How do you deal with the perverted, disease-bearing, voracious bastard who wants to cast his image over all things, eat from every plate at every table, police the world with racist shibboleths and a dying doctrine of marketplaces peopled by monopolies, top-heavy bureaus, and scum-swilling pigs to gun down any who would object?
The concept of nonviolent protest, whatever political forms it may take, presumes two things about the imperialist establishment that are so obviously historically unrealistic, so logically unsound that the espousal of any purely nonviolent anti-establishment moan reduces one automatically to the absurd, and any strong espousal of the purely nonviolent anti-establishment policy reduces one automatically to a corpse.
The first presumption is mercy. It presumes the possible existence of mercy on the part of a breed whose heart is as cold as the snows. It presumes existence of a restraint mechanism that in other breeds and other animals precludes the harming of one’s kind unless placed under the most extreme compulsion of self-preservation. But history shows no justification for so wild a presupposition. I refer you to Leopold II’s Congo, the Indian wars of the last century, the Union of South Africa, Sharpsville, the Philippines at the turn of the century. I refer you to Germany during the depression and war years. I refer you to Vietnam! Just a cursory reading of history and just a glance about me now would show-that I could expect more mercy from a pack of Bengal Tigers. Any claims that nonviolent, purely nonviolent political agitation has served to force back the legions of capitalist expansion are false. The theory of nonviolence is a false idea. The Hindus failed because of this moral aspect in their characters precluding any large-scale organized violence. The forms of slavery merely changed for them. Of what value is quasi-political control if the capitalists are allowed to hold on to the people’s whole means of subsistence?! And in the case of India and foreign capitalists, have any of the people’s needs been met? Do they still have race riots, do they still sleep in the streets? These people were betrayed by false leaders with false ideals. Compare India with China. They were both supposedly liberated at the same time, India may have had a year or more of what is loosely termed “political self-determination”. China’s problems in the late forties were ten times more severe, but today there is no one hungry in China. For the first time its population is united and organized under a government as decentralized and representative as a huge modern industrial based society can be. China, land of the coolie, slave labor, open-door policies, floor mat of the West-they’re vying for first place in every important economic sector today. Remember the 1839 Opium War, the Boxer Rebellion. A trial of combat with China today would be Russian roulette with a fully loaded .45 automatic, self-destruction, suicide.
All the third world political movements that are forcing the retreat of colonialism have learned to deal with the expeditionary armies of colonialism. There is no case of successful liberation without violence. How could you neutralize an army without violence?
The people of the U.S. are held in the throes of a form of colonialism. Control of their subsistence and nearly every aspect of the circumstances surrounding their existence has passed into the hands of a clearly distinct and alienated oligarchy. If today’s young revolutionary vanguard are not merely entertaining themselves with a new kind of “Chicken,” a political form of bumper tag, if they seriously intend to step out front and take the monster to task, they should understand from the outset that the monster is merciless.
Pure nonviolence as a political idea, then, is absurd: Politics is violence. It may serve out purpose to claim nonviolence, but we must never delude ourselves into thinking that we can seize power from a position of weakness, with half measures, polite programs, righteous indignation, loud entreaties.