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Saturday, September 06, 2014

Words on Nonviolent Revolution

That is a question with which Dr. King struggled during his entire life as a Movement leader. But is REVOLUTION possible withut spilling rivers of blood? Or are revolutions ALWAYS bloody, as Malcolm X seesm to imply in his famous "MESSAGE to the Grassroots" speech?

First, what is a revolution? A revolution--unlike rebellion or Reformisn--is a FUNDAMENTAL transformation of any entire social order, an entire poliical and economic order. It also entails a radical CULTURAL transformation, and a transformation even in day-to-day interhumean relations. And there must be, as Dr. King argued, a "revolution of values" as well as insttutions. But can that be achieved peacefully? In particular, King came to see racism as inseprably tied to ECONOMIC EXPLOITATON.

But to overcome that implies the transcendence of capitalism itself---a "radical redistribution of economic power" were the words I recall from one of King's speeches. But can it be accomplished by NONVIOLENT means?



 POLITICAL CONDITIONS & NONVIOLENCE Some say that nonviolence has a chance if the ruling power is not a police state. Or if the despotic regime being opposed is a weak one, or one that has lost the will to preserve itself. In short, it is held to be possible a relatively "liberal" regime. In a "liberal democracy" like England or America, even Karl Marx thought that revolutionary change is possible without bloodshed. But is a FUNDAMENTAL social transformation possible without bloodshed even in America or other similar republics? The structure of power and wealth was not significantly affected by civil RIGHTS laws in the 1960s. Nore even by new labor reforms or laws of the 1930w under FDR. INDEED, the nearest thing to radical social transformation in America was the Abolition of slavery and beginning of Reconstruction. For this involved the destruction of an entire social system of bondage and its replacement with "free" labor. But that was accomplished by means of VIOLENCE, by a CIVIL WAR. Can new Reconstruction--multiracial--b e accomplished in America without drowning our land in blood? -Savant


 YES it is. Gandhi and King both won their battles, though they sacrificed their lives to do it. The alternative is just not ethically viable. I believe in self-defense. If someone comes after you to kill you, the time for turning the other cheek is over. But otherwise, PEACE is preferable. -Barros Serrano

But isn't the ESSENCE of revolution the fundamental TRANSFORMATION OF SOCIETY and of VALUES? A freer society, more humane one? Isn't ALL this the very goal of Revolution, its ACTUALIZATION? Why can't this be achieved ny NONVIOLENT forms of struggle? Even Malcolm X suggested that if Blacks could become politically empowered bloodless revolutionary change might be possible. At least he suggests in in speech "The Ballot or the Bullet." Even Karl Marx argued that in at least a FEW countries, the USA among them, his own idea of a proletarian revolution might be possible without a VIOLENT uprising. Wny can't revolutionary change be achieved by a nonviolent insurgency? -Savant


 There is an analysis offered by one left GROUP CALLED LEAGUE OF REVOLUTIONARIES FOR A NEW AMERICA, who makes the argument that with the electronic revolution in global capitalism labor itself is being made obsolete and being done away with. They seem also to argue that this new development undercuts the material basis for the limited economic privileges white workers have been afforded at the price of their own bemusement, and the superexploitation of Black and Latino workers. Eventually, they argue, whites of the middle and working classes will be pushed down to the social level of the black masses, From this this further surmise that while it was not possible to unite the poor on a MASS SCALE across ther color line before, it is increasingly becoming an objective possibility now. I don't know. That may be true. But that same economic development based on electronic revolution that the League talks about may also frighten many whites into more RIGHT wing and racist politics and attitudes. If the class gap undermines the race gap by impoverishing whites to the level of blacks and Latin folk, that carries certain dangers as well as pssibilities. Again, the question remains whether a progressive movement can form an alternative and prevent a fascistic outcome. I think it's possible, and such a movement could be NONVIOLENT. But the longer it takes us to move things in that DIRECTION, the harder it will be...until eventually the historical WINDOW of opportunity closes. Perhaps PEOPLE should take a second look at the Poor Peoples Campagin, and the idea of an Economic Bill of Rights as King and others were proposing at that time. Perhaps we need to learn lessons as well from Abolitonist and Labor movments. A new vision is required. For without vision the people die. -Savant

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