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The Failures Of Violence Essay

1539 words - 6 pages

Violence is inherently flawed. In the immortal words of Gandhi, "Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary." Therefore the most successful strategy for long-lasting peace and independence is nonviolence. This concept is crucial to understand the history of this time period. Violence and the lack of it, nonviolence plays a major role in the play of this chapter. Many question the practicality of nonviolence: “How can it work?” “Why can't armed and powerful opponents simply kill everyone that doesn't agree with them?” The answer couldn't be simpler: because the people will revolt. A few thousand oppressors wielding violence simply cannot control several million determined people. This lack of control is illustrated by four events throughout this chapter.

First, let's take a look at an example of nonviolence at work. In March 1917, nearly 200,000 textile workers in Petrograd, Russia led a citywide strike. Chants such as “Down with the autocracy!” and “Down with the war!” were heard as all the workers swarmed the streets. Soldiers, following orders from the czar, shot down the rioters, but later sided with them. This riot became known as the March Revolution, an example of nonviolent protest (civil disobedience). The March Revolution's holds significance because it was a nonviolent (on the protesters side, at least) way of expressing the belief that Russia should get out of the war.

Did the dissidents get what they wanted? Well, “the role of civil disobedience is to generate a response.” In this case, the response was just what the protesters wanted. The czar abdicated his throne. The March Revolution brought down the czar, and was a step towards giving the people what they want. This shows that, at least in Russia during this time period, nonviolence does work.

As for the event itself, the March Revolution was how Lenin and the Communist Party came into power. Left as is, this event is already extremely momentous. However, once we realize that Stalin and his totalitarian state arouse from the ashes of Lenin, this event becomes staggeringly critical. The March Revolution drastically changed the entire history of Russia, and possibly the entire world.

Well, now that we've seen some of the power of nonviolence, here's an example at the shortcomings of violence: In the early 1900s, China, after facing years of humiliation from foreigners, was ready for change. Many Chinese believed that modernization and nationalism was the country's keys for survival. These reformers wanted to construct modern factories, reform education and to bolster the army and navy. However, many others feared change. These people believe that China's greatest strength was in the traditional, the old ways.

The reformers were known as Nationalists. The leader, Sun Yixian became the leader of the Republic of China. One of those groups that opposed the Nationalistic movement, was the Communist Party (the traditionalists). Led...

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