Saturday, May 20, 2006



For Ken O'Keefe. Brother, you were so right.

You never know where you will wind up when you begin an adventure. When you step out of all that you know and begin anew.

No long ago, I posted Razor here at Green September. I wrote about how I was simplifying my life in voluntary and involuntary ways. I sensed a change in myself and wanted to share my thoughts with the readers here. I had assumed that time and circumstances were conspiring to make me a harder person. Angrier. Focused. Sharp like a razor.

I am surprised to find this is not true. It's as if the floodgates of my emotions have been opened and flowing from me is not a tide of anger or bitter opposition, but hope. Compassion. Understanding. Great sadness at what I see.

Is this the razor?

I've always held in contempt the "give peace a chance" sort of liberals who refuse to fight their enemies. And it's been my experience that turning the other cheek will simply get you struck yet again.

But the slowly dawning idea is: So?

What if you are struck again? What if you are lied to, beaten, imprisoned and killed?

Will returning that evil make it all better? Or will an example of unfearing dedication to principles of peace and cooperation even unto shame, seeming defeat, and death teach a more powerful lesson to those that hate you so deeply.

I'm not talking about not standing up and defending those that cannot defend themselves. I'm not talking about mindless pacifism. Harm the weak or the innocent within the reach of my arm and the lesson will be swift, painful, and permanent.

But to return attacks upon my own self for speaking my conscience with attacks on those who simply don't know any better or more importantly don't care, seems a waste of life's hard-won lessons.

For whatever reason, I was given a great opportunity or made the opportunity myself, however you wish to look at it, when I un-programmed myself from the lifetime of lies and saw the world in it's true and savage reality.

I have learned the lesson. As have many of you. Perhaps it's time to teach the lesson to others with truth and hope and not with hands raised for fighting.

These are, of course, not new or revolutionary ideas. Great leaders of the past have used the principles of non-violence to accomplish what couldn't have been done in decades of armed conflict. Their names are rightfully whispered with awe. I live in the heart of where one of the greatest non-violent struggles in history happened. I've stood in the place where MLK was martyred. I've walked the streets and spoken to those wistful souls who marched beside him. You know when they are thinking of him. Their eyes go far away in a life-affirming thousand yard stare. The opposite of the bitter glint in the eyes of those that have killed their fellows on the fields of battle.

The truth of it is this. This fight against the insane nationalism and the unleashed war machines of America cannot be accomplished by the way of the gun. Just as the struggle in Palestine will not be won by bombs and children with stones in their hands and hatred in their eyes. Just as I have to learn to let go of my own stubborn pride and my need for "payback" whatever the hell that is, so too do the members of the anti-war movement here and the soldiers in the struggles abroad have to learn to let go of the anger and stand armed only with the knowledge that this is the only way to bring peace, even unto death.

Imagine if you will, with perseverance and time, we raise an army to march on Washington. Our guns and our bombs meet their much more powerful guns and bombs in an orgy of blood that the entire world sees. Blaze of glory and all that. Right there we justify all that they think about us. We only have hatred. We are literally no different than they are, with their hatred and willingness to kill for what they believe.


We, thousands march on Washington. No weapons. No violence in our minds and hearts. We occupy buildings, streets, parks and refuse to leave until America withdraws it's troops from Iraq. We are arrested, gassed, beaten and put in large cages. The city, if there are enough of us, is shut down. The courts overwhelmed with thousands of cases of disorderly conduct, if in fact they give us trials. We are in jail.

But the whole world is watching.

More people show up. More buildings and streets occupied. Some of the jailed are released and go right the hell back out to lie down in the intersections, for this is what we have sworn ourselves to until they jail us permanently, kill us, or we win. Imagine tens of thousands of political prisoners. Their families and peace organizations from here in America and all over the world clamoring, tying up switchboards. Imagine students and activists from all across the globe converging on Washington for what has become the largest peaceful resistance in history.

And the whole world is watching.

Imagine a thousand campfires on the Washington mall. Imagine the capital of the United States under peaceful siege until our demands are met. Imagine the panic of the Bush administration when they realize that this won't go away.

These are big dreams. Big plans. But they begin right there in the human heart.

To do this simply requires will. The will to walk away from your life until the struggle is won. Jobs, careers, education would all have to be put on hold for perhaps months. You would have to be willing to be marked with a criminal record for life for repeated acts of civil disobedience.

Are you willing? All across the Internet I keep hearing "We must do something, these atrocities cannot continue."

Here is the way of peace. Here is a way to fight the powerful in front of the whole world. If you have the courage. It's time to put up or shut up.

This is the Second American Revolution, if only we have the guts to fight it with our hands not raised in anger, but lowered in peace.

I'm posting this in various places around the web. I'm a man with limited means with a blog. All I have is my willingness to go, to leave behind what little I have for a chance to change the future. Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, George Clooney, George Soros, Code Pink, Amnesty International and anyone else with the means to make this happen, get me a small amount of funding and I'll get you an army.

Robert Keef
May 20, 2006


  • At 6:36 PM, Blogger Robert said…

    Now before you tell me I've lost what little marbles I have left, I'm tired of hearing the whining from all over the net and feeling helpless myself.

    And though it could be met with resounding silence,

    What if.....

  • At 2:34 PM, Anonymous ML said…

    I've always held in contempt the "give peace a chance" sort of liberals who refuse to fight their enemies.

    A thought-provoking post. It's an age-old question: is one destined to become what one hates by adopting tactics of violence, even if only in self-defense? One need only look at Israel to see that last generation's victims have become this generation's Nazis. I think nonviolence should be the starting point for any conflict resolution. Yet I also believe individuals have the right of self-defense; however, such a right only exists when one is in immediate danger: pre-emptive wars are wars of aggression, not self-defense. On the other hand, I could not judge this Iraqi family man harshly if he defendedU.S. his family from U.S. soldiers under these circumstances.

    Yet, I do think it is a flaw of much of the left to adhere blindly to the principles of nonviolence in all situations. Stan Goff writes with particular insight in "The Bridge":

    Ghandi and King were important people, courageous people, people who embraced non-violence as a core principle, yet that non-violence as a tactic is what worked for them. It worked in a specific time and context. The notion that this tactic is a generalized principle, that it can work now, fails to account for that context.

    In other words, nonviolence only works if the oppressor respects nonviolence as a tactic. The assassinations of ISM volunteers in the occupied territories is one indication that the oppressor Israel does not respect nonviolence as a tactic. Similarly, there is little indication that the U.S. responds to nonviolent resistance any more. Perhaps the question is, when is it time to resist beyond nonviolent means? Each person must answer that for themselves, but I offer this brief lesson from history:

    "How we burned in the prison camps later thinking: What would things have been like if every police operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive? If during periods of mass arrests people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever was at hand? The organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt."
    — Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Prize winner and author of The Gulag Archipelago, who spent 11 years in Soviet concentration camps.

  • At 2:52 PM, Anonymous ML said…

    The last paragraph of this article offers some constructive insights.

  • At 5:50 PM, Blogger Robert said…

    Money, unfortunately, makes the world go around. An occupation of Washington by non-violent protestors, chained across streets and chained together inside government and civil administration buildings would be devastating if it could be maintained. Give me a dozen people blocking the right streets during the morning rush hour an I will give you chaos and an economic impact that would get old for the bean counters quick.

    Truthfully, I'm ready to try any non-violent idea no matter how far-fetched. You would think, reading various lefty sites on the web that there are many others at the same point, but I fear that a great deal of the pissing and moaning is just that, political posing and cult of anti-war personality. As reckless and half-assed as my ideas are at least I'm willing to do something, but I can't do it alone. One person, no matter their level of dedication can pull off a "sit in" or disrupt business and traffic enough to cause problems. I've thrown this idea out there in various places where anti-war talk and action have been called for in the past. Like I said, time to put up or shut up. I'm going to be posting flyers discussing direct action on my local campus with contact information. My call for support has been out there on the Internet for 24 hours now and not one of the "activists" I've solicited has responded. I'm patient as far as that goes. A few more days will tell the tale of who is an actual patriot and who likes to play "look at me, I CARE".

    I will say it once again for those in the cheap seats who can't hear me: Let's do this thing. Is it that you still have too much to lose? Is it that I'm nobody, not a "professional activist"? Or is it that the only thing I can promise you will experience is not dancing hippies with drum circles and a great vibe, but hunger and danger, pain and incarceration. What the hell do you think revolution is?

    And yes I'm very impatient. Every day we listen to the whining left and do nothing is a day the people of the Middle East feel the American boot on their neck.

    And every day the government doesn't fear the people is a day that the people fear the government.

    Fuck 'em. Let's take it back.

  • At 6:40 PM, Anonymous ML said…

    How to do it.

    San Francisco showed the U.S. how it could be done exactly the way you are describing the first 3 days Iraq was attacked. The campaign was called "No business as usual." The city was successfully shut down for 3 days straight, in exactly the manner you describe. Unfortunately, between the initial war hysteria and the corporate media's censorship of those events, it went relatively unnoticed. If such an effort could be duplicated throughout the major cities in the U.S., the war could be brought to a halt very quickly. Unfortunately most Americans have shrugged off their government's indifference to their antiwar sentiments and have returned to shopping for their creature comforts.

    The main call to action by a large coalition of antiwar groups used to be at, which is now defunct, but can be viewed at:
    here and here.

    You can learn how the events unfolded from the links here at SF Indymedia.

    The nonviolence was eventually met with severe police violence, in the form of beatings, pepper spray, "pain compliance" (torture) holds, rubber bullets, beanbag guns, and various other less-than-lethal forms of violent coersion. It took at least 2 1/2 months of organizing among many different peace groups to mobilize enough of the public to pull this off. Remember, this was in the very progressive and informed San Francisco Bay Area. Most Americans don't have enough grit to ride a bicycle for a day to spite the oil companies' gasoline profits: convincing them to care about browner people speaks to the emptiness of evangelicals.

    Here is an excellent essay on why the Democrats provide false hope.

  • At 7:59 PM, Anonymous JMF said…

    ML: You've spoken my own mind better than I possibly could. I too squarely reject the notion that adopting the tactics of the oppressor puts us on the same *moral* footing -- it doesn't. It's not the *use* of force which is inherently "evil". To the contrary, force is only a tactic, neither innately good nor evil, whereas wanton aggression and oppression, as practiced by this rogue regime both forcefully and coercively, is clearly evil. The so-called doctrine of pre-emptive war conveniently instituted by this Reich is a scam intended only to provide pretexts for conquest where none exists. And beyond mere "self-defense" I believe Woodrow Wilson, for all his faults, had it correct when he spoke of the right of "self-determination of native peoples" -- the ouster of imperial colonialists and oppressive regimes in general justifies the employment of "any means necessary", as Malcolm X would say. (He also observed that those not willing to die for their freedom had no business expecting any.) ==== Gandhi and M.L. King have my highest esteem for their accomplishments, but theirs is not the only way. And quite often, its not remotely a feasible way, as Goff rightly points out in the article you cited: The Bridge, by Stan Goff. [It was SO good I had to post the link after tracking it down. Besides, Stan Goff *also* has my utmost respect.] ==== Additionally, the tactic of non-violent resistance has never been used in total isolation. Especially in the case of Martin Luther King, there were contemporaneously *various* other organized factions (as well as several spontaneous riots and other incidents of massive civil unrest) involved in the Civil Rights struggle, including the Black Panthers and Black Muslims, neither of which were in the least inclined to merely tolerate the use of oppressive force against them. And I firmly belive that ALL of those elements were ultimately necessary to bring about the changes that evolved from that struggle. ==== The same observation can readily be made regarding the 1960's Anti-War movement, wherein deliberate non-violence was merely sporadic and radical factions ranged as far left as the consistently violent Weather Underground. All the insistently peaceful organized protests in the world were not likely to reverse that era of American militaristic Fascism. And in all probability, neither will they under this vile NeoConNazi regime, which doesn't give a hoot about public opinion in general. ==== Having said all that, I would certainly agree with Robert that "non-violence" is preferable as a "first resort"; but it's been employed as the "canned", standard approach ineffectively for the last FIVE YEARS, with no visible results -- this renegade government simply isn't listening. And it may well be time to branch out into far more radical action to elicit its "attention". ==== Like Stan Goff, I find nothing ignoble or doomed to failure in "the path of the gun". But I certainly wouldn't limit that idea to a fairly simplistic notion of an armed "frontal assault" on DC. As in Iraq, resistance is best served by resorting to asymmetric ("guerilla") warfare, much as our Colonial forebears did in their own War of Independence. ==== Finally, I believe the presumptive emphasis on "violent versus non-violent" resistance frequently serves as an *impediment* to actual resistance! Too often, the endeavor to codify a "binding strategy" simply undermines action itself, before the fact. Life is unpredictable; so are our oppressors; so too should we be! Better to simply engage in resistance, leaving "all options on the table" (Sound familiar?). and see where it goes than to dedicate excessiveenergy to rigidly pre-determining the "style" of that resistance -- an effort which unrealistically assumes "predictable" outcomes. ==== Civil disobedience, in its various forms, is *good* -- it disrupts the status quo and *makes* people take notice. So indeed, let's do it! (But if an overzealous cop decides to merge his billy club with my head for "blocking traffic on the sidewalk", my cane is going into action! Such spontaneity can be incredibly disconcerting to repressive regimes, as ML's Solzhenitsyn quote makes clear.)

  • At 9:04 PM, Anonymous ML said…

    the presumptive emphasis on "violent versus non-violent" resistance frequently serves as an *impediment* to actual resistance!

    Excellent observation. Shit, I'd wager the countless hours of soul-searching and consensus making that have been spent on debating this presumptive point probably exceeds by many times the hours of actual anti-war resistance. Sometimes I wonder which is a bigger drain on people's time and energy: lstening to endless speechifying at an antiwar rally, or the wishy-washy group decision making that almost always results in the most ineffective, tame approach to saying "NO" to war. Shutting down SF's business as usual hit the capitalists where it hurt: profits. All the fancy costumes, creative protests, puppetmaking, banner painting, drumming, chants, and so on make tiny dents in awareness, but so often seem like the effort is spent trying to convince the participants they are still relevant in some way. How does the old saw go? You have to break a few windows to make an omelette.

  • At 10:08 PM, Blogger Robert said…

    Gentlemen, as always, you give me food for thought. My friends, my comrades. I disagree.

    "as Malcolm X would say. (He also observed that those not willing to die for their freedom had no business expecting any."

    That's what I'm saying. It's one thing to be willing to die for your freedom, it's quite another to be willing to kill for it.

    Any coward can make a bomb or pull a trigger.

    "Gandhi and M.L. King have my highest esteem for their accomplishments, but theirs is not the only way."

    Ready to get blood on our hands, are we?

    "I find nothing ignoble or doomed to failure in "the path of the gun"."

    Really? Try it.

    "all options on the table" (Sound familiar?

    Yes. Yes, it sounds horribly familiar.
    See where this line of thought leads you? You find the words of murderers and cowards making sense to you.
    JMF, stop for one minute. Put the frustration and anger aside for one minute. You just effectively quoted the Bush administration in regards to how we should confront the Bush administration. This path will twist you as surely as it twisted the President and his cronies.

    Goddammit, I'm no saint, no Ghandi, no MLK. If I saw friends being gassed and beaten and worse, I honestly have no clue how I would react. I suspect I wouldn't be able to be passive for long.

    But it is another thing entirely plan and execute cold-blooded murder.

    And if you think guerilla warfare will not lead you to that place, you are mistaken.

    Can this struggle be won through non-violence? Maybe. But that's not the point. And that is the most important part that boils it all down.

    Is it worth staining your soul with blood to "win". Or is it better to do what is right and just and noble and die or lose?

    Now, those are easy words to say while the people I love are safe and warm.I know this. But I also know that if the time ever comes to fight, I will know that I do so because there is no, I repeat, no other option.

    And at this time, in this place, we can still hold to our humanity and not become all that we hate.

  • At 12:30 AM, Blogger Again said…

    As reckless and half-assed as my ideas are at least I'm willing to do something, but I can't do it alone

    we [the willingly decent] are not stupid, we are only too few

    the corporate media's censorship of those events, it went relatively unnoticed. If such an effort could be duplicated throughout the major cities in the U.S., the war could be brought to a halt very quickly.

    so often i've heard that America now looks like a fascist regime - so why don't you accept that you can't trust the public media? Look at the methods of resistance in fascist regimes - not using phones and handies and other traceable stuff, but using relationships as in the middle age

    as the Berlin Wall was build, it needed only weeks for the people to understand the new "lost freedom" and to organize beyond the surface without traces

    To the contrary, force is only a tactic, neither innately good nor evil, whereas wanton aggression and oppression, as practiced by this rogue regime both forcefully and coercively, is clearly evil.... Like Stan Goff, I find nothing ignoble or doomed to failure in "the path of the gun".

    problem is with violence - you can't control it. Bush's failure in Iraq with all the dollars and the bombs is not the first controverse result, not "according to plan". All the bombings of cities proved that it will not work, most revolutions, based on blood, were soon replaced by some "Reconstruction" - and France isn't the only example. I guess, UK wouldn't be a kingdom until now, if there wouldn't have been that cruel revolution 1688

    it's simply because when you want to build a democracy, you have to look into the future - it isn't enough to destroy a government, you must avoid to destroy the foundation of the new age. Yes, it may make you weaker than the fascists, not caring about tomorrow, but why do you really want to create a free culture? To be the new king afterwards? No, as true democrat you simply want to protect yourself, your child, your family, your friends, your home, your trees, your dog, your....

    you simply want to ensura that your child (and you and and...) are able to LIVE free - not to die free. As real democrat you can't risk to destroy your own goal - otherwise you may just become something like Robespierre or Cromwell

    And I firmly belive that ALL of those elements were ultimately necessary to bring about the changes that evolved from that struggle.

    changes? What about New Orleans, now "cleansed" of the poor black people, where the word "Nigger" seems to be a common term again, as i've watched in a reportage about the future of Big Easy, where the rich white males mourned about the loss of their beloved dollars for the lazy, stupid black masses and dreamed of a better smelling city with no more than 30-40% Afroamericans

    or think of the RAF - a violent left group after the 1968-movement in Germany - taking away the power of left ideas, pushing Germany to the right because of the killings they did

    in other words, nonviolence only works if the oppressor respects nonviolence as a tactic.

    what do you think of the Nazis in the 1940s? Great human government, huh?

    Many wives took back their jewish husbands in about 1942 with non-violence - and with all the election fraud, torture and proven destruction of separation of powers - i can't believe that America is today as far as Germany in 1942

    it can work, even under Hitler in his greatest time of power (at least over the own country)

  • At 12:48 AM, Blogger Robert said…

    Gentleman. Go to the post above: "Jessie Macbeth".

    I am literally speechless. I knew it was bad over there.... I knew it was wrong....

    Dear God...

    If this is true....I'm not sure there is anything to save. How do you fight to save a system that allows this?

    I'm taking a hard look at "Pepper Spray Productions" and I am trying my best to verify Jessie Macbeth's record of service.

    I'm sick....

  • At 12:55 AM, Anonymous b said…

    I can only add WOW to everything I've read and I have to stand beside Robert and lend my words to his concerning non-violence. I'm not religious, not in the least, but I do believe "Thou Shalt Not Kill". Self-defense is another story, but if I ever had to defend myself, I wouldn't be toting a gun.

    Change is urgent and necessary. But not violently. Nope, never.

  • At 1:47 AM, Blogger Robert said…

    ML, please send me an e-mail at

    I would like your e-mail address.

  • At 9:02 AM, Anonymous ML said…

    The best approach I can think of right now would be to duplicate SF's example of "No Business As Usual" and in the event Iran is attacked. The concept needs to be exported to every major US city for it to work. The tactic is simple: if Iran is attacked, don’t go to work or school. Call in sick, walk out, don’t go—and get your co-workers/schoolmates to join you. Converge on the business/financial district of the nearest major city and shut it down. Block intersections, block traffic, but at all costs shut down US business as usual until the troops come home, Bush/Cheney step down or are removed from office, and are hauled before Nuremberg II. It doesn;t require weekly protests, vigils, marches, and so on: simply a commitment to resist should another war break out, and a local effort to pass out flyers and put up posters explaining the action. This is the only way I can think of to bring enough pressure on the government through nonviolent tactics to work at this point.

    A few more thoughts. It's already a given that should the U.S. attack Iran, internationally the dollar will be abandoned as a major currency, and suffer a very large, fast crash in purchasing power. Somewhere on the order of losing 50-90% of its value. The world has already sent the U.S. a message not to attack Iran by backing away from the dollar in recent weeks.

    As jmf said, the presumptive emphasis on "violent versus non-violent" resistance frequently serves as an *impediment* to actual resistance! The tendency to blog before resisting anbd organizing is also, arguably, an impediment to actual resistance. Think outreach.

    I expect the politics of "lesser-evilism" will continue to degrade democracy and allow the plutocrats to continue their rule, as so well explained in this article. The plutocrats (or elite, or billionaires, or ruling class) have perfected the formula for subverting democracy: the illusion of a two-party system provides the illusion of choice, balance, and opposition. The desperation of voters guarantees the election of one of these fake opposition parties, both of which the candidates are pre-selected by the plutocrats and serve their agendas first and foremost.

  • At 9:17 PM, Anonymous JMF said…

    Robert: I think you've missed my point here entirely. (And your response seems a bit histrionic and "selective", to say the least.) I do NOT hate the soldier who fights for what he believes is a just cause. I do NOT hate the insurgent who strives by force of arms to wrest control of his country back from those who have illicitly seized it. So for me, "becoming that which we hate" has no relevance in this instance. To the contrary, I very much *admire* the courage exhibited by such individuals, and courage it is! Even more so those who take up arms on behalf of others for the sake of principle! [See, for example, "Premature Anti-Fascist", by Bernard Knox. Is that your idea of "cold-blooded murder"??] ==== It's no small matter to put one's life on the line to fight for a worthy cause. And I find NOTHING "shameful" in fighting for liberty -- it is typically the ONLY way to achieve it. (Gandhi's successful campaign was very much an *anomaly* in historical terms. And Martin Luther King's efforts were abruptly terminated by his highly suspicious assassination by yet another dubious "lone nutter". While it is MLK alone who is conspicuously "memorialized" by the goverment and media as THE single catalyst for the attainment of Civil Rights by African Americans, it ain't necessarily so! But the credit attributed solely to Doctor King does serve exceptionally well to reinforce the Establishment's preferred position that *all* resistance should be deliberately non-violent, obsessively "peaceable", and -- consequently -- astoundingly easy to just ignore.) ==== Our own forefathers took up arms in order to cast off the yoke of British tyranny, and they were hardly "monsters" for doing so. They too began their struggle with acts of civil disobedience (e.g, the Boston Tea Party), which brought only *further* repression from the crown, much as occurred in Oakland during 2003. (I have photos, which I attempted to post here, showing the brutal injuries inflicted on *peaceful* protesters in Oakland, who were shot by police *while* attempting to disperse. They're not pretty.) ==== if the time ever comes to fight, I will know that I do so because there is no, I repeat, no other option. ==== We don't differ on that in the least. We merely differ in our perceptions of the *current* degree of urgency. I believe that this government has already demonstrated its utter contempt for the rule of law and the needs of the citizenry, and has shown zero responsiveness to public outcries expressed via the "traditional", remarkably jaded, outwardly timid tactics of established "protest" groups like United for Peace and Justice. I am not a SNiCCer [an advocate of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee]; I consider myself a realist, based on my personal experience of the Totalitarian swings that have occurred in this country. And this is by far the WORST "status quo" I've ever witnessed in this country, more representative of Nazi Germany or Stalinism than of "America". It's also arguably the worst this country has ever been! ==== Malcolm X's position went much further than your take on his words; he even considered it *criminal* "to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks", as American Blacks frequently were in those days. But the fullest statement of his intent can be found in the following, which parrots well his hallmark phrase, "... by any means necessary": When a person places the proper value on freedom, there is nothing under the sun that he will not do to acquire that freedom. Whenever you hear a man saying he wants freedom, but in the next breath he is going to tell you what he won't do to get it, or what he doesn't believe in doing in order to get it, he doesn't believe in freedom. A man who believes in freedom will do anything under the sun to acquire . . . or preserve his freedom.. I also concur strongly with the words of General George Patton when he said: "No dumb sonofabitch ever won a war by dying for his country; wars are won by making some other poor bastard die for his country!" ("Old Blood 'n' Guts" was decidedly a prick at times; but in that particular utterance, he was undoubtedly correct.) ==== Nevertheless, my overriding theme -- which ML picked up on immediately -- is that such "ethical quandaries" about tactical "ways and means" are inevitably counter-productive. To the extent that groups immerse themselves in lengthy debates about the perceived relative merits of "violent versus non-violent" resistance, they typically engage in NO *actual* resistance -- it's the "problem of competing interests", serving as a show-stopper! And in many ways, such attempted, "pre-emptive", pre-determination of methods is quite naive. Want to get arrested attempting to shut down Washington? Then start planning it, and leave the moral convictions and choices of individuals to individuals. The actual "official response scenario" that would arise if and when such popular resistance is undertaken is simply not predictable; so it's somewhat foolhardy to strive to codify in advance "appropriate" behavior. ==== [ML: Agreed! In order to make an omelet, it is often "necessary to break a few windows". I think the Sixties era lends a *great* deal of evidence to support that conclusion.]

  • At 10:35 PM, Anonymous ML said…

    In case it was unclear, I don't consider the tactics of shutting down SF in March 2003 to be violent at all, with the exception of the police response. In fact, it was the police violence that jmf cites in Oakland that put a quick end to the Bay Area's very effective initial campaign of nonviolent resistance. Of course, the government constantly redefines violence to serve its agenda, as governments have for centuries. Today, the government defines property destruction, vandalism, etc. as violence (actually, as terrorism), and many of the uber-nonviolent navel-gazers are quick to agree with this government definition. Ironic, as the government's consistent defense of property over people belies its hypocrisy. And with a sneer, the government almost always ignores protests that do not cross this threshold of daring to damage property and impact corporate profits. Nothing hurts warmongering plutocrat capitalists more than hitting them in their pocketbooks.

    Like Eddie Murphy playing Billy Ray Valentine in "Trading Places" said: "You know, it occurs to me that the best way to hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people."

  • At 11:14 PM, Anonymous JMF said…

    Now, THIS is inherently evil. The current crop of Fascists in control of US foreign policy are furtively maneuvering to insure that THEIR [Unocal] "man in Kabul" remains in power for the next *decade* -- regardless of any and all future developments, democratic or otherwise, in Afghanistan: "God save the Pipeline, and to HELL with the people!" ==== And where, pray tell, is the Pentagon *getting* this exorbitant, almost HALF BILLION DOLLARS to "grub stake" its preferred figurehead into the next TWO US presidential terms?? Why, apparently from you and me! The American taxpayers are now ostensibly expected to shell out their hard-earned, inflation-depreciated dollars to finance strictly Right-wing imperial whims LONG into the future -- regardless of any and all developments, democratic or otherwise, right here at home!: The Bush Reich may fall, but it's already scrambling (and looting) to insure that its odious Fascist "legacy" lives on: US Sets up 215m Pound Deal for Afghan Arms - from Russia [The Telegraph] ==== American defence officials have secretly requested a "prodigious quantity" of ammunition from Russia to supply the Afghan army in case a Democrat president takes over in Washington and pulls out US troops. ==== The Daily Telegraph can disclose that Pentagon chiefs have asked arms suppliers for a quote on a vast amount of ordnance, including more than 78 million rounds of AK47 ammunition, 100,000 rocket-propelled grenades and 12,000 tank shells - equivalent to about 15 times the British Army's annual requirements. ==== The Bush administration is said to want the deal because of worries that the next president could be a Democrat, possibly Hillary Clinton, who may abandon Afghanistan. ==== White House insiders fear that Afghanistan could "drift" and consequently, they want heavily to arm President Hamid Kharzai's government before the 2008 US presidential election. ...

  • At 11:32 PM, Anonymous JMF said…

    ML: Agreed with all you've said just above. And I wanted to put in a note of thanks for that prior link to the essay, "Fruit of the Poison Tree" by Charles Sullivan. It was quite exceptional, and jibes tremedously with my rapidly growing awareness of what really makes this country "tick" politically. (The "scales" I suspect, are disappearing from my eyes, thanks largely to insightful commentaries like Sullivan's, and the historical overviews presented by authors like Howard Zinn and William Blum.)

  • At 11:48 PM, Anonymous ML said…

    jmf: And as insulting as the pipeline is to Afghanis, so should be the billion dollars spent on the new U$$ Eichmann to Katrina victims, currently being built in...NOLA!

  • At 11:50 PM, Blogger Again said…

    "You know, it occurs to me that the best way to hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people."
    It's already a given that should the U.S. attack Iran, internationally the dollar will be abandoned as a major currency, and suffer a very large, fast crash in purchasing power. Somewhere on the order of losing 50-90% of its value. The world has already sent the U.S. a message not to attack Iran by backing away from the dollar in recent weeks.

    this could work! This strategy really is able to stop the next war - given, that enough intelligence survived the greed and megalomania in Washington, but i guess, that the puppeteers behind the politics understand the "rules of the free market" at least enough to catch on, what a really weak dollar means...

    The actual "official response scenario" that would arise if and when such popular resistance is undertaken is simply not predictable

    than - jmf - you simply cannot decide anything. Than goals don't have a meaning, than actions don't make sense

    it's all about that - making good decisions to support your goals and aims - always, everywhere. The smallest cell does nothing else than accept chemistry, to determine, what kind it is, to decide, if it is useful or harmful to use it or to avoid it - to support the own goal of surviving

    if there is no possibility to evaluate, there is no information to be used - than decisions make no sense, because anything goes: just throw dice, you save time and energy instead of senseless planning. Just throw dice, if you kill or preach and whom you kill and who may live - in inpredictable situations results are equally probable, so any action is equally useful

    but i guess it's hard to convince people to support your fight for freedom (even a revolution) with all the risks when you can't promise some profit - when even the consequence may easily be more unfreedom, more harm? (next step would be that you would start to lie to the people to promise things you know you can't promise - like the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), which tries to convince the Americans, that Global Warming "just is life")

    So you see, i'm not "A man who believes in freedom will do anything under the sun to acquire . . . or preserve his freedom.." - i only will do anything which i can foresee to have some success, because, as General George Patton said: You don't win wars by dying yourself. And i will win the war for freedom - that's my goal

    (which by no means mean, that i wouldn't use violence in an acute case of emergency to defend my family - but only as ultima ratio, when i would have lost any control over the situation)

    btw: jmf, don't you think, that this theme is worth to be placed on top of Green September? You have so much to say about that - maybe together with ml?? Would have the advantage to focus the discussion at one point

  • At 12:02 AM, Blogger Again said…


    to go on top of Green September, jmf and ML...

    on "Jessie MacBeth", ML offered a link, where i found this quote:

    Offers Macbeth, “If it takes me holding up a flag and getting killed, you know, for this shit to stop, I’ll do it, man, because this needs to stop, for my family’s sake and for the rest of the world’s sake.”

  • At 11:05 AM, Blogger Robert said…

    "And your response seems a bit histrionic"


    Fightin' words :)

  • At 4:49 PM, Anonymous JMF said…

    "... problem is with violence - you can't control it. ..." ==== Again: With all due respect, that observation applies equally to almost *every* aspect of life -- including NON-violence -- *except* for one's individual actions. Human beings can only choose a path and act; they never have the slightest control over the *outcomes* of their actions. And while they can plan, and ponder contingencies ad nauseum, they cannot accurately predict which will ensue from any course of action nor even claim to have covered all the possibilities. ==== Chaos, as you likely know, is the rule, not the exception, in life -- "A butterfly flaps its wings in New York and a tsunami breaks out in Southeast Asia." Stochasticity rules! ==== For myself -- and I can only speak for myself -- my own choices are made with the best of intentions, but also with the sound knowledge that there are NO guarantees that any act I may choose will produce the *desired* outcome. Cause and effect are simply not that linear, except in "retrospective". ==== To give you a solid example, during the First World War, a young British soldier had a certain German corporal squarely "in his sights". But, weary of all the carnage, he did not fire and simply let him go -- an undeniably *humanitarian* gesture that he lived to later regret: How A Right Can Make A Wrong: Hitler's Fateful Encounter with Pvt. Henry Tandey, VC. There's a strikingly clear case where a deliberate rejection of violence ostensibly led to *tragically* violent consequences -- for MILLIONS -- in the long run.

  • At 5:48 PM, Blogger Robert said…

    I mean, call me anything: Asshole, dickhead, anything.

    But goddamn, histrionic?

    You have no shame sir :)

  • At 6:15 PM, Anonymous JMF said…

    ... seems a bit histrionic"Ouch. Fightin' words :)" ==== Robert: Not really (in that particular case). Just calling 'em like I see 'em. I felt that you managed to extrapolate all that I wrote in my original commentary into astoundingly speculative "worst case scenarios" without ever addressing the potential middle ground. ==== For instance, where did I *ever* advocate "cold blooded murder" within my post?? (Believe me, even if I were an ardent proponent of such extremes, I *certainly* wouldn't advance any such proposition explicitly in an *online* forum!) And I repeat: Would you assert that those American volunteers in the Abraham Lincoln Brigades were "cold-blooded murderers" for pursuing the path of the gun in defense of Spain's embattled Republic? Would you cast the same accusation at *this* country's Founding Fathers and Revolutionary Army? ==== Your treatment there was hardly fair. And I don't accept the notion that I risk "becoming my enemy" simply by employing overlapping words any more than I expect to be transmuted into Heinz Ketchup for merely uttering the phrase, "57 Varieties!". Ya know?? ==== The problem, as I see it, with a rigid insistence before the fact on strict adherence to the principles of "non-violence", simply put, is that a predictable "enemy" is always an inherently *defeatable* enemy. Patton's victory over Rommel's PanzerKorps in North Africa (at least according to the film version) is quite *credibly* attributable to Patton's own summation: "I read your Goddamn book, Rommel!" So let's NOT wear our tactics "on our sleeves". This Reich doesn't adhere to ANY rules! So why should those who plan to offer resistance attempt to pigeonhole themselves -- en masse and in advance -- openly proclaiming a wholly passive intent? Allowing for the independence of individual conscience , as circumstances dictate -- TO THE INDIVIDUAL -- is a far more realistic approach, and removes that impediment of utter predictability from our *already* glaring list of serious disadvantages. ==== Let them wonder!!! Else, what's a "revolution" for??

  • At 3:06 AM, Blogger Again said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 4:09 AM, Blogger Again said…

    they cannot accurately predict which will ensue from any course of action nor even claim to have covered all the possibilities.

    perfectly right

    but especially in the case of intelligence, there is always something between all or nothing - as you rightly said, you would need all possibilities, all information about the whole system to predict it accurately and that's impossible. On the other hand, even the equal-probability-scenarios offer you an information: the number of possible results and that's the most low-level prognosis about a system. Between this probability and the accurate prediction there is a lot of information available to be used to...

    but there's something else which "burns under my nails" (as we say ;-) )

    your words sound to me as if you would feel offended - please, jmf, that was and is never intended. I just want to discuss, not to force others to think what i think (because i guess that's impossible due to the individuality of each knowledge anyway ;-) )

    Regarding violence vs. non-violence: i know that today i have got "the better part of history"

    believe me, i know how it feels to be part of a society which you love but can't understand anymore - actually, the Jessie-MacBeth-Video (whether fake or not) simply made me think: "thank god, this once we didn't support it"

    and i know that there is an even more depressing thing in the fact to be an open-minded American watching the events - because AFAIK my country never was famous for being the role model of the new, better human (i don't talk about the Herrenmensch, btw, i talk about a more just, more democratic, more intelligent way of life). The atrocities, people like Mr. Stehling don't want to accept, are bad enough on their own, but when you are aware of history, they are more than that: they are depressingly sad. Because they were done by the "chocolate men", the soldiers, able to be winners of a war with humanity, praised for by the victims (!) at that time, not by themselves as today. Until today the old women living unter american occupation tell us (without being to detailed), that it was "so much better" than to have to live in the French or even Russian sector - it is truth: the average American soldier was the "Good Guy"

    How times change - but i guess, it's simply because generals don't like human soldiers - human soldiers avoid to kill, they avoid to follow orders to torture, they avoid to throw nukes, they are not "efficient". That's the reason, why the generals decided to reprogram their soldiers - to make them more "efficient": One command, one thrown nuke, not 100 commands 20 thrown nukes. And Roberts stories about his "re-education" show, how it works to make the "chain of commands" perfectly working. The price? Atrocities, but atrocities are useful tools of wars, not to avoid, but to boost, nothing to be blamed for - as long as it works, it is fine. And if you don't like it - look the other way

  • At 11:00 AM, Blogger Robert said…

    You are quite right JMF. I did accuse without cause and put words in your mouth.

    Sorry. It's turning out to be a bitch of a week online: Macbeth(???), weird folks trying to play soldier on my blog, some doozy of attacks in e-mail, not to mention some surreal shit in my personal situation all boils down to me overreacting in a perfectly good debate.
    My views remain the same, but I think I might have expressed them in a clearer way. Trying to get my head back in the game.



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