If the population widely believes that the real power in politics derives from violence that it “comes out of the barrel of a gun”, then whoever has the most and biggest guns will find it much easier to control the population.
Most such populations then passively submit. Sometimes, however people who reject the current regime as oppressive and who see the power of violence arrayed against them conclude that they must use whatever violence they can muster against their oppressors. This may take the form of violent rebellions, assassinations, terrorism or guerrilla warfare. The results of these action for the oppressed population have often been far from positive . Violent rebels are unlikely to succeed against extreme odds and the general population most likely will suffer massive casualties.
In the unlikely case that violent rebels succeed in defeating oppressive rulers, the rebels will probably have simply established themselves as a new ruling elite in control of the state apparatus. Violence may on occasion remove the previous rulers or groups. However, the actual relationship between the dominant elite and the dominated population is unlikely to be fundamentally altered by use of violence. In fact, the violence will likely contribute to a still greater concentration of power and an increased use of violence for political objectives.
Real and lasting liberation requires significant changes in the power relationships within the society, not merely replacement of personnel . Liberation should mean that the members of the previously dominated and weak population obtain greater control over their lives and greater capacity to influence events.
If we wish to create a society in which people really shape their own lives and futures, and in which oppression is impossible, then we need to explore alternative ways to meet the society’s basic need for means of wielding power. We also need to explore the origins of political power at a much more basic level.