Can non-violent means achieve anything other than incremental change? They cannot achieve radical change, certainly not the kind of fundamental change that would overturn the ruling elite's hold on society. Change at the margins, with a few more "rights" granted by the almighty corporate capitalist state is all we can hope for if we only play by the state's rules, while the state and its corrupt agents still claim for themselves the legal monopoly on the use of force and violence against us.
Ted Rall's new book "The Anti-American Manifesto" advocates for violent revolution, even if we have to join with rightwingers and racists to do it, and even if we have no control over the outcome which could easily be something worse than what we've got. We have a moral duty, Rall argues, to kill some people.
Now, I much prefer a debate over what radical steps to take to a debate over whether it's really appropriate for President Obama to whine about people's lack of enthusiasm for voting. Should we try to pep people up for him or gently nudge him to appoint a new chief of staff who's not a vicious warmongering corporatist? Decisions. Decisions.
Rall's book is packed with great analysis of our current state and appropriate moral outrage. I highly recommend it for the clear-eyed survey of the tides in this giant pot of slowly boiling water where we float and kick about like frogs. To an Obama proposal to create 17,000 jobs, Rall replies:
"The U.S. economy needs to add one hundred thousand new jobs a month to keep up with population growth and keep the unemployment rate even. At this writing, in March 2010, it would require four hundred thousand new jobs each month for three years to get back to December 2007.
"Seventeen thousand jobs? Was Obama still using drugs?"
I recommend Rall's manifesto as a call to action. The only question is what action?-A Debate on Violence: Ted Rall and David Swanson
I'm against violence for its own sake or, for that matter, as anything other than one of many tools in the revolutionary toolbox. It goes without saying that a revolutionary movement that eschews forms of struggle we typically identify as "nonviolent"—demonstrations, strikes, verbal statements in the mass media—while relying exclusively on armed struggle denies itself essential tactics in the drive to liberate ourselves from the tyrannical terror of America's corporate ruling classes. However, it is equally absurd, as the American Left has done since the Kent State shootings—an act of state violence against unarmed students—for the Resistance to deny itself the use of violence and the credible threat thereof. As I have written in my Manifesto, it is no coincidence that the Left can point to no significant victories during the past 40 years. Though incremental progress is possible through exclusively nonviolence means, nonviolence alone has never prevailed in the struggle for radical, revolutionary change.-Ted Rall