Saturday, 25 June 2011

Violent pacification

I am not a pacifist, but I do not advocate or condone political violence. I am not a Trotskyist, but I believe Trotsky was quite right when he said the following in his 1932 essay What Next?:

"Where force is is necessary, it must be applied boldly, decisively and completely. But one must know the limitations of force; one must know when to blend force with a manoeuvre, a blow with an agreement."


If according to Emma Goldman voting would be abolished if it changed anything, then if violence was effective it would not be manufactured by the authoritarian state itself. There would be no such thing as agent provocateurs, police agents dressed to portray the "rioter" stereotype, and ushered across the lines of riot squads to break windows and throw Molotovs for the mass media cameras. It at worst amounts to an infantile mentality of delusional insurrectionism.

This has been documented and witnessed first hand, in the false flag operations of fascist governments and dictatorships, to CIA and MI5 operations suppressing anti-war subversion in the 1960s, to western government tactic against anti-corporate direct action and anti-austerity revolt today.

However, it relates to a certain Orientalism. Egyptians sacrificed their bodies to leap into the shields of riot squad regiments, and such acts were hypocritically heralded as part of their revolutionary struggle. But such acts are distinguished in their bold decisiveness amidst the turning point of radical revolt and fundamental overthrow.

Mohandas Gandhi was not entirely non-violent, for one advising Indian civilians to own firearms to defend themselves from colonial aggression. He practiced civil disobedience as a realized conclusion of most effectively politically attaining liberty and independence for India, not as a doctrine.

Free expression, dissemination and non-compliance, the foundation of revolution, is what tyrannical governments are truly intimidated by, and dedicate to systematically and brutally oppress. This is the dimension of Gandhi's tritely mentioned quotation: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

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