Stopping the Spiral of Violence

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable" -JFK

Today terrorists shut down the Montreal metro with smoke bombs. The spiral of violence in Quebec has reached a new low. It's only going to get worse, because THERE ARE NO ADULTS IN CHARGE.

Starting a spiral is really quite simple.

First, make sure there are no common goals. What are we trying to build in Canada? In Quebec? Yeah, I can't answer either. We no longer stand for anything.

If you're under 30, chances you don't remember the last major public transit development. Even before the recent protests, you've never had a positive encounter with the police. You know the mafia rules your province and bible-thumpers run your country. Cheap tuition and the promise of free university have been reneged.

Second, sabotage language. In a spiral of violence we need to think clearly, and we can't do that without basic definitions. We talk past each other we confuse "proposal" with "agreement", "anarchy" and "civil disobedience", "protester" with "terrorist".

The definition of terrorism, so often forgotten, is to use fear (terror) to gain political advantage. Unlike blocking a bridge or throwing a pie in someone's face, being forced to inhale an unknown gas is likely to have people fearing for their lives or health.

To recap: we have no common vision, and most of the population can't think clearly because it lacks basic vocabulary. We've alienated more than youth. Think the metro being down is a pain? Try being disabled and barely able to use it in the first place. Ask anyone the difference between "sex" and "gender", "marriage" and "civil union". If you can't define those, you can't be an ally.

Third, block all avenues in which a group could argue for equality. Naturally, the media uncritically uses the language of the government and paints all protestors as violent. Courts are a dead-end. Negotiations take months.

Fourth, wait for the inevitable violent revolution to crack down. If this takes too long, a government can always use agent provocateurs. *cough* mosque informants *cough*.

So that's about it. The nature of a spiral is you can repeat steps 1-5 as you travel towards an increasingly authoritarian culture, side-lining one group each turn: queers, students, trade unionists, socialists, muslims, etc.

The way out is also simple.
  • Build and communicate a vision for a better society.
  • Be pedantic. "Feminism", "Anarchy", "Gender": insist they be used properly. If you're unclear, ask.
  • Make peaceful revolution possible. Ensure our education, justice, political and police institutions are responsive to groups with less power.
  • Denounce violence on all sides, keeping in mind the difference between a broken window and a broken skull.
Although our government has visibly done none of this, it is not clear to me whether the other parties could. Which means it's up to citizens to provide adult supervision.