When Is Violence To Change Regime Acceptable?
Violence May Have Dehumanizing Effects On The Part Of Perpetrators And Dire Negative Issues On The Ensuing Social And Political Arrangement
Uganda, since independence in 1962 October 9th, has never had peaceful change of governance.
37 years of the 61, have been consumed under one president Museveni Kaguta who captured power in 1986. He used violence to capture power after a protracted 5 year guerilla war in which over 500,000 Ugandans lost their lives.
Part of me is very much drawn to the pacifist’s response: violence is never justified in struggles to transition from one regime to another, violence is
bound to have a dehumanizing effect on those who perpetrate it and therefore a negative impact on any social or political arrangement that emerges.
Howeverr, I think that answer is ultimately not completely satisfying. We may have to face the reality that governments are sometimes so evil, so
cruel, so unjust, and so destructive that people have a right to resist by force.
My concern is that insistence on non-violence may sometimes reinforce injustice. In certain circumstances, force may be the last appeal to human dignity and the last resort to realizing human rights.
My answer, thus, is highly context-dependent based upon asking: Who is using the violence? What social or political change do they seek to achieve?
How and why, and by whom, was the decision made to resort to violence?
What was the precipitating event? What alternative strategies have been attempred or discarded? What is the nature of the violence? Who is being
targeted? What are the peripheral effects of choosing violence?
In remembrance of Nelson Mandela, I will Briefly consider tne struggle for social and political change in apartheid South Africa and explore three justifications given by the African National Congress (“ANC”) when it decided, in 1961, to establish an armed wing,’ Umkhonto We Sizwe (“MK”), in its campaign to overthrow the apartheid government.
First, the cause itself was just. Apartheid was a crime against humanity. It was an institutionalized regime of segregation and systematic oppression
Susan H. Farbstein:
Reflections on the Question of When, if
Ever, Violence Is Justified in Struggles
for Political or Social Change.