State violence

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State violence describes the use of governmental authority to cause deliberate harm and suffering to groups and individuals with the goal of implicitly or explicitly maintaining power; genocide, torture, war crimes, police brutality, and other forms of systemic oppression. - The Learning Network, adapted by Michelle Xie [1]

Simply put, state violence is violence approved or funded by the government, most often targeting marginalized groups. [2]

Examples of state violence

Over-policing and murders of marginalized groups

  • Indigenous land defenders are criminalized for exercising their right to defend their unceded territory, or their right to free, prior and informed consent, significantly more than white settlers. [3]
  • Despite the fact Black people represent only about 8.8% of the city of Toronto's population, they represented almost a third of all charges. A black person in Toronto is 20 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than a white person. [4]

Overfunding and arming of police

  • Police budgets often take up the greatest portion of municipal budgets. In so-called Canada, cities' police budget range from 1/10th (i.e. Toronto) to 1/3rd (i.e. Surrey, B.C) of municipal budgets. [5]
  • "Policing has become increasingly militarized across North America, where raids, SWAT teams and high artillery weapons are sources of trauma and violence against Black communities in particular." -Defund the police [6]
Funding fossil fuel expansion during a climate crisis
  • Continuing to fund fossil fuel expansion as a body that is supposed to have the best interest of it's citizens in mind, when Indigenous Peoples and scientific studies have told us we must rapidly transition off fossil fuels to avoid irreversible ecological damage, can be considered state violence.
  • Extractivism has physical, social, emotional and consequences.

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