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The Rhetoric of Violence

Posted on Apr 20, 2014

By Chris Hedges

(Page 3)

As we build a revolutionary consciousness, we must never place our faith in violence, even as we understand that violence, especially by vigilantes, criminals and militarized police forces, will be used against us. Our strength is our truth. And this truth terrifies our power elites. Truth, not force, is the real power of revolutionaries. It was an understanding of the truth about the decadence of the czarist regime that led soldiers in the 1917 February Revolution in Russia to mutiny against their officers, leading to the abdication of Nicholas II. It was similar truths that, having finally penetrated the militaries, doomed Louis XVI, the Shah of Iran and the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Revolutions do not succeed because of violence, although violence is often a component of revolutions. The glorification of violence as the principal agent of change is a lie. Revolutions succeed because of revolutionary thinking. Such consciousness takes years to build. It slowly, invisibly burrows into the organs of power. It leads those on the inside to defect to the revolution. And once that happens, state power crumbles. 

Muslims, undocumented workers, homosexuals, liberals, feminists, intellectuals and African-Americans will increasingly suffer the wrath of vigilante violence as the nation becomes more restive. Liberal institutions, their credibility shredded because of their myopic support for neoliberalism, will become irrelevant. Chauvinism, violent retribution, a perverted Christianity and the celebration of a mythic Anglo-Saxon history will sever sections of the population from reality, enticing them into an American fascism. This is what is coming. It cannot be fought with counterviolence. It can be fought only with ideas. We better prepare.

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