Non Violent Revolution Would Bring True Social Change
‘Non-Violence and the Quest for Freedom Everywhere’ Written by Aaron Moritz— I think by now, it is commonly observed that a crisis in economic inequality dominates the current global arena. This crisis has been precipitated by two factors: the first being the natural tendency of current established monetary structures to restrict and inhibit change, growth, and personal freedom…established structures that, when looked at objectively, serve little purpose other than contributing to the growing wealth gap – operating in complete disregard for human sustainability. The second factor is the start of a radical change in the Human’s evaluation of them. A revolutionary change is taking place in the Human’s conception of their nature and destiny. We are moving from thinking of ourselves as separate, isolated organisms, patiently accepting injustice and exploitation from unseen ‘others’, from the kings and monarchs of the past, to the political/corporate collusion and international banking cartels of today. We are moving towards the realization that these social tendencies of exploitation, stratification and injustice are no longer acceptable. A human who sees them self as part of the entire Earth system cannot accept tyranny from any minority, no matter how wealthy, or powerful.
Until the agricultural revolution began, the notion of property and ownership was virtually non-existent. These ideas evolved as our nomadic species settling onto farms and beginning to trade their goods with other people in small towns. But over time, as gold and other forms of currency were introduced to help facilitate trade, there was an unexpected result. A growing competitive and greed based mentality, and humans invented new and inhumane ways to treat each other in order to gain wealth, and power. They began to consider each other, or other groups, as competition, rather than cousins. In various forms, I say again, extreme gaps in wealth have brought us from the kings and monarchs of the past, to the political/corporate collusion and international banking cartels dominant today, there is little difference. These are established structures that inhibit both continuous change, and true freedom.
Living under these conditions of extreme poverty, subordination, or wage slavery, many humans lose faith in themselves. They come to feel that perhaps they truly are less worthy than others.
So long as certain humans maintain this subservient attitude and accept the “place” assigned to them by society, a kind of peace does exist. But it is an uneasy peace in which some are forced patiently to submit to insult, injustice and exploitation, and thus, it is a negative peace. True peace is not merely the absence of some negative force or open hostility. True peace is the presence of positive forces — truth, good will and global human camaraderie, which is being made increasingly possible by advancements in communication and translation technologies.
In fact, a myriad of factors have come together to cause humans to take a new look at themselves. Individually and as a group, they have begun to re-evaluate themselves. Our scientific inquiries have revealed to us a sort of symbiotic relationship that exists between all living and non-living systems on this planet. Through the recognition of the entire earth system as a type of organism, of which we are only a part – likely the only sentient part — our inextricable connection to – and responsibility towards – nature becomes clear. We must pledge ourselves to each other, to humanity and align our actions and our technology with the planetary systems necessary for human and environmental sustainability.
This new human attitude carries also with it the realization that all people truly are equal. We recognize no person or class of people can ever be more worthy of having more access to the resources of this planet. The determination of humans to win freedom from every form of tyranny springs from the same profound longing for freedom that has historically motivated oppressed peoples all over the world. The struggle for freedom has developed slowly, yet at an ever increasing pace, and is not going to end suddenly. We have made progress, and will continue to do so. However, privileged groups rarely give up their privileges without strong resistance. But when oppressed people rise up against oppression there can be no stopping point short of complete freedom. Realism compels us to admit that the global struggle will continue until freedom, and equality, is a reality for all the people of the world.
We must demand that society be updated to current knowledge, using clean, natural, automated, technologies to provide every single person with a decent standard of living. We must demand that humanities children not be born into starvation, or perpetual debt, brainwashed into performing pointless, mind numbing tasks just so that they can fund the basic necessities of their lives. We must demand that society remain emergent, and true to the scientific method, with its basic structure and tenets always open for challenge, change, and revision. We demand true equality, and we demand the abundance that our technology can make possible. We demand the freedom of all Human beings once and for all. We demand the emancipation proclamation of the entire human race.
Hence the basic question which confronts the worlds oppressed is: How is the struggle against the forces of injustice to be waged? There are two possible answers. One is resort to the all too prevalent method of physical violence and corroding hatred. The danger of this method is in its futility. Violence solves no social problems; it merely creates new and more complicated ones. If Humans, today, succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle for justice, unborn generations will live in a desolate night of bitterness, and our chief legacy to them will be yet another seemingly endless reign of chaos.
The alternative to violence is non-violent resistance. This method was made famous most memorably by Mohandas Gandhi, who used it to free India from the domination of the British empire. Five points can be made concerning nonviolence as the method in bringing about true human equality.
First, this is not a method for cowards; it does resist. The non-violent resister is just as strongly opposed to the evil against which they protest as is the person who uses violence. Their method is passive, or non-aggressive, in the sense only that they are not physically aggressive toward their opponent. But their mind and emotions are always active, constantly seeking to persuade the opponent that they are mistaken. This method is passive physically but strongly active mentally; it is non-aggressive physically but dynamically aggressive psychologically.
A second point is that unlike violence, non-violent resistance does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win their friendship and understanding. The non-violent resister must often express their protest through non-co-operation or boycotts, yet they realize that non-co-operation and boycotts are not ends themselves; they are merely means to awaken a sense of morality in the opponent. The end goal is redemption and reconciliation. The aftermath of non-violence allows for the creation of a free human community, while the aftermath of violence can only be tragic bitterness.
The third characteristic of this method is that the attack is directed against establishment forces, rather than against other humans who are caught up in those forces. The non-violent resistor knows that it is behaviors we are seeking to defeat, not the people who fall victim to them.
A fourth point that must be brought out concerning nonviolent resistance is that it avoids not only external physical violence but also internal violence of psyche. At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love. In struggling for human dignity the oppressed people of the world must not allow themselves to become embittered against their oppressors or indulge in hate campaigns. To retaliate with hate and bitterness does nothing but intensify the overall hate in the world. Along this path of evolution, Humans are gaining enough sense and enough morality to break this chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethics of love to the center of our lives.
In speaking of love at this point, we are not referring to some sentimental emotion. It would be nonsense to urge people to love their oppressors in an affectionate sense. When we speak of loving those who oppose us we speak of a love which is expressed in the Greek word agape. Agape means nothing sentimental or basically affectionate; it means maintaining an intrinsic, redeeming good will for all people, an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. Another term that could be used, which seeks to exemplify the Earth as a system of interconnected organisms, is extensionality. Seeing love as different levels of extensionality, we begin to love not people because we particularly like them, not because their attitudes and ways appeal to us, but because we recognize our empirical connection to that person through nature. We choose not to hate people for succumbing to weaknesses we all posses. Here we rise to the position of loving the person who does the evil deed while condemning the deed he does.
At this point in the piece, which has been largely adapted from the article “Non-Violence and Racial Justice” by Martin Luther King Jr., comfort is offered in the fifth point by saying that the Universe, and indeed, God himself is on the side of non-violence, and non-violent resistors. Having no belief in a supernatural entity called God, or even a universe that ‘takes sides’, I can offer no such assurances. I can’t guarantee that we will win. Only we can do that…first, by making the choice to reject the system, in whatever peaceful forms that might take. Secondly, encourage others to do the same. I know it’s often an uncomfortable topic to bring up, but if we want to rise to the challenge and break the cycle of violence, globally, for the first time, we must educate our brothers and sisters, and allow ourselves to be educated by them, which brings me to my third, and most important point. Contribute. It is necessary that we completely redesign our entire cultural and socioeconomic infrastructure. We need everyone’s ideas and participation to make this happen.
The method of non-violent resistance challenges all people struggling for justice and freedom to do so with dignity and discipline. May all who suffer oppression in this world reject the self-defeating method of retaliatory violence and choose the method that seeks to redeem. Through using this method wisely and courageously we will emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of this inhumanity into the bright daybreak of freedom and justice.
Source: The Zeitgeist Movement