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The Power of Nonviolence in History

civil disobedience Nazi Germany the power of nonviolence Denmark Norway

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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. 




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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

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