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"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

What lessons does history hold for us regarding non-violent "revolution?"

Well, there are two good examples in the Polish Solidarity movement, and Ghandi’s Satyagraha Independence Movement.

A few common elements seem to emerge.  

  1. It takes a long time and progress is not steady.
  1. Withholding labor – strikes – is practically the only leverage that people have.
  1. Oppressive incumbents will crack down, and non-violent resistors will be jailed, hurt, and killed.
  1. Resistors need to be prepared, through training and inspiration, for maximum hardship.
  1. Effective resistance requires a coalition, which will likely splinter once it gains power.

    6. One selfless and inspiring leader must stand up.
    7. If resistance is successful, the thugs do not go away. Eternal vigilance is required.  

Are the citizens of the United States of America patient enough, inspired enough, cooperative enough, to depose the thugs that rule us?  Can we sacrifice our incomes, our possessions, our lives for Safety and Happiness?  Can we keep our republic?

Solidarity in Poland

Solidarity (Polish: Solidarność; full name: Independent Self-governing Trade Union "Solidarity" — Niezależny Samorządny Związek Zawodowy "Solidarność") is a Polish trade union federation founded in September 1980 at the Gdańsk Shipyards, and originally led by Lech Wałęsa. In the 1980s, it constituted a broad anti-communist social movement ranging from people associated with the Catholic Church[1] to members of the anti-communist Left. Solidarity advocated nonviolence in its members' activities. The survival of Solidarity was an unprecedented event not only in Poland, a satellite state of the USSR ruled (in practice) by a one-party Communist regime, but the whole of the Eastern bloc. It meant a break in the hard-line stance of the communist Polish United Workers' Party, which had bloodily ended a 1970 protest with machine gun fire (killing dozens and injuring over 1,000), and the broader Soviet communist regime in the Eastern Bloc, which had quelled both the 1956 Hungarian Uprising and the 1968 Prague Spring with Soviet-led invasions.

12 years between the brutal intervention in 1968, and the founding of Solidarity. Coalition with the Church. Strikes.

Mahatma Ghandi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi: (October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948) was a major political and spiritual leader of India, and the Indian independence movement. He was the pioneer and perfector of Satyagraha — the resistance of tyranny through mass civil disobedience strongly founded upon ahimsa (total non-violence), which led India to independence, and has inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. Gandhi is commonly known and addressed in India and across the world as Mahatma Gandhi (from Sanskrit, Mahatma: Great Soul) and as Bapu (in many Indian languages, Father).

An English-educated lawyer, Gandhi first employed his ideas of peaceful civil disobedience in the Indian community's struggle for civil rights in South Africa. Upon his return to India, Gandhi organized poor farmers and labourers in India to protest oppressive taxation and extensive discrimination, and carried it forward on the national stage to protest oppressive laws made by the British Raj. Becoming the leader of the Indian National Congress, Gandhi led a nationwide campaign for the alleviation of the poor, for the liberation of Indian women, for brotherhood amongst communities of differing religions and ethnicity, for an end to untouchability and caste discrimination, and for the economic self-sufficiency of the nation, but above all for Swaraj — the independence of India from foreign domination.

A coalition of farmers, laborers, and women. The use of specific oppressive situations to motivate people, and to make a broader point. A leader willing to be martyred, which he was.

An issue that directly hurts people usually provides a flash point for organizing, and sometimes the spontaneous bravery of a single person is enough. Rosa Parks comes to mind. In the USA today, we are lacking that intersection of issue and courage for some reason. The story of Lt. Wataba's conscientious objection to the Iraq war has potential. But if the litany of crimes by the Bush Administration is not enough, what will it be? It seems every little spark that might be the flash point only smolders, and does not burst into righteous flame.

A coalition of anti-war groups is calling for a day of resistance and action March 20th. I wonder if all the elements needed to catalyze a movement are in place.

Day Of  Resistance

So I ask again: Can we sacrifice our incomes, our possessions, our lives for the safety and happiness of others, and future generations?  Can we keep our republic?

Originally posted to RichRandal on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 06:47 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips and Recommends (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ActivistGuy, blueoasis, Justus

    National Guard troops sacrifice - how about us?

    (PC: -5.75, -6.56) Good men through the ages, tryin' to find the sun, still I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain? -J. Fogerty

    by RichRandal on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 06:46:41 AM PST

  •  A false ideal (0+ / 0-)

    The concept of nonviolence is a false ideal. It presupposes the existence of compassion and a sense of justice on the part of one's adversary. When this adversary has everything to lose and nothing to gain by exercising justice and compassion, his reaction can only be negative. - George Jackson

    I'm sure that if the armies of Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan had ever reached India, Ghandi would have been slaughtered, and everyone who did not do as they were told would have been slaughtered, until someone with a sense of self-preservation decided it was time to either fight back or submit

    Currently in the Army DEP program, will be sent to Ft. Benning come July.

    by OblivionsPuppet on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 06:51:47 AM PST

  •  gmoke posted a diary that had a very good (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    discussion of this yesterday: Unknown Auschwitz Satyagraha

    I don't think there is enough consciousness of our dilemma, thanks to the hate-filled propaganda spewing out of the MSM. Also, the material wealth of most Americans (acquired mostly on credit which is now coming due, so the pain has yet to be felt in extremis) makes them too comfortable, numbing them from awareness of the crisis around the corner. When one perceives oneself to be in a relatively comfortable position, and the national psyche has been shaped to disdain those who fail to achieve comfort as vermin, then one perceives oneself as having too much to lose, and no feeling of solidarity.

    It's far too easy to buy into the consumer ethic and conservative ideology when one has a house full of stuff and the supermarkets are still filled with food (at whatever price). The illusion of societal well-being is still pumped out of our TVs.

    Globalization and H1-B visas already make much of the US workforce redudndant. We'd have to stop buying.

    •  Boycotts have sometimes been useful (0+ / 0-)

      What do we target?

      To boycott food and energy we'd have to develop the capacity to supply ourselves.

      Entertainment? Vehicles? Appliances? Debt and financial services?

      What is the leverage point?

      (PC: -5.75, -6.56) Good men through the ages, tryin' to find the sun, still I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain? -J. Fogerty

      by RichRandal on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 07:20:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's why it's such a conundrum. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        If we weren't so comfortable and selfish we'd be aware that we are already enslaved to our feeling of entitlement to our lavish lifestyle, at the expense of the rest of the planet. We'd have empathy for those less fortunate. We'd be shocked to learn that it is our lifestyle that will lead to global climate disruption and probable extinction of humans (as well as millions of other species).

        This is why the Republicans have spent the past 30 years undermining all efforts at equality and fairness. And the reason behind the assault on the mainline churches, in an effort to jettison Jesus' message in favor of capitalism uber alles. All in service to the oligarchs.

        They have been rapidly dismantling our government, forcing out dedicated competent civil servants and placing political hacks in charge to drain the funds into their cronies' pockets via outsourcing without oversight. And they are accelerating this effort now.

        Meanwhile the economy is teetering on the edge of a dollar collapse.

        Interesting times.

  •  Forming local mutual-support guilds (0+ / 0-)

    is one thing I've studied, there are a few small emerging models for it.

    Convenience is an addicting drug, hard to kick.

    (PC: -5.75, -6.56) Good men through the ages, tryin' to find the sun, still I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain? -J. Fogerty

    by RichRandal on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 07:49:54 AM PST

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