Monday, February 14, 2011

a violent reaction to nonviolent revolution

`Buzzflash posted a debate on violent versus nonviolent revolution between anti-war activists David Swanson and Ted Rall, but I felt an important angle was left out.  Here's my comment:

RE: blocking the courthouse

The hypothetical Swanson mentioned about blocking the courthouse until they allow gay marriages and Rall's reply to it about the cops dragging off the protesters or them being slaughtered shows the real use of violence, and even Martin Luther King used it in this way: when you get those in power to use violence against non-violent protesters and it is broadcast on TV for all to see, those in power have lost.  They can only retain power by using escalating violence and eventually, they will get to the point where police and soldiers will no longer pull the trigger--and then we have won.

That is what happened during the coup against Gorbachev and what happened when we tried to overthrow Hugo Chavez early in the Bush years.  In the latter case, enough of the military was tired of being the bad guys to their own people to undo the coup.

Nonviolence can work if you are willing to be on the receiving end of a rifle butt, tear gas canister, or even a bullet.

But as cities and states across the country are cutting police forces and looking to cut public pensions (which police would have), I don't think we have far to go before they will stop beating us and start joining us.

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