by Steven R. Cebula
Is human kind only an animal? Are we only a beast cast against the backdrop of the green mother doomed to live out our days guided by the cardinal virtues of the creatures; instincts? Chief among these savage virtues is violence. The beasts' existence is intertwined with this ferocious state of being. They battle constantly against the elements, disease, humankind, predators and the territorial ambitions of there own species. In most of these situations it is violence that saves them or violence that destroys them.
But I ask again is human-kind only a beast? Must we rely on violence simply to exist? I don't think it is much of a stretch to say to say no. Yet unfortunately we are unable to rid violence from our midst. In this article I want to explore why it is such, and in the process convince the skeptics of nonviolence that it can be a powerful and very utilitarian in nature. Along the way i also hope to to expose those who profits from the perpetuation of violence; namely the State.
In this modern age it seems we are inundated with violence from cradle to grave. As soon we can move about and start to perceive we are exposed to its dread effects, spread through mass media and the like.We are told and shown that the heroes worth emulating are those who bring violence. The games that the children play, the books they are acquainted with and at times the adults in the home subject the children to this progeny of hate. They put toy guns in the hands of children to emulate these idols and fill them with subliminal indoctrination as to who and when they should kill. But this is only the start.
When it is time for the the child to leave the home and mingle with peers they are ready to start full participation in the cult of violence at this place we call school. Here in these sacred hall we are taught of the heroic past. Of our forefather who did this or that and went here or there, overcoming the most insurmountable obstacles and bringing about a better world for us to live in today. The part though that is sugar coated or covered with cursory expedience is all of the blood that was spilled in achieving all of these glorious adventures. Even when the violence of is covered in full a great time and effort is put forth to vilify those who have been subdued, killed and conquered. Granted, there may even be times when the dead were truly villainous, while other times these are blatant lies provided by the ruling elite and their intellectual henchmen. By the time the weight of adulthood is brought to bear on the shoulders of the youth, their mind, body and soul have been desensitized, stained with violence. Through the medium of so-called entertainment such as music, films, games and sports they have been subjected to a non-stop barrage of this deadly vice. By this time the acolyte, without choice fully embraces, albeit most often times ignorantly, the entire canon of hate.
Age after age we hear over and over the glorifying of violence that it has been grafted to our inner most being and when one tries to offer an alternative solution they are often called myopic, idiotic or accused of ulterior an motive.
This now brings me to the main focus of this piece. My hope is to show you, my friends and comrades how this ingrained accepting and even craving for violence is being used as a tool by the powers that be to keep the current order in place.
The state is an apparatus that, though ran by humans, is in fact a machine. A great machine of systematized violence that hangs over our head like the sword of legend. A metallic beast that lies in wait for the slightest misstep and excuse to release its terror. In many countries this is done blatantly, boldly and in the light of day. In the developed "democracies" of the world the beast must be more subtle. One ploy that it uses is to provoke the masses into rash action that manifest itself in the form of a riot, then it uses this as a foundation and justification to unleash its authority, or rather its wrath upon the people.
Most often times these rioters are out in force due to some injustice that has befallen them or there comrades. Thier hearts are afire with zeal of justice, determined to risk thier bodies and make a show of force against the powers. They are fed up with the systems of the state using them for fodder in the exploitive mechanism that they worship. But behold the state is a mighty monsters and it's tentacles reach far. Its resources are endless and its morels are nil! With its hands and feet it crushes the movement, invades there home and lays exposed their loved ones. Its eyes invade every facet of your life. It knows when you are sleeping and when you are awake. With its mouth it cries out over the airwaves talk of hooligans and thugs who are trying to destabilize the nation and expropriate the wealth in the name of crime .The machine makes new laws, puts up more fences and issues edicts allowing and causing the erosion of liberties. Tightening its grip upon the souls born with boundaries of that nation.
Many reading this are perfectly aware of how the state works. Unfortunately the masses only have a vague idea of how they are puppets or in many cases they are happy to serve the forces of darkness. It is these masses that the battle for the temporal reality will be won. When the revolution comes leaving violence in its wake either through insurrection or in the form of riots, many of the common people see this and feel one thing; fear! This fear is then manipulated and played on showing the unrighteousness of the revolutionaries who are molded in to criminals. The truth become irrelevant. All that matters is what the state is now feeding the fearful masses. How do we keep this fear from being exploited by the great beast? Non-violence!
In revolt against the history of man two of 19th century literary giants rose to face the tide of mankind's darken existence. These men were Henry David Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy. Theses two men, though inspired by different sources, would give another option to battle with the powers that be. Both men adhered to the belief in love and they believed that this love was more powerful then all the weapons of the world. Both of these knew full well the evils of the world. Thoruae watched with horror the chattel slavery that the United States was engaged in during his time, while Tolstoy looked with painful eyes upon the downtrodden peasants of Russia, determining that government and capital were the bane of mankind. To battle hate with love brought to life to the idea of nonviolent resistance and noncooperation.
But one will ask how does"nonviolence overcome violence?" To most people this sounds ludicrous and only worthy of contempt. I understand why as well for I too was led down the path that most of us have tread. At one time I would even quote "Violence has solved more issue than all the other ways of solving them combined." Even if that is true I would ask you were things resolved for the best or was it simply a reconfiguring of despicable options? Tell me friends and comrades what is greater to destroy or to create? What gives us existence and sustains us in the world, is it love or is it hate? What pushes us onward in the daily struggle to be , is it life or is it death? I believe that the answer is obvious. To Love, live and create are the unstoppable forces, not destruction, hate or death. If the latter three were more powerful that the former then surly humankind would have been extinct and we would not be addressing the topic at present moment. Without doubt we would not have survived the dreadnoughts of night that threatened to annihilate us in the 20th century. Nonviolence, the culmination of the above mentioned triumvirate of timeless passions are the only hope for overcoming the forces of reaction and evil in the world.
I would never tell a person or a people that they are not to defend themselves with violence when facing an uncompromising enemy. It is true that there comes a time to defend one life and loved ones. This form of defensive violence is as old as mankind and the same form of defense that we have had to use against the animals in former epochs. There is a solid argument that says these humans who are transgressing against other humans have lost what makes them special; their humanity. Following this logic we are more that justified using violence to safeguard ourselves.
The violence that I am speaking against today is the violence used in revolution against the state.
Revolution is much more than the will of the people exerting itself against the forces of evil and oppression. In fact revolution is a convulsion of the spirit of man crying out through the ancient hall of history. A cry that beckons to a tomorrow of promise and of hope. Unfortunately this spirit of revolution has been heavily permeated with a specter of violence. This violence is used to overthrow the current regime but then inevitable this spirit of violence is projected from the deposed onto the populace in the form of revenge killings and the like, immediately starting a cycle of violence that can very well destroy the spirit of revolution. In other cases when you look at the history it shows you that this darkness is exported to another land and people in the form of conquest or the new powers impose this violence onto the very people that it was intended to liberate; those who have established the new order have taken a liking to the feeling of power that they have discovered.
What we are in the direst need of is a revolution that is pure of this disease. Free from the blood and hate that soils the spirit and reason of mankind. Our revolutions will only succeed to bringing more despoiled and violent persons into the positions of power. Even those who kill with the best of intentions are tainting the purity of what they are trying to achieve. Just as when an honest person takes a position of importance in a corrupt system he becomes subject to that curse of power. So it is with violence. If one clings to it as a means it will pervert the endgame with its acrid stench.
When we look across the divide my sisters and brothers, that barren wasteland that becomes an ideological no-mans-land, we need not see enemies. For in truth those that we are seeing are really the same as us, regardless of how much we deny it. The difference is that we have been elevated either by chance or by design to seek out the truths of our world. It is not always fair to stare across this desert of despair with hate in our hearts and rage in our fist, holding the "other side" in self-righteous contempt. Those poor soles manning the barricades of the status-quo are victims of an endless cycle of dominance, deception and control that started about the time human kind became bonded to the land and started to build cities, giving centers of control for millenniums of demagogues. With the weight of a false history and an endless stream of propaganda we should feel lucky or blessed that we were able to escape that mental yoke. Pity rather than hate is what should fill hearts rather than contempt and bitterness. In a slightly different circumstance that could have been you or I standing among the the unenlightened, doing our part to to keep the despots as our overlord.
Martin Luther King believed that love is what would carry the day in his struggle. I believe that he was correct but I would also say that reason and logic should be considered as well. Violence only promotes reaction and often times ten fold. The powers that be are far to embedded in their lofty positions and in the mind of the masses to be dislodged by violence. Yes there will be casualties but in an armed insurgency are there not deaths? Those that die violently in this struggle are not called martyrs, they are and will be called criminals by a media that claims to be free but actually bows to the Lords of the Left and right. But those that die while espousing peace can be lifted up, unblemished and become a rallying cry across across the city, across a nation and even across the world. Far more wicked and lost souls have been the standard to rally around in some contemporary movements. How much more will the selfless believers of nonviolence who have been unjustly killed by the powers be raised up?!?