Skip to main content

View Diary: Empathy (58 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Here's one point I keep focusing on: there will (6+ / 0-)

    be no "bringing back" of anything that makes sense, any justice, any reversing of the current trends.  We are talking about a tyrannical ruling class not dissimilar from previous ones in history.

    They will have be to forced to relent.

    •  Well, there's force. (5+ / 0-)

      and there's force of persuasion. The problem with revolutions are the people who 'lead' revolutions. Who inevitably seem to turn out to be as bad or badder of despots than the last guys.

      My older sister joined the SDS when she went off to college. She came home for Christmas chock full of radical rhetoric and revolutionary fervor, encouraging me to start a chapter at my school. Which I wasn't keen to do.

      She was convinced of the need for drastic change, enamored (at that time) of the glorious (but imagined) future that youth would bring to a tired and corrupt system. Tear it down! was the mantra.

      So I asked the begged question - what then? That stumped her, she'd never thought about that part. So I told her that behind all the rhetoric and revolutionary fervor, there had to be someone (or a group of someones) who knew very well 'what next'. And the very fact that she didn't know what it was meant she probably wouldn't like it if she did know what it was. She didn't make it another month in SDS, so apparently she didn't get any acceptable answers when she got back to school, either.

      So. What's your revolutionary game plan? And what comes next?

      •  I never, ever advocate violence of any kind. (6+ / 0-)

        I think people tend to confuse concepts of power and coercion with violence.

        You have to understand, these tyrants are not going to be persuaded easily no matter what type of reasonable argument you put forward.  They are going to have to be coerced, forced into yielding to the people's wishes.

        That can happen without violence, but there has to be some serious power behind it, unity, solidarity, to the point where the tiny ruling elite actually feels fear of the people, instead of the other way around.

        Think about this quote:

        If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning.

        They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.

        The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must pay for all they get. If we ever get free from all the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and, if needs be, by our lives, and the lives of others.

        - Frederick Douglass

        He's not saying that violence is the only way to defeat tyranny.  He's saying that it can happen, either through words, or through lows, or with both.

        Obviously, when the oppression gets to an extreme level the obvious result will be violence.  But that's not something I advocate in any way shape or form.

        All my activism revolves around totally legal, peaceful and constitutional means.

        •  Great response, Ray. (0+ / 0-)

          When I was young and radical (don't let my caution to sis fool ya - there's a reason she wanted ME to join her revolution) we were all about legal, peaceful and constitutional means. We got fire hoses, tear gas and batons regularly, Dr. King and RFK got publicly assassinated, and the '68 DNC was a regular made for teevee movie about the piggiest of pig-state tactics. As if that wasn't bad enough, they started killing us out in the open on the campus commons.

          Many people say that turned the tide, that middle-aged Amerika finally had enough of the government killing their kids. But that was bullshit, 'Nam went on for another five way too long years and thousands more died for nothing. The response to OWS only makes it look like the pigs have become much piggier since then, I've no reason to believe they won't kill wholesale those who protest being killed slowly by engineered mass poverty and destruction of the so-called 'safety net'.

          This time they want it all, and will settle for nothing less. Hell, right now the astroturf actors playing 'bad guys' in the DC Kabuki Theatre promise to shut down the already sequestered government just 10 days from now if health insurance reform isn't recinded entirely. They want us dead, and don't care if they have to do it with bullets and bombs instead of starvation and lack of health care. It's all okay now, because 9-11.

          I can see that revolution is coming, with or without leaders or plans for what comes next. Which is probably apropos given that we are so very unlikely to win. I don't see that millions will hit the streets to make convenient targets of themselves. Too many are struggling too hard just for the next inadequate paycheck to do much else. Positively depressing.

          •  Here's one perspective: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            This is something I've mentioned before... I argue that throughout history, whether we're talking about 30, or 75, or 100, or 500 years ago, there have been certain dynamics between ruling elites and the citizenry.

            I argue that the one powerful tool the ruling elite of every era uses is deceit, manipulation, propaganda.  Their Praetorian guards, as it were, is their secondary shield.

            And throughout history the oppressed have found a way to rise up against the oppression.  And most of them had it worst than us, when it comes to the odds of "winning."

            And yet, people have always rising up against oppression (eventually).

            I'm an eternal optimist, and I understand that the narrative that says we can't do anything about the corruption and oppression is just that, a propagandist narrative.

            As long as we (the people) believe it, then it will be true.  The minute we don't believe anymore, the lie dies and the tyranny ends.  No tiny ruling elite can keep control of millions of millions of people who have awakened to a common understanding.  It can't be done.

            And again, that's why the ruling elites spends such an extraordinary effort on deceit, and propaganda.

            I don't reject violence out of any kind of knee-jerk reaction or dogma.  I reject it because it is self-defeating and ineffective when it comes to revolutionary uprising (which I think can, and has happen with peaceful means).

            I reject the notion that once people have become aware of the true nature of the system that they will react by cowering in fear.  I have more faith on people, and always will.

            Finally, I argue that once one has identified the true nature of the system, if one is an activist, then that means that the struggle will be a life-long commitment, day after day, year after year.

            And I argue that no matter the circumstances, every citizen can join in the struggle, even if they can only invest a tiny portion of their time or resources.

            I would feel like that even if I was writing this from a public library because I happen to be a homeless person in LA's skid row... And I know that because from (similar) experiences.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site