This is the third of three posts comprising Part IV of a series of posts in which Dr. Ian Hansen shares his thoughts on nonviolence.
The violence of those lost to rage helps to justify excesses of state-inflicted oppression and atrocity on the rest of the frightened population (from above). It also helps to justify excesses of subnationally-inflicted oppression and atrocity on that same population (from below) in the form of terrorism, guerilla warfare and/or revolutionary violence. These acts of oppression and atrocity from above and below shock and discombobulate, and often drive the majority even further into hopelessly compliant resignation to whatever violent force eventually reigns victorious.
If, however, the popular majority of a nation or people begins to continually and effectively coordinate acts of nonviolent resistance to violent oppressors (from above and below) then those who profit from violence and oppression are in danger of a decline in their portfolio.
When true revolutionaries achieve this mass mobilization of nonviolent resistance, the desperate atrocities of the violently rebelling minority should become a less credible justification for state oppression and atrocity against the majority. And the ruthless atrocities of the violently dominating state should become a less credible justification for subnational violence also.
Those who can both resist the oppression and violence of others and maintain nonviolent discipline for themselves will come to look more legitimate than subnational guerillas, violent revolutionaries and terrorists. They will also look more legitimate than the terrorists of another kind who often find themselves making decisions on behalf of powerful states and empires.
When this change in perception occurs among a critical mass of people, the nonviolent revolution should be more likely to realize its goals. This may be for better or for worse, but usually (on average) it should achieve better things that what a more exclusively violent revolution might have achieved. And a nonviolent revolution that can maintain its nonviolent discipline to the end should also achieve better things on average than just taking it lying down.