The Legitimacy Argument

by William Skink

At what point should a nation’s people enact the violent overthrow of their government? When the government loses legitimacy? What does that mean? Let’s ask a few questions.

Would a legitimate government order the extra-judicical killing of its own citizens?

Would a legitimate government engage in the systematic, illegal spying of its own citizens?

Would a legitimate government charge and imprison whistleblowers for exposing government criminality?

Would a legitimate government enforce racist policies to subjugate and oppress entire communities of color?

When other governments in other nations (not aligned with Western interests) lose legitimacy, it becomes ok to use violence to overthrow the government.

Not so in America. If you are “hippies” (OWS) or “thugs” (people of color) then state violence is seen as a legitimate response to protests against illegitimate state actions, especially if the latter show any violent proclivity in expressing anger over generations of racist subjugation.

Personally I don’t think violence against the state is ever effective, however seemingly justified one may argue it is. Violence just perpetuates an endless cycle of more violence, and those trends of escalation can be difficult to manage.

So as U.S. foreign policy supports the use of violence in places like Ukraine and Syria, U.S. citizens should be prepared for the more extremist elements within our own borders to see violence as the solution to their grievances, especially on the far right, where violence has already been justified and utilized as an asymmetrical tactic against a militarily much stronger opponent.

If you don’t want to see it here, then speak out against the violence America is spreading across the globe.




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