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Want to STOP Amerikan Fascism? Then STOP supporting it! Tax Rebellion 2007

by starve'em out Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007 at 3:04 PM

Then stop supporting it. Simply stop paying federal fees, taxes, debt and other ransoms from neo-feudalism. Starting now! Highway Blog, spray paint, banner drop, tell friends, call up family, shout it out to neighbors, leave leaflets at pubs and cafes, hand write it in big letters on that wall or across the window. "STOP THE WARS, NO MORE TAX PAYING!" "STARVE THE BEAST!"

Want to STOP Amerikan Fascism? Then STOP supporting it! Tax Rebellion 2007

So you feel like shit cause you can not stop the occupation of Iraq, the clandestine war in Iran, the build up to weapons of mass destruction again Iran, the class war waging on our streets, the erosion of basic civil liberties, the corporate assault on the biosphere and so much more Amerikan Fascism.

Want to STOP Amerikan Fascism? Then STOP supporting it! Tax Rebellion 2007

Then stop supporting it. Simply stop paying federal fees, taxes, debt and other ransoms from neo-feudalism. Starting now! Highway Blog, spray paint, banner drop, tell friends, call up family, shout it out to neighbors, leave leaflets at pubs and cafes, hand write it in big letters on that wall or across the window.

"STOP THE WARS, NO MORE TAX PAYING!"

"STARVE THE BEAST!"

_____

MONKEY MASTERS AND POLITICAL POWER

Part three in a series by Dr. Gene Sharp

EDITOR'S NOTE: This the third of a special series of articles by Gene Sharp

on the general problems and possibilities of achieving liberation from

dictatorships being published in Khit Pyiang in ten installments, initially

in English and later in Burmese.

___________________________________________________________

Achieving freedom with peace is of course no simple task. It will require

great strategic skill, organization, and planning. Above all, it will

require power. Democrats cannot hope to bring down a dictatorship and

establish political freedom without the ability to apply their own power

effectively.

But how is this possible? What kind of power can the democratic opposition

mobilize that will be sufficient to destroy the dictatorship and its vast

military and police networks? The answers lie in an oft ignored

understanding of political power. Learning this insight is not really so

difficult a task. Some basic truths are quite simple.

The "Monkey Master" fable

A Fourteenth Century Chinese parable by Liu-Ji, for example, outlines this

neglected understanding of political power quite well:

In the feudal state of Chu an old man survived by keeping monkeys in his

service. The people of Chu called him "ju gong" (monkey master).

http://www.burmalibrary.org/reg.burma/archives/199404/msg00036.html

Each morning, the old man would assemble the monkeys in his courtyard,

and order the eldest one to lead the others to the mountains to gather

fruits from bushes and trees. It was the rule that each monkey had to

give one tenth of his collection to the old man. Those who failed to do

so would be ruthlessly flogged. All the monkeys suffered bitterly, but

dared not complain.

One day, a small monkey asked the other monkeys: "Did the old man

plant all the fruit trees and bushes?" The others said: "No, they grew

naturally." The small monkey further asked: "Can't we take the fruits

without the old man's permission?" The others replied: "Yes, we all

can." The small monkey continued: "Then, why should we depend on the

old man; why must we all serve him?"

Before the small monkey was able to finish his statement, all the

monkeys suddenly became enlightened and awakened.

On the same night, watching that the old man had fallen asleep, the

monkeys tore down all the barricades of the stockade in which they

were confined, and destroyed the stockade entirely. They also took the

fruits the old man had in storage, brought all with them to the woods,

and never returned. The old man finally died of starvation.

Yu-li-zi says, "Some men in the world rule their people by tricks and not by

righteous principles. Aren't they just like the monkey master? They are not

aware of their muddleheadedness. As soon as their people become enlightened,

their tricks no longer work."

Necessary sources of political power

The principle is simple. Dictators require the assistance of the people they

rule, without which they cannot secure and maintain the sources of political

power. These sources of political power include:

* Authority, the belief among the people that the regime is legitimate,

and that they have a moral duty to obey it;

* Human resources, the number and importance of the persons and groups

which are obeying, cooperating, or providing assistance to the rulers;

* Skills and knowledge, needed by the regime to perform specific actions

and supplied by the cooperating persons and groups;

* Intangible factors, psychological and ideological factors which may

induce people to obey and assist the rulers;

* Material resources, the degree to which the rulers control or have

access to property, natural resources, financial resources, the economic

system, and means of communication and transportation; and

* Sanctions, punishments, threatened or applied, against the disobedient

and noncooperative to ensure the submission and cooperation

which are needed for the regime to exist and carry out its policies.

All of these sources, however, depend on acceptance of the regime, on the

submission and obedience of the population, and on the cooperation of

innumerable people and the many institutions of the society. These are not

guaranteed.

Full cooperation, obedience, and support will increase the availability of

the needed sources of power and, consequently expand the power capacity of

any government.

On the other hand, withdrawal of popular and institutional cooperation with

aggressors and dictators diminishes, and may sever, the availability of the

sources of power on which all rulers depend. Without availability of those

sources, the rulers' power weakens and finally dissolves.

Naturally, dictators are sensitive to actions and ideas that threaten their

capacity to do as they like. Dictators are therefore likely to threaten and

punish those who disobey, strike, or fail to cooperate. However, that is not

the end of the story. Repression, even brutalities, do not always produce a

resumption of the necessary degree of submission and cooperation for the

regime to function.

If, despite repression, the sources of power can be restricted or severed for

enough time, the initial results may be uncertainty and confusion within the

dictatorship. That is likely to be followed by a clear weakening of the

power of the dictatorship. Over time, the withholding of the sources of

power can produce the paralysis and impotence of the regime, and in severe

cases, its disintegration. The dictators' power will die, slowly or rapidly,

from political starvation.

The degree of liberty or tyranny in any government is, it follows, in large

degree a reflection of the relative determination of the subjects to be free

and their willingness and ability to resist efforts to enslave them.

Contrary to popular opinion, even totalitarian dictatorships are dependent on

the population and the societies they rule. As the political scientist Karl

W. Deutsch noted in 1953:

Totalitarian power is strong only if it does not have to be used too often.

If totalitarian power must be used at all times against the entire

population, it is unlikely to remain powerful for long. Since totalitarian

regimes require more power for dealing with their subjects than do other

types of government, such regimes stand in greater need of widespread and

dependable compliance habits among their people; more than that they have to

be able to count on the active support of at least significant parts of the

population in case of need.

The English Nineteenth Century legal theorist John Austin described the

situation of a dictatorship confronting a disaffected people. Austin argued

that if most of the population were determined to destroy the government and

were willing to endure repression to do so, then the might of the government,

including those who supported it, could not preserve the hated government,

even if it received foreign assistance. The defiant people could not be

forced back into permanent obedience and subjection, Austin concluded.

Niccolo Machiavelli had much earlier argued that the prince ". . . who has

the public as a whole for his enemy can never make himself secure; and the

greater his cruelty, the weaker does his regime become."

The practical political application of these insights was demonstrated by the

heroic Norwegian resisters against the Nazi occupation, and as cited in

Chapter One, by the brave Poles, Germans, Czechs, Slovaks, and many others

who resisted Communist aggression and dictatorship, and finally helped

produce the collapse of Communist rule in Europe. This, of course, is no new

phenomenon: cases of nonviolent resistance go back at least to 494 B.C. when

plebeians withdrew cooperation from their Roman patrician masters.

Nonviolent struggle has been employed at various times by peoples throughout

Asia, Africa, the Americas, Australasia, and the Pacific islands, as well as

Europe.

Three of the most important factors in determining to what degree a

government's power will be controlled or uncontrolled therefore are: (1) the

relative desire of the populace to impose limits on the government's power;

(2) the relative strength of the subjects' independent organizations and

institutions to withdraw collectively the sources of power; and (3) the

population's relative ability to withhold their consent and assistance.



Centers of democratic power

One characteristic of a democratic society is that there exist independent of

the state a multitude of nongovernmental groups and institutions. These

include, for example, families, religious organizations, cultural

associations, sports clubs, economic institutions, trade unions, student

associations, political parties, villages, neighborhood associations,

gardening clubs, human rights organizations, musical groups, literary

societies, and others. These bodies are important in serving their own

objectives and also in helping to meet social needs.

Additionally, these bodies have great political significance. They provide

group and institutional bases by which people can exert influence over the

direction of their society and resist other groups or the government when

they are seen to impinge unjustly on their interests, activities, or

purposes. Isolated individuals, not members of such groups, usually are

unable to make a significant impact on the rest of the society, much less a

government, and certainly not a dictatorship.

Consequently, if the autonomy and freedom of such bodies can be taken away by

the dictators, the population will be relatively helpless. Also, if these

institutions can themselves be dictatorially controlled by the central regime

or replaced by new controlled ones, they can be used to dominate both the

individual members and also those areas of the society.

However, if the autonomy and freedom of these independent civil institutions

(outside of government control) can be maintained or regained they are highly

important for the application of political defiance. The common feature of

the cited examples in which dictatorships have been disintegrated or weakened

has been the courageous mass application of political defiance by the

population and its institutions.

As stated, these centers of power provide the institutional bases from which

the population can exert pressure or can resist dictatorial controls. In the

future, they will be part of the indispensable structural base for a free

society. Their continued independence and growth therefore is often a

prerequisite for the success of the liberation struggle.

If the dictatorship has been largely successful in destroying or controlling

the society's independent bodies, it will be important for the resisters to

create new independent social groups and institutions, or to reassert

democratic control over surviving or partially controlled bodies. During the

Hungarian Revolution of 1956-1957 a multitude of direct democracy councils

emerged, even joining together to establish for some weeks a whole federated

system of institutions and governance. In Poland during the late 1980s

workers maintained illegal Solidarity unions and, in some cases, took over

control of the official, Communist dominated, trade unions. Such

institutional developments can have very important political consequences.

Of course, none of this means that weakening and destroying dictatorships is

easy, nor that every attempt will succeed. It certainly does not mean that

the struggle will be free of casualties, for those still serving the

dictators are likely to fight back in an effort to force the populace to

resume cooperation and obedience.

The above insight into power does mean, however, that the deliberate

disintegration of dictatorships is possible. Dictatorships in particular

have specific characteristics that render them highly vulnerable to

skillfully implemented political defiance. Let us examine these

characteristics in more detail.

Chapter Four of this series will be published in the next issue of Khit

Pyiang (New Era).

c copyright by Gene Sharp, 1993. All rights reserved including translation

rights. All requests should be addressed in writing to Gene Sharp, Albert

Einstein Institution, 1430 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts

02138, USA, FAX USA + 617-876-7954. They will be sympathetically considered.

Reproductions of the individual articles, as by photocopying, by Burmese

democrats are permitted provided the author is notified. In order to ensure

the quality of translations and to avoid duplication of work, these articles

should not be translated without written permission.

This story, originally titled "Rule by Tricks" from Yu-li-zi written by Liu

Ji (1311-1375), has been translated by Sidney Tai, all rights reserved.

Yu-li-zi is also the pseudonym for Liu Ji. The translation was originally

published in Nonviolent Sanctions: News from the Albert Einstein Institution

(Cambridge, Mass.), Vol. IV, No. 3 (Winter 1992-1993), p. 3.

Karl W. Deutsch, "Cracks in the Monolith," in Carl J. Friedrich, ed.,

Totalitarianism (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1954), pp.

313-314.

John Austin, Lectures on Jurisprudence or the Philosophy of Positive Law

(Fifth edition, revised and edited by Robert Campbell, 2 volumes). London:

John Murray, 1911 [1861], Vol. I, p. 296.

Niccolo Machiavelli, "The Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy," in The

Discourses of Niccolo Machiavelli (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1950),

vol. I, p. 254.

See Gene Sharp, The Politics of Nonviolent Action (Boston: Porter Sargent,

1973), p. 75 and passim for other historical examples.

http://www.burmalibrary.org/reg.burma/archives/199404/msg00036.html

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