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Civil Defense

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 Civil Defense2003-12-01 06:16
by Flemming Funch

John Abbe mentions an article from the mid-80s: Nonviolent Warfare: Alternative to Armageddon?
The year is 2010. Russian tanks swarm into a small country in Western Europe, spearheading an invasion by Warsaw Pact troops. But this invasion is unusual because no shots are fired. Instead, the Communist soldiers are greeted by shuttered windows and deserted streets. The nation being overrun phased out its military years ago and now relies on a carefully planned program of civilian nonviolent resistance to deter its enemies. Immediately, clandestine government radio stations broadcast a call for a general strike to oppose the invaders. Factories close down, key machine parts are "lost," industrial experts go into exile, and normal channels of communication and transportation within the country are disrupted.

In an effort to get the country moving again, the Soviets round up government officials and tell them to end the strike or face execution. The few leaders that collaborate are socially ostracized. Meanwhile, an underground leadership begins to function and the economic shutdown continues unabated. Frustrated, the Soviets blunder by ordering troops to shoot at nonviolent demonstrators. As a result, the troops become restless, morale problems develop, and desertions begin to occur. Finally, realizing that the costs of continued occupation outweigh any possible benefits, the Soviets withdraw.
OK, its premises are a bit outdated, but you get the point. It is based on the book "The Politics of Nonviolent Action". Essentially it is like "What if there were a war and nobody showed up?". Or rather, what if nobody cooperated with any invading force, but instead provided concerted non-violent resistance. Of course that doesn't stop bombs and tanks, but it might remove the incentive for trying to take over another country. You wouldn't steal a car if you knew it would impossible to drive it. It is not all stupid, since the majority of wars have an economic incentive. Somebody wants to get their hands on some other people's stuff and want to control those people. If they can't, there would be that much less point to it.

Of course, if nobody cooperated in being an army in the first place, and there were nobody willing to make bombs, the whole thing wouldn't happen at all.

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