The Socialist party in Bolivia retook the presidency and legislative majority in Bolivia a few weeks ago, after the US-backed right wing coup which took place in 2019.
This is highly significant for a simple reason. How did they retake power? Not by civil war. Not by violence. By an election. By the majority of the people standing up against a fascist regime and clearly stating that Socialism is what the people want.
In contrast, there are many in the US on the ALLEGED left who promote ideas of not voting. Some may even promote violence, which lends credence to the right wing claims of leftist radical violence. All in all, these people do no positive for the Progressive left. They do more harm than good and I frequently wonder just how many are right wing plants trying to discredit the left. One need only look at what the rationale used by right wing militias indicates to justify their very existence as right wing militias.
If we look back through history, most overthrows of democratically elected governments have been by right wing fascist elements. Honduras, Chile, Ukraine, Iraq. The list goes on and on. In the few cases where leftists have risen up and taken over governments, one has to look at what conditions prevailed for many years prior to this occurring and what happened afterward, compared to right wing fascists.
While the right claims the left is violent, I have made clear what I consider to be violent. Militarized police are violent. Media censorship by the powerful is violent. Poverty is violent. I find violence in mass incarceration, lack of food, shelter, medical care. I find violence in mass numbers of people in a country being controlled by fear, paranoia and depression. You can see the results of this violence on the psyche of a population through rates of suicide, depression, anxiety and aggression.
Most people who feel secure in their basic life needs are not aggressive. If they are not fearful about feeding their families, having medical care, maintaining their homes they are not likely to be aggressive and hateful. The majority are not likely to try and shut down or ignore opposing views if they feel their own views are heard.
How do we make our voices heard? One way is through the media. We will not be heard via the capitalist corporate media whose entire structure is built with the goal of hiding and silencing our voices. Another way is through elections IF those elected listen and act on the will of the people who elect them.
The biggest way in which the American people are manipulated is fear of an external threat. “The others.” Thing is, an external threat does not in any way have to exist. You just have to convince people that the threat exists. You do not have to prove that threat through evidence. Just keep repeating it. Immigrants do not have to steal your jobs. People will willingly close their eyes to jobs being taken over by robots and machines as long as you point at an immigrant and say the immigrant stole your job, while your job actually no longer exists. Russia, China and Iran do not have to interfere with our elections, you just have to believe they are. You will not even ask what motive they may have.
Convince people of a nonexistent threat and they will willingly give up their civil and human rights, their security, their liberty, their wealth. Just convince them you are keeping them safe from the outside threat BUT keep them terrified that the threat is still there. More police? Sure. More bombs? Great. Censorship? Silence the voice of anyone you do not agree with.
Do all of this gradually over time and people become desensitized. They accept it as a way of life. They will call their oppression, their poverty, their hunger, their sickness, their pain, their fear, their depression, their anxiety, their constant anger “freedom”. They will actively fight to maintain that oppression. Just keep us “safe”. Safe from the unseen, unproven, nonexistent threat.
Of course, this cycle does not end. It only escalates. Convince people that they do not see the threat because this oppressive system is working to keep them “safe”. But the threat is still there, so you must pay more money, give up more rights, surrender more security. Spy on your neighbor, report anyone that does not comply with every authorized narrative, use accusation, shame, division, hate to illustrate that YOU are one of the “good guys”, that YOU are compliant, that YOU “belong” and “they” do not.
Some believe that giving up the right to vote is a way to fight the system. They believe violence is the only way to change things. Ignore the fact that the radicals on the other side believe the exact same thing. “Our” side is stronger. “Our” side is right. “Our” side will “win”.
The problem with using violence is that the most violent are the ones who gain control. The least ethical, the most brutal, the most capable of torture and atrocity. Then when they gain power, they will use violence to maintain their hold on that power.
Not only that but those proposing violence completely ignore or are willing to sacrifice the most vulnerable among us. The children, the sick, the elderly are seen in the violent minds as acceptable collateral damage. Permanent emotional scarring of young people in the form of PTSD or acceptance of violence as a means to and end is not only acceptable but desirable to them.
The level of violence which would be required to overthrow the US government is far more significant than these people have any concept of and would come with extreme consequences. It would mean facing militarized police forces at local and state levels and the most heavily armed military in world history. It would mean facing armored vehicles, automatic weapons, weaponized drones, satellite imaging, fighter jets, helicopter gunships, guided missiles and more.
Such violence destroys infrastructure, cripples the economy, poisons the air, the water, the food, the soil for many years, leading to decades of famine, disease, chronic debilitating illness, birth defects for generations, economic destruction and many deaths long after active conflicts have ended.
In addition, this violence would result in the dissolution of the US. States would split into different governments and regions, possibly some ruled by warlords. Borders would not remain static but be redrawn by violent conflict. That would mean the complete destruction of the dollar as currency. Yet US debt to other governments would still exist and those governments would insist on payment in some form. They would likely wait until most of our fighting was over and a significant part of the population dead, then invade to seize resources by military force. Because our military would no longer exist as it is and arms stores depleted, there would be no organized means of resistance, meaning at least some parts of the country would be occupied by hostile foreign forces.
Most of the people who advocate for a violent overthrow of the government have no combat experience or training. These are people who have watched too many movies, played too many video games. They have never been on the wrong end of a gun, never mind hundreds of guns. They have never seen a gunshot victim up close and personal. Never seen a human body blown to pieces by bombs. No knowledge of true hand to hand combat. Most have no knowledge of basic first aid. Have never smelled a dead body, which would be everywhere. No knowledge of the diseases inherent in war zones. They will mention past revolutions which succeeded but ignore situations like Libya, the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, Honduras, Pinochet in Chile and so many other negative examples to consider.
Yet these are the people who claim to be wanting to fight for freedom, democracy, for what is best for people.
No. Violence is not the answer. Bolivia is an example which we need to follow. By rising up in mass numbers and supporting Progressive, Socialist-leaning policies and candidates now and in the future. Obviously it is too late to follow that example for this US election. Yet the peaceful revolution can and should be waged for the coming years by demanding Progressive policies. Large scale protests, work strikes, general strikes, consumer strikes, refusing to acknowledge corporate media, instead supporting Progressive media outlets. Never going back to sleep or allowing others to do so. Keep the conversations going, keep them laser-focused on issues, on policies. Shut down all efforts at identity politics without exception. Hold all elected officials accountable for their actions. Be ready and willing to help one another as a community. Build coalitions which have the power of numbers to oppose the forces which seek to divide and destroy us. This is how we actually win a country and a world better than we have ever seen or even realistically imagined.