I dreamed about the death of Walter Wink last night, and consequently the emptiness and misery of a death-filled reality. I vaguely remember my previous beliefs of reality being mysterious and beautiful, but Wink imparted most of those to me.
I am being told by numerous sources that my posts are just too long, so here is a summary of the myth.
1) Chaos is the natural, original state of reality.
2) The [chaotic] feminine (Tiamat) oppresses the powers (creating the hope that she in turn will be oppressed, and the hope seems to justify it).
3) The [orderly] masculine (Marduk) offers to subdue her, but only if the remaining powers will take him as their ruler (establishing patriarchy as the only hope for society).
4) The masculine/orderly slaughters the feminine/chaotic in creative and entertaining ways, and thus earns the right to dominate.
5) The masculine/orderly creates the world from the corpse of the feminine/chaotic, implying that the very fabric of reality is built on subduing chaos with order, the feminine with the masculine, and that violence is the primary creative force of reality.
Someone just made the point to me that ‘Nonviolent Nazi’ makes as much sense as ‘Nonviolent Communist’.
Can someone remind me how striving for a fair world is somehow inherently violent while endorsing the global Capitalism that sustains constant, intense violence is somehow less violent?
You have heard the argument. Communism failed. Perhaps it was a terrible idea to begin with, or perhaps it was a good idea that just couldn’t work. But its time is far gone, and no one considers it a serious threat to global Capitalism anymore. ‘Communist’ is now widely just a name to mock your enemy with.
Some say Communism failed because the very idea of equality is unfair, that the rich deserve their spoils while the poor deserve their rations. Some now even go further, saying that Communism was not only a failure but was in and of itself evil – that the effort to tame humanity, to tame the reckless expansion of Capitalism, is deeply immoral, offending our moral desire for liberty.
There is something poetic about this scenario: Capitalism, which can only operate by limping from crisis to crisis, failure to failure, dismisses Communism for its few failures, most of which have come about thanks to the aggression of Capitalist nations. Capitalism, which does not care about Fair, attacks Communism for attempting a fair world at all, absurdly calling wealth redistribution ‘stealing from the rich’, a concept similar to reverse racism. Capitalism, which chains those in rich countries to a life-long cycle of consumerism and work as part of a system that enslaves ‘developing countries’, criticizes Communism for attempting to free the slaves on both sides of the oppression, daring to use the word ‘liberty’ against us.
Causes of Our Failures
While Capitalist aggression has been largely responsible for rendering Communist movements impossible, Communism is not entirely without blame. There are two flawed concepts that have been themes of humanity throughout history, and continued to be a theme throughout the attempts at Communism. It is these two concepts that, we suggest, have resulted in their failure. A Communism that holds to either of these concepts cannot thrive under the weight of Capitalist propaganda and violence.
State Sovereignty – the concept that we must have laws that are considered higher than our own morality
Militarism – the concept that we must be violent to avert violence
Both of these ideas are rejected through our use of the word ‘Nonviolent’, since Nonviolence cannot be achieved by a person who holds to either one. This is obvious for the latter concept, but to demonstrate why the former is incompatible with Nonviolence: A nonviolent activist who holds to State Sovereignty will just be told that their protests are against the Law and they are thus rendered ineffective. At the heart of Nonviolence is the belief that there are concepts higher than Law: such as goodness and compassion, and we choose to honor these at the cost of displeasing wider society, or more precisely, displeasing the few in power.
It is still held by a ridiculous amount of people that a country cannot operate without sovereignty. This, more than either Capitalism or Militarism, is the global myth, and the ultimate source of our worst atrocities.
As Nonviolent Communists, we strive for a world that organizes itself through education and voluntary cooperation. We have no interest in forcing a system on those who do not want it. It is often argued that the rich will not ‘want’ to give up their power; well, of course. But we are their power. The slaves do not need to take anything from the slave masters; they need only to walk away.
Crime in such a world would likely be dealt with through a combination of education, counseling, and medical treatment. People do not commit crimes without reason. The goal for us will be to find these reasons and respond accordingly, not to lock these ‘evil’ people away from society.
Large-scale Militarism cannot exist without Law, so it is almost unnecessary to argue against it while rejecting the necessity of Law. There is a reason that the military is never a democracy: you cannot order people to murder if they are allowed to question the ethics of their task. But the notions behind Militarism must still be refuted, and to this end we will utilize the writings of Walter Wink, whose writings on the Myth of Redemptive Violence are to Militarism as Marxism is to Capitalism. Explaining Wink’s thought will be our (Joshua Bizley and Thomas Mayer) next task after finishing this introductory post.
Those of you who are familiar with the Myth of Redemptive Violence will be sad to learn if you have not already: Walter Wink died on the 10th of May.
Here I have outlined the questions that this movement must answer.
Imperative – Is Nonviolent Communism a good idea? Is there a moral imperative to strive for it? Would it actually be a better world than Capitalism?
Imagination – Is Nonviolent Communism possible? How would we deal with dissent? How would we create a society that is both fair and appealing? How would we motivate people to contribute?
Interest – Is Nonviolent Communism popular? Even if it is theoretically possible, would enough people be up for it that it would be practically possible?
Processes [of Transformation]
Roughly speaking, there are two processes by which the transformation from Militarist/Capitalist to Nonviolent/Communist can happen: Active and Passive, which essentially refers to whether a person is actively seeking the truth on the subject. If you are reading this page, chances are that you are an AP person, while many of your family and friends may be PP.
Active Process (Imperative-Imagination-Interest)
An AP will generally follow the above steps in the given fashion, because the questions matter in that order; it does not matter whether the idea is possible if it is not a good idea, and it does not matter if the idea can be accepted by society if the idea is not possible. So the AP will ask these questions one at a time, and progress to the next step when the previous question has been answered satisfactorily.
Passive Process (Interest-Imagination&Imperative)
A PP does not care about the first two questions, because the Idea does not affect their lives until the answer to the third question is ‘Yes’. They may be very intelligent people, but they are busy, and life is too short and difficult to stop and question whether there is something fundamentally wrong with the system that they are chained to. You have possibly attempted to ask a PP one of the first two questions, and are potentially very disillusioned with the result: you are treated as insane or naive, or both. However, once the third question is answered ‘Yes’, the first two questions are suddenly both reasonable and critical; they will soon be forced to ask them honestly.
The ultimate purpose of The Nonviolent Communist is to achieve the Idea of Nonviolent Communism, but the primary purpose of the project until then is to help enough people through the Active Process that people begin to be transformed through the Passive Process. This is the tipping point. Once Passive people begin to convert, the war is all but won. So, following the Active Process, this is our plan:
Imperative: We will write up and publish articles to this page arguing for the necessity of Nonviolent Communism.
Imagination: We have an Imagination submission page so you can submit your ideas of precisely (or vaguely) how Nonviolent Communism could work, or how one aspect of it could work. Read the next post to see why we have set this up instead of answering the question for you.
Interest: Visibility plays the lead role in this effort, and so we aim to have a presence on every social network. At the moment, we are establishing a presence on Tumblr and Facebook – please let us know if you are active on a network that we are not yet on, and if you would like to be one of the first voices for this project.
In case you are confused, I have changed this blog to a personal blog, while the one above is using my old name.
thenonviolentcommunist is no longer a personal blog, but will soon be used as a manifesto for nonviolent Communism.
God, please resurrect Walter Wink. He’s the only guy who can fix the mistake you made with your last resurrection.
‘Can God create a rock so heavy that he can’t lift it?’
The question is ridiculous to anyone with a marginal grasp of logic. The question can be reduced to the logic: ‘Can someone do something impossible?’
The answer is no, because impossible is impossible so long as you agree with basic logic. In this sense, the question seems stupid, a childish debate to wind people up. However, I realized recently that this question is actually quite clever.
It is clever because Evangelicalism generally contains that idea that God CAN do the impossible. This statement, in and of itself, is illogical. And they would continue that God is above and beyond logic.
In response to this, the question becomes quite clever, because in order to refute the false logic of the question they would have to refute the false logic of their own belief in God’s ability to do the impossible. They generally don’t do this, and are forced to claim that the question is a trick, that it twists ideas and confuses the person trying to work it out.
This is not true - it is a very simple, honest question; that is to say, it is an honest fallacy. There is no trick about it, no disguising the error in the question - you can see the fallacy as clear as day so long as you are first willing to acknowledge the fallacy in your own belief.
The Christian’s statement is one that I just responded to on Facebook, but it accurately reflects the reasoning I have had to deal with again and again… so, once and for all:
Christian: I think our disagreement lies in the following tension; you see truth as subject to the law of logic. I see logic as subject to the truth of Jesus. Is that a fair assessment of our positions?
Me: Everything is logic. Including all of your reasoning. It’s all based on the concept of logic, even if it does not make logical sense. You are suggesting that reason itself could be flawed, despite the fact that the sentence you spoke is a form of reasoning.
When you question the process of questioning, you render the question ridiculous. When you reason that reason might not be reasonable, you are merely being unreasonable. That’s fine (and crazy!), except our conversation and any conversation is based on reason. We can’t talk outside of logic. It’s not possible.
I can see you responding to this with ‘See! That is unquestionable!’
No. It is perfectly questionable, the question just doesn’t make sense.
Jesus, on the other hand, can be questioned in a perfectly sensible manner.
Regarding the Christian use of ‘slave terminology’.
I actually think ‘slave’ terminology is healthy.
Christianity emphasized that their kind of freedom was not just freedom - it was a particular kind of freedom, the freedom to live like Christ. There doesn’t seem to have been a concept of an absolute freedom that could ever be obtained - mostly (I suspect) because its founders understood the topic of Desire so well, and you cannot both understand desire and keep some notion of freedom or free will. But Christianity did offer the only coherent kind of freedom: the freedom to tame desire [to make oneself more like Christ].
If the movement that was Christianity is ever going to happen again - in the sense of a large-scale rejection of the present system followed by egalitarian, nonviolent communities - we will need something similar to this slave terminology, e.g. ‘slave of love/egalitarism/whatever’. If it emphasizes the fact that it is freeing people from the previous system without counteracting that with something like slave terminology, it will easily devolve into what anarchy is popularly seen as: a movement that stands for some vague concept of chaotic freedom that sounds great but means nothing. The fact that almost every political party ever will say they are for freedom should be evidence enough of this.
As for whether it is healthy to call all non-Christians slaves of Satan; even if you’re making a symbolic statement, it just comes across as a bizarre and ignorant generalisation. But it is one of those things which can be a good thing to believe but not to say that you believe (a possibility that many Christians are against, believing that being offensive in this way is something to do with Christianity). What I mean is: It is quite a good thing to recognise that a person is ‘sinning’ because they can’t help it, i.e. they are a slave to Satan, but it is usually stupid/unhelpful to point out to this person that they can’t help sinning… they will generally react badly, either because they don’t believe they are sinning or because they believe in free will.
EDIT: You might like The Debate Space on Facebook
aflameoffreedom asked: A nonviolent communist, is that real lol? Do you support a state, the dictatorship of the proletariat?
No. I don’t support any form of authoritarianism, and therefore no concept of state in which the state is treated as sovereign. I’m not against government if we simply define that as how humans organise themselves - I’m not against organisation. But I don’t believe that a period of authoritarianism could possibly help bring about a stateless communism. I’m a anarcho-communist, and believe that imposing a good system on people who don’t want it is stupidity. Of course the rich will never want it - but this won’t matter when no one else wants it. The system will just cease to be once the rest of us stop wanting it.