Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Violence as a political project (4)

A few young people with ties to a violent and racist environment attempted to set a house, where an immigrant family lived, on fire. This happened in a neighboring municipality for a few years ago. The young people had little formal power, but tried to exert a serious act of violence. In such a situation it is good that someone intervenes. In addition to the police, a committed municipal mayor took action. What happened was that the mayor invited the population to open meeting outside City Hall. Hundreds of people showed up. The mayor explained what had happened and that he took responsibility for improving relations between residents in the municipalities. After that he let the word be free so that others could speak their mind so all could hear. A number of people spoke against racism and violence. The municipal council commited themselves after that to a plan for action against racism in the community.

The municipality made a decision about taking responsibility and created a sense of togetherness against rascism and violence, and lead a better community. The municipality showed here how to use their power in a positive way, without resorting to violence. Power becomes an end in itself. Power does not need not to be justified and the use of violence can never be legitimate.

It is important to remember that violence often springs from rage and can therefore be irrational. Rage is by no means an automatic reaction to all misery and suffering. In situations where there is reason to believe that conditions may change, but are not changed, rage often occurs. For this reason it is important that
politicians be action-oriented and give priority to improving social conditions.

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