The question of violence

Michael Hesemann mhese at
Sun Jun 11 14:34:00 MDT 1995


In this discussion I have a pazifist point of view and will try to combine
it with
marxist long-term goals and short-term tactics.

1) Utopia of a non-violent society

I hope we agree, that a communist society, in which private property,
nationalism, unequal spread of goods and political power ... is outruled,
is a non-violent and pacifist society. Such a society cannot be achieved
within a second after a revolutionary civil-war, but only through long-term
pacifist propaganda and action.  A revolutionary army, communist police
forces or intelligence services will not simply vanish after the war against
capitalists is won. As the USSR shows such organisations persist and
may even take political lead. Then communism turns into shooting a revisionist
in the morning, opening a Gulag during lunch and letting kids spy against their
parents in the evening.

2) Violence is a basic contradiction of capitalism and a mayor threat to all

Capitalism fosters violence in two mayor directions:

First the arsenal of weapons has reached such a height, that the world can be
totally destroyed several times. The recent discussion concerning the non-
proliferation-treaty shows, that the leading capitalist-countries are loosing
control over atomic-weapon-productions.  Thus an atomic war might happen
quite soon and I think a revolutioary movement must oppose this process by
claiming radical disarmement, stop of research and weapon-export ...

Second violence within capitalist societies has also a problem of mayor
concern. Unemployment, racism, rising poorness, brutal police-forces, fostering
of individualism are symptoms of the contemporary capitalist societies, which
lead to rising criminal activities and moral deterioation. It`s part of the
success to separate the society into pieces and led them fight against
eachother instead of threatening the system. Thus a revolutionary movement
has to foster solidarity and show off as a peaceful alternative to the
brutal and
violent capitalist society. The peace and anti-nuclear-movements are good
examples for spreading such a spirit. No violent movement ever achieved such
a mobilisation and political change than these.

3) Liberal rights
The french revolution was not only done solely by capitalists, but also by
workers, farmers and poor citizens for their freedom. Capitalism doesn`t care
much about the liberal rights as facism, McCarthy and a lot of contemporary
violations of liberal rights show.  It`s part of the struggle to fight for
and liberal rights espec. in the realm of racism. It would be contradictive
to take
a strong hold for violence.

4) Self defense and violence against things
 Within the german peace and anti-nuclear movements there was a
sophisticated debate about these questions, which I am not able to translate
in detail here. As a result self defense and violence against things is used,
but in a way, that the overall peaceful spirit prevails within public opinion.

5) Terrorism
When such small groups as marxists in the US talk about using violence
against the system, it sounds for me like pure terrorism. For the rest of the
society this usage of violence will be not understandable and they will
solidarize with state authorities. The german terrorist Baader-Meinhof-Gang
made a good deal in that and helped a lot the repressive state-police in their

6) Conclusion
Under the tactical goal of reaching ideological hegemony (Gramsci), the usage
of violence, due it`s bad propaganda-effects, is not clever .
Under the strategic goal of a non-violent communist society violent structures
and behaviour must be eliminated.

Michael Hesemann, Hamburg

PS.: Please refrain from reposts only stating: this is interesting, keep on

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