Contribution by C. Companyero
The state is based on violence. There is always a threat: if you do not do as the State demands, you will be locked up or hit by a man with a stick.
If you use your constitutional right to expression and assembly, the state sends its representatives with sticks, tear gas and live ammo.
The State is an instrument of oppression by the powerful. They do not even play by the rules: they are above the law themselves. We all know how politicians gain wealth beyond their means.
Confronting the State head on may not be the best option: their methods of violence are much more violent than anything we can muster. Think of the murder of twenty of ours on 20 July 2011. And then we did not even confront the State head on, we only exercised our constitutional rights.
In meetings after 20 July, the organizers met a police force threatening with even more lethal violence in case the demonstrators would continue to exercise their rights. (“Our tear gas is finished, so we are going to use live ammunition from the first moment”) The organizers then decided to cancel follow up demonstrations. We can understand their considerations. But we also need to consider the daily lethal violence that kills people on a day to day basis: our drugs are stolen even before they reach the hospitals, there is no disaster preparedness so flood victims are suffering lethal hunger and exposure to the elements. You name it, it is happening. Set that off against the violence when we alert authorities of the mess they are creating, and we see the true face of the State: violence to protect the privileges of the few.
Confronting them head on is dangerous and may not be effective. What can we do instead?
I propose to create our own spaces, withdrawn from the influence of the State. Stay outside the formal economy, stay outside the tax system that funds the oppression. Form our own collectives (or soviets in the terms of Chilembwe Liberation). Cooperate and stay outside the ineffective and corrupt State machinery. We do not get rich, but we do gain a certain level of freedom, and we can undermine the power by ignoring it, rather than confronting it.