SEATTLE: 'Healing'...............?

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Mon, 06 Dec 1999 03:58:23 -0500


I know this will be taken totally out of its intended context and could 
well result in a major brouhaha here, but this discussion is long overdue 
and all I can hope for is that people will listen with an open mind.

Before 'nonviolence' can even be properly defined a working analysis of 
what violence is has to be arrived at.  To date this hasn't happened - the 
defensiveness I encounter whenever I attempt to raise the issue has made 
proper discussion impossible. All I can do is ask (once again) that people 
approach the issue with an open mind.

Pertaining to Seattle specifically: I've been hearing much rhetoric about 
the need for 'healing' in that city in the wake of the WTO. The thing most 
people seem to forget is that  'healing' can only occur in this situation 
when the victims of state violence are compensated for their ordeal and 
those directly responsible (the Mayor, police, etc) are held properly and 
publicly responsible for their crimes. Or are all the victims supposed to 
just 'forgive and forget'?

The 'healing' proposed by officials in Seattle is worse than worthless 
because it does nothing to prevent a recurrence or truly address the very 
real, very serious physical and emotional damage done to thousands of 
innocent people in the name of maintaining 'public order.'

And the main organizers of protest events are far from innocent here - 
sometimes I have to wonder (and Seattle has more than confirmed this) if 
so-called advocates of 'nonviolence' don't value the lives of the enemy 
more than those of their own peers because all I see is a constant bending 
over backwards to protect the rights of the perpetrator while expecting the 
victims to simply absorb the violence aimed at them, w/o recourse to any 
means of deflecting or evading it - or for that matter, for even verbally 
expressing their pain or rage. (I heard of at least one instance of someone 
being royally dumped on by his peers for merely raising his voice at the 
cops, and I'm sure there were plenty of others).

This seems to prove that the trauma and agony experienced by their 
'disciples' is of no concern to the organizers of such events.

My sense is although it was highly successful in accomplishing its stated 
goals, this action is going to result in serious long-term physical and 
emotional damage to people who participated (and to more than a few 
bystanders who were simply trying to go about their lives) who were 
expected to just humbly submit to state-sanctioned torture, brutality and 
repression in the name of 'nonviolence'. My own hunch is that many will 
think twice or more before taking part in anything similar again - they 
will figure there's no percentage in it. Who in their right mind would 
willingly submit a second time to a situation where they would face almost 
certain brutality and torture but are expected by their peers to remain 
defenseless?

My own personal background would have made it impossible for me to 
participate on the terms the organizers were insisting on because there is 
simply no way in hell I will merely humbly offer my exposed throat to 
someone who is clearly bent on hurting me or anyone else. Nor can I remain 
passive in any situation where people are being threatened with harm. I've 
already endured enough abuse in my life to make it impossible for me to 
meekly submit to any more. Or does this not matter in the scenario of 
'nonviolence'?

We have to develop a true reverence for life which requires a policy of 
strict zero-tolerance for any form of abuse or violence issuing from the 
state. Preserving and defending the rights and safety (both physical and 
emotional) of our peers in resistance must be first and foremost - the 
oppressors by nature must forfeit this consideration when they embrace the 
road of violence against the people.


--
Graeme
ICQ #53515294
<http://webhome.idirect.com/~gbacque/gbacque.html>
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"Your anger is a gift." -- Rage Against The Machine