We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Notes on the non-violence of the 15-M movement

Click here to access article by Jérôme E. Roos from Roar Mag. 

This essay, which I recommend more than the video, provides one of the best arguments for non-violent confrontations with authorities that I have seen. We have much to learn from our brothers and sisters in Spain, Greece, Egypt, etc.
The choice for nonviolence is not a choice to shun conflict, but rather to put this conflict in our own terms, choosing the scenarios and setting the pace.

...Violence makes us predictable: it reinforces the positions and roles (police repressor / protester victim). Calling a police officer a “hijo de puta” confirms the situation and the division of roles. Everyone knows who he is, what his identity is and what to feel towards the other. Surely this is not something very serious, but it isn’t really subversive either. Instead, the gestures that we have often seen at 15-M demonstrations compel the police positively, with forms of irony or empathic communication, to dislodge the situation: embarrassed, uncomfortable and restless, they interrupt the “automatisms”, challenge the clichés, ask questions, short-circuit the predictable, so that everyone knows he has to think, act and feel.