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Tequila_Wolf wrote

I have a bunch to say in response to this but I’ll just say this -

Sometimes, though, violent direct action is itself educating the general population and bringing them closer to your position. Sometimes they don't even know that people like you exist, or that the things that you do are possible, and direct action shows them - it shows that direct action gets the goods, that other worlds are possible.

Appealing to the general population happens at many levels. Sometimes you don’t need everybody to agree with you immediately. Sometimes your actions are a call to those who have similar politics to you to join you. Punching the cop might not appeal to the liberal, but there are whole portions of the population who will at least intuitively understand why you might do that - enough to engage more in what you do.

Direct action occurs in many different ways and with different aims, and I don’t think you can even begin to speak about it as a monolithic thing. I think your case would have been stronger if you had limited it to specific cases - but, as you’re probably aware, the paradigm cases you seem to be drawing from (the murders of the ‘propaganda of the deed’ era) are no longer commonplace.

Violent direct action may also never reach the public’s ears. Maybe you and your crew know where the local fascist is, and you give him a visit. Fascist never tells anybody and neither do you, but maybe now he isn’t going to be organizing in your town anymore.

This is not to say that people shouldn’t think long and hard about any violence they bring upon others, and that it often isn’t a good idea to do one. It may well be the case that doing violence is dehumanizing for the doer in most cases.