Over your lifetime how many peaceful marches and peaceful demonstrations have you attended, and how many have abysmally failed to bear fruit? How many school closures etc. have gone ahead despite strong local peaceful demonstrations against this happening? At the age of 86 I've lost count. The establishment has no fear of peaceful marches and demonstrations, even when you march to their citadels of power and stand there peacefully holding your banners and flags. One of the recent most obvious proof of this, was before the start of the illegal invasion of Iraq. Millions across the planet marched, probably the largest world protest up to that time, and peacefully let it be known that they did not want this illegal invasion and resulting carnage to take place, but all that was ignored and to this day we still see the bleeding wound that is Iraq. The establishment may from time to time rough up those peaceful marches/demonstrations, more as a deterrent to others in an attempt to stop them from gaining public support, not from fear of the peaceful demonstrators. I often think that the establishment is quite happy for the odd mass peaceful march/demonstration to take place. I believe they may see it as a public paracetamol, it makes you feel better but does nothing to sort out the real problem.
A not too distant event that shows that to really bring about effective change, your peaceful march/demonstration has to move to a different level. The poll-tax was being forced down the throats of the people in this country. Peaceful marches and demonstrations, burning of poll tax demands etc., all went for nothing. Only when the people moved to the level of open rebellion and took to the streets to forcefully demonstrate that they were not going to accept this injustice, did anything change, the poll-tax quickly died. Direct action is the weapon the establishment fear most.
The following is an extract from an article on Crimethinc:
Together, we are unstoppable: Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Read the full article HERE:The Effectiveness of Insurrection
Where one reformist campaign after another has failed, the courage of those who burned down the Third Precinct in Minneapolis has catalyzed an unprecedented movement for social change. The victories of the first week of the movement alone surpass what other approaches had accomplished in years. We should not underestimate the contributions of abolitionists who have labored for decades to make it possible for people to imagine doing without police and prisons, but many of those who set this movement in motion do not think of themselves as activists at all.
The past three weeks have offered the most persuasive demonstration of the effectiveness of direct action in decades. Liberals will try to represent the strength of the movement as a mere question of numbers, but these numbers only came together because daring rebels showed that they could defeat the Minneapolis police in open combat. The idea of abolishing the police was deemed inadmissible until it became conceivable that rioters could overthrow the police by main force. Then, and only then, police abolition became a widespread discussion item.
So direct action gets the goods—and everyone knows it now. It will be very difficult to put this genie back in the bottle. From the centrists who are suddenly struggling to reduce police abolition to a matter of “defunding” to Donald Trump himself, who was forced to make a show of calling for police reforms yesterday, there is no denying that the riots have changed everyone’s priorities. Rather than alienating people, as critics always alleged it would, confrontational direct action has won millions over to ideas and values they might never have considered otherwise.
This will have long-term effects on a global scale as movements all around the world internalize these lessons. International solidarity actions have already taken place in over 50 other countries, some of them including massive riots.