It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Non-Violence, Self-Defense, Direct Action?

page: 1

log in


posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 08:50 PM
The event in Austin brings up an issue for me that I have been struggling with for ages, and so do many others here on ATS it appears. Whether we've been told the complete truth about today's attack is as of yet unclear to me, but nevertheless the event brought an age-old discussion to the table, which comes in many ways, shapes and forms:

An eye for an eye or turn the other cheek?
Civil disobedience or homegrown terrorists?
Rioters or Revolutionaries?
Non-violence or Direct Action?

There is a great spirit of resistance to oppression and tyrranny on ATS, but with so many different political affiliations it often seems impossible to come together and agree on a course of action.

Many people on ATS believe the S will H the F anytime now, so perhaps it's not a bad idea to explore the different tactics used when it comes to dealing with threats and/or oppressive forces. Hopefully we can provide ourselves with some interesting perspectives on the benefits and/or consequences of using certain strategies in certain scenarios, and eliminate some ignorance and hypocrisy in our own thinking.

1 - Non-Violence


Nonviolence is a philosophy and strategy for social change that rejects the use of violence. As such, nonviolence is an alternative to passive acceptance of oppression and armed struggle against it. Practitioners of nonviolence may use diverse methods in their campaigns for social change, including critical forms of education and persuasion, civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action, and targeted communication via mass media. In modern times, nonviolence has been a powerful tool for social protest.[1][2][3] There are many examples of its being used in nonviolent resistance and nonviolent revolution. Well known examples are Mahatma Gandhi leading a decades-long nonviolent struggle against British rule in India, which eventually helped India win its independence in 1947. Martin Luther King's adoption of Gandhi's nonviolent methods in the struggle to win civil rights for African Americans. César Chávez campaigns of nonviolence in the 1960s to protest the treatment of farm workers in California.[4] The 1989 "Velvet Revolution" in Czechoslovakia that saw the overthrow of the Communist government[5] is considered one of the most important of the largely nonviolent Revolutions of 1989.[6] More recently the nonviolent campaigns of Leymah Gbowee and the women of Liberia were able to achieve peace after a 14-year civil war.

My personal take on this is that I consider myself non-violent for the most part. I am no Epic Beard Man; I would've shut up and let the thug think I'm a wussy. There would be no shame on my part, since I don't care what others think and I already have won the heart of a woman so there's no need to impress anyone. I would just want to get home safely, and there was nothing to gain or lose in the fight.

But what if the thug came back later that night, broke into my home to rob us? Oh, there would be violence. Because, imo non-violence should go both ways, as I do not believe there's anything to gain from victim hood, spiritual or otherwise. In my own home, I would even strike first, no problemo.

Now, if I apply these examples to a larger scale, there is an issue, because every minute of the day most people on earth are attacked and robbed whether they are at home or in the bus. Those who were disadvantaged from the start and never broke the cycle of poverty will tend to agree that it seems we are being sucked dry by the tiny select few rich folks on the globe.

[edit on 18-2-2010 by Conspiracy Pianist]

posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 08:51 PM

2 - Self Defense

Most people who live in poverty don't 'have themselves to thank for it'. The idea of equal opportunity is a farce since education costs money. Period. The same goes for justice, since good lawyers cost good money.

In this sense, the hardship poor people face is an outside attack on their lives. The hospital bill for their kids' surgery, the costs of college, getting laid off or evicted. They don't deserve that crap in the same way that Soros doesn't 'deserve' billions of dollars, and even though no fists have swung through the air it can be stated that physical harm is inflicted upon them. Especially when they can't afford medical treatment.

Then don't they have the right to Self Defense?

Self-defense is a countermeasure that involves defending oneself, one's property or the well-being of another from physical harm.[1] The use of the right of self-defense as a legal justification for the use of force in times of danger is available in many jurisdictions, but the interpretation varies widely.[2] To be acquitted of any kind of physical harm-related crime (such as assault and battery and homicide) using the self-defense justification, one must prove legal provocation, meaning that one must prove that they were in a position where not using self-defense would most likely lead to significant injury to life, limb, or property. In politics, the concept of national or mutual self-defense to counter a war of aggression refers to a defensive war organized by the state and is one possible criterion in the just war theory.


My personal perspective on this is that yes, self defense against massive corporations who can legally rob you broke is justified.
Bank overdraft fees of $33 can compound on any given day because the bank decides to add the deposit you made at the start of the day to your balance after deducting the transactions you made at the end of the day.. just an example.
How can you retaliate? Should you attack the girl behind the counter? No, she's just trying to pay her bills with a boring job at the bank, she has nothing to do with it.

So the issue with Self-Defense against organized tyranny of this nature is that you cannot do anything effectively, as your attacker is too big and transparent that you don't even know where to begin.

The best way forward then is to avoid as many attacks as possible - not an easy thing to do if you need credit to get a place to live and you need a place to live to get a job and you need to get a job to get money to build up credit. Even non-conformity has been compromised when health foods or vegan/vegetarian food industries are being bought up by the same companies you were trying to quit giving your business to. The 'system' has it's tentacles everywhere, and it has grown very deep roots for decennia, if not millennia. Which is where we enter the realm of...

posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 08:52 PM

3 - Direct Action


Direct action is politically motivated activity undertaken by individuals, groups, or governments to achieve political goals outside of normal social/political channels. Direct action can include nonviolent and violent activities which target persons, groups, or property deemed offensive to the direct action participant. Examples of nonviolent direct action include strikes, workplace occupations, sit-ins, and graffiti. Violent direct actions include sabotage, vandalism, assault, and murder. By contrast, grassroots organizing, electoral politics, diplomacy and negotiation or arbitration does not constitute direct action. Direct actions are sometimes a form of civil disobedience, but some (such as strikes) do not always violate criminal law. The rhetoric of Martin Luther King and Mohandas Gandhi promoted non-violent revolutionary direct action as a means to social change. Direct action participants aim to either: * obstruct another political agent or political organization from performing some practice to which the activists object; or, * solve perceived problems which traditional societal institutions (corporations, governments, powerful churches or establishment trade unions) are not addressing to the satisfaction of the direct action participants. In general, direct action is often used by those seeking social change, in some cases, revolutionary change. It is central to autonomism and has been advocated by a variety of marxists and anarchists, including syndicalism, anarcho-communism, insurrectionary anarchism, green anarchism, Marxist Humanists, anarcho-primitivist and pacifists.

In my opinion, this is the best way to get the kind of drastic change that the majority of people wish to see on Earth. However, I believe non-violent direct action yields far better results than violent direct action, since hurting or killing a living being demonstrates a lack of respect for life that doesn't resonate with whatever 'cause' you're fighting for. This will then easily be turned into 'terrorism' by the Media (which is obviously in support of the status quo) and will cast doubt in the minds of the masses.


It is often said in Hermeticism that coldness and heat are the same thing, just to a different degree. I believe this principle applies to these strategies as well. When does Self-Defense become violent direct action? When does non-violent direct action become violent? There's a lot of Grey area, and it basically boils down to 'He started it'... "No, HE started it..."

Personally, I think it should not be possible for one mother's child to starve while some people have 8 course caviar meals. A lot of stuff has to change imo, but I often feel helpless and hopeless about humanity and our future.

How do we deal with attacks on our personal well being and/or the well being of our families?

posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 09:33 PM
The ironic thing is that often, violence can prevent violence – or at least the threat of it. Oftentimes, a predator will approach with a shark-like ‘nudge’ to feel a victim out. Depending upon one’s reaction a further attack may occur or the shark will swim off in pursuit of better prey.

One has to be able to gauge the severity of the circumstances to be able to react appropriately however. If one is confronted with six knife-wielding men demanding your wallet then discretion is probably the better choice. If, however, you discover an unknown person in your bedroom at 2 am then your best course of action is to do everything you can to kill them. Later you can try to find out why they were there.

Violence is not always an option but sometimes it is the only option; unless you are willing to be subjected to rape, murder, torture, etc. But you have to know when to use it and be willing to if necessary. Violence is like alcohol – use with discretion. It shouldn’t be used all the time but every now and then it does have its purpose.

posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 08:15 PM
reply to post by passenger

Agreed, thnkx for the input.

"It's the flexible branch that's less likely to snap and break compared to the rigid, stiff ones."

So when it comes to resistance against oppression, I think we should be flexible and informed, rather than rigid and stiff with dogma or principles. "Violence is never the answer..." is such a form of rigid- & stiffness.

I'm guessing it's mostly religion (and the new age concept of Karma) that creates such strict rules of behavior in so many people... whereas to me it seems that different situations require different actions.

I usually ask very religious people if their God would forgive them if they ever killed a foam-at-the-mouth assailant by instinct, without thinking about it. It's a natural instinct to protect your children, so why would that be followed with damnation?

Regardless, as I stated in the OP, I do think it's important to not get easily heated up and resort to violence; it's a weakness the enemy can exploit. Calm composure and non-violence speak louder than violence when it comes to propaganda.

new topics

top topics

log in