Street Rebellion: Resistance Beyond Violence and Nonviolence

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    Benjamin S. Case

    Publisher: AK Press

    Year: 2022

    Format: paperback

    Size: 280 pages

    ISBN: 9781849354868


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In a style that bridges the divide between academia and activism, Street Rebellion develops a broader and more accurate understanding of how people struggle for liberation. 

We are living in a time of uprisings. Across the world and all around us, movements are taking to the streets and challenging established power. These uprisings routinely involve moments of physical confrontation—burning vehicles and barricades, vandalism, projectiles thrown at police, and scuffles between protestors and authorities. Yet the Left has struggled to incorporate rioting into theories of change, remaining stuck in the recurring debates about violence and nonviolence. The idea of "strategic nonviolence" has become mainstream, spreading the notion that riots are counterproductive. But discussing violence and nonviolence as a binary—as distinct, mutually exclusive, and opposite concepts—does not help us understand what is really going on when people riot. Street Rebellion argues that strategic nonviolence theory and research are misguided.

Using data on protests from around the world and in-depth interviews with rioters, Benjamin S. Case pushes through beyond the impasses in arguments over violence and nonviolence, advancing the conversation and bringing new clarity to resistance studies. In a style that bridges the divide between academia and activism, he develops a broader and more accurate understanding of how people struggle for liberation. Street Rebellion will be of equal use in the classroom and on the streets.

What People Are Saying

"For far too long the violence/nonviolence debate has been mired in abstract pontification and muddled terminology. Finally, we have Ben Case's incisive and meticulously researched analysis that captures the contextual utility of violent forms of resistance. Street Rebellion is truly a must-read for every activist and social movement scholar." Mark Bray, author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook

"Street Rebellion strikes a precise blow to the current accepted dichotomy between violence and nonviolence and flips the entire field of civil resistance on its head. Ben Case has eloquently returned riots to their rightful place in the history of modern social movements." Akin Olla, contributing writer at The Guardian and host of This is The Revolution Podcast

 "Benjamin Case's work is critical for understanding the way that movements for liberation are exploding across the globe, and to counter the misinformation that suggests the only path to change is through strict nonviolence. This is one of the most essential books of the year." Shane Burley, author of Why We Fight and Fascism Today

"In this significant contribution, Case shows how riots make a difference. Essential reading for anyone who thought that the violence-non-violence debate was over." Lesley Wood, author of Crisis and Control: The Militarization of Protest Policing
About the Author

Benjamin S. Case is an organizer, educator, and writer. He is a researcher at the Center for Work and Democracy and a fellow at the Resistance Studies Initiative. Case is based in Pittsburgh, PA.

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