Don’t be fooled. The state imposes its power on you with violence. Whenever someone starts saying they don’t believe in violence they’re either apologising for the state or they haven’t thought it through. The state has become the new religion for a lot of people who don’t even realise it. When we go bomb some poor defenceless soul, when we impose sanctions that kill a quarter of a million kids, it’s not we really. It’s them. It’s the people who actually make the decisions that did this. You join in and talk of we because that’s what’s been sold you. You think what you think matters to any of the people prosecuting whatever war is coming or happening right now? You think your opinion makes any difference? It’s not we but they, and they don’t care about you at all. You think they won’t make war on you and yours if you don’t give them what they want? Don’t be naive.
The fear that makes you send your kids to their schools, that makes you work in their shitty jobs, that makes you afraid to question and push against whatever new nonsense is coming, is violence. The fear of losing the help you get, so your kids go hungry and maybe you find yourself on the street surrounded by you possessions, is violence. If you talk about changing the law and maybe even get enough people together to make it happen it’s not you that changed the law. They did, because they were afraid of you. You need to hold on to that. If someone calls the cops and it’s a choice between you and someone’s property or right to exploit, it probably won’t be the outcome you’d prefer. When you’re told life’s not fair, it means that nothing can be done to make it so you can get what you need without violence.
When the choice is join in or starve, there isn’t any choice. It’s violence. You’re entitled to defend yourself and it doesn’t matter who against. Our owners often change things quietly and then we discover we’ve lost something we always had. Land can’t be walked across any more, you suddenly have to pay to do something you’ve always done for as long as you remember. You have to pay for ketchup and it’s in those silly little wrappers now. The days of a healthy absence of rules, of things just happening without always having to ask permission, those days are gone now. But this is hard to defend against. When there’s just you and they operate relentlessly across all fronts it’s hard to see how.
You’re gonna die if you don’t pay attention. The levers of power are held by idiots who want to drive the rest of us into early graves or just make the air unbreathable so they can carry on making money. The idiocy comes from thinking their way is the only way, and their needs the only needs. They have spent decades systematically taking everything away that stops you resisting, old victory by old victory, while pretending things will still work for everybody and nothing has changed.
The levers are violence. The violence of hunger, of fear. The violence of neglect and cutting away the old safety nets. It’s slow violence but it will still kill you just as dead. When there’s no bed in the hospital you will die, when you can’t keep your electricity on so your insulin goes bad you will die, when they want to charge some kind of insurance excess before they will treat you will die, when the bridge you drive over every day isn’t kept in proper repair and collapses you will die, when you sleep in a doorway and there’s nothing to keep you warm you will die.
You get the picture? They are not your friends. They can’t be appealed to. They don’t care. They can’t help what they are, but nothing means you have to listen to them any more.
So the systems we live with need to be fixed. There needs to be a new way of doing things that lays the tools at our feet. We need a different we. The people who face the same violence you do, in all it’s breadth of forms, those people should be we. We will be violent just like they are. We will be implacable just like they are. We will work together to understand each other, just like they don’t. This is how it changes, they took carefully while you were distracted, you need to take it back.
They only have it because you gave them permission while you weren’t looking.