Fifth, with regard to violence, Scilla claims, “Only very rarely in very few cases does it work.” That’s complete nonsense. Violence works extraordinarily well. That’s why governments all over the world use it. I live in America. It’s a bright, shining example of what you can accomplish with dedicated and unwavering violence. That’s why multinational corporations all over the world use it. Do you think the world’s biggest oil and gas corporations politely ask people to leave their land so said corporations can destroy it for profit? That’s why rapists all over the world use it. Whether they employ a hard or soft approach en route to their end, once the rapist rapes you, it’s an incredibly violent act. According to a 2011 government survey released in The New York Times, one in five American women claim they have been raped or sexually assaulted. These are the numbers we’re being told. It’s probably much higher. It’s rampant. It works. If violence didn’t work, rapists (be they governments, multinationals, or rapist rapists) wouldn’t use it.
Sixth, Scilla points to Nelson Mandela’s legendary efforts to resist by peaceful means. There were many times during Mandela’s storied life that he did indeed use nonviolent tactics, however, that’s only part of the picture. Scilla conveniently omits the fact that Mandela willingly and repeatedly used violence. Mandela embraced armed struggle in defense of the people. In response to The Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, Mandela formed the ANC’s underground military wing known as Umkhonto we Sizwe (i.e. Spear Of The Nation) and systematically bombed government buildings, power stations, and other infrastructure targets. He didn’t kill anybody, but he destroyed property on numerous occasions. And lest we forget, until 2008, Mandela remained on the U.S. terrorism watch list. If we’re going to operate under Scilla’s false premise that Mandela never used violence, we should at the very least be willing to admit that it was only with the help of pressure or force (I’m looking at you, Scilla) the world over that made it possible for Mandela to achieve political reform. There are nonviolent resistance movements happening today in a multitude of places around the globe (some in locations where Scilla’s Peace Direct operates). There’s no guarantee that any of them will work. They might, but without the same or greater level of worldwide pressure or force that Mandela received, it’s more likely that many of them will ultimately fail.
In addition, the South African powers that be conceded nothing to Mandela and his new government in way of economic power. This meant and still means, the powers that be still control South Africa. Since time immemorial, these types of practices have been standard operating procedure for those in power to retain their power. To hold Mandela and South Africa up as a shining example of how nonviolence has worked its gentle liberation magic is complete nonsense. Naomi Klein brilliantly illuminates this point in The Shock Doctrine:
Today, the country stands as a living testament to what happens when economic reform is severed from political transformation. Politically, its people have the right to vote, civil liberties and majority rule. Yet economically, South Africa has surpassed Brazil as the most unequal society in the world. …What happened in those negotiations is that the ANC found itself caught in a new kind of web, one made of arcane rules and regulations, all designed to confine and constrain the power of elected leaders. …As the new government attempted to make tangible the dreams of the Freedom Charter, it discovered that the power was elsewhere. Want to redistribute land? Impossible—at the last minute, the negotiators agreed to add a clause to the new constitution that protects all private property, making land reform virtually impossible. Want to create jobs for millions of unemployed workers? Can’t—hundreds of factories were actually about to close because the ANC had signed on to the GATT, the precursor to the World Trade Organization, which made it illegal to subsidize the auto plants and textile factories. …Free water for all? Not likely. The World Bank, with its large in-country contingent of economists, researchers and trainers (a self-proclaimed “Knowledge Bank”), is making private- sector partnerships the service norm. Want to impose currency controls to guard against wild speculation? That would violate the $850 million IMF deal, signed, conveniently enough, right before the elections. Raise the minimum wage to close the apartheid income gap? Nope. The IMF deal promises “wage restraint.”12 And don’t even think about ignoring these commitments— any change will be regarded as evidence of dangerous national untrustworthiness, a lack of commitment to “reform,” an absence of a “rules-based system.” All of which will lead to currency crashes, aid cuts and capital flight. The bottom line was that South Africa was free but simultaneously captured…
Seventh, Scilla says, “If my fear grows very big, it probably happens.” That’s complete nonsense. My desire to be prepared to handle any situation I encounter—nonviolent or violent—is motivated by both love and fear. To address Scilla, I’ll focus on an example motivated by fear. Consider martial arts. As a martial arts student, my fear of potentially being a victim was one of the major motivations behind my decision to study. All my knowledge, awareness, and training don’t make it more likely something bad happens, they make it less likely something bad happens. One of the first things you’ll learn at any reputable self-defense academy is how to avoid dangerous situations. My physical training puts such heavy emphasis on how to reduce the chances of being attacked. There are a series of things I can do to make it less likely something bad happens. If, however, I’m not able to steer clear of threats, my training shows me how to defend myself and not be a victim.
This is why millions of people the world over are interested in similar self-defense programs. They’re not trying to manifest an attack upon themselves. They’re acknowledging the reality that they could be attacked. They’re then taking that fear and turning it into action. They’re taking responsibility for their own safety, and their fear helped them to take initiative. Many of these programs have developed special self-defense training specifically for women and children because they are attacked more often. They’re not attacked more often because their fear has grown very big. They’re attacked more often because they appear to be easier targets. In many cases, they are. That’s why predators tend to choose them.
On this same note, if Scilla is saying anger is a great fuel to drive toward justice, I wholeheartedly agree. But shortly thereafter, Scilla says it’s hopeless to be angry with people. I completely disagree. If a husband is abusing a wife, the wife would have the right to be angry with the abuse the husband is perpetrating as well as the husband himself. Separating the two frees the abuser (in this case, the husband) of accountability. To say it’s hopeless to be angry with people continues to let abusers off the hook. The wife’s anger will serve as the fuel to get justice from the husband and the husband’s abuse. Maybe justice in this situation looks like a restraining order, as the wife files for divorce. Maybe justice in this situation looks like the wife disclosing all the husband’s horrific behavior to his coworkers, friends, and family in an attempt to stop him with shame. Maybe justice in this situation looks like the wife slowly poisoning the husband to death over the course of a year. Shouldn’t the wife be able to determine how she is going to resist?