I heard a talk by one person who participated in the New Left in which he said that he advocated non-violence because in violent action the wrong people often end up getting hurt. Similarly, on that Speed of Dreams website (which I will probably end up linking to on my own blog in spite of being unintentionally funny) a video from Occupy Oakland was shown of a group of Pakistani Muslim women who were complaining that the anarchists began attacking the police while they too were marching, and that could have had dire consequences for them seeing as they are already suspected terrorists. And it is true: spoiled white kids get their jollies off of attacking the police, but the police will be far more lenient with them than with a black or brown kid who does the exact same thing. It is easy for a radical Marxist to denigrate non-violent action, but when the rubber hits the road, it is not the white petit-bourgeois leftists who get beaten and arrested. The police always find the random black or brown person in the crowd. Force of habit, I would think.All the same, it should go without saying that I don’t oppose violent struggle. However, just as with religion, this is one of those issues that people are going to have to learn about on their own. When people say, “non-violence”, I would politely nod my head in agreement, because if the movement ever reached the level of even a contemporary Greece, people will learn on their own that throwing rocks at police is no big deal if you have hundreds of people doing it in a crowd of thousands. And we should remember that decisive revolutionary violence has nothing to do with guerilla focos or anything of that sort. It is when the gendarme of the bourgeoisie is given the choice to fire on their own people or fire on their officers and join the people. And that doesn’t necessarily happen because of violent struggle.
"If the movement ever reached the level of even a contemporary Greece, people will learn on their own that throwing rocks at police is no big deal if you have hundreds of people doing it in a crowd of thousands."I agree with this. If a "real revolution" ever occurs, the question of violence vs non-violence will be a moot point. The problem with the Weathermen (and by extension most social movements) is that they engage in actions that make themselves feel "revolutionary" but don't actually do anything. You mentioned the Weatherman, but the first thing that came to my mind was the Black Bloc. Part of being a good activist is having a realistic attitude about achieving your goals and aims. There's nothing wrong with advocating an unpopular cause (the fortunates of most causes ebb and flow), but it's foolish to "play cadre" and then wonder why people outside your movement think you're nuts.
Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.