Jump to content

Welcome to FutureTimeline.forum
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!
Photo

The Power of Nonviolence in History

civil disobedience Nazi Germany the power of nonviolence Denmark Norway

  • Please log in to reply
56 replies to this topic

#41
joe00uk

joe00uk

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,071 posts
  • LocationUK

TheComrade was PhoenixRu, so it's he

 

Personally, I think (or rather know) that changes like that which don't threaten the fundamental class structure of society can be peacefully pursued. That's basically what reformism is. But changes which would seek to radically transform the entire system, and bring about a socialist society for example, would be met with forceful reaction by the capitalist class. The business with Catalonia isn't seeking to overthrow the bourgeois system - neither does it need to, and I'm not complaining about that, I just thought I'd clarify my position on violence and non-violence. 



#42
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,245 posts

It has finally dawned on me why there is such a difference between on the one hand revolutionaries who support violence and on the other hand nonviolent activists.

 

Revolutionaries are students of politics.  Nonviolent activists  are students of ideas.

 

Violent revolutions have succeeded, but I would argue only in replacing one elite with a different elite.  To be sure, that different elite may very well have a different set of policies.

 

Nonviolent activists understand what has truly changed human consciousness throughout history: things like literature, poems, paintings, and scientific discoveries.

 

I would not go so far as to say that you cannot kill an idea.  There very well may have been many ideas throughout history that have been killed. For what I hope are obvious reason, I cannot give you any examples of where such ideas were killed.  Still, ideas do take on a life of their own.  The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus can be seen as a sort of parable of that lesson.  The physical body of Jesus was killed.  Myth has it that he was resurrected.  Even if that is a myth, it has an element of truth.  Christianity, for better or worse, has had a profound effect throughout history.  Even Marx can be seen as a sort of reformist oriented Christian.  One who did not believe in the myth, yet did believe in a Christian form of economic organization.  

 

Almost any idea you can state to me was thought of by somebody else before you.  The person who originally had that thought may be long dead, and yet you can still articulate at least a rough version of that idea.  Dictators come and go, ideas live on forever ( or at least for a very long time).


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#43
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,245 posts

45883857_2140428182858268_72960193183392


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#44
PhoenixRu2020

PhoenixRu2020

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

=== deleted, no need to restart again what was already discussed === 



#45
Outlook

Outlook

    Arab Muslim

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,384 posts
  • LocationBarbary Lands
I find nonviolence to be an appeal to a higher power. Whether its an international community or the current ruler. They rely heavily on the fact that the power is willing to see their way. If the power isn't willing, then it either falls to violence or goes to dissolution. Revolutionaries on the other hand are in direct conflict with that higher power. They do not seek to appeal, they seek to impose their own power over that which is above them. And you can't do it without violence, since violence has always been the tool to compel our opponent to fulfil our will, because what will that power have to fear but their violence, the very tool in which power is supposed to monopolize on?
Outlook's secret song of the ~week: https://youtu.be/Gnyr3sbdKkU

#46
Erowind

Erowind

    Anarchist without an adjective

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,432 posts

I find nonviolence to be an appeal to a higher power. Whether its an international community or the current ruler. They rely heavily on the fact that the power is willing to see their way. If the power isn't willing, then it either falls to violence or goes to dissolution. Revolutionaries on the other hand are in direct conflict with that higher power. They do not seek to appeal, they seek to impose their own power over that which is above them. And you can't do it without violence, since violence has always been the tool to compel our opponent to fulfil our will, because what will that power have to fear but their violence, the very tool in which power is supposed to monopolize on?

 

DISCLAIMER I edited in some better wording, this was written in a sprint and doesn't represent a completed or particularly articulate argument. Rather, it represents a process of thought and reasoning that I'm currently crystallizing alongside other posts I've made and things I haven't posted on the forum into a more cohesive argument.

 

Absolutely. All politics rely on violence and domination of some form. All modern politics are power dynamics at play. Every ideology furthers its aims through exercising violence. They all rely on an outlet to enact violence upon.

Fascism relies on inhumanely marginalizing a minority for power.

 

Capitalism relies on violently suppressing the poor. (Edit: Rather, capitalism relies on commodifying of everything even humans themselves in order to create value. Which is an extremely violent and dehumanizing process that runs counter to the human spirit. I might say that capitalism serves something that isn't even human, it dominates in order to serve a concept.) The most forward thinking progressive still derive their wealth from the ongoing economic enslavement of the Global South.

 

Monarchism violently suppresses everyone but the monarchs and their nobles for the gain of said nobles.

 

Decentralization doesn't solve power politics either. (This is a recent realization) The Rwandan Genocide was no less a crime against humanity because it was carried out in a decentralized way.

 

Communism has never been achieved, but if it were, I believe it would be an evolution of human politics that eliminates power politics entirely. A lack of domination seems inherent to a classless, moneyless and stateless society.

 

This is where anarchism comes in. Modern anarchism also plays the game of power dynamics. The difference is that good anarchists enact their violence exclusively on people who themselves use violence to gain power. Cops, politicians, CEOs and monarchs are all examples of people in this category, they all gain their position through the direct and or indirect domination of others. In essence, anarchism seeks to abolish power entirely, for to be powerful is not to be free, just more comfortable in ones enslavement. True freedom implies that a person has as many options for interacting with the world as physically possible. Power is derived from oppressing others for one's own gain. But by doing that, the powerful eliminate the creative influence and potential of those they oppress from the world. In turn, they sacrifice the innovative capacity of a whole civilization in exchange for a short term, relatively minute increase in their own ability to be creative.

 

A medieval scientist can do more when the peasants cooperate and bring him supplies, but could never achieve the same measure of discovery as he would if all the peasants were themselves scientists he could collaborate with. By liberating them from their work in the fields and treating them as equals, he gains true freedom predicated on the fact that his creative capacity--his freedom--is inherently intertwined with theirs. Freedom is not a definite end state. One cannot every be truly "free," they can only be in the process of becoming more or less free. Freedom is an infinitely expanding process whose limit is truly defined by the laws of physics, not human culture. At least in a very physical sense, it remains to be seen if humans can socioculturally evolve enough to take advantage of this truth. I believe we can, it is my mission to show everyone that they are ultimately more free when the people around them are themselves free. Furthermore, by hurting others a person hurts themselves.

 

A capitalist can build a rocket ship to mars on the backs of their workers in a few decades. But a civilization liberated people all willingly and passionately working towards space colonization could probably have colonies on or in orbit of every major celestial body within the solar system in the same period of time. As an example, Elon Musk is working with a minute fraction of human capability, he's completely missing the big picture. In the same way that a feudal scientist can't compete with a capitalist scientist due to the resource, labour and intellectual constraints inherent to feudalism. A capitalist scientist can't approach the material and creative capabilities of a communist one. A communist scientist would have 7+ billion scientists, artists, spiritual leaders and otherwise actualized people mutually contributing to his project in some form whether that be directly through research and labour or indirectly through enriching his life by saturating society with art and good vibes. The capitalist scientist is limited by a small group of scientists who he dominates into control who themselves are backed by an army of disgruntled slaves.

 

Returning back to anarchism here. Anarchism is the only ideology that seeks to confront the nature of power dynamics. Instead of relying on more domination to achieve its ideological aims, anarchism seeks to completely redefine society so as to eliminate domination. However, there is an understanding that this is a process, not a state. In this sense there are justifiable hierarchies, like the parent child relationship. Without some level of domination children cannot fend for themselves. It's important to not overdominate either as in the case of child abuse. And what an anarchist defines as child abuse is going to be much farther reaching than where modern society would normally define the concept. Anarchism digs deep into the core of what it means to be human. It recognizes that much of human interaction is domination of one person over another. Some anarchists would say all human interaction is domination, although, I don't go that far personally.

Finally anarchism itself is a process. It makes no claims to understand how a society free of domination would exactly manifest. Instead, anarchism seeks to push the boundaries of what liberation and freedom even mean by combating power predicated on domination and empowering everyone through mutual consent. For to empower means to consensually give another the ability to act. To dominate means to forcefully take the ability to act, in turn harming oneself. And when society adopts changes laid forth by anti-authoritarianism--anarchism again feels out the boundaries of definition and pushes them beyond the veil of the modern day.

 

No other ideology that I know of takes a fundamentally different approach to human politics like anarchism does. Democracy is simply majoritarian domination. Dictatorship is the domination of one over all. Fascism is ethno-nationalistic domination. Capitalism is the domination of the strong over the weak as all affluent private property can be historically traced to violent seizure. Anarchism though, is the domination of the dominator. 

 

I'm open to other possibilities. Are their any ideologues that break the dynamic of power politics, that don't rely on violence at all? Well, partially answering my own question here. Absolute pacifism breaks the power dynamic by refusing to dominate at all, but there's no moral high ground from the grave, so that doesn't work in this period of history. Absolute pacifism only works if everyone else are absolute pacifists. Again though, if you or anyone on the forum knows of other ideologies that approach power dynamics differently, please speak up. I'd love to know :)

Some anarchist mantras:

  • Your Freedom is my Freedom.
  • Anarchism is order; government is civil war.
  • If Nature is Unjust, Change Nature!
  • Abolish Power!
  • Every Anarchist Should be a Scientist.


#47
PhoenixRu2020

PhoenixRu2020

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

I find nonviolence to be an appeal to a higher power. Whether its an international community or the current ruler. They rely heavily on the fact that the power is willing to see their way. If the power isn't willing, then it either falls to violence or goes to dissolution. Revolutionaries on the other hand are in direct conflict with that higher power. They do not seek to appeal, they seek to impose their own power over that which is above them. And you can't do it without violence, since violence has always been the tool to compel our opponent to fulfil our will, because what will that power have to fear but their violence, the very tool in which power is supposed to monopolize on?

 

This may serve as summary for the whole thread. You can "spiritually rise above the oppressors" using "music, poems, and paintings" and enjoy your "moral victory". Or you can send to this oppressor your petitions in hope that he will understand your pain and (maybe, why not?) will do something in your favor... but, eventually, the whole thing is reduced to simple question: how far you can go to impose your will and your vision. You need to answer this question (to yourself and with utmost honesty) before even start anything.

 

In short, power of nonviolence is subjective (depends of other side's readiness to notice and recognize this "power") while power of violence is obvious and objective.



#48
Omosoap

Omosoap

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 216 posts

I would also add nonviolence does not work with psychopaths/sociopaths or other people with similar issues. If you interact with such people with nonviolence, they literally do not care and will trample all over you, if they wish. Often people who have a psychopath nature, for example, cannot feel at all, so when people try to get them to care by doing themselves in or making themselves martyrs, it does nothing to make them care, because they really cannot care in terms of feelings. They are not capable of feeling, at least according to my understanding. Perhaps maturity enables one in this situation to sort of understand feelings, but that does not mean they actually can feel. But, to be fair, violence will always muddy the waters (aka people with ill intent towards everyone taking charge on both sides). There is no one easy way to deal with changing a situation, and it gets harder the larger the change or the larger the population.



#49
Outlook

Outlook

    Arab Muslim

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,384 posts
  • LocationBarbary Lands
Psychopaths do feel and have empathy, they can just switch those things 'off' when it comes to decision making, and even then there is a lot of variance to what a psychopath values and believes, like all humans. Ultimately I think it's a generalized term to people who know how to supress sympathy either through rational justification, hatred, or unhinged lust, and I don't think it's like a class of people who take the reigns of society because they're able to manipulate others coldly to get there. People tend to forget that some of the worst suffering can happen under mobs of ordinary, angry people. Tarring and feathering, lynch mobs, wrongful vigilantes. Rather, I think it's that circumstance and belief can lead people to being more numb to the suffering of others.
Outlook's secret song of the ~week: https://youtu.be/Gnyr3sbdKkU

#50
Omosoap

Omosoap

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 216 posts

I thought it was more that they have no motivation to feel empathy, rather than that they can switch it on and off, but maybe I'm looking at the wrong sources. It is true, I was wrong about them having no empathy or feelings, and to be fair, I didn't clarify my definitions. As an example, there's a difference between feeling biologically in terms of senses, and feeling emotionally, though they are connected. And, if you look at some of the most ruthless leaders, some of them were definitely not psychopaths, just maybe too passionate about the wrong things, and had to demonize people to get there. You are also right that angry mobs are entirely more dangerous. Sociopaths...it wasn't fair for me to mention those in with psychopaths, they are two very different types of people. Anyone can become more numb to the suffering of others like you have mentioned, especially when in either survival situations, or when there is too much going on personally for them or around them with their connections to care. I think probably psychopaths, sociopaths, or serial killers (not interchangeable, but separate), seem to work more on their own than in leading a lot of people, though not always. And, of course I left out narcissists, with which I've had the most experience with, and they can be just as cold hearted as anyone. I think I was just thinking about situations I've known about where people are abused as children by some of the above types of people, and how dangerous that is for society, because it sometimes partially causes children to become, when grown, a continued cycle of the abuse, or an aggressive person towards others (or they can turn inward). Maybe the scariest thing about humans is that we can turn off our empathy so easily, especially in certain situations. I actually think a nonviolent person would have much more success with their message if they got to know people that they don't like or feel are the crux of the problem, on a personal level rather than forming mobs. That might have more results, possibly? But, then again, not everybody cares even if you get to know them on a personal level. This is the problem with managing so many humans, and may be where AI is incredibly helpful in a way an individual human cannot be. 



#51
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,245 posts

 

I find nonviolence to be an appeal to a higher power. Whether its an international community or the current ruler. They rely heavily on the fact that the power is willing to see their way. If the power isn't willing, then it either falls to violence or goes to dissolution. Revolutionaries on the other hand are in direct conflict with that higher power. They do not seek to appeal, they seek to impose their own power over that which is above them. And you can't do it without violence, since violence has always been the tool to compel our opponent to fulfil our will, because what will that power have to fear but their violence, the very tool in which power is supposed to monopolize on?

 

This may serve as summary for the whole thread. You can "spiritually rise above the oppressors" using "music, poems, and paintings" and enjoy your "moral victory". Or you can send to this oppressor your petitions in hope that he will understand your pain and (maybe, why not?) will do something in your favor... but, eventually, the whole thing is reduced to simple question: how far you can go to impose your will and your vision. You need to answer this question (to yourself and with utmost honesty) before even start anything.

 

In short, power of nonviolence is subjective (depends of other side's readiness to notice and recognize this "power") while power of violence is obvious and objective.

 

 

It may well be that the "power of violence is...objective."  

 

Still, let us consider a formulation like "Russia won the conflict."  It may very well be that forces that define themselves as "Russian" won a particular conflict that is in question.  Yet "Russian" is itself a subjective concept.  For that matter, so is being a "Marxist-Leninist".  Each is the product of a rather elaborate ideological effort.  Rob the concept "Russia" of its meaning, and the formulation "Russia won" becomes meaningless.  


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#52
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

    Born Again Singularitarian

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,033 posts
  • LocationNew Orleans, LA

6gc1dpwzsfr21.jpg


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#53
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,245 posts

I have been reading The Tao Is Silent by Raymond M. Smullyan.  In that reading, I came across a citation that immediately caused me to think of this thread.  The citation is from a translation by Thomas Merton of a passage of the  Chuang Tzu. Because Smullyan makes a clarifying remark in his introduction to the citation, I have included that remark.

 

 

First let me remark that Laotse, Chuangtse, Confucious, Mencius, and many others constantly wrote of the "good old days" when men were "naturally virtuous."  Now, I do not believe there is any evidence that there ever were such "good old days", but this is really beside the point.  The important thing about the following passage is not the glorification of the past but the way of life valued by Taoist, and which it is to be hoped may prevail in the future. 

 

In the age when life on earth was full, no one paid any special attention to worthy men, nor did they single out the man of ability.  Rulers were simply the highest branches of the tree, and the people like deer in the woods.  They were honest and righteous without realizing they were "doing their duty."  They loved each other and did not know that this was "love of neighbor." They deceived no one, yet they did not know they were "men to be trusted".  They were reliable and did not know that this was "good faith".  They lived freely together giving and taking, and did not know that they were generous.  For this reason their deeds have not been narrated.  They made no history.                                                                                                                                           

 

I suppose violence might very well be an avenue for those interested in "making history."  Speaking only for myself, I wonder if the most important question is not "how should we make history" but "how should we live"? 

 

Sure, there might be occasions where short cuts result in "making history" that are widely held (at least among those of us on the left) as being "good."  Still, to adopt that as  a philosophy of life is to immediately handicap oneself by potentially ceding the high moral ground to one's opponent.  Why take that risk?


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#54
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,245 posts

One of the important distinctions between a pacifist and a militarist revolves around the issue of altruism.  A pacifist sees altruism as a positive virtue.  A militarist is concerned that altruism may be taken as a sign of weakness and in any case is more concerned (at the very least) with the concept of self-defense.  Nonprofit Quarterly recently published an article that refers to altruism in a very intelligent manner.  Below is a link an some of the introductory paragraphs to a relatively short article. 

 

 

Self-Interest (Rightly Understood) in the Nonprofit Sector

 

https://nonprofitqua...nprofit-sector/

 

 

This article, which comes from the fall 2019 edition of the Nonprofit Quarterly, is part of a series on the role of self-interest and conflicts of interest in the nonprofit sector.

 

There are any number of generalizations about the “nonprofit sector” that obscure some important purposes and parts and emphasize others. When this occurs, it can create false narratives regarding what these organizations are about and how they must function—and that obscures a larger range of available nuances about, and options for, the sector’s work.

One of the most important purposes of this sector is embodied in groups that organize themselves around their own collective interests. Do conflicts of interest have to be attended to differently in these kinds of groups? On the one hand, in these groups it is expected that you bring self-interest to the table, and on the other, you still must guard against putting your interests first.

 

The concept of the role of self-interest in the life of nonprofits is one of those aspects that has bowed to what is essentially a colonialist mentality, in that the default image for defining the sector in broad-brush terms is that of a selfless devotion to (and benevolent control over) the interests of others. This is an image that derives from a charitable rather than a self-organizing/mutual-assistance mind-set, and these are two very different propositions—one assuming a doing for and the other incorporating a doing with.

 

In the first, the concept of enlightened self-interest may, in the best of cases, apply—in that we may believe that attending to the needs of others, both in terms of goods and of rights, enriches our own lives and keeps our own lives and communities safe and sustainable. But in a substantial part of this sector that is based on self-help, self-representation, and self-determination—and where the affected communities of interest are themselves in control—the work of the organization is being done in the context of other actors who have like realities. These powerful groups abound in the sector, but we don’t make some of the distinctions about them that are necessary for understanding their roles in changing or maintaining/exacerbating the status quo.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#55
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,245 posts

While some brag about the latest slaughter they have supported, the true revolutionaries carry on their work in more quiet and peaceful ways:

 

https://www.youtube....NTSsgi5U1raI_1E


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#56
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,245 posts

 

A Buddhist monk I know has on his screen saver the names and photographs of people to whom he is grateful: Gandhi, Malala, Greta Thunberg, Vaclav Havel, Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

In the lower right hand corner is a picture of Senator Mitch McConnell. When I registered shock and unmasked disgust the monk said, “Each day he teaches me to have compassion for everyone.”

 

Trolling a flea market somewhere in the States, I saw a little sticker which read “Be careful who you hate. It might be someone you love.”

 

In a church in Birmingham, Alabama during the civil rights movement, preparing for the arrests of hundreds of schoolchildren, outside members of the Ku Klux Klan began picketing, carrying menacing signs, shouting their slogans. Dr. King took the podium and said, “If we can’t love the Ku Klux Klan, we don’t have a movement.”

 

Gandhi said, about the movement to nonviolently take India back from the British, we want to free the Indians from being in front of the guns and free the British from being behind them.

-Joan Baez, March 22, 2020

 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#57
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,245 posts

91623702_10157152008226547_8448656977147

 

" We are certain God's will is that all men share in the good things this earth produces."

 

Cesar Chavez.  


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: civil disobedience, Nazi Germany, the power of nonviolence, Denmark, Norway

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users