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Toxn
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This post is probably going to be a bit ramble-y, but bear with me as I get to the point. 

 

jhlPXso.jpg

 

It has become apparent to me, over time, that the United States has something of a strange pathology regarding violence and authority. With the recent racially-tinged unrest in Ferguson, I thought it might be time to both chat about this and offer a concrete, material, all-American solution to the problem.

 

Firstly, there seems to be a strange (and, from what I hear, common) misunderstanding in the US and some other places about the role, effect and legitimacy of violence in bringing about social change. All too often, there seems to be an implicit understanding that protest can only be legitimate if it is non violent - with any incidence of violence during a protest being used to tar that movement generally. This, combined with a frankly disturbing cult of worship centred around law enforcement officers and members of the armed forces, results in 'seen but not heard' syndrome.

 

The way this works is pretty interesting: if a movement uses non-violent means to protest, then it gets ignored and beaten up by the cops (who are, by virtue of their magical status in society immune from substantial criticism for doing so). If it uses violence, then the cops suddenly play nice while the media takes on the task of delegitimising the movement. Finally, if no protest occurs then nobody notices.

 

There are, so far as I can see, only a few ways out of this trap:

  1. Be white, upper-class and non-violent. Push your agenda through using the existing state apparatus and a friendly media (who will treat a rich and pretty white woman with kid gloves 99% of the time and a handsome, well-spoken white man damn near 100%)
  2. Be white, of any class and violent. Rely on the fact that the target of your violence isn't on the right side of the media divide and that you can use existing state apparatus to push your agenda from within.
  3. Be non-white and form a massive coalition with prominent white backers and supporters. Be aware that any non-white leaders/figureheads will have their lives scrutinised ruthlessly and thus need to be saints. Also be ready to have said leaders/figureheads posthumously canonised by the very same people who would happily feed them to the dogs in the present.

The above is, of course, intentionally provocative.

However, what is indisputable is the fact that no movement that doesn't already have the nation substantially on its side (in as far as that phrase includes such diverse things as existing biases in media, power dynamics and politics) can achieve much in the way of change in the US if it is peaceful or directly violent. As a consequence, any movement should look to the careful cultivation of the media, a strong and continual attempt to use existing state structures to further your agenda and the ability to credibly threaten violence if it wishes to succeed. Central to all of this is to have very strong discipline and control - something which is especially hard in a surveillance state such as the US.

 

Here is where I (finally) get to the reason why this post is in this forum. What the libertarians get right (even if it is damn near the only thing) is that being well armed suddenly makes people take you seriously. Unfortunately, the people who need to be taken seriously tend not to be well armed: weapons are expensive and weapon controls tend to push down on the undesirables more than the privileged. What people who want to affect change in their societies need, then, is a way to arm significant numbers of their members in ways that are both credible and cheap.

 

For this (overly) simplistic solution to an intricate problem, I am going to ask my fellow forumites to do two things:

1) Debate the use of violence as part of a legitimate strategy of social change in a paradoxically docile and reasoned way, and

2) Design a weapon that can be made simply and very cheaply to provide our would-be protesters the means to march in peace while the cops stand far, far away.

 

Having had a bash at number 1), here is my bid for number 2):

For the US - with its easy access to ammunition, parts and machinery - it might be best to design a rifle of some sort. My pet solution here is an intermediate calibre weapon using a gas-delayed blowback action (basically a straight blowback with a gas tube venting to the rear of a very heavy bolt) and firing from a closed bolt. People who know more about gun design than me (a low bar to clear if ever there was one) can feel free to propose something less idiotic.

 

Have at it, gents.

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PS - that guy in the photo is a personal hero of mine. In taking on riot police with only the world's shittiest bow and some exceedingly pretty arrows, he's basically resurrecting the glorious past in ways that your average RPG-playing, LARPing neckbeard can only dream of.

 

Look into those resolute eyes and know that this man's ancestors are proud of him.

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There was a lovely spate of cartoons recently using MLK by using him as a mouthpiece for disapproval of what's been happening of late.

 

It got me wondering, when did MLK become this generation's WEB DuBois, who the establishment points to and wonders why you aren't well-behaved like he was?

 

 

Be white, of any class and violent. Rely on the fact that the target of your violence isn't on the right side of the media divide and that you can use existing state apparatus to push your agenda from within.

This brings to mind an interesting chapter in history, when the Black Panthers fought against the NRA and Reagan to preserve their right to bear arms to give them power to resist law enforcement overreach. It's like a palette swapped version of the militia movement, but only one was able to keep access to firearms.

 

As far as the firearms themselves goes, there's already plenty out there, why build new? I bet you could do just as well with surplus, used and other cheap weapons as a new build unless you got serious economies of scale going.

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First, I would like to say that bringing a bow and arrows to a riot is fucking medieval.  I especially like how the arrowhead is drawn on.  Fletching looks solid though.

 

The entire idea of civil disobedience comes from Henry David Thoreau, and I hate him because he was a hippie (just a hippie from the 19th century).  Hippies have always been sub-human scum, and the Transcendentalists were no exception.

 

It's also worth noting that non-violent protest basically doesn't ever work.  It is, at most, the public face of a movement that's winning by other means, and the pretty, sanitized bit that you can point out to third graders in history class so their tender sensibilities aren't seared by the harsh reality that the best way to get people to do something is to threaten them with violence.  Yes, I realize the article I just linked was written by hippies.

 

However, I don't think violent protest and insurrection have a particularly more credible track record.

 

It's popular to believe that a decentralized insurrection can, with time overcome the might of a centralized military.  In America this is something basically everyone believes, and it is a part of the American national myth.  The recent fiasco in Iraq is supposed to be a reminder of this "fact."

Thing is, if a people's guerrilla movement can defeat a conventional military with its crafty tricks... why do conventional militaries exist at all?  Various reasons have been proposed, such as giving young men something to do to keep out of trouble, giving arms manufacturers something to do, etc.  The truth is, standing armies have stomped insurgencies six times out of ten, and a halfway decent army playing with full-contact rules against insurgents basically has no excuse for losing.

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It's popular to believe that a decentralized insurrection can, with time overcome the might of a centralized military.  In America this is something basically everyone believes, and it is a part of the American national myth.  The recent fiasco in Iraq is supposed to be a reminder of this "fact."

Thing is, if a people's guerrilla movement can defeat a conventional military with its crafty tricks... why do conventional militaries exist at all?  Various reasons have been proposed, such as giving young men something to do to keep out of trouble, giving arms manufacturers something to do, etc.  The truth is, standing armies have stomped insurgencies six times out of ten, and a halfway decent army playing with full-contact rules against insurgents basically has no excuse for losing.

 

What about Reconstruction? The terrorists won and won big. The problem isn't winning field battles, it's winning the small stuff that damages the stability of the state until the conventional military is too expensive to run and makes it a very unhealthy act to be a civilian standing up against the insurgency. That's pretty hard to stop, and the worst thing is that armies have gotten more expensive but haven't gotten that much better at what deals with that sort of action.

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What about Reconstruction? The terrorists won and won big. The problem isn't winning field battles, it's winning the small stuff that damages the stability of the state until the conventional military is too expensive to run and makes it a very unhealthy act to be a civilian standing up against the insurgency. That's pretty hard to stop, and the worst thing is that armies have gotten more expensive but haven't gotten that much better at what deals with that sort of action.

I am sure collimatrix will answer this with a suitably autocratic answer, so I guess I don't need to bother. ;)

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First, I would like to say that bringing a bow and arrows to a riot is fucking medieval.  I especially like how the arrowhead is drawn on.  Fletching looks solid though.

 

The bow itself, on the other hand, is pretty fucking industrial. And, yeah, the arrow head follows a fairly common approach for that broad region (an unwelded socket formed about the shaft).

 

The best part of the whole thing is that archers using shortbows with barbed/detachable arrowheads were a common part of warfare between nations/kingdoms in Western and central Africa. If this dude had been using poison-tipped arrowheads he would have been literally reenacting history.

 

The entire idea of civil disobedience comes from Henry David Thoreau, and I hate him because he was a hippie (just a hippie from the 19th century).  Hippies have always been sub-human scum, and the Transcendentalists were no exception.

 

It's also worth noting that non-violent protest basically doesn't ever work.  It is, at most, the public face of a movement that's winning by other means, and the pretty, sanitized bit that you can point out to third graders in history class so their tender sensibilities aren't seared by the harsh reality that the best way to get people to do something is to threaten them with violence.  Yes, I realize the article I just linked was written by hippies.

 

This is a very correct statement, with the proviso that non-violent protest totally works if you're in the happy position of not needing to resort to protest to get what you want in the first place.

 

However, I don't think violent protest and insurrection have a particularly more credible track record.

 

It's popular to believe that a decentralized insurrection can, with time overcome the might of a centralized military.  In America this is something basically everyone believes, and it is a part of the American national myth.  The recent fiasco in Iraq is supposed to be a reminder of this "fact."

Thing is, if a people's guerrilla movement can defeat a conventional military with its crafty tricks... why do conventional militaries exist at all?  Various reasons have been proposed, such as giving young men something to do to keep out of trouble, giving arms manufacturers something to do, etc.  The truth is, standing armies have stomped insurgencies six times out of ten, and a halfway decent army playing with full-contact rules against insurgents basically has no excuse for losing.

 

Insurgency, despite all the bloviating about 4-th gen warfare and whatnot, is essentially just the reintegration of politics and infowar into conflict. The reason that conventional militaries often struggle with insurgencies is that they're specifically set up to be limited in terms of their political objectives and media control. That people's movements tend to do better when facing weak governments or foreign invaders is simply a reflection of their superior harmonisation between aims and means across all the spheres of power.

 

Appropriating and expanding on Toffler's (of all people) definition of power; there seems to be something of an inverse correlation between how broad and effective a given approach is, versus how specific it is. For example, you could blackmail only a single person using a single piece of information, bribe a multitude of people with more-or-less limited effect or use brute force against almost anyone (but only achieve very limited changes in behaviour).

 

Finally, on a tangent: I've given it some thought and decided that we should be talking about adaptions of pre-gunpowder weapons and tactics as protest weapons. Because they are easy to manufacture, less prone to backlash and much more entertaining to see in action. Can we convince some doughty protesters to use a basic pike formation, perhaps?

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Finally, on a tangent: I've given it some thought and decided that we should be talking about adaptions of pre-gunpowder weapons and tactics as protest weapons. Because they are easy to manufacture, less prone to backlash and much more entertaining to see in action. Can we convince some doughty protesters to use a basic pike formation, perhaps?

 

Biggest problem with this. If you use it against the wrong guys, this could happen.

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Appropriating and expanding on Toffler's (of all people) definition of power; there seems to be something of an inverse correlation between how broad and effective a given approach is, versus how specific it is. For example, you could blackmail only a single person using a single piece of information, bribe a multitude of people with more-or-less limited effect or use brute force against almost anyone (but only achieve very limited changes in behaviour).

 

Finally, on a tangent: I've given it some thought and decided that we should be talking about adaptions of pre-gunpowder weapons and tactics as protest weapons. Because they are easy to manufacture, less prone to backlash and much more entertaining to see in action. Can we convince some doughty protesters to use a basic pike formation, perhaps?

 

Watch some videos of riots in South Korea for a glimpse of what it looks like when the protesters and riot police alike go to classical-esque melee weapon formations.

 

Videos of the South Korean riot police drilling look a lot like what I imagine the Roman legions to have looked like:

 

 

Interesting note about West African barbed poison arrows.  The Scythians used similar arrowheads.

 

 

 

What about Reconstruction? The terrorists won and won big. The problem isn't winning field battles, it's winning the small stuff that damages the stability of the state until the conventional military is too expensive to run and makes it a very unhealthy act to be a civilian standing up against the insurgency. That's pretty hard to stop, and the worst thing is that armies have gotten more expensive but haven't gotten that much better at what deals with that sort of action.

 

No, they didn't win.  Not like how the insurgents won in Iraq.  Did Dixie become an independent-in-all-but-name pseudo-state before finally actually breaking away when the yanks weren't looking?

 

No, it became the armpit of America; a corrupt, backwards place with superb food and hospitality and hookworm.  An armpit to be sure, but still firmly under the control of the Federal government.  For example, when desegregation was mandated Federally, the South came along quietly, George Wallace's 1963 grandstanding notwithstanding.  Did it take 100 years?  Yes, but it's not like too many people in the North were agitating for racial integration in the 1860s, least of all President Lincoln.

 

It's a mistake to see post-war Southern politics as a sub-rosa continuation of the antebellum order.  It only looks that way from the remove of a century and a third because both orders were so terribly racist.  Racist and not-racist aren't useful distinctions in 19th century politics; minus some tiny enclaves of New England Quakers and other marginal eccentrics, everyone hated black people.  What you really want to know is whether they hated black people and thought they should all be hereditary slaves, along with lower-class whites (e.g. George Fitzhugh), whether they hated black people along with all the goddamn Irish, Germans and Catholics (e.g. the Know-Nothing Party), or other various varieties of hate.

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Watch some videos of riots in South Korea for a glimpse of what it looks like when the protesters and riot police alike go to classical-esque melee weapon formations.

 

Interesting note about West African barbed poison arrows.  The Scythians used similar arrowheads.

The South Koreans pretty much win at riots, yes.

 

Obligatory commentary from the War Nerd - worth it mainly for the vids of Egyptian recreations of ancient warfare, tbh.

 

As with all things related to the continent, diversity is the name of the game in terms of African bows. On the one hand, you have fairly common use of short bows with poisoned arrows. On the other hand, you have the Hadza.

 

For those interested in traditional bows/bow making, I found this article pretty interesting as it seems to point to two separate optima for hunting arrows. The first is a lightweight arrow (~500 grains) just long enough to draw, with a weight balance about 15% FOC. The second is to have a heavy (>2000 grains) arrow with an FOC of around 40%. This is interesting because only traditional archers seem to have explored the second optimum. As the heavy, high-FOC approach allows one to overcome the issue of broadhead wind sheer - meaning you could stick a bigger head on your arrow and increase your wound potential - I feel that this is a bit of a missed opportunity for modern archery.

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No, they didn't win.  Not like how the insurgents won in Iraq.  Did Dixie become an independent-in-all-but-name pseudo-state before finally actually breaking away when the yanks weren't looking?

 

No, it became the armpit of America; a corrupt, backwards place with superb food and hospitality and hookworm.  An armpit to be sure, but still firmly under the control of the Federal government.  For example, when desegregation was mandated Federally, the South came along quietly, George Wallace's 1963 grandstanding notwithstanding.  Did it take 100 years?  Yes, but it's not like too many people in the North were agitating for racial integration in the 1860s, least of all President Lincoln.

 

It's a mistake to see post-war Southern politics as a sub-rosa continuation of the antebellum order.  It only looks that way from the remove of a century and a third because both orders were so terribly racist.  Racist and not-racist aren't useful distinctions in 19th century politics; minus some tiny enclaves of New England Quakers and other marginal eccentrics, everyone hated black people.  What you really want to know is whether they hated black people and thought they should all be hereditary slaves, along with lower-class whites (e.g. George Fitzhugh), whether they hated black people along with all the goddamn Irish, Germans and Catholics (e.g. the Know-Nothing Party), or other various varieties of hate.

 

 

Independence and a continuation of chattel slavery weren't in the cards, because those were changes the North wouldn't tolerate (not because they were all SJWs entirely opposed to slavery for moral reasons but for a bit of that and a lot of non-anti-racist reasons such as fears of the Slave Power). That doesn't mean that what they won wasn't very significant, and they won it by making it too painful in blood and more importantly money to continue to impose the desired order on the area. They won the preservation of the southern social order predicated on the total subjugation of blacks. Compare the early postbellum governments with regard to things like representation for blacks to what the South managed to win for themselves in slowly decreasing amounts to this very day. Considering that equality for blacks and whites was very strongly presented as something that would end Southern "civilization", I'd contend that subjugation of blacks (and preventing whites from getting as ill-used by the aristocracy) was the main goal of the resistance to reconstruction, and that was achieved. In that sense, there is a part of the country that remembers a time when armed citizens were able to resist the Federal Government trying to impose itself on its way of life, and being able to preserve the key aspects of that way of life.

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Independence and a continuation of chattel slavery weren't in the cards, because those were changes the North wouldn't tolerate (not because they were all SJWs entirely opposed to slavery for moral reasons but for a bit of that and a lot of non-anti-racist reasons such as fears of the Slave Power). That doesn't mean that what they won wasn't very significant, and they won it by making it too painful in blood and more importantly money to continue to impose the desired order on the area. They won the preservation of the southern social order predicated on the total subjugation of blacks. Compare the early postbellum governments with regard to things like representation for blacks to what the South managed to win for themselves in slowly decreasing amounts to this very day. Considering that equality for blacks and whites was very strongly presented as something that would end Southern "civilization", I'd contend that subjugation of blacks (and preventing whites from getting as ill-used by the aristocracy) was the main goal of the resistance to reconstruction, and that was achieved. In that sense, there is a part of the country that remembers a time when armed citizens were able to resist the Federal Government trying to impose itself on its way of life, and being able to preserve the key aspects of that way of life.

 

Doesn't this perspective want for Butterfieldian historiographical standards?

The way you say it, it makes the Southern whites sound like orcs or something.

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Doesn't this perspective want for Butterfieldian historiographical standards?

The way you say it, it makes the Southern whites sound like orcs or something.

 

I'd say heavily invested in a terrible system and had been propagandizing for so long that they believed their own line that equality between whites and blacks would lead to the hypothetical calamity depicted in Birth of a Nation.

 

It's one of the very few perspectives that actually gives a good rationale for why poor whites who didn't on the face of things stand to gain from the preservation of slavery on the face of things thought it was a matter of such compelling self-interest that they willingly fought and died for it, and then continued the fight until they destroyed freedmen's rights. It also explains why support for the cause was so seriously tied to the presence of slavery, and areas without much slavery like the Appalachian bits of North Carolina were so unenthusiastic about seceding.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Having given it a lot of thought, I have decided on the perfect weapon for any angry crowd wishing to get ahead in today's fasy-paced world: the pike.

The pike is easy to make, easy to use, works well en mass, keeps mounted police at bay and provides some measure of protection against missiles. Additionally, it looks pretty slick when properly deployed and can double as a means of displaying slogans and flags.

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Having been in a few riots and "protests" - "Son of" WTO, various May Day events and the rioting in Seattle after the Super Bowl - it would be optimistic to think the scum who are engaging in the violence are organized or disciplined enough to man a proper pike line.

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Basically these are the sort of people you can't trust to flush the toilet after they crap in it. In Seattle they are primarily white, suburban hipsters and professional agitators who would literally starve to death if they couldn't order take out. They are cowards, petty vandals and sneak thieves who hide behind the anonymity of masks who back down when confronted by a real man.

During the Super Bowl party/riot in Seattle's Pioneer Square last February, after a few side adventures, I took my wife down to show her how police respond to a situation like what was happening. It was an educational experience in case she ever found herself in the midst of a domestic disturbance. The Seattle PD used the standard line of shield technique coupled with bike cops, horse patrol and flash bangs grenades and cleared Pioneer Square in half an hour. The scum lighting fires and smashing cars (and our historic Pergola) swore, and threw debris, firecrackers, bottles and what not and were eventually dispersed.

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What I'm trying to say is these people don't have the brains or know-how to cooperate long enough to engage in a real revolution. Furthermore, if there was some group bloody-minded enough to actually stage a revolt, those protesters would just as likely be victims in an attack.

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Perhaps I should have been more precise and differentiated between riots, protests and revolts. My interest here is in protests: where people are organised, still attempting to work the system (rather than blindly trying to get destroy it) and are aware of the useless nature of completely passive demonstrations.

The idea for these groups is to be able to hold whatever action it is that they want to hold without getting shoved onto a 'free speech' zone, getting dispersed in the first 5 minutes or turning into a minute-long news segment.

Young assholes rolling the bus because their team lost are, as you correctly point out, never going to be organised enough to do this stuff.

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  • 4 months later...

Watching news coverage of the May Day Riots in downtown Seattle. Same old, same old with thugs destroying property and general asshattery of a stereotypical nature. It wouldn't even warrant attention were it not for a new technique the rioters used to assault police officers. Namely that a bunch of them came to the protests with backpacks full of wrenches which they tossed at the police lines, sending three cops to the hospital.

 

The only other incident of note was watching footage of masked anarchists vandalizing and destroying public artwork on the lawn of Seattle Central Community College because it was "corporate art" while hippy artists pleaded with them to stop.

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They had rocks and flare guns as well but that is par for the course. The wrenches, though, were kind of an unusual touch. And made me think of the Dodgeball line.

 

 

I'm guessing the anarchists were thinking the same thing.

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Spears, mate. Spears are the way forwards.

 

edit: can I also mention that it's interesting how rare it seems to be (given the sheer number of guns in your country) that rioters show up armed and start blazing away at cops.

 

Which is, of course, what lead to me starting this thread in the first place.

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