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Suffet BS: Wall Street Protesters... (825* d) RE: BS: Wall Street Protesters... 09 Nov 11


Greetings:

Any movement that seriously challenges the established power structure must be ready to both take and to inflict casualties. Unless you are an absolute pacifist -- and very few people are -- you would consider adopting nonviolence for tactical and strategic reasons, not because it is a way of life. Most people believe there are times when organized violence is both justifiable and necessary. But they also believe those times are few and far between. That is essentially what Jefferson was saying when he wrote these words in the Declaration of Independence:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

What nonviolent activists like Gandhi and King have shown is that there are many options between passively suffering evil and resorting to armed struggle. If we Americans, as a people, accept Jefferson's argument that there are times when insurrectionary violence is justified, then there surely must be times when resistance short of violence is also justified. Such resistance will be organized, sustained, unpleasant, often illegal, but nevertheless nonviolent. That time has already arrived! Fortunately, the time for armed resistance has not yet come, and one hopes it never will. But it very well might.

In the meantime, let's not shed any tears for bankers whose front lawns get trampled. The little bitty "violence" that some union activists have inflicted upon a few blades is grass means absolutely nothing compared to the very real violence they have inflicted upon millions of their fellow human beings by driving them from their homes. Just remember that when the bankers foreclose a mortgage and evict a family, they have the armed might of the state at their disposal to enforce their so-called legal process.

Also remember that many successful nonviolent movements have worked in tandem, either openly or tacitly, with those who rejected nonviolence but who shared the same goals. For example, the nonviolent civil rights workers in the mid-1960s, often received the protection of the armed Deacons for Defense and Justice. Another example is the African National Congress in South Africa, which organized many nonviolent protests against apartheid, both large and small, but which also had an armed wing called Umkhonto we Sizwe, and which carried out guerilla warfare against the South African regime.

For the Occupy movement to organize its own Umkhonto we Sizwe at this time would be a terrible blunder, one that would turn people off and play right into the hands of those who would like nothing better than an excuse to obliterate the movement. But don't presume that the time can never come. And if it does, a lot more than a lawn or two will get trampled.

--- Steve




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