13. Resistance instead of protest. Forcing and not asking or begging leaders to take better decisions

Resistance is forcing leaders to take different decisions. Protest is asking and begging them to change decisions. Resistance is part of a revolution that wants change, protest  is part of a revolt that shows the dissatisfaction of the 99%.
Resistance challenges the power, protest appeals to the conscience of leaders.

When a country is occupied by a foreign power protest is senseless. Authorities do not listen to protests and the only way to achieve something is by resistance. In Western democracies protest can have some success but not when it concerns important subjects. When a lot of money (for the 1% and their lackeys) is involved protests fall on deaf ears. The Anti-Nuclear Movement, actions against fracking or against genetically modified food were not very successful. Efforts to restrict the use of cars because it uses too much precious materials and fossil energy are failing. Withdrawing support for regimes that suppress the own population (and the lack of support for freedom movements in those countries) is also nearly without positive result. Human Rights are unimportant when trade agreements are discussed. Money stands first and not the interests of the 99%. Protest actions give maybe some power to action leaders who want to be embedded in the political game but do not change the life of rank and file activists. This is in contradiction to the idea that all people have the same status.

When money is involved different actions are necessary. Money has an increasing influence on decisions and protests have become superfluous. From about 1960 to 1985 protest movements had still some successes. Actions in 1968 in France (in The Netherlands the Provo Movement) changed a little bit the attitude of leaders but after a few years the elite regained control and the power to amass money became even greater than before.

The Squatter’s Movement gave thousands of young people a payable living place but squatting became outlawed and the problem how young people could live independently was not solved. The anti-WTO demonstrations of ten years ago were massive but the undisturbed leaders of the WTO just went on.

After 1985 movements ceased to exist and the successes of protest actions became smaller and smaller. The 99% understood that protests did not achieve anything anymore and withdrew from the action world. Action leaders however continued to ask and beg political leaders to change decisions. They had not learned from the past that protest actions are almost useless. The powerful 1% were never challenged in their extravagant life and bankers who caused the crisis (for their own benefit) kept their lucrative jobs. Action leaders could not make the step from protest to resistance and blocked all progress in action methods.

The successes of protests have been meagre. Demonstrations ended in fights with the police, strikes could not prevent that the wealth, income and power gap grew tremendously. The 1% were never disturbed in their privileged living sphere.
Some activists still think that elected representatives (but most top-people are not elected) care for the interests of the 99%. When the dominant position of power, money and greedy rich persons is not undermined actions will be in vain. Some people call the demonstrations about ten years ago against the WTO a success but I saw only hurt and imprisoned activists while the train with powerful people continued its planned course. After the big demonstrations in Seattle and Milan the movement lost its momentum. The 99% realised that these actions were not the right way.

Protests failed to bring fundamental change, militant resistance is needed. Even when leaders give in to some demands their position is never challenged. Nearly all actions are in town centres where leaders never come. The goal of protests is to inform fellow-people and not to change society or to remove failing leaders. In resistance we point our arrows at powerful people to weaken their control.

In some demonstrations protesters were forced to fight though fighting belongs to resistance. Therefore many action leaders reject any street fighting, it is contradictory to their idea that you only may beg politicians to change decisions. Fighting should however not take place with the police but with those faulty leaders that enrich themselves by disregarding the interests of the 99%. “We have to attack the enemy where the army cannot be used”. (Marat)

To get a Humane World protest is not sufficient. Wrong actions are carried out around wrong subjects. Most actions are guided by the idea that elections may give change. “Politics is a game played by people with power. By elections you are asked to choose sides in false conflicts. We are given the illusion of choice but as long as those in power do not lose their control, the choice we made only influences our life and not the life of the people in power.”

Even a superficial analysis reveals that through the ages greedy rich people ruled the world. Despite natural catastrophes, revolutions, uprisings, revolts, wars, technical inventions, etc. elites continued to rule, revitalised by new members who accepted the rules of the top layers of society. The motivation of the 1% remained the possession of more money than people down under. Money rules the world!

Money has never been an item in protest actions. The system should change but nothing was said about the super-rich who can use any system for their own benefit. New systems produce new greedy leaders. Colonies disappeared but new indigenous leaders resemble the old colonial rulers. Communism disappeared but old leaders remain on top and form a common front with the former enemy. The French or the American Revolution gave new impulses to society but a small group of rich and greedy leaders still cared in the first place for their own well-being.

We need resistance against the dictatorial role of money and against people who amass money for their own benefit. All problems are caused by the 1% and money.

Participation in actions, the number of strikes and the interest in elections is dwindling. Even the crisis did not stimulate the 99%. They grumbled, became more dissatisfied but remained at home. Rich leaders who caused the crisis are still on top. Without pressure from below they continue to reap the fruits from their financial manipulations. Temporary successes of protests without a greater goal of changing society are not sufficient to secure the freedom and well-being of the 99%.  Resistance inspires to great deeds.

When we dream about a Humane World actions that do not contribute to getting that world have to be abandoned. Resistance should replace protest.

Joost van Steenis

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About Joost van Steenis

My latest book "How to make Revolution, developing the Fourth People's Power", can be downloaded for free from my site http://members.chello.nl/jsteenis. It contains new ideas how to take the money and power away from the most powerful people, the elite. It strives to get a new society in which not money is the pivotal point of all discussions but the idea that all people have the same status. New action means are introduced to reach this paradigm shift (a revolution) that concentrate on direct actions in the living sphere of the elite.
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14 Responses to 13. Resistance instead of protest. Forcing and not asking or begging leaders to take better decisions

  1. The problem is the system, not the people.

    And the fundamental flaw of our “system” starts at the paradigm level. That’s where change is needed.

    “But to tear down a factory or to revolt against a government or to avoid repair of a motorcycle because it is a system is to attack effects rather than causes; and as long as the attack is upon effects only, no change is possible. The true system, the real system, is our present construction of systematic thought itself, rationality itself, and if a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government. There’s so much talk about the system. And so little understanding.”

    ― Robert M. Pirsig, Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

    • When you begin to see systems, you’ll begin to appreciate that there is no blame since everything is connected.

      As soon as you try to assign blame to X, you’ll find scores of things that lead to X, support X, or cause X and that given those things, nothing other than X is likely to occur. So is X the problem or the scores of things that cause X?

      • You blame the system and then you call it X. I do not blame the system but the group of people with a lot of power who live isolated from the rest of the people. That you obviously do not understand.

        The change you propose in your work can be very nice for the people involved but it does not change anything to the fact that each year 10 million kids die before they are five years old or the warring ideas of the 1% in conquering other countries to get more raw materials.

        there is something basically wrong with our kind of society and that can not be solved by some improvements in the fringes of society, therefore you have to change the centre of power.

    • Brian, There are some possibilities to reform the present society as you indicate with your examples and your activities but the basic flaws in the system continue to exist. e.g. the military and economic invasion of developing countries continues to exist as is the support of the West of regimes that violate the human rights for their own benefit.
      But in all your words – though they seem sympathetic – I do not find any method any indication how to change the system, how to prevent that the next year again 10 million kids die before they are five years old, how to stop this idiocy to make a big fuss about chemical weapons (fabricated mostly in the West, that killed a few thousand people in Syria, while nothing is said about the other weapons (also fabricated in the West, that killed 150.000 people. And I can can continue to give many examples of the situation in which a few have most of the power and the money and the many have often next to nothing.

      You hammer on the system, I hammer on the people who use the system for their own benefit, people we have to force to behave differently. When we see different systems, capitalist, imperialist,communist, dictatorial, fundamentalist, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, fascist etc, you will see that the leaders in all these systems resemble each other very close – that is why they can communicate so easily with each other. They are selfish, greedy people who think in the first place about how they can promote the interests of their own group at the top of the power and money pyramid.

      Change of the system does not prevent the coming into power of an excessive powerful 1%. And you do not mention how to change the system.
      I propose indeed a way to change the people who use the system for the own benefit – I emphasize the importance of people over the importance of systems. At the same time I propose ideas how common citizens can become active (powerful) to prevent that leading people take measures that benefit in the first place the already privileged group. becoming active on the time, the place,the how, and against the target, they choose. In the present action world the action methods resemble very close the big world they attack with leaders and followers. The own initiative of people is suppressed and the pressure on leaders is minimal.

      To achieve that I propose some paradigm shifts, in the first place the idea that decisions must comply with the idea that all people have the same status and that that idea should replace the idea that money rules, that everything is expressed in money terms. Why can a director sack workers while the workers cannot sack a director? They do not have the same status.
      Then I add methods in which the masses – in small unities they make themselves (thus without leaders who think for them) – attack leaders that violate the freedom, privacy and well-being of the citizens. That does not happen now, that did not happen in the past because people were not important but systems disregarding the fact that any system can e used by powerful people for their pown benefit.
      You mention it somewhere in your answers that also you ant to change the minds of leaders. I propose means to do that, not by an accidental event as you describe in the case of Anderson, but systematically because common citizens force (that belongs to resistance) leaders to change their minds. Now leaders – and certainly not the highest ones, the 1%) do not see even citizens as people like themselves, they find these masspeople “That Kind of People” in contradiction to “Our Kind of People”.

      And I repeat, my central guiding idea in my writings is to discover and promote ideas how common citizens can develop an own power so that all people have the same power – part of the new paradigm that all people should have the same status. I do not see any practical idea how to change a system so that all people have the same status.

      And I add to that that a proposal of a new system (as was done for example by Marx, Bakunin, or Mussolini, fails because of the simple reason that we cannot see what is possible in the future. All these systems are based on an extrapolation of the possibilities that are visible now. It disregards the idea that the future can introduce new ideas, that cannot be seen now, Thomas S. Kuhn have said that very clearly in his book “The structure of scientific revolutions” where he says that by using a new paradigm, scientist see with the same instruments, looking at the same places, different solutions for problems they saw before, solutions they could not see on the basis of the old paradigms.
      But the means for real change are new paradigms and new ideas how the 99% can become active to force the 1% to change their selfish and greedy ideas.

  2. RUTUKKI says:

    our leaders are INSANE. “JOHN LENNON”

    • I agree but also many activists do not use the right ways to block or even remove these insane leaders and still beg leaders to change their habits. That does not help.

    • “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
      ` Albert Einstein

      I’d say most of us are insane given this definition. Pointing the finger at others deflects and distorts our power.

      • This easy to read, short little book will give you new insights into power and societal change. Here is the introduction.

        The Power of One: Authentic Leadership for Turbulent Times
        By Sharif Abdullah (www.commonway.org)

        Introduction

        “Reading this book is a subversive act. Not subversive in the sense that I’ll teach you how to become a terrorist, or give you the plans for homemade pipe bombs. It is subversive like the Civil Rights campaigns of Martin Luther King, Jr., the fight for independence of Mahatma Gandhi, the Velvet Revolution of Czechoslovakia’s Vaclav Havel.

        We spend our time in frustration, protest and anger, because we have not encompassed the power of one committed person. We have created a system out of control, too large and complex for any of us to comprehend. Every day, by our every action, we support, prop up, bolster that system. Even those of us who take to the streets in protest against the injustices of that system give it unwitting support through their acknowledgement of its power.

        An individual, acting alone, acting from the depths of their commitment, can change the world. That is something “the system” does not want you to think about. It is a subversive thought.
        …..
        The time has come for a new understanding of power and leadership. The old ways don’t work anymore. The old explanations don’t explain anything. As someone recently said, the world events we face are too important to leave to the politicians.

        Our current system is no longer adequate for our needs. Our society has gotten far too complex for any one person to understand. We act, having no idea WHY we act.

        We fumble around, looking for direction, as we head closer to the chasm. In a time of chaos, we see all of the dangers and none of the opportunities.

        We drift, bickering, fighting, arguing about who is to blame for the present morass. All of us must share the blame. We spend much time focusing on the immensity of the problem, trying to assign blame; we are reluctant to focus on a solution.

        We fail, because deep down inside, we don’t feel the problem even has a solution. We propose alternatives as a gesture, out of guilt, with the deep belief that nothing will change for our efforts.

        We continue to place implicit faith and trust in institutions which constantly fail us. We do this, because the alternative is to admit our own failures.

        This simply must stop.

        The time call for a revolution. A revolution in consciousness. That is the purpose of this book.”

  3. Brian, you can’t create anything in a world run by psychopaths whose basic instinct is to burn, pillage and plunder. People DO know what they want, but their wants do not matter in an oligarchy.

    • I agree fully Lara, They not only want to burn etc but they have even the power to do that. Joost

    • FIGHTERS OF THE GOOD FIGHT

      A friend recently sent me a copy of Deep Democracy, a periodical published by the Alliance for Democracy whose mission is “to free all people from corporate domination of politics, economics, the environment, culture, and information; to establish true democracy; and to create a just society with a sustainable equitable economy.” The cover featured an illustration in political-cartoon style of the organization’s self-perception: a diminutive David facing a Goliath armed with the sword of money politics and the spear of greed, wearing the armor of multinational corporations, and shielded by a mainstream media monopoly. The title of the cartoon could not have been more apt: “Déjà Vu (All Over Again).” Indeed. Over and over and over and over..

      I had to explain to my friend that, while I wish the Alliance the best of luck, I don’t perceive myself to be a participant in this struggle. We can’t afford to wait for David to finish off Goliath, because obviously David never finishes off Goliath. The two of them have been standing there toe to toe for thousands of years—and they’ll still be standing there a thousand years from now.

      We don’t need to defeat Goliath. We need to change the way he thinks.

      GOLIATH WITH A NEW MIND

      Once upon a time in the commercial carpeting industry there was a Goliath named Ray C. Anderson who had taken his company, Interface, Inc., from a modest beginning to a position of global leadership in about twenty years, becoming one of those wicked billionaire multinational corporations you hear about. This Goliath had always made a point of being in compliance with government regulations, but these didn’t stop the business from being a highly pollutive one—petroleum based and contributing heavily to landfill.

      But in 1994, Ray C. Anderson read two books that changed his mind about what he was doing. One was Paul Hawken’s book,”The Ecology of Commerce,” the other was “Ishmael.”

      After reading these books, Ray Anderson saw that being in compliance with the law is not nearly enough. He immediately initiated action to end his dependence on petroleum and to begin making one hundred percent recyclable carpeting made from one hundred percent recycled materials, thus reducing his company’s contribution to landfill to zero.

      It’s important to note that these changes didn’t affect just his corporation. Suddenly all his competitors were compelled to adopt his standards in order to remain competitive. This Goliath didn’t just reform a business, he reformed an entire industry—not because any plucky little David defeated him, but because two books made him think a different way about the world and his place in it.

      If people will willingly reform an industry when their minds are changed, why spend billions to enact and enforce laws to compel them to do it?

      THE INCREMENTAL REVOLUTION

      I say again that because we don’t expect to overthrow governments, abolish world capitalism, make civilization vanish, turn everyone in the world into walking buddhas, or cure all social and economic ills, we don’t have to wait for anything. If ten people walk beyond civilization and build a new sort of life for themselves, then those ten are already living in the next paradigm, from the first day. They don’t need the support of an organization. They don’t need to belong to a party or a movement. They don’t need new laws to be passed. They don’t need permits. They don’t need a constitution. They don’t need tax-exempt status.

      For those ten, the revolution will already have succeeded.

      They probably should be prepared, however, for the outrage of their neighbors.

      “Beyond Civilization: Humanity’s Next Great Adventure” by Daniel Quinn

    • I will disagree. I’ve been deeply in the change movement for 25 years and in that time, I’ve created lots of institutions and things that I think we need:

      I’ve helped create, promote, or nurture into existence::

      Cooperative grocery stores
      Cooperative Housing
      Cooperative solar associations
      Car sharing programs
      Tool sharing programs
      Community supported agriculture
      Recycling programs and institutions
      Businesses and organizations with triple bottom line values
      The Green Party
      Organic food movement
      The buy local movement
      A progressive business
      Progressive business leagues
      Business education around sustainability

      And much, much more.

      Not one of those were created from the paradigm of “Resistance or protest.”

      Vision is like water, it flows and cannot be stopped.

  4. Sorry, but I’m going to disagree. Protests and/or resistance will never get us where we need to go as a society, because protests and resistance (whatever that may be) are inherently reactive and oppositional forces.

    The way you get what you want is by creating it and that requires vision. Vision leads to commitment, creativity, and progress.

    The reason our side fails so badly is due to a lack of knowing what we want.

    • Hello Brian,

      As I say in the title resistance forces leaders to take different decisions while protest only asks something and history has proven that leaders do not listen to the people they rule over. There have been many demonstrations in the past and the positive result of this kind of actions has been very small.
      it looks nice your idea to create something but leaders will not allow you to create something when you disturb their position. That is also a historical lesson. There have been many communes that worked quite well for some time but then the big society took over and they disappeared.

      In politics between countries leftists leaders who wanted to take a different road (Allende, Castro etc) were put under pressure but also rightist leaders saw the same fate. Nobody is allowed to create something that is dangerous for the power and money pyramid that is dangerous for their existence.
      The crisis has again proven that the interests of the already privileged have been protected while the life of people at the bottom has deteriorated despite massive protest actions in for example Spain and Greece.

      Greetings, Joost

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