By Sara Flounders
The extravagant NATO Summit scheduled for May 20 and 21 in Chicago has made it necessary to restate a Marxist, working-class understanding of the role of violence in capitalist society.
This obscene celebration of organized, high-tech violence brings generals, admirals, heads of state and their entourages from 26 nations to Chicago just as an unsolvable capitalist downturn has brought cuts to every social program. High unemployment has created a crisis for millions.
In Chicago, college classes, graduations and dorm closings have been moved to accommodate the NATO Summit. Streets, buildings and whole city sections will be locked down, as prohibitive new ordinances restrict public assembly. Thousands of Homeland Security, State Police and National Guard troops will arrive.
Chicago’s corporate media promote scare stories that demonstrators will use violence to protest the NATO military alliance.
This fraudulent media hype consciously aims to mask the NATO military alliance’s concentrated violence. It’s no surprise this media distortion seeps into the whole population. It even impacts the progressive political movement.
Historically, in the U.S. and all around the world, the oppressed and exploited have created and joined popular movements that organize mass actions. These movements confront overwhelming state violence orchestrated by a tiny ruling class that accumulated capital through hundreds of years of slave trade, child labor, piracy, brigandage and colonial expropriation.
Mass self-defense against capitalist violence, colonial policies or institutionalized repression has taken many forms. This legitimate self-defense confronts state-sanctioned violence.