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Political Violence in State and Society

If there is any phenomenon that has persisted lasting possibly as long as human civilization itself, then it is war. It is by this virtue that war is one of the most studied phenomena. Herein, this paper takes to reflect on the work pieces presented by Charles Tilly and Kalyvas. The strengths and weaknesses, together with the usefulness or the utility of their postulations are also deeply visited upon.

According to Charles Tilly, in order to understand the concept of war, it is important that the very underpinning factors of war be analyzed in-depth. To this effect, Tilly groups war in different types, and these being; the collective form of violence, the non violent violence and the interpersonal form of violence. According to Tilly, collective forms of violence in most cases are bereft of reason, given that it is normally involves the masses carrying out an onslaught against the victims.

Tilly at the same time depicts the case of Rwandan Genocide that materialized from 1994 to 1998, after the Rwandan president, Juvenal Habyarimana was assassinated in his plane on April 6th 1994 to drive the point home that collective violence is normally underpinned by antecedent and the triggering factors. The antecedent factors in the Rwandan Genocide were the struggle for and the unequal distribution of the national resources between the Hutus and the Tutsis.

When the Belgium government was colonizing Rwanda, it cemented its cause by pitting the former against the latter. The Belgium colonial government simply apportioned the Hutus employment opportunities while ignoring the Tutsis. On ascending to power president Habyarimana concentrated more power to the Hutus, thus deeply aggravating ethnic acrimony. Almost everyone would agree that the death of President Juvenal Habyarimana was the triggering factor that left the Hutus vulnerable, due to the power vacuum.

However, Tilly rightly reiterates the fact that in most cases, the collective violence is driven by mob psychology rather than reason. To underscore this logic, is the fact that apart from the 800,000 Hutus that had already been massacred within two months, 50,000 Tutsis who were seen to be sympathizers or neutralists had also been murdered. According to Kalyvas (2003) , many political and Christian Philosophers will find Tilly’s standpoint on the impossibility to achieve perfect peace a reality.

As if to echo the sentiments that were aired by St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas that war and violence were unquenchable factors in the human society since even an individual at oft times finds himself at war within himself, Tilly clearly acknowledges the existence and the place of interpersonal form of violence. Tilly at the same time mentions of war that stems from the nature of relationships which individuals may have with fellow individuals or socio- political and/ or economic institutions within his environment.

In this sense, the various types of political rule, religion and the nature of the penal code are well considered. Tilly postulates that undemocratic political rule is only a perfect recipe to dissidence as the subjects will take to extricate themselves from misrule and the contravention of their civil rights and liberties. Conversely, Tilly in some way makes an indictment against monotheistic forms of religions, pointing out at the fact that these forms of religions inculcate intolerance amongst people.

This happens as a religious organization in its quest to autonomise and authenticate its doctrines and dogma, distances itself from other religions while at the same time intimating the doctrinal blemishes of other religious organizations. As far as the law and the penal codes are concerned, Tilly postulates that some laws in themselves pose antagonistic stances towards the neighboring geopolitical institutions. Tilly points out at the Balkan Blood Feud (1912-1913) that broke out as having been propelled by laws that for instance allowed war to take place, as long some felicity conditions existed.

It is also true that some of these felicity conditions were pegged on flimsy grounds. Some of the bases for the war were: being called a liar in front of fellow men, insulting of a fellow man’s wife, killing a house dog and contravening hospitality norms, for example, by stealing from the host. It is true therefore that most of the sentiments shared by Tilly about war, conflict and peace can be said to be true. On the other hand, Kalyvas has his own standpoints as far as these longstanding topics come to question. According to Kalyvas, not even familiarity can cement peace and oust the existence of war from this planet.

By thus postulating, Kalyvas seems to be going against the thoughts propounded by Tilly, that at times (as is exemplified by the 1994-1998 Rwandan Genocide), people with common interest or common history may see the need to come together to achieve a common goal. In this case, the Tutsis ganged up together against the Hutus. To Kalyvas, the inevitability of war cuts across familiarity and other forms of human ties. In order to bring the point home, Kalyvas points out as an example, the Peloponnesian War that took place, pitting the Manesi and the Gerbesi against each other.

The Manesi and the Gerbesi are tribes that had coexisted with each other to an extent of intermarrying for an endless period of time. As if the illustration on the Peloponnesian War does not suffice, Kalyvas goes on to give a host of other socio-political entities that are a conglomeration of different and the same cultures, yet the same have at one time or another, risen against each other. An example is the Russian Civil War that saw the Moslems rise up against the Serbs and vise versa, the fact that they were both partakers of a common nationality, notwithstanding.

Kalyvas like Tilly rests on consensus with early Christian political philosophers that war as an element seems to be deeply embedded within man’s nature. To clearly stress on this point, Kalyvas quotes Alberico Gentili who said something close to the effect that the prime incentive to the cruel nature of war is nothing else but man’s rebellion. At the same time, it is interesting to note that Kalyvas, as opposed to Tilly, acknowledges the fact that violence has many faces, and as such, needs a multifaceted interpretation. Kalyvas says clearly that violence transcends the physical force.

This in no doubt is a reiteration of the postulation that violence can take residence within man as its original point of genesis (Tilly, McAdam and Tarrow 2001) . Conversely, Kalyvas sees violence as an outcome of many events unfolding and the situations that surround mankind. Kalyvas continues that violence cannot be judged in itself, but by the very aims that drive it. In order to build the authenticity of this standpoint, Kalyvas points out at the Mau Mau War that took place in Kenya as the country struggled for independence against the yokes of colonialism.

During the 1950s to 1962, the Kenyan youth formed themselves along ragtag military groups albeit; along ethnic groupings so as to depose colonialists from the Kenyan land. The fact that Kenya won her independence from the British rule on 12th December 1963 clearly justifies the cause of the war. This clearly illustrates the fact that there can also be genuine causes of war. Kalyvas also posits that technological advancement in militancy and military equipments and machines can also facilitate the existence of the war.

The truthfulness in this notion is clearly indicated by the fact that it is common knowledge that it is militarily advanced and industrialized nations that are the most bellicose in the field of international relations. At times, these superpowers disregard the concept of state sovereignty by imposing their own will on the least developed countries (LDCs). The strengths of Tally’s and Kallyvas’ standpoints The ideas conveyed by Tilly and Kalyvas carry very strong points that are worthy of credence.

Basically, the ideas propounded by both are that violence is underpinned by both internal and external factors. The internal factor that promotes violence is based on the fact that man is seldom at perfect peace with himself. This form of internal discontentment besets mankind as the reality of the divide between what the world ought to be and what it is, stands in the way of what seems like man’s happiness. It is at this point that deep feelings such as anger, depression, susceptibility, discontentment and resentment engulf man’s inner essence (Tilly, McAdam and Tarrow Ibid).

It is also true that there are external factors which trigger war and violence, of which; oppressive laws and alienating socio-economic and political institutions fall under this rubric. Draconian rules have always had the subjects stage dissidence against a set up judicial order, whereas despotic, oligarchic and autocratic forms of political governance have always been fought to the latter by the very citizens of a given nation. Zaire’s Mobutu Sese Seko and Yugoslavia’s Slobodan Milosevic serve as examples of dictators whose oligarchic and kleptocratic styles of rule could not last long.

Likewise, Kalyvas’ statements that war is so pervasive an element, that there is no strongest form of human affiliation that can secure its absence, rings true as even the most noble of all human unions, marriage is also dogged by misunderstandings (Tilly 2000) . Propositions by Kalyvas that the moral aspect of war can be judged by its objectives, is underscored also, by the fact that there is The Doctrine of the Just Cause of War. The weaknesses of Tally’s and Kallyvas’ postulations Both Tilly and Kalyvas’ works on violence and war are show pieces that near perfection.

Both diagnose the concept and the causes of war to comprehensive, detailed and multidisciplinary lengths. However, their scope seem to be limited, given the fact that it is this same concept of comprehensiveness in approach to solving the absence of universal peace that they do not carry into their proposals for global peace. The blueprints for peace for the European Continent may not and cannot be a feasible panacea for Africa or Asia, since these blocks are socio- culturally and politico- economically unique.

The Relevance /or Utility of Tally’s and Kallyvas’ standpoints on War The importance in Kalyvas’ and Tilly’s work is that it acknowledges the principles of predictability for any political and economic dispensation. As Tilly and Kalyvas clearly state, since any form of misrule inevitably ushers in dissent and rebellion, it is an opportune time that undemocratic governments rethought their political and economic frameworks (Clarke, 2001) . Likewise, Tilly and Kalyvas lay foundation for realizing the need to acknowledge multidisciplinary approach of resolving conflicts.

For instance, by acknowledging the fact that the very traces of war resides inherently within mankind, the need to revisit psychology and philosophy becomes inevitable. That civic education and anthropology as the scientific study of man or the doctrine of man must also be reconstructed afresh so that the line between the rights of man and that of the state can be clearly redrawn, is long overdue. Conclusion By adopting a multifaceted and a multidisciplinary approach in analyzing conflict, Tilly and Kalyvas pose a challenge to the international community, especially the UN to rethink its peace plans.

It is time the UN to this effect drew a realistic plan to resolve international conflict. The UN and the entire international community has to decide whether it is going to restructure its framework for global peace by for instance economically empowering the LDCs or by hanging on to hopeless conjectural objectives like the crafting of an artificial language, Esperanto by name, to foster global peace. If the latter is what is to be adopted, war, turmoil and conflict must prevail, for history, Tilly and Kalyvas clearly demonstrate that the pervasive nature of war makes it permeate even the most intimate forms of human affiliations.

War sets even an individual against himself. Works Cited Clarke, Ian. Globalization and Fragmentation. New York: John Wiley and Sons. 2001. Kallyvas, Stathis. The Logic of Violence and Conflict in Civil War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2003. Tilly, Charles, McAdam, Douglas and Tarrow, Sidney. Politics of Mass Violence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2001. Tilly, Charles. Politics of Collective Action. New York: SAGE. 2000.

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