From It’s Going Down
“It is sometimes said that insurgents start with nothing but a cause and grow to strength, while the counter-insurgents start with everything but a cause and gradually decline in strength to the point of weakness.”
Cover Image from Spilt Cocoa with Permission
On this episode of the It’s Going Down podcast we caught up with long-time anarchist organizer and author, Kristian Williams, who’s works include Our Enemies in Blue, American Methods: Torture and the Logic of Domination, Fire the Cops!, Resist Everything Except Temptation: The Anarchist Philosophy of Oscar Wilde, and Life During Wartime: Resisting Counterinsurgency.
We start by talking about what counter-insurgency theory is and how it has influenced American policing, its relationship to US military operations, and how it grows out of military engagements aimed at crushing anti-colonial rebellions. In short, counter-insurgency theory assumes that in unequal societies, rebellion and insurgency will be a given – the goal of the State is to manage that rebellion and divide insurgents from the wider population. Policing concepts like “broken windows theory” went farther, producing a justification for how law enforcement could selectively go about policing public life in poor communities, especially of color, from which anti-colonial revolt might potentially grow from.
In this context and in the midst of the ongoing rebellion that has entered its second month, we discuss how theories of counter-insurgency and broken windows theory have influenced the events of the current uprising. We also discuss attempts at recuperation by the police, what comes after the rebellion, a critical look at the push by activists to defund the police, and what we can expect in terms of State repression.