On the one hand, I subscribe to civil disobedience—that humble lineage of true heroes (akin to “bodhisattvas” in the Buddhist tradition) stretching back to Thoreau, through Gandhi, MLK, Jr., the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh and Aung San Suu Kyi. On the other hand, what if ahimsa (non-violence) doesn’t work?
Would Tibet, for example, have spared itself genocide and rape and pillaging and now 50 years’ suppression if it had mounted a real military defense, or had such a defense in the first place? Would MLK Jr. have succeeded if there weren’t the extreme, more violent weight of Malcolm X warning the mainstream to work with the more palatable, peaceful alternative?
Still, as Allen Ginsberg (consummate activist) put it, “aggression begets aggression.”
And does success—freedom—even matter? Or rather is one’s own refusal to succumb to violence the only fundamentally important thing?
As seen on Steve Fenberg’s wall, part two.
Here’s a quote I dig, more. Though, yes, easier said than done.
MLK’s response to X’s criticisms:
Bonus Bonus Bonus:
A more peace-loving Malcolm X emerged toward the end of his too-short life: