Forum Post: In complete solidarity with all Egyptian protestors even if they perpetrate violence? IF YOU ONLY READ ONE POST on forum today, read this one: Violence VERSUS Non-Violence in U.S. and EGYPT
Posted 6 years ago on Nov. 16, 2011, 4:58 p.m. EST by therising
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
Like many people who are part of the Occupy movement, I feel great hope that the people of Egypt will rise up and win. I support them, wish them well, hope we can do whatever we can here to help them achieve their goal of real democracy. But I also don't want them to poison the results with means that undermine them. The means inform the ends.
Some here in the U.S. say they need to stick together with people who perpetrate violence. This is done with unity as the goal. But would you "stick together" with a fellow protestor who is running to jump off a cliff? Would you tue your rope to him and go over with him?
I will support the Egyptians to the end but if they perpetrate violence, I will condemn that. I may understand why they did it. I may in my gut still cheer for them to win. I may in my gut THINK it's justice if they hurt or kill military leaders or soldiers who oppress them. But I also look to history to see what happens when you use unjust means to achieve a just end. I will always support their cause no matter what but I will not succumb to a "by any means necessary mindset."
Gandhi forced the British out of India without raising a weapon. King helped win civil rights for millions with forceful non-violent direct action and civil disobedience. Why were King and Gandhi and their followers so successful? Many people think violence is strong and non-violence is weak. They think the only way to fight power is with violence. But it's just the opposite. The power structure KNOWS what to do with violence. They're praying for Occupy Wall Street violence in the boardrooms and country clubs. But nonviolent direct action befuddles them.
It's true that "POWER RESPONDS TO POWER." But some make the mistake of thinking the only kind of power is violent power. The power that comes from nonviolence has MORE FORCE. The means determine the ends. Some might say violence worked in Libya. Unfortunately, the end result will likely be less than "good".
I'm all about forceful nonviolent action and addressing the wrongs of the 1%. But there is something we need to remember that will increase the impact of our efforts exponentially. Beyond the power of TACTICS that build coalitions and bring real change for real people, there is a mindset. Both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi STRONGLY EMPHASIZED the importance of motivation. Both of these great leaders believed that love should be the prime motive, the engine that drives each action and the movement as a whole. They're talking about a universal love called agape and they both proved that its power to multiply the impact of forceful direct action is limitless.
We're not talking about weakness or meakness here. Gandhi and his supporters beat the British put of India where 1% were ruling 99%. We're talking about forceful non-violent direct action and intentionally creating such a high level of tension that the status quo can no longer be maintained.
King and his supporters said they LOVED the opposition enough to set them right. The saddest part about the concentration of wealth in this country is that it's most often just stored or used for junk. Granted, the junk of the 1% is bigger, fancier and more long lasting than ours, but the key is that the buzz they get from it quickly fades. So it becomes an addiction just like any other addiction. They're going after the dopamine buzz and it gets harder and harder to get it.
If they're lucky, they come to their wits end and discover family, art, life, love, whatever. But most don't, the poor saps. Their extravagant resources enslave them. It seems strange to say but we need compassion for the 1% too. The reason they're plundering the world is that they're lost.
We're not talking about being "soft" on the 1%. We still need to engage in forceful direct action to correct the incredible wrongs, bring those guilty of breaking the law to justice and fix the system so the 1% aren't the only ones who benefit and protect the environment. To do all this, we need to creat serious TENSION. King describes that good kind of tension here in his “Letter from the Birmingham Jail”:
"Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. . . The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.”
The following images say it all about nonviolence in my view. Need to watch all 3 min to see what happens at end. -- : http://occupywallst.org/forum/this-says-it-all-what-were-up-against-and-how-we-w/#comment-392602