portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary portland metro

political theory

Contemplating Political Violence

Personal comment and more political theory
I have found it interesting over the last year to read the comments against me, my beliefs and activities on this site. While I do find constructive criticism quite healthy and necessary I have been amused that the bulk of criticism against me has consisted of unfounded rumors and outright lies (ie. that I drive a $30k car, I get payed great sums of $$ for speaking engagements, I am truly a capitalist at heart, I don't know how to shoot a gun, I am a trust-funder, etc.) It strikes me as a bit odd to say the least that not only do the perpetrators of these written attacks fail to identify themselves, but more importantly they have failed to pose any serious challenge to my theories, writings and beliefs on the need for a revolution in this country and the involvement of a mixture of strategies. With that said I look forward to reading more mythological tales of my personal life on this site written by anonymous cowards. For those who do have thought provoking critiques and criticisms of my work, based not on religion, emotion or personal attacks, I thank you in advance for contributing to the needed philosophical development of resistance politics in this country.





Contemplating Political Violence

Craig Rosebraugh

For political activists it is crucial to constantly analyze strategies and tactics to ensure that the activities we engage in are effective and worthwhile. For those who do continually engage in the analytical process, the time comes when each individual must answer the question: Am I involved in particular strategies and tactics because they are truly capable of advancing the movement and stopping a given injustice, or am I primarily acting only to appease my own personal conscience? Failing to ask this question and to honestly answer it commonly leads to burnout and dropout on an individual level and ineffectiveness and ultimate failure for movements as a whole.

When pondering the above question it may not be easily understood how to determine if a particular tactic and strategy has been exhausted or is ineffective. The simplest answer is that when a tactic or strategy has been repeatedly unsuccessful over a lengthy period - thus causing not the growth but often the stagnation and even demise of a movement - that tactic and/or strategy on its own should be deemed ineffective and exhausted. The desirable question then becomes what tactic and/or strategy needs to be implemented to progress a given movement?

Here in the United States, societal norms dictate that anyone involved in activist politics has a right to voice opinions and advocate for change as long as it is done in accordance with certain guidelines. These rules specifically pertain to a strict adherence to lawful and nonviolent behavior with the only exception being the occasional use of nonviolent civil disobedience. Yet, even this strategy is commonly looked down upon and is only considered valid if those committing the act work closely with the police and then agree to face all penalties resulting from the disobedient behavior.

Owing to the power and enforcement of these societal norms, nearly all individuals and organizations involved in social and political movements in the United States adhere to this lawful and nonviolent policy. The most obvious question then needs to be considered: Has a strict adherence to lawful and/or nonviolent activities ever solely advanced a social or political movement in U.S. history? How about internationally?
The answer to both of these questions is a firm no, and that is precisely why those in power positions in the United States are so adamant about people adhering to the state-sanctioned, society-approved methods of political and social change. These people realize that if the lawful and nonviolent policies are followed religiously, no progress will ever be made in various movements and, thus, their power positions will never be threatened.

It is frequently believed by many people in this country that nonviolence has a rich and successful history in the United States and internationally. Unfortunately, this mythical perception has taken a dominant position in many westernized societies resulting from many western writers and filmmakers refusing to provide an accurate portrayal of nonviolence history and its relationship with political violence. In nearly every popular case of reported nonviolence success, the progress that came resulted only from the assistance of politically violent actions.

By far, the most commonly referred to example of successful nonviolence application is the case of Gandhi advocating for civil rights in South Africa and independence in India. The overwhelming majority of books available in the United States, and even the legendary Gandhi film, would have readers and viewers believing that Gandhi's nonviolent methods forced the British to give up colonial rule of India, thus granting its independence. Nothing could be further from the truth. In addition to Britain suffering from the involvement in two World Wars, and the declining rate of colonial occupations during that time, there was also a fierce and violent contingency to the independence movement. This violent element successfully instilled an atmosphere of fear into the British government making Gandhi and his nonviolent followers the more appealing of two opponents. Churchill realized that if his government did not deal with Gandhi, they would be faced with the more unruly and uncontrollable violent masses. Thus, India's independence achieved in 1947 was a result of a combination of strategies, both nonviolent and politically violent, which forced the British government to give up one of its colonized lands.

A similar story is repeated in the U.S. civil rights movement, another commonly cited example of successful nonviolence application. While the enfranchisement and desegregation campaigns, of which King became a major focal point, did achieve some success, it was only made possible by the less popular, violent elements of the civil rights movement. Similar to the Indian independence movement, the violent contingency of the civil rights movement made individuals such as King appear much more attractive to white racists. They knew that if they did not deal with King and the nonviolent sector they would be forced to face the violent elements, which sprouted up with the likes of Marcus Garvey, Robert Williams, Malcolm X and the black power movement as a whole. To assume that nonviolence was responsible for the success of the civil rights movement is misleading at best. Not only has the civil rights movement never been fully realized, but also the progress that was made in the 1950s and 1960s came from mixture of strategies, both violent and nonviolent.

In addition to the civil rights movement, each and every major social and political movement throughout U.S. history has relied upon a mixture of tactics that did include political violence. From the terrorism, armed insurrection and warfare involved in the War for Independence that formed this country, to the numerous violent slave revolts in the abolitionist movement, to the effects of World War 1 on the suffragette movement, to the riots, bombings and property destruction in the labor movement - no movement has gained a recognizable degree of progress or success without the implementation of political violence.

While no one in their right mind would glorify political violence, the question remains: Why is political violence necessary to advance political and social movements in the United States? The simplistic answer is because other tactics individually have never worked, will never work, and most importantly, cannot work to achieve justice in this country. This is fundamentally a result of the inability for non-violent approaches to actually confront and threaten the opponent - or in the largest and most crucial sense - the political structure of the United States.

Gandhian nonviolence - the predominant school of thought behind nonviolent action in the United States - dictates that the opponent must be weaned from error by sympathy for the non-violent activists. It states that the opponent must see the evils in his or her own actions and voluntarily change. This, it is too often argued, is the only methodology for creating lasting positive social and political change. Nonviolent theorists and practitioners also believe that even if the opponent does not have a healthy and working conscience, he or she could be pressured by a third party who would have sympathy for those engaging in the nonviolent self-suffering that Gandhi prescribed. Martin Luther King, Jr. strongly believed in the third party theory and applied it in various desegregation and enfranchisement campaigns.

The fundamental requirement in order for the above-mentioned non-violent theories to be successful is the ability for the opponent to have a healthy and working conscience. The healthy and working conscience is needed to allow the opponent to decipher between right and wrong, good and evil, just and unjust. One of the direst questions that need to be asked then is: Does an individual who is knowingly and purposely involved in unjust activities have a healthy and working conscience? Do executives from cigarette corporations, who have knowingly and purposely sold deadly products to people for years have healthy and working consciences? Do vivisectors, who blindly continue their fraudulent and appalling research purely for monetary gain, have healthy and working consciences? Do executives of corporations such as Pacific Lumber, who have been engaged in chopping some of the last remaining old-growth trees in this country strictly for financial gain, have healthy and working consciences? In all these examples, the answer is no. A healthy and working conscience would not allow someone to knowingly and purposely engage in atrocities.

Additionally, those believing in the third party theory are taking for granted the third party having a healthy and working conscience and the desire and ability to actually pressure the primary opponent into changing. In most cases the third party theory proves to be extremely unsuccessful as that entity has neither the desire, power, or influence to stop the injustice caused by the primary opponent. For instance, some non-violent elements of the U.S. anti-war movement (if you can even call it a movement as opposed to an extreme failure) will suggest that when the movement commits massive nonviolence in the United States and is met by repression from the U.S. government, some third party will intervene out of sympathy for the non-violent protesters. Unfortunately, this is a very skewed view of reality, as being that the U.S. government is a global bully, terrorist regime, and world power, no country will likely even attempt to intervene. A fine example can be seen currently in the case of the Iraqi massacre. People and governments all around the world know that the U.S. government invaded Iraq unjustly and remains there committing daily atrocities. But what governments are standing up to stop the U.S. government?

Realizing that nonviolent approaches on their own cannot be successful it seems apparent that those continuing to adhere to a strict code of nonviolence are attempting to appease personal consciences far more than actually attempting to progress their given issue or movement. This ability to engage in strategies and tactics that are only within the moral guidelines set by the nonviolence religion suggest that non-violent practitioners - especially in westernized societies such as the United States - are acting from a position of privilege and security and not out of a necessity to stop a particular injustice. The obvious difference occurs when someone (as in the case of the PLO in Palestine for instance) commits an act of political violence because they are in life and death circumstances. The point I am making here is that the purposeful adherence to the nonviolence religion is actually allowing a heightened degree of violence and injustice to exist because the unjust entity is never threatened. White liberals can preach the ethics and morals of nonviolence adherence to eternity but the fact remains that the environment continues to be destroyed, animals continue to be murdered en masse, and people continue to be exploited, tortured and murdered because people are not engaging in strategies and tactics that will actually stop the injustice. And by not even confronting these areas of injustice, we are all guilty of allowing them to continue.

Today the threat to life on the planet is so severe that political violence must be implemented in justice pursuits. To refuse this consideration constitutes a refusal to acknowledge the dire state of the world and the historical legitimacy of political violence in justice movements. The ability for justice to ever become a reality - especially in regards to the United States - directly depends on the willingness of individuals to do whatever it takes, to use any means necessary, to stop global murder, exploitation, and destruction of life.

homepage: homepage: http://www.arissa.org
phone: phone: (503) 972-1140

Don't let the turkeys get you down... 16.Nov.2003 15:18

AA

Thanks Craig... for all that you have done and I hope will continue to to do. There are a lot of us out here in the shadows who agree with you and do our part. Don't be discouraged by a few weak souls who cave in at the first signs of trouble... you know who you are, and don't back down... ever.
In solidarity...

Craig, people who just throw flames 16.Nov.2003 16:47

lalala

and unconstructive criticism at other activists are not helpful to any movement, and hardly deserve the consideration of a response. There's a lot to do in the world, and people who want to sit around and attack other activists rather than getting busy and organizing and strategizing are part of the problem, not the solution. Animals being tortured in labs need us, the environment needs us, and so much else...so please don't waste any of your precious energy trying to refute these people or letting them get you down. Our responsibility is to the creatures who need our help, not to answering to individuals who would like to hold up progess. We all need to listen to constructive criticism, but slander and name-calling and irrelevant personal information is not that. People who are serious about change are on your side.

I disagree. 16.Nov.2003 17:18

clamydia

I'm not qualified to make anything other than a superficial, "personal morals" type of comment on my personal position on political violence, and so I will make no comment at all. However, I disagree with Lalala's point that people who make faulty arguments should be ignored. The most nosensical and illogical arguments are often times the ones that draw unsuspecting people in simply because the flaw in the logic is oftentimes hard to see at first glance. This is why I believe that when someone makes an error in logic, they should be called on their bullshit every time, regardless of what they are arguing for, who they are, or what their motives are when they post. Calling someone on their shit and then quickly moving on seems to me to be preferable to ignoring them and having them yell louder for attention, disrupting things to an even greater extent.

yeah, one hundred percent correct 16.Nov.2003 17:19

boonplod

this is the same realization that has been made countless times before, and it will be made countless times again..

im glad that other people come to it.

it is (and always has been) time for action... this board of course is not the place to discuss it..

one thing that you didnt say: liberal whites ARE NOT directly threaetened (or at least they think they arent), to further any real movement the majorities will need to become either: A. more threatened, or B.understand the massive threat that things like (the patriot act, wars, propoganda) pose to them.

thats why im voting for bush in 04, because if he gets re-elected you can bet theres gonna be a ton of very angry people... he already stole one election, lets make sure he can steal the next, becasue i dont think as many people would be so nice about it the second time.

mixed bag 16.Nov.2003 17:35

alex

I've never criticized your position on violence, largely because I haven't devoted the time to considering it. If the above article is a good primer, I consider your position a bit simplistic. I have never disavowed violence, and doubt that I ever will. That said, putting a gun or bomb in the hands of the largely ignorant rabble, still chafing at their oppression, can be a big mistake. Violence, if applied, must be limited to anonymous assassination. No political statement, communiqué or claim of responsibility should be made. It will only work against you in delivering the rest of the ignorant rabble over to their oppressors even faster. Violence should only be used by the true reckless few who can maintain the level of intensity to do it alone and keep it secret to their death. Only then will the oppressors receive what they deserve without becoming martyrs and only then can we assure that assassins aren't committing the act to satisfy their own egos but because it must be done.

Political violence is not for the weak. They should probably stick to waving signs and blocking traffic.

Craig Rosebraugh is a Capitalist 16.Nov.2003 18:01

tired of poseurs

Don't you have a "a rich and elegant dining experience" to run?


Clamydia: Please re-read what I wrote! 16.Nov.2003 18:06

lalala

I said constructive criticism should always be listened to, but personal slanders and such should be ignored. If someone wants to discuss his ideas, and make strategies for social change, fantastic. People who are just looking to make personal accusations because they're more interested in attacking other activists than actually doing work are a waste of time. If you're into non-violence and you don't like what he says about it, then question his ideas on that--I'm sure he'd welcome the discussion. What was it about what I wrote that was confusing (serious question)? Why did you think I said if you don't agree with him than just ignore it?

Clamydia...I looked at your post again... 16.Nov.2003 18:09

lalala

I explained myself above, but now that I look at it, I'm not sure that I understand your point, or that I answered it. Maybe we have a misunderstanding. Can you rephrase what you wrote? Thanks.

response to Tired of poseurs 16.Nov.2003 18:11

clamydia

Until things change drastically in this society, there will be some people who see no other way to be effective activists without having some sort of "day job". I think this probably can include owning a vegan restaurant. What's your day job? Most of us have to have one, or at least think we do...

re: Lalala 16.Nov.2003 18:20

clamydia

It is my belief that a personal attack on a poster is an (admittedly crude) argument against what they are saying. It is also a faulty argument (discredit the person so that people will ignore what they say). No matter how frustrating and tedious it may be, I think it is imperative to quickly and visibly object to these sorts of attacks. A simple "that was a personal attack and has nothing to do with what the person is saying", and then a return to talking about the real subject should suffice. As irritating as it may be, if we all start doing this until it becomes second nature, then we can heighten not only our own immunities to faulty logic, but also the immunities of those who read without posting.

Craig Rosebraugh is a Capitalist and an Entrepreneur 16.Nov.2003 18:21

Tired of poseurs

He has every right in the world to own a restaurant.
And I have every right to call him a capitalist for doing so.

to Tired of poseurs 16.Nov.2003 18:32

clamydia

Additionally, you implied that he is a poseur. I never said you didn't have the right to call him anything, only that there are a lot of activists (anarchist and otherwise) who have "day jobs". Are they all poseurs as well? If so, then who <i>isn't</i> a poseur, and how does being a poseur decrease a person's effectiveness in the activist venue? Additionally, am I to understand that you think anyone who participates in the capitalist society that surrounds us is a Capitalist (with a capital "C")? The reason I ask is because I don't know anyone who doesn't or hasn't at least occasionally bought things from a store, or from another person. I guess that makes us all hypocrites, poseurs, and Capitalists. Damn us all, bastards that we are! I guess in that case there's no point in fighting for change/Revolution/etc, because none of us deserve it.

Think What You Want 16.Nov.2003 18:40

Sick of poseurs

Rosebraugh is a poseur not because he is a capitalist, but because he pretends to be otherwise.

Some real questions 16.Nov.2003 18:49

That need to be asked

Fine Craig, If you want to espouse violent struggle that is your right. One problem with your logic is that any violence will result in more violent behavior by the state, in spades. You encourage others to stoop to the level of the oppressors by engaging in the same sort of behavior. Like this is an effective way to solve injustices.

Some people have real issues with you persuading others to do the dirty work you claim is necessary. If you think things need to happen............sometimes if you want something done right you have to do it yourself.

If this is your vision of future means of effective struggles by all means go ahead and set the example. There is a big difference between THEORY and actualizing something.

re: sick of poseurs 16.Nov.2003 18:52

clamydia

It is my understanding (from what of read of his writings) that Craig mostly writes about tactical theory and political issues, and he rarely claims to be anything, non-capitalist or otherwise. In the above post, he implies that he is not "a capitalist at heart", and on this we must either take his word or not, because there is no way to definitively prove what lies in the "hearts" of people, unless of course you are the Shadow, in which case you've probably got better things to do than hang out on Indymedia, like fighting gangsters and evil Tibetan sorcerers or what have you.

Bottom line: Whether or not he participates in the capitalist system has nothing to do with what he writes about. If you don't agree with what he is writing in this article, then fine, but personal attacks are nothing more than an attempt to discredit someone with whom you don't agree. Maybe you should write your own article about hypocrisy instead of trying to derail a comletely different topic of conversation.


WHAT IS UP 16.Nov.2003 18:58

vote with Yer pocketbook

My apologies...

I only utilize all caps in the title to draw attention.

The comments derived from the post of the (potentially true) author, seems to ignore the meat of the message, that is, we must cease using passive disobedience and begin to undertake true acts of revolution.

How many must die. Also, how many must be crushed under the weight of capitalism before we awake.

This board may not be the place for detailing such undertakings, but it could be the catalyst!

Whack them in the ass, point to the police, and call for violence 16.Nov.2003 19:10

Ferret Mike

So Craig, out instigating, aye? You as a full of himself 'higher thinker' of strageties for change works to manage the frustrations and angers of others. You of course are much too good to get your hands dirty doing the violence. That would be real leadership putting your money where your piehole is.

You work to 'manage' others, not lead. Get them angry and focussed on the old ultra-violence, and sit back to do some 'manage yer porfolio commentary' about it. You ARE a true capitalist indeed. Let the proletariat types get the gasoline and gunpower on their clothing and hands. Radical bourgeoisie - like the pigs in Orwell's book 'Animal Farm' wait for the dust to settle to assume command and then work to exploit the situation for their own game.

You are beneath contempt. While people work to empower others and to build a structure that can take on social and economic problems in a fashion that teaches the general population and works to bring them along the right way when Nonviolent civil disobedienc (NVCD) elevates the level of discourse and the work on an issue. You work to get people who are angrier then well informed and educated on issues to make war that people like you can leverage political gain for yourselves.

The techiques writen about and put into action by Mohandas Ghandi and MLK Jr. worked, and worked well. Otherwise they would have long since been whittled down and debunked, not had their life's work built upon anmd put into effective action long after their mortal shells had passed on.

You rely on anger and knowlege many have not more than a casual familiarity with their theories and principles. Go get anger management therapy and help for your impulse to instigate action that puts the struggle three steps back for every one taken forward. You do not fool me. And you will ultimately wind up inside that big ol' tiger you try to mount up in your silly little offering above. -Michael J. McCarthy (Nearly murdered on July 23, 1989 in Eugene by a security guard pulling me from a tree in front of the Nike Store construction site....And still a follower of NVCD. Is THAT I.D.ing myself enough for the likes of you? Nobody need hide behind any anonymity to take you on.)


Nearly murdered for nothing - time to rethink strategies 16.Nov.2003 19:51

GRINGO STARS

You were nearly murdered to combat Nike's policies, Michael. Nike's policies are sick and wrong, but your nonviolent tactics have proven worthless, except perhaps to your own conscious. Good activists like you are risking themselves on proven-ineffective nonviolent tactics. Nike still, to this day, has not even tempered its behaviour, even in light of Michael McCarthy's actions.

The fact is that political violence works. It's a fact that comfortable activists don't want to face. No one wants to risk death or prison, myself included. But the sooner we face facts, the better.

Trying to "elevate the level of social discourse" with the likes of our genocidal and amoral government is doomed to failure. BushCo doesn't HAVE a conscious. For nonviolent tactics to work, that is a requisite.

Craig is not a doer. Revolutions require thinkers and propagandists, and that is Craig's job; to publicize the fact that political violence is a legitimate tactic. I think it's a useful message. But understand; someone who talks what he talks is not allowed to walk the walk because he is undoubtedly closely watched by the authorities. Any violent action on his part would be a sure prosecution, or result in a dead Craig. I think he realizes this and acts accordingly.

What's the problem with getting people angry? People SHOULD be angry. If there were more angry people, we wouldn't be in the mess we are now in. Anger is healthy and our culture of pleasant complaisance is one suited to a slave culture.

Take a look at SHAC-- 16.Nov.2003 20:29

SteveO

they're shutting down Huntingdon animal torture labs more effectively than any passive protest ever has:  http://www.shac.net/ And they're doing it through threat and intimidation. To say that violent protest is not a useful tactic is untrue. I'm sure the animals suffering in those labs would appreciate any tactic that would help to free them.

To the Gringo Starr sort of guy 16.Nov.2003 21:18

Ferret Mike

"You were nearly murdered to combat Nike's policies, Michael. Nike's policies are sick and wrong, but your nonviolent tactics have proven worthless, except perhaps to your own conscious. Good activists like you are risking themselves on proven-ineffective nonviolent tactics. Nike still, to this day, has not even tempered its behaviour, even in light of Michael McCarthy's actions. "

No, the idiot was playing Dirty Harry when he should have been doing his job calling the police instead of heaving weight onto the loop of rope he had climbed the fence to grab hold of to stop my climb. True, society teaches him to defend the indefensible in Nike, but he made the decision to harm me. Nike would have hadme left to my devices and then arrested or cited when I climbed down.

Now, I well know that the police chose not to question investigate or charge this moron with any crime and this in and of itself shows how dangerous and warped the system is. But to respond in action and intention in kind to his actions gives the situation where the public just sees too sides in a fued with no means to determine what happened, who is in the right and why. (By the way, The main point of contention that day with me was the pointless killing of four large beautiful trees I knew well having worked at Pedal Power Bicycles next door to them. Why I was there was very personal, and involved the death of friends I had more than a casual acquaintance with. I was very tired and felt tension plenty that night. Frankly, had they not been such well known and loved trees on a personal level, I might very well have called it a night instead of climbing when three oclock rolled around.)

I have spent years thinking about that night, and the scars I have from it are better then string around the finger to remind me to do so. I am better if I still can remember that even the most base and evil human has humanity to them, and that if I can't have some point where I can feel an element of compassion for those who assaulted me and those who excused it, I would ultimately be no better then they are. I refuse to be eaten alive by the same bile that is doing in the power elite who rub elbows with the Ted Knights of the world.

"The fact is that political violence works. It's a fact that comfortable activists don't want to face. No one wants to risk death or prison, myself included. But the sooner we face facts, the better."

Comfortable? You think NVCD is not wrought with fear, tension, and discomfort? Explain what you mean by this. I don't see NVCD as being easier then the act of burning an SUV. It takes courage to be calm and to provide the example people look up to when the issue at hand is elavated.

Jeffrey Luers is someone I know and personally like. But he acted in ego, anger at the police messing with him the week prior to his arson, and the entire action he undertood is the classic "Emporer with no clothes." It was wreckles and ill planned. No operations plan sterilizing the place the flammibles were mixed. There was no security going to and at the site of action, just 'go there do it and leave.'

It sucks he got so many years, but that too was an outcome exacerbated by to piss poor planning. The idiots who cooked off those other trucks after his conviction just prior to his sentencing were as big a group of rocket sientists as Critter and Free in action alienating people and wrecking havic to work other groups in Eugene and this country were involved in. Radical rightwing wingnuts would love to use violent acts to use a broad brush to paint everyone working against them as eco-terrorists, domestic terrorists, and these events hand them tools to try to get this sort of legal outcome that does require winning the hearts and minds of the voters.

Now, do I sound like I am comfortable? That my friend is a genuine, owned up to opinion anyone can hate me for. I don't often talk this frank about the SUV arsons that happened here in Eugene, it would be far, far more comfortable not to. I want to make a very good point the goal of NVCD is definately NOT to be in a comfort mode. I pander to nobody, and want to see people learn to work together; not become a Balkanized mess. Craig Rosebraugh talk and the violence he would have it incite mixed with the "kind, compassionate fascism of the power elite and their stooges are two things you put together to creates a malignant.cancer. It takes both to make it, it is not there with just one element or another.

"Trying to "elevate the level of social discourse" with the likes of our genocidal and amoral government is doomed to failure. BushCo doesn't HAVE a conscious. For nonviolent tactics to work, that is a requisite."

Bush and Company is the diametrical opposite of what people who read INDYmedia stand for. What NVCD aims to influence is the general public at large. To counter the monopoly on capital and information flow, NVCD elevates diolog and action on issues people need to know about and to act on.

They are coy enough to think "Bring it on!" to people like Free, Critter, the author of this piece; because they know how to cynically incite and bait the public into taking care of them and people like them without having to get their soft, puffy, pink little hands dirty themselves.

Violence solves nothing. It makes one feel good in the gratification and high of the aftermath, but it scares, alienates and hands the public support the Bushies of the world need to do their dirty work on a silver platter.

"Craig is not a doer. Revolutions require thinkers and propagandists, and that is Craig's job; to publicize the fact that political violence is a legitimate tactic. I think it's a useful message. But understand; someone who talks what he talks is not allowed to walk the walk because he is undoubtedly closely watched by the authorities. Any violent action on his part would be a sure prosecution, or result in a dead Craig. I think he realizes this and acts accordingly. "

Oh please, spare me. I see he is playing games on many levels and know how he postures himself with this sort of articulate trolling. Being an agent provocateur is an old game, and he stands to only hurt the outcome of struggles on various issues, hurt people inspired to act by the catalytic effect his words have on them. And I see where he ultimately reaps personal benefit with comfort and no risk.

I learned as a young man what makes a leader and how they differ from those who would be managers of the actions of others. Sorry, this guy at the core is a coward. A very big one too.

"What's the problem with getting people angry? People SHOULD be angry. If there were more angry people, we wouldn't be in the mess we are now in. Anger is healthy and our culture of pleasant complaisance is one suited to a slave culture. "

So...who's not angry? You think I didn't want to throw a heavy object at the asshole girtling the tree I was in at the Sheldon McMurphy house, killing it right under me? There is a great deal of anger in people doing NVCD. The important thing is to know how to use that anger wisely with heart and mind focussed in a discipline manner. I know what raises the profile of an issue and how to do it. And violence for violence is like trying to argue with an idiot. The public watching doesn't see which is which, and the big guy too often winds up with the general benefit of doubt and gets the brass ring.

Violence has allot of heart in it. The problem is it involves unsing almost no brains.


I repeat...sometimes violence 16.Nov.2003 21:32

SteveO

works. The financial backers of SHAC are pulling out one after another. They would like the money the product brings them, but they would like to not be harrassed and threatened even more. Please research what they're doing and tell me how it's not working.

Money talks 16.Nov.2003 22:12

Marty

Personally, what I think would be effective is economic boycott and withdrawing support from the system. If we all quit buying their products, boycott their companies, quit working for them, do tax resistance, reduce consumption, and put our dollars and energies into alternative economies such as cooperatives, barter, underground economy, community agriculture, etc., we could maybe have a chance of making the whole house of cards fall. It's not the whole solution, but I think it could have a big effect if enough people did this, at least to whatever extent they can.

To Ferret Mike 16.Nov.2003 22:57

GRINGO STARS

The police are paid bodyguards/security for the rich, so when the chips come down, we know which side the police will work for. The guy who almost killed you was protected by th epolice. No big surprise, they are Nike employees in effect if not in name.

NVCD *is* wrought with fear, tension and discomfort. Just enough that that type of activist can deal with. It is nothing compared to the type of risks involved with political violence, however. "By any means necessary" as Malcolm X put it, who was killed by the greater political violence of the state. The violence the state does is sometimes without reason, for example a person of color with the gall to ask why he was pulled over, beaten severely by a state cop. Just another life story that radicalized me.

When does the violence stop? When the perpetrators are afraid for themselves. When their fear equals ours, the violence will stop. Despite the disinformation that says otherwise, that is why Gandhi and MLK's words had any traction; because there was implicit threat of violence in what they said. If the authorities didn't deal with them, then they would have to deal with much more difficult adversaries, ones who were unafraid to defend themselves.

Free Luers was rash and did something he will regret for the rest of his life. But what he regrets is probably that he was so careless when extreme care should have been taken. You can rape someone and get off scot free these days. You can murder someone and get seven years. But if you mess with the ruling class's money, then you get BIG time in prison. They can't have that kind of thing; it drives their insurance premiums up and they lose money. In other words; it is an activism that is effective. It hits them where it hurts; the money belt. They had to set an example with Free.

Mike, the press is against leftist activists no matter what we do. We don't even have to do anything and they will demonize us for inaction. No matter what, they will have something unkind and untrue to say. By playing their game and trying to win their rotten hearts we can only lose. The press is bought and paid for, self-admitted intellectual prostitutes whose job is to say what their masters want them to say. The mass media can't be won over. That's why IndyMedia; becoming the press is much more effective than changing our techniques to suit their corrosive belief system.

Furthermore, we do not live in a democracy, or even a republic. Voting is a fraud-riddled mockery. We live ina plutocracy where money decides everything. To pretend that we can win in that arena is also meaningless.

Small groups of people are the only people who have EVER changed the world, as the popular saying goes. And since most people are happy with SUVs, Big Macs and tell-a-visions, they are happy as pie jumping through flaming hoops to get them, and they will believe what the the lying media says and they will believe that if only the right grinning stranger gets elected their lives will finally improve.

If, with NVCD, you are trying to influence the general public, you will fail everytime, like you have been doing, because "THEY" own the media and will paint you as nuts no matter how compassionate you are, which you definitely seem to be.

Stop a minute 16.Nov.2003 23:24

Think

I do not consider myself an advocate of either violence nor non-violence. There are times when both have been effective. And to deny this would be dishonest and self-serving--to reinforce our ego's need to believe that "our" method of doing things is the only way possible. However, in addition to admitting that both peaceful and violent forms of protest have been effective, it is also important to be honest with ourselves about their limitations.

While non-violent chance is usually slow in coming, it has, contrary to the author's simplistic assertion, been effective in countless campaigns and movements. Its strength is in its broad base of support and its ability to mobilize masses rather than margins. And moreover, it is in no way dependent on the enemy's sense of compassion, but more commonly their bottom line. When a company or country is incurring more harm to their financial wellbeing, public image, or ability to function, than they are reaping benefit through their oppressive actions, non-violent tactics are effective. This is why labor strikes, boycotts, public information campaigns, and civil disobedience have all led to change. The thing you must keep in mind is what kind of change are you attempting to achieve?
In the case of revolutionary change, non-violence will probably not be effective unless the masses are driven towards that mindset and push towards it over a long, long period of time. Recent overthrows of dictatorial rulers by elections in countries like Kenya and Brazil are a testament to this. However, in the U.S. I do not see this happening any time soon. The general public is simply way too brainwashed by their dependence on corporate products and ideals. However, does that mean that political violence is necessarily going to be more effective?

If you look at the events of Sept 11 and the political aftermath, it becomes clear what some of the problems with political violence are:
1) It is the ultimate excuse/tool for governments to impose MORE repressive policies and social controls upon
society (a reason why many believe this act of political violence was carried out by the government to frame
specific targets--something we should remember our government has done many times before to repress
otherwise non-violent and sucessful social movements.)
2) It is driven by anger and creates fear. While a healthy dose of rightious indignation or anger is appropriate,
intense anger actually floods the brain and short-circuits centers involved with rational thought. And, no act
of violence should be carried out without careful thought. Moreover, the creation of fear in the general public
only decreases general support for your cause.
3) The effects of political violence are unpredictable. It can and will be interpreted by the corporate media and
political leaders in the most convoluted way possible to advance their own sociopolitical agenda.
4) Violence is a marginalized tactic for change, meaning that you will have limited support. It is important to be
rational about this when discussing a violent revolution coming about in the U.S. It may sound good, but
be realistic about your numbers and availible resources versus that of the U.S. military and its arsenal.
5) Violent revolutions have historically overthrown repressive regimes to only replace them with similarly
repressive regimes. The less mainstream the ideals of a revolution, the more repressive it must be to
maintain power. Also be wary of the phenomenon of "identifying the your oppressor," whereby oppressed
groups tend to assert themselves by oppressing a more vulnerable group in the same manner they have
been oppressed. The situation with Isreal and Palestine can be seen as a key example.
6) A single violent political act may cancel out a lifetime of non-violent political acts. Which will create more
change? This is something to seriously consider when weighing the pro's and con's of a violent action
and the jail time or death sentence it may incur. Judging from the fact that the author and other advocates of
violence posting here are not likely doing it from prison, this seems to be a sticking point.
7) Violence has, throughout history, been a male institution. It has been used almost exclusively BY MEN, to
create power FOR MEN, with womyn and children suffering the most and gaining the least. Ask yourself, is
your tendency toward violence driven by your overwhelming motivation to make the world a better place, or
the male biological drive to assert oneself over others?

I hope that these are some things we can think about, in an attempt to have an honest and realistic discussion about the utility of political violence for social change. I think anyone who is unable to seriously address these issues without becoming defensive, has probably not come to a point where they have fully thought-out the ramifications of using violence. And advocating or carrying out political violence without being fully conscious of the ramifications is dangerous--not only to oneself and others, but also to the cause you seek to advance.
Keep in mind, I am not condemning violence--I think the recent actions in Bolivia are a good example of when and how it can be effective--I am simply advocating that we stop dividing the activist community around this issue and start being honest about the utility and limitations of each approach.

To those of you who cannot 17.Nov.2003 00:11

SteveO

see the utility of violence, I say once more--talk about SHAC. Also, what the hell do you think is beating the US--the biggest, baddest country in the world, out of Iraq? Why have we accelerated our exit strategy 100 fold? Guerrilla violence. There's nothing else that would get us out of there so fast. A relatively few people are scaring our might out of there. We don't have the stomach for it, nor do the banks and such who support Huntingdon animal hell have the stomach for the actions of SHAC protestors.

To the person who said well, let's all pull out and start boycotting stuff. Well yeah. But that's not going to happen anytime soon. We don't have the numbers. To the person who just said sometimes there's a time for violence and sometimes not. Well yeah. Who but the most naive wouldn't admit that? Come on, real discussion please.

And I agree, Think, this 17.Nov.2003 00:21

SteveO

issue should not divide the activist community. We can't attack each other and attack the system both. We need to stop attacking other activists and get busy with our own work.

main point 17.Nov.2003 01:48

boonplod

non-violence = life - violence
violence = all of life

to deny that violence is a needed part of struggle is to say that we are free right now, so are we? i thought we had already decided that we werent free...

no freedom was ever won without violence, every generation needs a revolution, otherwise the government gets too comfortable and begins to exploit knowing there is no harm posed to him..

and if you thiink that any movement ever worked without any violence whatsoever, ide like to see a list.

people who advocate for violence arent saying that non-violent things are worthless and should be thrown out, just that conventional (sit there and get the shit beat out of you then arrested and fined and whatever else) non-violent protest isnt enough.

you will always need people to till the field and make the wool (non violent protest right there!) but those same people during times of exploitation or war, will have to fight.

and to the people talking about boycotting, yes... you need to boycott, but how long can YOU live without going to the store? Whats more imperative right now (than boycotting) is buying land and setting up community gardens for food, growing hemp or cotton for clothes, and doing everything that needs to be done to make a self sustainable anarcho-economy...

that being said... owning a buisness is really one of the first steps, and as long as it is done with integrity, it is really the only thing to do right now. the point always has to be not the buisness, but the community that can be rallied arouund that buisness, that then goes on to make real change... but whatever.

i say:
evoke emotion, find people who think along the same lines as you, liberate land, farm, distribute food to people who help to build the community... expand.. buy guns... so on and so on..

but whatever, all you people angry about the promotion of violence really need to get over it, violence is a natural part of life, and if you disagree then maybe its just because all the wolves are dead, so youve never seen one kill a fawn?... thats eating babies, and thats what it needs to do to survive, its incredibly naive to believe that violence is not the answear...

anywho..

If every one does their part... 17.Nov.2003 03:26

AA

Things WILL get done. There is a great need for all strategies. If you are not comfortable with political violence, don't use it. We need Code Pink and PPRC and the like in order to show that even soccer moms can be pissed. But... and here is where I agree with Thomas Jefferson, a little revolution now and then is a good thing. We wouldn't have made the advances againt the timber companies that we have made without people like Dave Foreman of Eart First! and the ELF but, again the but, we could not have sustained it without the Sierra Club and the Cascadia Forrest Alliance... and the like. The tree-spiking of the early eighties was seen as the most radical thing that an environmental activist could do... there were stories about deaths caused by tree-spiking and the enviros were demonized. That led to the more moderate activists gaining respectability within the mainstream and having their ideas and action looked at with less animosity than before. The same thing is happening today with the tree-sitters and the ELF. The ELF burns some SUVs and people look at the tree-sitters and say "well, atl least they're not setting shit on fire." The radicals make it easier for the moderates to do their work and the progress that the moderates make forces the radicals to become more extreme and then things get fucking accomplished... we are all in this shit together and the sooner we realise it and quit bitching about tactics and ideals, the better off and more effective we will become. I don't like the idea of an armed revolution but if that is what it takes then so be it.
Today we have soooo many more option as to what tactics we, personally, can get involved in that there is a very real posibility of enacting change and not just spinning our wheels. From memes and adbusting to burning SUVs and tearing up railroad tracks, our lexicon of resistance to the corporate sovereignty that has usurped the power of the people has grown with each passing year. Once we can all agree that whatever you do to further the "cause" is good then the powers that be will have no choice but to capitulate. Sure, there will be police crack-downs... that happens anyway. Sure there will be COINTELPRO, they've been around for a long time... but we must not make the mistake of letting non-violence superceede the end goal...
Sorry, just putting in my two cents... feel free to tear me apart.
I solidarity,
AA

THE F.B.I. ARE THE REAL TERRORISTS. (AND THE C.I.A.) 17.Nov.2003 04:41

Chyld ysab@efn.org

HI! Craig!


Questions 17.Nov.2003 08:59

snow black

Do any of you political-scientificos out there care to explain the difference between being a capitalist and being a product of the capitalist system? Is there a difference?

reply to snow black 17.Nov.2003 09:31

a former "product of the capitalistic system"

the difference between a "capitalist" and a "product of the capitalistic system" is simple. One (the capitalist) has a
CHOICE and "is" with deliberate aforethought, whereas the other (product of system) has no choice till they've be-come "enlightened", and at that time, they too have a choice. make sense? hope so.

Violence, lawlessness, and evasion of personal responsibility 17.Nov.2003 10:36

xyzzy

"...a strict adherence to lawful and nonviolent behavior with the only exception being the occasional use of nonviolent civil disobedience...."

I think the obsession with lawfulness is more a key than the obsession with nonviolence, especially if one takes "nonviolent civil disobedience" to means highly ritualized and symbolic law-breaking that involves more cooperation with the authorities than defiance of them.

The Establishment wrote the rules of the game to their own benefit. If someone playing by them starts winning the game, the Establishment reserves the right to change the rules (or simply ignore or weasel out of them). Obeying their rules thus means always conceding the strategic advantage to them.

The issue of violence begs the question of how violent such acts as, say, the Weather Underground's bombing of the US Capitol, really are. That action didn't physically harm any human being; in fact, it was deliberately calculated not to (a warning to evacuate the Capitol was phoned in before it detonated). Did the US drop warning leaflets on residential neighborhoods in Hanoi before bombing them? Who was the real practitioner of violent means?

Regarding Craig's business, yes, we do need day jobs. I just think it's weird that apparently he's starting a traditional, hierarchical, capitalist enterprise instead of a cooperative. (Maybe he is starting it as -- or planning to transition it to -- being a worker co-op, but there's not a word either way on the Calendula web page. That makes me assume the enterprise will take the default form businesses do in our society.) That does make me question how much Craig is committed to building a new society, and how much he is simply interested in being a center of attention.

Re: Stop a minute 17.Nov.2003 10:53

xyzzy

"While non-violent chance is usually slow in coming, it has, contrary to the author's simplistic assertion, been effective in countless campaigns and movements."

Or maybe not, since all nonviolent campaigns I'm aware of happened at the same time as violent ones toward the same goals. The campaign could have succeeded in spite of the nonviolence, not because of it. That's the fun part about the social sciences -- there are no "pure" examples and one is stuck trying to tease out cause/effect threads from a tangled web.

Which, of course, means the converse applies as well: it's impossible to prove that the violence was indispensable in any such mixed struggle.

Portland

means and ends 17.Nov.2003 11:02

jal

to use violence as a means to secure justice/ peace as an end is the same logic the administartion uses to engage in pre-emptive war for the purpose of securing freedom/ democracy. to engage this logic makes one no better or different than the administration. means do not justify ends; the means are the end, they are not seperable. to use violence to secure capitalitic ends or to use violence to secure just ends are one in the same. the only thing setting apart the end is precisely the method employed to arrive there. if you wish to arrive at justice or peace, use these to ge there, otherwise it is something else.

however, and related to a comment above regarding an annonymous and specific tageting of assisanation. there is a story of buddha killing the captain of a ship because he knew the captain had in mind to kill the 500 people on board. so with concern of the 500 in mind he took quiet action. so when you head out looking for mr bush, be certain to take buddha with you. the rest will take care of itself.

misc thoughts 17.Nov.2003 11:21

chris

1) Of course violence "works". Might makes right. That's why the American government employs it so much. That's why assholes beat their wives. Violence intimidates people into doing what you want. Duh. That's it's entire purpose. It's like pointing out the sky is blue.

India and Pakistan continue to be very violent places. India's got fun stuff like Hindus and Muslims burning each other to death, and quasi-fascist Hindu nationalists running the country into the ground. Then there's the never-ending wars over Kashmir. Anyone can employ political violence, and lots of fucking assholes do.

2) You provide the example of India. That's great. What about Kurdish Turkey, or Palestine, or Spain in 1936? Clearly the oppressed there aren't afraid to use political violence. It didn't make them successful. If you're facing an overwhelmingly powerful enemy, it doesn't really matter what tactics you use. You're going to lose. Period.

3) If your political views are extremist compared to the rest of the population, it doesn't matter what tactics you use. You have no popular support, and no one cares if you go down. A good example of this would be the Weather Underground. They weren't afraid to kill people and blow shit up, and they accomplished precisely jack-fuck-all.

And #3 is a good description of the far left in North America right now. Very few people understand, or care, about your vitriolic hatred for capitalism, the government, the police etc. There is absolutely zero chance of an anti-capitalist revolt at any time in the forseeable future. If there were, right-wing Republicans would begin organizing their own militias, and maybe the country would descend into civil war. Or, maybe the army would just slaughter the fledgling left-wing brigades. Who knows. Sounds like a great deal of fun either way.

Anyways, if very few people care about your cause, it doesn't really matter how you advance it.

chris

political violence...is it right or wrong? 17.Nov.2003 11:53

we report, you decide

These quandary over whether political violence is right or wrong can best be answered by looking at the near mythical
hero's of the current fundamentalist-rightwingnuts, who are all the time pitching the greatness of the Founding Fathers.
Well, the reason they became "Founding Fathers" in the first place was because they'd individually/collectively answer-
ed this same very question. They, as you surely must know, decided it was RIGHT. Therefore, what's right for them, is
right for us. Think about it!

Anti-consumerism etc. 17.Nov.2003 12:12

Marty

Boonplod asked how long I can go without going to the store. If you mean corporate stores, we hardly ever go there, only if we can't get a necessary item anyplace else. It is actually pretty simple. We grow our own vegetables and some fruit, other food is from the co-op, we bake our own bread, make our own soy milk, soy cheese & tofu. We don't buy stuff we don't need- clothes & household items are second hand and often come from curb surfing or dumpster diving. We repair stuff instead of buying new stuff. Our income comes from a combination of part-time non-profit work & self-employment. it really hasn't been hard to do, in fact it's a good life, and if everybody participated in the economy as little as we do, it would come tumbling down. I think other forms of political action are needed, too. I'm not sure myself what else will have the biggest effect. That remains to be seen. I think alternative media and education are hugely important. I think creating alternative economies and systems to replace the current system is extremely worthwhile. Anything that works for the greater good.

Re: means and ends 17.Nov.2003 12:52

xyzzy

This will be my last comment here.

"Means" and "ends" are certainly not one and the same. (Really, now, has there been a continual state of war between Britain and the US since 1776?)

"The ends justify the means" and "the ends cannot justify the means" are both simplistic slogans. Slogans are a poor substitute for coherent theory; the real world is too complex to be comprehensively described in a handful of words.

Instead, one should ask a question more like: "Does the struggle for these particular ends under this particular situation justify these particular means?"


Portland

To "jal" 17.Nov.2003 13:22

GRINGO STARS

Your example of the Buddha killing a captain of the ship is an example of what Bush calls pre-emptive violence. Is Buddha no better than Bush? By your logic, Buddha is no better than Bush.

The fact is that Bush used the legitimate tactic of pre-emptive attack, yet he used it on the wrong country. It is well established that Iraq was a threat to no one but itself, let alone the USA. Misuse of a legitimate tactic does not make that tactic illegitimate. That is a fallacy called Guily By Association;
 http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/guilt-by-association.html
Attacking Iraq was not at all pre-emptive since there was no evidence whatsoever that Iraq had the means to attack the US.

When someone threatens you directly and credibly, it is mere self defense to attack that person first. Self-defense is a legitimate use of violence. Who here would allow their son to be stabbed or their mother to be raped without resorting to violence in defense? Or should we wait until they come for us with their guns drawn already?

To "chris"...

Spain in 1936 was an example of political violence working perfectly. The problem was the much greater political violence used against them (as well as the anarchists ceding power whenever they gained it, as per their utopian ideals). You cite the examples of Palestine as political violence being ineffective. Guess what? That makes the political violence of Israel EFFECTIVE. Get it? Overwhelming force wins the day. It's not just, but it's the way things are. As you say, plenty of assholes utilize political violence. That's because it's effective.

A revolution is always an uphill battle if only because the government's views are propagandized 24/7 by the complicit corporate media. People in the USA are educated to be compliant workers, not critical thinkers. They are educated to be immature child-adults who cosume to live. They will hate anything that closes the mall or their fast-food restaurants. And most revolutionary information will be ignored, as planned by the corporate media which methodically invalidates any thought which is not sufficiently consumerist/reactionary. It seems only the working class, which is painfully aware of its position, can be won away from American Dreaming, but only after accepting that they will never live the capitalist dream-lifestyle they have fantasized about. At the expense of other country's workers, US citizens, even relatively poor ones, can enjoy celphones, TVs, cars, and beer - as long as they don't lose one of their multiple jobs. There is not enough consciousness of widespread hardship in the US for a true popular revolution... yet.

Chris, you are wrong that "very few people understand" hatred for government, police, or capitalism. It's just that individuals believe they are alone in thinking these things, and with so many addicted to their tell-a-visions, it's no surprise. Everyone thinks their thoughts are out-of-order and unusual and not valid (according to teh establishment). There are plenty of people with real grievances against these things, and they need a forum to come together and understand that it is not just them, but as long as they are watching corporate media, some of them will disown their own thoughts in order to "get along", just as they are taught.

buddha ? bush 17.Nov.2003 19:24

White Lilac

Noam Chomsky & others have pointed out the difference between preemptive strikes/war and what Bush did with Iraq, which is more accurately termed a preventive war (or maybe we should consider it part of the Bush doctrine?). They are two very different things.

A preemptive strike would be the interception of foreign bombers (intent on striking US targets) over the Atlantic or Pacific (Canada & Mexico aren't going to invade anytime soon). For example, if we had intercepted bombers before they reached Pearl Harbor, that would have been a preemptive strike. The legitimacy of preemptive strikes is universally recognized under international law. It is fundamentally a defensive idea: you preempt the strike/war launched against you.

By comparison, what Bush did in Iraq was offensive. Iraq posed no imminent threat the US, and so there was nothing to preempt. Even if Saddam had actual WMDs, the doctrine of pre-emption doesn't allow you to do anything unless you have actual, specific knowledge that those weapons are going to be used against you. Instead, we wanted to prevent Saddam from ever becoming a threat to us at some unspecified point in the future.

jal talks about buddha killing a ship captain because he intended to kill everyone aboard. This is tricky ... I'm not a Buddhist scholar, but I don't think this story has the meaning jal meant it to.

"A Buddhist story tells of a ferry captain whose boat was carrying 500 bodhisattvas in the guise of merchants. A robber on board planned to kill everyone and pirate the ship's cargo.
      
"The captain, a bodhisattva himself, saw the man's murderous intention and realized this crime would result in eons of torment for the murderer. In his compassion, the captain was willing to take hellish torment upon himself by killing the man to prevent karmic suffering that would be infinity greater than the suffering of the murdered victims. The captain's compassion was impartial; his motivation was utterly selfless."
 http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/tib/ctbw.htm

So according to the story, the focus was not on saving 500 people (bodhisattvas at that) from death, but on preventing 1 person from suffering eons of torment for what he was about to do. This interpretation removes this story from this debate about political violence and relegates it to the realm of religion. But I hope it saves Bush from being elevated to the level of buddha ... his motivation in Iraq was not "utterly selfless" and he has totally lacked "impartial compassion."

Personally, I don't want to spare Bush from eons of torment, particularly at my own expense, but I'm also not buddhist and see the lives of those Bush is killing around the world to be infinitely more valuable and worthy of consideration than the suffering incurred to one person in a voluntary act. Then again, I don't understand the whole buddhist suffering fetish either, so maybe I'm missing something.

this 18.Nov.2003 12:35

Gandhi

The posters for political violence in this thread explain their views in a most excellent manner with impassioned writing, but that is all it is... . writing. There is not much reality in these well thought out ideals.
Ask the 3 people who were put in jail and charged with the crime of destroying logging trucks with another person "touring" the country looking over his shoulder.
In the fictional world some could romanticize these people and their deeds. But what is the end result of this revolutionary act?
The logging company bought some new trucks with their insurance and 4 bright minds have been put out of commission. The 3 now in jail are working with the government on their pleas to reduce time while trying not to drop the soap in the shower, and the fourth is on the run.
The Bush administration thanks them all for giving up their lives.
Contrary to White Lilac's opinion , jal's passing on of the tale of the Buddha killing a ship's captain is indeed apropos to this thread; the long term consequences:  http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/tib/ctbw.htm
If "we are all in this thing together" then the violent radical needs to take a poll of the other radical/moderate compadres on what they think. (Although this thread is a good start.)

The Eagle Creek sit- in accomplished it's goal in saving a forest. And except for the occasional confrontation with a fascist or two, it was done without the violence.

American political violence is an extreme exercise in a minority viewpoint, and that has nothing to do with skin color.
As stated by Chris: "If your political views are extremist compared to the rest of the population, it doesn't matter what tactics you use. You have no popular support, and no one cares if you go down. A good example of this would be the Weather Underground. They weren't afraid to kill people and blow shit up, and they accomplished precisely jack-fuck-all."

In the post 9/11 world, domestic violence will be equated with ALL forms of the radical movement, the sheeple are not going to distinguish between different groups. If the television tells them some "radicals" blew up a gmo farm, the sheeple are not going to differentiate between the passive marcher and the actual bombers. Not only will support in any movement suffer from the violent few, it fractures as well, resulting in the violent few being just that.

Some study America's violent history and want use that history to reason modern day violence. Any historic review should include radical violence since the mid-sixties. Study the scars, the torn lives in prison, the destroyed families, lives on the run. Study how none of it changed a fucking thing.

To quote Ferret Mike: "So...who's not angry? You think I didn't want to throw a heavy object at the asshole girtling the tree I was in at the Sheldon McMurphy house, killing it right under me? There is a great deal of anger in people doing NVCD. The important thing is to know how to use that anger wisely with heart and mind focussed in a discipline manner. I know what raises the profile of an issue and how to do it. And violence for violence is like trying to argue with an idiot. The public watching doesn't see which is which, and the big guy too often winds up with the general benefit of doubt and gets the brass ring."

Wow! 18.Nov.2003 18:19

(m)e

WoW! This is the first time in a long time that I felt this good about ferret mike and this crappy about Gringo Stars! Of course, I never liked Craig! No, that's not true...I used to like Craig, when we were deluded, self absorbed radical rock stars together. There are better days ahead, Craig, just shut up allready! Why does "the movement needs thinkers" allways mean defaulting to white educated guys for theoretical and strategic leadership? Because that's the dynamics of privilege in this culture of power-over? Not only can we not trust people like that not to recreate those dynamics in a future society, they're doing it right now!

Next time somebody says, "Well, somebody's got to do the thinking and the talking. I don't see anybody else around volunteering..." be skeptical, very skeptical. They are out there...those other voices...you just can't hear them if you spend all your time shouting about your own thoughts or listening to those easiest to find (e.g. Craig). Also, just imagine what could bloom if so damn much space wasn't being taken up! I'd list some suggestions of thinkers and radical activist communicators that I have been lucky enough to find lately, but their involvement in a forum like this is their perogative, not mine. Noticing the existence of such folks has felt more liberating to my life (in the long run) than throwing a rock at cop or a window.

For Anarchy! Down with Schmescha (I mean Arrissa, or whateverthefuck it's called)!

if you have a choice... 18.Nov.2003 20:56

snow black

If you have a "choice" as to whether or not you would coin yourself in to being a capitalist, what are the choice(s)?Don't mind me just being a layman. Do I have a choice about the energy I use? i.e. if I turn on a light switch, am I a capitalist? Obviously, we don't have a PUD. If I walk on a street that is being built by a industrial corporation, am I a capitalist? Do I have that choice? If I am so poor (monartarily) that I can't afford co-op food, am I a capitalist? I was under the immpression, that the "capitalist" is a person(s) that control the means of production. Yeah, I learned that from some 101 class at a community college. Faulty me. Does Craig R. own the means of production in any way? I guess he owns the means of production of his book. Or maybe not , who knows? Does he really own anything that would be considered in this area? I'm not trying to be the devils advocate, just would really like to know.

Thinking is a crucial part of life 18.Nov.2003 21:05

GRINGO STARS

Craig does historical research. Not all people have the time or inclination to do so but he apparently does. He has found that violence is a crucial part of every real political change. My findings are similar. Every movement requires SOME amount of thought, and it is my understanding that Craig has done more than mere thinking on the subject. I don't know him personally but the fact that he is educated is not surprising. I am not at all for some kind of intellectual overclass, as "(m)e" claims. But the historical research which backs the fact that political violence or the threat thereof is a crucial bit of evidence as to why the left is so ineffective here in the US. White folks especially are "educated" to be non-violent, orderly, and politely ask for political change in the proper reformist avenue of electoral politics. Any diversion from that route seems to scare everybody. I don't entirely blame them. Violence is always scary, but things as they politically stand now are pretty scary too.

What Craig is saying is crucial and I believe must be heard. People SHOULD debate whether or not what he is saying is legitimate, and if they decide he is full of it , so be it. Do you only want to hear what Craig is saying from some mad-bomber-in-hiding? Who is that suicidal? The time is obviously not right yet for scattered acts like that. Critical mass must be reached, but the ruling elite does its best to avoid critical mass by keeping the populace hypnotized with technobaubles and televisions. When the time comes when people have TRULY had it, what are they going to do? Have a sit in? Boycott everything? That will still leave the state with a monopoly of violence, which is the very definition of political power.

"(m)e" you have told Craig to shut up and then you provided some slogans (I do love slogans - doesn't everyone?) at the end of your comment, but you have not really dealt with the issue at hand - political violence. I heartily agree that you should be skeptical - about everything. But especially when concerning violence. But if you had it your way, any future hypothetical revolution would end up like Spain 1936 - with all the anarchists staying true to their utopian ideals by walking away from any real power, in effect giving power back to the reactionary fascists who they had been fighting all along. In any movement, there must be *movement* in a particular direction. Without goals, there can be no progressive movements because there is nothing to move towards. We must THINK about the most effective direction to go and then the most effective way to get there. And while empty sloganeering is always great fun (hey I do it too sometimes) there remains the nuts and bolts of methodically planning a better society. Even if you want a nebulously "free-er" society, you will have to make *concrete plans* to eliminate the real obstacles to achieving that. You will be forced to think about some way of getting there, and if anyone with any ideas are to be shouted down (like you telling Craig to "shut up") then you will get your wish; no ideas will come and you will not go anywhere. If you have it already all figured out, please let the rest of us know so we can quit our silly discussions. How about we discuss things instead of telling each other to shut up? Just an idea.

Thanks anyway 18.Nov.2003 22:36

Puffed-out Drainbow calling for peaceful resistance

"Without goals, there can be no progressive movements because there is nothing to move towards."

I want to live in a world where people don't shoot or blow up other people.

That is one of the goals of the progressive movement I align myself with.

I really really dislike the mega-machine.

But I don't want to engage in violent behavior, I think there is plenty of that already in the world. Thanks anyway.

i wanna 19.Nov.2003 01:27

clamydia

I want to post a comment to this article.

But I want people to pay more attention to it than other comments.

Because I think that what I have to say is more important than what other people have to say.

SO I WILL TYPE EVERYTHING IN ALL CAPS.

AND MAYBE PUT IT IN BOLDFACE.

But above all I will make sure to separate every sentence with a paragraph tag.

So that the post takes up twice as much space as it should.


good call, Clamydia... 19.Nov.2003 05:15

lalala

make sure to also say something dismissive like "thanks anyway," in your message without actually seeming to have contemplated the whole issue beyond--hmm, there's sure a lot of violence in the world. Posters should also make sure to malign an effective method in the movement, while they themselves probably do nothing. "Peaceful resistance" for many of these people probably means sitting in front of the t.v. eating organic chips instead of Fritos. I'd sure hate to be a slave and hope for these people to help me. There is such a thing as protective use of force, even in the "nonviolence" movement. Have you small-brained dingbats forgotten that?

Totalitarian Pacifists 19.Nov.2003 12:29

jemma

Idealists who decry the actions necessary to actualize real change in this society and political structure make me sick. I'm sick of hearing that the "be it now" idealism is the end all and be all of a revolution. Do you know what that is? That is extremely elitist and isolatory, because how can it account for the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people in prison, or the slavery of enforced poverty, or the slavery of the enforced US-Mexico border, or the genocide of forced sterilization in Puerto Rico, cancer from US funded uranium mines across New Mexico and Arizona reservations and rural towns...

The US government is an entity with a history. I don't care whether you think it is a matter of evil individuals, or not. Because you can look at the past, and know the truth. Look- it started with the murder and enslavement of the Native peoples of the carribean, followed through with the same treatment of all this continent's indigenous peoples, went to Africa to steal and buy human beings as slaves which it brought back here and tortured with the labor of building this nations's wealth and bearing the brunt of its twisted domination. The revolutionary war was followed by numerious violent uprisings against the new government because poor people realized that the revolution they fought was coopted by the same aristocrats who ruled before. Then the US created its standing army, to keep its own people down. Throughout, there have been attempts at challenging the state. Things are not any better now for most people than they were a hundred years ago. The enemy is still the same. It is still killing people every day, based on skin color, ethnicity, class, and creed. If you're not a white male capitalist, (or if you ever watch the evening news) chances are you know that.

For me, and I believe for everyone who wants to end this oppression, the question is not whether or not revolution is necessary. We can all see, if we open our eyes, that this government has a history of breaking treaties and stabbing effective agents of change and resistance in the back. Reform doesn't touch the heart of the oppression. Revolution has got to! The question is HOW to break these chains. If non-violence would work, I'd be all for it. I hate inflicting and being inflicted with pain as much as anyone. However, it WON'T work with the USA or any place with a system of centralized command (oh...any state). The USA's capitilism keeps the focus on financial growth at all other costs, and its oligarchy minimizes the social conscience of those in power. They answer to eachother. Voters be damned-it's all about propaganda anyway. Perhaps non-violence has been successful in some reformatory campaigns, but in all cases the force of coercion is the one that triumphs. If you believe revolution is necessary, and you see the world as it IS (despite how much we want it to be different) than you will realize that our only chance at success will involve multiple tactics and perhaps even multiple strategies, and include covert and overt political violence. The state will not give itself up, because politicians will not give up their power and will not give up the system of power that favors thier aristocratic society.

You people who tell Craig to shut up sure are arrogant. I don't begrudge you our own opinion, because of course you're entitled to be brainwashed if you want to. I'll argue with you. But to tell other people to stop doing the work that they're doing- so that the argument wouldn't even exist- I'd say your vision is idealistically fascist. Not to mention the people who attempt to discredit his work by calling him a capitalist. Why do you think you have the place to criticize him personally (I don't want to hear it- why not just talk to him-and if you don't know him why the hell do you think you know anything about him?) when the issue at hand is not attatched to Craig-it is a much broader question and effects us all. I hope you get over yourselves and your cliquey lifestylism, because present and future generations deserve a chance at life.

(m)e again 19.Nov.2003 16:25

yup

Hey Gringo et all, I support many cases of political violence and i agree it's a neccesary part of a huge project of change, I'm just sick of Craig! Isn't anyone else?

political violence 19.Nov.2003 16:34

wax_anti

A few thoughts on violence-morality aside for the moment:

There are plenty of times when violence has not worked either. Like Palestine. They went on strike, revolted, refused to cooperate, rioted, retaliated, assassinated, and bombed to get Israel to stop thier religiously motivated military conquest. The conquest continues unabated.

The indigenous people in the US fought back and were promptly murdered en masse. Probably wouldn't have mattered if they used non-violence.

The Germans (yes, Germans) used non-violence after WWI when the French took over the Ruhr. Not a shot was fired. The French army came and the Germans just sat down and quit. Whole industries sat idle. The economy was wrecked. That was the main source of the "inflation," and it is no accident that German corporations found a way to speculate on the inflation and make the problem worse, tricking the American public into letting Wall Street re-fund their armaments industry.

Getting lots of people on your side seems essential. Why do elites use propaganda? To get people on thier side. The majority of Americans would welcome, or could be induced into tolerating, the use of the military and police to crush violent dissidents, since they see them as a fringe group, not really "Americans."

Capitalism is a social relation 19.Nov.2003 18:29

world socialist wsppdx@yahoo.com

To say (as was above) that anyone who participates in capitalism (as a woker) is a capitalist is totally wrong. Capitalism is a relationship between people, or more specifically, between CLASSES of people. Capitalists benefit from the labor of workers, the benefits are called profits, interest, taxes and rents. The capitalists have done nothing to deserve these benefits except to 'invest' money. Craig is a capitalist because he will be living off the labor of other people. While being a small-time capitalist, Craig may not be living high-on-the-hog (joke intended) and may have to pitch in at the cafe. But he will still be a capitalist. And a gentrifying one to boot.


political violence isn't a magic wand, it is a necessary tool 19.Nov.2003 18:56

GRINGO STARS

MOSSAD has funded Hamas in order to push the Palestinian resistance into a more fundamentalist direction, instead of the occasionally socialist direction the movement went. also, Hamas was the most intent on suicide bombing no matter how close the Palestinians were to critical mass. In other words, MOSSAD sought to enable Hamas to attack Jewish civilians, all as a pretext/justification for further incursions into the occupied territories, bulldozing more Palestinian homes, taking/ruining more Palestinian lives, all in the openly stated plan for the "transfer" of Palestinians out of their own land;

 http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=18062002-051845-8272r

So yes, there are times when, for propagandic purposes, a state will manipulate their opponents into violence in order to seem the victim when the state is actually the aggressor. This is used when the military might of the resistance is close to nothing, as in the case of Palestine/Israel. Remeber than in guerilla warfare that whenever the guerillas are not losing, they are winning. The rebels in Afghanistan are waging their war the same way that effectively drove the USSR out of their country; they can't possibly smash the Russians militarily, so they hit and run constantly, making it hugely expensive both monetarily and life/injury-wise - until the occupation is not worth the trouble.

But political violence is not a magic wand when, once used, will magically grant success in a movement. Political violence is a prerequisite for real change, along with other means, one of which is propaganda, a crucial tool for change in any society.

As far as Craig is concerned, I don't know him or his business or how he runs it. My only suspicion is how he can legally provide the services he advertises with his public relations business in this age of Homeland Security and the "war against terror." And although he might be a capitalist or a provocateur (I don't know) it doesn't make what he is saying false. I say similar things and I don't own schitt, just like most other people who advocate political violence as a legitimate tactic. And while I consider myself a socialist, I realize that I live in a capitalist society and must live, and yes it's better to be the boss than the worker, and "living the change" is an elitist and isolatory and ineffective tactic, as jemma pointed out. Craig has to live too. MLK cheated on his wife repeatedly, which goes against everything he publicly strove for as a man of god, but he still made some changes for the common good despite his apparent hypocrisy. Just as I don't get into tearing Craig down, I don't much get into tearing Dubya down either, because the politics of individual personalities is a diversion from the *systems* of the establishment at work, who will replace individual personalities at will since they are meaningless in the big picture. What Craig says still stands, despite what he may or may not have done, or still does. I'd rather discuss ideas than gossip.

It is relative 19.Nov.2003 20:24

Mr. X

"Bottom line: Whether or not he participates in the capitalist system has nothing to do with what he writes about. "-Clamydia. That is bullshit, the man is advocating and encouraging violence against the capitalist system. How can you say he can write material about attacking the capitalist system and participate at the same time and it's OK?
Craig complains about people anonymously criticising him? Well I for one am afraid to comment on this thread for fear of reprisal. Many of the people that align themselves with Craig's politics are obviously sketchy and many of us fear they would do us harm if we honestly and openly expressed our real sentiments on this issue. And I'm sorry to have to say that because I feel the issues the groups Craig has spoken for are addressing are very crucial ones that demand solutions.

it's not relative 20.Nov.2003 18:30

clamydia

For the same reason I can make a post advocating the use of Linux and use Windows 2000 to post it, because my personal situation is that I can't get Linux to work on my machine. It is very important, I think, for people to be able to separate a person's message from the person themselves. Sort of like the whole Rich Makin thing. Yeah, a lot of people think he sux cuz of all the sexual misconduct controversy, but that's not gonna stop me from reading his stuff. If he says something in a zine that makes me think, then I'm grateful for that in spite of who he may be as a person. I don't know him, and you don't know Craig (or so I assume, I mean, I don't know you either...). It never ceases to amaze me how much more effort people will put into maligning someone rather than discussing that person's message, especially in the case of Craig, whose work (assuming you can't bring yourself to accept it on it's own merit/lack thereof) is so easy to avoid in the first place.

Clamydia, you're amazed that survivors want to warn women about Rich? 20.Nov.2003 19:00

GRINGO STARS

You can call it maligning if you want, but when someone is an unapologetic sexual predator, isn't it the survivors' duty to warn other women? Rich's inconsequential ha-has are good primers for middle-class types first learning of corporations, but that was never issue. The issue was Rich's complete unwillingness to help in the healing process of his survivors, after he made a showy yet insincere apology which essentially denied any blame (a non-apology, in other words). Rich's situation is not at all akin to Craig's. Because we live in a society where it is not all that difficult to NOT be a rapist, while it is VERY difficult to somehow live apart from the capitalist system. Rich was never attacked because of his message (if he has one) but because of the sexual assaults he perpetrated on women who more or less shared his political views, and then his piss-poor non apology. While Craig is being attacked personally because of perceived hypocrisy.

So is it relative?? 20.Nov.2003 20:38

Mr X

"It is very important, I think, for people to be able to separate a person's message from the person themselves. "

No Clamydia that is not how the game works. It's called walk the walk and talk the talk. I don't know how you came up with that statement.

Einstein was a christian 20.Nov.2003 21:17

clamydia

Gringo STARS: My point is that people (including you) have turned Rich Makin's alleged sexual misconduct into an argument against paying any attention to his zines. That is bullshit. If he has good shit to say, then I'm not going to let his personal controversy get in the way of me reading what he has to say, just as I'm not going to let a bunch of people who don't like craig keep me from reading his ideas on political violence.

Mr X: Well, as long as you judge a person's ideas and philosophy by how they live their personal lives and not by the merits of their work, then you are (IMHO) being very silly. Einstein was a Christian, and while I personally think that Christianity is stupid, I'm not going to let that get in the way of me appreciating his ideas on war, or his ideas on physics etc etc.

btw 20.Nov.2003 21:18

clamydia

by the way, mr x, i don't like playing games. If you want to do so, then leave me out of it.

Mr. X--how very telling that you're too scared to 20.Nov.2003 23:58

lalala

actually say anything to Craig but instead malign him anonymously on this site BECAUSE you're too scared of him and his friends. It sounds like you're a very fear based person. Those of us who see the profound need for change in this society and are willing to look at all means of doing that--including violence--are not whimpering in the corner afraid. You're too afraid to comtemplate violence (waa waa, you might get hurt, poor baby), and too scared to even deal with other activists directly (waa waa, they might beat you up). Jesus Christ, stand up and grow some balls. Go take a look at the people being enslaved, the animals being tortured, the forests being decimated. When you tear down activists who are willing to put themselves on the line to save them, you answer to those helpless creatures, not to us. Fool.

These are not comparable situations, clamydia 21.Nov.2003 00:29

GRINGO STARS

I like how you refer to rape as "alleged sexual misconduct" and even "controversy" - I hope you were trying to be darkly humorous. It is certainly your prerogative to reward rapists by patronizing them. I happen to have liked one of the things Mackin wrote, yet I have this thing against supporting rape culture. Being against rape and rape culture, I choose to not reward such oppressive behaviour. You have made your choice as well. There is certainly no lack of vaguely anti-corporate writers so I feel no loss at all in not supporting a mediocre one who persists in irresponsible, overtly oppressive behaviour. But my intention was to help alert women to the presence of an unrepentant sexual predator for their own well-being. If people choose to not patronize him that is their own choice.

As far as Craig is concerned, he has yet to oppress anyone (that I know of), and depending on how he runs his business, he might prove to be a capitalist. But since we live in an entirely capitalist society, being a capitalist is practically inescapable. But being a sexual predator like Rich Mackin is (although we do live in a predominately rape culture) avoidable.

Almost no one is arguing for the legitimacy of political violence, like Craig is. As a matter of fact, middle-class self-help non-violence is being preached overwhelmingly. Craig is a singular voice in the field of political writing, which would not excuse his capitalism, but which makes his writing actually useful despite whether his actions help the common good or not. Meanwhile even corporate media is chronicling Nike's crimes, for example, something Mackin has written of. When you are doing corporate media's job, perhaps you should try another subject. Unless you are corporate.

Not walking the walk doesn't make what you're saying false, it just makes you a hypocrite. Having integrity (i.e. doing what you say) is definitely something which makes people listen to what you have to say, which is crucial when you are saying something that people don't usually hear.

re: Ringo STARS 21.Nov.2003 01:14

clamydia

I'm not referring to rape as alleged sexual misconduct, I'm referring to alleged sexual misconduct as alleged sexual misconduct. I didn't see Rich Mackin rape anyone, and I don't know anyone who claims to have been raped by Rich Mackin. I read a zine once that claimed he raped people and then made ambiguous statements as to what he actually did. Then, I read his zine in which he explicitly described what he did and even admitted he was an asshole for doing it. I wholeheartedly agree that he was an asshole for doing those things, but what he did (or says he did) was not RAPE. Having done those fucked up things doesn't make him a rapist, it makes him a guy that got fucked up by society while growing up, which made him what I like to call "assholistically sexual aggressive", and then he got called on that bullshit, and now he knows better. Dogging him at every turn is NOT going to help matters. And what up with the NIKE comment? I mean, I haven't written anything about NIKE, but does that mean I don't think they suck? NO! It's just that there are so many fucked up things to talk about that you can't cover every single one.

Mackin has two faces it seems... 21.Nov.2003 07:23

GRINGO STARS

One face when dealing with th epublic, which makes sense with his marketing degree and all, and one face when apologising to the survivors. I have met with some of his survivors. Mackin is a rapist and has said so to them but won't say so to others, which they rightfully demand as part of their healing process.

Outing him as a rapist at every turn will let more and more women know what he did and WILL help them avoid him. "Dogging him at every turn" WILL help, because if you have ever spoken to a rapist who is claims responsibility for his actions and is working to change, they will tell you that they were forced to deal with what they have done only when forced to admit it publicly because of social ostracism.

It was Mackin, not you, who wrote about Nike. Although this has turned into something about Rich rather than Craig, I feel that it is still on topic in that we should discuss when it is and when it isn't helpful to discuss personal matters about activists and so-called activists.

Craig Rosebraugh is a deep cover mole for elements of the alpabet agencies 21.Nov.2003 17:03

Hurricane Fabian

Craig Rosenbraugh is a deep cover mole for elements of the alphabet agencies "(NSA,DIA,CIA,FBI,DEA,
HOMELAND SECURITY AGENCY, FEMA, etc. , and et. al.!!!)"
he has been compromised by his actions prior to writing this new book his work for the "(e.l.f.)" has opened him up to being a dupe for alphabet agengies. more on this later

full of shit 02.Dec.2003 19:05

jemma

to everyone who's busy making stuff up to undermine other people's work, and thus make themselves feel better about their COMPLETE ineffectiveness, how do you sleep at night?

Don't you have any sense of reality? Don't you have any compassion for the people this system is slaughtering? Can you only think about your own immediate gratification, your own egotistical satisfaction at the feeling of belittling, lying about, and marginalizing a perspective that is being put forward here with only the BEST of intentions- to further a strategic conversation on how to rid the world of the oppression it is currently suffering?????

To everyone who equates what craig is doing to what rich makin is doing- what IS THAT? The only comparison one could make is that they are both well-known writers in certain "scenes"...
all the actually relevant comparisons are bunk-

One of these people's actions are strategically consistant with his rhetoric (though apparently you can't see it)
The other speaks of freedom but has raped (multiple times)

craig does not abuse what power he has- he has both conscience and accountability
rich makin seems devoid in counsciense and avoids accountability with a seething fervor

maybe you shouldn't listen to the cops so much, fellow indymedia readers. it's easy to start gossip, misinformation, and trends in ideas on this site. whether it is because ther are a bunch of impressionable people, or cliques who want to be in the know, or whatever, I thik it would be a huge step up for portland if everyone would take some personal responsibility and

factcheck
think
and don't automatically assume you're right because you got beaten up at the last protest and you saw yourself on tv.