rn- Freeman Wicklund: Strategic Nonviolence (mclibel fwd)


Richard Moore

I receive a huge 10 part posting over the mclibel list about non-violence.
I opened part 4 of 6, which happened to be at the top in my inbox, and
found it to be very good.  If there is interest, I can post the whole thing
somewhere on the cadre website for people to access.

The piece below is about Guatemala, and the date June 24 is given, but I'm
not sure what year this refers to, as I haven't been following events in
Central America very closely (too depressing).

Freeman is an animal-liberation activist, which I just can't get very
excited about when the _human animal is threatened with extinction, but the
piece only mentions "animal" once.

Such a _difference there is between the non-violent strategy described
here, and the _superfically similar actions of PGA.  With a non-violent
strategy, repression leads to strengethening the movement; with a
confrontational approach, repression of the protestors is seen by the
population as being `deserved', and the movement is weakened.


Date: Wed, 10 Jun 1998
To: •••@••.•••
From: David Briars <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Strategic Nonviolence (4 of 6)

Subject: Strategic Nonviolence (4 of 6)
Date: June 10, 1998
From: Freeman Wicklund <•••@••.•••>

Part 4

 On June 24, students, teachers, and supporters conducted marches in
the street where they emphasized nonviolent action. A peaceful meeting
that night demanded the resignation of Ubico. The police responded to
these actions and other acts of defiance, by beating up and arresting
hundreds of people at a neighborhood religious and social gathering. Of
course, these repressive actions were also politically jiu-jitsued. The
attacks galvanized even more resistance to Ubico and made the people
increasingly fearless and willing to risk physical injury and
imprisonment to protest the brutal treatment.
     The next morning, June 25, huge demonstrations outside of the
National Palace were met by platoons of soldiers, calvary, tanks, armored
cars, machine guns, and police. That afternoon, grief-struck women
assembled at the Church of San Francisco to pray that the brutalities,
repression, and oppression would stop. Afterwards they conducted a silent
procession. The calvary charged them, firing into the crowd. Many of the
women were wounded, and one-María Chincilla Recinos-was killed.
     As if in shock, the city literally stopped. This repression
completely mortified the whole of Guatemala. The unprovoked lethal
violence used against unarmed Christian women clearly revealed the
character of General Jorge Ubico-pure evil-and all businesses and stores
closed down, no workers went to work, the city streets were deserted, and
nothing happened. It was an entire economic shutdown.
     That act of repression was to be Ubico's downfall. With no economic
activity, General Ubico's power dissolved, and letters and messages
demanding his resignation flooded the palace. On July 1, he resigned his
post. Although Ubico had ruled Guatemala for 13 years with an iron fist,
nonviolent action utilizing political jiu-jitsu took less than one month
to oust him from power.
     Political jiu-jitsu is a powerful force, and we need to utilize it
for the animals. Its power lies in the fact that regardless of how our
opposition responds to us-as long as we maintain persistent, courageous,
open, and nonviolent action-they are doomed to failure. If they punish us
for our acts of nonviolent civil disobedience, they look monstrous and
lose support. But, if they do nothing, our actions will escalate until we
dismantle their operations. But in order to effectively invoke the power
of political jiu-jitsu we need to establish through our behaviors that we
are open, honest, nonviolent, nonhostile, and courageous.
     Furthermore, in order for us to use political jiu-jitsu, some of us
will have to suffer, and we must be willing to do so. If we are not
collectively willing to endure the sacrifices forced upon us by our
opposition's repression, the repression may demoralize us and create
submission to our opposition. Therefore, we must maintain persistence
despite our casualties. But to maintain persistence, we must be
personally willing to endure casualties, and watch our fellow comrades
endure casualties. If we are willing to make these sacrifices, then
casualties only make us stronger and spur us on to victory!
     We now further examine how our suffering helps the struggle.

>From Sacrifice and Suffering to Success

   "We must all sacrifice our own needs for the needs of others."

   -Aung San Suu Kyi, who voluntarily stayed under house arrest,
   separated from her husband and children for six years, rather than
   permanently leave her home country of Burma, where she leads the
   nonviolent democracy movement against an oppressive military regime.

     Civil disobedience challenges the opposition and forces them to
respond. When they respond with repression, we suffer. We must all face
the harsh truth that some of us will endure long prison sentences,
injuries, and possibly even death during the course of our struggle. By
facing this reality, we can emotionally and psychologically prepare for
the sacrifices we must endure and build the inner strength needed to
maintain nonviolent discipline while enduring the opposition's violence.
Activists who are unable or unwilling to make these sacrifices can fill
the other equally essential roles within the struggle.
     As we evaluate the amount of suffering we can endure, we should not
be discouraged by that potential sacrifice. For these sacrifices allow us
to: maintain persistent action despite repression, utilize political jiu-
jitsu, accelerate the conversion process, and strengthen our movement's
determination to fight.

   "I have found that mere appeal to reason does not answer where
   prejudices are age-long and based on supposed religious authority.
   Reason has to be strengthened by suffering and suffering opens the
   eyes to understanding."





                  Restore democratic sovereignty
                  Create a sane and livable world
             Bring corporate globalization under control.
        To keep join the discussion on bringing about a
        democratic renaissance, send any message to:
        To subscribe to the the ppi list, which is a larger list
        and a more general political discussion, send any message to:
        To review renaissance-network archives, send any message to: