Tuesday 22 November 2011


By Jim Miles
November 22, 2011

I just watched the video of the University of California students at Davis against the heavily armed police that is becoming prominent on many internet sites and I am reminded, among others, of the non-violent responses of the Palestinians to their occupiers (see “Refusing to be Enemies - Palestinian and Israeli Nonviolent Resistance to the Israeli Occupation,” Ithaca Pres, 2011). 

The video shows clearly the actions of the police pepper spraying passive students sitting on the ground, heads down. Following that, without any real organization of leadership, the students start slowly almost imperceptibly at first, moving forward toward the police. The resolution is that the police finally turn and leave the site. An earlier video, showing U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Shamar Thomas shaming a squad of New York City police, serves as another excellent example of non-violence actively confronting threatened or implied violence. 

The highlight of this is that non-violence need not be passive.

Non-violence can be passive, and does at times necessitate full passivity in the face of impending violence. But in other circumstances, especially where the overwhelming balance of force is on one side, a pro-active non violence can be very effective. The police/military are then forced into a decision: to either use violence against the protesters; or to stand down from the protesters.

Included in this is the nature of social media and the ubiquitous presence of cameras, videos, cell phones, and their immediate input into the airwaves of the world. If the police are to choose violence, that will be seen globally, even if the mainstream corporate media do not pick up on it. If the police choose to stand down, that also will not be seen in corporate media. But everyone else will see it nevertheless.

Historically, pacifism did not bring about significant changes to the social structures and politics of the world. The Magna Carta (1215) in England was not donated willingly by the King but forced upon him by his rebellious barons.

Interestingly enough, this was not a rebellion to replace one monarch with another, but to limit the powers of the absolute monarchy.

The unions that workers attempted to form were not aided and abetted by the corporations that were involved. Union development in the western world is the story of workers’ rights and better working conditions up against the forces used by the corporate elites, the militaries and hired police. Many workers’ strikes were settled by violence before unions began to have some recognition under law; unfortunately later many of them were co-opted by the union bosses to support one political position or another of the elites.

The women’s suffragette movement was not a peaceful one, and involved violence against the women, with the women resorting to hunger strikes and chaining themselves to barricades in order to pronounce their determination. World War I had a significant role in giving women the right to vote as they ‘demonstrated’ their abilities to replace men in the homeland manufacturing centres.

The freeing of the black slaves in the U.S. and then the long struggle to have equality in society was not given to the black people voluntarily. It involved a long history of violence against blacks and their supporters. This violence continues today with the inequalities of race and crime based on this historical pattern.

Ghandi spoke of non-violence, but was not passive in his opposition to the British empire in India.

Martin Luther King spoke of non-violence but was not passive in his actions against racial discrimination in the U.S.

The Egyptians demonstrated non-violence in Tahrir Square and are still under fire from the military regime now controlling Egypt (and why not, for all the billions of dollars they receive from the U.S.?)

The Palestinians practice non-violence on a daily basis, protesting against the illegal “wall” that is expropriating their territory, and in a large part by simply existing and being, proceeding with life trying to give it some sort of semblance of civility under occupation.

Protesters in Bahrain and Yemen who have been non-violent have had overwhelming force used against them ~ as did the Indians, the blacks, the Egyptians, and all others who have protested non-violently.

So there is an obvious downside to protests and struggles for human rights, but that is part of what non-violence is about ~ a clear demonstration that the powers that be are not democratic and are in reality against the masses of the people (except as consumers and cannon fodder of course).

The elites are not aligned with the people, are not accepting their own rhetorical standards of free speech and democracy, and with other elites will do their best to control the voice of the people. It is an alignment of the contradictions of society where those in power clearly do not lead the people, where the elites are clearly in opposition to the people, and in some cases will go to great lengths, including torture and murder, to keep their positions.

Occupy Wall Street for the moment remains a relatively calm demonstration, with non-violence being one of its hall-marks (the other main one being that it is essentially leaderless). The elites will look for weaknesses and try to exploit them.

The elites main weapon for now is the overall tenor of fear that they present to society: fear of communism, fear of terrorism, fear of crime; all embellished by the corporate media to both entertain and contain the thoughts of the hopefully ignorant masses.

The lessons learned from the efforts of the Palestinians can be incorporated into the occupy movement.

What the state [of Israel, the U.S. ….] fears most of all is the hope that people can live together based on justice and equality for all.

Non-violence becomes a pro-active dynamic, with actions taken that are similar in nature to civil disobedience (in cultures where there is civil law, rather than military rule). Another aspect is that of normalization ~ the elites want a leader, they want to negotiate, they want to buy off the leaders (or imprison and decapitate them to instill fear).

Non-violence disallows normal relations; the goal is to replace the subservient position with one of equality in all areas.

In other words, through non-violent resistance, the [Palestinians, Occupy movement….] are not accepting the status quo, are not accepting that the media will be able to present a picture that life continues as normal within the elites’ mode of controlling society.

Non-violent protest can lead to very violent counter-actions.

If that happens to the Occupy movement, it will be seen around the world, and the world, once again, will see that what the U.S. claims about freedom and human rights is simply rhetorical fodder to cover up their real interests in power and control of people and resources.

If nothing else, the Occupy idea is out ~ corporate wealth is creating great inequalities within the U.S. (…and Canada, and Mexico, and Europe, and any other nation that supports the globalization of capital and the governance of corporations over sovereign nations). 

Ideas cannot be removed once put out.

Non-violence is the best way to maintain the message

and keep the pressure on

in an otherwise violent

~ threatened or applied ~


Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews for The Palestine Chronicle. Miles' work is also presented globally through other alternative websites and news publications.


  1. I know moderns love to mention MLK in a kindly light, as if he were a virtuous model. From what I have seen, nothing could be further from the truth. Here is one example: http://www.martinlutherking.org/dream.html

    Anyway, the "pure form" of pacifism is a pipe dream which completely ignores the common disorders of human nature. Ask a "pure pacifist" who is a parent whether or not he would, if necessary, use force to defend his child from an attacker. If he answers, "No," he is a liar or the most irresponsible, unfeeling parent in history.

  2. Not to overdo it, but the author is correct when he says, in so many words, that ideas are powerful. While true ideas are supremely powerful, false ideas are not, therefore, impotent. Indeed, we are going over the precipice precisely because we have had wrong ideas and dreamt disordered dreams for far too long. False ideas about Gandhi and MLK have been going around for far too long, too. Seriously, would the modern US government, corrupt-to-the-core tool of the Money Masters, give a holiday to any man if he were truly great? No. MLK was NOT a great, or even a good man. He certainly does not deserve to be put forth as a virtuous leader and given his own holiday, while they shove the Founding Fathers into the background, denigrating them at every opportunity. The truth hurts, but neither MLK nor Gandhi were as presented in the MSM. It might be wise to ask ourselves. "Why are they selling such 'heroes' during this era?" Frankly, anyone held up for esteem by the MSM should, for that reason alone, be suspect. I confess it might sound a bit odd, but it turns out to be a good operating principle. The standard, mainstream versions of MLK and Gandhi are myths. Godspeed :)

    http://gandhism.net/ http://www.mohandasgandhitruth.com/

  3. Well I knew he was no angel but that link of his activities prior to his death was a bit of an eyebrow raiser!

    I agree ... if you are sainted by the modern media... you have been playing the game with those who have written the agenda...

    When it comes to the race issue, thing is that the Jews are very very involved in everything to do with it for a myriad of reasons. Obviously he was following script and I am sure it had to do with the fact he served so well on the civil rights issue.

    and same goes for Gandhi although I know much less.

    As for a parent. I am a total pacifist and truly do not know how to argue. HOWEVER, the three times my children were threatened by individuals, it took a nanosecond to grow VERY BIG and deal with the issue!

  4. Noor, please let us be serious. The truth movement is forever being inundated by Zionist-racists and other racists who hate black people. To have this nonsense rigged up on King the night before he was assassinated and then have Dr. Abernathy supposedly cited as a source for this is absurd. We would have to see an interview with Dr. Abernathy on film where he backed this up before there could possibly be ANY credence to any of this. I am certain that will never happen. Another thing, Dr. Abernathy and Dr. King always were and remained staunchly pro-life. It was Jesse "which way is the wind blowing" Jackson who betrayed the Black pro-life movement. Furthermore, black abortion is part of the overall genocide that is abortion world wide and black abortion is also eugenocide - directing genocide against a particular group. The abortion murder industry is inundated from the beginning (Guttmacher and on) with Talmudic Jewry. What the genocidal Zionists are doing to the Palestinians is another eugenocide. It is obvious to me when there is definitely a whole host of virulent lies concocted in one to besmirch someone, who is at work there. Personally I don't see any difference between the Stern Gang and the IRA, either. They are both terrorists and trust me, the Palestinian cause and any other worthwhile cause, doesn't need either. Neither do ANY of us who desire truth.

  5. I don't think Newsweek could get away with saying such a thing if there was not something to it. Slander is an easy thing to take to court. Surely that would have happened by now.

  6. Noor, be serious, they get away with all kinds of nonsense all the time - the first amendment is always in the system held to protect the mainstream media no what they say.

    Also, it says "reportedly." That means someone (unidentified) claimed without any evidence to support it, that the supposed bugs that are claimed to be there picked up something that the agency to whom they are claiming was involved was not even ever quoted in answering any question about the veracity of what is claimed to have happened. That is unsubstantiated unidentified hearsay that there is not even any verification that the agency this unsubstantiated unidentified hearsay claims to be involved the way it is claimed - is even involved - at all, much less any evidence that any of that was ever said or happened.

    All of that is if Newsweek even ever said what some internet site claimed it said. Hearsay about supposed and unsubstantiated hearsay is even worse.

    If there had ever actually been something like that in the mainstream media, it would have skyrocketed all over the place. Anyone old enough to remember Dr. King from that time would have heard it already and remembered it without even thinking about it. The Black Church and leadership of the Civil Rights movement (and the Black Civil Rights movement came out of the Black Churches) would have excoriated Dr. King if any such thing had ever been proven and they would have gone after it to see if it was true.

    Go watch the Paul Newman movie from some time ago called Absence of Malice; great example. Absence of Malice is a legal term. If someone can't prove "legal malice" there isn't anything that a public figure can do about hearsay.


    The Justice of God: Christopher Bollyn: The following video explains the current situation in Syria and provides insights into how the protest movement may have been exploited to create an armed conflict, bringing the nation to the verge of a civil war:

    It is the elites that censor things that reveal the truth, unless it fits their agenda. Let us who are of the day continue to go on uncensored.

  7. Steve, I think it is fair to say we are all being "serious" and simply want to learn and spread the truth. Presuming otherwise is counter-productive and we are often incorrect in our assessments.

    Frankly, the "canonization" of MLK by the modern world is, or ought to be an excellent reason to doubt the official narrative. Why an MLK holiday, MLK street in every single town, an MLK center...all while simultaneously denigrating the founders of the country? No one even disputes that he was a plagiarist and adulterer, yet we are to revere him as a hero? No can do...

    If you want to know how well-informed, black intellectuals see things, look up Dr. Tony Martin. For the rest, I have family coming into town shortly...gotta go. Godspeed :)



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