Friday, February 21, 2014

The student movement's "magic" weapon in Venezuela.

"Hate cannot triumph over hate only love can defeat it." - Venezuelan student movement 

The student movement in Venezuela is wielding a magical weapon that cuts without wounding, heals as it is applied and exalts them who use it. Maduro in Caracas and Raul Castro in Havana are desperately trying to destroy the weapon before it removes both Maduro and Castro's agents there from power. The paradox is that it is also a weapon that cannot be taken from the students. Maduro and Castro can only persuade them through appeals to emotion and the illusion of a short cut to victory for them to put down this "magic" weapon dramatically reducing their chances of success.

The word "magic" is used here in the terms as a power that is able to shape events through a mysterious force. This mysterious force that has great power is nonviolence. Nonviolence is the force and in practice it becomes nonviolent resistance to evil actions and systems.

In the video above the spokesman for the Venezuelan student movement makes a powerful observation: "Hate cannot triumph over hate only love can defeat it."

Their movement is civic and nonviolent. This is asymmetrical warfare and in that war, nonviolence is the opposition's magical weapon that gives it a strategic advantage over Maduro and Castro's tanks, fighter jets, and snipers.

Maduro and Castro's dictatorships understands this and tries repeatedly to break the nonviolent character of this movement by engaging in heinous acts against the innocent to strike terror in the populace and hatred in the opposition then infiltrating the opposition with provocateurs claiming that if they would only shift to violence that victory would be more quickly achieved.

It is a lie.

In abandoning nonviolence the opposition loses its asymmetric advantage and has little chance of success without the assistance of outside powers in an armed struggle. Even with outside support it only rises to 26%. On the other hand maintaining a nonviolent posture increases ones chances for victory to 53%  according to studies by Maria J. Stephan and Erica Chenoweth studying conflicts both violent and nonviolent over the past one hundred years. 

Why is the chance for victory only 53%? Because nonviolence is a powerful weapon but to defeat an adversary with any weapon you need to have both a big picture strategic vision of how to arrive at your goal and the tactics to carry them out. If the student movement in Venezuela has those two elements then their odds of success are even greater.

The temptation to self-defense to justify violence is another tool of tyrants. We have seen several nonviolent student protesters shot in the head by regime snipers while others have been tortured and raped. The purpose of these outrages are to appeal to emotion as mentioned previously.

Gene Sharp an expert in nonviolence offered the following analysis on the danger of violence overtaking a nonviolent movement:
Frequently in revolutionary groups there will be people inside of the movement who may offer opinions that are their genuine opinions. They may be the mouthpiece of your opponent -they may be actual employees of the intelligence services assigned to wreck this movement. To not only urge the opposition movement to use violence and create dissension within the resisters, but also to actually carry out violence in the midst of otherwise peaceful demonstrations. Or in extreme cases even to carry out the violence on a larger scale like political assassinations. Then blame it on the revolutionary movement and then have a rational and so-called justification for rounding up revolutionaries and jailing many people who had nothing to do with these activities. The people who are always pushing for violence and acts of sabotage really need to be isolated and because they well may be the agents of your opponent. Don't fall for that. The nonviolent struggle has to be continued on a nonviolent basis. Otherwise you destroy your own power capacity and with that the capacity to achieve your objectives."
Sharp has also spoken out about the short sightedness of appeals to international military support:
I think it is an unfortunate choice that people make. It is predictable that your opponent will have the means of violence, the means of oppression. If you get someone else to come and help you, they will come with their interests, and potentially turn your country into a battlefield. Even if they help defeat the oppressor, it will not result in empowerment. People will not be ready to fight the next oppressor who tries to take over the country.    
The future of Venezuela is being decided and the ability of the student movement to remain nonviolent while carrying out their strategic vision for the change they seek using civic non violent means will be an important factor in the final outcome.

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