Category Archives: By Will Alone

By Will Alone: The Game

This site came about because of a nonviolent direct action miniatures game I have been working on.  I haven't done much with it since 2007, but if you want you can find the rules I wrote:

I have play tested it a few times, pictures of which you can see from the front page.

Send comments to me via jokeefe at jamesokeefe dot org or voice/txt to (617) 863-0385. 

That will have to do until I get around to updating them.

Resistance to Chinese Censorship Goes Virtual

Boing Boing reported that an hour long video satire of Chinese government censorship, called War of Internet Addiction, has had 10 million views by Chinese netizens.  It was filmed entirely in World of Warcraft.

You can find commentary at DigiCha and YouKu Buzz

The original video is at the YouKu Buzz link, but the speed is very slow.  You can find an English subtitled version at YouTube in seven installments.

The Army of Amazons

Midtowng has another history lesson in nonviolent economic resistance from the US' past:

On a cold Sunday morning, December 11, 1921, in the tiny frontier town of Franklin, Kansas, five hundred women
crowded into a church hall. Men were excluded. They were mostly
immigrants from eastern Europe. They were hungry, angry, and desperate.
After a heated discussion they resolved on a course of action – they
would march.

By the following day women from miles around had come
to join them. Their numbers swelled to somewhere between 3,000 and
6,000. Some marched while carrying infants in their arms. The local
sheriff and his deputies was overwhelmed.

By December 15th the Governor of Kansas had sent in three companies of
cavalry and a machine gun company, to stop the "Army of Amazons", as
the newspapers had dubbed them.

You can find the rest of the article at The Economic Populist.

Eight years later, using nonviolence in Afghanistan still looks like a good choice

[Reprinted from my main blog since it is germane to this one.]

In March of 2002, while running for Treasurer of the Commonwealth, I did a one day tour of the Fall River/New Bedford area including speaking engagements, radio appearances and an interview with the Herald News in Fall River.  I was aided by David Dionne, a great and tireless activist for social justice, peace, and the environment.  David had setup the whole day and first on the itinerary was the interview with the Herald News.

Now March, 2002 was about five months after the US invasion of Afghanistan and one of the reporter's first questions was what would be the Green Party's alternative to invading Afghanistan.  I stated that invading the country was the wrong approach and the US would have been better off in the long-term by building a nonviolent resistance movement to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda that sought the development and liberation of all of its citizens.

With President Obama's announcement that he will send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan to join the 68,000 US soldiers, 43,000 NATO-ISAF soldiers, and 68,000 Pentagon contractors, the long-term has arrived.  When all is said and done, we are easily on track to have been there for a decade or more propping up a corrupt government run by warlords who share the Taliban's desire to keep women down. 

According to, a National Priorities Project, the US has spent $232 Billion funding military related operations in Afghanistan since our invasion in 2001.  This figure represents over $8,000 per Afghan citizen, or about $1000 a year for each person.  With Afghanistan's per capita yearly GDP at about $450, this amount would represent a tripling of the income of the average Afghan.  This figure is even more striking when you consider that we haven't delivered on the $5 Billion in aid we pledged to help Afghanistan rebuild.

We could have devoted a fraction of what our military has spent occupying Afghanistan on promoting economic development, education and health as well as building a native Afghan nonviolent resistance movement.  Would we have overthrown the Taliban by now?  Possibly.  People who have enough to eat, a job with a decent income and the ability to read have much more ability to organize and use nonviolent tactics to undermine the support of their leaders.  We forget when we judge the success of a nonviolent resistance that, after eight years of violent resistance to the Taliban, there is very real prospect that they may yet reestablish themselves as the rulers of Afghanistan.

By taking a long-term nonviolent approach, one that focused on economic development, education and improving the health of all Afghans, we would have left Afghanistan a far better place than we have so far.  Even if a nonviolent resistance movement had not succeed by now, it would have a good chance of succeeding in the future.  Obama's choice to double down on the Bush strategy doesn't look like its chance of success will be any better, but the cost in lives and debt will be immensely higher.

Using nonviolent direct action to stop investor shakedowns of entrepreneurs

Jason Calacanis is all a twitter about investors charging startups to pitch their ideas to them and calls on such investor groups to stop.  If they don't, he is willing to use nonviolent direct action tactics to get them to stop:

"However, if this is not done immediately, my group of startup CEOs and
angel investors will begin targeting specific groups for elimination. 
We will launch competing, fee-free events directly opposite your
events. We will encourage angels investors, service providers and
startups to boycott your events. You may even find our street teams
outside your events handing out flyers."

While I have my suspicions about the investor class in general, it is good to see more groups using nonviolent direct action.

Thanks to Shawn Broderick, who has also railed against such investor shakedowns, for pointing out the above article.

Summary of events in Thailand

A great deal has happened in Thailand since I last posted.  The anti-government protests continued into early December with violence by both anti- and pro-government supporters (1, 2, 3).  In November, anti-government protesters escalated their efforts by taking over Thailand's two main airports. 

In early December, the Thai Constitutional court banned the new prime minister and several ruling parties for electoral fraud.  As a result the anti-government protesters called off their takeover of the airports.  Now that the larger parties were banned, the Democrat Party, one of the opposition parties, formed a new government with Abhisit Vejjajiva as the prime minister.  The anti-government protests were suspended though its organizers have vowed to renew demonstrations.

The supporters of the banned parties expanded their non-violent protests and have blockaded the parliament building.  They are trying to prevent the new government from operating and are calling for new elections.