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  10. Again about violence and non-violence


 
-- March 2 2012 --

Again about violence and non-violence 

Some quotes from the book of Barrington Moore jr “Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy” (1966) (page 103 and 505) about violent revolutions: 

“In the French Revolution less than 17.000 victims died in executions carried out by the revolutionary authorities. How many died in prison or otherwise and were also real victims of the Revolution we do knot know. Greer estimates that 35.000 to 40.000 persons in all may have lost their lives as a direct result of revolutionary suppression, a figure that Levebre regards as a quite reasonable guess, though it is little more than that. That this blood bath had its tragic and unjust aspects no serious thinker will deny. Yet in assessing it one has to keep in mind the repressive aspects of the social order to which it was a response. The prevailing order of society always grinds out its tragic toll of unnecessary death year after year…… Offhand it seems very unlikely that this would be very much below the figure of 40.000 when set against a population of nearly 24 million. I think it would be much higher”.

…… “The assumption that gradual and piecemeal reform has demonstrated its superiority over violent ways to advance human freedom is so pervasive that even to question such an assumption seems strange. I have reluctantly come to read this evidence about the costs of going without revolution. The costs of moderation have been at least as atrocious as those of revolution perhaps a great deal more”. 

The daily burden of not having had a violent revolution should be regarded in comparing the situation of India and China after the violent Chinese Revolution of 1948. It seems to be another example of the thesis of Barrington Moore jr. India was richer in 1948 than China and now lags far behind. In India they did not have a violent revolution and the old violence continues. Still nearly two million kids die each year before they are five years old in India while in China this problem has been nearly eradicated. That are in fifty years about 100 million unnecessary deaths in India (and there is much more misery in that country). The cost of the violent Chinese Revolution seems indeed much lower than the still accumulating cost of not having a violent revolution.

When violence should be used to bring the population of the American prisons from over two million back to one million this violence will be justified – and again we do not talk about the other damage violence of the state imposes on the American 99%.

Joost van Steenis (downwithelite@gmail.com)



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