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Pacifism and Revolution. Can a Strict Non-Violence Policy Work?

Discussion in 'Politics & Anarchism' started by Sirius, Apr 11, 2017.

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  1. Absoultely!

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  2. No- Not Strict. Self Defense is an Exception

    33.3%
  3. No- Pacifism Does Not Work During a Revolution

    40.0%
  4. No- Violence Is Natural, Pacifism Works in No Form.

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  1. Sirius

    Sirius Sir Posts a Lot

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    Hey there folks. I finally have a wee little laptop so I'm starting to work on writing my first zine in probably a year at least. I'm a bit rusty and would love some good discussion to help me better word some of the ideas and opinions I have on pacifism during a large scale revolution.

    Essentially what I want to know start is this:

    1.) Are you a pacifist/non-violent?
    2.) If yes, to what degree? i.e. Do you agree/practice self defense/If someone hits you first unprovoked do you use the force needed to stop them even if that includes violent force, or do you have a "turn the other cheek" mentality?
    3.) What tactics would pacifists use to aid in the revolution?
    4.) Is destroying property/capital considered "violence?"
    5.) If you are a radical leftist/anarchist/radical anti-capitalist ect. do you think it is possible to revolt against an ultra-nationalist and militarized oppressor using STRICTLY non-violent tactics?

    I hope this thread can get some good starting points and we can get some good views in here.
    Id be very interested in what @Hillbilly Castro, @Matt Derrick, @Dragononn, @EphemeralStick, @creature , and some of you other well read StP'rs have to say.

    To answer my own OP:

    1 & 2.) I was a pacifist up until about a year ago, to a radical degree at times. Ive always had intense internal debates with myself as to weather I morally and logically believed that pacifism was even possible in a natural world that uses "violence" (death, consumption of species lesser in the food chain {animal, plant, and single cell life all MUST consume other living organisms to survive and reproduce}, even the start of the universe came from a chaotic and destructive event you may of heard of, the Big Bang) as a regular tool in this incredibly complicated "ecosystem" of a reality we wander around in. Violence seems to be incoded in the natural order of things, "peace" seems to reflect a stagnant state in many medians.

    This is not to say that I like violence, to the contrary I rather cant stand it. However Ive never quite been able to shake the feeling that some forms of what we perceive as "violent" and thus associate the negative connation and taboo that comes with "violence" are natural and neutral if not required processes for life to exist in the first place. Thus, violence will never be completely eliminated from our culture, thereby, pacifism is logistically impossible.

    3.) In saying all of this, I do believe individuals have every right to abstain from ALL forms of violence if they wish. Seeing that this will inevitably happen, and some if not many of these pacifist will want to participate in radical movements that lead to a larger revolution, I dont think its so hard to find many different roles strictly non-violent revolutionaries could be a part of.
    My main concern is would they associate with groups that used violence? I see this as a great dividing and fractionalizing force that could be used against the left. How could militant and pacifist movements co-exist and work together during a revolt? I'm still not at all sure about this so if anyone has an opinion lets hear it.

    4.) This is another base reason I don't agree with the "non-violent" protest movements. Where is the line that defines when violence has been used or not? Is blocking traffic violent? Is yelling "fuck the police!" and other "profane" protest chants violence? Breaking windows? Kicking tear gas back at the police? ect ect ect.

    5.) As much as I tried to cling to the hope that there was SOME way peaceful revolution could work, I was finally convinced otherwise last summer in the most unlikely of places, Marion County Jail. There was the place I met an old dead head bank robber. Cool fucking guy, and EXTREAMLY intelligent. We spent many of hours discussing anarchism, revolution, religion, and a bunch of other shit. One night we were debating non-violence. After a few intense hours he said something that stuck with me for some reason, and seemed to just flick a switch for me. He said "I was there for the movements in the 60s and 70s and all in all, I learned one things. That is, an M-16 will beat a daisy every. single. time."

    Anywho, I want to hear what some others have to say.
     
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  2. black

    black Appreciated Participator

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    I definitely believe that all in all a violent insurrection would be the only true way to complete a revolution. a revolution into an anarchist confederacy, that is. I would find it pretty hard to believe if someone told me that with all the force governed by the many capitalist oligarchs that they wouldn't just squash a "peaceful" revolutionary force like a bug, unless you could say some kind of massive cyber attack could accomplish the tasks of revolution without need of a standing armed force but that seems pretty unlikely.
     
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  3. black

    black Appreciated Participator

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    it is pretty interesting to ponder the possibilities of the massive cyber attack though. would it be possible to somehow use intensive, large-scale network infiltration and asset acquisition to blackmail or threaten the government into submission until it dissolves? without ever hurting anyone? itd make a good movie
     
  4. wickedwench

    wickedwench is getting to know the place

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    1. I am not a pacifist. I will defend myself and my comrades. I also believe there is a time for violence. That said, violence is a dangerous thing. You cannot take it back, amd you may turn possible future comrades or bystanders into enemies. It doesn't fix much and can be a PR nightmare. Use with caution like anything dangerous.
    2. I carry weapons when appropriate, did loads of martial arts and ...yeah, not a pacifist, but i will use pacifist tactics when needed, which is often! It's a tactical matter. In most of my life, i have no need for violence, but I am ready for self defense. In a protest, i haven't needed or wamted violence so far...
    3. Everything but the violence! A revolution needs life, not just death.
    4. Eh, yes and no. It carries much of the same weight with the rest of the world, so in that sense yes. However, it is seen differently by other anarchists, so in that sense, if that is your intended audience, it isnt.
    5. Yes. AnCom tendency. Overall left libertarian. Obviously, i don't think strict nonviolence makes sense in every situation.
     
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  5. wokofshame

    wokofshame STP Homebum

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    1. yes
    2. i would hit someone in self-defense. and i've definitely destroyed people's property as an act of anger but that's not something i'm proud of or wish to do more of
    3. there's no shortage of things that can be done. cooking, first aid, community support, electronic, etc
    4. it's a blurry line. I really don't see the point of attending a protest with the point of getting in a violent confrontation, it just makes our side look bad in the media (see the photos of the berkeley riot/fights yesterday. both sides look like extreme D-bags). When we are presented as violent, foul vandals in the media, it just turns the rest of the populace against our cause.
    i would attend a protest with the goal of being arrested, but i wouldn't fight the cops when tried to arrest me, if they threw tear gas i would run. I've been arrested plenty of times and, to your bank-robber cellie's quote, i return "A cop will beat you. every. single. time." There is zero point in ever fighting a cop. they have radios, will always be more powerful than us, and have greater numbers, and if things aren't going their way, they will result to deadly force. Say you get busted shoplifting, there are only 2 options if you have a brain in your head: #1. Run #2 If that doesn't work, duck when being put in the crown vic so they don't crack your neck shoving your head in there. Only a fool tries to fight the cops.
    (And I hate cops. Path of least resistance here.)
    5. For me, who cares? This ties into why I don't read philosophy books. My big concerns of the day are whether I should have tomato soup and a grilled cheese, or rice and beans for dinner. I don't ever want anything to do with a civil war. The last one in this country killed a full 2% of our population, crippled many more, destroyed all crops, livestock, and industry in it's path, and didn't even usher in anything better than sharecropping and the Black Codes.
     
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  6. EphemeralStick

    EphemeralStick Dusty Lil Van 'Mo
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    My philosophy is that I do what I think is right and stand up for myself and what I believe in. Violence, Pacifism; makes no difference to me. I try to stay flexible with my beliefs and I know that just because I'm passive one day I might be active the next. I also see the futility in trying to get others to agree with me so I tend to avoid these conversations like the plague. Think and feel for yourself, not someone else's theory on what is right.
     
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  7. creature

    creature Completely Addicted
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    thank you, computer, for destroying shit for me...

    as i was saying, more or less, but now definitely less.:

    --
    we are being backed into a corner..

    we need little, to be simple & to love & to stay safe..

    with my hands covering my head, curled beneath your feet & hoping you do not kick, o, you fuckers of the powerful..

    i have taken a good look at where your jugular is..

    & teeth or no fucking teeth, motherfuckers,
    i am going for it..

    -------

    strict pacifism..
    that is a war between one’s self & whatever perfection they are damned to be addicted to..

    either addicted
    or nourished by..

    strict pacifism only works if there is something metaphysically potent that intervenes upon that path, because if it is a wrong call & we acquiesce, following it will make no fucking difference & thereafter the bad people win & turn humans into whatever is fucking useful for them.. slaves, machine hybrids, bio-thingies, whatfuckingever..

    so..

    perhaps a primary question, then, is “what does strict pacifism seek to achieve?”

    without metaphysical intervention, pacifists have less chance of survival than yeast.

    so either strict pacifism is an end of itself, in which case a dead, beaten, tortured & murdered pacifist is just as happy as long lived, ancient, died in their sleep pacifist, or;

    being a pacifist engages something greater than the pacifism, alone...

    it is very, very, very, very true that if we were all pacifists we would exist with a higher degree of peace than if we were all fucking rednecks.

    no question about it.

    pacifism requires judicious discipline of both intellect & will.

    being a redneck requires all the brainpower & spiritual imperative involved in moving ones foot, or (when confronting a bigger foot) deciding if it can kick harder..

    the mean folks, to their own detriment, unfortunately, do not understand just how vulnerable they actually are, weapons & body armor not withstanding..

    if the shitheads in power don’t get it fucking *right*, and allow the simple to merely *exist*, and if we *do* see a fucking honest to God, true fucking revolution in this country, they are going to be in for an eye-opener that will be right on the fucking order of having their dicks hit with a cattle prod while they take a piss..
     
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  8. Hillbilly Castro

    Hillbilly Castro Sir Posts a Lot

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    1). I would always evade violence given the choice, and tend to think anyone who disagrees to be a macho-man who has not seen what violence can do. That said, the question is, when do we lack a choice? Sometimes you must take violent actions in order to prevent violence. The Jews figured this out quite painfully - the Jewish Resistance came too little, too late, and if they had seen it coming and acted sooner and with more certainty, perhaps their ugly fate could have been stopped. So my position is purely tactical, not ideological: Avoid violence while being realistic about your prospects.

    2). I believe in self-defense, though again, I would attempt to evade violence if possible. I understand, however, that there are times when dealing with interpersonal conflict when one must act first in order to survive, and there is room for painful error here, though I will do my best to act without error.

    3). If one is a pacifist, I won't berate them or attempt to "convert" them. One can be useful to social change and remain nonviolent so long as they are judicious in whose violence they limit (e.g. disabling the weaponry of an oppressive government, but tolerating the weaponry of guerilla fighters against said oppressive government). A pacifist can engage in insurrectional behavior by doing literally everything the rest of us do except violence, which would be too long to list here.

    4). No, full stop. Violence involves injuring living beings or ending their lives.

    5). No, probably not. Force is the blood of history, and those who control it determine the fate of societies. Of course, anarchists are so niche that they do not threaten to take control of the level of force required (at this point) to take control of the fate of society, and so we may adjust for that reality. Hoping contrariwise is really just doping yourself up with aspiration that will not bear fruit, hence the move toward individualism in many nations where anarchist culture is more developed and less of a historical re-enactment club - Greece, Chile, Mexico, Spain, etc. If one disavows both society and violence, a new set of possibilities open up that are perhaps still anarchistic, but to think you will determine the fate of society through strict nonviolence is to rewrite history blithely and idiotically. That said, if destruction of property is part of a pacficistic framework, because power is so reliant on high technology to protect and further itself, there may be more possibilities than I see from here.
     
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  9. Beegod Santana

    Beegod Santana STP Homebum

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    1. I'm non violent but not a pacifist. Meaning I avoid violence and never welcome it into my life, but accept its place in nature and don't cower in fear when the time comes. I've been more upset over the death of a mouse than some people, but at the same time have stared a cow in the eyes and said "I cannot wait to kill and eat you because you're making my life a living hell." Shit, there's been plants that I've had a hard time killing.

    2. If you attack me, my brethren or some innocent person in front of my I'm gonna intervene. If I know you're coming for me I might come for you first. But this is all as a last resort. Some environments require that you be a little rough around the edges.

    3. Tons, information, communication, food security, community building ect... You need people to grow food, clean the engines and keep the kids fed.

    4. I'd say the property destruction is still violence because even if no one physically gets injured it's still angry destruction that contains the potential for someone to get injured. If someone drops a bomb on your house but you run out at the last second that's violence in my mind, doesn't matter if the pilot thought the house had anyone in it or not.

    5. I don't consider myself an anarchist, but I do actually think a non-violent revolution against a military state could in theory work. Maybe not in America, but somewhere maybe, ya, like, under certain circumstances and stuff man.
     
  10. Pocket Viking

    Pocket Viking Sir Posts a Lot

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    I think that this is a good topic of discussion, especially given the path that I currently see the U.S. heading down. (Hint: it involves a handbasket. Lol.)

    That being said, here are my answers to the questions that have been posed:

    1.) Are you a pacifist/non-violent?
    --
    A: No. Not at all. To the degree, in fact, that when I was younger, less mature, and trying to find my place in this crazy, fucked-up world, I went and joined the U.S. Marine Corps. I fully expected to do acts of great violence in order to uphold my beliefs and protect/defend my loved ones from what I (naively) perceived as a great evil. I've always had this protector/defender mentality.
    _____

    2.) If yes, to what degree? i.e. Do you agree/practice self defense/If someone hits you first unprovoked do you use the force needed to stop them even if that includes violent force, or do you have a "turn the other cheek" mentality?
    --
    A: While I do not consider myself pacifist/non-violent by any means, I would rather talk my way out our walk away from a physical confrontation. I realized at some point (I don't remember exactly when) that I was naturally very good at fighting, and the more I learned and sharpened my combat skills, the more desire I had to use them. Every time I used those skills, I wanted to do more, to be more efficient, more brutal, and deadlier. It was like an addiction for a brief period of time.

    I also realized shortly after that time period that this newfound addiction to causing harm to others (never the innocent ones, mind you; it was always someone who, in my mind, 'deserved it'), that it was actually taking a MASSIVE toll on my mental health.

    To conclude my answer to this question, in short, if you come after me, I'll try to walk away or talk you down; I'll physically defend myself when all other option are exhausted. However, if you come after my loved ones, I'll fucking kill you where you stand.
    _____

    3.) What tactics would pacifists use to aid in the revolution?
    --
    A: a revolution is a war, plain and simple. In every war, you always see the people on the "front lines", but what most people don't realize is that for every 1 person with boots on the ground in the battlefield, there are anywhere from 5-10+ people that you DON'T see who are vital to the success of that one person's mission.
    So I would say that the tactics for people who choose non-violence would be support roles. Like someone mentioned before, we can't ALL be fighters; someone has to provide food, water, medical services, gear/supplies, etc. Support roles are very important in any type of war or revolution.
    _____

    4.) Is destroying property/capital considered "violence?"
    --
    A: No. Destruction of property and capital can be another useful tactic carried out by those who don't wish to physically harm other people. Sabotage missions, salvage/re-appropriation missions, even reconnaissance missions can all be carried out without harm to individuals.
    _____

    5.) If you are a radical leftist/anarchist/radical anti-capitalist ect. do you think it is possible to revolt against an ultra-nationalist and militarized oppressor using STRICTLY non-violent tactics?
    --
    A: Absolutely fucking not. Once again, a revolution IS A WAR. The enemy will not hesitate to use violent tactics, and if we were to all remain non-violent, the revolution would be utterly obliterated in a matter of days, or even hours.
    I believe each person should decide their own path, and if that path includes being strictly non-violent, there are plenty of support roles in which they may find themselves of vital importance to the cause.

    As for me, when the time comes, I have no qualms about taking up arms, dusting my boots off, and getting back into that direct and active protector/defender role.
     
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  11. Sirius

    Sirius Sir Posts a Lot

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    Thanks for the replies everyone!!

    I want to kind of expand question 3: What if the pacifist(s) refuse to participate in any support role that aided the militant cause? So refuse to provide food, build or provide ammo or weapons, ect. What if they refused to participate completely? Would It be hypocritical of an anarchist to try and convience a pacifist into aiding in a revolution that goes against their core views? At that point is individual liberty to be a pacifist or the communal liberty to fight against oppression more important?
    It makes me wonder more about fractions in a revolution. I don't want to derail the thread but I think I'm going to work on starting a thread about how to handle fractions.
     
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  12. Pocket Viking

    Pocket Viking Sir Posts a Lot

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    I like this idea; let's put that topic in a second thread.

    My personal opinion on those who would refuse to give any aid to the revolution in any way is this:

    If you're not helping the cause, then you're inherently harming it.

    If these individuals pose no threat to me or mine, I would leave them to their own devices, and wish them the best. However, there will come a point when these people have one of 2 options:

    1. Forsake their adamant idealism, make a few small compromises and contribute to the cause in SOME manner, even (or especially) if they can take on a non-violent support role,

    OR

    2. Allow themselves to be consumed by the oppressors.

    When shit mountain inevitably falls into the ocean of fans, the people who do nothing will be assimilated into one side or the other.

    There can be no non-participants when the enemy is literally knocking on your front door.
     
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