Thank you for putting in some of my letter in the last issue (PN 2544). I am sorry that you could not find room for the first half of it, so here is an attempt to add these ideas about why I am revolutionary pacifiste.
I have great sympathy with Buddhism but I cannot go along with some of its main precepts.
I think lust and desire are good things. That they give meaning and describe life itself. However these are only good if they are not at the expense of anyone else.
I hold to the quote from Tennessee Williams’ Iguana that: ‘nothing human is disgusting except that which is malicious or violent’ (I would add ‘or coercive’).
However lust and desire can lead to greed and competition and they are often considered as a corollary to desire.
Now greed usually does mean that it is at the expense of others. It is the feeling leading to competition for the desired commodities or any ‘things’.
It directly leads to desire for power which is an expression of the frustration at not being able to fulfil one’s greed: true greed is ‘un-satisfiable’ (it is not able to be satisfied which is a little different from being insatiable). The power is usually held in wealth and money or control of money (please see Bertrand Russell’s Power).
All desire for and the exercising of power is an expression of inadequacy and frustration (please see Wilhelm Reich’s Hey Little Man), and of course that is only exercised and backed up by violence.
Violence and the threat of taking of life is the ultimate power over someone else and denial of their freedom.
Competition and the extension of state politics into war is frequently said to be human nature. I do not believe that it is so. The earliest single cells created in the primeval soup clung together, co-operating so they could survive, helping each other with their different attributes, thus when the earth cooled down and there was no longer scarcity, the blossoming of the huge diversity of life could happen, leading to us Homo sapiens (please see The Social Gene by Richard Frost and the evolution writings of Kropotkin).
We should strive to build a real alternative society based on co-operation and federation of communities that can supply the needs of ordinary people.
The only question is whether it can be done before the collapse of capitalism as we know it and the resultant, probably violent, post-holocaust scenario.
Maybe Greece will again show us the way towards true democracy and freedom.