Peter Gelderloos

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Peter Gelderloos (born 1982) is an anarchist and author from Virginia (United States).

Quotes[edit]

  • When we understand that privileged people derive material benefits from the exploitation of oppressed people, and that this means we benefit from the violence used to keep them down, we cannot sincerely condemn them for violently rebelling against the structural violence that privileges us.
  • Capitalists and their predecessors—slaveowners, moneylenders, merchant-investors—owe their very existence to the State. In early times, concentration of political and spiritual power precedes economic stratification in society.
    • Worshiping Power: An Anarchist View of Early State Formation (2017), p. 7

"The Failure of Nonviolence" (2013) [1][edit]

  • We can never know whether our analysis and our methods are wrong, except sometimes with hindsight. Our movements are stronger when they employ diverse methods and analyses and these different positions criticize one another.
    • Introduction: Nonviolence has lost the debate
  • Violence” is whatever the person speaking at the moment decides to describe as violent. Usually, this means things they do not like. As a result, the use of the category “violence” tends towards hypocrisy. If it is done to me, it is violent. If it is done by me or for my benefit, it is justified, acceptable, or even invisible.
    • Chapter 1. Violence Doesn't Exist
  • We are all forced to participate in a society that is held together by structural violence, and rewarded for our participation with various privileges, though these privileges are spread unevenly across society. Given that those who use some form of visible, antisocial violence are often the least likely to enjoy the privileges of structural violence, there is no feasible way to determine who is violent and who is not.
    • Chapter 1. Violence Doesn't Exist
  • “Violence” was a euphemism for a threat to the ruling order and its illusion of social peace, with which the class struggle, the brutality of patriarchy, and the murderousness of colonialism are hidden. The newspapers did not talk about violence when cops killed strikers, when landlords evicted families, or when poor people died of hunger. They talked about violence when workers went on strike, when tenants stopped paying rent, when street vendors refused to surrender their wares to the cops.
    • Chapter 1. Violence Doesn't Exist
  • Freedom as a concept sides with those who are struggling for theirs, whereas nonviolence as a concept sides with the enforcers of normality and the rulers of the status quo.
    • Chapter 1. Violence Doesn't Exist
  • The goal of our criticism should be solidarity, not homogeneity.
    • Chapter 1. Violence Doesn't Exist
  • Government violence is not the result of violent revolutions, but the product of government itself. Any movement that leaves the State intact will fail in ending the oppressions we are fighting against. A nonviolent movement that replaces one government with another—and this is the greatest victory a nonviolent movement has ever achieved in the history of the world—ends up betraying itself, allowing Power to change its masks without addressing the fundamental problems of society. Nonviolence as an analytical tool has no means of understanding this kind of defeat—the kind that looks like victory.
    • Chapter 2. Recuperation is How We Lose
  • Governments are by their nature aggressive and dominating. No society is safe if its neighbor is a state.
    • Chapter 2. Recuperation is How We Lose
  • Democracy requires social peace, the illusion that, in a society based on exploitation and domination, everyone can get along and nobody's fundamental well-being is under threat.
    • Chapter 2. Recuperation is How We Lose
  • In order to show people that we are serious, that we are committed, that we are fighting for our lives, it is better to express unambiguously that we are the enemies of the established order, that we negate their laws, their offers of dialogue, and their false social peace, it is better to attack (and to come dressed for the occasion) than to dress up as clowns, tote about giant puppets, playing up a theatrical conflict with the police, locking down and expecting them to treat us humanely, or wait for the cameras to give our witty protest signs a close-up. This is not to say that we must be ever grim and serious, nor that our only activity is to smash. Just as we need the full range of tactics, we will express a thousand emotions in our rebellion, from street festivals to funeral marches to riots. But it is our negation of the present system that gives everything else its meaning. Only because we do not frame this as a popularity contest, but as a revolution, as a struggle to destroy the present system and create something wholly new, do all the festive and creative aspects of our struggle break out of the usual cycles of loyal dissent and counterculture that are co-opted from the beginning.
    • Chapter 3. The Revolutions of Today
  • Democracy is merely another way to organize exploitation, oppression, and social control. Democratic governments have coexisted with slavery, colonialism, warfare, the most patriarchal societies with some of the most unequal concentrations of wealth, the destruction of the environment, starvation, extreme poverty, the pathologization or murder of trans people, labor exploitation, job and housing precarity, homelessness, exclusion from healthcare, genocide, and any other bad thing we can think of.
    • Chapter 4. The Color Revolutions
  • Capitalism is based on the endless accumulation of wealth, extracted from the environment and from our labor, and government is based on the accumulation of power and control directly stolen from all the rest of us. A marriage between these two systems, which has defined the social reality for at least five hundred years, means everyone gets fucked.
    • Chapter 4. The Color Revolutions
  • Governments can be democratic or not, more or less corrupt, but they will still pursue the same basic goals, and they will still be controlled by an elite. Government by its very nature concentrates power and excludes people from making decisions over their own lives.
    • Chapter 4. The Color Revolutions
  • The truth is, revolution is anti-democratic. Revolutions in their beginnings are always opposed by the majority, which is nothing but a virtual herd controlled by the media. A minority of one knows its own interests better than the rest of society, and the rest of society can only be convinced of a truth if people start putting it into action rather than waiting for validation from the majority. The struggle for a world free of domination is the insistence that we are the only ones who can define and meet our needs, and that our needs are more important than the ever-manipulated bylaws, due process, and sacred pieces of paper that democracy holds so dear. The principle of direct action is fundamentally at odds with following the rules and getting permission.
    • Chapter 4. The Color Revolutions

External links[edit]

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