A professor at Loyola Marymount University argued last week that violent protests are a productive means of advancing progressive causes.
Stefan Bradley, a professor of African American Studies at Loyola Marymount University, argues in a recent column for the Chronicle of Higher Education that “violent” demonstrations can be productive to advancing social justice causes.
“To be sure, disruption should not be mistaken for violence, and inflicting physical harm (not counting self-defense) on opponents and property often derails a just cause,” Bradley wrote. “At times, though, it is the violent or destructive demonstrations that draw the attention of the wider public and motivates decision makers to act.”
The “so-called marketplace of ideas,” Bradley added, “only works when the opposing party is sympathetic and willing to act.”
A study reported on by Breitbart News earlier this year revealed that extreme forms of protest typically reduce popular support for movements that choose to employ them. During the study, researchers exposed a test group to anti-Trump protests in which demonstrators blocked traffic.
“What we found most startling was in the anti-Trump protests,” they reported. “When participants were exposed to the traffic blocking video—the participants regardless of their political ideology—showed an increase in support when presented with that video.”
Regardless, Bradley argues that minority students should consider “violent” and “disruptive” protest tactics. Black students “employ the disruptive tactics of yesteryear, even if it makes the campus community—and American society—feel uncomfortable,” he added. He argues that they are justified because “their humanity and safety are no longer up for civil debate.”