Poster Title

Violent Civil Disobedience

Presenter Information

Austin CurnutteFollow

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Institution

Morehead State University

KY House District #

95

KY Senate District #

29

Department

History, Philosophy, Politics, International and Legal Studies

Abstract

We argued that violence committed as an act of self-defense against structural violence can be justified, and further; that we should properly define this type of violence as a form of civil disobedience. Debate over the justification of violent political activism regained prominence in the popular discourse in recent years. The question became pertinent in the wake of political violence committed by factions of both far left and far right in a series of public demonstrations. Commentators from across the political spectrum held that nonviolent political activism is both morally and tactically superior. However, not all violence is morally equal. We found that there was an important distinction to be made between the violence committed via the normal functioning of social, political, and economic institutions, or structural violence, and the violence committed as an act of self-defense against it. We concluded that in the process of defending against structural violence, the use of violence against both people and property is sometimes both necessary, and justified.

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Violent Civil Disobedience

We argued that violence committed as an act of self-defense against structural violence can be justified, and further; that we should properly define this type of violence as a form of civil disobedience. Debate over the justification of violent political activism regained prominence in the popular discourse in recent years. The question became pertinent in the wake of political violence committed by factions of both far left and far right in a series of public demonstrations. Commentators from across the political spectrum held that nonviolent political activism is both morally and tactically superior. However, not all violence is morally equal. We found that there was an important distinction to be made between the violence committed via the normal functioning of social, political, and economic institutions, or structural violence, and the violence committed as an act of self-defense against it. We concluded that in the process of defending against structural violence, the use of violence against both people and property is sometimes both necessary, and justified.