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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 11/10/22

89 Times People Had the Choice of War or Nothing and Chose Something Else Instead

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Do the Impossible
Do the Impossible
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"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." "Lewis Carroll

It's supposed to not exist. An alternative to mass killing.

In cases that call for war, other options cannot be considered. Otherwise, how would one justify wars?

So, how can it be that I've listed below 89 times that people were simply forced to choose war or to "Do Nothing," and they chose something else entirely?

Studies find nonviolence more likely to succeed, and those successes longer lasting. Yet we're told over and over again that violence is the only option.

Had violence been the only tool ever used, we could obviously try something new. But no such imagination or innovation is required. Below is a growing list of successful nonviolent campaigns already used in situations in which we're often told war is needed: invasions, occupations, coups, and dictatorships.

If we were to include all variety of nonviolent actions, such as diplomacy, mediation, negotiations, and the rule of law, a much longer list would be possible. If we were to include mixed violent and nonviolent campaigns we could have a much longer list. If we were to include nonviolent campaigns that achieved little or no success we could have a much longer list.

We are focusing here on direct popular action, unarmed civilian defense, nonviolence used " and used successfully " in place of violent conflict.

We have not sought to filter the list for the duration or goodness of the success or for the absence of malign foreign influences. Like violence, nonviolent action can be used for causes good, bad, or indifferent, and generally some combination of those. The point here is that nonviolent action exists as an alternative to war. The choices are not limited to "do nothing" or war.

This fact does not, of course, tell us what any individual should do in any situation; it tells us what any society is free to attempt.

Considering how frequently the existence of nonviolent action as a possibility is categorically denied, the length of this list below is rather staggering. Perhaps climate denial and other forms of anti-scientific rejections of evidence should be joined by nonviolent-action denial, as the latter is clearly a disastrous phenomenon.

Of course, the fact that there are always alternatives to war even once a war has begun is no reason not to create the sort of world in which wars are not created, and no reason not to work to prevent wars that others are planning and scheming to create long before they reach the point of actual conflict.

├ -- Ć 2022 Nonviolence in Ukraine has blocked tanks, talked soldiers out of fighting, pushed soldiers out of areas. People are changing road signs, putting up billboards, standing in front of vehicles, and getting bizarrely praised for it by a U.S. President in a State of the Union speech. A report on these actions is here and here.

├ -- Ć 2020s In Colombia, a community has claimed its land and largely removed itself from war. See here, here, and here.

├ -- Ć 2020s In Mexico, a community has done the same. See here, here, and here.

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
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