The Violence of “Nonviolence”

Pacifism as Pathology in the American Left by Ward Churchill

by David Cyr

(Originally posted on, January 23, 2011)

What was the motivation for America’s “nonviolent” movement, and what did the pacification of protest produce?

Have you ever wondered why the liberals, who worship the Founding Fathers and patriots of the American Revolution, have insisted that antiwar and social justice movements in America must always use nonviolent means — even nonviolent communication? The rough hewn patriots hid behind trees and used their long rifles to punch large holes through the chests of the occupation force Redcoats as they marched by, so that the industrious liberal reasoning Founding Fathers, rather than the King’s conservative cronies, could collect the profits from slavery and genocide. Is it cognitive dissonance, or a pattern of deception?

During the Cheney years, the resource wars were conveniently mislabeled as being “Bush’s War” and a half-million people would often eagerly assemble in large cities, to get more Democrats elected. Most of the “antiwar” demonstrators back then claimed that was all that was needed to end war — just get more Democrats elected.

Whenever the massive numbers had been activist assembled, the half-million weak would then calmly herd themselves along the fenced in cattle paths that police had erected for them to publicly march where the police allowed them to march. The event organizers always provided volunteer security, to help the police keep all the protesters restrained, docile, and contained in their place (in a condition of civil-obedient submission). Behind the steel bar barricades that lined those sheeple march routes, battalions of policemen stood shoulder-to-shoulder all suited up head-to-toe in black armor, with all their impressive weaponry menacingly displayed.

If a protester was too young to understand that Americans only have a right to speak when, where, and how the police allow them to speak, the police would swarm in upon them to teach them what democracy felt like. Experiential education is always more effective than book learning. A cracked skull, a Taser jolt, or Mace in the face quickly educated those not easily intimidated by written civil-obedience instructions or forceful verbal commands.

While those massive mobilizations for “antiwar” demonstrations significantly increased the carbon footprints of most demonstrators, none of those huge “nonviolent antiwar” demonstrations lessened support for war. They actually had the opposite effect. Were those massive demonstrations antiwar? No. Were those “nonviolent” demonstrations nonviolent? No. Those “nonviolent” demonstrations were used by “progressive” Democrats to solidify support for the corporate party’s policy of perpetual war. Those “antiwar” demonstrations got out the votes for Democrats who have surged troops into, and drones over Afghanistan — votes for Democrats who have moved on into Pakistan, on their way to war with Iran. The “nonviolence” that liberals advocate facilitates an enormous amount of violence done.

On a cold damp day, in December of 2010, a couple of antiwar celebrities and a small group of war veterans assembled themselves in a line along the iron fencing of the White House. They had scheduled their arrests with the police, because the 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 elections had proven that getting more Democrats elected only got liberal voters to openly join together with conservatives in their public support of the resource wars of aggression. Clearly, the allegedly “antiwar” Democrats had not actually opposed war. They were only outraged when war and torture was too open and honestly conservatively conducted. As the Democrats gained control of both Congress and the Presidency, the support for resource wars more than doubled. The 2008 Presidential Election provided a firm 99% popular mandate for more war. That’s as near unanimous support for war as inhumanely possible. That election’s winning liberal Democrat voters voted to make a “dumb” war become “necessary” wars (plural). Obama immediately delivered on that campaign promise to them. Only a few recalcitrant rebels remained among voters, who couldn’t be persuaded that industrial scale murder for industry profit is good for “our” economy… or that making more “dumb” wars necessary wasn’t dumber than dumb.

Some of the December 2010 protest leaders speechified during the short time allotted that the police had allowed them to have before they would be arrested. As they awaited their arrests, the protesters’ faces were lit up with that maniacal glow that Christian martyrs have, when they are near receiving the wonderful gift of a death they believe will immediately seat them in the lap of their Lord.

There was no resistance when the police cuffed the limp protesters; casually dragged their dead weights off through the snow; and threw them into busses… like sanitation workers collecting heavy bags of garbage.

No resistance; no blood spilled; no threat to the state; no media attention. It was a protest for effect that had no effect. Effectively, it didn’t happen. It was no more effective than it would have been had it only been imagined.

How did the once powerful class-conscious Left in America come to be left with no dignity, other than the dignity it now finds in how politely it always procedurally surrenders?

There were many means used by the corporate state to eliminate the threat of opposition that a strong and forceful Left had once been to the corporate criminals whom Capitalism nurtures and protects. Private industry union members were bought off with the higher wages earned in war-related production. Public sector unions were bought off with secure predictable step wage increases, regardless of personal performance. The personal freedom of workers was literally bought with the misperceived “benefit” of being slave shackled to their employer by “healthcare” insurance. But the most effective means used to exterminate the Left may have been the Right’s weaponization of nonviolence.

When the good are persuaded to never ever be violent, in thought, word, or deed, then the evil are free to do whatever violence they choose, whenever they wish, to whomever they chose to do it to, with total impunity — no fear of punishment. The American Left was exterminated by its indoctrination in the liberal advocated religious doctrine of “nonviolent” protest.

The Left’s unilateral disarmament through acceptance of “nonviolence” as being the only means acceptable, has resulted in America becoming a nation in which only the innocent really fear punishment. The smallest infractions are harshly punished, but the highest crimes are legal — un-prosecutable. Whenever the corporate party legislators’ written laws don’t already protect those guilty of the greatest crimes, then the corporate state’s prosecutors determine that those great criminals are too big to prosecute; and the POTUS then considers them worthy of reward for their criminal excellence, when the rewards should have been offered for their capture and conviction.

The treachery within the “nonviolent” movement has racist roots. It was a strategy liberals deployed to protect the state’s monopoly on violence during the Civil Rights Era, in the late 50’s and early 60’s.

In the 50’s, America’s liberals were flush with pride and full of confidence, after their having achieved two great victories. The liberals had solved Corporate America’s domestic labor problem, and then they managed the masterful martial elimination of all its foreign competition.

The firm fisted militancy of Socialist organizations had built the unions that forced America’s industrialists to treat workers more like humans. The Socialists’ dedication to international worker solidarity had made the unions strong. But then, with government support and industry money, the liberals moved on in and removed the seditious Socialist organizers who had built up the unions and made them strong. The Reds were replaced by the corporate party’s reliable Democrats. Gangsters! Weakened unions were good for GM, and whatever was good for GM was patriotic American considered good for America.

FDR had shrewdly delayed America’s entry into the 2nd global war between fascists. That allowed Europe’s fascists to first fight among themselves, thereby weakening each other. It allowed Germany to devastate Russia; allowed Japan to conquer more than it could manage; and Britain to loose it’s ability to postwar maintain its mighty malevolent empire. In the aftermath of that war between fascist nations, Russia, Europe and Asia were all in ruins. Their industries had been destroyed, and the British Empire that had spanned the globe before that war was history after it; gone. America’s gratuitous victory dance upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki had provided irrefutable evidence that its fascism was more efficient than any other. America could destroy cities full of civilians faster, better, cheaper and easier than any other nation could… and Americans had amply demonstrated that they had the collective will to commit industrial scale mass murder, and the privilege to do so with complete impunity. All of America’s offers would be offers that others could not refuse.

After WWII, the rest of the developed and developing nations in the world all needed rebuilding, and America could produce plenty of money for loans for any nations buying American made products. Although the postwar popular chosen POTUS was a five star general who was nominally Republican, it was the liberal Democrats who had an iron grip upon the political destiny of America, and on that of most other nations all over the world. Americans were winners in a world full of losers, and Democrats were the biggest winners among the winners. It was presumed that God blessed America, and whatever Americans did… and most especially whatever “good” Democrats did.

The 50’s were all about “Happy Times Are Here Again” for White America. But then a dark cloud disrupted the pleasantries of living victoriously. The brave masters of all the world were suddenly filled with terror, when unruly Black-Americans decided it was time for them to be considered human in America; time for them to begin sharing in the wealth of the nation built upon the profits of human trafficking and the labor of those in bondage. While whites in America were enjoying the prosperity that wrecking the rest of world had brought, the murder of black men by white men was still usually not a punishable crime. It was something that could even be publicly done without penalty.

The guilt-ridden among white Americans were horrified by just the possibility that blacks would politically organize, but what most terrified them was the prospect that blacks would no longer be pacified by Christianity — that blacks might embrace a militant un-American religion that would not condone their perpetually remaining “freed” slaves.

The charismatic Malcolm X was bringing Christian blacks over into the Nation of Islam, which was teaching blacks how to create strong self-sufficient communities, so that blacks could exercise their right of self-determination; and whites would need to respect blacks, and eventually treat them as the humans they always were.

The white liberals found their black champion in Martin Luther King, Jr. and many other “Negro Leaders” willing to adopt a “nonviolent” strategy, in return for white America’s establishment support. It was as easy as buying Manhattan with a few beads. The “House Negroes” competed with each other for money and political prestige from Democrats. It was their “nonviolent” collaboration that has allowed liberals to permanently maintain the poverty of a permanent Black underclass… to this day. By the time that Martin was murdered (possibly because he was politically evolving; starting to step outside the House and into the Field), the evil was done. The Civil Rights Movement had been deeply co-opted. The devious Democrats owned it. It was good as dead. The appearance of change provided in liberal “reforms” rescued White America from the threat of systemic change that militant blacks demanded. Malcolm and Martin were both dead, and there were no comparably competent replacements. All that was left to do was to mop up a few Black Panthers. Liberal advocates for “nonviolence” had succeeded in marginalizing the militant in the Black Movement, by mass registering blacks as Democrats; enlisting blacks as active members of the corporate party dedicated to preserving white-skin privilege. White liberals “helped” blacks to sacrifice themselves to protect the liberals. Happy days were there again.

What did pacifism provide the Civil Rights Movement? Black children still attend separate and unequal schools today, nearly 57 years after Brown v. Board of Education. Far too many young black males today are more likely to graduate from county prison to federal prison than from high school to college. The devious liberals provided the pacified Black-Americans an “affirmative action” that was neither affirmative, nor action. Only a liberal could consider it “historic” racial progress for a half-black POTUS to now commit the war crimes and crimes against humanity so great that only white men were allowed to commit those crimes before. Blacks were bought by liberal promises as hollow as those given to the indigenous people exterminated in the earlier expansion of America; a trail of broken promises all across this continent, from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

The Democrat faction of the corporate party is deeply rooted in the Deep South’s racism. The 60’s liberals cleverly obscured the racism of Democrats, without removing it. Through their support of the “nonviolent” movement, their provision of non-reforming reforms, and their implementation of “politically correct” speech, the northern liberals preserved their benefits derived from systemic racism, with their covert racism being more sustainable than the overt racism was that it replaced.

Today, Blacks can sit wherever they want, on most buses; Blacks can seat themselves to eat wherever they wish, in most fast food restaurants; and Blacks can shit in the same toilets that the white trash do. Pacifism has achieved an alteration of the external appearances of racism, but it has not removed the systemic racism that lives on beneath the altered appearance and behind the restrained refinement of language. Most Blacks are still treated as niggers in America today, even in places where the “N” word is never ever used.

With the “nonviolent” stratagem having so successfully prevented a Black-American led revolution and protected white-skin privilege, the liberals moved on to apply “nonviolence” to the antiwar movement. The pacification of antiwar protesters resulted in “antiwar” activists devoting their lives to earnestly getting votes cast for Democrats to manage war and ruthless global economic exploitation “better” than Republicans. Is it really nonviolent for “pacifist” war protesters to facilitate the delivery of popular vote corporate party mandates for perpetual wars of aggression? Is it nonviolent to cast votes for the corporate party’s Democrats, which — regardless of the candidate — are always votes for military and economic wars that are transparently waged against poor people having the misfortune to live over rich resources?

Feminism was perhaps the good cause that most naturally lent itself to “nonviolent” means. What have been the fruits of liberal led feminism? It worked well for the affluent already privileged women, but for the rest it effectively consigned most to being members of a massive wage reducing surplus labor pool. Too few mothers are now able to be the natural mothers they could be to their children. They’ve got 2 or 3 minimum wage part-time jobs to manage, in order for their family to not be hungry and homeless. When the Democrats had complete control of government they were too busy managing more war; too busy handing out bonuses for corporate crimes well done; and too busy providing greater profits for greater denial of healthcare to concern themselves with equal pay and equal rights for women not already rich. Meanwhile, three of the last four despicable acting Field Marshals for the corporate state’s globe dominating wars were among those who primarily benefited from the Feminist Movement: Madeleine Albright, Condoleeza Rice, and Hillary Rodham Clinton; three feminine facilitators of monstrous ultra-violence.

For more than 50 years now, the 60’s Generation (My Generation) has unilaterally disarmed and weakened the Left, while exponentially weaponizing and strengthening the Right. This has resulted in the Left being reduced to dispersed and disparate individuals and tiny isolated cadres, while the conservative/liberal Right has recruited and organized a massive army of citizen support. A supermajority — a near unanimous majority — of those who participate in electoral politics have obediently routinely provided popular mandates approving complete corporate person control of natural persons. Those corporate (R) & (D) party popular vote mandates are free-will choices made by near all those who vote to be willing accomplices in all the crimes of the corporate state. There is no way for a person to be nonviolent when they vote for a Republican or a Democrat. The “nonviolence” of the Left has enabled the violence of the Right to always win.

America’s history is a history of wars; a history of violence. America only ever respects another nation if that nation exhibits the potential to be as or more violent than America is. The same holds true in domestic politics. The “nonviolent” can’t achieve the substantive change for the good needed in America, without there also being a serious threat of the reciprocity of massive violence coming from masses of the victims of society’s violence, who have the will to achieve — by whatever means necessary — the same thing the “nonviolent” say they want. Without an alliance with others willing to meet violence with violence, the “nonviolent” advocates only maintain the violence systemically done. As long as the state daily perpetrates systemic violence there can be no actual nonviolence. Those who condemn the victimized who violently resist are people who prefer that the structural violence of the state continues, unabated. There is no honesty in those who claim there’s a moral equivalence in all violence.

The “nonviolent” organizers are very valuable to the corporate state because they moderate masses to maintain the corporate state’s comfortable monopoly upon violence. There isn’t a day when the state doesn’t deliver systemic violence upon those moderated. The corporate state is never nonviolent. Whenever you do not personally feel the violence of the state in your life it’s only because the state is too busy being violent to too many others. It doesn’t mean you won’t get yours later.

If there hadn’t been a liberal co-opted Martin Luther King, Jr. there would be no Obamanation today. Although it’s clear that King was motivated by a moral imperative, and Obama by an immoral one, they both committed the same crime. Both King and Obama dutifully served the corporate state, by getting good intentioned people to dedicate themselves to the corporate party’s Democrat faction; the faction designed to misdirect morality into service of evil; the faction designed to murder social justice movements. The “nonviolent” promoting “progressive” Democrats never were good. They were created to moderate or eliminate any and every opposition rising from the Left. That’s all they’ve ever done.

Although the liberals insist that antiwar protesters must be “nonviolent” they apparently have no problem with their further enabling state-sponsored violence. Recently, “nonviolent” liberal activists have championed the rights of gays to be openly gay, if they volunteer to commit war crimes; they have championed the Pentagon’s “Dream Act” designed to fill body bags with brown bodies; and in yet another astonishing display of apparent cognitive dissonance, after a relatively minor incidence of violence in Arizona, the liberals hysterically demonstrated that they are far more offended by the implied violence of rude words in political discourse, than by the real violence resulting in massive numbers of war ravaged bodies that those same “nonviolence” advocating liberals excitedly voted in 2008 to make an ultra-violence “necessary” to be done.

It’s a truly good person who never harms another, but near all those who insist that antiwar, environmental and social justice demonstrations must be absolutely “nonviolent” commit heinous acts of massive violence every time they vote for Democrats.

The control that liberals have too long had over social justice movements has conditioned Americans to politely and passively accept their dehumanization. Pacifism has produced a pacified population that passively accepts every encroachment upon its inalienable rights; that passively accepts every humiliation; that passively accepts every exploitation and abuse. Americans are so passive now that most would likely compliantly quietly walk themselves into ovens, if any corporate state official directed them to.

Martin Luther King, Jr. persuaded primary victims of this society, Black-Americans, to passively accept the state’s brutality — to sing and pray when police assaulted them. Malcolm X preached that the victimized should exercise their natural right to self-defense; to end the daily structural violence done to them. White liberals loved Martin because pacifists perpetuated the state’s structural violence that materially benefited those white liberals. The pacifism of the Left has protected the violent, who protected the violence that provided the affluence to the affluent.

If nonviolence is really the only means for the Left to win, then why is the Right — which is never nonviolent — always winning? Is there no way to win? Why have liberals always had the will to have courageous unarmed good people get “nonviolently” battered by police, but they’ve never had the will to themselves stop supporting the corporate party that arms those police who assault the good whenever the good are courageous?

Liberals have long insisted that nonviolence is the only way for the Left to win, but then they vote for the corporate party’s Democrats. The corporate party’s factions that unitedly perpetuate perpetual war have never been nonviolent to the Left. Whenever Democrats are not directly doing the violence themselves they are holding the victim down for their Republican partners to do it.

America’s structural violence was seldom seen in any middle-class white liberal’s backyard back in the 50’s… but the times they’ve been a-changin’. What was the broad middle-class that Socialists had made possible is now the indentured-class that the corporate party has reamed and ruined. People indentured are people enslaved. Bankers own the indentured, like farmers own cows.

It didn’t have to be like this, with the Right always winning until it won all. It is like this because there’s no Left left in America. Liberals persuaded the New Left to only use “nonviolent” means, while those same liberals made it impossible for the Left to effectively use the nonviolent means that elections could and should have been used for to obtain social justice. Liberals ensured that no true Left alternative could use elections to become politically viable. With all the “electables” being corporate party selected, elections produce nothing other than a continuum of systemic violence — state sponsored terror abroad, and structural class violence domestically. The liberals success in exterminating both the Old Left and the New Left has ensured that the violence of the conservative/liberal Right will be far greater, increasing in its viciousness as the American Empire collapses… and the climate habitable for humans disappears.

There’s no Left left in America because the Left did not use any means necessary.

David J. Cyr
Delhi, NY

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5 Responses to The Violence of “Nonviolence”

  1. Terri says:

    This is one of the finest articles I’ve read on this topic to date. I very much agree with this author and have learned much from this post Thank you very much for all the good articles on your blog.

    In appreciation,

  2. tfernsle says:

    That’s a strong article advocating for violent revolt. As with most well-reasoned arguments, it’s hard to fault the logic. Where it fails is on the assumptions; Martin Luther King’s non-violent protests DID work, they changed social views and laws. Malcolm X’s violent revolt DIDN’T work, it made things worse and led to the escalating wars on crime and drugs which mostly target minorities. Gandhi’s successful uprising in India is not addressed, a rather large omission for an article arguing that non-violent protest can’t work. Early pacifist Christianity is viewed by many as having been the undoing of the Roman empire, not least by the undone Romans. The global, largely non-violent revolts of the 1960’s deposed dictators, with the non-violent leaders assuming leadership positions the new democracies. c.f. Nelson Mandela.

  3. Prole Center says:

    See the following link for information on Nelson Mandela’s armed struggle activities:

    See this link regarding MLK’s limited achievements:

    See Ward Churchill’s “Pacifism as Pathology” and Peter Gelderloo’s “How Nonviolence Protects the State” as well as the following link to understand why Gandhi’s pacifism failed to achieve true liberation:

    Our position is that, in the long-term, nonviolent tactics are extremely unlikely to be effective at achieving total liberation for the working class on their own.

  4. David J. Cyr says:

    If there had been no Malcolm X the corporate-state wouldn’t be annually celebrating MLK Day, and corporate donors wouldn’t have built the MLK Memorial.

  5. Prole Center says:

    Amen, David. Thanks so much for writing this essay. As soon as I found it online I had to repost it here right away! I hope you approve of the graphic we included.

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