Nothing in this blog can be believed. If you think that anything in this blog is true or factual, you'll need to verify it from another source. Do you understand? No? Then read it again, and repeat this process, until you understand that you cannot sue me for anything you read here. Also, having been sucked into taking part in the mass-murder of more than 3 million Vietnamese people on behalf of U.S. Big Business "interests", I'm as mad as a cut snake (and broke) so it might be a bit silly to try to sue me anyway...

Saturday, November 19, 2005

this is where I stand...

In the last few weeks I've been grappling with where exactly I stand with regard to pacifism, war, terrorism, violent protest, peaceful protest, dissent, etc.

I think I've sorted it out a bit more.

I do not condone war or terrorism (indiscriminant killings).

I will condone (but never participate in) political violence (armed resistance), but only in situations where there is a clearly evident and violent oppressor/occupier, and even then only if peaceful protest/dissent is being disallowed or crushed. Even then I would advocate for non-violent alternatives to be implemented wherever possible.

So there you go, I'm a conditional pacifist. That is to say I'll opt for pacifist solutions, but I also believe that the oppressed or occupied people have the right to the use of political violence as a last resort in defending themselves in situations where peaceful protest/dissent/resistance is being met with violence or being quashed.

Where political violence is used, it must only be directed at the oppressor's/occupier's instruments of oppression/occupation, and then absolutely subject to the conditionality I have outlined above.

I hope this satisfies the Gestapo ASIO. If it doesn't, I'll be happy to do time for my beliefs - and then I'll sue the bastards to kingdom come...


Blogger Deirdre said...

What's the "theory" behind pacifism? I don't mean formally, just what's the main idea? I could look it up but... (whispering)... can't be bothered.

Probably what I'm wondering is, can it work where there are a clash of values - where you can't negotiate towards a solution, because everyone wants a different result? (Say for instance there's a group which DOESN'T want peace, ever.)

PS. I'm just kind of musing. Don't feel like you've got to answer (if you ever do).

November 20, 2005 10:36 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Maybe if you read what Wikipedia or the Encycopedia of Philosophy have to say about the kinds of pacifism which people subscribe to, you'll save me a heck of a lot if ranting, Deirdre :-)

Can it work in the presence of others who advocate and resort to violence? Short answer - I say yes.

I believe there is always a more peaceful or less costly (in terms of human lives) solution than war or armed resistance. Terrorism (using any of the common definitions of the term) is absolutely unconsciounable in my book.

Ultimately, pacifism, like honesty for instance, is a personal value one either subscribes to or not. How effective pacifism can be as a strategic position is determined by how many people are willing to commit unwaveringly to such a strategy. With enough people involved, it can be very effective indeed, forcing the aggressor/occupier to resort to evil and genocidal measures which in today's information-fluid age would blow up in the aggressor's/occuier's face so to speak.

Read my comments to this blog post.

November 20, 2005 12:17 PM  
Blogger Deirdre said...

Why on earth would I want to save you a heck of a lot of ranting, Gerry? Ha! The very idea...

Thanks for those links, though. And even without knowing what they say, your discussions about mass people power make me think I have a too-rosy view of "negotiation" anyway. Even peaceful people power is still about wielding "power", isn't it? I was imagining negotiation more in terms of compromises or bartering.

November 20, 2005 5:37 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Negotiation? I'm sure pacifists are all for negotiation. Then again some things can't be negotiated away. And some people are not interested in negotiating.

So when push comes to shove and the bullets are whizzing and the bombs are falling, it seems to many that it is insane to be a pacifist, but I think that's the time when it's most important to be one, Deirdre.

And you're not getting out of going to those links to read! Go now!!!

November 21, 2005 9:54 AM  
Blogger Jenni said...

You know, I'm a conditional pacifist, as well, Gerry. Thanks for finding my label ;)

November 23, 2005 3:31 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Hahaha, Jenni... Yes... But what are _your_ conditions (escape clauses to justify the use of violence)?

This is where we all get into the sticky stuff... :-)

November 23, 2005 11:04 AM  
Blogger JahTeh said...

It would take more than a suicidal lunatic dickheaded bear to offend me, after all I was married once.

November 24, 2005 6:50 PM  
Blogger JahTeh said...

How does pacifism equate to passive resistance?
Some of the bravest men I have read about in my WW1 research on shell shock were pacifists and conscientious objectors who wouldn't carry a gun or kill but joined the ambulance brigrades. They went into no-man's land to bring back the wounded and many died rather than defend themselves by killing.
So as pacifists in the trenches were they condoning the war or using passive resistance?
So much rambling I sound like on Davo's home brew but I'm sure you know what I mean.

November 24, 2005 7:21 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

JT1, I'm pleased to hear that I can't offend you. Such people are a rare find.

JT2, "How does pacifism equate to passive resistance?"

I guess that it (one's pacifism) restricts one's method of resistance to a nonviolent one.

The pacifists in the trenches, I think, were a very rare breed indeed. I figure they believed that it was their duty to serve and so they sought a nonviolent way to serve. I admire them immensely.

BTW, have you read Somerset Maugham's "The Razor's Edge" (heaps better than the movie starring Bill Murray, IMHO)?

November 24, 2005 9:11 PM  
Blogger JahTeh said...

Bill Murray!!! I was raised watching Tyrone Power in that role. Sometimes you can't beat the old black and white films for dramatic impact.

November 25, 2005 7:42 PM  

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