It starts like this...
Feedback from my lecture at the Green Party annual meeting has been trickling in, and it seems that the talk wasn't as well-received as I thought at the time. The people who walked out in the first five minutes – maybe they didn't have to go to the bathroom after all, as I'd assumed, ha ha.
The biggest trigger, in many places and not just at the Green Party, seems to be my contention that people who do evil things are not doing them because they are evil people; that therefore, tactics based on demonizing them are grounded in delusion and may be counterproductive; finally, that such an approach is an expression of the very same mentality of conquest and control that lies at the foundation of our civilization's depredations.
“You want to let them get away with it!” is one response this message evokes. There is a perception of softness, of permissiveness, of shrinking from confrontation and letting the hucksters and bullies have their way.
I think this response mistakes punishment for justice, and fighting for action.
Then it visits here…
Granting the premise of the evil of one's opponents, then indeed any alternative to stopping them by force is unconscionably soft and weak. That is why advocates of peace in one context eagerly pile onto the war train in another, showing that they are no softies. Politicians in the U.S. Democratic Party are particularly wont to do this.
Yet, the examples of net neutrality and certain isolated environmental victories seem to indicate that the methods of winning a fight sometimes work. Without them, we certainly would never be able to drag a population into war. Do we need them as well in the “war on fracking,” the “war on global warming,” or the “war on GMO's”? Or perhaps a better question is, Can we stop these things by other means?
I'm exploring the idea that there are two necessary conditions for the methods of war to work: (1) The goal is to overcome an enemy; for example to stop a dam or a mine or a law; to say “No” to something; (2) One can mobilize force equal or superior to that possessed by the other side.
To read the full essay, click HERE.