Broken Windows, Falling Empires: A Discussion with Kristian Williams

we will not be silenced by police violence

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.”

– Kitson

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.

More Info: Kristian Williams homepage and many titles mentioned in podcast found in IGD library.

There are 2 Comments

I just can't be silent in the face of kristians violently good analysis

Its nice that someone has recognized Wilde's anarchist tendencies.

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