1. When people reference Nelson Mandela as some hero of nonviolence

    I really am astounded that they seem to have no understanding of the fact that Nelson Mandela founded Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress, which set off car bombs at high-profile targets and openly stated its desire to overthrow the apartheid government by force.

    Y’all can have Desmond Tutu, but no, you can’t have Nelson.


  2. There’s nothing funnier than someone who refuses on principle to use violent force…

    …to achieve political change saying that nonviolence is “nonnegotiable”… like (s)he has some bargaining power or some shit. IF YOU DON’T SUBMIT TO NONVIOLENCE, I’LL PUT A FLOWER IN THE BARREL OF YOUR AR-15. THEN IT’S GAME OVER.


  3. why you shouldn’t buy the liberal narrative on political violence

    An argument that I hear frequently from nonviolence activists is that the state’s agents provocateur engage in violence within popular movements to discredit said movements, which shows that the state understands that nonviolence is more powerful and people will only be alienated if violence is undertaken by the protesters.

    Below is a short step-by-step explanation of why this is bullshit, starting from the premise of agents provocateur trying to discredit a movement through the use of violence.

    1. The state’s agents provocateur engage in rather ineffective and pointless violence/vandalism in the midst of a broader demonstration.

    2. The mass media, right on cue, denounces the violence/vandalism, says that it discredits the movement and alienates people. This is ultimately a self-fulfilling prophecy; because the media tells people that violence alienates them, it convinces people that they are alienated by violence. This becomes painfully obvious when we see how unalienated people are by the violence the United States commits against other countries, largely because of media and state framing of the issue.

    3. State/media promotes the narrative of how only nonviolence can create real change, makes references and overtures to historical examples like MLK, Gandhi, etc. This is where it gets interesting: the state, which is what you are protesting against in some form or another, is telling you which ways are most effective to combat it.

    4. People, particularly leaders, in the movement dig their heels further into strategic nonviolence and bourgeois respectability, and refuse to consider any other options.

    5. The government successfully “discredits” the only effective threat against its existence; i.e. political violence to overthrow the state.

  4. aflameoffreedom:

    How Nonviolence Protects the State, Peter Gelderloos interview


  5. I proposed that we urge Occupy Oakland to officially endorse non-violence, train monitors to non-violently restrain violence-oriented demonstrators, and appeal to the majority of demonstrators to support these monitors to restrain the violence-oriented ones. To my shock, the clergy voted that down. They were only willing to endorse a resolution saying that they themselves supported non-violence, but they objected to the notion that they should call upon OO to share this same orientation.

    Not surprisingly, then, a few days later when one of the participants at OO suggested a resolution for non-violence … the people who agreed with him felt silenced after some part of the crowd actively booed when he mentioned Martin Luther King Jr​. and Mahatma Gandhi​’s commitments and teachings for non-violence.

    Tikkun’s Michael Lerner

    The hypocrisy of ideologically-nonviolent people astounds me. On one hand, they want to impose their ideology over the entirety of the movement and have hegemony over the tactics of struggle, as we can see here by the proposal to “officially endorse non-violence” and to “non-violently restrain violence-oriented demonstrators.” On the other, imagine how they would react if ‘violence-oriented demonstrators’ did the same thing to them, and “non-violently restrained [non]violence-oriented demonstrators” because they didn’t adhere to a violent tactical approach!

    The fact that this writer is horrified that people don’t want a strategic dictatorship imposed upon them by pacifists is laughable. Oakland knows these types, the same ones that went on televised PSAs to calm down city residents before the Oscar Grant verdict, the same ones that blamed the people for getting “violent” against inanimate objects at demonstrations instead of blaming the pigs for killing an innocent kid. They’re hacks who will sell out the struggle as soon as it fails to conform to their standards of ‘acceptable’ conduct. No matter that the only reason Grant’s murder was investigated in the first place is because Oakland exploded into riots. They weren’t planning on doing a damn thing until a few windows got smashed, but I imagine they put dude on trial out of the goodness of their hearts, right?

    Ideologically-nonviolent activists have been running the show in this country now for decades, and they want to act like they’re being repressed and “silenced.” The fuck outta here, really? I’m glad people are booing your nonsense Gandhi-talk, we’re been swallowing up that garbage for too long with nothing to show for it. At the very least, it’s time to have a dialogue with all options on the table, something which these types still consider unacceptable.

    Long live the great city of Oakland and its rebellious people!

    (via barticles-deactivated20140505)


  6. mohandasgandhi:


    They’ve raided your tents, stolen your belongings, and used violence to deescalate your right to protest. If we don’t fight violence against violence we aren’t going to be taken seriously. Seriously America, stop letting the government and police force treat you like animals. This is exactly how they want you to be treated in order to keep you back on track. Standing around and chanting words hasn’t shown the intensity of the situation. I’m a human being and I would want to be treated like one, as opposed to being shoved, maced, arrested for no cause, and thrown around… We need to fight violence against violence to sweat the government as a warning that they have no control over us anymore.

    What made you think the government would just roll over and concede to the demands of protesters after only 2 months of moderately organized action? Change rarely comes about quickly and especially in cases such as this where we’re dealing with widespread issues firmly ingrained into our system. It’s naive to think this fight would be won easily.

    Furthermore, nothing discredits individuals more than when they resort to the use of violence. Those in charge have a much easier time vilifying and discrediting protesters and this has been evident since the dawn of time. When the people (or protesters) use the force of violence against their government, they’re not viewed as rational credible beings but rather, as “animals” who are only able to know or recognize the use of force, further validating additional violence onto them. If you’re seen as an animal, you’re going to be treated as one. Don’t give them a reason to treat you poorly and if they inevitably choose to do so anyway, they undermine their legitimacy themselves.

    What has happened thus far has been the inevitable. Those in power are not going to give up their power or fix the system that benefits them easily or quickly. To be shocked and outraged because law enforcement hasn’t been completely hospitable is again, extraordinarily naive and to conclude that after only 2 months of protesting, violence is the only option left reflects a vast lack of worldly understanding, not to mention, creative thought.

    This is only true if you ignore than dozens of examples where the revolutionaries armed themselves and became heroes for resisting an oppressive system. I’m not saying that we’re at that point because we clearly aren’t, but to suggest that the use of violence necessarily discredits individuals and movements is completely ahistorical.

    In fact, the overwhelming majority of third world countries won their independence from colonialism through armed struggle and almost every revolution, successful or otherwise, since World War II has involved the use of violence by anti-government movements. In Iran, guerrillas fought back loyalists and assisted in the defeat of the massively unpopular Shah. In Nicaragua, a people’s insurrection defeated the National Guard and brought a widely popular revolutionary government to power. In Uruguay, the Tupamaros fought an urban guerrilla war against the military dictatorship and are now the largest party in the nation’s largest political coalition. In Vietnam, the people fought a decades-long war against foreign intervention and won. In Venezuela, the people of Caracas erupted into riots in 1989, bringing a revolutionary government to power 9 years later that celebrates the people’s heroic resistance during the “Caracazo.” In Nepal, Maoists fought a ten year people’s war to overthrow the monarchy and emerged as the most popular party in the country. In India, adivasi tribal peasants are taking up arms against the incursion of multinational corporations onto their lands. In Greece, revolutionary youth are fighting in the streets with police, not ‘delegitimizing’ themselves in front of anyone but the IMF. Millions upon millions rallied, and continue to rally, to the cause of armed and not-nonviolent people’s movements; why is it wrong to even consider that as an option here?

    Simply put: I refuse to concede the monopoly on the legitimate use of force to this state, to this government, to this police force, something which you appear all too willing to do (as is to be expected). The people have the right to resist this unjust, vicious, inhumane system, and we have the right do so with arms, rocks, or bats if we so choose. It is obscene that the US military can drop bombs in Pakistan, can shoot civilians in Afghanistan, and can beat up protesters in Oakland while we are forbidden to spraypaint the wall of a multibillion dollar company because it is “violent.”

    Fuck that noise. Chairman Mao said that it is right to rebel, and as is often the case, he is right. Those who spend their time denouncing the people for being “violent” in response to the violence of the state are either traitors, cowards, or both.

    (Source: caughtinaparadox)


  8. "Time and again, people struggling not for some token reform but for complete liberation — the reclamation of control over our own lives and the power to negotiate our own relationships with the people and the world around us — will find that nonviolence does not work, that we face a self-perpetuating power structure that is immune to appeals to conscience and strong enough to plow over the disobedient and uncooperative."

    (via ghostdaddotcx-deactivated201212)

  9. Ward Churchill, Pacifism as Pathology (p. 55)



  10. "It is the obligation of every person who claims to oppose oppression to resist the oppressor by every means at his or her disposal. Not to engage in physical resistance, armed resistance to oppression, is to serve the interests of the oppressor; no more, no less. There are no exceptions to the rule, no easy out."
    — Assata Shakur, 1984.
  11. Why Armed Struggle Works

    Picture: June 1979, the Sandinista National Liberation Front, leading an insurrection against the rule of Anastasio Somoza Debayle, makes a strategic retreat from the capital Managua to the nearby city of Masaya, which had been liberated by an armed people’s resistance. The revolution would succeed three weeks later, and FSLN troops would ride triumphantly into Managua to cheering crowds.

    The Somoza dynasty had shown no mercy to nonviolent demonstrations in the past, not hesitating to open fire on unarmed student marches (as they did in Leon in 1959, to highlight one example). When the people rebelled, they knew that the only path to a people’s victory, not merely a change in the leadership of a corrupt state, would require an armed struggle. The United States supported the government until it became obvious that Somoza was unsustainable, then hoping to prop up a new oligarchic government to replace him. Because the Sandinistas were the only organized armed force in the country other than the repressive National Guard, they were able to prevent the United States from imposing its will on the country yet again.


  12. I Inaugurate Today as Anti-Pacifism Day

    Fellow Tumblrers: Who wants to help me swarm the tags “nonviolence,” “nonviolent,” “pacifism,” and “pacifist” with a bunch of posts about how ridiculous they are? Let’s start the great debate, and let’s make our case clearly.

    Post examples of the success of armed struggle, the limitations of the nonviolent principle, the historic failure of nonviolence in anti-colonial/anti-imperialist movements, the impotence of a domestic radical struggle that denounces violence on principle, the white privilege implicit in pacifism, etc. Pictures, quotes, essays, videos, songs, whatever’s clever.

    Let’s also be principled in this critique. There are many future revolutionaries out there who can be won over here, and the best way to do so is to not make insults, to not shout down, to not dismiss experiences. Let’s not come off like macho authoritarian assholes.



  13. "Pacifists tell us that the ends never justify the means. This is a statement of values disguised as a statement of morals. A person who says ends don’t justify means is simply saying: I value process more than outcome. Someone who says ends do justify means is merely saying: I value outcome more than process. Looked at this way, it becomes absurd to make absolute statements about it. There are some ends that justify some means, and there are some ends that do not."
    — Derrick Jensen, Preface to Pacifism as Pathology by Ward Churchill
  14. Download the free ebook version here. This should be required reading among the American left.

    “There is nothing in this world currently deserving of the name peace. Rather, it is a question of whose violence frightens us most, and on whose side we will stand.”

    In lucid and accessible prose, Gelderloos invites activists to consider diverse tactics, systematically debunking the notion that non-violent activism is the only acceptable or effective method of struggle.


  15. "In fact, no pacifist can claim any success that didn’t rely on violence, or the potential threat of violence. When MLK needed help against violent racists he appealed to LBJ to send in the Marines. In order to maintain their worldview that pacifism can bring about fundamental change, pacifists have to restrict their definition of nonviolence to their own individual actions. This way they don’t have to admit that they rely on violence carried out by others, usually the state."
    — A comrade of mine.