Yesterday, Harrisburg PA joined cities all across the country in the “March For Truth”, the event was a nationwide call for an investigation of the possible ties between Russia and the Trump Campaign and possible foreign entanglements Trump may have. The event itself went well, especially since it was the first event the organizer staged.
As we were tearing down from the event, a wedding party was on its way into the State Capitol. The Capitol is a popular place for weddings and other such events, but perhaps drunk with enthusiasm, alcohol, or a little of both, some of the party thought it would be fun to heckle us with chants of “Build the wall”. A fellow activist and I responded.
Even last year, the wedding party would have likely passed us by without incident. But Trump’s victory may have made the reactionaries feel a bit more empowered, a bit more bold. We have seen this in Montana, and most recently in Portland. My social media streams are full of videos of people of color and other minorities being harassed and worse.
I can’t help but think that perhaps the non-violence model of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi may not work so well against the current crop of “Deplorables”. The better model may be the “community defense” model of the original Black Panthers.
I am not saying non-violence is not effective in some circumstances, nor that it need be abandoned. But what harm would come from activists being trained to defend themselves or another from a threat, be that threat from a fascist, a police officer on an ICE agent.
While what the victims of the Portland stabbing were heroic, I can’t but wonder what, if anything they knew about how to disarm and/or subdue the attacker. That bit of knowledge may have saved their lives.