By Alemayehu G. Mariam
In 1765, Otis organized an intercolonial conference to protest taxes on stamps affixed to legal and other documents in the colonies. That convention issued a Resolutiondeclaring: “That it is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people, and the undoubted right of Englishmen, that no taxes be imposed on them, but with their own consent, given personally, or by their representatives.” Britain initially ignored the boycotts of British imports and other financial pressure from the colonists but repealed the Stamp Act in March 1776. By July that year, the colonists had declared independence and were well on their way to overthrow the tyranny of British colonial rule.
Today, the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (T-TPLF), which controls 100 percent of the “Ethiopian parliament” and rules by a draconian state of emergency decree, is imposing outrageous and onerous taxes on the people of Ethiopia.
That is not only taxation without representation; it taxation with repression!
Over the past year, the people of Ethiopia have engaged in massive acts of civil resistance to the minority black apartheid T-TPLF rule.
In response, the apartheid T-TPLF regime imposed a “state of emergency” decree giving itself the arbitrary power to engage in extrajudicial killings, mass and indiscriminate detentions, warrantless searches and seizures and total suppression of mass media including the internet.
The apartheid T-TPLF regime runs a police state in Ethiopia and is now demanding outrageous taxes from the people of Ethiopia to finance that police state. Talk about adding insult to injury!
But the T-TPLF’s guns and tanks have not been able to suppress the quiet riot that is raging throughout Ethiopia every day.
The quite riot began nearly two years ago. The T-TPLF tried to suppress it with a state of emergency decree.
Two weeks ago, the quiet riot exploded in massive acts of civil when the T-TPLF unleashed its swarm of corrupt and predatory tax collectors to prey on the population in every hamlet, town and city.
The people of Ethiopia defiantly refused to pay shakedown taxes to the T-TPLF regime. They closed their shops and returned their business licenses telling the T-TPLF to shove it where the sun don’t shine.
As the T-TPLF trained its guns on the people, they stood their ground and defiantly declared, “No taxation without representation!”
Can there be taxation with brutal repression?
Can there be taxation without representation?
The black minority apartheid TPLF regime controls every seat in the “Ethiopian parliament.”
In the May 2015 “election”, the minority T-TPLF regime claimed to have “won” 100 percent of the seats in “parliament”.
In 2010, the minority T-TPLF claimed to have “won” 99.6 percent of the seats in “parliament”.
But that is not all!
The minority apartheid TPLF regime owns 100 percent of the land in Ethiopia.
The minority apartheid TPLF regime owns 100 percent of the top military leadership positions in Ethiopia.
The minority apartheid TPLF regime owns 100 percent of the top businesses in Ethiopia.
The minority apartheid TPLF regime owns 100 percent of the top civil service jobs and political appointments in Ethiopia.
The minority apartheid T-TPLF regime is now imposing outrageous taxes on small business owners who barely eke out a living on just a few dollars a day.
It is not enough for the T-TPLF to empty the nation’s treasury through corruption, fraud, abuse and waste. Now they have the audacity to tax out of existence small businesses that operate on a shoe string and dirt poor street vendors!
The T-TPLF’s “presumptive tax assessment” (PTA) scam and con game
The T-TPLF scheme to scam shoestring small business owners and dirt poor street vendors is based on something called “presumptive tax assessment”.
Simply stated, the T-TPLF’s “presumptive tax assessment” system allows the T-TPLF tax collector to walk into a shop or store, look around for a minute of two and pull a hefty tax figure from an area of his body very close to his back pant’s pocket and slap it on the face of the struggling shopkeeper/store owner.
Of course, if the storekeeper is willing to pay the tax collector a hefty bribe, things could change.
Addis Fortune quoting one shopkeeper in Addis Ababa reported, “Bilal used to pay an annual business profit tax of 1,000 Br based on the old income tax proclamation, which was an obligation for Level-C taxpayers with an estimated annual revenue of up to 100,000 Br. However, this snowballed yearly to one million Birr.” (Emphasis added.)
Before starting his tiny shop, Bilal was a street vendor.
A tearful and distraught Bilal consoled himself: “I was about to lose my mind. But, when I realised that nearly all the traders here felt the same, I calmed down a bit.”
Capital Ethiopia, a “weekly business paper” reported on a business owner who was “paying 12,000 birr a year in taxes. However after the current  assessment the amount went up 14 times that amount to 168,000 per year.”
The T-TPLF’s “presumptive tax assessment” aims to collect “more than 25 billion Br in tax from Addis Abeba for the new fiscal year.” It expects billions more from the rest of the country!
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), “presumptive taxation involves the use of indirect means to ascertain tax liability.”
There are several versions of the PTA. It is not clear which PTA model the T-TPLF is using. It appears to be the “mechanical” type “used in place of a more open-ended rule based on the facts and circumstances of each case.” Simply stated, the “mechanical” type is where T-TPLF tax assessors pull figures from an area of their body close to the back pockets of their pants.
I will bet my bottom dollar that none of the T-TPLF ignoramuses have a clue what PTA is.
Like everything else, the T-TPLF ignoramuses believe they can get away with parroting words and phrases about “presumptive tax assessment”, “double-digit growth” and other fairy tales about development. What can be expected from those who barely finished grade school and bought their graduate degrees from online diploma mills or sport fake degrees from Oxford University?
For the T-TPLF leaders, it is all about monkey-see, monkey-do.
I have good reasons to believe the international poverty pimps egged on the T-TPLF to adopt the PTA. Just as they egged on the T-TPLF to evict and grab the land of struggling Oromo farmers from the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa. Tax the hell out of the poor to finance the extravagant lifestyles of the T-TPLF bosses and their patrimonial regime! (Thanks for nothing The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and USAID.)
One commentator who crows about being a T-TPLF “public prosecutor in four different institutions” argues that “Ethiopia has adopted a few of the rudimentary techniques” of presumptive taxation.
Rudimentary must mean pulling figures out one’s keister.
But the Ethiopian people are fighting back, with the most powerful weapon known to mankind: Nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience!!
Today the anti-T-TPLF tax protests are spreading throughout the country and the people are “fiercely resisting the new tax hike”. “Residents opposing the new tax hike have damaged two state owned vehicles in Ambo city, 120 kms west of the capital Addis Abeba, and a city that saw the bloodiest crackdown during the 2016 nationwide anti-government protests that led to current State of Emergency.”
The T-TPLF leaders say they are “scrapping” the PTA. “Following days of defiance by small business owners in Oromia regional state and in the capital Addis Abeba against the newly introduced presumptive tax system, Kebede Chane, Director General of the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ECRA), said the government was now scraping its implementation.”
The T-TPLF always pretends to back down when there is massive civil resistance to its arbitrary and oppressive laws and policies.
But the T-TPLF leaders always, always come back like a thief in the night to finish the job. No worries. The night watchmen and women of Ethiopia are on the job. (Read my commentaries on the T-TPLF’s original plan to rip off struggling Oromo farmers on the outskirts of Addis Ababa and its second come back a year and a half later.)
The fundamental problem with the T-TPLF gangsters is that they think they are so smart that they can always outwit, outfox and outmaneuver the “Amhara retards” and the “criminal and terrorist Oromos” along with the Gurages, Somalis, Sidamans…
The wonder of wonders: The T-TPLF leaders, families, friends, supporters and lackeys do not pay taxes. The evidence is available.
Why the T-TPLF’s outrageous taxes now?
Why is the T-TPLF imposing such outrageous taxes on small businesses and the people of Ethiopia?
Simple! The T-TPLF could no longer rip off the American taxpayer.
Time was the Obama administration opened the wallets of the American taxpayers for the T-TPLF to pick clean. Clean to the bone!
Billions of American tax dollars flowed into T-TPLF coffers during the Obama administration.
Susan Rice and Gayle Smith virtually handed the keys to the USAID candy store to the T-TPLF.
Well, the U.S. aid “free money mamas” are out (Thank God!).
Trump’s first question about Africa was: “With so much corruption in Africa, how much of our funding is stolen?
I tried to provide him an answer in my Letter. (I did not tell Trump to bring Susan Rice and Gayle Smith and have them testify under oath what happened to our money stolen by the T-TPLF.)
Suffice it to say that a whole lot of that stolen American money is in T-TPLF bank accounts all over the China, the U.S. and Europe!
No more rape of the American taxpayer by the T-TPLF!
The TPLF baksheesh (beggar) state in Ethiopia is so dependent on donors and loaners that its budget (anticipated revenues and expenditures for a given year) depends overwhelmingly on budget support from the U.S. and Europe.
The US, UK, and the World Bank (not including other European or industrialized countries) have provided 50 to 60 percent of the national budget of the TPLF beggar state for years, according to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (See endnote 1).
The T-TPLF beggars have been living high on the hog on mostly American taxpayer handouts!!
Unlike the Obama administration, all indications are Trump will not allow the rape of the American taxpayer by the T-TPLF.
In my commentary in The Hill on July 20, I argued Trump’s Africa policy should end US aid to dictators and rights abusers.
The writing is on the wall for the T-TPLF and its ilk on the continent.
According to a State Department budget document, “the 2017/18 budget proposes a 30.8 per cent cut to overall foreign aid. In Africa, Washington is looking at saving $777.1 million from the proposed budget cuts prepared early this month.” Ethiopia and Uganda will be the “biggest losers”!
Simply stated, the reason the T-TPLF is jacking taxes on the people of Ethiopia is because they can no longer rip off the American taxpayer. That is the ONLY reason!
I have always argued that the T-TPLF will not last a single day without aid transfusion from the pockets of hardworking American taxpayers into its blood stream.
Today, without American tax dollars, the T-TPLF is gasping on its deathbed begging for more American tax dollars.
One of my many “prophesies” from many years ago has come to pass! (I told you so!)
The triumph of civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance in Ethiopia
2015: Civil disobedience triumphs spectacularly in Ethiopia
In November 2015, civil disobedience triumphed spectacularly when the T-TPLF tried to sneak its “Addis Ababa Master Plan” and gobble up lands owned by struggling Oromo farmers. But that came at an enormous price. Human Rights Watch reported, “security forces [had] shot dozens of protesters in Shewa and Wollega zones, west of Addis Ababa”; and in the town of Walliso security forces fired “into crowds of protesters leaving bodies lying in the street.”
I have vigorously and relentlessly opposed the T-TPLF’s plan to take over the lands of struggling Oromo farmers. ( See my January 2016 commentary, Addis Ababa Master Plan? No, the T-TPLF Masters’ Plan!; See also my commentaries on July 9, 2017 and July 16, 2017.)
The irrefutable fact of the matter is that the people of Oromiya engaged in mass civil disobedience and stopped the T-TPLF cold in its tracks.
All the T-TPLF can do now is salivate like Pavlov’s dogs gazing at the lands of the struggling Oromo farmers.
The people of Oromiya engaged in mass civil disobedience and WON.
2016: Civil disobedience triumphs again
Civil disobedience triumphed magnificently once more in February 2016 when the T-TPLF declared war on Ethiopian taxi drivers by imposing the economic equivalent of three-strikes-and-you-are-out-of-the-taxi-business law on the country’s struggling and hand-to-mouth-surviving taxi drivers. Taxi drivers who accumulated 20 or more points for traffic infractions are permanently banned from ever driving taxis.
The taxi drivers were enraged and went on strike on February 22. The city’s transportation was completely paralyzed. Addis Ababans were hoofing it everywhere. To save face, the T-TPLF announced the “new law” is suspended for 90 days.
The taxi drivers engaged in mass civil disobedience and WON.
2017: Civil disobedience has triumphed magnificently once more
In July 2017, the people of Addis Ababa and all Ethiopians won by engaging in civil disobedience against the T-TPLF’s “presumptive tax assessment”.
The T-TPLF announced it had “scrapped its presumptive tax”. (That simply means the T-TPLF con men will regroup and come back with another tax scam.)
Despite announcements the tax has been “scrapped”, there are numerous reports of T-TPLF goons beating and intimidating business owners to open their shops. That effort has proved unsuccessful.
Small business owners and other Ethiopians engaged in mass civil disobedience and WON.
Civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance works! Everywhere, including Ethiopia!
When I first began my human rights advocacy in 2006, I argued that there was nothing more powerful in resisting a repressive regime than a nonviolent struggle using civil disobedience as a moral weapon.
Many laughed at me in my face (and behind my back).
They said I was an “idealist”, a “utopian”, “unrealistic” and just “an academic dreamer”. I just “don’t understand”.
They emphatically hectored me that the only way to bring down the T-TPLF was through armed struggle. They fell for the cunning invitation of the late T-TPLF thugmaster Meles Zenawi who used to taunt the opposition by telling them that if they don’t like his rule they can go into the bush and fight their way to power like his rebel group did in 1991.
I was told the T-TPLF understands only the “language of war, death and destruction. They came to power by war, they can only be removed from power by war.”
I will leave the question of armed struggle to those skilled in the art of war.
I am more at home waging battles in the courtroom and the court of public opinion. Suum cuique (“to each his own”.)
I have always believed in “beating swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks” so that no ethnic, religious or regional group in Ethiopia “will take up sword against another nor train for war anymore”.
I amplified on my fundamental belief in nonviolence in my July 2016 commentary on police brutality in the U.S., “Hate Begets Hate; Violence Begets Violence” and Lawlessness Begets Anarchy”.
I argued the power of violence is its insidious ability to gradually take up residence in the hearts and minds of those filled with hate, anger, arrogance, hubris, frustration and humiliation. That is why I believe man’s inhumanity to man will be fought and won in the hearts and minds of men and women of good will and understanding, not in gun battles in the streets or random acts of violence against innocent people.
I have been preaching the gospel of nonviolence from the very first day I engaged in the Ethiopian human rights struggle and never strayed from the path of nonviolence.
In a two-part commentary series published in April and May 2006, I expounded on the practical application of nonviolence in the struggle against tyranny and for freedom.
In Part I, I discussed the unique contributions of Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King to the global nonviolence movement.
Thoreau felt most citizens — out of ignorance, indifference, or cowardice– would rather show blind respect for the law than disobeying it even when they are convinced the law is oppressive and unjust.
Thoreau’s greatest source of frustration was the inertness of his countrymen who were opposed to slavery and the Mexican War, yet did nothing to put an end to them.
Thoreau complained that many citizens will “sit down with their hands in their pockets, and say that they know not what to do, and do nothing…. They hesitate, and they regret, and sometimes they petition; but they do nothing in earnest and with effect. They will wait, well disposed, for others to remedy the evil, that they may no longer have it to regret. There are nine hundred and ninety-nine patrons of virtue to one virtuous man; but it is easier to deal with the real possessor of a thing than with the temporary guardian of it.”
I feel the same way about many Ethiopians, particularly those in the Diaspora.
They will “sit down with their hands in their pockets, and say that they know not what to do, and do nothing.” They prefer to wait, well disposed, for others to remedy the evil. They do nothing in earnest and with effect. They want others to make sacrifices for them.
Many of them come out of the woodwork and play hero when they feel victory is assured (ye dil atbiya arbegnoch).
In Part II, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee…”, I examined how the American civil rights movement succeeded in using the power of civil disobedience and non-violent resistance to fight against racial oppression and discrimination.
In my September 2013 commentary, “The Diplomacy of Nonviolent Change in Ethiopia”, I expressed my belief that the crucial political and moral question for Ethiopians today is how to transform Ethiopia into an oasis of democratic governance in the middle of a sub-Saharan desert of African tyranny in a nonviolent struggle.
I argued that the history of nonviolent social and political change shows that people lose the fear of their oppressors when the burden of their material conditions outweigh the fear of their oppressors. Simply stated, people lose their fear of their oppressors when they just can’t take it anymore. They come to a point where they stand up and say, “Enough is enough!”
In my view, the greatest achievement of the South African Black Consciousness Movement was its role in transforming the thinking and perceptions of South Africans away from ethnic and racial identity to one national identity for all South Africans.
My analysis of the current situation in Ethiopia is that the T-TPLF is hastening its own destruction by creating all the conditions necessary for a national consciousness movement based on the total rejection, contempt, disgust and hatred for what the T-TPLF has done to cling to power and stands for.
Just as the people of South Africa committed themselves totally to the struggle against apartheid after all the repressive measures were taken by the white minority regime, Ethiopians also have to totally commit themselves to rid their country of the scourge of the T-TPLF.
The T-TPLF is in its death throes which it calls “a state of emergency”. It is the T-TPLF that is in a state of emergency, in the intensive care, in terminal condition.
In my February 2016 commentary, “Ethiopia Under the Boots of the T-TPLF Beast With Feet of Clay”, I asked, “Did the “defeat” of the T-TPLF Master’s Land Grab Plan prove that massive and coordinated national acts of civil disobedience can transform the political landscape in Ethiopia?”
The Oromo mass resistance to the T-TPLF land grab proves beyond a shadow of doubt that mass civil disobedience, noncooperation and nonviolent resistance can bring the oppressor to his knees. So does the civil disobedience of the taxi drivers and anti-tax protesters.
In a six-part series beginning in October 2016 following the T-TPLF’s Ireecha Massacres, I tried to answer the question, “What do we do now that we are under T-TPLF Reign of Terror?” (see footnote 1 below for references), I discussed what needs to be done to resist T-TPLF rule.
There is one undeniable truth which all Ethiopians must acknowledge:
If nonviolent resistance could bring down a powerful, well-financed and militarily strong white minority apartheid regime in South Africa, there is no doubt a nonviolent movement based on total civil disobedience could bring down a black minority apartheid regime led by a gang of ignorant thugs.
The battle-cry in the nonviolent struggle against the T-TPLF shall be:
Remember the civil disobedience victory over T-TPLF master’s “Addis Ababa Master Plan”!
Remember the civil disobedience victory over the T-TPLF of the Addis Ababa taxi drivers!
Remember the civil disobedience victory of the anti-tax movement that broke the back of the T-TPLF’s “presumptive tax assessment system”!
Civil disobedience is more powerful than a two-bit state of emergency decree promulgated by a gang of ignorant thugs.
The T-TPLF wants Ethiopians to believe that nonviolent resistance to its rule is futile
The cunning TPLF thugs have been successful in their propaganda that the only way they can be removed from power is by means of armed struggle. They control the military and therefore they are untouchable. Their motto is, “Resistance is futile!”
The late T-TPLF thugmaster once boasted about what he can do to the opposition: “We will crush them with our full force” or “they will vegetate in jail forever.”
There is no way on earth or in hell that the T-TPLF can crush a mass movement of civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance. NONE!
I have always argued that the T-TPLF is a beast with feet of clay.
I have offered some practical lessons in dealing with the T-TPLF Beast:
1) The T-TPLF has feet of clay. When gazed upon, the T-TPLF appears awesome, formidable and infinitely powerful. It has guns, tanks, rockets, planes and bombs. Though the T-TPLF has legs of iron, its feet are made of clay. They will dissolve in a sea of popular resistance, civil disobedience and noncooperation.
2) Mass civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance can defeat the Beast. It is a lesson Winston Churchill knew all too well:
You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police … yet in their hearts there is unspoken fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts: words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home — all the more powerful because forbidden — terrify them. A little mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.
3) Massive nonviolent resistance can defeat the mightiest and most brutal oppressor. The T-TPLF knows its day of reckoning has arrived. “Those who change peaceful change impossible will make violent revolution impossible.”
Excerpt from my May 2006 commentary on civil disobedience
Below I present excerpts from my May 2006 commentary discussing civil disobedience is a powerful tool to resist and defeat oppressors and tyrants.
Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time — the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression,” declared Martin Luther King (MLK) in his Nobel acceptance speech in 1964. MLK was certainly not the first African American to advocate a nonviolent struggle (in contrast to civil disobedience of unjust laws) against inequality and injustice in America.
MLK’s imagination for a nonviolent struggle against segregation and racism was fired by Thoreau’s Essay on Civil Disobedience. MLK was fascinated by the whole idea of actively refusing to cooperate with a system that inflicted so much suffering on black people; but at the time the idea of civil disobedience as an effective tool for social change seemed impractical to him.
By the time of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1956, MLK had made an irreversible intellectual commitment to nonviolent resistance as a tactical weapon against segregation and racial discrimination. He observed that “living through the actual experience of the protest, nonviolence became more than a method to which I gave intellectual assent; it became a commitment to a way of life. Many issues I had not cleared up intellectually concerning nonviolence were now solved in the sphere of practical action.”
MLK’s ideas about nonviolent civil disobedience rested fundamentally on his analysis of the nature of human laws, in contrast to the laws of God. In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, he explained that there were just and unjust laws in society: “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.”
Disobedience of unjust laws, according to MLK, is a hallmark of Christians who early in their history “were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire.” He even found civil disobedience practiced widely among the American colonists who staged the Boston Tea Party (colonial settler boycott of English tea after Parliament gave an English company monopoly on tea importation into the colonies) just three years before the onset of the American revolution.
By the mid-1950s, MLK had concluded that it took too long to end unjust laws through judicial pronouncements and injunctions, which were routinely ignored and flouted by segregationists. He insisted on the moral imperative and duty of citizens to disobey unjust laws and by the time of the Montgomery Boycott in 1956, MLK had come to the conclusion that change in segregation laws could come only through organized mass action, and not negotiation in the boardroom or litigation in the courtroom.
MLK faced a number of organizational and tactical problems in managing a mass-based civil rights movement: mobilizing that part of the black community that had been “drained of self-respect” into joining a mass civil rights movement, mitigating the violent tendencies of black youth and that part of the black community that has “absolutely repudiated” Christianity, particularly black nationalists and separatists, managing the cross pressures applied on him by sympathetic white liberals who wanted him to be more patient in seeking changes, and fending off the personal attacks of FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover.
Throughout the 1960s, MLK applied Gandhi’s strategy in launching successful nonviolent civil disobedience campaigns based on the existence of four preconditions: existence of sufficient facts showing substantial injustice, attempts at genuine negotiations to remedy the injustice, self-purification, and ultimately, direct action. From his jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, MLK explained how he applied his four-point direct action program in the civil disobedience campaign in that city.
MLK was criticized as an extremist for his nonviolent disobedience and advocacy, but he often turned the question on his critics: “So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Are we to be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremist for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness.” He explained that the central purpose of direct action was to produce negotiations with those that have historically refused to discuss the issue. “Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.”
Above of all, MLK was a man of vision and dreams, and saw America as the Promised Land. Were he alive today, he would no doubt have urged Ethiopians to set aside their ethnic, religious, linguistic, regional and gender differences and “sit down together at the table of brotherhood (and sisterhood) and work together, pray together, struggle together, go to jail together, and stand up for freedom together, knowing that they will be free one day.”
I have a dream that one day, very soon, Ethiopians of all ethnic groups faiths, languages and regions will sit down together at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood and work together, pray together, struggle together, go to jail together, and stand up for freedom together, knowing that they will be free one day.”
“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Civil disobedience works!
As the great American revolutionary Thomas Paine instructed:
Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
In his book “The Ethics of Nonviolence” (2013 at p. 226), Robert Holmes argues:
For power dissolves when people lose their fear. You can still kill people who no longer fear you, but you cannot control them. You cannot control dead people. Walk through a cemetery with a bullhorn, if you like. Command people to rise up, clean the streets, pay taxes, report for military duty, and they will ignore you. Political power requires obedience, which is fueled by the fear of pain to be inflicted if you refuse to comply with the will of those who control the instruments of violence. That power evaporates when the people lose their fear…
Civil disobedience has a very simple definition: The people have lost their fear of their oppressors. That is all it means!
“If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.” — Thomas Jefferson.
Power (of civil disobedience) to the people of Ethiopia.
To be continued…