Monday, April 09, 2007

The real revolution is in the head, not in the street

In his The unconquerable world, Jonathan Schell defends the idea that in fact a revolution has already taken place at the moment the violence starts. Be it in the American Revolution, or in the French Revolution, or in the Russian Revolution, and so on, all violence used is not more than the finishing touch of the change that has already taken place in the heads of the people who rise in revolt. In one word, and that is my interpretation, violent revolution is superfluous. How nice would it be if also the governments opposed would realize that. Happily, many governments do. After the Spring in Prague, all revolutions in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have been nonviolent, and not only there dictators have been overthrown in a nonviolent way. "Living in truth" (Vaclav Havel), freedom within your mind, Schweik methods are in the long run stronger than any dictatorship would wish. How these mechanisms work is well shown by Roland Bleiker in his Popular dissent, human agency and global politics. It is a pity that he has done this by playing down the importance of a "La Boétian" approach of opposition and that he has no eye for the organisational aspects of a nonviolent revolution that is "La Boétian" (cf. Gene Sharp).

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