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Do we owe our freedoms to violence?
"Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense." - George Orwell
Now I'm not talking violent wars, or wars against terrorism, these are being discussed already in other threads... But violence generally as a form of political protest or revolt? A few off hand examples would be the Poll Tax Riots(destroyed Margaret Thatchers political career), Indian uprising against the British Empire(pretty damn violent, despite being cited as a model of peaceful protest and uprising) and even - and this is very much conjecture - the Civil Rights movement in the United States. The Civil Rights movement in America was built on violent revolt, only when it really picked up steam did it take on a more Pacifist and "Democratic" direction. I'd personally argue MLK was a co-optation on behalf of Government; A 'cut-your-losses', 'we'll-hear-you-out-if-you-play-by-our-rules' decision. Government have a history of negotiating and working with the most Pacifist and accommodating parties or elements of a movement or uprising, which serves to give the impression Peaceful protest is what works, but this isn't necessarily or even generally true - It's usually the violent and 'militant' elements that force Government hand.
You can pretty much go through history and find example after example of violent revolt bringing about positive social changes, ending slavery is another example. And where people are unwilling to act, they're largely ignored and abused... Tibet comes to mind, or the majority in Europe who call for the end of war but are ignored by Politicians, OR just generally ignored :D
Is violence ever just? Violence as a means of achieving a better society, maybe even achieving non-violence? A contradiction of sorts, I realise. If not violence, then how do we influence change and move forward as societies and nations?
I don't really ask this as a Buddhist question but it's not banter or a current event either. Buddhist-centric(?) opinions and views are of course expected and welcomed.