Nearly ten million kids die each year unnecessary before they are five years old. This atrocious violence dwarfs any violence the 99% ever can perpetrate. All violence of the 1% hurts the 99%, while there is no violence against the 1%. When there is no revolution the 99% continue to suffer, when no violence is used revolutions will never succeed.
“A revolution is not a dinner party or writing an essay or doing embroidery. It cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another”. (Mao Tse-tung)
What happens in the Ukraine and in Egypt is inspiring because the 99% are politically active. But what will be the result? Again a society like the present one with a privileged group on top. And only the 99%, activists and policemen, are hurt. The 1% and the political leaders again escape unscratched from the turmoil. We need direct actions against the 1% otherwise we never get a world without a 1% where all people have the same status. To reach that Humane World we need some violence directed at the present and the future 1%. That must be the leading idea in all actions, dethroning any 1%.
Actions can be risky but are necessary to pressure the leading class. Actions that hurt activists and hardly influence the private living sphere and the minds of the 1% should not take place (Golden Rule for Actions). Any violence must comply to this rule. Fights with the police cause too much damage to the 99% and pressure on people somewhere high up is negligible. These violent fights show that some people are so angry that they are prepared to take risks. It is a first step towards an effective kind of actions that hit the weak points in the armour of leaders and not the strong points, the rank and file police officers. Higher police officers who train the police by installing in them the idea that they must defend faulty leaders against attacks of the 99% and that they must quell any revolt are better targets.
Street violence inspires people to become active. Street fighters are an important element in the struggle but should change tactics because there is no pressure on the 1%. Also bombings or killing an individual leader do not pressure the 1%. Many people like such actions but they are too difficult for common citizens to carry out. Guerrilleros should use simple weapons and not specialised ones. A deceased 1% is replaced by another 1%, pressure on the new 1% has to be built up again, security measures are intensified and the 1% continue to rule. The danger for activists is too big.
Town guerrilla groups as the German RAF, the Uruguayan Tupamaros, the Peruvian Shining Path or the Italian Red Brigades were active in the seventies. They used a lot of violence that forced them to operate in secret and violated the rule that you must be like a fish in the water. They were decimated by security forces and disappeared. They could not solve the problem how to defeat the enemy because most actions had the wrong targets and did not build up pressure on the 1%. Small violence should be preferred over big violence, many small actions over some big actions. They should have studied Sun Tzu and Mao Tse-tung. “So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak”.
Though they got a lot of sympathy they could not mobilize and activate the masses. Their actions were too specialised and could hardly be copied by common citizens who wanted also to live a normal life. The use of big violence is not right at the start of the struggle for a Humane Society. First should the power pyramid be undermined by Creative Disturbance of the privileged eliteworld. Violence should not be rejected but used in a way that fits in society. In the Egyptian or Syrian situation more violence is accepted than in Western Europe. Throwing a rock through a window of a 1% is as effective as throwing a Molotov-cocktail or using fire-arms. The first act is hardly punishable while the last kind demands secrecy and experience, buying weapons, having enough money to buy, learning to shoot, hiding weapons, etc. Activists should consider when, if and how violence is necessary and most effective. They should minimise risks for the 99% and maximise pressure on the 1%.
Even before Occupiers used any violence self-appointed leaders proclaimed that Occupy was a peaceful movement. Such people do not want to make an omelette because they refuse to break a few eggs. They do not want another society because they oppose any use of violence against the 1% who use a lot of violence to maintain their privileged situation. They do not agree with Mao Tse-tung who said ”Revolution is an act of violence” or with C. Wright Mills who said “All politics is a struggle for power; the ultimate kind of power is violence”.
Though the opponent excessively uses violence to suppress movements, these leaders (of a leaderless movement) reject one of the tactics of the struggle and thus weaken the movement. Leaders of the country never listen to arguments of peaceful activists when demands contradict the interests of the top. Some violence increases the attention for what the 99% want. Peaceful actions hardly knew successes.
Non-violent activists only use tactics that are allowed by the sitting powers. Activists who use some violence should also mostly remain within the boundaries of the law. There are many hardly punishable actions that deeply penetrate the minds of the 1%. Non-violence activists often talk about civil disobedience, refusing to obey commands from the top of society, but disobedience actions do not lead to a Humane World. They demand a high degree of organisation and a leading group that kills the creativity of the 99%. Such actions remain within the present society. The boycott of oranges did not change the minds of leaders of Western countries who continued supporting white supremacists in South-Africa. Mandela was still on the list of terrorists when he was president of South-Africa while the white racist president De Klerk never was on that list. Civil disobedience actions and boycotts do not disturb the 1% and damage the 99%. It contributes nothing to getting rid of the 1% with their surplus of money and power. The 1% only listens when it fits in their policy.
Leaders redirected the goal of Occupy from a fight against the 1% to a discussion about which tactics could be used. After a few months the unifying target, the 1%, disappeared from publications and the movement started to wither away by lack of successes. Violence of participants was rejected and violence of the state was accepted as objectionable but inevitable. Positive results of past movements were only seen through “peaceful” eyes, achieved by non-violent activists. My experience in the Squatters Movement showed that violence often prevented owners to repossess squatted houses. Without violence we are too vulnerable to resist violence of the state. An additional benefit of the use of some violence is that organisations will not take over movements. Organisations are part of the existing social system and cannot afford to use violence. That threatens their existence.
Gandhi and Martin Luther King were peaceful activists but their tactics damaged the 99% too much. Successes were hardly the result of peaceful actions. Armed resistance in India, the militant Black Panther Party, the supporters of Malcolm X and the race riots had more influence than peaceful leaders. But the sitting powers invited only non-violent leaders to negotiate, violent activists were excluded. The results were disappointing, racism is still wide-spread in the USA and India is still a neo-colony of the West where each year two million kids die unnecessary before they are five years old. That problem is nearly solved in China that knew a violent revolution. The world is full of violence against the 99%. The 1% are the only people with a peaceful life.
Jean-Paul Marat said already that “violence of the people is legitimate, it remains always far inferior to the sum of all injustices by the despots over the centuries”. The American scholar Barrington Moore jr wrote in his book “Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy”: “to dwell on the horrors of revolutionary violence while forgetting that of “normal” times is merely partisan hypocrisy ………….. the costs of moderation have been at least as atrocious as those of revolution perhaps a great deal more ….one argument against the comforting myth of gradualism …….. is the cost of going without a revolution”.
What happens in so-called non-violent marches was shown in the Indian Salt March in 1930 that aimed to break the English monopoly on salt. (source Wikipedia).
“Gandhi was contemplating a course of action which is clearly bound to involve violation of the law and danger to the public peace. On March 12, 1930, Gandhi and 78 male satyagrahis (activists of truth and resolution) started their 23-day-long journey. Women weren’t allowed to march because Gandhi felt women wouldn’t provoke law enforcers like their male counterparts, making the officers react violently to non-violence. A month later, Gandhi was arrested and thrown into prison, already full with fellow protestors. The Salt March started a series of protests, closing many British shops and British mills. A march to Dharshana resulted in horrible violence. The non-violent satyagrahis did not defend themselves against the clubs of policemen, and many were killed instantly.”
Though activists did not use violence the march was not peaceful. Gandhi provoked police violence that damaged his own people. He knew that when there is no violence, nobody listens. He choose the wrong way. I propose small violence that only damages the 1%. I should never organise actions that cause still more violence to the 99%. Actions are risky but provoking more violence and damage to the 99% as Gandhi did violates the Golden Rule for Actions. These leaders forbid followers to use violence but know that violence can hurt their people. I cannot call these actions peaceful.
Without some violence no change is possible.
Joost van Steenis