Thursday, June 15, 2017

How to Start a Social Revolution (Part 1 of the Change Series)

The Rage, Flower Thrower
by Banksy
Today, I'm convinced that we are in desperate need of change. In America, it appears that a seething anger is brewing against the players controlling corporations and governments; they are also known as the 1%. So, how are things going to change? And how do we bring it about?

The answer to this question almost always fall into one of two answers: violence and non-violence. In other words, does might make right? I've spent a considerable amount of time reading what others before me have said.

To be honest, I was actually unhappy and disturbed to hear the answer of some in the nonviolence camp, some of who actually argue that we have to talk to those in power with reason and that reason will change them. Andre Trocme, who I highly respect, advocated this.

So does, Scilla Elworthy, a peace activist. She says in her TED talk (you can listen to it here: Fighting with Nonviolence): " . . . but it is hopeless to be angry with the people. They are human beings just like us. And they're doing what they think is best. And that's the basis on which we have to talk with them."

Her talk echoes the same belief as Trocme: The enemy could be reasoned with, which I don't know if I agree with. I do agree, though, that she's probably right that it's hopeless to be angry at these people.

I laughed to myself when I heard the idea about reasoning with the tyrants. I thought about our Mayor and City Council and our City Attorney and manager and thought sarcastically:

Oh, like they're really going to listen to reason. Please stop stealing from our funds, because it's making everyone in the City worse off. And you're promoting poverty by doing it. And people need to have a future, and you're stealing from their future too. 

And by the way, lying, cheating, and stealing is morally wrong and promotes a culture where you say it's ok for everyone to do. So, please stop, even though you're taking millions of dollars from us to buy your nice houses and cars. Just stop. Please, so everyone can be better off.

I don't think that's going to work with these people or other tyrants in power. Nonetheless, I completely agree with Elworthy when she says this about bullies and tyrants:

"Bullies use violence in three ways. They use political violence to intimidate, physical violence to terrorize and mental or emotional violence to undermine. And only very rarely in very few cases does it work to use more violence."

It's easy to see why violence or the use of force or power becomes more attractive when tyrants are violent, immoral, sociopathic, and indecent. And in my view, violence isn't limited to just the use of force. It encompasses the evil tactics of lying, cheating, stealing, and defaming others too, as I mentioned in my post on: On Honoring or Profaning God's Name

And the reason these methods don't work, is really; one evil regime is being placed by another one, though it is true, it can be the lesser of evils. No; really, a social revolution or change has to be focused on having good and just governance from the start. And I believe this will never happen, when it is founded and started by immorality, violence, and deception.

So, what's the answer? The starting point is for all of us to do our part to hold ourselves and those who govern us to a higher standard. This, I'm convinced of. What does it mean? That in times like this, we're called "to be strong and courageous." (Joshua 1:6).

Trocme argues in his sermon that we're called to oppose a tyrannical society, because in the end, we're all morally accountable to God first, and we all have a part in enabling that tyranny.

That means, it's not good enough to use as an excuse that you or I did something that you and I know is wrong, because our boss told us too, or that we're afraid of losing our job. That's a price that all of us have to pay; so, in the end, when we give an accounting of our thoughts, words, and actions we can say that we did the right thing - even though there was a cost in doing so, like the heroes and heroines that came before us.

In short, no tyrant can exist without people following his or her evil orders. And if we all do our part to not obey such evils, whether you're a citizen or an employee of such tyrants, then I believe that such a regime will be destroyed and come to an end.

What's the tyrant going to do? Shout more orders and shout louder, when no one is listening? That's why all of us should no longer participate in carrying out and empowering such people in power.

I end with the message Jesus announced in the synagogue, after being tempted by Satan. He quotes from Isaiah, a book of the prophets, that the time for forgiveness, mercy, freedom, and equality is now. He says:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed
and announce that the time has come
when the Lord will save his people. (Luke 4:18-19).


  1. My Dear Friend, The democratic republics of the United States of America and France, and the parliamentary monarchy of Great Britain were founded through violent revolution. Are you saying that because they were born in violence that they are intrinsically evil?

    1. Dear Lilwizardjr.,

      Thomas Paine's Common Sense states: "Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one . . ."

      Also see, "Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence." Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

      I entered this dialogue with you now. But if you're not going to be respectful to citizens of Baldwin Park, who are generally poor, I'm going to ask you to stop commenting on my blog.

      Thank you.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Hi Lilwizardjr (whose post was removed),

    You referred to Baldwin Park as my audience as the unwashed and uneducated rabble that dwell in Baldwin Park.

    Please be more respectful in the future. Thank you.