Violent revolution should always be an option. Even to those hyper-concerned with the ethics of means and ends, violent means should always be on the table, because whether or not we acknowledge it, in reality it always is. Acknowledging this can only reduce cognitive dissonance if and when violence is utilized.
That said, knee-jerk calls for violent revolution are generally a waste of time that diverts would-be revolutionaries from creating real solutions.
The United States isn’t ready and when it is, it will be because of future conditions and therefore won’t be the realization of some existing work. Sure, we’ve seen riots in a couple of places, but…
One thing violent revolutionaries love is appealing to tradition by telling people that revolution will finish the work of our ancestors/forebears/founding fathers.
If prior or existing struggles were going to foment revolution, it already would have. Marcus Garvey once said, “When all else fails to organize people, conditions will.”
The masses are not yet fed up enough with existing conditions for them to organize into anything meaningful if they haven’t.
Let’s be real: outside of the military and the Black and Catholic social justice histories, modern United States culture has no warrior tradition.
The indigenous people here who did are all but wiped out and not a group we regularly—or ever— seek wisdom and experience from.
The US masses are more concerned with comfort, even if that means preserving a status quo that works against them. While they may revere the courageous through American sayings and holidays, when do most people have or make the time to develop that in themselves? Between work, family obligations and recovering from life, the masses are winded.
To expect that those winded masses would support and survive violent revolution is at best delusional.
Organizing informed by delusions is doomed.
Planning primarily for armed revolution when all evidence indicates that the people are neither ready nor willing to undertake it as asinine.
The capacity for organized, armed resistance requires discipline.
Discipline is attained through regimented instruction, regimented practice and precision.
Where do the revolutionaries calling for armed struggle have the space to carry that out, undisturbed?
There’s no doing that out in the open without:
A) drawing attention to yourselves
B) being shut down
C) building a local coalition to shield your efforts from prying eyes.
Do these revolutionaries have access to out of the way plots of land, offices, buildings, classrooms and gun ranges to carry out these efforts? Have they built the necessary coalitions?
Speaking of building,
have these revolutionaries come up with the post-revolution alternatives? Have they started implementing on smaller scales to see if they work at all, to iron out the kinks?
Or in listening to them, are we to destroy life as we know it and scramble like mad to figure out how to have an orderly, egalitarian society–with working infrastructure?
Don’t think for a minute that the spoils of society: infrastructure and public goods will be not be disturbed or poisoned by the Haves in case of revolution. Like the the Capitol in the Hunger Games, the Haves will do everything they have to preserve their way of life and keep the lower classes from changing it. They might as well keep signs in their houses and boardrooms that say, “In case of revolution, poison water and drop bombs.”
What do revolutionaries calling for violence plan to do then and are they poised to do it?
If they have no plan and way to implement it, why on Earth should someone who’s comfortably miserable leave their corporate peonage that provides them answers and structure?
My aim here isn’t to discourage change.
My aim is to be realistic.
My aim is accountability.
Ever notice how slowly you hear the calls for revolution or guerilla war from people from Syria, Cambodia, Vietnam, Sudan, the Congo, Rwanda, Persia, Colombia, Bolivia… among other countries?
Why is that?
Could it be that they understand the costs and don’t take those calls as lightly as Americans?
Left talk of wanting to push for violent revolution through votes for Trump is cruel, misses the mark and is ignorant.
Most of the people saying it are born and bred Americans who’ve never traveled to a third world country (which is what a USA in civil war would become) and have yet to consider how
ready for violent revolution they, or this country are.
Sure people have rioted in a couple cities, but let’s be real: those are [mostly] black folks coming out over racial justice issues.
he only 2 things that cause white riots for in this country are
Violent revolution without the middle class is just not happening and solely blacks or people of color rioting will only be so effective until there are intergenerational, multicultural coalitions both willing and ready to undertake it.
Even though most of our attention is focused on the poor, they are not the largest group, and even further they’re not organized.
Further, the Trump equals violent revolution position positions revolution as a destination and shits on the thankless community-building work being done at the local level all over the US. I can’t support that.
People are putting their blood, sweat and tears into their communities. They’re putting their bodies on the line to realize both individual and communal visions, costs be damned. Who am I to play god and tell them they’re not doing enough? If I feel that way, maybe I’m the one that needs to dig in more.
There is nothing revolutionary about weaponizing violent aggression.
Violence reinforces the status quo.
No matter how progressive your agenda, it’s doomed if it enables dominator culture. Violence–physical and interpersonal– is the most effective tool of dominator culture.
Violence gets people to suppress their wildness, their first nature, their curiosity, their love–in favor of keeping the machine of civilization going. It must not be used lightly.
If you want to do something truly revolutionary, help people grow.
Help people without judgement. Love people unconditionally. Defend their dreams. Pursue yours. Fix what’s broken. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Put in work.