by Shon Meckfessel
Shon Meckfessel takes an innovative look at challenges faced by twenty-first century social movements in the US. One of their most important stumbling blocks is the question of nonviolence. Civil disobedience, symbolic protest, and principles of nonviolence have characterized many struggles in the United States since the Civil Rights era. But as Meckfessel argues, conditions have changed. We've seen the consolidation of the media, the militarization of policing, the co-optation and institutionalization of dissent, among many other shifts. The rules have changed, but the rhetoric, logic, and strategic tools we employ haven't necessarily kept pace, and narratives borrowed from movements of the past are falling short.
Nonviolence Ain't What It Used to Be maps the emerging, more militant approaches that seem to be developing to fill the gap, from Occupy to Ferguson. It offers new angles on a seemingly intractable debate, introducing terms and criteria that carve out a larger middle-ground between the two camps, in order to chart a path forward.
About the Author:
Shon Meckfessel has been active in disruptive social movements for nearly 25 years, beginning in his native Sacramento, CA. After blocking highways to stop the first Persian Gulf War, he was never again inclined to petitionary protest. He has since researched and participated in social movements across the US, Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. Shon is the author of Suffled How It Gush: A North American Anarchist in the Balkans as well as numerous essays and articles. He has appeared as a social movement scholar and advocate in the New York Times and on Democracy Now, Al Jazeera, CNN, NPR, BBC, Radio, and Fox News. Shon is a member of the English Faculty at Highline College.