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Published on May 7th, 2015 | by I Am Awake

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Why non-violent resistance will lead to freedom for all

Today, 29% percent of Americans believe “an armed revolution might be necessary to protect our liberties”. America even started with a violent revolt against an oppressive monarchy.

So, it’s time to face the uncomfortable topics. It’s time to start an open debate on which will bring about peace; a violent uprising, or a non-violent resistance movement?

As Gene Sharp, in his book From Dictatorship to Democracy, notes:

“Understandably, reacting to the brutalities, torture, disappearances, and killings, people often have concluded that only violence can end a dictatorship. Angry victims have sometimes organized to fight the brutal dictators with whatever violent and military capacity they could muster, despite the odds being against them. These people have often fought bravely, at great cost in suffering and lives. Their accomplishments have sometimes been remarkable, but they rarely have won freedom (emphasis added).”

This isn’t some outdated tome. The book has been credited with creating or inspiring everything from the Serbian revolution to the Arab spring. The Muslim Brotherhood even posted the book on their website in 2011 when they helped oust dictator Hosni Mubarak.

Gene is right. Violent revolutions almost always end up with a greater or the same tyrant in power, because, as Sharp notes:

“The dictators are equipped to apply violence overwhelmingly. However long or briefly these democrats [sic] can continue, eventually the harsh military realities usually become inescapable. The dictators almost always have superiority in military hardware, ammunition, transportation, and the size of military forces.”

“The conclusion is a hard one. When one wants to bring down a dictatorship most effectively and with the least cost then one has four immediate tasks:

  • One must strengthen the oppressed population themselves in their determination, self-confidence, and resistance skills;
  • One must strengthen the independent social groups and institutions of the oppressed people;
  • One must create a powerful internal resistance force; and
  • One must develop a wise grand strategic plan for liberation and implement it skillfully.

A liberation struggle is a time for self-reliance and internal strengthening of the struggle group. As Charles Stewart Parnell called out during the Irish rent strike campaign in 1879 and 1880: It is no use relying on the Government . . . . You must only rely upon your own determination . . . . [H]elp yourselves by standing together . . . strengthen those amongst yourselves who are weak . . . , band yourselves together, organize yourselves . . . and you must win . . . When you have made this question ripe for settlement, then and not till then will it be settled. Against a strong self-reliant force, given a wise strategy, disciplined and courageous action, and genuine strength, the dictatorship will eventually crumble.”

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The reason many disagree with the idea of a peaceful revolution is understandable. The things I hear constantly: “The powers that be only understand violence because that’s how they enforce their cruel ideas.” “you can’t give flowers to cops and expect things to magically be different.” Peaceful revolution isn’t effective because it’s a form of submission. It’s effective because it’s the only type of revolution that brings any change. Any other way, all you do is feed the very machine you swear to fight. Violence creates more violence, and “legitimate” violence, whether in the form of a government or in the form of a revolution, only creates more legitimate violence. A violent revolution gives us the exact same thing we had before. So if you want to keep submitting, go violent. If not, then stand up for your own, and your children’s, future.

Henry David Thoreau once said: “Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine.”

Very few would disagree with the assertion that our current system has us headed for a disaster. However not everyone agrees on what that disaster will look like, and it’s virtually impossible to get people to agree on the solution. As a result forming a unified front to face these challenges has been next to impossible. The Common Ground is an approach designed to deal with this issue.

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This approach begins with a simple and undeniable premise: that there is no way that anyone is going to convince everyone else to accept one unified belief system. Liberals will never convert the conservatives, and the conservatives will never convert the liberals. We’re never going to all agree on the wedge issues, and it’s not even realistic to expect that people will learn to discuss these topics in a calm, rational manner anytime soon.

Therefore, the only way that we can hope to unify in the face of a common threat is to bring it down to the lowest common denominator. What can we use as our unifying principle? What is our common ground?

The Common Ground can be simplified down to 3 unifying ideas:
1. No more wars of aggression.
2. End mass surveillance, and the militarization of the police.
3. Hold the corrupt political and financial systems accountable.

The Common Ground is something that must be found if we are able to move forward, and break out of this current paradigm we are in. When we can move past the false left/right dichotomies that are cultivating this divide and conquer society, and learn to work together on the things that matter, people will once again realize that they are still have the power to determine how their country, and their lives, are governed.


This CGM StarterPacket is full of useful information to anyone wanting to get more involved. Inside, you will find several folders designed to help you start a local Common Ground Team in your area including eBooks, videos, graphics, tactics, ways to organize locally, and contact information for your Regional CGM Coordinator. This is an ever evolving packet that is updated with new graphics and tactics, so be sure to check back here for later releases.

(UPDATE: TO DOWNLOAD PACKET CLICK ON “ALT Link 2″)

Any “Common Grounder” agrees to the following Rules of Engagement:

1. Stick to non-violent tactics.
2. Don’t inject wedge issues. (gay marriage, abortion, global warming etc…)
3. No targeting groups or individuals based on race, religion etc…


There is not a revolving door between the Washington and Wall Street, at this point they have grown together into one organism. The banks and the corporations have put us all on a path that leads to complete destruction. It is important to come to terms with the fact that this problem is not going to be solved through elections or petitions. The people are going to have to take their power back without asking for permission, but that’s only going to be possible if we unify on our common ground and set aside the rest.

When we unify against these wars, corrupt financial institutions, and growing police state, we start cooperating rather than working against each other. This isn’t a pipe dream, or a utopian fantasy. The left and the right did unify in 2013 against the Syrian war and we succeeded in pushing it back. The mainstream media claimed that the war was put on hold due to Russia’s diplomacy, but the reality of the matter is that the U.S. government didn’t want to acknowledge that they were losing control of the population. We are seeing this lack of control in cities like Ferguson and Baltimore. The people have had enough.

Those of us who call ourselves the Common Ground were part of that push and we will be there pushing back again when they attempt to take us into the next war. If you stand against these injustices then you are one of us. We don’t have a formal membership list, nor do you have to get permission to join. We are a distributed network, a decentralized movement comprised of individuals and organizations unified by an idea and a commitment to non-violent resistance. If that idea resonates with you then help us build that network.

At the individual level, and this is arguably the most important (not everyone will join a
CGM Team, but this is the level that everyone must agree to if we are to effect permanent
change on a massive scale), it is about YOU being those outer dots, and coming together
with people of different ideologies, beliefs, backgrounds, and thought processes. When enough people connect and stand together, the movement will grow and be an unstoppable force for peace, justice, equality, and truth for all.

This article was written by Tony Geren and first appeared on the PontiacTribune.com. Stay up to date with their articles by following them on Facebook.

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