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Discussion: Violence

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2 min read
Last update: Sep 19, 2023

Main question: In what way should we discuss the use of violence by activists?

Final answer: This discussion is still ongoing.

This is a discussion page. We encourage the use of the comment section to exchange arguments. Please keep it civilised and stick to our principles.

Please keep in mind that arguments made by individual contributors do not necessarily reflect the position of Activist Handbook. Discussion pages serve as a way to ensure we define our principles in a transparent and democratic manner. In addition, we organise video calls to have more personal and dynamic conversations about the discussion topics.

Things to keep in mind:

  • There are many definitions of what 'violence' entails.

  • Various forms of violence are illegal in large parts of the world, which could have implications for the legality of Activist Handbook's content.

Some possible answers:

  • We should not discuss violence at all.

  • We discuss how violence is being used by activists. However, we clearly condemn the use of violence.

  • We discuss how violence is being used by activists. We show all sides of the debate.

  • We should be allowed to discuss violent tactics, including how-to instructions, without any disclaimers.

Concrete examples:

  • In our references, we currently refer to The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell, a book which "provides instructions for making bombs, drugs, and operating firearms" (Davis, 2019). Should we allow referencing to resources that provide instructions for violent tactics?


Feel free to add external resources that relate to the discussion topic.

A key text which convincingly shows that non-violent movements have historically generally been much more successful than violent ones (used as one of the foundational texts for Extinction Rebellion), is โ€˜Why Civil Resistance Worksโ€™ by Chenoweth and Stephan. A shorter free pdf essay of the same name is free to read here.

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