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Gandhi and the (establishment-supported) Myth of Effective Nonviolence (english)
28 Oct 2002
Modified: 29 Oct 2002
Gandhi's life was history's longest experiment in nonviolent political action. The result of the experiment is fairly clear: An exploitative class structure cannot be broken without violence somewhere along the way. Property rights, defended by state violence, have never yielded to the peaceful pressure of the exploited class. Put in other terms, no exploiting class has ever left the stage of history without being pushed.

THE IDEAS of Mahatma Gandhi have had a lasting impact on the left, from the civil rights movement of the 1960s right through to the movements against corporate greed and racism that are developing today. Many see Gandhi as the embodiment of politically-effective pacifism.

The success of his nonviolent strategy, however, is largely a myth.

The most common version of the Gandhi myth is the simple assertion that a struggle based on pacifism forced the British out of India. This view of Gandhi's contributions has lent a false credibility to the principle of nonviolence in the fights against injustice around the world since then.

But the Indian revolt against British rule was anything but nonviolent. Gandhi's tactical ideas, moreover, had serious limitations as a guide to struggle. Movements that began under Gandhi's sponsorship often ended in premature retreats or escalated into physical confrontations. And the final ouster of the British in 1947 can't be counted as a victory for Gandhi's methods, since India's independence came as the movement was shoving Gandhi and his nonviolent philosophy to the political margins.

Gandhi, nevertheless, did make major contributions to the movement. Most crucial was his success in leading masses of people into struggle against British rule -- something he did better than any other Indian leader. But while Gandhi's political leadership was the spark for these struggles, it was not their cause. The struggles arose from real, deep grievances against British rule, and the masses, once mobilized, showed repeatedly that they were willing to adopt militant tactics when nonviolent ones didn't work.

The misconception of Gandhi as the one who kicked the British out of India was most effectively propagandized by Hollywood's Oscar-winning movie GANDHI, and more recently Michael Moore's excellent documentary BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE even mentions Gandhi as the widely-accepted prime example of effective nonviolent social change.

With such widespread (and establishment-supported) falsehoods concerning Gandhi's effectiveness at changing society without violence, I urge all of you peace fetishizers to read this thoughtful debunking of the "nonviolent" tactic of social change (written by Meneejeh Moradian and David Whitehouse):
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on attempting to justify immorality (english)
28 Oct 2002
it is just that the proud have to contend with the fact that their opinion isn't worthy

be of truth or rot- your choice
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Hatrack gets the DUBYA ACTIVISM MEDAL (english)
29 Oct 2002
Modified: 03 Nov 2002
WOW - boy, pacifism is SO effective, and even though there is a media blackout/disinformation effort by corporate media concerning protests, Dubya is ENDING THE WAR! Because you've loved him SO much! Your abstract spiritualism ahs won over his small black evil heart and now its HUGE and OVERFLOWING and DOESNT WANT ANY MORE COCAINE. While you enjoy the medal Dubya gave you for defanging and making unthreatening any activism at all, here's some quotes to contemplate:

"Strictly speaking, as a Nationalist, he was an enemy [of the British], but since in every crisis he would exert himself to prevent violence -- which, from the British point of view, meant preventing any effective action whatever -- he could be regarded as "our man." In private this was sometimes cynically admitted. The attitude of the Indian millionaires was similar. Gandhi called upon them to repent, and naturally they preferred him to the Socialists and Communists who, given the chance, would actually have taken their money away."
-- George Orwell, in an essay on Gandhi

"The people in power will not disappear voluntarily, giving flowers to the cops just isnít going to work. This thinking is fostered by the establishment; they like nothing better than love and nonviolence. The only way I like to see cops given flowers is in a flower pot from a high window."
-- William S. Burroughs

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"It is necessary to differentiate strictly between the pacifism of the diplomat, professor, journalist, and the pacifism of the carpenter, agricultural worker, and the charwoman. In one case, pacifism is a screen for imperialism; in the other, it is the confused expression of distrust in imperialism."
-- Leon Trotsky

"We have dedicated our lives, our blood, to the freedom and liberation of our people, and nothing, no force can stop us from achieving our goal. If it is necessary to destroy the United States of America, then let us destroy it with a smile on our faces."
-- Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther