Judith Butler, a renowned feminist thinker and professor in the rhetoric department at the University of California at Berkeley, told the Georgia Straight by phone that this is evident in recent police responses to anti-NATO protests in Chicago and student demonstrations in Montreal. She cited it as the fallout of the intensification of neoliberal capitalism.
“At a certain point, we have to ask whether security has become an alibi for state violence of various kinds,” she said shortly after arriving in Vancouver to give a free public lecture.
Butler, who is the author of several books, pointed out that people are taking to the streets because they’re excluded from established areas of influence, including the electoral system, corporate power, and the media. She noted that these protesters often don’t come from communities based on a common identity, language, or even nationality, and they don’t agree with each other on many issues.
“Their bodies are their last resource and their most important resource—and it is the power they have,” she said. “So bodies in the street can stop traffic or bring attention that [there are] very basic needs to be satisfied, including shelter, food, employment, and freedom of mobility and freedom of expression.”