"Unwise and untimely...."
If only Martin Luther King hadn't been "effete"! The Civil Rights Movement would have done so much better!
As I keep saying: A reputation for non-violence is a strategic asset.
1. To which one answer is: This isn't the 60s. No, it's not. And it's not 1776 (U.S.), 1789 (France), 1848 (Europe), 1861 (U.S.), 1871 (France), 1917 (Russia), 1933 (Germany), 1949 (China), or 1989 (Eastern Europe). It's not the Civil Rights era, the Suffragette Era, or the Stonewall Era either. And?
2. Another: If no Malcolm X, no MLK. Alas, historically, MLK preceded Malcolm X. Probably the better analogy: If no armed wing of the ANC, no Nelson Mandela. Alas, South Africa is not Europe or the United States; the only armed wing to be seen anywhere is the U.S. military and various smaller police and mercenary forces. Further, it's not clear how to advocate for non-violence while keeping one's fingers behind one's back when speaking of the armed wing. One must be the change one seeks.
3. Another: An eye for an eye. See the image above. Leaving aside becoming the mirror image of one's enemy, (see under Stalin vs. Czar, Mao vs. Emperor), except with a different jersey, is eye-for-an-eye effective? Circumstances on the ground differ, of course, but surely a sober assessment is "not always," and in the case of the Civil Rights Movement -- shall we consider, for a moment, learning from non-violent success, instead of romantic failure? -- not. Ditto Stonewall. Last I checked, gay activists hadn't emulated James Kopp. I suppose that makes them "effete," too?
There are certainly points on this issue, but that will do to go on with.
What I come back to is the idea that for real change to happen -- operationally, let's make our metric for "real change" the transformation of banks into public utilities -- "all walks of life" must participate in the change. How do we get to that point? The methods of non-violent protest and persuasion offer one clear path forward, since all, by definition, can participate. Not everyone can dress up in black and throw a rock through a Starbucks window, orgasmic though such tactics can be, even for agents provocateurs. Rather, think of non-violence as a collective placing of good will on the asset side of the balance sheet, and to be cultivated like an asset.
* * *
Bringing us to Greece. I note that the twitter feed from Greece has almost gone dark, suggesting the Greeks are otherwise occupied than tweeting, and good for them. I think their balance sheet is in good shape; "all walks of life" are participating (except for the elite, of course).
NOTE Headline from here.
UPDATE The best argument against non-violent methods of protest and persuasion as a strategy that I've seen is that it depends on media propagation, and we don't control the media. First, that's an invariant, true across all strategies. A second invariant is that alternative communications channels have to be developed.