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Monday, May 13, 2013

With or without conscience: choice of nonviolence or cont'ing cult of violence

Cult of  violence
Robert Burrowes discusses dark subconscious
Peace Pledge Union sees experiential conditioning, State perpetrator
Excerpting and editing by 
Carolyn Bennett


“People who resist violence do so because they feel courageous and powerful,” writes Australian activist and researcher Robert Burrowes. “Because of their courage and power to act, they have no self-hatred to project.

They have a deep sense of self-worth and can ascribe worth to others. They have well-developed feelings of compassion, empathy, sympathy. They have a clear conscience. As any emotionally undamaged individual must do, they abhor violence and injustice. They know that violence cannot achieve any desirable social outcome. They love the truth and do what they can to expose it ─ even at risk to themselves. Perhaps most important of all: they are self-loving, which means that they can love others too. An individual who does not truly love self cannot love another. Self-love is true love.

U.S. drone attack: Yemen
In the article “Understanding Obama and other people who kill” published today at Pravda Ru Robert J. Burrowes writes this.

“When Barack Obama orders the U.S. military to attack people in another country, whether in a war or by using an illegal drone strike, he knows that people ─ including innocent men, women and children (called ‘collateral damage’) ─ will be killed. How can he do this? 

U.S. drone attack: Pakistan

“When [Israel’s Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu orders Israeli military attacks on unarmed Palestinians, he knows that innocent men, women and children will be killed. How can he do this?

“When corporate executives such as Hugh Grant (chief of Monsanto) and Gregory R. Page (boss of Cargill) make decisions that deprive people ─ including those in Africa, Asia and Central/South America ─ of the means of economic survival, they know that people will be exploited and killed. How can they do this?

Israeli government attacks

It takes someone with a particular psychological profile to kill people. Most of us cannot do it even when ordered to do so. Studies have shown that even in combat situations under enemy fire many soldiers either do not shoot or ‘aim to miss’.

eople who deliberately kill have suffered an extraordinary level of terror and violence during their own childhood and this leaves them particularly badly emotionally damaged. This might be concealed behind a good-looking face and/or a superficially pleasant personality. So what is the psychological profile of a killer ─ whether political leader, corporate executive, terrorist or someone who commits murder on our streets?”

Israeli soldiers attack
Palestinian youth
Burrowes says “careful scrutiny and analysis reveals that these individuals share at least 23 feelings/attributes most of which are invisible to casual observation.” These are eight of the 23 he mentions and refers to a “Why Violence?” link.

“Fundamentally,” he says, “perpetrators of violence are terrified, particularly terrified of individuals who perpetrated violence against them when they were children”; but this terror remains beneath the level of consciousness.

Law Enforcement and
So extreme is this “terror … that archetype [model, prime example, standard]  perpetrators are too terrified to consciously identify to themselves their own perpetrator (one or both parents and/or other significant adults who are supposed to love them) and to say that it is this individual or these individuals who are violent and wrong.”

U.S. invasion of Iraq
Because they are terrified, “they are unable to defend themselves against the original perpetrator(s) and therefore unable to defend themselves against other perpetrators who attack them later in life.”

This incapacity to defend themselves “leads to the fourth and fifth attributes - a deep sense of powerlessness and of self-hatred, the latter attribute negating any sense of personal self-worth, leaving them with an extremely negative perception of the self as the sixth attribute: ‘bad’. (These attributes are deeply embedded in the unconscious and likely inapparent to others).  

 Iraqis still payingCosts of war
“The extreme social terrorization experience to which archetype perpetrators of violence have been subjected means [attribute seven] that feelings of love, compassion, empathy and sympathy, as well as the mental function of conscience are prevented from developing.
Afghans paying
Costs of endless war

Palestinian woman and child
attack rubble
Devoid of conscience and these feelings [of love, compassion, empathy, and sympathy], perpetrators can inflict violence on others without experiencing the feedback that conscience, love, compassion, empathy and sympathy would provide.

“Archetype perpetrators of violence have [attribute eight] a delusional belief in the effectiveness and morality of violence.”

Experiential conditioning, State culprit

In a recent statement concerning its opposition to militarism, the Peace Pledge Union, Britain’s oldest non-sectarian pacifist organization, puts it this way, “Courage in the face of danger is one thing but calling on [the young] to kill others in combat is surely a perversion of courage.

“Murder is murder.
 Calling it by other names does not alter that fact. Transporting men and women many miles to conflict areas and equipping them for armed conflict takes more
than money and hardware.

It takes a supportive population whose minds process events according to internalized attitudes. But even embedded values need reinforcing. Much of this happens from early childhood onward.

We learn the supposed value of force and threats from comics, films, television, and now digital games.

Refugees - Syria
Such media offer narratives of problem-solving that frequently involve violence and make (albeit virtual) destruction ‘fun’.

“By their late teens, even if they have escaped the siren call of cadet forces or other military blandishments, most young people have an unquestioned belief that wars are often inevitable and sometimes necessary: there can, they believe, be ‘good’ wars. They may campaign vigorously against some wars, as many have done against Iraq (‘No blood for oil’); but that is far from being against war.
Child poverty

“In such small ways militaristic values are transmitted from generation to generation.”

But there is also the overarching organized, ongoing violence of the State. Quoting Charles Tilly, the American sociologist, political scientist, and historian who wrote about the relationship between politics and society, Jan Melichar notes ─

‘States made war and war made the State.’
Refugees - Kenya

In war, she writes, “European states provided the model for other states, establishing their monopoly of organized violence within territorial confines.” U.S. militarism emerged more slowly out of its failure in Vietnam then flowered in the post-911 era. Thus, if we are to grasp more fully “what is at issue, we should frequently remind ourselves of the intimate and incestuous relationship between war and the State.”

Nonviolence works and it is right

riting on nonviolence, co-authors Thomas Weber and Robert J. Burrowes said, “As a method of activism, nonviolence guarantees no automatic and unfailing success. No method of conflict resolution does. [But] to those who are pessimistic about the ability of nonviolence to resolve conflicts, (in Gandhi’ words), ‘Have you tried? I have, and it works’…
Peace Pledge Union

Nonviolence works because it seeks to deal with causes rather than symptoms of conflict.

Its rationale, as the preferred method of political activism or philosophy of life, rests on twin convictions: nonviolence ‘works’ instrumentally and it is ‘right’ ethically.

Sources and notes

“Understanding Obama and other people who kill” (by Robert J. Burrowes notes to see also “Why Violence?” at http://tinyurl.com/whyviolence for full 23 feelings/attributes of those who commit violence, http://robertjburrowes.wordpress.com), May 13, 2013,
Copyright © 1999-2013, «PRAVDA.Ru». When reproducing our materials in whole or in part, hyperlink to PRAVDA.Ru should be made. The opinions and views of the authors do not always coincide with the point of view of PRAVDA.Ru's editors, http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/13-05-2013/124539-obama_people_kill-0/

Robert Burrowes

In another place Robert J. Burrowes writes that he was “a member of the international Gulf Peace Team – the 73 people from 16 countries who camped on the border between Iraq and Saudi Arabia in an attempt to prevent the Gulf War in January 1991; [and later] wrote a strategic analysis of this experience in ‘The Persian Gulf War and the Gulf Peace Team’ (in Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan and Thomas Weber, eds., Nonviolent Intervention Across Borders: A Recurrent Vision, Honolulu: University of Hawai’i, 2000).” He also “wrote the typology of nonviolent intervention on which ‘Cross-border Nonviolent Intervention: A Typology’ is based.

Burrowes maintains the Global Nonviolence Network (GNN) website, which lists nonviolence organizations by region and country around the world.

He says in his biographical material that he has been involved since 1981 in many nonviolent action campaigns in relation to peace, environmental and social justice issues. Among them: refusing to vote (since 1981), the Franklin River Blockade (1982-1983), the campaign to end nuclear warship visits to Australian ports (1987-1988), the campaign to remove U.S. military bases from Australian soil (1989), campaigns to halt the destruction of old-growth forests in south-eastern Australia (1989-1990) and the campaign to end duck shooting (1989-1990).

He says he decided at the age of 14 (1966) to devote his “life to answering two questions –

Why are human beings violent?
How can this violence be ended?

And he has “engaged in an ongoing research effort since 1966 to find answers to these two questions in order to improve the effectiveness of our collective effort to end human violence (and thus avert extinction at our own hand).” In a listing of the “most “important documents” from his research and nonviolent activism, he includes:

The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World
Why Violence?
The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth
The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A Gandhian Approach
The Political Objective and Strategic Goal of Nonviolent Actions
Nonviolent Activism and [the] Police
Minimizing the Risk of Police Violence
Should I be Arrested?
Nonviolent Intervention in Interpersonal Conflict

Robert J. Burrowes, Daylesford, Victoria, Australia

Peace Pledge Union

The Peace Pledge Union is the oldest non-sectarian pacifist organization in Britain. It came into being in a climate of growing anxiety about the likelihood of another major war.

Following a huge response to a letter published in the Manchester Guardian (now the Guardian-UK) by Dick Sheppard in 1934 a mass meeting in the Albert Hall of the people who responded to the letter agreed to form an organization to be known as the Peace Pledge Union.

Its membership grew quickly – tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands by the start of the Second World War.

“Why Peace Pledge Union? The letter, written by Dick Sheppard that started it all, invited people to send him a postcard giving an undertaking - making a pledge - to ‘renounce war and never again to support another’.”

The pledge became the basis of membership. Today the pledge and its wider implications continue to inform what the PPU does and the basis on which it acts. It is linked with similar organizations throughout the world through the War Resisters International.

The pledge has changed slightly over the years though its central values remain the same.

Peace Matters, Jan Melichar, http://www.ppu.org.uk/peacematters/peacematters/2009/2009a1.html

Charles Tilly (b. May 27, 1929; d. April 29, 2008): an American sociologist, political scientist, and historian who wrote on the relationship between politics and society. He was the Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science at Columbia University.

During his career, Charles Tilly taught at the University of Delaware, Harvard University, the University of Toronto, the University of Michigan, The New School, and Columbia University. At Columbia, he was the Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science. He wrote more than 600 articles and 51 books and monographs; and was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Sociological Research Association and the Ordre des Palmes Academiques. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Charles_Tilly&printable=yes


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