James Greenwood-Reeves, "Justifying Violent Protest: Law and Morality in Democratic States" (Routledge, 2023)


Was the use of violence on January 6th Capitol attacks legitimate? Is the use of violence morally justified by members of Extinction Rebellion or Just Stop Oil campaigners? Justifying Violent Protest: Law and Morality in Democratic States (Routledge, 2023) addresses these issues head on, to make a radical, but compelling argument in favour of the legitimate use of violence in protest in liberal democracies. Grounded in theories of constitutional morality, the book makes the case that when states make illogical or unjust laws, citizens have morally justifiable reasons to disobey. Violence can act as moral dialogue - both expressively and directly - to denounce unjust laws, particularly in cases where civil disobedience does not go far enough. This book considers recent protest movements, of which the use of violent protest has been central to citizens demands. It examines the activism of the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests, Extinction Rebellion, Black Lives Matter movement, and other contemporary international movements. 

This book could not be more timely. In a world where citizens' rights to protest are being increasingly curtailed, and climate destruction is becoming an increasing matter of urgency, Greenwood-Reeves addresses the legitimacy of violent protest and ultimate importance in upholding liberal democracy. 

Dr James Greenwood-Reeves is a Lecturer in Law at The University of Leeds. One of his current projects @lawsadrag

Jane Richards is a doctoral student at the University of Hong Kong. You can find her on twitter where she follows all things related to human rights and Hong Kong politics @JaneRichardsHK

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Jane Richards

Jane Richards is a Lecturer in Law at York Law School, UK.

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