Creating the Non-Violent Society

Every relationship of domination, of exploitation, of oppression is by definition violent, whether or not the violence is expressed by drastic means. In such a relationship, dominator and dominated alike are reduced to things- the former dehumanized by an excess of power, the latter by a lack of it. And things cannot love.

 — Paulo Freire (2000)

By Edward SantoPrieto

 

Do you know the sound the human body makes upon impact after being flung from a five-story tenement building?

Do you know the ringing absence of sound and the smell of cordite when the enraged husband of the woman whose body he flung off that roof, empties his revolver into her lifeless body?

Do you know personally what it feels like to get punched in the face, or to be jumped by a group out to hurt you and to have your face cut in the process?

Do you know what it’s like to have fight almost every day of your life?

Have you ever felt skin and bone crush under your fists as, adrenaline coursing through your bloodstream, you repeatedly punch someone you fear and hate as he lays helplessly underneath you?

Do you know what it feels like to have someone to point a gun at you and pull the trigger; to hear the bullets zing by you as you run for your life?

Do you know what it’s like to lose a friend to bullet, or to have to push another friend in his wheelchair after he was crippled by a bullet?

Do you know what it feels like to actually stab someone? To take a sharp object and thrust it into another human being, perhaps hitting a bone in the process, and still press forward because you felt that it was either that person’s life or yours?

Have you ever plotted and waited, intending to cause harm to another human being because you were afraid for your own life?

Do you know violence? Have you been intimate with violence? Have you ever committed violent acts? Real violence, not violence as something abstract or theoretical, but as an everyday reality?

I do.

And I knew and experienced most of these things before I reached adolescence. I grew up in some of the most violent places in this country — fuck, in the world. In fact, the infant mortality rates of some of the places I was raised still rival third world rates.

I don’t mention this because I think it’s something to brag about or because it somehow privileges me in any way (except to experience some really fucked up shit no one should ever have to experience). I mention this because I want to properly contextualize my advocacy for nonviolence as a radical, revolutionary form of social change. I want to impress upon you that I didn’t come to my own nonviolent stance as a result from a rose-colored or sheltered existence. I know violence in ways very few people know it, having lived it and experienced it first hand in ways most of you only read about in novels or see glorified on TV and movie screens.

I remember the first time I met someone who told me he had never, ever, had a physical altercation. My immediate response was disbelief. I could not conceive how any individual could reach adulthood without ever having gotten into a fight. Impossible! I thought to myself. But that day, during a lull in a research study on the effects of violence on childhood development, no one on the research team, mostly young adults from middle and upper middle class backgrounds, had ever been in a real fight. And they were genuinely horrified at the personal recollections I was sharing. They could not believe I had been subjected to (and subjected others) to the horrific acts of violence I was sharing as casually as if I were eating an ice cream.

Sure, some admitted to having had some intense shouting matches, and some pushing here and there, but not one of my colleagues ever actually committed an act of violence — at least not to the degree I knew violence. And this had been something of an epiphany for me, realizing that perhaps, my experience wasn’t “normal” in the sense that most people didn’t grow up in an overwhelmingly violent environment.

I have been a practicing Buddhist (in the Theravadan tradition) for a little over two decades now. I first became a practicing Buddhist — meaning, among other things, I had committed to five precepts, one being abstaining from harming others — while I was incarcerated in a maximum-security prison. I wrote about that experience previously at Subversify. The main point of that article was really about the challenges of practicing non-violence in a very violent environment (probably one of the most, if not most violent, dehumanizing experiences in my life). My question at the time was that if Buddhism were to have any relevance in my life, then it should work under any circumstances. What follows is what I think is a clarification about what nonviolence means — a too short introduction to nonviolent struggle and to some of its modern-day applications, as a way to dispel some of the bullshit and as a clarification.

In my most recent post on my eyewitness account to the savagery of the events of 9/11, someone responded in the comments section that nonviolence was a “conditioned” evil or some such nonsense. I equate that with other Orwellian-like Newspeak such as “greed is good,” or the new term for torture, “enhanced interrogation techniques.” It’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard in some time. Yeah, thoughtful, peaceful attempts at conflict resolution are evil. Right. ::winning::

First, I’ll state it right up front and say that violence is the way of the coward. It’s the easiest, mindless thing in the world to enact violence. It’s easy to pull a trigger or punch someone you disagree with or (most likely) fear. I have a rule: if you advocate for violence as a means for social change, then you will have to tell me how it is you come to defend killing mostly innocent women and children because the vast numbers of the casualties of war are women and children. If you’re advocating for mass violence (war), then you have to begin your defense of that advocacy in this way, “I advocate the senseless murder and brutal rape of mostly women and children because… ” Why? Because that’s the reality of war1. That is the reality of violence. Violence unleashes a bloodlust that reduces us to the level of the reptilian end of our DNA. War is rape is unbridled capitalism is mindless consumption. The fact I’m often confronted with is that most people who advocate violence really have no true intimate knowledge of it. And those who do know it first hand and still advocate it are usually disaffected youth (or emotionally stunted adults), chickenhawks,2 or worse, sadistic sociopaths. Most have never ever really experienced violence and almost never ever engage in its brutality.

I first became familiar with the notion of nonviolence from the perspective of Eastern philosophy. It was the mid-60s when I was about twelve-years-old; I was in a fight with someone who fought in a way I never experienced. He was using his hands, elbows, and feet in a way that was completely alien to me (my uncle, against my mother’s protestations, taught me Western boxing). In short, he was kicking my ass. The fight was stopped by a tall, bald black man. Sensei Blair, as we came to know him, would take kids off the street and teach them Gōjū-ryū Karate for free. He owned a storefront and it was there I would learn nonviolence, among many other things. Sensei Blair demanded an oath to never use the martial arts to harm, and never out of anger. If he caught you fighting, you were barred from the dojo (school). Paradoxically, the more adept I became in the art, the less I fought, and the more I walked away from taunts and fights. It was at the dojo where I first learned meditation and my first introduction to Daoism and I devoured the books on Eastern philosophy Sensei Blair kept. Sensei Blair was also something of a role model/ father figure for many troubled youth. In a very real way, Sensei Blair was teaching nonviolence in a very effective way — offering kids an alternative to gangs, general criminal activity, and drug dealing otherwise so easily accessible.

Nonviolent action is a means of social struggle that arises from the more evolved stage of human development. It has been developed in a conscious way only in the last several decades. It does not, contrary to common misunderstanding, rely on the goodwill of the opponent but instead is designed to work in the face of determined opposition and violent repression. It is not limited to any race, nationality, social class, or gender, and has been used successfully in a wide range of political circumstances.

Nonviolent action is not simply any method of action that is not violent. Generally speaking, it means taking action that goes beyond (transcends) normal institutionalized political methods such as voting, lobbying, letter writing, verbal expression, etc., without injuring opponents. Interestingly enough, nonviolent action is like war in that it is a means of waging conflict (some would say “waging peace”). It requires a willingness to take risks and bear suffering without violent retaliation. In its most essential form, nonviolence is a means by which people discover their social power.

No discussion of nonviolence is complete without a mention of Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) and his career, which marked a watershed moment in the development of nonviolent struggle. In leading the struggle for Indian independence, Gandhi was the first to intentionally combine a wide range of tactics according to a strategic plan in a campaign unequivocally nonviolent. He was also the first to conduct a series of campaigns toward long-term goals. Spiritually-centered, practical, and innovate in temperament, Gandhi was nonetheless an astute, indefatigable, and efficient organizer who combined a basic joy with a unwavering determination. He was not only a political strategist but a social visionary whose work, marked by a deep concern for the unconditional regard for all persons, illuminates several critical discourses in political theory, touching upon debates that overlap the thought of many Western thinkers.

Gandhi’s nonviolence had three main features: 1) self-improvement (the effort to raise one’s level of consciousness, or make oneself a better person), 2) “constructive program” (a concrete schema with which to replace the status quo aimed at), and 3) campaigns of resistance against the oppressive obstacles that block the way forward, such as the caste system and colonialism (Gandhi, 2001). Gandhi’s success in linking mass action with nonviolent discipline demonstrated the enormous social power this form of struggle tapped into. While it is true that his was an experimental, sometimes less rigorous approach, instilled with his charisma, making it difficult to disentangle these factors, his contribution was still overwhelmingly positive, with tangible, long-lasting results.

In my article regarding my attempts to live nonviolently in a prison setting, I mention only the dynamics between myself and another individual. What I never mentioned was how that incident actually grew into a small movement in itself and to the transformation of my immediate surroundings from one of almost animalistic brutality to one of individual and group transcendence. Shortly after avoiding a fight, my little corner of that prison began to resemble a workshop of sorts. A small group of us who had an interest in political consciousness-raising, began meeting informally, and from those meetings began a germ of an idea that eventually became a curriculum, which I conceived and wrote with the help of this “committee” and which I titled, How to Escape Your Inner Prison.

It was an attempt to lay out a psycho-spiritual road map for awakening. It exposed the fact that the prison system thrived when we fell into the violent mindset, and it highlighted how buying into separating ourselves (Black vs. White vs. Latino, for example), served to incarcerate our minds. Physically, we had very little choice about being in prison, but we were, my curriculum pointed out, giving outside forces permission to incarcerate our minds. “Breaking out,” it followed, meant to break out of the conditioned violent mindset of the prison culture.

We held informal meetings, somehow managed to get several copies of the curriculum circulated for feedback from other inmates who became interested and thus began our first leadership workshop. It changed our world, and it transformed us all profoundly. The changes were so palpable that some of the guards took the workbook home! I’m not going to say everything became Oprah Winfrey-like — we were still in prison — but our lives were changed drastically. More than twenty years later I still keep in touch with some of these individuals, quite a few of whom are spreading their nonviolence in innovate ways. And my curriculum became the template for other curriculums, other workshops.

Eventually, I would be put in solitary confinement for attempting to organize a prison breakout (the title for the workbook was ill-advised, it seems).I believe the trumped up charge was raised because some saw the effects and were fearful.

It is through nonviolent direct action campaigns in the tradition of Gandhi that most people in the United States have become aware of nonviolence and nonviolent methods. The fact is, however, the United States has its own native tradition of nonviolence (Lynd & Lynd, 1995). Before Martin Luther King, Jr., there was A. J. Muste (Muste & Hentoff, 1970) who as early as 1928 laid out his position in his article titled, “Pacificism and Class War.” He was an important leader of the lost history of labor struggles and also chided other pacifists critical of violent action to recognize that, “… they violence on which the present system is based.” He turned his back on nonviolence for a while, but through his experience became convinced of its inadequacy and sought a politics that would be revolutionary and nonviolent.

After advocating for violence earlier in her career, Emma Goldman eventually came to the conclusion that, “… violence in whatever form never has and probably never will bring constructive results… [the] methods and means cannot be separated from the ultimate aim. The means employed become, through individual habit and social practice, part and parcel of the final purpose.”

But it was the movement of African American people for civil rights and an end to racial oppression that is most connected to the idea of nonviolence on the American psyche.

King’s important role as a spokesperson and moral symbol of the struggle, however, has often led to an under emphasis of the grassroots, democratic nature of the movement. As anyone who has been involved in any form of action knows, there are so many nameless, faceless people that make direct action and a movement possible. There are, for example, the men and women who prepare the foods for meetings, the various committees that undertake the task of consciousness-raising, recruitment, the people who help reframe the way issues are conceptualized, and down to those who paint signs, knock on doors, solicit economic support.

The way we tend to look at history is through the patriarchal “Big Man” lens: history filtered only through the lives of famous men. But Martin Luther King and others, great though they were, would have never been able to accomplish anything on their own. A movement, especially an evolved, nonviolent social movement, takes place on many different levels, working the transformative dynamic in many different ways. At the heart of the heart of the civil rights movement was the collective decision by tens of thousands of ordinary, everyday people to risk their security and often their lives to the cause, and to grow toward a greater fulfillment of their own potential in the pursuit of human dignity, justice, and community.

The civil rights movement had an enormous and lasting impact. It affected the full range of the American experience: Blacks, whites, Latin@s, women, Asians, The LGBTQ community, among others. It created a shared moral and political ground from which they could move to challenge other injustices such as the Vietnam War, imperialism, poverty, ethnocentricity, and sexism. These achievements are often minimized if not dismissed by those who, radicalized by the enormity of the task, realize that it is more than merely correcting a flaw in an otherwise healthy system. Those entering the movement for social change sometimes take for granted the gains that were made by huge costs.

Still, the work continues and many of today’s nonviolent revolutionaries continue to emphasize the issues and tactics of earlier movements. The struggle to replace the violence of capitalism requires that we strive to change ourselves in ways that eliminate the role our own personal behavior plays in perpetuating sex, race, class, and other oppressions. Nonviolence is being the change you desire to see in the world, to paraphrase Gandhi’s famous admonition. It’s about rejecting the dominant capitalist discourse of the “good life” based on mindless consumption in favor of a fuller, richer life grounded in a higher awareness of self and our place in the world, a life of fun, and more social satisfaction — a way of life achievable only through revolutionary (indeed, evolutionary) change. It’s promoting a flatter organizational scheme and consensus decision-making. It’s seeking to help people empower themselves through education and training programs (such as the workshops I mentioned earlier). Political work in this context means efforts to spread an alternative analysis of society, a vision of a more just one, and a strategy for getting from here to there, and the implementation of nonviolent campaigns as a part of that strategy.

The conventional view of power is that it is a commodity of sorts to be hoarded. It is something some people have and others don’t. From this perspective power resides in soldiers, authority, ownership of wealth, institutions, and even correctional officers.

The nonviolent theory of power is essentially and radically different: rather than seeing power as something to be possessed (or taken, even by force), it argues that power is a dynamic of social relations. Power is relational. Power depends on sustained obedience. When people question laws and refuse to obey rulers, it erodes the power of those in positions of authority. One would think this is something obvious, yet it took the dramatic events of Gandhi’s civil disobedience campaigns to illustrate this new model of power. The fact is that in routine life the truth is often hidden.

From the perspective of conventional theory of power, what happened while I was in prison was defeat — we were all in prison, after all. We had no power. In reality the situation was a lot more complex. Instead of two social factors at work, the New York State of Corrections and our little band of prison activists, a whole range of forces was involved. Nonviolence is not magic; it is a way of mobilizing existing (and often untapped) power for maximum effectiveness. Beyond “action/ reaction” or the clash between the prisoners and the system there were prisoners who weren’t as committed to change, or who were on the fence. In addition, there were correctional officers who, eavesdropping on our workshops immediately saw the benefit of a pedagogy of freedom. They saw that they were as much part of the dehumanizing effect and were, in turn, being dehumanized as well. The stress, the dependence on alcohol, the family dysfunctions, they saw that the system was having an adverse effect on their lives as well and became, to varying degrees, sympathetic to our cause. In the end, this is what saved me, as officers testified on my behalf when I was falsely charged with planning a prison breakout.

In other words, the actions of the main social actors have the potential to affect all the stakeholders in any given situation. This is the power of nonviolence. Three main ways in how nonviolence attains its goals are: conversion, accommodation, and nonviolent coercion. Conversion might be viewed as the gold standard. It means that the opposite extreme of the spectrum has had a change of heart. Examples are the correctional officers who participated in the leadership workshop we created. Another example would be Daniel Ellsberg, who released the Pentagon papers after being converted to opposition to the Vietnam War.

At the other extreme is nonviolent coercion, where activists have it within their power to frustrate the opponent’s will. In my prison experience, nonviolent coercion was exemplified by inmates refusing to participate in the dehumanizing process; refusing to buy into the dominant narrative that we were worthless, animals. Other examples are work stoppages by unions, jury nullification by jurors who refuse to abides unfair laws, and GIs in Vietnam who refused to risk their lives in an unpopular war.

Accommodation means that the opponents give in, partly or completely, not because they have changed their minds, and not because they have no other option, but because the costs override the benefits.

In the end, I am an adherent of nonviolence mostly because my lived experiences have taught me it is the noblest, most evolved path. It’s ironic that for years I practiced a martial art, Wing Chun that, tradition holds, was passed down by a Buddhist nun. It’s considered one of the most vicious systems stressing never meeting force with force. And the more I learned the art, the less reactive I became, realizing that the knowledge of how to blind or maim another human being came attached with a profound responsibility toward non-harming.

Some of you might ask something along the lines of “What about Hitler? Wouldn’t taking out Hitler have averted the senseless murder and genocide that followed in his wake?” And my response would be that this is true only if you’re stuck in the paradigm of violence. Hitler didn’t create all that suffering by himself. His was a political movement that was made possible through an earlier war; a zero sum “solution” that left the German people starving, literally burning wheelbarrows of German marks for fuel, their currency had become so worthless. And that set the stage for fear, hate, anger, fueling the hunger for a scapegoat to blame. Them. The Jews, the homosexuals — anyone that could become the face of evil. So my answer is that Hitler was a creature of violence, and the same mindset that creates the problem cannot be used to find a solution. I can tell you this much: fuck the academic posturing, experientially, in order for you to get to the point that you rationalize enacting violence on another human being, you first have to dehumanize that person. And most of you just don’t know what that entails…

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

References

Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed (30th Anniversary ed.): Continuum.

 

Gandhi, M. K. (2001). Non-violent resistance. New York: Dover.

 

Lynd, S., & Lynd, A. (1995). Nonviolence in America: A documentary history. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.

 

Muste, A. J., & Hentoff, N. (1970). The essays of A. J. Muste. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Notes
1. 90 per cent of war casualties are civilians, almost 80 per cent of whom are women and children (see here, here, and here). In addition, a unique harm of war for women and children is the trauma inflicted when men wield their penises as weapons to demean, assault, and torture. Military brothels, rape camps, and the growing sex trafficking for prostitution are fueled by the culture of war which relies on and authorizes aggression, and by the social and economic ruin left in the wake of war which is particularly devastating for women and children. Rape and sexual exploitation in war, however, were not systematically documented and named as war atrocities until very recently. Yet, history reveals that senior officers of war and military occupation have always sanctioned and normalized the sexual exploitation of local women by military men. Governments on all sides of war have initiated, accommodated, and tolerated military brothels under the auspices of “rest and recreation” for their soldiers, rationalizing that brothels contain male sexual aggression, limit STDs, and boost morale.

 

2. Chickenhawk: political epithet used in the United States to criticize a politician, bureaucrat, or commentator who strongly supports a war or other military action, yet who actively avoided military service when of age. Click here to view a virtual who’s who of chickenhawks to get an idea of the mindset of those who advocate for violence and war.

25 Comments on “Creating the Non-Violent Society”

  1. My only problem with this article is your misinterpretation of Gandhi. He was a racist political hack, highly intolerant of dissent, who promoted cronyism and ended up by being, de facto,responsible for the fragmentation of the nation at independence, an act he deserves no credit for.

  2. I always thought Gandhi was overrated…

    And for the record, I have experienced a number of the situations you mention (particularly the firefights – I go to bed every night surrounded by loaded firearms just in case I need them…) and I’ll admit that it’s not a pleasant part of existence, but I’ve also experienced the benefits that come as a direct or indirect result of the use of force – because of it I am no longer dependant upon wage slavery for my continued sustinance, I no longer feel a need for a state-sponsored (false sense of) security blanket to protect me and I’ve built a number of lasting relations that otherwise may have never formed (there’s nothing like combat that forms bonds akin to brotherhood between mere acquaintances).

    I’m not saying force is the end-all, be-all solution to life’s problems, it it sure as hell has its uses – and I’m not a demented sociopath, I just recognize the world for what it is (an amoral place that makes no sense to anyone but the most cynical) and have learned to effectively utilize certain tools to achieve an end…

  3. Regardless of Gandhi’s feet of clay (and nowhere did I say he was a perfect human being), his work in the nonviolent arena cannot be denied. MLK was a womanizer, Einstein was a misogynist, blah blah blah, that’s a non-sequitor. The issue here is not the character defects of these people, the issue here is: did their work have lasting an positive effects.

    snit, at various times in my life, I was a criminal, a pimp, a drug dealer, and I have stolen even from my dear mother. I would hope that those aren’t the only actions I will be remembered for, however. In addition, I would challenge anyone here (or anywhere) who says their lives could withstand ANY degree of scrutiny, let alone the intense scrutiny famous figures are subjected to.

    Azazel: I don’t think you know what true violence is, or being confined in a situation in which you can’t depend on being APART from an existence permeated by violence. And if you sleep with firearms , then you have totally conditioned.

    I was a criminal, associated with people who were, clinically speaking, sociopaths and I NEVER carried a firearm (or any weapon, for that matter). My greatest “weapon” is my mind.

  4. And for the record, I have heard many of the accusations hurled at Gandhi before, most of them having been sourced to one book by someone called Singh (or something like, I’;m not home and don’t have access to my notes). but I find those accusations inconsistent.

    It’s not that hard to examine Ghandi’s life and see that he was not a racist. His first introduction to civil rights and legal discrimination came while he worked as a lawyer in South Africa and experienced first-hand what black Africans went through.

    He opposed splitting India and Pakistan because he believed segregation weakened everyone. To argue that he was a racist is so far beyond reality that it doesn’t deserve a debate.

    He apparently used the word “kaffir” when discussing blacks in South Africa, and this has been interpreted by some as being a racist slur, but the term was NOT deemed derogatory during Ghandi’s life. Some have misinterpreted some things he said because they misunderstood his use of the word.

    He also made comments supporting Palestineans against the occupation by Israel, and some have considered those anti-Semetic, though Ghandi’s long history of defense of Jews proves otherwise. I don’t know about his attitudes to the Sikhs, but does it really make sense that Ghandi, who studied all religions and tried to achieve harmony and balance even with people who wanted to kill them would have a racist attitude against the Sikhs?

    Ghandi had a specific political agenda, and no matter how correct, wise, and even beautiful it was, it went against what some people wanted. It still offends those who have plans and goals contrary to his vision of peace and harmony. Conservatives like to argue he was a racist because they feel it undermines his entire message, somehow, and proves them right. Take Iraq–Ghandi wold have certainly opposed our invasion of Iraq, and his successful track record using peaceful methods to change the world are implicit criticisms of the conservative support of the Iraq invasion. Conservatives and pro-violent people feel compelled to discredit Ghandi, or HIS WORK discredits them and proves them ineffective. By labeling him a racist, his opponents and detractors can then argue “See, he didn’t have the best interest of everyone at heart, and that’s why he preached non-violence. He only wanted what was best for India or Hinduism. We saintly pro-violent are much better, wanting what is best for Iraqis, and therefore our invasion is better than Ghandi’s non-violence.”

    I am exaggerating only a little here to illustrate a point.

    It’s screwed up reasoning that makes no sense, but they did the same thing to Gore and Kerry. And MLK and Jesse Jackson. Remember when Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize, and they began a campaign to discredit him and claim that Bush was a greater champion for peace (echoing exactly the arguments of those who wanted to give Hitler the Nobel in the 30s). To a conservative, proving that those who are obviously much better than them were really racist or somehow personally bad people proves, in their minds, that conservatives are really better people, and therefore are right. It’s not easy being a conservative. The weight of all history and all morality it against them. They have to create fantasies to make themselves look better.

  5. Eddie,

    “Azazel: I don’t think you know what true violence is, or being confined in a situation in which you can’t depend on being APART from an existence permeated by violence. And if you sleep with firearms , then you have totally conditioned.”

    1. And pray tell, what is this thing called “true violence” anyway? I’ve been involved in firefights and I’ve had to use a blade from time to time – the difference between you and me was the context in which the violence occured: what you experienced was forced upon you while I opted into what I do with ful knowledge of the potential consequences.

    2. I sleep with the firearms because I don’t know when I’ll need them – the agents of the police state don’t give any warning before barging into your home…

    “I was a criminal, associated with people who were, clinically speaking, sociopaths and I NEVER carried a firearm (or any weapon, for that matter). My greatest “weapon” is my mind.”

    1. I resent the label of “criminal” (as anything can be made a “crime”) – I prefer terms like illegalist or outlaw as they are more accurate in defining what people like me really are: people who hate being ruled over and opt to form our own societies with our own codes of conduct.

    2. It’s not the “criminals” I need to defend myself from – they pose litle threat to me. It’s the agents of the state that are my real enemy…

  6. Eddie, there is much good here in this article. I think the discussion is a good one.

    However we need to remember we are WORLD magazine. Scroll down to our maps and look at all the places where our content is read, it’s pretty condescending when you think about it to state most people reading this haven’t experienced, violence, terror and horrors.

    It’s also condescending to assume that of anyone answering, including but not limited to Azazel. You quite simply have no idea of the things that may or may not have happened to anyone. Assumptions like this do not help your cause which I assume to be non-violence.

    In regards to the world’s most venerable superhero for peaceful protest-Ghandi, you are quite simply wrong. He did do much good yes, nobody discounts that. However the place where he was most racist was in his own country and it was aimed at the Muslims. Really I think Bill can speak more to that for us to attempt to school an Indian citizen born and raised on the ins and outs of Ghandi is like Bill trying to tell us about the political problems within the Black Panther party. There simply is a lot that doesn’t translate to our experience half a world away.

    There is a lot in this article that you point to as being non-violent which in fact I find ineffective. Letter writing, marching, phone calling campaigning is becoming outmoded. While I am not advocating attack, Why not just step away entirely? Deciding not to be a part of the whole system would be the most effective non-violent reaction to the ugliness that is created.

    To that end, anarchists who advocate self seperation and preparadeness with personal compacts are actually being the most non-violent. I think (and correct me if I’m wrong) what you have a problem with is the weapons. I don’t personally have a problem with this. People prepare and hope never to have to use their weapons. Also if one has to kill it should be done by that individual taking on their own conscience. Which is why I will never support a war, as you say too many people are hurt who have nothing at all to do with the problems and it is never ending. I will however protect the innocent under my care at all costs. Wouldn’t you? Or would you advocate passively sitting by meditating while a child or any other innocent for that matter is abused, murdered and you have the power at hand to stop it?

    One thing is sure, passivisim is not for pussies. I would think it very hard to be passive in a situation where I could stop someone from being harmed.

    I agree that non-violence should be the goal. But I do not eschew entirely violence at all costs.

  7. BTW, this whole “Nobel Peace Prize” is a load of shit – seems anyone with enough political connections can get it these days…

  8. “BTW, this whole “Nobel Peace Prize” is a load of shit – seems anyone with enough political connections can get it these days…”- Azazel

    Yes, like our current President who had done exactly nothing and still hasn’t. In fact it could be argued he has made peace processes worse both here and abroad.

  9. In the context of war, i think we need both the pacifists and the proponents of active resistance to injustice. Injustice thrives on suppression, and what better way to keep a people suppressed than through advocating non-violent solutions while violently offending its Constituents? Many injustices would never have seen the light of day without violent confrontation because the perpetrators themselves have violent intentions.

    The peace keepers are also necessary. Peace keepers bring out a person’s true nature. If the nature truly is one of protecting family and individual human rights, the rationale will be on the side of the peace keeper and all sides can begin negotiations. If the nature is actually one of aggression, i.e., motivated by the desire for conquest or biased hatred, the peace keeper will, in all likelihood, become a martyr, but the message of his peace keeping mission will be kept in the hearts of those who have grown weary of war.

    In the context of society, the peace keeper is the only one who will be able to break the cycle of violence, because violence is so incorporated into the American culture, it’s accepted as a norm. Violent games, movies and sports receive the most public attention. Road rage, hostile relations with your neighbors, rude behavior toward and between businesses, employees and customers, seeking legal entanglements to spite family members and ex-friends, are all considered normal behaviors of our violence prone society. Of all the drive by shootings, random shootings, hate oriented shootings against schools and places of worship, the shooting the stands out most in my mind was one that took place against an Amish school. The Amish did not seek retaliation for the perpetrators of this ghastly crime against their community. They asked that the criminal be forgiven.

    Until we can incorporate the basis of peaceful behavior into our society, we will continue to be violent. Until we have learned the manner in which we are individually violent, we will constantly be met with violent confrontation. The revolutionary has his/her place within the scheme of things. The revolutionary carves the path to new ideals, new realizations. But the peace keeper is our temperature gauge and tells us when we have strayed from a course of justice to one of simple revenge.

  10. As a reader (not as a friend of Eddie), I need to express my deep discomfort with the inappropriate and unprofessional comment made by Grainnerhuad. I had planned to leave a very different comment, responding to the article, but my enthusiasm was damped by reading what appeared to be an editor publicly bringing an author to task.

    I don’t actually know who the editors are. For all I know, this was a case of one author losing his temper at another and behaving very inappropriately. But the parts of the comment that were about Eddie had every appearance of a supervisor disciplining and chastising an errant employee–which should never, ever be done in public. Public chastisement of employees is a demeaning and dehumanizing bully tactic, an attempt to exercise power in a way that actually makes the employee less powerful (because the employee is not in a stand up for him- or herself, mount any kind of defense, or show even a hint of anger or resentment in front of other employees and customers) but to display the boss’s power and demonstrate, not just to the employee but to the onlookers, that the employee is utterly powerless. The main point of demonstrating that to the onlookers is to further humiliate the employee, and the secondary one is to make the boss feel even more powerful. As I said, the public chastisement of an employee is an *attempt* to do these things. As such, it is clearly not in alignment with nonviolence. It’s all *about* domination. (It is certainly not about helping the employee do a better job.)

    I’d like to point out that it is also a public loss of self-control on the part of the supervisor. And that it involves treating people like things, as described in the Freire quote at the beginning of this article. The employee is treated like a thing, as are the onlookers. The reasons for making them witness, almost always unwillingly, one person treating another person very badly are, as I said, to humiliate the employee and gratify the boss’s ego. The onlookers become props, tools for the supervisor to use–quite literally, things. Normally, I’d be feeling a great deal of sympathy for the employee, but I suspect a man who can do transformative work in prison, deal with solitary confinement, and triumph over false charges by empowering the guards can handle inappropriate comments from an editor without much distress. So this time, I’m focusing on myself. I am not a prop, a tool, oor a thing, and Grainnerhaud may not treat me as such. I find such displays to be offensive, and the role of unwilling, silent onlooker and participant in an attempt to humiliate and demean someone is incredibly uncomfortable. I won’t play that role. I have been publicly chastised at work and seen my fellow employees reduced to tears by public discipline. I will not, as a customer, be complicit through silence. I have told store managers who chastise employees in front of me what I think of their behavior and reported bosses to their bosses for being abusive toward employees in front of me; believe me when I say I’m speaking as a reader and for myself. It is beyond offensive, as a reader of a magazine with the goals of this one, to have to read comments in which someone is taken to task in public.

    And please don’t waste my time by saying that, if I don’t like such comments, I don’t have to read them. I wouldn’t have read that comment if I’d known what it said, but that’s the point of reading–to find out what is being said. That comment does not belong here, period. If Grainnerhaud has a magazine-related with Eddie, then he needs to discuss it with Eddie. Not Eddie and the magazine’s readers, not Eddie and Bill, not Eddie and the ready of the staff, Eddie. For Eddie’s sake, yes, but also for the sake of his own dignity, the magazine’s taliesin, and most of all, for the sake of people who haven’t done anything to offend him and don’t want to witness or be involved with inappropriate, demeaning behavior.

    I neither know nor care whether the decision to post the comment was influenced by anger or offendedness over the Gandhi discussion, but the possibility reflects even more poorly on Subversify than the comment itself. The inclusion of comments about Gandhi in a chastisement of an author on behalf of the magazine suggests that possibility as surely as the suggestion that Muslims are a trace indicated agitation. (I don’t know whether Gandhi was an anti-Islamic bigot, and if he was, that is greatly to his discredit, but it still wouldn’t make him a racist. One bigotry is no better than another; I’m not excusing bigotry, just pointing out that the error is an odd one for someone as knowledgeable and usually collected as Grainnerhaud and helps create the impression that the entire comment was just a burst of anger, as much about Gandhi as about Eddie’s behavior. As I said, I don’t care why the comment was made; I’m just disgusted that it WAS made and uncomfortable with it. But I thought the editors might care about the impression it gives.

    I don’t know what Eddie or other readers want, but I would be very happy to receive an apology and some kind of assurance that, if I continue to read Subversify, I won’t encounter any more instances of editors or autos losing their tempers and attempting to school other members of the magazine’s staff in–laughably–good manners, respect for readers, and not making assumptions about the readers. I’d say thinking we would want to see that is a pretty big assumption. I hope never to see such a blatant demonstration of disrespect for your staff or your readers again. Is that a reasonable expectation or not?

  11. @Karen K- Please understand,this is a different type of magazine. We are a collective and there are no employees.

    Whenever one of us writes a comment as ourselves it is as a reader just like yourself.

    The statements I made were mine. It was not temper that caused me to make them. I was personally making a statement that I, Grainne thought it condescending to build an arguement based on the the assumption that most people reading don’t know what it’s like to be closely involved with violence. Also, to be clear, this was entirely seperate from the Ghandi discussion which I am also not angry about. These are my feelings alone and do not reflect the entirety of the collective.

    I would never tell you or anyone not to comment on my statements or to call me to task. In fact I think dissenting opinion crucial. However, please do so as if I were any other Billy-Bob or Susy-Mae, because this is a conversation, we all of us expect back and forth and open honest discussion.

    -Grainne

  12. Grainne: I think it’s condescending of YOU to take that tone with me. first, I don’t give a fuck whether this magazine is international in scope or not. However, having been a researcher in the area of violence and its effects, i can tell you, based on empirical grounds, that my life experiences are not the norm, REGARDLESS OF WHERE THE FUCK YOU COME FROM.

    I am absolutely sure Azazel doesn’t know jack about violence because he doesn’t SPEAK (or write) as someone who has actually experienced violence. Yeah that’s an inference, but one I’m willing to take a stand on.

    As for Gandhi, WHERE THE FUCK have I tried to paint him as a superhero? JesusfuckinChrist! In my original post, I mentioned that we shouldn’t look at history through the mainstream lens of “Big Men.” I NEVER stated Gandhi was a fuckin saint. this is something YOU and BILL have stated, not I.

    In FACT, I submit that one cannot talk about nonviolence without mentioning Gandhi and his work. That’s a fuckin fact.

    IN FACT, much of the scurrilous bullshit going around on the internet is based on taking some of Gandhi’s words out of context, picking on a particular time of Gandhi’s life and generalizing from that, and some are just outright lies.

    But that doesn’t matter, what matters is that he used nonviolence as a means to address oppression. Whether you think England was in economic ruin at the time, or that Gandhi was a prick is irrelevant. So far, Bill has only hurled accusatiuons, not substantiated points. I have read at least one book that claims to uncoiver the real Gandhi (the book being penned by a milittary man named Singh) and found it offered an agenda, not rigorous research.

    Finally, if you don’t like my style, then”fire” me. I don’t say this out of anger, or anything like that. I don’t get paid to write here, I was asked to write for this magazine and I appreciate the offer, but I don’t need the bullshit. I certainly don’t need to read your rant because you got a hair up your arse about a (IMO CORRECT) comment I made.

    Let me know what you think and I would appreciate a private response or you can continue you can continue this juvenile bullshit publicly. I will not respond to comments that have nothing to do with the topic.

  13. Karen: I hadn’t come back to this comments’ section since the last time I commented more than a week ago, I believe, and I hadn’t seen Grainne’s response which I think is juvenile.

    Those who read me know that I carefully research anything I write about. I don’t just pull shit out my arse smell it, and proclaim it an opinion (or, as some here have done, call it a ‘fact” “Gandhi was a racist!”) LOL!).

    so when I say that my life experiences are outside the norm, I don’t say that because I scratched my ass and thought it was a good thing to say, I say it because, based on my work as part of a research team, I came to realize that my experiences, which I thought were the norm, ARE NOT!

    Grainne’s response was unprofessional and it WAS emotional, regardless of what she says. One only has to look at her response to see that there’s a glaring lack of forethought and a lot of judgment.

  14. I ABHOR having to repost what I write, but in light of Grainne’s comment, I feel compelled. Is this condescending. There’s a good fuckin’ reason why I assert my experiences are not the norm: BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT! Rates of violence, infant mortality, and life expectancy in the neighborhoods I was raised in, rival those of underdeveloped nations. IN FACT, at least one study noted that people of color living in US urban centers are some of the most isolated people on the planet. Also, how many motherfuckers here have ever been in prison for any amount of time? What the stats? when I say my experiences are not the fuckin norm, it’s the fuckin truth.

    I think I articulated my past experiences quite well, but I guess either I am not a good writer or Grainne fuckin missed the fuckin passages. For example, she accuses me of being condescending (ironically for a condescending comment), but is this condescending (re: my violent past):

    “I don’t mention this because I think it’s something to brag about or because it somehow privileges me in any way (except to experience some really fucked up shit no one should ever have to experience). I mention this because I want to properly contextualize my advocacy for nonviolence as a radical, revolutionary form of social change. I want to impress upon you that I didn’t come to my own nonviolent stance as a result from a rose-colored or sheltered existence. I know violence in ways very few people know it, having lived it and experienced it first hand in ways most of you only read about in novels or see glorified on TV and movie screens.”

    Which is then followed by an observation on my talks with research colleagues later by:

    “Sure, some admitted to having had some intense shouting matches, and some pushing here and there, but not one of my colleagues ever actually committed an act of violence — at least not to the degree I knew violence. And this had been something of an epiphany for me, realizing that perhaps, my experience wasn’t “normal” in the sense that most people didn’t grow up in an overwhelmingly violent environment.”

    So, how many motherfuckers here grew up in such an environment and if you have, do you REALLY think that’s the norm.

    Oh yeah, and don’t get it twisted, but I like to cuss sometimes when making a point, not because I’m attempting to express anger but because I grew up that way. some here may not know this, but generally speaking, hood rats like me like to swear as a way to EMPHASIZE a point, not as a way to express anger. Where I come from, expressions of anger articulated through violent PHYSICAL means, something I don’t believe in.

  15. Grainne, whether you’re a collective or not, it’s absolutely unprofessional to air your dirty laundry in public. The fact that you don’t have actual authority over Eddie doesn’t change the fact that you wrote as if you did.

    And, regardless of what you say, you’re not just another commenter. You have a stake in this magazine, and the fact that you spoke as if ON BEHALF of the magazine demonstrates that you were not commenting as a reader or an individual with no affiliation with the magazine.

    I understand that, in a collective, it may be necessary for members to address issues of how the magazine is represented by other members. I also understand that the professional way to do that is privately. Airing your dirty laundry in front of readers makes the entire collecting look bad.

    Nor was most of your comment dissent. I, too, think dissent is important. In fact, I think it’s vital. But the bulk of your comment–and the part to which I objected–is personal criticism of another member of the collective, not dissent.

    Additionally, the fact that you have no authority over Eddie doesn’t ameliorate my discomfort as a reader. I do not have a responsibility to know the staff members and organizational structure of every magazine I read. You wrote AS IF you had the authority to remind Eddie of the demography of the readership and admonish him to keep it in mind and AS IF you had the authority to tell him how to treat Azazel. Therefore, your comment created exactly the same impression that it would have if you had actually had such authority.

    If I saw something like your comment in, say, “Mother Jones”–oh, never mind. There is no way in hell anything like that would EVER appear there.

    On top of the tremendous disrespect you showed to Eddie, to Subversify’s actual “civilian” readers (so to speak), and the other members of the collective by posting personal criticisms of another member’s manners, your comment does all (not most, all) of the things it accuses Eddie of having done, far more clearly than his post does. While that provides some amusement value, it really doesn’t make up for being exposed to such unprofessional behavior. I don’t come here to watch the Subversify staff/collective members launch personal attacks on each other.

    Clearly, I can wait until the Tea Party embraces or racial equality or hell freezes over (whichever takes the longest to happen) for an apology for the disrespect you showed to me, a reader and a stranger, by having a public snit and trying to pick an intra-collective fight.

    But I do appreciate the fact that you answered my final question clearly, if indirectly. No, it is not reasonable to expect more professional behavior in the future, because apparently, you either do not grasp the concept of “professional” any better than you do the concepts of “dissent” and “racism” or you feel that the more informal structure of a collective frees you from any obligation to behave professionally in front of the readers. Either way, you have made it clear that you have no regrets about your temper tantrum; see nothing wrong with bickering and sniping at each other in front of the readers–and, in fact, are mentally elevating yourself from bickering bully to noble dissenter; and feel perfectly free to repeat that kind of behavior if the whim strikes you.

    I appreciate the clarity you’ve provided on that issue. In that I do not enjoy watching people conduct private business in public, using a tone that should not be used even in private, and in that I absolutely refuse to let you use me as an audience for your attempts at bullying, I won’t be back.

    If I understood Eddie right, that’s passive coercion. I can’t make you behave better, but I sure as hell can refuse to play your game, let alone play it by your rules.

    I wish the rest of the collective the best of luck with reader retention. I am thinking that exposing your readers to quarrels, bullying, and general self-indulgent and disrespectful behavior may not be the best strategy, but what do I know? I’m not a member of the collective. I’m just the one thing you must have in order to succeed: I’m just a reader.

  16. Eddie, I know that you don’t make shit up. I also know that the questions at the beginning of your article and the material immediately following them support your assertion that it’s unlikely that many (if any) of your readers have experienced violence the way you have. It would be hard to have read and paid attention to the article and not understood that you weren’t making unwarranted assumptions.

    As far as Azazel, he’s been dying to get into a pissing contest with you for some time now. I can’t imagine why Grainne thought she was doing him a favor by asking you to be NICER to him. If he wanted you to be nicer to him, he would write very different kinds of comments.

    I didn’t address the accusations Grainne made in my original comment because I wanted to be very clear that my discomfort and disgust with her behavior had nothing to do with either you or the specifics of the accusations. I wanted to be very, very clear that I was sincere in saying that I found her BEHAVIOR in launching a personal attack offensive, regardless of the target or the specific content of her attack. I wanted to be very, very clear that I thought the Freire quote applied to her treatment, not just of you, but of Subversify’s readers.

    I also happen to think she was wrong on all counts–but I would be just as disgusted if I agreed with everything she said.

    Good luck with your future articles. I’ll miss reading your contributions to Subversify, but in the end, I guess my desire not to be made into an unwilling audience for unprofessional attempts at intimidation and bullying outweighs my desire to come here and read your articles. Believe me, that doesn’t indicate a lack of respect for or interest in what you write. It just means that I deserve better treatment than I received here last night and that Grainne has indicated I could receive here again at any time.

  17. I beg your pardon, everyone: I meant nonviolent coercion. I have no idea where “passive” came from.

    And now that I’ve corrected and apologized for the error, I really am going.

  18. Hi all, I have not had time to read the entire discussion here (which I will do later), but from what I gather, this is a difference of opinion.

    Subversify is a 100% free speech magazine. In the entire history of our magazine ONE comment was edited, and it was a racist and X-rated rant. (And apparently Bill was disappointed that we deleted it)

    We try not to censor anyone, because the Internet is the last vestige of free speech that we have. Grainne is entitled to her opinion, as are Eddie and Karen. Whenever Grainne comments she does so as a reader. As an “editor” she would make criticism privately long before the piece was ever published. Authors here are not “counseled.” They either print their work here or not. They keep their copyright. We edit content only with the author’s permission. We give suggestions based solely on opinion not some hierarchical bullshit. We’re a group of equals, of artists, journalists, and world citizens, nothing more.

    As for as “tone” or whatever goes, that’s a matter of perspective. I’m sure Grainne didn’t mean anything malicious. It’s time to just forgive and forget. Bottom line: if you want to post stuff online you have to be man or woman enough to take criticism. (And sadly, sometimes sometimes discussion devolves into ad hominem attacks)

    If there are any other concerns please email me directly at editors@subversify.com.

    -TLMW

  19. I think it’s bullshit to pretends that Grainne is merely a reader. We all now she has a stake here, and, as as been noted, she WAS evoking the authority of the “collective” in the way she framed her attack. Not only that, in the way she framed her attack (and please, let’s be honest), it situates me somehow as not part of the “collective.”

    It would seem to me that perhaps I am not a full-fledged member of the collective.

    LOOK and READ before your response admin.

    Difference of opinion entails having an opinion about the ISSUE AT HAND, not a personal beef, or someone’s behavior. Again: she got my main point WRONG, or mischaracterized them, and also presumed she could “scold” me.

    What’s really funny about this whole thing is that Grainne feels free to tell me what she thinks I’ve done wrong and sees that as a perfectly acceptable way to behave. And, taking my cue from the admin and in the spirit of “100% free speech,” when it’s her behavior that’s being examined and CHALLENGED, she becomes defensive. you don’t get defensive unless you’re feeling attacked. So how come it’s an attack when she’s on the receiving but not when she’s dishing it out? SMH

    I call bullshit on this.

  20. “As for as “tone” or whatever goes, that’s a matter of perspective. I’m sure Grainne didn’t mean anything malicious. It’s time to just forgive and forget. Bottom line: if you want to post stuff online you have to be man or woman enough to take criticism. (And sadly, sometimes sometimes discussion devolves into ad hominem attacks)”

    Huh? Now I’m not man enough to post online? LOL! I don’t mind disagreement, in fact I CRAVE it. I don’t like ATTACKS or people presuming to think they can tell me what to say, how to say it, or when. I would think the admin would agree, since he’s into all this free speech shit.

    Also, PLEASE let me know how YOU know what Grainne thought or felt?

  21. I’m out of here. I really don’t have the time to deal with childish notions of free speech, or the bullshit personal attacks. For fuiture reference, if anyone here has a personal beef with me, feel free to contact me personally, or just fuckin stuff it, because…

    I. Really. Don’t. Give. A. Shit.

  22. Eddie, you’re obviously stressed out and taking it out on us. Either that or you just can’t take criticism, or debate, and are throwing a tantrum.

    You don’t want Grainne to bully you? Then why are you bullying her? I’m not sure what you or Karen want done exactly. You want Grainne to retract her opinion and apologize based on the fact that she DISAGREES? Do you want us to demote or punish her, because YOU perceive that she “counseled” you, when in fact I have said she (nor anyone) has any authority to do so? You are full grown men and women, and we have no interest in “counseling” you. We print your stuff or not. The end.

    We’re not your fucking parents, okay? If this entire argument is based on “tone” or “personal attacks” then you all need to grow the fuck up.

    Grainne is the one that sought you out, and offered you free publicity, without any censorship of your opinions. If she was really being “the man” or the “supervisor” she would have edited out what she didn’t like like 99% of all other magazines out there.

    Either way, the door is open to come back any time you want. If you prefer not to work with us that’s fine. I won’t compromise Subversify’s free speech policy for anyone, not for the state, not for God, not for you.

  23. MLK’s speech at Washington was so powerful, inspirational, and motivating that people began to believe that equality was going to become possible during a period of racism and discrimination. MLK’s heroic protest helped change the world from one race mentality to an openess of all races.

  24. Eddie, thank you for your excellent insight. Having nonviolent resistance a part of my life for almost a decade it is nice to see a common viewpoint. Not that I ever considered myself a violent person and I came from a background like many of your colleagues in academia. However, I know violence intimately.

    I know what it’s like to be tasered internally by those who are supposed to care. Have your veins filled with nuclear radiation under the facade of helping find what is wrong. When it’s simply to obtain images of the damage caused by leaving you untreated. Think Tuskegee or Guatemala syphalis experiments. Being essentially water boarded because doctors refused to answer pages to remove your breathing tube. I could go on.

    I know the other forms of violence, too. Like government cutting off access to medical care and disability benefits for enacting a patient strike (free speech); demanding access to medical records and an environment that doesn’t condone, incentivize, and encourage violence against me. Or Being battered and assaulted by government representatives, one committing treason with false statements. After being coerced into situations of false imprisonment under the pretext of a hearing and similar.

    At the fake hearing, which was supposed to be heard by an ALJ, none of my evidence was accepted anyway. While obviously false congenital diagnoses made in my late 20’s with no previous supporting evidence, were readily accepted by the government rep. A diagnosis that is listed as automatically approved for disability benefits, yet I was ruled not disabled because I wouldn’t submit to a medical exam.

    The government reps position was that a medical exam is not a medical procedure, despite a long history of insurance companies assigning them procedure codes. He badgered me about that one point until I called the interrogation to an end. Then he asked me to tell the motive for other people’s actions.

    Before I ended the interrogation he kept at me until I was physically shaking. Probably hoping for a violent reaction. When he didn’t get that, he characterized the interrogation as a hearing and me in libelous terms. Giving a false representation of the events, conveniently omitting my position that an exam is a medical procedure. He characterized my nonviolent stance protecting my right to informed consent as a refusal to accept the position that in his view was reasonable. You are lucky those guards spoke up for the truth.

    More than a year into my strike, apparently they couldn’t stop the money flowing to the oppressive system and against their own regulations (they feel they can assign patients to a primary care doctor whom they had contact with within the previous year) assigned me to a primary care physician whom I saw once more than a year prior. Plus, she was not someone I would have seen again even without a strike. Worse yet, the regulations give primary care physicians the right to hijack a patient’s informed consent right. Describing it as giving consent for the patient; violence in itself. Your point about relational power describes well what first set me on this path.

    Doctors had been abusing me for exploitative research and I took the stance that if they wanted to practice Hitler’s kind of medicine they would not get it by my consent, nor their coercion, only justice. People often characterize me as against medicine, however, I see my struggle improving the doctors and nurses lives who are in the same position as the prison guards you described. Also, I have been clear from the start I am using my business acumen to design a better option and that two things were necessary for the impasse to end. First, I have access to all of my medical records. Second, prosecution for the doctor who defrauded me. Seeing that he was way past the line of being able to dehumanize another to commit violence against them and would in all likelihood not stop his abuses.

    As an American medic, my grandfather was ordered to execute the victims of the Viemar German medical experiments. His, as was the WHO’s, opinion was that informed consent was a good way to help prevent such atrocities. Informed consent is an international right by UNCCPR and is circumvented by US 45 CFR 46. If the military wants to experiment or a person is imprisoned. I see many parallels between prisoners and patients. It’s also worth noting that elected and appointed officials and candidates for office ensured they would have the absolute right to informed consent. That shouldn’t have been an issue if they weren’t aware of improprieties, however, a federal commission found the U.S. medical environment is ripe for illicit experimentation following revelations of the Guatemala syphalis experiment.

    I would like to also share that: civil rights, hate crime protections, or discrimination protections do not extend to the disabiled. You may know this as you did not include disability in your discussion of such topics. Therefore, I’d like to point out in the spirit of Gandi’s ideal of unconditional regard for all persons that the civil rights struggle helped some vulnerable populations, but did nothing for disabled or other vulnerable groups that may not have been included. Perhaps even oppressing them further. And it shouldn’t be forgotten disabled people fought in that struggle too.

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