violent Protests Backfire

Martin Luther King explained why they are "socially destructive and self-defeating."

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The writer and activist Vicky Osterweil is the latest and most strident defender of the violence and destruction that have accompanied some of the protests following the death of George Floyd.

Osterweil argues in her new book, In Defense of Looting: A Riotous History of Uncivil Action, that in the last years of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life, as his focus moved beyond desegregation and voting rights and toward promoting socialism, he had a change of heart about looting and destruction as a tool for social change.

"Though he wasn't calling for violent revolution," she writes, "neither was he chastising or rejecting rioters anymore."

Others have pointed to the famous King line, "A riot is the language of the unheard," as a moral justification for the riots of the 1960s.

In reality, King was unwavering in his commitment to nonviolence.

"My hope is that we are going to have a protest like this every summer," said in a 1966 interview with 60 Minutes' Mike Wallace, referencing protests in Chicago that turned violent. "My hope would be that they are nonviolent, because riots are self-defeating and socially destructive."

He tried to make his position crystal clear in that same that interview, saying, "I will never change in my idea that nonviolence is the most potent weapon available to the Negro in his struggle for freedom and justice."  

And less than a year before his death, King delivered a lecture addressing skeptics of nonviolence following the 1967 riots.

"Many people feel that nonviolence as a strategy for social change was cremated in the flames of the urban riots of the last two years," said King, before re-iterating his call for massive, sustained, nonviolent civil disobedience.

"In this world, nonviolence is no longer an option for intellectual analysis; it is an imperative for action."

Violent protests were self-defeating, King argued, because, "every time a riot develops" it makes "a right-wing takeover more likely," helping segregationists like George Wallace gain political power and influence.

Osterweil writes admiringly of the nationwide riots that followed King's assassination as "an act of pure mourning, grief, and rage" that perhaps "felt so natural, so immediate, so appropriate, even those who would normally marvel at their scale fell quiet."

These uprisings are "wildly understudied, theorized, or historicized," she writes, and, "the silence on the part of historians, scholars, and activists has been deafening."

But the Princeton political scientist Omar Wasow has studied the '68 riots in detail and argues that they helped Richard Nixon to beat Democrat Hubert Humphrey in that year's presidential race. As King understood, media coverage was why looting and violence backfired.

"A nonviolent protest today produced a headline about civil rights tomorrow. Whereas when protesters engage in violence that predicted a headline about riots tomorrow, a headline that was much more likely to focus on crime and disorder, and public opinion moves very closely with that," Wasow told Reason's Nick Gillespie in a podcast interview. "The tactics that are employed by protesters can really make a powerful impact on how the media tell the story, which in turn shapes public opinion."

Some media outlets have at times appeared to downplay some violence and destruction, but King's warning and Wasow's research still resonate today as polls show a sharp downward turn in approval ratings of the Black Lives Matter movement in recent weeks—including in Wisconsin, even before riots hit Kenosha.

And Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden seems to fundamentally understand that.

"Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting," said Biden in a speech in late August.

That might help explain how he's maintained a lead so far against an incumbent who's fanned the flames with his rhetoric, threatening to send the military into the streets to crackdown on protests and riots in early June.

King wasn't excusing riots by describing them as the "language of the unheard." He was imploring observers to acknowledge the unjust conditions that contributed to their emergence in the first place.

The paths forward to social change couldn't be more clear. Persistent, nonviolent resistance tied directly to concrete policy demands, as practiced by Martin Luther King, Jr., who helped achieve historic civil rights legislation; or rioting and looting promoted by activists who believe, "We need to argue for and defend every tactic that might help us to overturn this miserable world of white supremacy, anti-Blackness, cisheteropatriarchy, capitalism, empire, and property."

Produced by Zach Weissmueller; edited by Weissmueller and Regan Taylor; graphics by Lex Villena.

Photo credits: Cees de Boer, CNP AdMedia Newscom; Kheel Center, Gage Skidmore; John Lucia.

Music credits: "Vampire Cop," by Odonis Odonis; "Your Suggestions," by the Unicorn Heads.

NEXT: Bridget Phetasy Is Politically Homeless. You Probably Are Too.

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  1. That might help explain how he’s maintained a lead so far against an incumbent who’s fanned the flames with his rhetoric, threatening to send the military into the streets to crackdown on protests and riots in early June.

    good grief. no one “fans the flames” of a riot. Rioters CHOOSE to riot.

    If rioters are mad at Trump and angered by his words, their rioting is NOT Trump’s fault. They are the ones doing the rioting.

    This seems very hard for journalists to understand.

    Trump’s “divisiveness” does not cause riots. Rioters cause riots.

    1. Journalist are racist, dumb white Progs for the most part. Being racist and stupid, they have a hard time attributing moral agency to minorities. So, they end up saying stupid things like this. Implicit in the statement is that it is Trump who is somehow responsible for the riots not the rioters. The riots have nor moral agency and are not responsible for their response to Trump. It is only Trump who has moral agency and is responsible for causing the rioters to riot.

      They would never use such logic if whites were rioting. If whites had rioted under Obama, they would have never dreamed of blaming Obama for saying the wrong thing. There, they would have seen the rioters as having full moral agency and responsible for their actions in a way that someone like the author of this piece could never hold minorities.

      1. “Accepting responsibility for your own actions” must be one of those white behaviors the Smithsonian was on about.

        1. And who wrote that guide for the Smithsonian? Insightful..same old far leftie with origins from central or eastern Europe. You have to understand with those radicals who control academia and the media it is ALL about settling old world grudges..once you get that it pretty much all explains itself when you see these far lefties screaming for revolution. Bolshevikism in the blood..can’t help it

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      2. Dude, you can’t say “minority” any more. Didn’t you get the memo?

        1. Well, good. I always thought that referring to an individual as “a minority” was pretty fucking stupid.

      3. but it’s not racism that skews the reports of journalists, it’s ideology. they’re fine blaming the predominantly white protests in Portland as Trump’s fault, because they’re progressives.

        1. “….to help us overturn this miserable world of….”

          Damn, that sucks. Why would anyone want to be a progressive? Everything is so terrible and unfair.

          Haha.

          1. I don’t get it myself, but people seem to love gloom and doom. Can’t just be happy that things are going pretty well. That way you can’t blame everyone else for your own failures.
            And of course, politics and media thrives on it.

    2. It’s also humorous how we agree there was already a fire, but pointing out there’s a fire is ‘fanning the flames’.

      1. A wise man once said, and I quote “We didn’t start the fire, it was always burning”.

        Well I don’t how wise he was, really, but he did marry well.

      2. Pointing out rudeness is the epitome of rudeness.

        It’s declasse to blame rioters for rioting.

    3. It’s the “If you don’t give me $100, I’ll shoot this dog, and its death will be your fault.” canard.

      1. What was this rhetoric that allegedly ibcuted these rioters, and why would people support Joe Biden due to this?

        1. “rhetoric that allegedly ibcuted these rioters”

          Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?

        2. He said some illegal immigrants were criminals.

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    5. Exactly. Obama was divisive too, but the people he irked mostly respect the rule of the law and didn’t start burning down cities.

      1. Obama was divisive only in a passive sense. A black man as President created some division from people who opposed this and felt the Presidency was the exclusive domain of white men. Trump is actively divisive using language that set one group against another. And while the far right have not burned down area of cities, they have shot up blacks churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship.

        1. I’ll grant that Trump is more actively divisive and abrasive, but he was mostly anti-Chinese government and anti-illegal Mexican immigrant, not anti-Chinese-American or anti-Mexican-American. And I can’t recall Trump ever saying or doing anything directly anti-African-American. He’s just been pro-law-and-order and pro-national anthem.

        2. Wow, what an amazingly racist thing to say, mod.
          Apparently, Obama’s only capacity was the color of his skin.
          That’s messed up, dude

          1. Right-wing nut-jobs have NEVER been racist, and have NEVER burned down black churches! We KNOW this to be true, ’cause Nardless the Nadless has firmly assured us that it is true!

            All hail Nardless the Nadless!!!

          2. That’s what it essentially boils down to.

            However Mendacity4ever is still purposefully lying here; Obama was constantly being derisive with his snooty asides, mike drops and calling the peasants “bitter clingers”.

            The real difference between Trump and Obama, is that when Obama was being an obvious dick the media would ignore it or explain it away.
            With Trump, if he isn’t saying anything “controversial”, the media invents it. Like the “Trump called racists fine people” lie, and the Jeffrey Goldberg lie about Trump calling dead soldiers “losers”

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  2. Didn’t some guy lose his jobs over this claim about violence being counterproductive?

    Now seems everyone is trying to get on board the “rioting bad” train and even calling out those who believe otherwise.

    Must have something to do with polls…

    1. It is comical to see how fast the press is now falling over itself to point out that killing people and burning down peoples’ livelihood is bad mmkay.

    2. FYI, this is what ‘trying to get in front of the story’ looks like.

      1. more like “following the new talking points memo”

        1. Gotta maintain cred to stay on the new Journolist.

      2. After being behind it for 3 months.

    3. He was guilty of premature correctness. Not only must you have the right ideas, you must convert to them – and from them – at exactly the right time.

  3. “I’LL NEVER QUESTION 1938 IN GERMANY AGAIN”: AN EX-REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST SURVEYS THE WRECKAGE OF TRUMP’S GOP

    Trump is the logical conclusion of what the Republican Party became over the last 50 or so years, a natural product of the seeds of race, self-deception, and anger that became the essence of the Republican Party. Trump isn’t an aberration of the Republican Party. He is the Republican Party in a purified form.

    And this is:

    But I also believed that there was a core set of beliefs that, say, 90% of the party would have agreed on, were fundamental, definitional, nonnegotiable for the Republican Party: personal responsibility, character counts, strong on Russia, deficit matters, fiscal sanity, free trade, strongly pro-legal immigration. These were fundamental, nonnegotiable bedrock principles that define what it was to be a Republican. So, Trump is not that, the party now has drifted away from those. The party is actively against each of those. We are the character-doesn’t-count party. We are to the left of Bernie Sanders on trade, as far as I can figure out any coherent policy to it. We’re [Vladimir] Putin’s poodle. And so, then you say, How does anybody abandon deeply held beliefs in three, four years? and I think the answer is you don’t. It just means you didn’t deeply hold them.

    1. I wonder what they say about the Democratic party, which since its beginning has all been about State power — national banks, slavery, Jim Crow, affirmative action, trust busting, New Deal, Green New Deal, reparations for their slavery, etc etc etc.

      1. The “weak on Russia” bit is interesting too, considering the most significant thing Russia has done in decades is the annexation of Crimea. That happened with a Democrat in the White House, and he did absolutely fuckall about it.

        1. Check out “Nord Stream 2,” a pipeline which would have made Europe completely dependent on Russian oil, and why it isn’t being finished on Trump’s watch.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFxw2GMvrqs

          1. I don’t understand the beliefs of people on the right. They’re always so contradictory and seemingly not cemented by any discernible underlying values. Why is Russia not allowed to offer their oil on the market? Geographically it makes perfect sense for Europeans to be able to purchase Russian fuels. Isn’t free enterprise what capitalism preaches? Yet here you are defending predatory monopolistic US business practices.

        2. They annexed Crimea because the US just enacted a coup that resulted in the arming and training of violent murderous Neo-Nazis. Russian speaking Ukrainians were being killed by these paramilitaries. Eastern Ukraine has a large Russian speaking population who want to be allied with Russia and were thus being killed by the Nazis. Crimea is also a very strategic port. Russia is surrounded by US military bases with nukes pointed at them from nearly every bordering country. Giving up Crimea to the US, when the majority of the population wanted to join Russia, would be an utter humiliation for Russia.

          1. Accurate.
            But Obama and the progs/neocons/globalists need their Russian boogeyman

            1. Haha yep. Can’t have a $1.25 trillion defense budget without those boogeymen.

    2. pure histrionics

    3. With the Bahrain deal we’ve got:

      Peace Deals – 3
      Wars Started – 0

      But Chipper and Stuart Stevens think that Trump is Hitler.

      1. What’s happening to Trump is a coup by disinformation. Regardless of the fact that he’s passing every bill that both parties donors are thrilled about, he’s still an outsider and thus unpredictable. The idea of the 2 party system is that they’re bipartisan on war profiteering and bipartisan on FIRE sector and corporate welfare, meaning that going from DNC to GOP and back keeps everything in order for the super wealthy. However, Trump isn’t the hawk that they expect from the GOP. He’s not needlessly raising war tensions with Russia, he’s communicating with Kim Jong Un like he’s a human being, he’s not bombing Iran back to the Stone Age. Therefore he has to go

      1. That’s coming. The financialization of the economy has led to large swaths of the population being left out of the prosperity. Things will only get worse so the options are welfare state or civil war via revolution. This is up to the people at the top.

  4. Who cares what Osterweil says? She’s not a scholar, not an academic, she’s a nobody. She write articles for bland online magazines. She’s irrelevant.

    That’s not to say article writers are nobodies. But there’s nothing in her corpus suggesting she has anything meaningful to say. She’s only in the news because NPR needed a filler segment and they ran out of alternative jazz.

    1. Wait wait! Don’t Tell Me! gets old after a while…

    2. “She’s not a scholar, not an academic, she’s a nobody. She write articles for bland online magazines. She’s irrelevant.”

      *She* is not even a she!

      And he went to Cornell. Failure to launch? Failure of white privilege? We report, you decide.

  5. Well for one thing they’re burn8ng down the cities where the people support them. It’s really stupid. No one cares if Portland is destroyed. No one cares if diners in Rochester are threatened. They’ve bern voting for feckless Democrats for decades they deserve every bit of it.

    1. I don’t live in either city, and I care. Entrepreneurs shouldn’t have to worry that a mob will destroy their businesses over some pretext. Residents of a modern American city should be able to trust the mayor and the police and the governor to protect them from insurrection. Diners should be able to enjoy dinner without a mob throwing chairs at them.

      There should be a lot more arrests, a lot more indictments, a lot more felony convictions, and a lot more jail time being handed out. And there’s nothing un-libertarian about that — these are actual crimes, not someone buying or selling an unapproved plant or providing agreed-upon personal services.

      1. They’ve been voting for Democrats for decades. This is what they asked for.

        1. They? All of them?

        2. You should be able to run a business even if most of your neighbors vote in a silly way.
          I have plenty of sympathy for them. I just hope they learn the right lessons.

      2. Yeah, if a large number of the violent and disruptive protestors were arrested, charged and tried and given maximal sentences, things would quiet down fast. If they can manage coordinated raids on drug dealers and whatnot, they could surely plan and execute a few mass arrests of rioters. I’ve got no problem coming down hard on people destroying property and threatening lives.

  6. I understand the emotions behind rioting, when everything seems to leave you with no options, no choices, just the world against you with no hope of ever getting better.

    But I also understand the impetus behind coming home to find your spouse in bed with your neighbor and shooting them. I understand the urge to pick up cash blowing out the back of an armored car. I understand the rush to get away from a hit-n-run accident and hope no one can track you down.

    Doesn’t make any of them right. “In defense of shooting your lover’s lover”. “In defense of running away with armored car money”. “In defense of hit and run”.

    Never happen unless they were meant as a joke.

    1. It also doesn’t help when Al Sharpton straight out lies about shit.

    2. Some people riot, loot and burn when the power goes out.
      Some people riot, loot and burn when the home team wins a championship.
      The people looting weren’t sending the proceeds to George Floyd’s Family.

    3. Very few people were left with no options and no choices. You can always try to respond calmly and politely when the police are wrongfully (or rightfully) harassing you, hoping it will get straightened out later (unless you die in a hail of bullets from a no-knock raid that should have been illegal already.) You can choose to set your own goals and work toward them, rather than giving in to appeals for group identity and group action.

    4. It’s a denunciation of moral agency, which is pretty common on the far left. I can’t count the number of times in my life that I’ve heard the socialist elite suggest that certain groups of people shouldn’t be held responsible for their moral conduct or literally that they are incapable of making a moral decision…. cuz reezins.

      I think many of them truly understand that is nothing but bullshit, but it has kinda taken hold and it’s part of the talking points of the left, particularly the young left and those selling books to them. It’s kinda funny though to turn that around on them and say, “so you’re saying that POC and the poor aren’t capable of making moral choices?” Watch the scramble for cover, because most see the obvious conclusion that must bear the name of “racist” at its core.

      We need to start talking once again about the racism of low/no expectations because this has become the mantra of the left.

      The only thing I’ll say further about Osterweil is that I bet there would be a change in opinion if some assholes burned her house down or put her sorry ass out of business. And I use the word “her” only in the politically correct sense.

      1. It may explain why a growing number of blacks are calling the progressive movement the true racists. Malcom X called it right back in the 1960s.

        1. It would be pretty funny if BLM ends up being what finally broke the Democrat near-monopoly on the black vote.

  7. “The tactics that are employed by protesters can really make a powerful impact on how the media tell the story, which in turn shapes public opinion.

    *sits up in chair*

    Some media outlets have at times appeared to downplay some violence and destruction, but King’s warning and Wasow’s research still resonate today as polls show a sharp downward turn in approval ratings of the Black Lives Matter movement in recent weeks—including in Wisconsin, even before riots hit Kenosha.

    Some… media outlets. Ok. I might characterize that as ‘damned fucking near all’, but some of this can be subjective.

    I think what we have here is an analysis that uses old models of ‘activity – media coverage – public news consumption’.

    The model we now have is ‘activity -millions of cell phones posting to facebook/youtube/instagram/traditional media etc – public news consumption’… with Media only being a segment of that information dissemination process in the middle of the flow. Because of raw video feeds being posted by people who were there, the public saw with their own eyes what the fuck was going on, while the media desperately tried to create narrative-driven coverage– and simply couldn’t mask the overwhelming truth on the ground.

    In the old days, the protests would get covered by the media and the public was forced to consume whatever narrative the gatekeepers baked in their ideological ovens. Now, we just do an end run around them and see what’s going on for ourselves.

    What I’m trying to say is, the protests didn’t get ‘negative media coverage’, they got ACCURATE coverage in the thousands of raw video clips dumped into the public sphere. That’s what turned public perception against them.

    1. Agreed, but there were also the newsheads reporting “mostly peaceful demonstrations” while buildings burned in the background. Apparently when journalism courses were replaced by schools of “communications” they left out the class on camera angles.

    2. The other major shift is that the media used to be biased in the direction of stability and conformity. Now they’re biased in the direction of wokeness, “inclusivity” and social “justice”.

    3. Yet Zach and his ilk simply cannot fathom why they are so reviled.

    4. Damn near all national media outlets is probably accurate. I think there have probably been a lot of small market media that has not been doing that. Still a lot of conservative radio stations and newspapers out there.

  8. Please stop referring to Osterwell as “she and her.” That ain’t no woman!

    https://youtu.be/DofxovZWoqo

    1. At least they’re not referring to her as “they and them”. When you see a newspaper article trying to follow those retarded ass rules, the article is completely unreadable.

      1. I think “it” and “its” would be the most relevant pronouns in these cases.

    2. OK, you have made your point. You can stop now. I don’t think Reason is going to change their pronouns.

  9. There must be some bad internal polling for Biden now that many have come out against the violent “protests” rioting and looting.

    Too bad it took Reason and other media mafia outfits to come to this conclusion. I guess polling is all they care about in addition to getting a left wing democrat in office they can manipulate.

  10. “”Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting,” said Biden ”

    Quoting Trump – – – – – – –

  11. If Vicky is gonna talk about history she should bother herself to learn a little.

    King tried to lead a peaceful march sometime in March of ‘68 to support the striking garbage workers. At the end of the group was a bunch of teenagers and young black males that called themselves the Vipers or something like that. The young guys were carrying stinks and 2x2s and things like that and eventually started breaking windows. At this, the Memphis cops seized the opportunity to whoop some black ass and came in cracking skulls. Chaos ensued. King had to be whisked away in a car, and worse yet he was taken to a fancy hotel rather than the Lorraine.

    MLK was humiliated. He decided that they were gonna go back and do it right. So he had people in Memphis teach the Vipers non-violence. And after weather delays and court delays he came back to Memphis to do the non-violent march. In the first week of April of ‘68. During this trip to Memphis he was fatally shot.

    So to the very end of his life he was committed to non-violence. It contributed to his death. You’d think that someone with The education that Osterweil has, or the geniuses doing the reporting, could bother to know a little history. It destroys the entire premise.

    1. Looked it up. The first march in support of the garbage strike was on March 28. The group that started the mess called themselves the Invaders.

    2. But King is an embarrassment to them, on many levels. So they want to co-opt his message of peace to approve of violence. And they want to co-opt his dream of a color-blind support to justify targeted benefits based on race.

  12. It is never the purpose of a wildfire to announce the sex of a baby, regardless of the intent of the idiot whose irresponsible actions sparked the fire. And you can’t put out a wildfire by announcing the baby’s sex to everyone; you have to directly suppress it.

    Similarly, it is never the purpose of a riot to serve a political end, regardless of the intent of the idiots whose irresponsible actions sparked the riot. And you can’t end rioting by accomplishing that political end; you have to directly suppress it.

  13. “Osterweil argues in her new book”

    Her? I’m fairly sure he’s a male.

    Of course, it’s hard to keep up with the new rules. Your self-description of your sex is acknowledged while lying about your race gets you fired. So who knows?

    As for the effectiveness of riots, here’s an official list (from Wikipedia, so you know it’s accurate):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_incidents_of_civil_unrest_in_the_United_States

    Shay’s Rebellion, for example, helped inspire what today we’d call a law and order backlash (in the form of the U. S. Constitution).

    But then there were the Wilmington Riots of 1898, which helped lead to a Democratic takeover of North Carolina, an outcome even Democrats today acknowledge was bad.

  14. Seriously, someone doxx Vicky Osterweil so people who think they need her stuff can go take it.

  15. So we have reached the point where we can call arson, rape, mayhem, and murder “violence” and not “fighting fascism”? Pass the smelling salts.

  16. “But the Princeton political scientist Omar Wasow has studied the ’68 riots in detail and argues that they helped Richard Nixon to beat Democrat Hubert Humphrey in that year’s presidential race. As King understood, media coverage was why looting and violence backfired.”
    This of course assumes that the country would somehow have been better off with a Humphrey presidency. Johnson gave us a full blown war in Vietnam and the Great Society. The odds are Humphrey would have doubled down on both.

    1. Maybe with a liberal Democrat in the White House, we could have gotten an Environmental Protection Agency, affirmative action, and wage/price controls.

      /sarc

  17. I found this on Amazon – excerpt from a review:

    “”A passionate, in-depth study of one of history’s most radical-and reviled-forms of direct action. In clear, precise prose, Osterweil lays bare the racialized settler-colonial roots of policing and property in the US, outlines the possibilities of militant resistance, and emphasizes the necessity of Black and Indigenous liberation. In Defense of Looting is a bracing and necessary read, written with great care and radical hope. As Osterweil herself says, ‘The future is ours to take. We just need to loot it.'”―Kim Kelly, labor columnist, Teen Vogue”

    Some comments –

    -OK, I can see in principle how a teen magazine could use a labor columnist, to remind the kids of the importance of getting jobs. But is Kim Kelly really focusing on labor as such here (unless (s)he sees looting as a job)?

    -Teen Vogue has a headquarters in Los Angeles (you can find directions online). Does Teen Vogue have any surplus value which needs appropriating? They can afford a labor columnist, that surely means they can afford a flat screen TV – maybe they can put one in their office.

    1. I’m guessing she believes that if she loots a month’s worth of booze and burns down the bar, someone will come along and build another bar and stock it so she can “liberate” next month’s supply.

      1. Teen Vogue bending over backwards to prove the Germans did nothing wrong until 1945

  18. “And Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden seems to fundamentally understand that.
    “Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting,” said Biden in a speech in late August.”
    Another day and another Reason writer regurgitates the latest DNC talking points.

  19. Someone looted Vicky Osterweil’s dick.

  20. Is it because people don’t like having their shit burned or stolen, and are inclined to shoot the motherfuckers doing it?

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  23. I always thought riots were the language of the underworked.

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    1. It’s not something that can coexist with a free society. It leads to the end of freedom one way or the other unless they stop it.

      And we’re not giving up our free society in the US without a war.

      1. Oh honey, you already gave up your free society because you didn’t want to be called racist, plus all you really wanted to do was grill.

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  26. Non-violence works because it maintains the natural sympathy that people have for the oppressed. When the government’s police forces crack down on the non-violent protesters, they generate even more sympathy, and then the non-activist mass of centrist voters start to demand change.

    When mostly peaceful protests turn into riots and looting and arson and destruction and assault, all the early sympathy among fair-minded observers is kicked to the curb, and the non-activist mass of centrist voters starts to demand more effective policing.

    1. The Jewish media can pain any narrative they want. Charlottesville is perhaps the best example of this. If the media wabts you demonized, you will be demonized.

      The media in the 1950s and 1960s was completely sympathetic to the “civil rights” “protestors,” which is why we got “civil rights.” If the media had been run by white supremacists instead of Jewish supremacists, the results would have been completely different.

  27. Also, Osterweil seems like a total liar.

  28. “But the Princeton political scientist Omar Wasow has studied the ’68 riots in detail and argues that they helped Richard Nixon to beat Democrat Hubert Humphrey in that year’s presidential race. As King understood, media coverage was why looting and violence backfired.”

    What backfire? Nixon was behind the transfer of more federal funds to black communities than any other president. He also accomplished the integration of public schools in the south, something no Democrat could have done.

    Would any of this happened if blacks hadn’t seized the attention of the public with the riots, and kept to letter writing, petition signing and protest marches? Arguably not. I think a little bit of violent protesting is a positive. It captures people’s attention and can inspire fence sitters to action. Trouble is it is only temporary, and must be supplanted by follow up tactics that are non violent, inclusive etc. With a reliance on violent tactics, you end up with people like the Bolsheviks at the forefront of the movement for social change. For me, violence is best a spontaneous outburst that is a catalyst for more responsible actions. Violence alone leads to more violence and this is not good for the working class.

    1. A good example is the riot in New York at the bath house that is held up as the beginning of gay liberation. One moment of violence that caught the eye of the nation and inspired many closeted gays to get off their asses and take a stand, non violently.

    2. In a roundabout way, as the riots turned out Republican-leaning constituencies greater in relation to Democratic-leaning constituences, causing Richard Nixon to win.

      1. Noam Chomsky wrote that Nixon was the last liberal president. He’s also the only one from recent history to have made a personal mark on the country. An intelligent, complex, tragic figure, he’s the only one worthy of a Shakespearian drama.

  29. What was this rhetoric that allegedly incited these rioters, and why would people support Joe Biden due to this?

    1. It was police strangling people in the streets that sparked these riots, not anyone’s rhetoric. Why support Biden? He’s the other geriatric. The one who’s not president.

  30. an incumbent who’s fanned the flames with his rhetoric

    Because as everyone knows, antifa, BLM and all the other leftists who have been rioting, burning and looting for the past 3 months take their cues from Trump.

    Is the author really that stupid, or just that dishonest?

    1. The leftist cries out in pain as it strikes you

  31. Also, citing the words of MLK isn’t going to convince those doing the rioting of anything. The left has been taking a giant dump on his dream for over 30 years now.

  32. Dipshits poke the bear.

    They have no evidence of any actual policy that discriminates against blacks and they have no specific coherent demands.

    How long could that stupidity continue?

    1. As long as there are Holocaust-denying dipshits like Rob Misek, to suck the dick of the long-dead Hitler the Shitler, the stupidity WILL continue!!!! Death and taxes will continue… And so will the ideological blindness of Rob Misek!!!

  33. I doubt that anyone here hold’s Trump in greater contempt than I do. He’s stupid, ignorant and militantly committed to remaining so. That doesn’t make him the cause of the riots.

    Contempt for Trump cannot be allowed to replace facts. The cause of the riots are the rioters. Their motivations are irrelevant because the victims of the riots are just as injured no matter the motivation.

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  36. Biden has been leading the polls months before the end of August.
    Riots started in May 2020. Between end of May and end of August Biden never condemned the riots, but seemed to support them. So is the author of the article saying that although Biden had not condemn the riots for months, his likely voters still somehow “felt” his real stance which was revealed only at the end of August?

    Also, are writers of reason aware of the finding that up to 10% of conservative voters tend not to disclose their political believes in polls because they are afraid that the polls may not be truly anonymous? Which renders all polls declaring Biden as the leader meaningless?

    1. Liar! Biden did condemn rioting… Even the troglodytes at Fox News will tell you that!

      https://www.foxnews.com/politics/biden-condemns-riots-over-george-floyd-death-calls-for-end-to-needless-destruction

      A VERY simple Google search shows your lies… They call the Evil One the Father of Lies, you know… Are you enslaved to the Evil One?

    2. https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-factcheck-biden-condemn-violence/fact-check-joe-biden-has-condemned-violent-protests-in-the-last-three-months-idUSKBN25V2O1

      Quote Biden:
      “At a speech in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 2, he said, “There’s no place for violence, no place for looting or destroying property or burning churches or destroying businesses […] we need to distinguish between legitimate peaceful protest and opportunistic violent destruction” (here&ab_channel=ABCNews&t=1m36s).”

      Lying asshole repeats totally false bullshit that it reads on social media, as written by angry, ignorant drunks shitting under bridges!

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  38. Utter cluessness. St. Martin’s own daughter Bernice recently tweeted out an image of an african boy holding a sign saying “white people need to stop using MLK to encourage peaceful protest. YOU SHOT HIM TOO”

    Bernice’s caption was “I have a dream”

    Do you think I’m making this up?

    https://mobile.twitter.com/BerniceKing/status/1299340664409395202

    We have to stop glorifying “Dr.” King. He was no better than Sharpton or Shaun King, as his daughter clearly shows. The reality is that there is simply no peaceful coexistence with these people. We either dominate them ruthlessly or they will do the same to us.

    1. How does his daughter’s commentary have any bearing on the man himself? You are full of shit and your link does not support your argument. MLK wasn’t perfect or a saint, but I very much doubt he would assign blame to all white people for his death.

      Though that is a pretty awful post. If all white people are responsible for the murder of MLK, then all black people are responsible for every murder committed by black gang members. Collective guilt is even worse that guilt by familial association that you are trying to push.

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  40. It’s weird we’re even debating the morality of violence on the basis of effectiveness and not the underlying morality of violating someone’s natural rights by destroying their life and/or property.

    Hurting would-be allies is a quick way to make enemies. I think I read that on a fortune cookie once.

    1. That wouldn’t make much of an article, though. Is looting and rioting moral? No.

  41. Boy, I’m sure glad ‘reason’ explained THAT to me. Thanks, ‘reason’!

    This sarcasm not approved by Silicon Valley brain slugs.

  42. Willie (Osterweil) was a chemist but Willie is no more. What Vicky thought was H2O was H2SO4.

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  44. The reason violent protests backfire is the reason socialism fails; they’re both inherently flawed methods of persuasion! But with
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