Friday, March 11, 2005

Gandhi in Iraq?

Here's a follow-up to my previous post, in response to Hellme and H comments.

I think armed resistance is always the most obvious choice. If someone slaps you on the face, the first reaction is to slap them back. If you're strong enough, he'll stop, but if you aren't, he'll hit you back, hard too.

Many would agree that the American occupation in Iraq, is in fact very utilitarian, exploiting the oil in Iraq and attempting to surround Syria and Iran (between Afghanistan and Israel). The US is in fact controlling the world's oil stream now, and raising the barrel price seems to benefit it and hurt the new economies in Asia (some economist has to back me up here).

Those who bomb the oil pipelines seem to be making use of that utilitarian theory, knowing that the US is benefiting more from the oil revenues than the Iraqis are. But with the wealth of oil that Iraq has, those few pipeline explosions are tiny pinches.

I tried to argue the other day in the lecture that non-violent resistance can be sometimes much harder than violence. In both, you can end up dead, and in both you can end up not inflicting any harm to your opponent.

To be honest, I don't know how a non-violent resistance can be done. I agree, the occupation in Iraq is not depending on the native workforce. They can extract all the oil they want without a single Iraqi in sight. But what if the country is at a stand-still for a few days, if people march to the oil wells and refuse to allow Halliburton access to the oil. Would that get the media attention? would that be a strong enough statement telling the US to get out? Will that actually prevent the US tankers from taking the oil away? So the request to leave doesn't have to come from a puppet government (which would never say it).

When it comes to negotiations, the question becomes, how can the weak negotiate with the more powerful? As a weaker party, you're not going to get anything out of charity. You have to work for what you can negotiate over. Typically, that's done through violence causing sustainable pain. But can that sustainable pain be caused through peaceful means?

Can't the Sunni and Shii'a figures get together, organize their followers for civil disobedience, for marches to surround the green zone, for protestors to block the Basra oil terminal. Is this too naive of me. Stop the violence for a month, and try it. What have you to lose?

Over here, those who could be considered realists are called defeatists, and those who don't encourage violence are called defeatists, and those who don't die for the cause are called defeatists, and those who don't yell and shout are called defeatists. But I'm not talking about defeatism here, just of alternative resistance methods, besides the obvious one. Are there any?

1 comment:

Bent said...

Yes, there is another way. Not defeatism and not reactionism.
Both are based on opposition, one system trying to remove another.

All systems will fail when unopposed. Hitler would have failed if the whole world had said, "come on in..". Someone may take the oil today, but who took it before and who will take it tomorrow? You want the people to benefit, to share in what could be paradise on Earth?

Any system will become your enemy, but not the people who believe in it. Any system will eventually fail if the people make it their god, because a system has no soul.
A system is based on the past and the nature of reality is change. A system can learn, but not create.

What are links you can build? Are there any common ground? Art? Music?

The leaders will always make enemies to keep their power. In America there have been no enemies for a while, and so we have no leaders.

All this to say: Find the good and compassionate humans inside any system and don't listen to leaders who want you to hate or worship their system. When you hate, you are playing someone else's game.