victory of slaves

we abhor fighting for freedom. freedom gotten by the sword is an established bondage to some part or other of the creation. victory that is gotten by the sword is a victory that slaves get one over another.

– gerrard winstanley, leader of the diggers, 1650 (quoted in kurlansky, m. nonviolence. ny: modern library, 2006.)

what do you think?

0 thoughts on “victory of slaves”

  1. Well I agree. Using the sword, nowadays bombs, for freedom is much like forcing someone to love you. It doesn’t work.The landscape of history is littered with the failure of wars that were done in the name of freedom not to mention God. Winstanley puts a novel view of using the ‘sword’ when he talks about bondage over creation. Now that puts man enslaving creation. Lets think about that one.

  2. i think he’s saying using the sword is another form of bondage to creation (sin). using the sword fsword for freedom ignores that the sword itself is part of a system in which we all remain slaves. i agree with that, but i have trouble imagining that every situation (interpersonal or international) could be worked out nonviolently

  3. yeah, seth, but couldn’t it be that, though some situations cannot be worked out without violence, the violence still (and always) initiates bondage?

  4. I think my initial concern about this quote was that it appears to play directly into the hands of religion-as-a-tool-of-oppression by saying at face value that freedom through violence is worse than slavery. To my awareness, non-violence was not an active philosophy at the time of this quote (AD 1650), however repression of the populace in subservience to the ruling elite through religion was still unchallenged (Galileo was ordered to stand trial on suspicion of heresy in Rome AD 1633). Non-violence is effective not because it is a surrender to the status-quo, but because it is a harder row to hoe than a violent path. I think the question: “Is murder a greater evil than slavery?” Is an invalid one. There’s not an equation there, and by setting these existants in comparison, the quote does both freedom and non-violence a disservice.

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