“Non-violence is not to be used ever as the shield of the coward. It is the weapon of the brave.” – Gandhi
Often when it comes to managing conflict it simply is a case of you not seeing an issue through the eyes of the other person and the other person does not see it through your eyes.
Sometimes during a frustrating, heated debate it is necessary to pause and reflect on what the other person has said and yesterday I had such a moment when some commentators expressed their views of why they are not going to demonstrate against Zuma and the misrule of the ANC on Wednesday; Zuma’s birthday.
Apparently they see the futility of it all, because the moment Zuma is gone he will just be replaced by his ex wife, another Zuma…or by some other ANC idiot…or worse, by the EFF idiots. So they reason, “What is the point of demonstrating when the country is going to go tits up anyway and the ANC will just remain in power? Better to prepare for the chaos.”
So in order to address these concerns it might be worth revisiting and recapping some older concepts we mentioned two years ago when I introduced my readers to Gene Sharp’s Strategic Non-violent Resistance techniques.
There WILL be chaos
First of all the chaos is inevitable. It is part of any revolution and yes, it is a very good idea to be prepared to weather the storm as best as we can.
However, we must start at how we want the country to be after the chaos. After the revolution.
What comes after the chaos? The importance of “Follow Through”
In his book “Blueprint for revolution” Srdja Popovic talks about the importance of “Follow through”.
See, it is not enough to just get rid of the dictator. You must follow through and you do not stop until you have the country you want to have.
This is a mistake the Egyptians made in the Arab Spring. Within a matter of three weeks at the beginning of 2011 the Egyptians got rid of their dictator Hosni Mubarak. Then suddenly everyone went home.
The job was done, the dictator was gone and now peace would follow…so they thought.
Unfortunately it gave rise to the Muslim Brotherhood and a worse autocratic President, Mohamed Morsi. In June 2013, they had another revolution.
This time it would last seven months. Relative peace returned with the election of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, but he is still trying to this day to put down the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist insurgency that started from the Sinai Peninsula and the economy is still in tatters.
Srdja Popovic warned the Egyptians. He trained them. He told them that they should “follow through” like the Serbs did in the Serbian revolution of 2000.
They first made sure that the new government would be democratic and that the citizens were guaranteed individual freedoms before they stopped. They also warned the new government that if they ever deviated from the new constitution they would face another revolution.
Today Serbia is not perfect, but it is ten times better than under the dictator Slobodan Milošević. For the last 17 years they have had relative peace and prosperity, free and fair elections in a multiparty democracy and a sharp reduction in corruption and gangsterism. However, they have recently started demonstrating again against a rise in corruption and I am afraid that unless the current Serbian government curbs corruption there will be another revolution like in 2000.
So no…Have no illusions. The overthrow of the dictator alone is NOT going to bring lasting peace. You need to “follow through”. You only stop when you have the kind of government you want. A government that everyone can live with.
That is why I do not like the phrases, “Zuma must fall” or “The ANC must fall”. It symbolizes just a step in the revolution not the ultimate goal. Like the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in the USA. Occupying Wall Street was a mere tactic, not the ultimate strategy. There I much rather prefer, “Save South Africa”.
Revisiting “Our vision of Tomorrow” and what we want after the ANC is gone
In August 2015 I kicked off a campaign of information with an article called How do we want South Africa to be after the ANC is gone?
I made it clear that it might not be an ideal that I personally strive for or want, but if you only have R20 you cannot expect to eat an expensive steak. You will have to be realistic and settle for something less…or go hungry.
The article pulled almost 150 comments. I summurised them and the wishes for a post ANC South Africa in a follow-up article called Our vision of tomorrow – The Goose Egg Principle
From that research 35 points came out what ordinary South Africans wanted for this country.
They wanted simple things…like peace with our neigbours, good schools and education. Low crime. A society without fear and without burglar bars and alarms. A society where we can own our property and not constantly have to fear that a government is going to confiscate our land. We want less tax better distributed and not stolen, an accountable government that serves the people, decent health care, decent old age pensions. We want a country that we can be proud of and not shame ourselves for.
Funny enough, nobody mentioned a Springbok team that wins occasionally.
Main thing is that it is not perfect. No country is, but it is a country that we can at least live in. A country ten times better than the ANC’s Rainbow Stuff-up.
Here I have to reiterate for the newcomers not familiar with my own personal views that this might not be my own personal ultimate wish for South Africa.
Those who have read my blog in the last ten years will know that I envisage a new “Great Trek” back to the Cape, declare independence for the Cape, regroup, build up and seize the initiative and once we have our enemies on the back foot and running we don’t stop until we reach the equator. My vision is Axenic Apartheid. A country free of any parasites stretching from Cape Agulhas in the South to at least the Kunene and Zambezi rivers in the north with the area inbetween that and the equator…“No-man’s Land”.
However as one reader said the other day…“If we want to live in this land, we must write a plan for the next 500 years.”
Problem is we are not going to reach the ideal in the next 20-30 years. What is it that we want now? What can we then build on for the next 500 to 1000 years? Gene Sharp calls this the Grande Strategy.
Then you have the interim strategy. THAT is our goal that we identified two years ago.
A theory of Strategy: Reverse Planning
Lt.Col Bob Helvey calls the strategy “Reverse Planning”. In a military sense it is known by the equation S= E+W+M (strategic formula of ends, ways, means).
The principle is that you start at your goal; your ”Goose Egg” that you drew on the map with your pen. Then you break it down into smaller achievable goals (the Ends) and look at the tactics you can use (the Ways) and the resources you have (the Means).
Like Gene Sharp says; “It is a technique of combat. It is a substitute for war”. It is war by other means. Just because you use different weapons does not mean that you fight less hard or strategize less.
The problem is that people hear “Strategic Non-violent Conflict” and they think it is for pussies and sissies. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Like I said the other day…Lt.Col Bob Helvey is no less a soldier, because he swapped his rifles and grenades for non-violent means and weapons. He still fights just as hard and just as strategically against oppressive regimes as he did in the jungles of Burma, just with different means and different weapons. After a civil war of 70 years, (the longest in history) he realized there had to be a different way to get rid of a dictator. He became a disciple of Gene Sharp.
Who will take over from the ANC and bring in the reign of terror?
In October 2015 I drew up an entire map of how a revolution takes place based on the research I have done over many years studing many revolutions. You can see it here
You can see how the fall of the old regime is followed by a short honeymoon period, how the moderates rise, but are too busy trying to govern chaos and how the small group of dedicated radicals rise, overthrow the moderates and bring in the reign of terror.
After that the cool down period or “Thermidor” follows. Dr. Crane Brinton likened it to a person catching a flu.
It seems as if everyone is in agreement that the “moderates” who will come to power in SA will probably be the DA or coalition of DA, COPE, ACDP, etc…
However…it also seems that people have already decided that the “Radicals” that will rise and bring in the reign of terror will be the EFF.
It is when this happens that the Apathetic Fence Sitters believe they will rise and restore order and kick the radicals out and bring freedom and peace to SA.
What prevents US from being the radicals in the first place?
If we want to prevent the rise of the radicals then there is only one way and that is that WE have to be the radicals. WE have to bring in the reign of terror and cleanse the country of the traitors and parasites.
But, but, Mike…what about your “Non-violent Conflict”? Are you not now contradicting yourself?
No. Not at all. The revolution is NOT over when the dictator or the Old Regime has fallen. How many times do I have to say it?
Non-violent struggle is only a part of the revolution. It is a strategy to get rid of the dictator and old regime. After that comes a lot more.
The response of the regime WILL be violence. It is their only answer. There might even be deaths. Brutal, violent deaths. This is where discipline needs to be applied and where we should not retaliate and return the violence. We should use the regime’s violence against it.
I know that when peaceful people are attacked, the instinctive response is to retaliate with violence. I cannot emphasize more that this is exactly what should NOT be done. It will give the regime the excuse to use even more violence. The time for retaliation and our violence will come later during the reign of terror. Then you will get your retribution.
But Mike the ANC used violence during the 80’s and they won
True…The ANC did use violence and they did win. If they were more disciplined and used Non-violent struggle they would have won a lot sooner.
Mandela wasted 27 years in prison, because he was stupid and did not want to let go of violence. During this period the ANC was hunted down and violently defeated by the Apartheid government that reduced them to a fax machine in Dar es Salaam.
The turning point for the ANC came in 1983 when they visited Vietnam and learned the strategies of non-violent struggle and “People’s War” from General Giap.
What eventually won the war for the ANC were not their bombs and landmines and AK-47’s…It was the boycotts, the stay-aways, the sanctions, the co-opting of the churches, the defiance campaign with the peaceful marches on Apartheid beaches led by Bishop Tutu and Reverend Boesak. All textbook Gene Sharp stuff. Go look at his 198 methods of non-violent struggle. THAT is how the ANC eventually won.
The UDF and Inkhata were the moderates. The violence of the early 1990’s where the ANC murdered 20,500 Inkhata members was the rise of the radicals. The period from 1994 till now is the Dictatorship of the Majority. This is the status quo under all Communist regimes. They never get further than this.
Strategy choice: Taking lessons from the Boers, Gandhi and Syria.
After the apparent ease and speed of the Arab Spring revolution, the Syrians also thought that they could simply demonstrate en masse and wave their fists at the dictator Assad and he would step down. However, they were fooled, because they never saw the months of hard work that went in to prepare for the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt. They only saw the boxing match that lasted one or two rounds not the training and preparation beforehand.
Srdja Popovic trained them all. He recounts it in his book, “Blueprint for revolution”.
Usually when he trains revolutionaries from Tunisia, Libya, Maldives…wherever…He always get the same sentence; “Yes, Srdja, we hear what you are saying, but it won’t work in our country. Our situation is different. Our dictator is different. Our people are different…”
Same old, same old. Exactly the same here in South Africa and on this blog…”Yes, Mike…I hear what you are saying, but South Africa is different…”
The terrain might change. The tactics and weapons might be different, but the principles of war and therefore Non-Violent Struggle are universal. A dictator relies on obedience and pillars of support. If you defy him and disobey him and pull the pillars of support out from underneath him towards your side he will fall. The regime will collapse.
You don’t need firearms and bombs to do that. Besides he has far more bombs and rifles than you do. He has a lot more money, soldiers and resources than you do. That alone should tell you that Guerilla War is futile.
The Syrians told Srdja Popovic the same. They wanted to combine his Non-Violent Struggle with a Guerilla campaign. A two prong strategy.
The results can be seen today. Syria is a mess. Ruined. Chaos. Millions of people displaced. They used violence, which give the regime the excuse to use force. Then the rebels tried to get support from outside (America, Iraq, etc) and Assad brought in his allies (Russia and Hezbollah).
Do you really want moths and years of hardship carrying your house on your back? Because that is what your rucksack is. It is your entire house…all 20-30kg of it on your back. If you think it is a fun camping trip I have news for you. The novelty and fun wears off after about three days.
The Boers faced the British and chose a conventional war that they lost. General De la Rey warned Paul Kruger about this beforehand. Then they chose guerilla war and after some successes the British brought in their allies from across the entire British Empire and applied a scorched earth strategy. Again the Boers lost. Eventually 6000 Boer soldiers dead and 34,000 women and children died in concentration camps.
In 1900 the Indian barrister Mahatma Gandhi joined the British forces in South Africa as a medical ordinance. He saw firsthand the horrors of the Anglo Boer War and the futility of the Boer strategy. He knew from his own Indian history that guerilla warfare would not work against the British. In India they tried it many times in the 19th century.
Therefore in 1930 when he wanted the British out of India he adopted Strategic Non-violent defiance and disobedience.
He knew that standing up to a much stronger British army, police and all the soldiers of the British Empire would be futile and cause thousands if not millions of deaths.
He simply started disobeying and defying the British regime in every single way possible. Mass civil disobedience followed. How did the British respond? With violence and more laws.
They baton charged and clubbed the peaceful Indians. 80,000 people were thrown in jail including Gandhi himself for 9 months. The Indians just carried on defying, boycotting and disobeying all their stupid laws.
At the Qissa Khwani Bazaar British soldiers machine gunned a crowd of peaceful demonstrators killing 200-250 people. Some sources say up to 400 people were killed. Soldiers who refused to fire into the crowd were imprisoned for life and fined heavy penalties.
The beatings and the massacre were shown across the world. The British tried everything to provoke the Indians into more violence, but they refused. With every set of beatings the Indian crowds became bigger and stronger. They simply told the British to get out and go home. Their time in India was over. In 1947 the British left India forever.
About 400 people dead…As opposed to collectively 40,000 Boers, their wives and their children. Civil War, Guerilla War or Peaceful Non-Violent resistance? You tell me which works best?
Negotiations, International intervention, Military Coup d’état? …Good luck with that.
Just ask yourself one last question…What is it that Jacob Zuma, the ANC and the Guptas prefer you to do?
Do they want you to sit at home and do nothing? Do they want you to clean your rifle and polish your bullets at home? Do they want you to sit at home and prepare your nifty Bug-Out Bag?
Sure. The last thing they want to see…the last thing they want you to do is demonstrate on the streets and wave your fist in their faces telling them to step down.
What is it going to take to convince the whites of SA? I don’t know. Probably nothing.
I rest my case.
By Mike Smith
11th of April 2016