Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Guns and Insurrection Part 2

Someone in a Facebook comment stream asked me (paraphrase coming): what would you do if Sarah Palin was elected President, closed Congress, declared martial law and started arresting people?  Wouldn't you really be glad there was an armed citizenry?

What I hope I would do is to non-violently occupy the National Mall with a million people and not budge until democracy was restored.  Our non-violence would be absolutely necessary in order to win. This has been the lesson of history ever since the People Power revolution in the Philippines.  It is certainly the lesson of Egypt and elsewhere around the world.

Armed insurrection in the USA would have two possible results:  one would be the imposition of martial law and ruthless suppression of the insurrectionists by the armed forces of the United States.  Jim Croce identified the strategic problem long ago in this immortal maxim, worthy of Sun Tzu, "You don't tug on Superman's Cape."

The other, less likely scenario, is Somalia.  We would all end up being under the control of some armed gang, a warlord, or a local militia.  It would be a lot more like "the Wire" than "Red Dawn".  

2 comments:

CSGiles said...

Actually Tom I suspect what would happen in this far-fetched scenario would be both non-violent opposition, semi-violent strikes and armed asymmetrical opposition; similar to what happened in Belfast or in a few other countries. No one strategy would likely prove successful. And there is the additional factor that (as we saw in Egypt during the Arab Spring and in Russia on the fall of the Soviet Union) the standing army might simply refuse to follow orders to open fire on civilians. Remember that solders in the US armed forces take an oath to defend the Constitution against all opponents, foreign or DOMESTIC. However, this script is about as likely as 25 Beacon Street being hit by a meteor. IMHO a more likely script is the gradual erosion of freedoms and a slow but steady evolution into a high-tech police state.

JMP said...

Tom:
"Armed insurrection...results: one would be the imposition of martial law and ruthless suppression of the insurrectionists by the armed forces of the United States."
This would most likely happen to your non-violent protest also. Especially since you are talking about the authoritarian radical right in your example.

CSGiles:
"IMHO a more likely script is the gradual erosion of freedoms and a slow but steady evolution into a high-tech police state."
Which is happening right now, starting under Bush and the Republicans, continuing under Obama and the Democrats. Patriot Act, NDAA, etc.