Violence, applying power and pressure that causes damage to people and society, is a collection of individual or collective action. Here, we’ll touch more on political and revolutionary violence used against authority.

Dissident individuals and groups are inclined to violence. And that is political violence. It starts with hunger, poverty, ethnic or ideological reasons. It is primitive and local, It is poorly organized. If the reasons for the violence are strong, it can become organized popular Movements as in the Russian and French revolution.

On the other hand, revolutionary violence is often used against government, imperialism and the oligarchy or their supporters, not against civilians.

The Jasmine Revolution in Egypt is an example for political violence. Here demonstrators, especially members of the Muslim Brothers gathered for ideological and economic reasons and demonstrated their reactions against the government. Even though this violence has occurred with primitive methods and poor organization, because of the majority of the participants in the revolution in Egypt, this revolution resulted in success. Demonstrators did not use any force against the government and did not battle against the security forces of the government. Determination of the demonstrators and their belief in revolution has resulted in the resignation of Hosni Mubarak.

On the other hand, ‘Gezi Park’ events that we experienced recently can be an example for the revolutionary violence. Demonstrators attacked with all their strength to the government. Many demonstrators were killed. A large number of security officers and demonstrators were injured. The aim was to overthrow the government by force of demonstrators, in other words the purpose of the demonstrators was to perform revolutionary violence. However, this revolutionary violence has failed for some reasons.

The use of violence against authority is a much debated issue. Some thinkers argue that violence is necessary to use: 

‘Without resorting to violence, it is not likely to destroy the layout of the exploiters. But the only goal of revolutionary violence is oppression and violence devices of exploitative schemes and dominated exploitative classes. For this reason, revolutionaries’ violence cannot be identified with the terror that is directed to the public by the dominant class. Revolutionaries do not apply ‘terror’ as bourgeoisie define this word. Their violence is not against to the public, it is against to the exploiters.’

One of the thinkers who hold this view is the French philosopher Frantz Fanon. According to Fanon, the emergence of a new nation, collapses of the colonial structure are the results of a comprehensive violence. Violence as a method may form a political party password. Just political cadres can invite public to the armed struggle. You need to think over this aspect of violence.

About using violence Fanon says:  

‘German militarism’s decision to solve border issue with violence does not surprise us. While people of Angola decided to armament, the Algerian People’s adoption to another way except for violence shows that some of the things left or stay behind. The colonized peoples, slaves of this contemporary world are impatient. They know that this violence is the only way to liberate them from colonial oppression.’

On the other hand, some thinkers claim that violence should not be used. Because not only government but also environment and the society damaged by it.

Antonio Gramsci is one of the thinkers who support not using violence against the government. According to Gramsci, an Italian Marxist, hegemony is based on durable and independent civil society that recognizing the autonomy of ‘private institutions’ forming source of consent as education, churches, political parties, trade unions, and so on. So according to Gramsci’s view, who wish to succeed in modern conditions must handle intellectual and moral leadership, to accomplish alliances and compromises with different forces they should act beyond their own narrow ‘economic-collective’ interests. According to Gramsci, culture is the foundation of government. And firstly, cultural hegemony must be obtained. He says unity of these social forces is ‘historical bloc’. This bloc compose infrastructure of the consent for a certain social order. It produces dominance (hegemony) of dominant class again and again through a nexus of institutions, social relations and ideas. Gramsci has developed a theory that continues keeping relations of infrastructure and emphasizing the importance of breaking superstructure. Gramsci’s theory is called as neo-Gramscian.

In summary, the use of violence against the government as a force is an ongoing debate. The use of violence shows situationality. While in some cases violence should be used against the government, at other times this violence leads to disaster. If Algeria had not done a violent revolution against France, perhaps it would not gain independence. On the other side, in ‘Gezi Park’ cases violence used against the government caused many civilian deaths. And it brought about millions of pounds damage. Therefore, the use of violence against the government in different situations can be made many different interpretations.



  • Şiddet Üzerine – Frantz Fanon (Çev: Bayram Doktor)
  • Şiddet Hak Arama Yöntemi midir? – Nevzat Tarhan
  • Antonio Gramsci’nin Felsefesi – Felsefe.Gen.Tr



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Nasrettin GÜNEŞ

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