Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

The Means and the End

by Ram Mohan, June 24, 2010

But resistance is inherent in Life just as friction is inherent among the non living. Friction opposes motion and regulates motion and hence indispensable for balance in the physical universe. Similarly resistance is indispensable for balance in life. In a sense resistance is conscious friction. Thus friction and resistance are important features of Nature regulating the flow of Evolution and hence of civilization and history. The Flow is towards Merger of all beings and things as one . Oppressors resist this Flow and therefore the resistance of the oppressed favors the Flow.

In any struggle or even in any activity, due attention has to be paid to the means and the end. The terms means and the end imply a philosophical dimension whereas in the organizational dimension, it will be simply called modalities and the objective. So let us confine to “means and end” as we are not going to engage in organizational matters. Due attention cannot be appreciated without clear concepts of both means and end.

What comes to mind immediately is the popular statement that “end justifies the means”. Though this statement is attributed to Machiavelli who clarified that it should be adopted only to stabilize and improve governments, the statement is often used to criticize those who do not care about  (morality and/or legality of) the means. The exemption given by Machiavelli to States is carefully followed without exception.

It is very interesting to study why criticism on the means is so abundant but before that it is necessary to understand the relationship between means and end. The end is usually a long term view of the Destination though intermediate destinations on the critical path to the Destination could be defined but the main point is that “end” is independent of context whereas the means cannot be divorced from the changing context. This leads to the important conclusion that since the context continually changes, the means also will continually change. This explains how the resistance to oppression changes from a non violent one when the oppression is in a non violent context (i.e. peaceful theft of the oppressed peoples) to a violent one when the oppression is in a violent context ( a war where violent robbery of the oppressed is the norm). From Machiavelli onwards and even before, while violence by the State is justified in the name of stability, violence by the oppressed has always been declared immoral and illegal and nowadays it is classified as terrorism.

So clearly for the State, “end justifies the means” and the State can use violence if even peaceful resistance by the oppressed does not end up in surrender and it (State violence) will never be called terrorism. For the oppressed “any means of resistance” is not justified by the World order and hence there is no end of suffering and no end of being exploited.

But resistance is inherent in Life just as friction is inherent among the non living. Friction opposes motion and regulates motion and hence indispensable for balance in the physical universe. Similarly resistance is indispensable for balance in life. In a sense resistance is conscious friction. Thus friction and resistance are important features of Nature regulating the flow of Evolution and hence of civilization and history. The Flow is towards Merger of all beings and things as one . Oppressors resist this Flow and therefore the resistance of the oppressed favors the Flow.

Evolution, civilization and history reveal evidences of the Flow and the Flow implies a Destination though the descriptions of the Flow and of the Destination and even of the intermediate destinations are generally considered as matters of perception and conceptualization. However Science has been extended from the study of Nature to the study of society and the extension of the senses by technology and by experience permit science to enter the realm of spiritualism. Thus science (knowledge) and experience (practice) facilitate the development of language and technology (both of which need collectivism) and enables the Destination and the intermediate destinations clearly visible. Thus it is not possible to condemn the Destination or the intermediate destinations and the only way of preventing the destinations being reached is to condemn the means (both non violent and violent resistance of the oppressed). Since the oppressors and their States use violence freely (fully justified by the rule of law, constitution and philosophers like Machiavelli), the only effective (imposed by the oppressors) means of resistance by the oppressed is the violent form and hence the violent form of resistance is most vehemently condemned as illegal, immoral and finally as terrorism. When the means are condemned and if accepted as condemned, then there is no way of reaching the destinations. This is the logic behind all the Establishments vehemently and abundantly condemning the means of resistance.

Hence advocating “ends justify the means” for oppression, particularly for State Terrorism and condemning the means of resistance, particularly violent means as Terrorism, paves the way for maintaining the establishment and that is what the world order is about. Thus it is clear that the aim of condemning the LTTE and its means of resistance is to deny the objective of Eelam National Liberation in particular and by extension National Liberation movement itself. If National Liberation movement (which is on the critical path) is blocked, then the next stage of Socialism is automatically blocked. Apparently the enemies of Socialism understand this strategy but those who claim to be working for Socialism do not understand this and some in fact work against National Liberation, in effect, denying Socialism.

It seems difficult for these pseudo socialists to understand that uneven development of capitalism suppressed National Liberation and therefore National Liberation has to be completed for even development and Socialism to follow. There is no question of Socialism without even development.

The oppressed peoples need to understand that “any means” cannot take them to their Destination (end) and only means that takes the context into consideration and changes as the context changes, can take them to the Destination.  Therefore the means of the oppressed people (violent or peaceful) will be determined by the oppressors.  Further all wars by the oppressors since the Iraq wars are fought by coalition of oppressors. There were twenty governments involved in the war against Eelam Tamils. It is said that there are forty six governments engaged in the war against the Afghan peoples. Clearly there is a need for the oppressed peoples to unite and this is in line with the concept of changing the means to suit the context.

Otherwise the Destination (end) will remain a distant dawn.