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Pacifism vs. Political Violence

Discussion in 'General political debates' started by Carcass, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. Carcass

    CarcassExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    It seems like the Fort Hood thread has been veering in this direction, so what say we consolidate the discussion on one thread. What are your thoughts about pacifism and political violence? I'll wait to hear some responses before I give you my take because I'm not trying to lead the discussion, but I do want to put two thoughts out there:

    1. "Pacifism vs. political violence" might actually be a false dichotomy.

    2. If you die on the moral high ground, you're still dead.
     

  2. Vegetarian Barbarian

    Vegetarian BarbarianExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    i like what you wrote for the 2nd part. Im for political violence or a better word "violent actions that are necessary to be taken against those who oppress us". I dont have to explain myself, but thats what im for. But i wont hate on you if your all for pacifism.

    I feel that it depends on issues, there are a LOT of issues that dont need violence.

    And now for the 55 pages of disagreements and explanations....
     
  3. punkmar77

    punkmar77Experienced Member Staff Member Uploader Admin Team Experienced member


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    A las Barricadas Cabrones! No le tengan miedo, Ni a la muerte ni al Fuego. Los de arriba caeran pa'bajo..La tierra sera para todos, el hambre cosa del pasado! Si muero para que tus hijos y mis hijos vivan libres, muerto estare contento...y por mientras; A las Barricadas Cabrones!
     
  4. Anom

    AnomExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Pacifism is nice and all and it's great for some purpouses but sometimes perhaps it's not what is most effective.
     
  5. back2front

    back2frontExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Nov 26, 2009
     
    Well put...

    1. If you call yourself an anarchist then you will consider that a revolution is necessary ...
    2. If a revolution occurs the state will send EVERYTHING it has to stop it...
    3. You will then be in a position to defend against this attack to protect the revolution and all it represents- will you have a sit-in and turn the other cheek - or join the barricades?

    It's not that anarchists go out of their way to promote 'violence' but that they recognise the significance of the above situation.

    Franz Fanon, author of "The Wretched Earth", Ward Churchill and Peter Gelderloos among others have argued that pacifism actually protects the State. I mean how challenging is a bunch of hippies sitting down in the street? - Just add pepper spray and truncheons - end of.

    In the 1960's in the US civil rights movement the State, and subsequent liberal historians, promoted Martin Luther King as the champion of black rights, fundamentally ignoring the role of Malcolm X and the Black Panthers which was, by far, more popular and more relevant in black struggle. Malcolm X in one of his speeches suggested that the Ku Klux Klan had been coming round and talking to blacks in a new langauge they couldn't understand - the language of lynching - he suggested that blacks learned to speak their language so as the KKK might understand them better.

    Other happy hippies are keen to push Mohandes Gandhi as the saviour of India when in fact it was the direct action of Indian guerillas, among other things, which forced Britains's hand resulting in partition and the formation of Pakistan, a situation which remains volatile to this day. Gandhi himself was gunned down.

    This is not to say that violence is the answer. More often than not it isn't. And I must stress that. But let's get away from the word violence. I prefer the word 'force 'because the word 'violence' is not useful ,having far too many connotations in the negative. Force is apropriate in certain situations just as anger is appropriate in certain situations but by accepting State mediated protest, that is to say non-violence and doing things through 'the appropriate channels', is ultimately to render protest ineffective - it cuts it at the heels. This is exactly what the State wants - ineffective protest - it then boasts to its adversaries in Russia and China that it tolerates dissent.

    Force is appropriate in the original revolutionary scenario I mentioned at the start - it stretches the potential to stifle revolutionary promise.

    Turn the other cheek if you want but remember it's probably why nothing ever changes. It's comfortable, safe as houses and exactly what the state wants to do in order to render you ineffective. It's cheap and the cops love it.

    There are times and situations where non-violent direct action is very appropriate but let's not kid ourselves. If we are to seriously contend the status quo then we need to step up to it. BUt remember thought without action and action without thought are counter-productive. Force for the sake of force is just as useless!
     
  6. dwtcos

    dwtcosExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Oct 22, 2009
     
    I'm a strong advocate of pacifism. But mostly for the future of an anarchist society. What do most destructive civilizations have in common? They have been built on top of the bones of those who opposed them. We need to use education to create a people who can help us build an anarchist society. No bricks or guns will do that. But if there was a violent revolution I am in no direct opposition to violent force against our oppressors it's mostly that I would PREFER a pacifistic uprising to a violent one.
     
  7. ASA

    ASAExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Nov 2, 2009
     
    I think passive aggression is an even worst beast, unrealistic, pointless, hopeless, eats itself, positive vibes maan, 'don't touch my dog' woops i'm passive aggressive to hippies but if they're passing it round i will smile
     
  8. Carcass

    CarcassExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Oct 12, 2009
     
    You make some good points, back2front, particularly the distinction between "violence" and "force." I think the legacy of MLK has been reappropriated to a great degree by the state. King played his position, understanding that he could be most effective organizing mass non-violent direct actions so that's what he did. Even Gandhi, who has been turned into a pacifist by liberal historians understood that taking a stance of "non-violence" is a tactical decision, not an ideological stance.

    Fanon is interesting because his point wasn't even so much that violence was necessary to destroy the colonists' physical presence (although I don't think he'd disagree with that). Rather, as a psychologist, he tried to understand the trauma inflicted on Algerians by the French occupiers. He was an advocate of violence as a way for the colonized to excise the internalized self-hate brought about by colonial rule.
     
  9. Saering

    SaeringExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Dec 18, 2009
     
    Well first, what do you mean by "political violence"?
     
  10. Carcass

    CarcassExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    I don't know! I could cop out and say "whatever it means to you," but I guess what it means to me is injuring or killing one or more persons for tactical gain in a power struggle. Good question.
     
  11. ungovernable

    ungovernableAutonome Staff Member Uploader Admin Team Experienced member


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    Why didn't you include NON-VIOLENCE ?

    The topic title sounds like there is only 2 choice : violence or pacifism

    Most anarchist are non-violent. It means we don't want to be violent, we are peaceful. BUT if we get attacked, we will reply. As simple as that.

    Pacifism is more like the hippy thing and peoples who refuse the use of violence at all cost.

    We could consider the EZLN as a non-violent group, however it is an ARMY and they use weapons. It's just the WAY they use the violence (only to defend themselves) that makes them non-violent.
     
  12. Rathryn

    RathrynExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    I simply second Ungovernable.
    I won't be the first to throw a punch, but I won't let myself be hit and ask 'em to do it again...
     
  13. Ring Of Truth

    Ring Of TruthExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Dec 28, 2009
     
    I think I have already stated my views on this subject... but here goes I will try to keep it short. Violent revolutions only create another violent system... and the system of violence, and rulers continue. Anyone who feels that a violent revolution will do anything more than just change leadership is ignorant and is following exactly what the system wants you to do. You see the system knows how to deal with violence, because it is a creation of violence. However the system doesn't know how to treat peace, because peace is an alien concept to the violent system.

    So.. what is the answer? To believe that peace alone will bring about change is also ignorant. Change can only come through a delicate balance of peace, education, and direct action. So, yes violence is necessary, however violence alone changes nothing. What we need is for anarchists world wide to unite, to educate people not just each other, but everyone that there is a better way to live, and that we can make it a reality... the power must be in the hands of the people, all people not just a few of us.

    The Answer to the whole thing: Educate, Liberate, Direct Action. We must have peace, equality, and unity. Choose our battles wisely and not just mindless violence, a balance of violence and civil disobediance.

    I hope that is clear enough.
     
  14. Carcass

    CarcassExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Oct 12, 2009
     
    Fair point. I guess I wasn't thinking about the embrace of political violence as a tactic precluding non-violent tactics as well. But however you want to think of it is fine.

    So here's my question to you, Rathryn, and anyone else who considers themselves a non-violent anarchist: under what circumstances would it be acceptable to use political violence as a tactic? Is it something you use whenever it seems to be the most effective tactic? Does the target have to do something particularly nefarious in order to "deserve" that level of reprisal?

    I think people are conflating two types of political violence that should probably be pulled apart:

    1-Surgical strikes performed by an individual or cell against a specific target like a CEO, politician or monarch.

    2-Organized militias that mean to challenge the military might of the state.

    These are two different tactics.
     
  15. Carcass

    CarcassExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    If I understand you from what I've read in the Fort Hood thread, your argument is that any militarized force capable of taking out the National Guard isn't going to just evaporate after its purpose is served. A revolution based on the use of force just turns into a coup when the people with guns realize they can just take what they want from anyone.

    I think there is truth to this, particularly when one considers the trauma perpetuated by war and the psychological damage you have to do to a person to make them a soldier. I also think that there are ways of fighting an army that don't fit the traditional model of warfare. Specifically, guerrilla armies can be highly organized while remaining decentralized. It seems to me that many militias defending their own regions, to which they have a personal and familial connections, reduces the likelihood of a military junta trying to occupy the power vaccuum left by an overthrown government.

    This is all pretty hypothetical as far as the U.S. goes. The best attempt at waging guerrilla warfare on the state in recent U.S. history came from the American Indian Movement. Like so many other revolutionary organizations, they were dispatched by the FBI before they ever got a chance to take on the military.

    I don't know if that's true. I think the system deals with peace by making war. We had a peace movement in the U.S. during the 60s and the state responded by beating the shit out of them and continuing to commit genocide in South Asia. I agree that the state doesn't want peace but they've certainly proven time and again that they know how to prevent it.

    It's times like this that I think of nuclear weapons. The state is run by a group of people who have never known anything but power. If they were ever to see that power slipping through their fingertips, would you put it past them to let the warheads start raining? What the hell do we do about that? That's not a rhetorical quesiton, I really don't know! o_O

    Agreed times a thousand.
     
  16. Rathryn

    RathrynExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Basically I'm all for pacifism until that option is no longer available.
    Surgical strikes and armies against people is a no-go for me, personally. However surgical strikes and all-out attacks on institutions, property and ideology is something I would consider far more... acceptable, for lack of a better word.
    I've had martial arts experience since age 6, I was always taught to REACT to violence not be the instigator, therefore for me to personally engage in violent acts against another human being (or whatever being, actually) would need for me, my friends or my family to be threatened with violence or become the victim of violence.
    I don't know if it's the best option in general or simply the best option for me, but that's the way I feel anyway.
    And no... I'm not a black-belt-superstar-who-can-kick-anyone's-ass kinda guy, I prefer the theory and techniques over the actual fighting and even then I'm more into the theory than the techniques.
     
  17. punkmar77

    punkmar77Experienced Member Staff Member Uploader Admin Team Experienced member


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    Rathryn where is the line drawn? You say if violence is met upon your friends and family, but what of your fellow human beings? Violence is being imposed on them on a daily basis..wether it's Genocide in Africa, Indigenous genocide in the jungles of Central America, Oppression of Freedom and murder in Burma, Religious Intolerance and Oppression in Iran, Torture and Murder of women in Saudi Arabia, Violent Intolerance and Oppression of Gays and Lesbians in the United States and around the world....not to mention Violence t'wards Animals and the Rape and Murder of our Planet. How much is too much? Being peaceful and non-violent is an admirable trait and I completly respect your Martial Arts Disciplines, but there comes a time when these worlwide violent actions become too much to tolerate and one has to forsake the selfishness of non action for the betterment of Gaia as a whole.
     
  18. Ring Of Truth

    Ring Of TruthExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Yes, I think you totally understand what I am saying!

    You are right the government does know how to prevent peace... which is violence. I guess that is the point I was trying to make, they don't know how to deal with peaceful protest which is why they always resort to violence. So part of educating people we need to show people this (which people are starting to see). We need to make sure that when we are protesting peacefully that we have the cameras rolling capturing the fact that it is the militaristic system that starts the violence every time. Also I am not saying that we shouldn't fight back... but to make sure that we are fighting back and not instigating violence. It is our job to educate the apathetic people about the beast that rules over them.

    We must choose our battles wisely, so that we do not push people away, but rather pull people in.

    I don't expect anarchism to happen overnight... it is something that will take time and education, but every small step that we take every small gain is more than worth it. Today we are planting the seeds of a better world for our future generations, and I will keep fighting and keep planting those seeds, and tending the flowers that grow.
     
  19. Shuei

    ShueiExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    I find that Civil Disobedience and political actions against non-living objects is the best for the most part, ofcourse combined with general demonstrations.

    But i am not against political violence against those who try to control you. If the police beats you up, you must fight back. I think political violence is something i would prefer not to use, but which can be necessary.

    Our strongest weapon is information. We need people who can write, who can tell and who can show in creative and different way - like demonstrations.

    Violence should always be against the state that oppresses you, and preferably against their vehicles and equipment rather than people. Self defense against Cops etc. is totally acceptabel for me. Often the violence i see police use, is in no way better than a streetfight. That don't mean we should always hurt them, but police brutality is a issue, that we can't just bow our heads for. They hurt people, so that they will be damaged for life - we can't let that happen, because people demonstrate! And i don't think the police just hurt those they "must", i've watched to many people being beaten up for being the easiest target.
    I don't find violence against people not involved in the case at all ("civilians") , to be legitimate targets for anything. It's like bombing a country to get them to accept you, it doesn't work.
     
  20. upzpunx!

    upzpunx!Active Member Forum Member


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    can some one please help me post new shit i am having trouble
     
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