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Week 9-Nonviolent Perspectives on Power and Systemic Change.pdf

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University of Waterloo
Peace and Conflict Studies
PACS 201
Nathan Funk

Week 9-Nonviolent Perspectives on Power and Systemic Change 9a Nonviolent Power WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORD “POWER”, WHAT IS THE FIRST IMAGE THAT COMES TO MIND? -gun, money, battery, fist, WHO HAS POWER IN THIS SCENE? *slide* ▯ ~tanks-destructive power ▯ ~argue-different types of power ▯ ~power of the tanks & power of the person standing (cause, idea) ▯ ~different forms of power STRATEGIC DEPENDENCE ON VIOLENCE: IS IT A SOLUBLE PROBLEM? Propositions from the Nonviolence Paradigm *We are conditioned to associate power with violence *When normal means fail and the objective is a vital one, we feel pressure to endorse the use of violence *A common result: cycles of violence “Violence is a form of resourcelessess; in other words, we use violence when we lack the creativity to come up with a nonviolent solution.”-Ursula Franklin *Challenge: Can we confront stubborn or opportunistic adversaries without resorting to violence? ASYMMETRIC CONFLICT AND CYCLICAL VIOLENCE *slide* ▯ ~boisterous protestors objecting to the internment without trial by British forces in ▯ Northern Ireland ▯ ~British army opened fire ▯ ~some protesters threw stones? ▯ ~13 killed ▯ ~support for the Irish Republican Army, opposition to British presence, skyrockets CONSENT THEORY OF POWER *Government is ultimately based on consent/obedience ▯ ~comply with status quo-we are empowering it *By withdrawing consent, the people can reclaim their power (i.e. People Power) ▯ ~political power rests with the broad masses of the people ▯ ~willingness to cooperate with authority is the ultimate basis of political power ▯ ~by withdrawing consent the people can take control and even remove the power ▯ of their adversaries -Prague, Czechoslovakia-Nov 1989 (“The Velvet Revolution”) 9b Nonviolence Theory REASONS TO STUDY NONVIOLENCE: *It’s cool Week 9-Nonviolent Perspectives on Power and Systemic Change *It’s interesting *It is important *It’s empowering ▯ ~moral and effective *It’s more human VIOLENCE *Latin root: violare, “to violate” *Our PACS typology: direct, structural, cultural *Direct violence can take many forms ▯ ~direct-war genocide, ethnic cleansing, murder, rape, terrorism, human rights ▯ abuses, exploitation, criminality, repression, post-traumatic stress, population ▯ displacement, disease, environmental damage *Direct violence also correlates with many other maladies ▯ ~criminality often involves violence ▯ ~costs are very high THE MEANING OF “NONVIOLENCE” *Non + violence = neg. + neg.? *”achieving without harm...things that are normally thought to be attainable only through violence” (Curle, in Vellacott, p 104) (text) *Active refusal to use or submit to violence in the pursuit of social change 9b1 Approaches to Nonviolence *Nonviolence: a multidimensional concept 1. Strategy for social change 2. Method for resolving conflict 3. Method of liberation 4. Method of defense 5. Way of life *”Pragmatic’ approach ▯ -#1-4 accentuated *”Principled” approach ▯ -#5 accentuated ▯ ~Tolstoy THE PRINCIPLED SIDE OF NONVIOLENCE ~principled side and a pragmatic side-complementary/assisting *Vellacott’s definition of nonviolence: “refraining from violence on grounds of principle” (text, p 104) ▯ ~moral clarity *Influence of ethical and religious ideas ▯ ~philosophical ethics, spirituality ▯ ~rejection of violence as a social principal ▯ ~religious pacifism-Mennonites, Quakers, Tolstoy Week 9-Nonviolent Perspectives on Power and Systemic Change ▯ ~India-Ghandian tradition ▯ ~Plato *Refusal to dehumanize adversaries ▯ ~some don’t use the word “enemy” *”Conflict provides an opportunity to move to a higher level of truth” (Jeong, p304) ▯ ~the goal is some form of social, ethical, and political transformation ▯ ~trying to motivate ourselves to act justly and to demand just and ethical action ▯ from those who have power or influence ▯ ~call not to be complacent in the face of injustice ▯ ~can learn from others who adhere to a different truth ▯ ~the “heart” side of the argument for nonviolence THE PRAGMATIC SIDE OF NONVIOLENCE ~nonviolence should be about practical things-strategies we think through with our head and implement with our hands and on our feet *Nonviolent action as an “option”: a means to an end ▯ ~practical affects *Importance of strategy and tactics ▯ ~some may use military metaphors-attack, defense, weapons *Nonviolent action can provide the weak with an effective means to seek justice *Nonviolence is sometimes justified through practical/contextual as well as ethical arguments ▯ ~hey in this case you have a better chance if you use this strategy ~if there is no principle in the pragmatic nonviolent action, if there is no strong moral preference-it ceases to be nonviolence quite quickly-if there is no real commitment that we strive and see it through-if there is no action in principle [?] nonviolence we don’t really have nonviolence either we just have conflict avoidance ~the key to nonviolence is finding creative and practical ways to adhere to principle in the face of real pressure not to THREE “OPERATIVE PRINCIPLES” OF NONVIOLENCE THEORY *Linkage of means and ends ▯ ▯ ~Ghandian tradition ▯ ▯ ~the means we choose to realize our objectives shape the ends that are ▯ ▯ possible ▯ -Critique of violence: unintended consequences tend to undermine long-term ▯ effectiveness ▯ ▯ ~1.ratcheting up of violence-my violence is met by same or more ▯ ▯ ~often results in brutalization of society ▯ ▯ ~ie long term civil war ▯ ▯ ~when defeating the enemy becomes more important than any other ▯ ▯ object -we have to win ▯ ▯ ~justice/truth fall by the wayside-replaced by injustice/deception, innocent ▯ ▯ people become victimized or used as pawns in the game ▯ ▯ ~2. violence leaves deep scars and residues ▯ ▯ ~mental health problems associated with experiences with violence Week 9-Nonviolent Perspectives on Power and Systemic Change ▯ ▯ ~possible recidivism-a society that has experienced civil war it is easier to ▯ ▯ cross that line again in the future ▯ ▯ ~3. the forms of organization that are required for violent struggles can ▯ ▯ undermine the possibility of open democratic governance ▯ ▯ ~if you have a violent revolution you have to have secrecy, authority, ▯ ▯ decision making mechanisms ▯ -We must work for peace peacefully, for justice justly, and for truth truthfully *Consent theory of power (see concept 9a) *Moral or political Jiu-Jitsu MORAL/POITICAL JIU-JITSU: FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE -Jiu-Jitsu-The aim is to apply one’s strength to parts of an antagonist which are weakest and least capable of resistance. It is not a system of muscle building but a means of combating powerful muscles with skillful maneuvers. *Asserting one’s moral or political claims without violence ▯ ~1. showing clear limits to what we’re willing to do in pursuit of our best ▯ objectives ▯ ~there is a line-we’re not going to cross it-we are not attacking the authorities, we ▯ are not using political violence ▯ ~get the message out-act in a way that is consistent with it ▯ ~2. if the other side responds with repression-organize yourself in ways that ▯ minimize their ability to repress you-seek also not to retaliate in kind ▯ ~make sure the message is clear-everyone knows what is happening as much as ▯ possible *Letting the means chosen by adversaries undermine itself (means = message) ▯ ~if they are using repression make sure it appears to have no justification-▯or you ▯ hit back you in effect show the world they had a right to do that-but seen as a ▯ provocation/it had no justification for attacking innocent people would be a blow ▯ to their legitimacy-so shine the spotlight on that unjust method ▯ ~use it to reassert your own moral claims-get the word out, mobilize more people ▯ to your cause ▯ ~unrequieted aggression damages the adversaries legitimacy ▯ ~the paradox of the repressions ▯ ~if you don’t hot back and you ahve organized movement infrastructure (means ▯ of getting message out) you can use repression against the oppressive ▯ government and try to undermine the pillars of support 9c Methods of Nonviolent Action TYPES OF NONVIOLENT Gene Sharpe “The Politics of Nonviolent Action-Part 2:the Methods of
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