Reconciliation or social revolution ?
I’ve always been somewhat reluctant to write a long and
philosophical article upon Pacifism and Nonviolence,
as most of what I would like to say has been written about
Yet I still find myself reading a lot of works that confuses
Nonviolent principles with those ideas which exclude any
references to humanitarian social justice.
In other words:
They confuse a Radical Nonviolent Philosophy with that of
In an earlier age this was called appeasement.
Yet Appeasement was nothing to do with pacifism.
Appeasement was a British government policy which was
dreamed up in the 1930s.
Realising that it faced a military threat in both Asia and
Europe, the policy of appeasement was cynically introduced in
order to buy time in which to rearm.
My experience of campaigning has always been that there is
more to recommend a form of Nonviolent Creative Conflict,
than there is in working towards reconciliation.
Just how one can engage in reconciliation with Arms Traders,
Exploiters, militarists, or Butchers,
is an interesting question upon which I’ve never received a
Working for reconcilliation has always struck me as just
working for a type of reform,
while what is really needed is nonviolent revolution.
There are a lot of very nasty people out there doing some very
nasty things, and we need to stop them doing these very nasty
There are also some very nasty things going on throughout
the world, and one does need to know a lot about them in
order to stop them happening.
Thus as a pacifist & campaigner I have had to educate myself
upon some horrific subjects.
Thus I can tell you a lot about radiation sickness which comes
from my campaigning against nukiller power,
or about the effects of various weapons which I learnt about
while working to stop various aspects of the arms trade.
I have also read the Ernst Friedrich, book
Krieg dem Kriege / Guerre à la Guerre! / War against War!
It is a book full of photos which show just what weapons can
do to people.
Not that I would recommend you to read this work,
as it contains some of the most ghastly photgraphs of what
weapons can do.
A Little History.
During World War One Lytton Strachey ( 1880– 1932 ) was taken before a CO
tribuneral & asked:
`Tell me, Mr Strachey, what would you do if you saw a German soldier trying to violate your sister?’
His reply was:
“I should try to interpose my body”
Now look at this the other way around.
If he were to be living in Germany at the time, then the question
might of been:
`Tell me, Hr Strachey, what would you do if you saw a French or British soldier trying to violate your sister?’
His answer would of been exactly the same.
Such an approach to what constitutes pacifism has always
struck me as very simplistic.
it also displays a very nationalist perspective.
Those who would support conscription very rarely seem to get
the point that pacifists object to all wars,
which is very different from not holding a nationalistic
That’s almost like saying that one can’t support ones local
football team unless you become a football hooligan.
I have always like to quote the words of Salvor Hardin in the
SF novel “Foundation” by Isaac Asimov:
‘Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.’
Examples not saints.
I’ve read some of the works of Gandhi, and Martin Luther King,
but have Never Been Impressed by their ideas.
This is because my Pacifist & Nonviolent ideology is based upon
an Atheistic and humanitarian view of the world.
In any case I have always thought that the Authobiography of
Gandhi ‘ The story of my experiments with truth’ was more
interesting in terms of what he wrote about his diet than
While Martin Luther King was more of a religionist than a
How I formed some of my Pacifist ideas.
I formed a lot of my pacifist ideas by reading such books as
Ends and means by Huxley,
and the Jim Peck autbiography ‘Upper Dogs Versus Underdog’.
Neither of these authors would I venerate as saints,
but that is exactly how many people tent to view both Gandhi &
Is it any wonder that I’m also an atheist ?
Of course a lot of the work of pacifists is in terms of
preventing violence from occurring in the 1st place.
This can be by countering social injustices,
or in opposing the violence which is inevitable within any rigid
hierarchical structure such as the state.
Practicing Nonviolence is very much like the kind of thing
which one learns to do while attending any ‘personal safety’
Stand well out of harms way,
or out of the arms length of anyone whom might pose a threat,
& thus throw a punch to you.
In other words:
by this kind of nonviolent action you can avoid the danger of
getting yourself & others hurt in the affray,
while at the same time you can sort out just what the
underlining problem(s) might be.
Many of the world conflicts could be avoided if people were
to remember this one simple idea.
Then having avoided the threat of violence can you get on with
worthing for some kind of socialjustice.
Well there you have it.
My Pacifism & Nonviolent philosophy is not just based upon
humanitarian values, but upon what is a very practical view of
how we might solve various social problems.
This also includes just how we can solve our various
That is why I also see my vegetarianism as an extention of both
by Nonviolent or humanitarian principles,
and as a very practical solution to the ecological mess which
we all face right now.
Now you can see just why I’ve still to write a philosophical
article up Pacifism and Nonviolence.
I always did have a very practical mind set,
and it shows in the way that I view my Pacifism and Nonviolent