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
Saturday, July 20, 2013
Keep Calm… And Leave The Violence To Them?
The author confronts the hypocrisy and/or the shallowness of those who preach non-violent political resistance. I have witnessed this theme urgently professed by certain people at every activist movement I've participated in over the past 50 years; so much so that at times I've wondered if it wasn't being orchestrated by hidden actors and a questionable agenda. The most widely known example of someone who quite literally preaches violence-is-evil-if-perpetrated-by-activists is Chris Hedges who always gets considerable coverage in liberal-left media. See this, this, and this.
But Mickey Z. does not go far enough. His emphasis on animal cruelty, wiping out of native populations, and the use of violence against 3rd world people to obtain minerals avoids any discussion of the economic system that promotes such violence. Thus, his analysis is also moralistic and shallow. Both Mickey Z. and Chris Hedges exemplify where the main activist orientation is in the US, and why it has been unable to challenge a ruling class whose power is derived from the system of capitalism.