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
Monday, February 27, 2012
Debating Tactics: Remember to ask, “What works?”
This blogger-activist shows how resistance to government actions exposes people to police violence that cannot be simply dealt with using some broad principle of non-violence. His article contributes to a discussion about resistance based on historical examples and most recently on Occupier activities in Oakland, California.
With dismay and growing suspicion I have seen too many people in the US advocating non-violence as if it were some kind of religion. Their references to Gandhian figures and their practice of non-violence is always extremely selective and often gloss over the actual results of this practice.
In contrast to the apostles of non-violence, the Occupiers are affirming principles of horizontal democracy, self-organizing, and a diversity of resistance tactics all of which are in direct conflict with the hierarchically organized class system of capitalism based on private ownership of productive property. The Occupy movement is truly a revolutionary movement whether activists in the movement are conscious of this yet or not. Because it is fundamentally revolutionary, we can expect that the enforcers of the One Percent ruling class will deal with it as harshly as they can while using mass media to cover up their human rights crimes.
As we have already seen, this revolutionary struggle will present problems for many liberals as they interpret and respond to this revolutionary struggle. Ultimately, they will have to choose where their true allegiance lies: with the 99 Percent or with the One Percent.