Masha Gessen in The New Yorker:
This month, Verso is publishing Butler’s latest book, “The Force of Nonviolence.” It is a slim volume that makes an outsized argument: that our times, or perhaps all times, call for imagining an entirely new way for humans to live together in the world—a world of what Butler calls “radical equality.” Butler sat down for a conversation with me during a recent visit to New York. The interview has been edited and condensed.
In this new book, you propose not just an argument for nonviolence as a tactic but as an entirely different way of thinking about who we are.
We are used to thinking strategically and instrumentally about questions of violence and nonviolence. I think there is a difference between acting as an individual or a group, deciding, “Nonviolence is the best way to achieve our goal,” and seeking to make a nonviolent world—or a less violent world, which is probably more practical.
I’m not a completely crazy idealist who would say, “There’s no situation in which I would commit an act of violence.” I’m trying to shift the question to “What kind of world is it that we seek to build together?”