Enough! [updated]

Posted: March 12, 2012 in war makes no sense
Tags: , , , , ,

Good heavens. I did not write this; Masoninblue did, and I reblogged it with permission. Sorry for any confusion.

On March 1st, Tom Engelhardt (TomDispatch) published an interview at MyFDL on Firedoglake of journalist Jonathan Schell by Andy Kroll. Nonviolent revolution was the subject matter of the interview. The article passed off the conveyor belt without comment, which I find remarkable. I do not believe it even made the recommended list, let alone being front-paged at MyFDL.

You can read the article here.

During the interview, Schell reviewed successful revolutions that defeated and in some cases toppled empires and totalitarian governments. In each case, beginning with our war for independence against Great Britain, he described how the outcome was assured by first winning the hearts and minds of the people through a variety of nonviolent means, including the power of the pen and nonviolent public demonstrations against authority. In many cases, for example the French Revolution and the Bolshevik Revolution, the majority of the violence and killing happened during the scramble for power after the governments fell.

JS: . . . Usually the cliché is that the stage of overthrow is the violent part, and the stage of consolidation or of setting up a new government is post-violent or nonviolent. I discovered it to be just the other way around.

AK: On this subject, as your book makes clear, some re-teaching is in order. We’re so conditioned to think of overthrow as a physical act: knocking down the gates, storming the castle, killing the king, declaring the country yours.

JS: In a certain sense, overthrow is the wrong word. If you overthrow something, you pick it up and smash it down. In these cases, however, the government has lost legitimacy with the people and is spontaneously disintegrating from within.

AK: As you note [in your book, The Unconquerable World], the Hungarian writer György Konrád used the image of an iceberg melting from the inside to describe the process.

JS: He and actually the whole Solidarity movement had already noticed how Franco’s cryptofascist regime in Spain sort of melted away from within and finally handed over power in a formal process to democratic forces. That was one of their models.

Schell’s point is that in order to win a revolution, one must first win the hearts and minds of the people and one cannot accomplish that task at the point of a gun. He calls Ghandi the Einstein of Revolution because Ghandi was the first person to realize and intentionally use nonviolence as a strategy to bring down an empire. Ghandi used that tactic, in effect paralyzing the British, on September 11, 1906, at The Empire Theater in Johannesberg, South Africa. Here is Ben Kingsley as Ghandi recreating one of the greatest moments in people power and the history of revolution.

Spring is the time for new beginnings.

The American Empire is rotten to the core and cannot be saved.

Revolution is an idea whose time has come

Spread it

Demonstrate

And melt it from within.

Cross posted from my law blog.

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Comments
  1. note: The moderators over at MyFDL/Firedoglake have noted the following correction to his article:

    “[Ed. Note – 1 – The Andy Kroll diary under Tom Englehardt’s byline entitled “Andy Kroll: The Unlikely Oracle of Occupy Wall Street” regarding Jonathan Schell was indeed compelling. Enough so that it was front-paged at MyFDL at 2:00pm Pacific March 1st. You currently may verify this by this link of the MyFDL pages for that time frame. http://my.firedoglake.com/page/13/ That may turn to page 14 in the link URL as other diaries are promoted.
    2 – Given the compelling subject matter, care was taken in choosing the video to accompany that diary. The Editorial Staff on duty at the time found and included what we feel was highly relevant video of Schell reading Vaclav Havel. That enhanced content was indeed provided by FDL support, and not originally in the diary.
    We understand your lament that “The article passed off the conveyor belt without comment, which I find remarkable. I do not believe it even made the recommended list, let alone being front-paged at MyFDL. ”
    The Diary was for a short time on the recommended list and we indeed front-paged it on MyFDL, using our best promotional efforts.]”

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