Do you remember Saturday, 15 February 2003? Humanity came together across more than 600 cities in the largest protest the world has ever known to stop the war on Iraq.
But that, my friends, was NOT nonviolent conflict.
We applied for permits, received permission to protest on a weekend, and then we were given the finger for our efforts.
Humanity was defanged, we were allowed to bark, and the war went on.
What did we do wrong?
We attempted to make change through normal institutional channels that are no longer responsive to the will of the people.
And we did not understand that using nonviolent conflict against an empire requires different tactics than using it against a nation state.
How would nonviolent conflict have been different?
The focus would have been on applying pressure to our own government, not attempting to influence US policy. Nation states require the support of their own people to remain in power: an empire, though, requires the support of the governments it controls, not that of its own people or anyone else.
The protests against the war on Iraq would have taken place outside of the law. No permits. No asking for permission. No cooperation with power by protesting on the weekend. We would have hit the streets on Monday and stayed at it until we shut down our respective economies and our governments were forced to withdraw their support for the war.
We only have three ways to change our societies. Through a legislative process that in truth allows the people to participate in how they are governed, through a violent insurgency to topple the government, or through nonviolent action that by its very nature transforms and conditions the resulting society.
And this is the most dangerous information in the world to those wielding power today.