Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Regarding Violence by Martyn Owain - Republican Socialist International : 100th anniversary of the execution of James Connolly

I would like to make a few remarks regarding the use of political violence. It is an important question which any serious revolutionary must be able to respond to fully.

First of all, we must separate ourselves from those romantic “revolutionaries” who preach violence without having the slightest notion of the gravity involved in putting forward such proposals.

We are not amused by the idea of violence as an idea in itself, just as any decent human-being shouldn’t be.

We are not militarists, but we are not pacifists. The Republican Socialist movement has never preached the use of indiscriminate violence.

RSI has and will always oppose the dogma of non-violence, which is a dangerous cult, and must be exposed for its true counter-revolutionary nature.

In political spheres such as those we have in America, with the general populace armed, it is necessary to remind all would-be revolutionaries that if our movement is to make progress it will inevitably be met with forceful opposition.

While we do not have the illusion that the proletariat can be freed by guns and bombs, yet we understand the hopeless plight we shall face if we attempt to take the revolutionary road unarmed.

So if we are sincere in our pursuit of revolution, we will be forced to make political demands from within the heart of the empire, demands which we will inevitably fight for and cause us to soon forget all this silly talk about non-violence.

Let it be clear that we do not acknowledge the applicability of violence out of any love for it.

We are not bloodthirsty, but we are Marxists and understand that even beyond workers liberation, the very survival of the species cannot be in any way guaranteed unless first of all, the scourge of imperialism is destroyed.

What does this lead to? It means that we must necessarily fight for complete freedom for all nations and the establishment of socialist republics within the current NATO nation-states.

The day we limit ourselves to politics while maintaining this as our end-goal, we will logically be launching ourselves on a trajectory which will inevitably bring us into conflicts with well-armed foes, and thus leave our members defenseless.

So, the simple use of the term “non-violence” cannot save us from the clutches of our enemies, unless this magic term eventually dooms our whole organization and makes of us despicable hypocrites.

To say clearly that our movement calls for the complete destruction of imperialism and the establishment of republican socialism does not mean that we are advocating futile acts of terrorism or even necessarily an armed revolt.

Our tactics can be boiled down to one phrase: “Mass-action”. No revolutionary organization can be built without subscribing to these tactics. We do not preach terrorism, nor do we incite to violence, so we are innocent as far as legal technicalities are concerned.

But Imperialism does not follow such guidelines. It is not legal or technical violence that the ruling-classes are afraid of. Such happenings can be dealt with rather easily. The imperial governments dread social violence as shown through the political movement of the masses, more than anything else.

Therefore, any revolutionary organization which seriously reflects the needs and desires of the masses will not and cannot be considered peaceful by the ruling class.

You cannot fool them by holding a protest sign which reads: “We Are Non-violent Revolutionaries.” As soon as a movement is formed with the capability and determination to conquer freedom for the toiling masses, the wrath of state power will be invoked.

RSI will not include non-violence as part of its platform.

We shall simply state our fundamental political demands, social ideals, and formulate in clear language the tactics by which we propose to realize our objectives — that is, by the widespread and militant use of direct action by the masses.

Looked at from this point of view, the whole scheme of organization, tactics, plan of action etc, is given the flexibility that will be necessary to achieve victory.

Yes, we must prepare ourselves to fight, wage war, be ready for losses and discouragement; but once we have knowingly began traveling down the correct road, with a clear vision of the tasks ahead, nothing can prevent us from performing our historical duty.

Martyn Owain
Republican Socialist International

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