Meg Starr, Resistance in Brooklyn
Enemies of the State
An Interview with Anti-Imperialist Political Prisoners: David Gilbert, Laura Whitehorn, and Marilyn Buck
RnB: Some movement activists have expressed the idea that violence cannot be justified for any reason, and even a few political prisoners have said that they were wrong to engage in violent acts. What are your feelings on this? How have they changed over the years?
LW: Whenever we talk about "violence," I think it's important first to distinguish between the violence of the state including the army, the police, etc. and the use of armed resistance and armed struggle by oppressed people struggling for justice. Remember, too, that imperialist violence isn't just what they do with arms it also includes the genocidal results of a system that tries to destroy the history, identity, and culture of the nations it colonizes. It's malnutrition, poverty, and homelessness in the streets of the richest country on earth. Is the death of a homeless person, frozen in the winter streets of Chicago or New York, not a death by violence? If U.S. imperialism were to disarm to stop their stealing from people, cease committing genocide, stop starving people, etc. then I'd be willing to consider changing my support of revolutionary violence. Malcolm X talked about this a lot, with great passion and insight. "What are your options," he asked, "when a man's got his foot on your neck?"