When I was a kid, some of my big heroes were The Mohawk Warrior Society, The Black Panthers, AIM and the IRA. Of those, only the Warrior Society could be said to be “primarily nonviolent”.
As I got older and learned more about the world, it seems to me that the downfall of those organizations was in ignoring Audre Lourde’s words when she said “You cannot tear down the master’s house using the master’s tools”.
By reacting to the violence of the colonizer, and the oppressor, by returning violence, or “fighting fire with fire” they simply chose a new role in the *same game*.
Martin Luther King, Ghandi and the Warrior Society, on the other hand, chose to negate the colonizer’s game; to step outside of the game and thus eliminate it’s power over them.
As long as we continue to play the colonizer’s game, we allow them to create the rules, to choose the “battlefield” on which we face them and to effectively control us. Shooting a policeman who, whether he is a good person or not, or a good cop or not, is just doing his job does not at all *challenge* the system. The system considers you, me and that policeman *disposable*.
I am very grateful to Jueseppi B. for sharing this article. It brought back a lot of memories, and made me think a lot (in a good way;-).
I also want to mention something related, but not in the article. Tupac Shakur was murdered and there is a lot of suspicion that his murder was actually part of the ongoing COINTELPRO program because A) his parents were Black Panthers and B) Tupac was becoming an iconic hero to rebellious youth of all kinds. I don’t know, I don’t suppose anyone knows for sure if that is true but what I find especially significant is that our parents and grandparents struggles for justice live on in us and thru us-and even if we don’t choose to recognize that fact, those who seek to control us surely do.
The ascension of Barack Hussein Obama to the Presidency of the United States is proof that our parents struggles were NOT in vain, that we CAN turn things around and that the voice of the People is far more powerful than the 1% want us to know. To me, it is also proof that we CAN achieve our goals and aims for the freedom of the people from the 1%, corporate-fascist groups etc WITHOUT using guns, without resorting to violence.
I may not always agree with the man, but he has made himself a symbol of the power of the people to overcome without violence. He has become a symbol for the fact that the power of the people lies in our choices and in our ACTIONS not in our ability to carry and use a weapon of any kind.
That power and the changes we can and will create with it, are, I believe, what the Panthers and other groups like them were really fighting for back then.