also I noticed a lot of people (i.e. liberals) framing the discussion around love and violence as if fighting oppression or oppressors (including in immediate self-defense) was somehow antithetical to being a loving person, or to being committed to loving ourselves and other people in our communities, or to recognising love as a revitalising and necessary force in activism and in life in general, such that we need to utterly shun violence as something that’s always morally reprehensible (and thus, to shun people who commit violence in self-defense as morally reprehensible) in order to be capable of love
and I started thinking about how a lot of edgy radicals & leftists essentially agree with this but in the opposite direction–as if we need to utterly shun love as a necessary & revitalising force in order to be capable of revolutionary action or self-defense
in the same way that liberals will say “we must love and see the humanity in our oppressors, so that we cannot use violence against them even if we are ourselves the targets of violence” (or–more likely, since these kinds of people aren’t likely to be people who have ever been seriously targeted by violence–”more immediately & materially marginalised people shouldn’t use violence even if they are themselves the targets of violence”), edgy radicals will say “we must be prepared to use violence against our oppressors, and therefore we must hate and demonise them, as if they are somehow essentially, ontologically evil by virtue of their identities.” & I think that both of these approaches are fundamentally misguided
of course we must be prepared to use violence in self-defense against institutions that commit violence against us–but ultimately, the basis of revolution or whatever cannot be hatred and it cannot be the romanticisation of violence for the sake of violence (and again, a lot of these edgelord-y people have probably never been seriously targeted by violence, don’t have bodies that are marked out for violence–they just like the thrill of it all). it has to be love–love for ourselves & each other & for the future that we have to believe is possible–& that will include love for the people who used to be our oppressors. because otherwise what is the point?
to me “love your oppressor” doesn’t mean that you can’t fight back against violence and it doesn’t mean that you can’t hate the people who hate you or else you’re just as bad as they are and it doesn’t mean that you can’t be angry… what it does mean is that you have to have some kind of fundamental respect & empathy for people’s humanity
it means that, rather than just assuming that all white people are evil by some kind of mystical biological necessity and thus The Revolution requires killing them all or something (I’ve seen this suggested, which is… terrifying), you’ve got to try to understand the material and psychological factors that play into white people behaving in the way that they do (such as, applying class analysis to the racism of poor whites–see, the psychological wage of whiteness, etc.). that attempt at understanding is what I mean by “empathy”
and of course this has a necessary practical function in addition to a theoretical and psychological one–because how can you hope to fight a system that works to fragment and divide the people whom it oppresses without understanding & fighting against the reasons for that fragmentation?
so in all of these ways I see the willingness to empathise & love and the willingness to fight against oppression, not as antithetical, but absolutely necessary to, each other.