Saturday, 23 March 2019

No fisticuffs

I've never been in favour of violence, be it political, personal or otherwise. It may occasionally bring results, but nine times out of ten it's simply harmful and unpro-ductive.  And violence generally breeds more violence.

I've known plenty of people who believe political violence is necessary, that non-violent protests get nowhere and are usually ignored by the powers that be. They're always ready for a dust-up, ready to throw bricks at the police, smash shop windows or set fire to cars. All they do is alienate the public and discredit those of us who prefer peaceful, law-abiding protest.

I was on a march once in central London (I think it was the Anti Nazi League) when we were suddenly confronted by a very nasty-looking mob of National Front supporters. Some people were obviously prepared for a fight with them but not me. I had no wish to get involved and left the march in a hurry.

I know political violence does sometimes work - the poll tax was abandoned soon after serious rioting - but mostly it just means protesters being injured and maybe less inclined to join other protests in the future.

I've never indulged in personal violence either. I've never kicked anyone, punched anyone, threatened anyone. If it looks like a conversation is getting aggressive, I simply walk away from it. Luckily alcohol makes me soporific and easy-going rather than belligerent.

Luckily also I'm not an angry person. I can't imagine being so enraged by someone's opinions that I'm tempted to punch them in the face or knock them down. Even if someone's been blatantly rude to me (which doesn't happen very often) I wouldn't respond with violence, I would just be rude back. Or assume they were having a bad day and felt like taking it out on the nearest person.

Brickbats are safer than bricks.

I'll leave the fisticuffs to others.

24 comments:

Sixpence Notthewiser said...

I’m with you in what concerns hon-violence. The far right, though, seems hellbent on being as aggressive as it can.
Why so angry, though? Maybe they know they’re in the wrong?

Joanne Noragon said...

I always thought brickbats were weapons, looked them up, and so they are. Smaller, but a weapon nonetheless.

nick said...

Sixpence: The far right are getting very aggressive. I think they've decided that relentless aggression is the way to intimidate their critics and shut them up. The vicious attacks on anyone who is critical of transgenderism, for example, has stopped a lot of people from voicing their opinions.

They certainly don't think they're in the wrong. They're totally convinced they're right and the rest of us are mindless morons.

nick said...

Joanne: You're absolutely right. I had no idea of the double meaning. I've rewritten that bit.

It must be difficult to throw a brick, or even a brickbat, more than a few feet. Bricks are pretty heavy.

Bijoux said...

It seems to be on the up rise, though I'm not that much of a history buff to know if that's actually true or not. It's hard to believe any of it does any good anyway.

Wisewebwoman said...

I would disagree with you Nick.

I offer you the suffragettes and the Irish rebellion for starters. Wherever oppression exists peaceful protests have no effect. I offer you also the so-called "pussy" peaceful marches of millions of women. The result has more oppression - now tampons and sanitary products being removed from jails, raped women not being allowed abortions in more states, coz gawd. Martin Luther King and his peaceful marches - more blacks not incarcerated than any time in history and shot on demand.

I am a totally peaceful person, marched against Vietnam etc., but have never truly seen peaceful crap work. Just the violence and the martyrs to that violence bringing a conscious awareness to others.

XO
WWW

nick said...

Bijoux: There does seem to be more political violence than before - like the Gilets Jaunes in France, the constant mass shootings in the USA, and the hate campaigns against public figures on social media.

nick said...

www: I think you're right about the suffragettes and the Irish rebellion. But does political violence in general have any more effect than peaceful protest? The Gilets Jaunes are just being ruthlessly suppressed by the French government, and haven't actually changed anything as far as I know.

tammy j said...

the peaceful demonstration of the teenagers and others in our last mass shooting was impressive. for ones so young they handled themselves well.
but NRA seems to have us by the throat. they still have enormous power. it's just ridiculous.
I just stay low and try to make sense of it all. I suppose it's no more frightening than it ever was. it just seems so. I've NEVER liked the 'mob mentality' regardless of why or where. maybe that makes me a coward. so be it!

CheerfulMonk said...

When we came back from France the long way in 1965 we talked to our local embassy about traveling safely to a few of the places. They said mainly if you see a crowd marching, walk the other way. That's our inclination anyway.

When people are rude to me I mostly don't engage --- I walk away and move on. But I'm much more apt to speak up if they're being rude to someone else. Go figure.

nick said...

Tammy: What shocks me is the number of children being killed, but still that has no effect on the gun lobby who keep insisting on the freedom to possess guns - as many as you like.

Yes, when the mob mentality takes over, all sorts of crazy things become normal because everyone else is doing them.

nick said...

Jean: "If you see a crowd marching, walk the other way." Well, certainly if they seem threatening or out-of-control.

Interesting that you're more inclined to speak up if the rudeness is directed at someone else. Sympathy for the underdog maybe?

helen devries said...

I remember the anti apartheid protests in London against the might of C Division of the Metropolitan police...they were pussy cats compared to the violence regularly used by police in protests these days.
It seems to me that to protest peacefully gets you nowhere...only when the rulers know that their private parts are in danger of being parted from them will they shift.

nick said...

Helen: I agree, the police do seem to have got a lot rougher over the years. And yes, peaceful protest usually gets ignored by a government with its own agenda. The obvious example is the one-million people march against war with Iraq. Totally disregarded by Tony Blair. It'll be interesting to see if the one-million march in favour of a second Brexit referendum meets the same fate.

Ms Scarlet said...

I think maybe there are times when we have to fight. I don't like violence, but I'm aware there might be a time when it might be necessary as WWW commented.
Sx

nick said...

Ms Scarlet: I guess if there was a serious threat to my life or my well-being I might resort to violence, but not otherwise. Most problems in life can be solved by non-violent means.

Liz Hinds said...

I did slap a boyfriend once in my youth.

nick said...

Liz: Good for you. I don't think a slap really counts as violence, but maybe some people would disagree?

chloe said...

Of course a slap counts as violence.

nick said...

Hi there Chloe. I hasten to say I've never slapped anyone, violently or non-violently! Nobody's ever slapped me either.

Joared said...

I think a lot of violence is deliberately caused by individuals unrelated to the causes being peacefully protested by groups. In many instances of fighting I think it often reflects people unable to adequately express themselves verbally. Sometimes they simply can’t handle someone else having a view different from their own. Civilized people know they can agree to disagree without resorting to violence. How to compromise is the challenge.

nick said...

Joared: Indeed, peaceful protests get infiltrated by undesirable political factions and by people intent on violence. And yes, some people just lash out wildly rather than trying to understand an unfamiliar viewpoint they see as threatening.

Rummuser said...

In my misspent youth, I had a number of shall we say, incidents and was even in a lock up for a few hours for one such. I eventually grew out of that stage and haven't had any experience of fisticuffs. I however think that if I or mine is threatened, I am quite capable of violence of some sort.

nick said...

Ramana: Goodness, I would never have suspected you of being a youthful trouble-maker! Yes, I'm sure if Jenny was being physically threatened, I would resort to violence if necessary.