US social movements face many challenges. One of their most troublesome involves the question of nonviolence. Civil disobedience and symbolic protest have characterized many struggles in the US since the Civil Rights era, but conditions have changed. Corporate media has consolidated, the police have militarized, dissent has been largely co-opted and institutionalized, but the strategic tools radicals employ haven’t necessarily kept pace. Our narratives, borrowed from movements of the past, are falling short.
Nonviolence Ain’t What It Used to Be maps emerging, more militant approaches that are developing to fill the gap, from Occupy to Black Lives Matter. It offers new angles on a seemingly intractable debate, introducing ideas that carve out a larger middle-ground between camps in order to chart an effective path forward.
“Shon Meckfessel’s book explores how contemporary movements have moved beyond respectability politics and other flawed political frameworks, while also examining what has worked historically and how movements have evolved.… It clarifies the reasoning behind, and the importance of, social and political defiance and disruption.”—Mara Willaford, Black Lives Matter organizer
“Taking us beyond the ahistorical, magical thinking so common in contemporary discourse, Meckfessel constructs a dialogue that looks clearly at the nature of twenty-first century power dynamics and the role of riots, property destruction, police clashes, and more. Without sectarian bias, he reviews the quasi-religious fervor with which too many approach nonviolence.… A soon-to-be classic.”—Matt Meyer, International Peace Research Association
Nonviolence Ain't What It Used to Be: Unarmed Insurrection and the Rhetoric...
AK Press 2016