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Resisting State Violence

Radicalism, Gender, and Race in U.S. Culture

Resisting State Violence by Joy James
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An incendiary critique of contemporary American society that also offers concrete solutions for the dilemmas facing progressive politics.As the political climate of the United States moves rightward, effective and visionary voices from the left become both rarer and more essential. In Resisting State Violence, African American scholar-activist Joy James provides such a voice. Taking the convergence of race, gender, and class as fundamental trajectories, James offers a stimulating and iconoclastic account of a world in which the United States functions as the political-police center. At its core, Resisting State Violence is about the many ways the current structure of American government and society is inimical to human rights. James examines the prevalence of racist violence in U.S. policies, making provocative connections between seemingly disparate themes and events, and always, insistently, linking global and U.S. domestic politics. She creates a picture of a nation that consistently uses dehumanization to normalize and rationalize violence in foreign policy, all the while creating a domestic climate that pathologizes blackness and sexuality, portraying those most vulnerable to violence as its carriers. In the systematic and ubiquitous nature of state violence, however, James sees a possibility of hope in the building of coalitions across race, class, gender, and national divides. She argues that the very commonality that makes the system seem so overpowering can serve as the basis for resistance—that the elements that hold together a web of oppression and misuse of power also mark its vulnerabilities, especially when confronted with an equally systematic resistance. James offers concrete solutions for the dilemmas facing progressive politics and the individuals who work to achieve social justice. Resisting State Violence is a clear-sighted and uncompromising guidebook for those who want to understand the forces that hinder social change, and to effectively move beyond them.
University of Minnesota Press; October 1996
279 pages; ISBN 9780816687459
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Title: Resisting State Violence
Author: Joy James; Angela Y. Davis