Talking about revolutionary violence

The Haitian Revolution

When the proletariat takes power, it may be quite possible that the proletariat will exert towards the classes over which it has just triumphed, a violent, dictatorial and even bloody power. I can’t see what objection one could make to this.  But if you ask me what would be the case if the proletariat exerted bloody, tyrannical and unjust power towards itself [i.e., toward working people], then I would say that this could only occur if the proletariat hadn’t really taken power, but that a class outside the proletariat, a group of people inside the proletariat, a bureaucracy or petit bourgeois elements had taken power.

Michel Foucault

We are convinced that the world is a place where everyone quietly does their own business and does not encroach on the position of another, but the main thing of  this ideology of the ruling classes is the position, that we must tolerate, is given to us not by our will. The proletarian can choose between several varieties of slavery or, if he crosses his ethical guidelines, one of the rancid bourgeoisie can take place. The revolution becomes a denial of these circumstances. It will be violent, because no one will divest his authority and give his property to public order. The ruling class will ignore our actions, as long as they are peaceful, and will drown us in blood, defending its position, as soon as our actions become more resolute. No one wants to kill, but if you are oppressed you don’t have another way.

Any serious action aimed at undermining the foundations of the rule of the bourgeoisie, will cause its tough and ruthless reaction. The class struggle is conducted in the language of force, and the use of force on the part of the proletariat is an act of liberation. All the political steps of the proletariat, which are more resolute than a «peaceful protest», will provoke a response in the violence way. Strikes are met by armed mercenaries, the police suppress the occupation, and the establishment of an alternative order will be met with machine gun fire and defeat.

Of course, we shouldn’t exclude the bloodless version of the revolution, in which the bourgeoisie simply won’t have the tools for suppression. This is the best option, but it can’t be so easy. And that’s why we should always be ready for the rivers of blood, even if we are not responsible for them. We just have to prepare for the worst — to harden our character right now, not to allow the pacifism to occupy a dominant role in the moods of class organizations, and wherever possible, to reveal the violent nature of the present social system, compared to which even the bloodiest revolution is the embodiment of kindness.

The pacifism is false, because it sees violence only in some fights, while state and economic coercion is not considered like violence. Capitalism grinds hundreds of fates in its millstones every day, presses thousands of lives with its presses and drinks the blood of millions of working people. This violence is veiled and dispersed, while revolutionary violence is open and concentrated. The Pacifists deny the latter and prefer the former, playing into the hands of the ruling class and strengthening its ideology, according to it the state is the pledge of peace, and capitalism is the guarantee of honest production relations.

Denying pacifism, however, we should not allow the cultivation of violence as a self-sufficient political tool. In pure violence, without any social intervention, there will be no practical sense. The movement which is unable to defend and terrorism are both useless for the tasks of social revolution. Also in violence and armed actions there is nothing pleasant or even romantic. Shootings are only good in movies, but in real life it’s stress, wounds, painful death or emotional trauma for the rest of your life.

We want to eradicate the violence in the life of society, the violence in the form of legislative, economic, police, prison and military, and internecine kind, caused by poverty and embitterment. However, we will have to force ourselves to do this to the new order or physically exterminate the bourgeoisie, its henchmen and defenders — those who obstruct the liberation of the proletariat — in order to secure and consolidate our revolutionary achievements. Even if taking new positions in the class struggle, whose state is far from escalation, is already an act of violence against the bourgeoisie, which can quite cause blood and death, then what about revolution?

It is necessary to put an end to the world in which some harmless and peaceful demands, for example, the raising of the living standard, can easily lead to corpses. To build a society without classes that establish their power by force, we will have to kill and suffer losses. There is and probably will not be any other way. Therefore, we are a radical minority which protects the «flames» of the class struggle, we call ourselves «dead men on leave» and shout loudly: «death to the bourgeois!»

Original text here

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